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Significant Moments in Billiard History
1350-1450
Period during which lawn games resembling billiards were thought to start.

1470
First definitive mention of the existence of a billiard table, noted in the inventory of France’s King Louis XI.

1588
Mary, Queen of Scots, whiles away the time preceding her execution by playing billiards.

1660-1690
Period during which use of the narrow end of the mace for the purpose of executing shots is introduced.

1710
Billiards reaches the American colonies.

1740
The cue establishes itself as separate from the mace.

1792
King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette engage in a game of billiards on the eve of the French Revolution.

1818
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.

1835
England’s John Thurston introduces the slate billiard table bed.

1845
Thurston patents billiard table cushions using the newly discovered vulcanized rubber.

1859
The first high-stakes challenge match, pitting Michael Phelan and John Seereiter in Four-Ball, takes place at Fireman’s Hall in Detroit.

1862
The first major tournament, featuring nine of America’s best Four-Ball players, is held at Irving Hall in New York City.

1868
Isaac and John Wesley Hyatt develop the celluloid billiard ball, thus eliminating the need for ivory balls.

1878
The first American pocket billiard championship is held at Union Square in New York City.

1906
Willie Hoppe wins his first Balkline championship, defeating champion Maurice Vignaux of France in Paris.

1919
Ralph Greenleaf wins the first of 14 world pocket billiard titles.

1928
Three-Cushion billiards replaces Balkline as the carom game of champions.

1941
Willie Mosconi wins the first of 15 world pocket billiard titles.

1961
“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.

1978
Nine-Ball replaces 14.1 Continuous as the game of choice for professional pocket billiard tournaments.

1986
The movie version of “The Color of Money,” another pool novel by Walter Tevis featuring “Fast Eddie” Felson, spurs another resurgence of pocket billiards.

1989
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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