Rack Em’ Up! The Historical past of the Billiard Ball

What are billiard balls product of? What do the numbers imply on them? Why are some coloured a strong coloration, but some have a stripe? Why are some greater than others? How does a cue ball know the place to go on a coin operated pool desk? Wonderful what number of questions you’ll be able to give you concerning a easy billiard ball?

Historical past

So let’s begin off with the historical past of the billiard ball. The billiard ball dates again into the early 15th Century nonetheless it unknown precisely when the billiard desk and billiard balls have been really invented. There are studies again as early as mid to late 1400’s of King Louis XI proudly owning the primary billiard desk. The Duke of Norfolk can be stated to have owned a billiard desk together with the primary documentation of proudly owning billiard balls.

The earliest balls have been product of wooden. Because the years went on totally different supplies have been getting used to make them. Clay was in style, however a extremely wanted materials within the 19th Century was ivory. Elephants have been being slaughtered at an alarming price because of the excessive demand for his or her ivory. One tusk may yield 8. The billiard business realized although that the elephants have been changing into endangered so that they got here up with a problem for inventors to return with a brand new materials for them as an alternative of ivory. John Wesley Hyatt invented a composition materials in 1869 known as nitrocellulose.(US patent 50359) Nonetheless, this was not the primary synthetic substance invented. In 1867 Sorel cement was marketed as “synthetic ivory”.

By 1870 Celluloid was branded the primary industrial plastic. Sadly the character of the celluloid made it unstable throughout manufacturing. Often it’s stated that these balls would explode. Rumor has it one saloon proprietor in Colorado wrote a letter to John Hyatt saying that he did not thoughts the occasional exploding one however the truth that each patron pulled out their weapons after they exploded.

Subsequently for the reason that exploding ball appeared to be a slight downside, so the business got here up with totally different supplies. Immediately they’re made primarily of phenolic resin. Clear acrylic can be used.


Pool balls are available many various sizes.

  • American Fashion Pool-57.15mm (2 1/4″)
  • American Fashion Pool-(coin operated desk) (2 3/8″)
  • British Fashion Pool-56mm (2 3/16″)
  • Snooker-52.5mm (2 1/15″)
  • Carom-61.5mm (2 7/16″)
  • Russian Pool /Kaisa-68mm (2 11/16″)
  • Kid’s Pool-51mm (2″)


In addition they come in several colours. Some units they’re numbered the place others usually are not. They have been initially numbered so “factors” video games might be performed. Video games similar to 9-ball and 8-ball make the most of the numbering system. The numbers on them dates again into the early 1900’s.

American Fashion Pool makes use of 15 numbered balls and are coloured as listed under:

  1. Yellow
  2. Blue
  3. Pink
  4. Purple
  5. Orange
  6. Inexperienced
  7. Brown or Burgundy
  8. Black
  9. Yellow stripe
  10. Blue stripe
  11. Pink stripe
  12. Purple stripe
  13. Orange stripe
  14. Inexperienced stripe
  15. Brown or Burgundy stripe

They’re typically referred to “highs or lows” relying on their designated quantity. They’re additionally known as both “stripes or solids”.

Snooker makes use of 22 balls in complete. 15 are strong unmarked and coloured pink, there are additionally six coloured ones and a white cue ball. They’re numbered and coloured as listed under

  1. There isn’t any ball with the #1 designation.
  2. Yellow
  3. Inexperienced
  4. Brown
  5. Blue
  6. Pink
  7. Black


  • Pink
  • White cue (used for participant 1)
  • White or yellow cue with a spot (used for participant 2)


Over the previous a number of years all kinds of novelty balls have come onto the market. Now you can buy billiard balls together with your favourite sports activities staff brand, cartoon characters, film stars and so on on them. There are additionally glow-in-the-dark balls, marble balls, sensible joke balls (by no means roll straight), weighted balls and even enjoying card balls!

Magnetic and Outsized Cue Balls

Ever surprise how does a cue ball return to the participant on a coin operated desk? How come it simply would not go along with the remainder of the balls? Properly there are two totally different causes; both it is an outsized cue ball or it’s a magnetic cue ball. An outsized ball is simply that, outsized barely. When the ball drops down into the pocket, there are two tracks that the ball can go down, the outsized ball can’t go down the monitor supposed for the smaller balls. A magnetic cue ball works by triggering a magnetic detector.

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