Billiards has been popular for decades, in fact centuries. But it was a chap called John Thurston who really established the pastime as a mainstream activity for the well-to-do, way back in the late 1700’s, and whom was responsible for the on-going development of various versions of the game ever since!
But what exactly is ‘billiards’…didn’t the British play snooker?. Many people in the UK think of billiards as the game of English Billiards which is played with a white, spot white and a red, where players get points for billiards (playing one ball off another or into the pocket) and straight pots. English Billiards is typically played on hgm a 12ft snooker table with napped cloth and flat faced rubbers on the cushions.
However, the term ‘billiards’ can be used to describe hundreds of different ball games played on tables around the world. In effect it is a generic term for all forms of table games with balls and rubber cushions. And for reference, yes much of Britain became fanatical about snooker in the 1980’s, but it wasn’t until the mid 19th century that snooker was developed in the jewel of the British empire…India!
So, for the sake of this article, I’m going to be writing about ‘American’ style pool and ‘UK’ style pool and how they differ, what makes one game better than the other and so forth.
So let’s get back to Mr Thurston and life in the 18th century!
Life in the 1700’s must have been interesting to say the least…Napoleon was Emperor of France, the Industrial Revolution was just beginning to rock and good King George III was on the throne in England (and so began the rise to fame of one George Washington!).
The world was beginning to change – the ‘New World’ had been well and truly discovered and with steps forward in technology, Britain was leading the world in trade and industrial development. But of course, those with the new found wealth needed something to spend their money on, and new ‘toys’ to use up their spare time to entertain other rich people…step forward Mr Thurston.