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History of the Pool Table

by Emily Lloyd

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Closeup of pool table and cue stick

Most people know the objective of pool simply by looking at pool tables. Pool tables, sometimes called billiard tables as well, are elegant indoor table games that provide highly entertaining ways to spend the day. No recreation room is complete without a pool table. In addition, the game of pool is easy to learn yet challenging enough that you could spend a lifetime mastering the rules. However, this indoor sport wasn't always so popular. It has risen from near obscurity to become one of the world's most recognized sports. Keep reading for a quick overview of the history of the pool table.

About Pool Tables:

  1. Origins. The origin of the popular table game is a mystery. The most we know is that pool was an indoor version of a lawn game played in France and England. The earliest pool table on record is from the 1400s. Back then, pool was played with a golf club-shaped cue, and players pushed the ball instead of striking it. It is thought that the game was brought to North America by English and Dutch settlers. The pool table was covered with green cloth as a way to imitate the green grass that the outdoor version was played on.

  2. Changes made to the pool table. The physical appearance of pool tables has evolved over time. Manufacturers began to use slate for the tabletop. It was by far the smoothest material available and allowed for a flawless game. Railings were eventually added to the table's edges to keep the balls from falling off the billiard table. This led to the evolution of today's cue stick. The cue balls tended to get stuck or frozen under the railings. The large cues used at the time, known commonly as maces, weren't small enough to free the ball from under the railings. The players would then flip the mace around and use the thin edge of the mace to free their cue balls. Overtime, the mace was simplified and eventually transformed into the slender cue sticks that are commonly used today.

  3. Today's pool table. In addition to the physical changes, there has been much advancement in the actual game of pool. It has grown from an obscure table game to a popular game that is known throughout the world. There are tournaments for advanced players and novices alike. Pool tables are a staple in recreation rooms around the world.

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