The first billiard table on record was built for Louis XI of France in 1470, allowing the King and his pals to play this croquet-like game indoors instead of out. The billiard table’s felted wool surface was dyed green to simulate a lawn, while balls were pushed around using wooden sticks known as maces, which had enlarged ends rather than tapered points.

Cues were developed in the 17th century after players began using the narrow handle of their maces to hit the billiard balls when they rested too close to a table’s rails. These flat, vertical walls were originally known as banks, which is how we got the name for a “bank shot.”

By the 1600s, public billiards tables were common enough that the pastime was included in Charles Cotton’s popular book, “The Compleat Gamester.” World championships for the sport began in earnest during the 1870s, and billiards became known as “pool” due to its association with gambling, as the game tables increasingly popped up in betting halls or “pool rooms.”

Billiard balls were originally made from wood, though ivory was the material of choice for most of the 17th and 18th centuries. As elephant numbers dwindled in the late 1800s, companies began switching to plastics like celluloid, despite their flammable properties. Leather cue tips and chalk were adopted by the mid-19th century, around the time that the two-to-one ratio became standard for billiard table dimensions.

A typical early pool game was English billiards, a game played with two cue balls, one object ball, and a six-pocket table. Another British game, snooker, required using a cue ball to knock a set of numbered, colored balls into the table’s pockets in sequence. American billiards used four balls—two white and two red—and a four pocket table. The familiar game of eight-ball, sometimes called “solids and stripes,” evolved from a version introduced shortly after 1900.

In contrast to these pocket billiard games, carom billiards (short for carombole) requires a pocketless table where points are scored by striking the opponent’s cue ball and an object ball in a single motion. Though the billiard trend lost its lustre during World War II, Paul Newman’s starring role in the 1961 film “The Hustler” helped boost the pool shark’s popularity among a new generation.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Museum of Talking Boards

Museum of Talking Boards

Prepare to enter the strange world of Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board game, which captured imaginations en masse… [read review or visit site]

Elliot Avedon Games Museum

Elliot Avedon Games Museum

This in-depth University of Waterloo virtual exhibit showcases vintage games in a variety of categories, from class… [read review or visit site]

Electronic Plastic

Electronic Plastic

From Tomy to Coleco to Mattel and Nintendo, check out this collection of over 660 handheld and tabletop videogames … [read review or visit site]

Pong Story

Pong Story

David Winter's tribute to early video games, and to Ralph H. Baer, 'inventor of the video game.' Offers a detailed … [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Meucci Originals 58" Pool Cue With Huebler CasePete Tascarella - Rosewood - 4 Point - Custom Pool Cue - No Reserve!Instroke 3x5 Suede Leather Pool Cue Case! I Have Never Seen One Like It! Group Antique Pool Balls. Old Box Brunswick Balke Collender As FoundCue Ball, Ivory, 1 15/16", Antique, With Glass Stand, Black Dot On Each SideBuddy Hall: Rags To Rifleman, Then What? By W.w. WoodyJackson Michigan, Frey Billiards & Barber Shop 1910 Pesha #7905 Rppc PostcardTascarella Pool CueRare Tad Kohara Billiards CueBender Custom CueHunt & O'byrne 1988 - Sold By Will Hunt9' Custom Olhausen Pool Table W/ AccessoriesBrunswick Predator Limited Edition CueJosey Pool CueMeucci - Star Of DavidSchon Ltd Cue- 20oz Josswest Pool Cue StickRobert Osborne 3/4 Ash Green Plate Cue + Extensions + Case - Like John ParrisPhillippi Custom Pool CueJosey Custom Sneaky Pete Pool Cue 19oz. 2006Ob-135 Pool CueVintage Nova Custom Pool CueSchon Pool Cue Stl-5, (it Looks Like,) 1 Shaft.Schon Pool Cue Model Stl-10 Used, But In Great ConditionBrunswick Drop Pouch Pool Table In Excellent ConditionJerry Olivier Custom CueJacoby Custom Cue With Predator 314-3 ShaftPrather 2000, 19.4 Oz Custom CueFantastic Joss Pool Cue 19.7 Oz Meucci Pro Series 5 Custom CueJerry Olivier Ltd 2016 Cue Beautiful 3 Shafts... Cocobolo, Bocote, Birds Eye!!!!Mcdermott Pool CuePredator Prototype Pool Cue (no Reserve!)Custom Jacoby Cocobolo Cue 2005Reduced Pool Table Billiards 6 Month Old Beautiful Red Felt Showroom ConditionMeucci Pool CueClassic Mucci Pro Series Red Dot Pool/billiards Cue With CasePool Table - 8 X 4ft Slate - With Table Tennis TopperOriginal By Palmer Custom Cue "corky" Model 5 Leather Wrapped W. CaseJoss Pool Cue *no Reserve*Meucci Pool CueJ Flowers Tribute Real Leather 2x4 Billiard Pool Cue Case 2butts 4shafts C03b24Predator Sp6gn Sneaky Pete ButtHuebler CueMeucci Pool Cues Brand NewMeucci Original Cue 84-1Meucci Cue Maximum Max-4 With Case Two Cues Pool StickPool Table Olhausen 30th AnniversaryMezz Hybrid Pro Ii ShaftMezz Wxc J69 ShaftRare Vintage Huebler 58" 20 Oz. Pool Cue Made In Usa Beautiful WoodMeucci Pool Cues Ppac-1 Power Piston Accelerator-1 Butt Only-no ShaftVintage Adams Pool Cue Balabushka Style Titlist Veneers Custom Mother Of PearlPredator Z2 Shaft 29" - 11.75mm With New Medium Kamui Black Clear TipOb+ Classic 3/8x10Mali Pool Cue Stick With Leather Carry Case (p33) Meucci Pool Que:1990's .rainbow Stained MapleVintage Billiard Ball Wall Storage UnitCue Smith Pool Billiards Cue Stick Inlay MachineJb Ultimate Rugged 2x5/3x4 Cue Case