History of Billiards/Pool
Origin of Billiards
Billiards is an interesting game that originated between the 14th and 15th centuries in Northern Europe and France. Today, billiard games may be popular in most indoor places but when it started it was only played outdoors, particularly on the grass. Interestingly, pool tables’ have remained green (for grass) in color despite the game’s evolution.
Early Days of Billiards Game
Billiards was a forbidden game by the King and the Church in France in the 15th century since they regarded it as a morally corrupt, dangerous and sinful game. During the early days of billiards game, tables virtually had flat walls for rails for preventing the balls from falling off. These table rails resembled river banks earning them the name banks. Bouncing the ball off the rails became famously known as bank shot. Fascinatingly, pool balls were made from ivory and a mace was used for hitting the object balls. In the late 17th century, the cue was introduced for efficiency. The first championship billiard tournament was held in 1878 while the first-ever world championship was held in 1913 in Paris which was won by Maurice Vignaux, a notorious French winner.
Evolution of the Game in England
In the 19th century, billiard evolved into a more advanced and interesting game, thanks to the introduction of more advanced equipment and rules particularly in England. The evolution saw the introduction of more advanced leather cue tips and Chalk. These were aimed at improving the friction to make it easy for players to strike the ball with ease. In addition, players were empowered to spin both the contact ball and the cue ball effortlessly. While spinning also referred to as “English “was initially practiced in England it became more popular in the United States.
Modern Day Billiard Evolution
Over the years, the game has evolved tremendously. Today; the game is played on incredibly attractive high-quality tables with top-class slate surfaces, top-standard rubber rails and beautified hardwood for better experiences. Modern pool balls are made of celluloid and plastics but billiard cloths have not changed for over 400 years. While both 8-ball and 9-ball pool games were introduced in 1900 and 1920 respectively, modern players can engage in the different type of billiards including the 15-ball pool, snooker, carom, English billiards, and Cutthroat among many others.
Famous Billiard Enthusiasts
Although this intriguing game was traditionally played by nobles/kings today its enjoyed by everyone including, scientist, celebrities, and politicians. Famous billiard enthusiasts include; Queen Mary of Scotland (buried in her billiard table cloth), Louis XIV of France, Napoleon, Mozart, Marie Antoinette, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, George Washington, Lewis Carroll, Immanuel Kant, George Armstrong Custer, Jackie Gleason, French president Jules Grévy, Charles Dickens, Elvis Presley, George Clooney, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Douglas, Joe Rogan, Walter Alston, Fred Astaire and Buster Keaton