In Life, as in Billiards, is all about the Angles
Billiards tables and their accessories have been manufactured for hundreds of years. The sport evolved out of a lawn version of the game – not unlike croquet – in the fifteenth century. The game moved indoors to a green cloth table to simulate grass, with a surrounding border designed to keep the balls in play. Balls were pushed originally with wooden sticks called maces prior to being struck by cues which were added to the game in the late 1600’s. (from ‘A Brief History of the Noble Game of Billiards’ by Mike Shamos)
Billiards materials evolved rapidly in the first half of the 1800’s, helping to advance both the game and player performances. Cue sticks took the place of the mace as players frequently used the opposite end, or “queue”, to more easily reach shots near the table’s borders. Chalk was introduced to reduce friction even before the cues were “tipped” – with leather originally. Slate became popular as a table surface – even though table dimensions weren’t standardized until the mid-eighteenth century. And the introduction of vulcanized rubber by Goodyear in 1839 made this the popular “bumper” material by 1845.
Epoxy Resin Billiard Cues & Tabletops
Today, many hobbyists design and create their own billiards table using a combination of hardwood for the infrastructure, rubber bumpers, felt cloth for the playing surface, and epoxy resin used as the tabletop substrate as well as to bond the materials together. Pool cues as well may made be made from epoxy resin – you can find an example on instructables.com. (Billiard balls are also made of resin – but its phenolic resin – a specialty polymer used for industrial-grade products that need to adhere to exacting specifications.)
There are many different styles of billiards played; from well-known American-style eight-ball, to the more sophisticated and complex English Billiards. Other popular billiard-style games include Straight Pool, Snooker, and Carom – which is played on a pocketless table. The rules and angles may vary (as some games use tables of different dimensions) – but all of these cue sports offer entertaining and challenging pastimes.
And, for the more technically or scientifically minded, billiards offers the use of a combination of both physics and geometry. The collisions between the balls, and their momentum involves physics. The angles by which shots are lined up, well that’s geometry. But, aside from all that – all we know is it’s fun!
“Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open.” – Dalai Lama