Billiard & Snooker Balls

Ivory balls replaced wooden ones in the early 1800s but by the 1880s about 12,000 elephants a year (mostly female) were being killed to supply Britain with billiard balls. By 1890 artificial balls, invented by an American, began to be available in Britain. Ivories were last used in professional games in 1928, though they are still sometimes used in "artistic billiards" played in Europe. Snooker, invented in 1875, became popular after 1900 mainly because it became cheaper to buy full sets of artificial balls. By the late 1930's it had outstripped the older game of billiards in popularity .
The museum has many set of ivories including a magnificent box of billiard, pyramids, and life pool balls. Note that life pool and pyramids, were killed off in Britain by snooker. Modern pool is an imported version of the American 8-ball game.

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Billiard, Life Pool & Pyramid set of Balls


A consignment of Ivory Billiard Balls

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© Norman Clare 1990. © E.A. Clare & Son Ltd. 2024. © Peter N. Clare 2018
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