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A Brief Chronology Of The History Of Billiards
Excerpts from: William Hendricks' History of Billiards
A Compleat Historie of Billiard Evolution  1977

A.D. 1164 The word bille already being used to refer to certain
medieval ball games.

1350 Probably the earliest documented billiard game, played on a
field in France.

1460 Approximately the period of a game of ground billiards played
by shepherds and depicted in a French tapestry.

1470 The first known billiard table, purchased by Louis XI of France.

1514  "A large table for the game of billiards covered in green cloth" is
listed on the inventory of the possessions of a French duchess.

1578  Billiard tables are licensed in Holland by the Lombards.

1586 Mary, Queen of Scots, is deprived of her billiard table at
Fotheringay Castle.

1605 King James I of England orders a table to be made by "Henry
Waller, our joyner", probably the first builder of an English billiard

1609 Shakespeare's reference to billiards in Anthony and Cleopatra.

1665 The first known book containing instructions for billiards, La
Maison de Jeux Academiques
, published in Paris.

1674 The first known English work containing instructions for
billiards, Charles Cotton's
The Compleat Gamester is published.

- It is permissible to use the small end of the mace if the ball lies too
close to the rail - this is the first step in the evolution of the cue.

1690 Billiards may still be played "on specially prepared ground in
the garden" according to Furetiere's dictionary.

1709 William Byrd II of colonial Virgina plays billiards with Mrs. Byrd.

1723 Late night billiards playing restricted by the French in the five
year old city of New Orleans.

1734 First recorded mention in print of the billiard cue ("the stick")
appears in Seymour's updated
Complete Gamester.

1765 A billiard room is constructed by the French in the one year old
city of St. Louis in the present state of Missouri.

1799 John Thurston goes into business as a billiard table and
general cabinet maker in London.

1800 Cues and maces being sold in equal numbers in England.

1803 Billiard table making has become "generally a branch by itself"
of the furniture industry, according to Sheraton.

1807 E. White's A Practical Treatise on the Game of Billiards
published, probably the most comprehensive work on the game yet
printed in any language.

- The effects of vertical spin on a ball first described in print, by White.

-White is the first user of the terms "object ball" and "cue ball".

-A probable date for Captain Mingaud's invention of the leather cue tip.

1819 A game called "pool" begins to appear in English rule books.

1820 This early in the century, Phelan said, Americans used the
mace almost exclusively. In England the cue has clearly superceded
the mace.

1823 Leather cue tips made and sold in New York.

1828 Opponents of president John Quincy Adams, because of his
billiard table, charged that he kept "gaming tables" in the White

1830  Mingaud demonstrates the marvels of "english" in London.
Thurston publishes Mingaud's book in an English translation.