First a bit of history about billiard balls.

According to the Wikipedia article, the first balls were made of wood and later clay (the latter remained in use well into the 20th century).

Ivory was used for a period, but by the mid-19th century, elephants were being slaughtered for their ivory at an alarming rate, just to meet the demand for billiard balls. No more than eight balls could be made from a single elephant.

The inventors were challenged to find an alternative material that could be used to make billiard balls.

In 1869 a composition material called cellulose nitrate was used for billiard balls. (US Patent 50359, the first US patent for billiard balls).

In 1870 it was trademark celluloid, the first industrial plastic. The nature of celluloid made it volatile in production, occasionally exploding, which ultimately made this early plastic impractical.

Imagine that, Exploding Billiard Balls. wow! You throw the 8 ball and it explodes.

Today’s balls are made from plastic materials that are highly resistant to cracking and chipping. Currently, under the “Aramith” and “Brunswick Centennial” brands, saluc manufactures phenolic resin balls. Other plastics and resins such as polyester (under various trade names) and clear acrylic are also used, by competing companies such as “Elephant Balls”.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the history lesson above. You might want to look up pool balls on Wikipedia for the full story. You’ll even find links to more information on all the materials used and tested.

Billiard balls used to be quite common color-wise. The number balls were practically the same color in most ball games. I’ve seen some pretty wild colors over the years.

You can read all about ball sizes and colors by visiting Wikipedia dot org and typing billiard balls in the search box.

The main thing I look at is the size and weight of the cue ball. Old style bar tables used to have a larger cue ball. This big white ball is harder to draw and back and follows like a big truck.

We only have a couple of tables left with those big white balls here at Pueblo Colorado. I can say from personal experience that the game changes due to a cue ball that is too big.

The other thing to watch out for is the mud ball. This is a heavy cue ball that doesn’t roll anywhere very well. Just like the big ball, the mud ball tracks much better than it throws.

The Valley cue ball used on Valley brand bar tables has a magnet. This is how the table knows to return the cue ball at the opposite end of the table than the other pool balls. (head point)

This magnet or weight can be off center and cause the cue ball to roll oddly or crookedly.

My favorite white ball is the red circle. This ball has a small red circle on a white ball. Newer Smart Diamond tables can detect this red circle so that the cue ball is properly returned to the head of the table.

Did you know that you can buy trick balls? These can be a bit of fun the first time you swipe them in-game on someone. These balls are off center weighted and have some really fun spins. I recommend a trick cue ball or an 8 ball if you want to prank your friends.

For your success sold out.

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Billiard balls are not all the same

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