Chronology of Billiards

400 B.C
The Sage Ancharsis writes about the predecessor of billiards.

1085 A.D.
Sir Reginald Mortimer of England returns from the Crusades with the game.

1500s
English lawn bowlers move the game out of the rain and set up wickets indoors. Later they raise it onto a table with pockets. The name billiards is coined from the French word bent stick.

1565
Explorer Hernando De Soto brings billiards to America. The French take it to Africa and the South Seas; the British to India and the Far East.

1600
Louis XIV of France challenges any man to beat him. A commoner named Camillart is the only one who does and he becomes minister of the crown.

1770s
George Washington creates a billiards room in the White House.

1792
Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI are playing billiards when French revolutionaries come to arrest them.

1825
In Upper Bath, England, Jack Car, an employee of Bartley’s Billiards room, uses the first leather-tipped cue and chalk, allowing him to put “English” on the ball, getting it to curve, reverse or stop.

1829
Marble tables begin to replace wooden tables.

1865
General Ulysses S. Grant says, “I believe I am even a poorer billiard player than I am a soldier.”
Rubber cushions are introduced, the rail is lowered and diamonds are added to the sides of the table.

1870
The game splits into pocket billiards, to where the object is to knock the balls into the holes, and carom billiards, where the object is to strike cushions and balls to score points.

1910s
Mark Twain attends major tournament and incorporates colorful billiard players into his stories.

1930s
The billiards craze sweeps college campuses.

1961
“The Hustler”, a movie based on famed pool hustler Minnesota Fats, is released. The dingy, pool-hall atmosphere of the film help the movie win a Oscar for cinematography.

1986
“The Color of Money” featuring Tom Cruise and Paul Newman premieres and gives a big boost to the game.

1993
The popularity of pool soars among those with family incomes of more than $50,000.