Billiard Irons

Billiard Table Irons

Not a door stops!!!

The Billiard Table iron is quite a heavy piece of kit weighing in at approx 8 kilos    ( 17.62 lbs). The iron should be used after the cloth has been brushed to help lay the nap. It should not be too hot as this can scorch the cloth and  like the brushing is always used from the baulk end to the top of the table. It is also recommended that the start position for using the iron should be varied across the baulk end so that the when the iron is at its hottest (after being taken off the heat) is not always placed on the table in the same position as this could also mean that the cloth could be 'heat damaged'.

As you will see from the pictures of the different irons in the Heritage Collection the basic , early, irons were cast iron before progressing through to electric (without a thermostat) and currently to electric with a thermostat.

All the early billiard irons required to be heated on a gas ring of some sort and we have an examples of such gas ring in the Collection.

As you will see this gas burner is shaped to suit the irons but usually the irons
were just heated on a standard circular gas ring.

Billiard Iron Gas Ring

© pictures copyright Peter Clare

The gas burner was advertised as being 'Suitable for Heating Billiard Irons'

Irongas Heater 002

Probably the earliest example we have is an iron that has a separate iron weight which would be heated and then put into the iron. This avoid the problem of having 'burn' marks on the base of the iron which need to be removed before the iron was used on the billiard cloth. It probably fell out of use because of the difficulty in handling and putting  the 'hot' weight back into the iron. So the standard cast iron became the norm but had to have the marks left by the gas ring removed before ironing the cloth.

Early Billiard Iron


note the wooden handle which is not used on the ordinary cast billiard iron         

© pictures copyright Peter Clare

As you will see all the recognised 'old' billiard names ensured that any billiard iron they sold promoted their name.

Thurston & Burroughes & Watts Irons
                    Thurston                                                      Burroughes & Watts
         © pictures copyright Peter Clare
Thos Padmore & Geo Wrights
              Thos Padmore & Sons Ltd                                    Geo. Wright & Co. Ltd    © pictures copyright Peter Clare 

Old Liverpool Billiard firms

   Bayliff  & Sowerby two old Liverpool Billiard firms
© pictures copyright Peter Clare

Ashcroft of Liverpool
J. Ashcroft

E.A. Clare - Eralc
Two versions of a 'Clare' Billiard Iron
    © pictures copyright Peter Clare      
Bennett & Co Burnley Billiard Works
  J. Bennett & Co became part of E. J. Riley                 Burnley Billiard Works      

Naafi A.A. Chick
Even NAAFI had their own Billiard iron. The A.W.Chick iron has a rather unusual handle.
© pictures copyright Peter Clare

Orme & Sons of Manchester

Orme & Sons
  An Orme & Sons Iron complete with the protective/storage shoe. All the irons would have had something similar but they usually went missing. Orme & Sons was taken over by Burroughes & Watts        

© pictures copyright Peter Clare

Smith & Nelson Palmer & Sons

Wille Smith & George Nelson better know as Smith & Nelson. Palmer & Sons
                                  © pictures copyright Peter Clare


The collection even has an Australian Table makers Iron. Alcock & Co. Sydney, Australia. Now part of Alcock,Thomspn & Taylor

© pictures copyright Peter Clare

F.H Ayres

F.H. Ayres
© pictures copyright Peter Clare

Kent & Cleal of London
This Kent & Cleal iron is a 'small' version probably for heavy make 8ft & 9ft tables.
© pictures copyright Peter Clare
Kenricks cast iron Billiard Iron
Kenricks were the last company making this type of iron, which was still be listed in the E.A. Clare catalogues well into the 1960's
© pictures copyright Peter Clare

 The cast iron type of iron was eventually succeeded by the electric iron, but this was still a specialist iron for billiard tables. Again  there are few in the Collection. As the old cast irons fell out of use they didn't have the company names cast into them and just became plain looking and nowadays cast iron ones can be seen being used as door stops!!

Billiard iron door stop

Electric irons didn't give as much scope to having the Billiard/Snooker firms names on them but E.A. Clare did get labels onto some of the electric irons they sold.

early electric billiard irons
a couple of early electric irons
© pictures copyright Peter Clare

E A Clare & Son Eralc Standfast

The iron on the left has an 'eralc' label indicating it is pre- 1960's. The one on the right has a 'Standfast' label making it a post 1960's iron. Both were sold by the E.A.Clare group and were made by Dowsing

Imported Billiard Iron

The above iron is an import from the 1990's. It didn't prove to be popular

Dowsing Billiard Iron  
The above is the current (2015) Dowsing electric iron and it comes with a thermostat. The picture shows it complete with its protective stand.                    Available from Thurston eshop -
© pictures copyright Peter Clare

Currently the iron which is sold is a thermostat type which takes some of the problem of judging the correct temperature to iron the table off the user. BUT it is better to iron the Billiard Cloth twice with a warm iron than once with one that is too hot. As said at the start an iron which is too hot will scorch the 'Nap' and ruin the cloth.

For the supply of a Billiard Iron or any other Billiard, Snooker or Pool requirements contact  Thurston phone 0151 482 2700                email:
                       or go to their eshop -

Thurston shop is now online only - - the physical shop is closed to walkin customers.

© E.A. Clare & Son Ltd. 2018. © Peter N. Clare 2018
Reproduction of this article allowed only with the permission from E.A. Clare & Son Ltd.