Billiard History – A Brief Timeline

The term “billiard” comes from the French word “bille,” meaning “ball,” referring to a ball and stick game, and the word “art,” representing the art of the game. Billiards has been around for many centuries, originating as lawn games in much of the world over 700 years ago. Presently, it is typical to see a pool table in every bar or tavern you walk into. A number of people even have them in their homes, but it was not always like that. When billiards originated, it was played outdoors as early as the thirteenth century, and from there moved indoors onto tables. Wooden sticks called “maces” were used to shove (rather than stroke) the wooden and ivory billiard balls. Maces were eventually modified into cue sticks due to the difficulty of shots near rails with maces.

Many prominent, historical figures have owned billiard tables, and in many countries. Some of these famous people include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, King James I of England, and Kings Louis III, XIV, XV, and XVI of France. It is even recorded that King Louis XI of France purchased a billiard table as early as 1470. Over time, billiards became more popular in bars, inns, and taverns, therefore becoming more commonplace amongst ordinary people. Below is a brief, historical timeline of how the game of billiards was born.

• 13th century:
o 1200s: Bat and ball lawn games are invented and spread quickly
• 15th century:
o 1470: King Louis XI of France buys his own billiard table
o End 1400’s: billiards moved from outside on grass to inside on a table
• 16th century:
o 1500s: “Table billiards” popularity spreads amongst nobility in France and England
• 17th century:
o 1600s: Billiard play becomes more popular amongst commoners in public places
o 1674: “The Complete Gamester,” one of the first ever how-to billiard publications, was written by Charles Cotton of England
• 18th century:
o 1773: Carambole introduced in France
o 1775: Idea of “One Pocket” developed
o 1797: Cotton and wool replaced with new fabric to improve smoothness and friction
• 19th century:
o 1807: Carombole becomes popular in England, coming to be known as the game of billiards
o 1820s: The mace becomes virtually obsolete, replaced solely by the cue stick
o 1823: The perfection of the leather cue tip greatly increases the use of “spin”
o 1826: John Thurston of England develops the first slate tables, replacing the old wooden ones
o 1845: New rail cushions developed from vulcanized rubber by Goodyear.
o 1850s: A billiard “industry” is born, including companies like Sheraton’s and Gillow
o 1860: John Brunswick joins with the Phelan-Collender Group to form the Brunswick Corporation
o 1860: Claims of billiard tables existing in every State of the Union.
o 1868: Development of new billiard balls out of cellulose nitrate (called “celluloid”), replaces wooden- and ivory-made balls
o 1870: 1st officially recognized English Billiard Championship played between John Roberts and William Cook
o 1892: 1st official standard billiard table is made by Thurston & Co.
• 20th century:
o 1900: Snooker recognized by the Billiards Association
o 1901: 8-Ball invented
o 1910: Straight Pool invented
o 1920: Development of 9-Ball
o 1970s: Cast resin balls replace crystalate and celluloid billiard balls, improving accuracy in size, weight, and shape

Many improvements over the centuries have led billiards and pool into what it is today. Billiard games have been a pastime for years all around the world, and current trends show that it will be sticking around for quite some time.

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Save the Vacation For Next Year – Build a Billiard Room Or Rec Room With the Extra Money Instead

Ever since the economy has been in turmoil, people have been spending their money much more wisely. But still, no matter what you do, you will always have a burning desire to spend your money on those luxury items that you want rather than need. And as long as you have the extra money, then go for it. It is your money. Too many people, however, spend their extra money with a carefree attitude and could enjoy their purchases a lot more if options were examined more thoroughly. Creating a billiard room, home bar, or rec room is one such option, and will provide you with hours upon hours of exciting entertainment. Finishing a room also significantly increases the value of your home, as well.

As humans, averaging out our work time with play time is essential in leading a healthy, beneficial life. Of course, people have varying ideas on what play time is. Some people enjoy vacations or weekend getaways every chance they get. Others regularly attend concerts, sporting events, and so on. Although these are great play time ideas that produce a lot of great photos and memories, they are primarily service-driven. Once you have paid for the services and attained them, the experience is over. Instead, use that few thousand dollars you have budgeted for season tickets or that once-a-year vacation to better your quality of life each and every day by creating a billiard room or rec room in your home. A nice billiard room is possible for the money it takes to go on just one vacation. Save the vacation for next year, build a billiard room, and you will have a great looking billiard room to come home to every year following. And, adding a billiard room to your home is something you can continuously enjoy, as many times as you want.

A billiard table is usually the most expensive part of a billiard room, so if you are short on extra money for the table at the onset, then start off a tad smaller with a general rec room or activity area. Begin by throwing on a couple coats of paint and putting down some cheap, but nice, linoleum or tile squares. As long as your new room is not gigantic, this should be less than $200. Then you must decide on furniture pieces and decor. Starting a billiard room or activity area with a general theme of your choice could include furniture and decor containing sports logos, poker and gambling, automotive symbols, alcoholic brand names, and so on.

Many furniture ideas exist for a billiard room or rec area. Bar stools, pub tables, Tiffany billiard lamps, a small side bar, and wall cue racks are just a few ideas. Smaller items (taking up very little space) include logo floor mats, pennants, neon or billiard table felt wall clocks, beer steins or pilsners, logo mirrors, plus much more. And do not forget about complimentary games, like a dart cabinet, foozball table, or perhaps a stand-up coffin video game or pinball machine. For example, my home billiard room consists of a combination of items, both large and small. Some items include bar stools and a matching pub table; team logo floor mats, pennants, and billiard balls; a collection of beer steins; alcohol-related beer mirrors and neon signs; a dart cabinet; and of course, my billiard table. Included also are a set of drums and a keyboard to keep me entertained musically. Let your new billiard room reflect you as a person. How you decorate it is entirely up to you.

As long as no major improvements are necessary (adding or knocking out a wall, carpet, major electrical work, etc.), designing and building a billiard room or rec room can be rather inexpensive. You can definitely create a billiard room for under $2000, excluding a billiard table. However, a well-built, sturdy, high-quality billiard table can be had for around $1000 and up (depending on length, base and leg style, slate thickness, etc.), which is worth the extra money to make your new rec room complete.

The next time you have some extra money lying around and are thinking about planning another vacation or spending it on some other service-driven product, consider building a billiard room or rec room for your home. Disney World is not going anywhere. It will be there next year, and your kids will only be one year older. Creating a home billiard room instead will increase the value of your home and put many smiles on your face, and your family’s faces, for years to come.

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