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Significant Moments in Billiard History
Period during which lawn games resembling billiards were thought to start.
First definitive mention of the existence of a billiard table, noted in the inventory of France’s King Louis XI.
Mary, Queen of Scots, whiles away the time preceding her execution by playing billiards.
Period during which use of the narrow end of the mace for the purpose of executing shots is introduced.
Billiards reaches the American colonies.
The cue establishes itself as separate from the mace.
King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette engage in a game of billiards on the eve of the French Revolution.
Captain Mingaud, an imprisoned French solider, invents and perfects the use of a leather tip for the billiard cue, through which spin may be imparted onto the cue ball.
England’s John Thurston introduces the slate billiard table bed.
Thurston patents billiard table cushions using the newly discovered vulcanized rubber.
The first high-stakes challenge match, pitting Michael Phelan and John Seereiter in Four-Ball, takes place at Fireman’s Hall in Detroit.
The first major tournament, featuring nine of America’s best Four-Ball players, is held at Irving Hall in New York City.
Isaac and John Wesley Hyatt develop the celluloid billiard ball, thus eliminating the need for ivory balls.
The first American pocket billiard championship is held at Union Square in New York City.
Willie Hoppe wins his first Balkline championship, defeating champion Maurice Vignaux of France in Paris.
Ralph Greenleaf wins the first of 14 world pocket billiard titles.
Three-Cushion billiards replaces Balkline as the carom game of champions.
Willie Mosconi wins the first of 15 world pocket billiard titles.
“The Hustler,” starring Paul Newman and based on the novel by Walter Tevis, opens in theatres across America, igniting a “boom” period for pocket billiards.
Nine-Ball replaces 14.1 Continuous as the game of choice for professional pocket billiard tournaments.
The movie version of “The Color of Money,” another pool novel by Walter Tevis featuring “Fast Eddie” Felson, spurs another resurgence of pocket billiards.
Fashionable, plush billiard parlors emerge in the so-call “poolroom boom,” setting the stage for billiards in the ‘90s.
— From “Steve Mizerak’s Complete Book of Pool,” by Steve Mizerak and Michael E. Panozzo
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Since 1978, Billiards Digest magazine has been the pool world’s best source for news, tournament coverage, player profiles, bold editorials, and advice on how to play pool. Our instructors include superstars Nick Varner and Jeanette Lee. Every issue features the pool accessories and equipment you love — pool cues, pool tables, instruction aids and more. Columnists Mike Shamos and R.A. Dyer examine legends like Willie Mosconi and Minnesota Fats, and dig deep into the histories of pool games like 8-ball, 9-ball and straight pool.
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