Knows as billiards, the game of nobles was first played in France in the late 1400’s as a distilled indoor version of the outdoor game of croquet. Wooden sticks pushed balls on cloth-covered tables. Green was the color as it recreated the out-door color scheme of grass.
The word billiards is derived from the French, billart – the stick used to push the balls.
The game and the equipment we know today evolved in the 1800’s advanced by the industrial revolution. The advanced technology was used most skillfully by players in England. It was a Frenchman named Captain Minguad who first added the leather tip to his stick while he was prisoner during the French Revolution.
The term English, used to describe spin applied to the cue ball, is thought to have originated when Englishman Jack Carr discovered that chalk applied to the leather tip would provide more control. In the mid 1800’s, visitors from England showed Americans how to apply spin; thus the term English described spin in America and no where else.
The early 1800’s saw the rapid development of equipment leading to what we are accustomed with today. The leather tip was refined and perfected by 1823. Slate became the foundation of the playing surface in 1835. The vulcanized cushions were created in 1845; just a few years after Goodyear developed the technique in 1839.
In 1859, Michael Phelan popularized the game in America with his book of the rules and his weekly articles in Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly. He played in the first stake match later that year in Detroit. His company, Phelan and Collender was the first to manufacture tables with points to assist in aiming cushion bank shots. Later, his company merged with Brunswick to form the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company.
Brunswick popularized the pool hall with a budget and financing plan that made it relatively easy to get into the pool hall business. By the late 1920’s, New York City was filled with pool halls, stocked with 2,000 pound, two inch slate tables of the highest quality and workmanship.
In 1923, Blatt Billiards was born and has been a world-leader in 100% handcrafted pool tables, furniture, services and game room products.