From the very first Oct., 1933 issue, the Detroit Wood Products Division of the Monnier Lumber Co., maker of the “Detroiter” (“Table Tennis Tables Unsurpassed”) was a Table Tennis Topics advertiser. Although the “Detroiter” was later billed as “The Finest Name in Table Tennis Tables Since 1928,” it wasn’t until 1935 that it came into big time use for the Middle Atlantic States Championship, followed by the 1936 American Zone Qualifier for the World’s, and 1937 when it was first used at a USTTA U.S. Open. For the next 20 years, while it advertised monthly in Topics (for a while in the early 1950’s it was Topics’ only advertiser), every National’s favored this table. Even when their ad in the Oct., 1943 Topics had to read: “Table Materials have gone to war! We assure you, that when tables for civilian use can be made again, the same fine standards and craftsmanship will go into the Detroiter….”
Ah, in 1955 when Dick Miles beat Richard Bergmann in the Rochester U.S. Open on one of these Detroiters, he must have thought, If only the World’s, just once, could have been held on them. I suppose, though, since they’d been used in many a Harlem Globetrotter exhibition, Bergmann himself was pretty familiar with them.
Only when in 1957 the U.S. Open was held in Jimmy McClure’s hometown of Indianapolis was the McClure table selected. Then back to the Detroiter A until 1962—when, though Topics had re-emerged (after readers had endured 8 years of the Association’s mimeographed Newsletter), Detroiter ads were not resumed. For the ’62 U.S. Open Superior Tables were chosen, followed by Detroiter A in ’63, the Brinktun in ’64, Detroiter A in ’65 (that season Detroiter took a small, banner-type ad in Topics and would again for the ’66-67 season and beyond), Nissen from ’66 through ’71, then Detroiter “A” in ’72, where for quite some time now it’d been a division of the Michigan Ladder Co. out of Ypsilanti.
Though in 1973 Detroiter was a sponsor of the U.S. Team to the Sarajevo World’s, Nissen tables were again used at the U.S. Open. But in ’74 it was the Detroiter A again. Also, several months after this Open, again at the Oklahoma City Myriad, Detroiter sponsored a $3,000 tournament (prize money for Men only) called the Detroiter National’s. Flying in for this event were Mark Lippincott, president of the sponsoring Michigan Ladder Company and his Manufacturing Director George Perrett. Tournament organizer Ron Shirley, with help from Sue and Gene Sargent among others, gave the players the same successful effort he’d shown the last two years in conducting our U.S. Opens.
For the 1975 U.S. Open in Houston’s Astro Arena and Astrohall, fully 110 “Professional” tables were provided and (while Detroiter’s Lippincott momentarily pushed Johnny Leach Midas blades or with Yasaka sponsored a modest prize-money tournament in Bartlesville, OK) Diversified again got the nod for the ’76 and ’77 Opens. However, at the Detroit U.S. Open Team Championships the Detroiter was repeatedly used, and also at the ‘78 Oklahoma City U.S. Open. Then, for the first time, Harvard had its tables in play in the 1979 U.S. Open held at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum, and again at the ’81 and ‘82 Opens.
Detroiter finally would be phased out of the U. S. Open and Closed majors, for Butterfly tables were chosen in ’80, ’83, and ’84. In ’85 the Open began a succession of years in Miami Beach, and it was Stiga’s turn to prevail.
Of course into the new millennium Detroiter tables were still being sold to the public, and advertisements for their DX brands could be found in the Bochenski Paddle Palace Catalogue and elsewhere. Amazingly, for half a century, their tables were used in more USTTA tournaments than any other, and their tireless support for the Association was and is much appreciated.