- This page is about a company. For a village see Longoni, Mayotte.
Longoni SRL is one of the most prominent European manufacturers of high-end cue sticks. The company, founded by Alessandro Longoni in 1945, is based in Mariano Comense, Italy. Longoni makes cues customized for various carom billiards disciplines, including three-cushion, five-pins and artistic billiards, as well as pool and Russian pyramid cues more recently.
Over the years, several professional players, including Dick Jaspers and Niels Feijen, have helped design and develop new lines of Longoni carom and pool cues, respectively. As of 2014, Niels Feijen is still under contract with Longoni.
A hallmark of Longoni cues is their often unique butt designs – including octagonal cuts, sewn-in leather strips, and intricate inlay ornaments. Longoni's two top lines of pool cues, the Classica and Silver series, range from approximately US$1,500 to $6,000.
The story of the Longoni trademark dates to back to 1945, soon after the end of the Second World War, when grandfather Alessandro Longoni (born in 1891 and son of Vittorio Longoni), after extensive experience gained while at the prestigious billiard manufacturer “F.lli Dalla Chiesa,” in 1735, decided to found his own company, with the support of his children.
At the time, Mariano Comense, a small town in the Brianza area of Lombardy, was famous worldwide for the long and hard war impoverished Italy, leaving it with no other resources than the innate intelligence and devotion to craft of its population. At the beginning Alessandro was without capital, but confident of his abilities and ever tenacious, borrowed machinery and instruments from other artisans.
Every day he carried the raw materials in his wheelbarrow to his studio for refinement, balancing, assembly and completion. His wife Maria assisted closely, and she often played the role of postman, delivering the final product to customers.
The firm develops as Alessandro’s sons Emilio (born in 1929), Renzo (born in 1936) and Vittorio (born in 1944) are raised. Even as young boys they contribute enormously to their father’s business. These efforts in large and small ways led to their efforts as adults, with the introduction of new and advanced cue technologies, which improve Longoni product quality and help to spread the Longoni name throughout Italy and then abroad.
The 1950’s see the first step of the production of professional cues, thanks to the inheritance got by top-quality Italian companies such as Vaula, Pagliani & Provenzale and Rutigliani.
This was the setting where manufacturing know-how, appreciated by so many billiard lovers for more than 60 years, took root. The significant phases of our business and evolution are described in the following pages.
In the 1960’s Longoni starts to export cues to the United States. This starts the spread of the Longoni name throughout the world, and it is also the period when the first two-pieces cues are introduced in Italy.
In 1960 Renzo Longoni marries Francesca Luzzi. Known as Franca, she starts a long period of significant contribution in the management of the company’s commercial affairs and its branding trademark.
In 1976, Renzo and Franca’s son Pierluigi is born, and the company “Norditalia Ricambi srl” is founded. As the new headquarters for Longoni Group, it is also the center of billiard table and cue distribution, and also becomes one of the main distribution points for billiard accessories throughout Europe.
1976 also sees the creation of the “Zenith” trademark for Italian market cues.
In the 1970’s Longoni formalizes and expands its activities, and Alessandro’s children and in-laws develop responsibilities: Vittorio manufactures billiard tables; Renzo is entrusted to develop cues; and Francesca (“Franca”), ever the expert in marketing, is the sales manager.
In the 1980’s the Longoni brand becomes ever-more famous, virtually synonymous with “Made in Italy,” for the billiards and French Carom markets, thanks to the close cooperation of dominant billiard names including Reymond Ceulemans and Francis Connesson.
One example of the culture of innovation at Longoni in this period is Renzo Longoni’s introduction of cutting-edge materials such as Kewlar, Ergal, and Graphite, in the design and development of highest-level cue shafts.
These innovations accelerate; the Longoni name becomes known, and Renzo Longoni gains a reputation as a leader in the research and development of materials and products for billiards.
Alessandro Longoni, who died in 1978, started in a small workshop, and this workshop , akin to a renaissance-era studio, where over time a business grew, allowed the research, design, development, and production were melded together in harmony.
The nineties and new millenium
Thanks to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 1990’s saw the opening of new markets. The Longoni brand reaches Eastern Europe, extending to Russia and the Ukraine. In 1993, a Longoni sister company, NIR, opens in Brno, in the Czech Republic. In 1998, a second branch of NIR opens in Espelkamp, in the former East Germany.
In 1995, Renzo Longoni is assisted in his responsibilities by his son Pierluigi, who brings important innovative ideas that carry the company’s philosophy forward, and continue to offer exclusive products.
In 1998, Longoni introduces numeric-control equipment, which improves product construction techniques in all phases where hand-labor cannot guarantee the same degree of accuracy.
In 2000, a new high-technology CNC machine, used to turn wooden shafts, makes possible further developments and design solutions. New shaft designs for pool and carom are possible.
All of these innovations do not affect the craftsman’s spirit of Longoni products, where the human hand and eye continue to play a central role. Over fifty years have passed since the founding of Longoni, but each Longoni product is designed, manufactured, and assembled exclusively in Italy, with the highest continuing standard of quality, which of course is the Longoni hallmark, world-wide.
The primary aim of the Longoni brand is the never-ending quest for improved solutions in materials, construction, and quality, combined with retaining original manufacturing processes, that offers classic and tasteful products with a high content of contemporary knowledge of technology and materials.
This never-ending search for perfect quality, and the focus on customer-care, are Longoni’s best means of advertising.
Thousands of players all over the world use Longoni products, competing in billiards and the other table sports with cues that, in some cases, were purchased more than thirty years before. These facts confirms the credibility and duration of our products. Our continuing effort is to offer a departure from the globally-assembled and sourced products of the modern era, rather, to offer products that are to the taste and standards of the craftsman.
- "History". LongoniCues.com. Mariano Comense, Italy: Longoni SRL. 2007. pp. "Company" section. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
- "Cues and More". LongoniCues.com. op. cit. 2007. pp. "Cues and More" section subpages. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
- "News". LongoniCues.com. op. cit. 23 May 2007 & 7 July 2007. pp. "Community: Longoni Lab" section. Retrieved 2008-08-29. Check date values in:
- Longoni company English-language website (an alternate interface is available here)
- Longoni facebook official page : https://www.facebook.com/longonicues
- Longoni twitter official page : https://twitter.com/longonicues
- Longoni google+ official page : https://plus.google.com/+LongonicuesItaly/posts
- Longoni Italian official store : http://www.nirshop.it/