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The earliest billiard ball was made of wood, then clay. Ivory also became popular around 1627. Elephants were killed for their ivory tusks. The blood vessels in the center of the tusks looked like a black dot and became the center of the billiard ball in manufacturing. Due to the elephant becoming an endangered species and harvesting of the tusks a very dangerous fete, a billiard industry supplier offered a large prize for another material to manufacture billiard balls. Around 1866, celluloid was invented. It made a tough outside coating for the billiard ball but unfortunately it would explode and crack when hit. Camphor was added which made for a plastic-like covering for the ball. Billiard balls were then made from plastic and were shatter-proof and chip-resistant. Today's billiard ball is made of a phenolic resin which makes it much stronger. The balls were tested by dropping them three floors to a steel plate. To get the best results when playing billiards, one must pay attention to the specifications of the various billiard balls. There are different types, diameters, colors and patterns based on the particular game one is playing. For example, carom billiards, snooker, international pool, etc. The properties such as hardness, resilience, friction and coefficient are very important to the outcome of the game. At first only two balls were used on a pool table with six pockets. By the late 1800's, the number of balls increased to three then four and gradually to nine as it was less expensive to produce them. Today, 15 balls are used primarily on a six pocket table. Balls 1 - 7 are the solids and 9 - 15 are the stripes. The 8 ball is not considered a solid. Depending on the game being played, not all balls are used. In the game of nine-ball, balls 1 through 9 are used and the cue ball. The most popular pool ball today is the Centennial Pocket ball. They are made to be exact, ground and highly polished for accuracy. To summarize, regardless of the game one is playing, if you use quality, top of the line billiard balls, one will see a huge difference in the way the game will play out. It is like comparing a regular felt cloth on a table to the Milliken or Simonis felt which will control the speed of the ball. This will make a huge difference in one's personal game as one can often "run the table" against an opponent. (Run the table is to make all the balls before an opponent gets a shot.)

My name is Fran Davis and my husband and I became interested in billiards a few years ago when our sons began playing, and we purchased a pool table for our home. Thus began the

desire to try to promote the game of billiards as a "Family" sport where the whole family can spend time together, have fun, and fuse the family ties feelings that are so important today. Go to to begin your journey into the most amazing sport that gives one a feeling of accomplishment and self-confidence as one begins to improve and excel at the game.

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What Makes A Billiard Ball  

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