History of Billiards
Billiard games as we know them today evolved from lawn games such as croquet, bocce and golf. In fact, the green color of the table felt was chosen to represent the color of grass. The first game which could be recognized as billiards was actually played outdoors way back in 1340. It was played something like croquet. The first known indoors billiard table was owned by King Louis XI of France who was king from 1461 to 1483.
The early games were different. The tables did not have holes for the balls. They had “arches” and “ports” to shoot the balls through. These were similar to the hoops in croquet. They also didn’t have sides to them, so the balls often rolled off. The stick was called a “mace” and was similar to a golf club. It was used to push, rather than strike, the ball.
The evolution of the game, as most Americans and British know as “billiards,” actually is referring to a specific type of billiards or pool. There are several other classifications of billiards, including carom, straight billiards and pocket billiards.
Mary Queen of Scots was known for having described billiards tables in the late 1600s. By the 1700s, billiards has grown significantly in popularity, especially in England and France, more in particular, the major cities of London and Paris. From the nobility all the way down to the commoners, the game became hugely popular and players were being recognized for their skill in the game. Billiard lessons were given by experienced players and professionals were starting to win money in the game if their skills proved good enough.