How Was Pool Table Invented?

Pool tables are an indoor game whose origin can be traced to Europe from where it spread to England then to the United States and later to other parts of the world. It is believed to have developed as an indoor version of lawn games like croquet. The French nobility and others started installing billiard tables in their homes in the 1500s. the wooden planks were simple and meant to keep the balls from rolling off while the green table cover was meant to resemble that of green grass.

A mace with a large head was for many years used to strike the balls. However, achieving this when the balls were close to the wooden planks was difficult with the mace and as such, players resorted to using the tail end or queue (French), which later came to be known as the cue in English. For a long time, women weren’t allowed to use the cue as it was feared that they would lose control and end up damaging the cloth.

Billiard counters and balls could be made from clay, wood or ivory in the case of the rich. With the increased popularity of the game, many versions of pool table soon developed. The two basic versions include the pool games where there are pockets and the carom games where the pockets are non-existent.

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The First Wall

The first walls of the pool table were made from wooden planks. It wasn’t long before players that these walls could be used to bounce the ball or counter against. Rubber balls helped enhance this effect and when vulcanised rubber came into existence thanks to Goodyear, it was used as part of the pool table rails. Slate also became popular for use on the base of the table covering mainly due to the level surface it provided. The increase of friction between the ball and the cue was increased through the use of chalk.

Dominated By Men

For many years, pool table rooms were dominated by men where they gathered to gamble, drink, smoke and generally unwind. This made it difficult for women to participate in the sport. The release of Newman’s film ‘The Hustler’ popularised pool table. Today, pool table rooms are well maintained and provide an environment where both women and men can gather for a game or two. Women are even known to participate professionally in pool table games. With it becoming a more respectable game, it’s a common pastime for many.

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