Monday, 4 Dec 2023

Looking Back On The History Of Pool

A quick game of pool has become a staple in most bars, pubs and student hangouts. While this may be the case, the game dates back to the 15th century. So, to celebrate this classic game, we are taking a look at where it has come from by reflecting on its history.

Take a step back in time with pool

  1. While the exact date of the billiard table’s creation is unknown, records of King Louis XI’s possessions reveal that he had something resembling a billiards table – this dates back to 1470.
  2. Billiards is believed to have been derived from croquet.
  3. The cue received its name from the French word “queue”, which means tail.
  4. The first “pool stick” was the mace. This curved wooden or metal head was attached to a handle and used to push the ball. This bulky design made rail shots difficult, leading to many people using the handle to perform rail shots.
  5. The first billiard room was built in 1765 A.D. in England.
  6. Pool was first known as billiards and pool rooms were betting parlours for horse racing. Billiards tables were put in the pool rooms to pass time between race, and so the term pool room became associated with billiards.
  7. In 1873, billiards was the first sport to participate in as a world champion.
  8. Elephant tusks were used to make billiard balls. Luckily, celluloid and other plastics have been developed and used for modern-day billiard balls.
  9. John Quincy Adams was the first US president to install a pool table in the White house. He also had a pet alligator.
  10. During the Civil War, billiard result received more publicity than news from the war.
  11. Pool is believed to be one of the safest games to play, so take note if you were wondering where to place your bets.
  12. When Queen Mary of Scots was killed, her killers wrapped her body in the cloth from her billiards table. She was also banned from laying billiards while she was a prisoner.
  13. Wool remains the material of choice for the fabric of billiards tables for the last 500 years.
  14. If you have watched The Colour of Money, you will know that Tom Cruise’s character performed some impressive trick shots. What you may not know is that he performed all of these shots except one.
  15. In 1903, the world was introduced to the first coin-operated billiards table. The cost? One penny.
  16. There is a world record for the longest spin of a billiard ball: 27.28 seconds. There is also a world record for the highest jump of a billiards ball, 78.74 centimetres.

Billiards has quite an interesting origin story, with King Louis XI being the first documented owner of a billiards table in 1470. Considering that this is over 500 years later, billiards, or pool, has truly been able to withstand the pressure of time.