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Billiards Early History

The history of billiards is very long and interest, and there are many theories as to the origins of billiards. Kings and presidents, ladies and gentlemen have played the billiards. Shakespeare put a cue in the hand of Cleopatra.
Uncovered ruins of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians offer artifacts for "bat-and-ball" games - the bats, the balls and other, dating back more than 3000 years. The Encyclopedia Britannica records that a traveler called Anarcharsis in Ancient Greece in 4th Century B.C saw a game similar to billiards.
But most historians trace the origins of billiards to the 14th century lawn games similar to golf and croquet, played in the royal courts of Europe and France. It also resembles an old English game called pall-mall, played on the ground with a four-inch wooden ball and a mallet.

Terms Origins
Many have suggested, that the term “billiard” is derived from the French word “billart” – wooden stick, or “bille” – a ball. These words were used around 1164, during this time the Knights Templar back to England from crusades.
The word "pool" referred to the French word “poule” - the French slang for king of betting. Such as poker, the billiard game was often played with a collective bet, and a poolroom was a betting parlor for horse racing. Today the "poolroom" means a place where pool is played.

From Outdoors to Indoors
From the ground, the game was moved indoors and onto a table with green wooden cloth to simulate grass. Tables originally had the simple border - flat vertical walls placed around the edges, only to keep the balls from falling off; they resembled riverbanks and were called “banks”. Billiard balls were originally made of wood.

The first known recorded billiard table was found in a 1470 inventory of the possessions of King Louis XI of France.

In the middle 1500's, the popularity of Billiard game passion widen to England. Then the game steadily spread to other European countries. Vast improvements in the billiards game were introduced in England after 1800.

Billiards Historical Figures
In 1807, the French officer, known as Captain Francois Mingaud (1771-1847), rounded the cue tip and attached leather to the cue tip, what make aiming more accurately.
Around 1825, An England's Jack Carr put chalk on the tip for prevented miscues. He was evidently the first player to hit the ball off-center to apply spin. Carr raveled around Europe, giving demonstrations and selling his magical "twisting chalk". Players initiate hit the ball off-center to apply spin. As a result, the term "English" entered the lexicon of billiards.

England's John Thurston is considered to be the 'Father' of the modern billiard table. In 1826, John Thurston began to make the table slate from marble. In 1845, he was also granted a patent introduced the first vulcanized rubber cushions. His cushion was constructed of cork, leather and vulcanized rubber. Bank shots, three-cushion shots became integral parts of the game.

Michael Phelan will be known as the Father of American Billiards. In 1847, Phelan opened his first billiard room. Phelan's reputation was “the most expert and scientific billiard player in the country”. He was the first table maker to put ivory "diamonds" on the rails.

The first book to contain instructions for billiards published in England, 1674. The one of the first books about billiards is "A Philosophic Essay on the Game of Billiards", dated 1808.

From its earliest days, the billiards game forever new and interested.

   Interesting Facts
  • In year 1475 form hands of King Louis XI aristocrat Jacques Tournebride has received a first billiard hall license.
  • The billiard balls were the first commercial use of plastic. In 1868, John Wesley Hyatt, with his brother Isaiah Smith Hyatt, created a plastic celluloid replacement for ivory in billiard balls. In 1970 25,000 tons of ivory were still consumed.
  • Billiards was the first sport to have a world championship match in February 1870 (chess was the second sport to have a world championship). The final was played between William Cook and John Roberts. William Cook won the “1870 World Billiards Championship”.
  • The first coin-operated pool table model was patented in 1903. It cost a penny a go. Coin-operated pool tables use multiple ways to determine the cue ball from the object balls, including light sensors, different ball sizes/weights, or magnetic triggers.
  • Dave Pearson has ten billiards world records in the Guinness Book of World Records. He managed to pocket one after another 16,499 balls in 24 hours.
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