English Amateur Billiards Association

Billiard Monthly December 1912

The Billiard Monthly : December, 1912


 A Journal of Interest and Value to Amateur Billiard Players
No. 26, December, 1912Price 1/6 per annum to any part of the world. Single Copies 1d



wjPeall (1)
W. J. PEALL: Spot Stroke Champion.

The Billiard Monthly : December, 1912

Billiards for Beginners

To play the game of Billiards you’ve got to learn a lot,
It isn’t simply “cannons,” “loser,” or a “pot”;
It will take you all your time to learn to make a decent
And when you think you know a bit, just try a “follow

But when you come to using “side,” it’s really almost
It’s years before you get to know the “running” from
And though you think you’ve judged it right, it’s wholly
on the cards
That your side has spoilt your aim, and so you miss your
shot by yards!

In considering the cushions, your head will fairly swell—
When you wonder—”Is it fine with just a trifle side as
Suppose I hit it nearly full, and if so will it “kiss”?
And shall I play with “drag” on that or drop down on to

You will learn to know the cannon when it always will
be found
That whatever spot you play for, the ball will travel
You try to do a “forcing shot” and nearly smash the
Or put on too much “screw” and make it swerve like
any rocket.

You must peg at “losing hazards” for several hours a
And cram up dusty Billiard books when you’re too dog tired
to play;
And when you’ve read and practised till your mind becomes
a blur,
You may get briefly mentioned as a “useful amateur.”

M. H. R.

[The above is kindly sent to us by a young lady student
of the game.—Ed. B.M.]

The Billiard Monthly : December, 1912

A Few Cue Tips

  • A common piece of bad play is to spot in baulk for a halfball
    long-range loser into a coiner pocket without first noting
    whether the contact will drive the object ball towards
    the middle of the table after leaving the top cushion or
    towards the side. If the latter, the placing of the cue ball
    in baulk should, of course, be wider than half-ball, a little
    extra force being employed in the stroke.
  • A stroke to know and to understand is the kiss stroke
    with the object ball against a cushion. With full contact
    the cue ball comes straight back; with half-ball contact it
    takes a right angle; and with aim mid-way between edge
    and centre it returns half-way between right angle and
    straight back. It can be played with confidence and nearly
    always comes off, besides generally leaving decent position.
  • When a cannon ball or pocket is a little wide of the halfball
    angle some players (so-called) invariably force the
    stroke. By applying slow running side up the table and
    slow check side down the table and aiming fuller than halfball
    in the one case and finer in the other the shot can be
    made with ease and certainty and good position provided.
  • Although half-ball shots are good it is a great mistake to
    play half-ball as a matter of course simply because it is on.
    Decide first where the object ball is to be directed and then
    make contact as required with the necessary strength, and,
    if necessary, compensation. This is the invariable rule in
    playing losing hazards and players who neglect to do this
    can never hope to make real breaks.
  • It is an excellent plan, at stated intervals, to revert to
    single ball practice, in order to make sure that the aim is
    correct, and that the cue ball can be driven accurately towards
    a given point on a cushion with and without side.
  • There are fixed positions on the table at which accuracy
    of aim can be tested with a single ball. These include
    along the baulk line and up and down the table over the
    spots, as well as diagonal and all-round strokes landing the
    ball into a given pocket or to a given point.
  • A great advantage of regular single ball practice is that it
    begets confidence in a game in this class of stroke, as, for
    instance, when balls have to be disturbed in baulk, or cannons
    made by first striking a cushion, or a covered ball
    reached, or even scored with, when playing at snooker pool.
  • And all the time the aim is being improved, because, on the
    same table, if kept at an even temperature, the angles are
    always the same, and whenever a plain stroke varies in its
    results there is positive proof that the fault is in the aim.
  • An excellent test stroke, and one also useful in a game,
    when the red is over a bottom pocket and the striker’s ball
    is in hand with the white not nicely playable, is a dead
    central aim at the middle spot with the cue ball half way
    between two of the baulk spots. This should land the cue
    ball in the bottom corner pocket every time, and a slight
    variation of the cue ball’s position should bring it at will a
    little wide of either of the pocket shoulders when the red
    happens to be there.

Billiard Monthly : December, 1912

The Billiard Monthly : December, 1912

Harverson’s Australian Farewell

Writing on October 13 to The Sydney Referee, Harverson
(who has just landed in England) said:—” I have had the
opportunity of seeing some of your wonderful country this
week in the Riverina. What fine sportsmen you meet in
towns like Lockhart. Hay, and Narrandera, and how fond
they are of billiards! Everyone you talk to seems to follow
all the matches played in Sydney and Melbourne—in fact,
they seem to know more about it than one does oneself.

This has been a most enjoyable week, and at last I have
seen something of Australia. Mrs. Harverson and I go
home by the Morea on October 22, so we shall not be able
to see the Melbourne Cup run, as we are listed to arrive
in London on November 28. Lindrum and I play at
Wonthaggi on October 18 and 19, and finish up on October
21 at the Motor Club, Melbourne. I wish you would convey
my best thanks to all the people who supported me
during my tour, and assure them that I am pleased to have
had the opportunity of visiting your wonderful country.”

Questions and Answers

Potting the White

195.—”Is there any reason why the white ball should not be
potted, when it is to the striker’s advantage to do so, and is
there anything unsportsmanlike in the proceeding?”

We have
answered this question before. The only game to play, when it
is to the striker’s advantage to do so, is to pot the white, and it
should be done as a matter of course. Players who neglect this
method are not exponents of the complete game. So far from
being ungentlemanly the stroke, unless well done, is really
benevolent, for, unless the succeeding score is properly made, or
a double-baulk, or miss in baulk brought off, the opponent has
been made a gratuitous present of the whole latitude of the D
to play from.

Consecutive Red Ball Losing Hazards

196.—Has there been any expression of opinion in The Billiard
Monthly on the subject of consecutive red ball losing hazards,
and their suggested limitation? If so, I have not seen it.”

We referred frequently to the point when the Gray furore was on.

We are strongly opposed to unnecessary restrictions of the game
of billiards and would have everything thrown open again except
the push stroke. But if there must be” barring, “he restriction
should at least be equal all round, such as 25 consecutive
cannons, pots, and in-offs. Why should 25 cannons be allowed
and only two pots? Again, where is the restriction of the game
to stop? Why not restrict white hazards, or mixed white and red,
or even the top-of-the-table game?

Balls Touching

197.—”In a game the other evening a difference of opinion
arose as to whether the balls were touching or not. This matter
seems to be regulated by the density or otherwise of the small
black speck or shadow at the point, or supposed point, of contact.
Is not there some surer method, by application of which
there could be no possibility of dispute?”

We should say that
if a very light and narrow strip of paper were dropped between
the balls and failed to pass through, the method would be a safe
and conclusive one, as proving that the balls were touching. We
must admit, however, that we have not known this test to be
applied and expect that it will still have to be left to the eye,
as the question of in or out of baulk is, although this might
equally be subjected to a mechanically perfect test.

Where to Spot

198.—”If a ball cannot be spotted should it be placed on the
centre or pyramid spot?”

On the pyramid spot, and if that is
occupied on the centre spot. A peculiarity about this pyramid
spotting is that, under the B.C.C. rules, the spot stroke is not
barred from this position.

Pocketing Two Coloured Balls

199.—”If playing at snooker with only the blue, pink, and
black on the table, the player plays at the blue, pots it, and pots
the pink at the same stroke, is the rule six away and the blue re-spotted,
or is it six away and the blue not re-spotted?”

rules on this subject are:

“If the striker pockets more than one
ball, other than red balls, in one stroke, he cannot score, and is
penalized in the value of the highest ball pocketed. “When
the pool balls are being played upon in rotation they shall not
be re-spotted after being pocketed in proper order and according
to rule.” Thus the blue, pocketed in order, stays down, and
the pink, pocketed contrary to rule, is re-spotted.

The Opening Misses

200.—”How is the second opening miss usually replied to in

It depends upon the nature of the miss. It may
have left a jenny on. If, however, it has been well given, a good
reply is a thick run-through cushion cannon on to the red, or a
cushion loser with side into the opposite middle pocket. Try
both and decide which is the less risky and leaves the better position
if accomplished.

A Question of Tactics

201.—”When falling seriously behind in a game is it better to
resort to safety or to take risks?”

Unless you are playing
against an opponent who is quite likely to make a big break at
any reasonable opening, we should favour the free and enterprising
game, which, besides often opening up an opportunity
for scoring, exercises something of a tonic effect on the striker
himself. Games are, after all, won by scoring and not by misses
or other defence, useful though this may be at times.

Check or Running Side?

202.—”When playing from baulk to bring cue ball back into
baulk do I use check or running side? I ask because several
arguments have arisen. What is a good definition of check side
and running side?”

We assume that you are referring to the
opening miss, and we should term the side in that case running
side, as it receives no” check “in coming off the cushion, but
quite the reverse. This is also the best illustration that we can
give in reply to your second question.

Re Colouring the Red

203.—”How can one colour the red ball so that when struck
by one of the other balls the red does not come off. It has been
a difficulty with me to dye the ball.”

The colouring of billiard
balls with permanent colours is a trade secret. Send the ball to
a reputable firm and they will do it for you at a nominal charge.

Playing With the Wrong Ball

204.—” If I am found to be playing with the wrong ball, do I
lose all that I have made, as I have been told, or am I entitled,
as I believe, to continue playing, as the error was not discovered
at once?”Neither. You score all but the last stroke and the
balls are spotted for your opponent.

Screwing In Off the Spot.

205.—”I find that with composition balls I can screw in to the
top pocket from baulk with the red on the spot, but it is rarely
that I secure good position to follow, as the red does not take
the central line of the table sufficiently. How is this usually

There is only one way, and that is by making
the stroke still more difficult with a squarer placing of the cue
ball in baulk. It follows, indeed, the same rule as the screw into
the centre pockets, with the object ball a little wide and
high up.

The Billiard Monthly : December, 1912

A Billiard Story

When in Nevada, Mark Twain once dropped into a billiard
room, and the proprietor, seeing him toying with the
cues, asked him if he’ would like to play. He said he
would. “Knock the balls around a little and let me see
how you can shoot,” said the proprietor; and, when this had
been done, continued, “That’s all right. I’ll play you lefthanded.”

“It hurt my pride,” said Mark, when relating
the story, “But I played him. We banked for the shot,
and he won it. Then he commenced to play, and I commenced
to chalk my cue to get ready to play, and he went
on playing and I went on chalking my cue; and he played,
and I chalked all through that game. When he had run
his string out, I said. ‘That’s wonderful! Perfectly wonderful
‘If you can play that way left-handed, what could
you do right-handed?’ ‘Couldn’t do anything,’ he said;
‘I’m a left-handed man.'”—Liverpool Post.

The Billiard Monthly : December, 1912

Billiards and the Working Classes

“What is the standard of play amongst the working
classes?” is a question that was put by a representative
of The Edinburgh Evening News to W. Smith, who was
himself until quite recently a linotype operator in a newspaper
office. “I think it is remarkably high,” Smith is
stated to have replied, “and during my games I have come
up against some very good players.” There was a tendency,
he thought, to bring out the finer points of the game, and
in this respect the numerous leagues in the North of England
had done good work by promoting keen competition. Of
necessity this had raised the standard of the game, as to
carry off any of the premier awards a player required to
have a considerable amount of billiards in him, and to be
possessed of the steadiness which came only from assiduous
practice. In some of the church leagues the players were—
even for billiard players— of very tender years, and this playing
in public, he considered, was the very thing to bring
on a youngster’s game.

As a working class amusement, the Darlington man held
that the game was rapidly spreading, and in his tours he
had everywhere found that billiards was more and more
becoming the recreation of the masses. And the result of
this was to be seen in the behaviour of that class of spectators
at the big matches. Of old the stroke that made the
most noise was acclaimed as the clever one, but now he
found a difficult shot, successfully negotiated, did not go
unnoticed by the onlookers. They knew in detail the respective
strengths and weakness of the leading lights, and the
general lines of their play. The result was that one professional,
on leaving a town, created a spate of red ball
experts in embryo, while another inspired the beginner with
a determination to overcome the intricacies of the nursery

While admitting the potency of the red ball as a scoring
force, Smith said he was not at all impressed with it as a
means of attracting the public. He was convinced that
they were pretty well sick of it already, and he therefore
did not intend to unduly cultivate it. It was a handy thing
to be able to slip out at any time, however. He confessed
to a weakness for getting both object balls over the middle
pockets, and breaks compiled by this means have been fairly
familiar to those who have seen him playing in Edinburgh.

While on the subject of red ball play the Englishman took
the opportunity of touching on the game of George Gray.
While not denying for a moment that the Australian was
the greatest one shot player in the world, he did not think
that for all-round excellence he was equal to T.
Newman. Smith has a whole-hearted admiration for
Newman, and still remembers the hundreds that the latter
strung up after he (Smith) had put on his record break in
their match. In conclusion, Smith spoke in glowing terms
of Aiken’s game, whose style he greatly admired. His top
of the table play, he said, showed the thorough
grip of the game that the Scottish champion possessed.

Against this it is pleasant to be able to put Aiken’s generously-
expressed opinion of Smith, which is that he considers
him to be the best of the younger school of billiards professionals.

Asked regarding his plans for the future, the Englishman
said that one of his most interesting fixtures would start on
the 27th of January, when he will have a match with Newman
at Middlesbrough of 8,000 up on level terms. Apart
from the London tournament he would also be meeting
Inman, Reece, and Diggle.

The Billiard Monthly : December, 1912

The Master Eye in Billiards

Probably few billiard players have eyes that are in
exact focus and it is necessary that due allowance should be
made for this fact in striking. The first essential is that
the face should be at right angles with the cue—in other
words, that the eyes should look square and not in the least
degree sideways at the object ball. Players who do not
observe this fundamental requirement can never aim
straight, even if possessing normal eyes. This can be
proved in a moment. Place a ball on the table and hold
your hand upright in front of your face. Now close the
eyes alternately so that the ball first appears at one side of
the hand and then at the other; and in both cases equally.

Next turn the face a little to one side without moving the
hand, and argument on the point will be unnecessary, as
the ball will appear quite wide on one side and will be obliterated
by the hand on the other.

There are many players who strike with the sideways
glance and a half-ball or other angle is consequently a different
thing with them from what it is with other strikers.

Hence the difference of opinion as to angles that arise, as
well as the unnecessary complications that are occasioned
to the player himself. He will, for instance, have two distinct
half-ball angles to deal with—one when looking square
at the ball before getting down to the stroke, and the other
when actually addressing the ball and looking at it sidewise.

But in this article I have to do with the striker whose
face and arm are in proper alignment with the intended run
of the cue ball, but whose eyes are not in perfect focus, and
there is only one correct course for such a player to adopt.

He must always aim a trifle finer on one side of the object
ball and a trifle fuller on the other. To ascertain on which
side he is to do the one and on which side the other can be
quickly ascertained. Let him place the red ball on the
centre spot of the table and the cue ball to the left of the
centre baulk spot with its edge in line with such spot.

Now let him aim at the left edge of the object ban and the
red, if the aim be accurate, will disappear in the top right
hand pocket If the cue ball were similarly placed on the
right of the baulk central spot and accurate aim taken at
the right side of the red ball the latter would disappear in
the left top pocket.

The value of this experiment and practice will quickly
be apparent If when aiming at one side of the red the
object ball is almost invariably cut below the corner pocket,
and when aiming on the other it is almost invariably cut
above it, the conclusion may be accepted that one eye is
somewhat at fault, and aim henceforth must be a trifle fuller
or finer than hitherto according to which side of the object
ball is aimed at. If on the other hand the object ball is
driven as often as it is cut on both sides of the table, the cue
delivery is defective and improvement and correction must
be sought in this direction.

It may be thought that the error lies in the wrong cue
alignment although the actual stroke may be delivered and
finished in a perfectly straight line, but this is scarcely
likely to be so. The cue, assuming that the forearm is
hanging perpendicularly and that the eyes are square with
the cue, will be guided by the eye, without conscious movement
of the hand into the right alignment, and this again
can be proved in an interesting way. Place two balls in
the position in which a thick run-through cannon is required
and take aim dead straight at the first. But when
actually striking—and without shifting the aim in the slightest—
glance at the second ball, instead of the first, and the
run-through will be perfectly made. The same thing
applies, of course, to run-throughs into pockets, and the reason
is that with the movement of the eye the cue has
become deflected in the exact proportion necessary for making
the stroke.

The Billiard Monthly : December, 1912

More About the Australian Season

(From The Sydney Referee)

So far as the season just finished in Australia is concerned,
it can be classed as the most successful to date. In
a way, there was rather an embarrassment of riches in the
shape of four visiting cueists from over the water, besides
our local contingent, which now includes A. E. Williams
—who can be classed as a resident Australian, as he is
qualified to vote at the next Federal elections.

No professional championship matches took place at billiards,
all the players being satisfied that Lindrum, per
medium of the deadly red ball, would be difficult to dethrone;
so the youth retained the title undisturbed. “he
battle “of the year was between Reece and Inman, and for
the first time in the history of the game Reece managed to
defeat Inman in a level match over two weeks. This game
caused considerable interest, not through the importance of
the meeting, so much as the fine displays given by both
players, who were in excellent form, making breaks of 584
and 513, which rank next to Lindrum’s 731 as the highest
run of the season.

Williams’s Success

Earlier in the year Lindrum conceded Williams 1,000 in
16,000 on two occasions, which ended in victories for the
Colonial by 4,308 and 3,928. Lindrum displayed much better
billiards in those contests than in any of his later games.

The merit of these victories was greatly emphasized when
Williams a few weeks later defeated both Reece and Inman
in games of 9,000 up, in which he received starts of 1,000
and 1,500. Reece held his own, being just beaten by the
points conceded, but Inman’s deficit amounted to 2,352. As
Williams had previously defeated Weiss by 3,583 in 14,000
level, and was next to Reece in averages for the whole season
in big games, he should be very pleased with billiards
in 1912. Unfortunately an operation at Adelaide prevented
him from partaking in a money match with Reece, which
might have brought even more distinction to his name.

Diggle and Harverson

To the Harverson-Diggle exhibitions little space need be
devoted. Right from their opening game in Melbourne
Diggle appeared to have been attacked by the complaint
known as “that tired feeling,” which is so difficult to
diagnose. During the tour Harverson only suffered one defeat—
in the first engagement with Lindrum—and that
might easily have been turned into a win had he so desired.

His performances were:—

  • Defeated E. Diggle at Melbourne.
  • Defeated E. Diggle at Sydney.
  • Won International Tournament, defeating E. Diggle, F.
  • Weiss, F. Smith, sen., and F. Smith, jun.
  • Lost to F. Lindrum at Sydney.
  • Defeated F. Lindrum at Melbourne.

In long games he scored 63,693 out of a possible 64,000,
winning three games and losing one. His highest break
was 430, and an average of 32.91 for the four games. Harverson
came fifth on the list of the season’s averages.

Amongst the Amateurs

As with the professionals, amateur billiards in 1912
reached Australian high-water mark. Several records were
made. The first was that for the first time since the inauguration
of the contests more than two States took part
in the Australasian billiard championship. This year
Queensland and South Australia joined forces with New
South Wales and Victoria, with the result that most interesting
contests took place. The following list of champions
of the year may be useful for filing purposes:—

  • Champion of Australia.—F. Lindrum, jun.
  • Champion of N.S. Wales.—F. Smith, sen.
  • Champion of Victoria.—E. J. Campbell.
  • Champion of Queensland.—F. Weiss.
  • Champion of West Australia.—Bert Teague.
  • Champion of Australia.—L. L. Beauchamp.
  • Champion of N.S. Wales.—A. G. Fay.
  • Champion of Victoria.—L. L. Beauchamp.
  • Champion of Queensland.—R. Kidston.
  • Champion of South Australia.—A. Demodena.
  • Professional Champion of Australia.—F. Smith, jun.
  • Amateur Champion of Victoria.—J. Basto.
  • Amateur Champion of N.S. Wales.—C. G. Abel.
Best Breaks
  • Professional.—F. Lindrum 731, M. Inman 584, T. Reece 513.
  • Amateur.—G. B. Shailer 209 (world’s amateur competition
    record), A. G. Fay 154, R. Kidston 140.

The Billiard Monthly : December, 1912

“Nerves” in Billiards

Writing in The Yorkshire Evening Post, George Nelson
says.—”Nerves” is an affliction that has attacked every
billiard player of note at some time or other. It affects
them, too, in different ways. Charles Dawson said that
the first time he played in London he felt as though he had
lost the use of his legs for three days. Yet he eventually
won the championship.

I know one well-known professional player who has severe
cramp in the stomach when he comes to play in a match.

Stevenson says it took him six years before he could reproduce
anything like his proper form in public. He became
the despair of his friends, and he relates that he had resolved
to give up billiard-playing as a bad job the very season
that he at last got confidence. That season he won
the championship.

Peall, the famous spot stroke player, was one of the most
nervous of players, and his friends say they had difficulty
to get him to play in public. Yet he played his nervousness
away to such an extent as eventually to make a break
of 3,304. I know several amateurs who make breaks of
from 80 to 150 in “friendly games.” Get them to play a
public match, and the way they start scratching and
struggling for a twenty break is painful alike to themselves
and their friends.

There is little doubt that billiard players are more liable
to “nerves” than players of other games; and also that the
results are more disastrous. The first weakness is explained
by the wearisome inactivity of “sitting out” the other’s
breaks, and the second by the fact that in good billiards
the fraction of an inch makes all the difference. There is
nothing like action for curing nervousness. This you obtain
at most games all the time, but at billiards only when you
have possession of the table. Undoubtedly it is the “sitting
out” that does the damage.

The proper spirit to cultivate is one of indifference to
whatever your opponent may do; at the same time you must
retain a watchful interest in the game and be ready to take
full advantage of his mistakes. I speak from experience,
as I have had as much “sitting out” in breaks as most
players. I have “sat out” the whole day, cue in hand,
many weary times, against George Gray.

It provides some hope to the nervous player to know that
such players as Stevenson, Dawson, and Peall all “went
through it.” Further, if it is true that “a man who never
makes mistakes never makes anything,” it is equally true
that a man who is not nervous never excels.

Stevenson says he always plays his best when he has just
a touch of nervousness, or, in other words, feels a little
highly strung. Personally, I have always found exactly
the same thing. No man need be ashamed of that quiver of
the nerves that affects him sometimes, even if it be so bad
as to be obvious to spectators, for, after all, it is generally
only the natural symptom of a keen desire to do well. The
thing is to control it, and that can only he done by persevering
in actual experience.

The Billiard Monthly : December, 1912

The Angles of the Ivory, Crystalate, and Bonzoline Balls at Billiards, and Other Differences


Author of “Practical Science of Billiards and its Pointer.”
[The following article discloses for the first time in the history of billiards the exact relative throw-off angles of
ivory, bonzoline, and crystalate balls, and consequently is one of exceptional value and interest. Colonel Western,
after a series of exhaustive mechanical tests by the joint aid of an inclined plane and the “pointer” of his invention,
is enabled to state explicitly that the half-ball throw-off of the cue ball after contact is: With ivory, 33°50′; with bonzoline,
30°35′; and with crystalate, 36°35′. These relative proportions are also preserved at the other seven contacts, all
of which, with other practical and scientific data, are scheduled in tabular form in the course of the article. We may
further say that we have had practical demonstration of the extraordinary exactitude with which the balls follow the
laws laid down in Col. Western’s book.]

The question of the relative throw-off angles of ivory,
crystalate, and bonzoline balls has, since the introduction of
composition balls, been one regarding which there has been
much controversy, but nothing definite regarding it appears
to have been arrived at.

The opinion most commonly accepted appears to be that
the crystalate throws off at a wider angle than the ivory,
and the bonzoline at a still wider angle than the crystalate.

Also that the ivory balls are the more elastic and faster,
with the crystalate and bonzoline about equal in these

The following are the facts regarding them as found
under test experiments. To avoid misunderstanding, I premise
that I have no financial interest of any sort in any of
them, and started completely without bias or predilection for
one more than another. It is desirable that the manner in
which my experiments were carried out should be shortly
described to permit readers to judge of their value.

The object ball angles of all three kinds at the various
divisions (and, indeed, of every kind of ball, no matter of
what it is composed, provided the balls are equal spheres
travelling on a horizontal plane) are exactly the same under
all conditions. Their values are set out in “Practical
Science of Billiards.” Cue ball angles, however, vary with
the manner and strength with which they are struck. Consequently,
in order to ascertain the relative values of cue
ball angles, it is necessary that the cue ball should always
be impelled in a precisely similar manner in every case. And
it must be beyond doubt that this is so. This, if not
impossible, 5s exceedingly difficult to attain, if personality
is allowed to come into play. Consequently it is a necessity
that there should be a mechanical means of propelling the
cue ball that will never vary.

This was obtained by means of the use of a movable
inclined plane of fixed height, length, and slope, down
which the ball was allowed to roll in a bottomless groove,
and consequently it always started with practically exactly
the same velocity and did not carry any side or screw.

This is proved by the ball when allowed to run up and down
the table, without coming into contact with another ball,
always coming to rest at almost precisely the same spot.

The next necessity is to be able to make the cue ball travel
in any exact required direction, and to be able to make it
strike the object ball at exact desired points or divisions.

It is unnecessary to point out that these requirements
would test the powers of even the most skilled professional,
particularly when it has to be done thousands of times, and
there would still remain the doubt whether there had been
variations in the manner of striking.

The third necessity is to be able to ascertain the exact
spot or division at which the object ball has been struck,
and, if desired, to be able to repeat the stroke as often as
necessary for verification.

And the fourth necessity is to be able to measure the
angle that the direction of the cue ball, after impact, makes
with its direction before impact, measuring from the point
of divergence, which is not the position of the object ball,
and is consequently an unknown spot.

The inclined plane, to which, in the form I have constructed
it, I have given the name of the “billiard gun,”
supplies the means of complying with the first two “necessities,”
and the “pointer” described in the “Practical Science
of Billiards” supplies the means of carrying out the third
and fourth, and it is with the aid of these two appliances
that the experiments have been carried out.

The results given may be relied on, as they have all been
repeatedly verified, and the “pointer” supplies the means
of testing them to those who desire to do so.

The assumption is made that the objective of the cue ball
is 4ft. from the point of divergence. The effect on the angles
of variations in this respect is explained in the chapter on
“Rebound” in “Practical Science of Billiards,” and the
matter is only referred to here to complete the full data
of the experiments.

All three kinds of balls have been tested at all the standard
divisions of the balls, viz., 1/8, ¼, 3/8, ½, 5/8, ¾ and 7/8, and the
balls with which the experiments were carried out were all
absolutely new and previously unused so that no question
can be raised regarding the balls being untrue or uncertain
through wear, etc.


We can now come to the actual angles of the balls as
found by experiment in the manner described above, and
they are as follows:—

Cue Half-ball Angles at No. 2 strength (measured from a
point in the path of the cue ball 4ft. distant from the point
of divergence):

IVORY, 33°30′.



It will be observed that the bonzoline, instead of throwing
off at a wider angle than the crystalate, has a finer angle,
and lies about midway between the ivory and crystalate.

The strength (for definitions of strength see “Practical
Science of Billiards”) at which all the balls were delivered
is No. 2 strength. No. 2 strength is rather faster than the
strength with which the majority of strokes are played,
which are mostly in the vicinity of 1 to 13, but the distances
and nature of the strokes were such that anything less than
No. 2 strength would have been insufficient for many of
them, and it was necessary to adhere to a fixed strength

As the strength decreases or increases, the angles for all
three natures of balls, will slightly decrease or increase, but
they will retain very nearly the same relative proportion.

The angles of all three kinds of balls at all the recognised
divisions are given in the following table:—

Cue Ball Angles
of Ivory, Bonzoline, and Crystalate Balls when struck
with No. 2 strength, without side or screw, when the
objective of the Cue Ball is 4ft. distant from the Object


When changing from ivory to bonzoline, as from bonzoline
to crystalate, or vice-versa, strokes would not be missed,
generally speaking, though without doubt the difference
should be borne in mind, particularly in longish shots. As
between ivory and crystalate, the difference is more marked,
and would require slight allowance for.

If players desire to ascertain to what extent these differences
affect the placing of the cueball in the baulk semi-circle
for half-ball strokes, which is the most common practical
way of judging half-ball angles, they can do so in half a
minute with the aid of the “pointer” (using case F, page
130, where full detail of the simple procedure necessary is
given). They will probably be surprised to find how very
much nearer together the true positions are than they
possibly judged them.

Elasticity.—The coefficients of elasticity of the three balls
are as follows:—

  • Crystalate, 0.5 (= ½, a curious coincidence).
  • Bonzoline, 0.4617.
  • Ivory, 0.4243.

Here, which is also contrary to the general belief, the
composition balls are more elastic than the ivory, the crystalate
being the most elastic of the three.

This is also evident from the angles. The cue half-ball
angle of a totally inelastic ball would be 19 degs. 6 mins.,
and the cue half-ball angle of a perfectly elastic one would
be 60 degs. Whether greater elasticity is an advantage may
be a matter of opinion, but its effect is to make the throw-off
angle wider.

Weights.—In each case the three balls of the same kind
were practically of the same weight and size. The weights
of the balls were as follows:—

  • Ivory, 4 and 61/64ths ozs.
  • Crystalate, 5 and 13/64ths ozs.
  • Bonzoline, 5 and 24/64ths ozs.

The crystalate were 16/64ths = ¼ oz. heavier than the
ivory, and the bonzoline were 27/64ths, or more than 3/8 oz.,
heavier than the ivory, and 11/64ths, or more than 1/8 oz.,
heavier than the crystalate.

Size—The respective diameters of the balls were as

  • Ivory, 2 1/16 = 2 4/64ths inches.
  • Bonzoline, 2 5/64ths inches.
  • Crystalate, 2 3/32 = 2 6/64ths inches, less about 1/250th inch.

The recognised standard size of a billiard ball is 2 1/16in.

Why the composition balls are made larger I am unable to
suggest. If they were made exactly 2 1/16in. they would more
nearly approach in weight the ivory balls, which they aim to
as nearly reproduce as possible.

Price, appearance, wear, country of manufacture, etc., are
matters outside the province of my experiments, and most
readers are acquainted with the facts regarding these.


The Billiard Monthly : December, 1912

Jottings of the Month

  • Entries for the B.C.C. professional championship closed
    on November 30, with Reece as the challenger.
  • King George is stated to have a desire that his sons shall
    excel at billiards, and the game has been played night after
    night at Balmoral. Princess Mary has also been learning
    the game and promises to emulate her aunt, the Queen of
    Norway, who plays better than any other lady in the Royal
    Family.—Sheffield Daily Telegraph.
  • In the Coventry Club annual handicap three spot strokes
    and the push stroke are allowed.
  • At a conference of amateur billiardists in Melbourne
    recently, the matter of sending a representative of Australia
    to compete in the English amateur championship was mentioned.
  • After some discussion it was decided that, on the
    past year’s form, there were no players in sight sufficiently
    skilled to uphold Australia prestige. When one arrives he
    will doubtless be sent.
  • Seven tables were in requisition for the Jockeys Billiard
    Handicap at the Bedford Head Hotel (J. W. Mannock) on
    November 28, when S. Donoghue proved the winner.
  • At the Royal Automobile Club, the head marker, J.
    Jevons, plays a fine game with the use of one hand only.
  • A break of 387 off the red ball has been made at the
    Junior Carlton Club, by George Clark, the head marker
    there, and in the Leeds Handicap on November 13 Harry
    Taylor, the fifteen year old player, scored 390 off the red (an
    ivory ball record) in the course of a break of 479.
  • T. A.
    Dennis, professional champion of Nottingham, has just
    made a break of 77 at snooker pool.
  • The draw for the first round of the Press Handicap has
    been published. There is a vast number of entries.
  • In the Leeds £100 handicap great interest was taken in
    the heat in which the amateur champion beat by 52 T. Haw,
    who wanted 100 for game when Virr wanted 500. By the
    way it seems that Mr. Virr has a permit to play with professionals
    in this handicap, and does not, therefore, imperil
    his amateur status.
  • Charles Roberts is well enough to play again.
  • Inman and Reece meet at Leicester Square on a new table
    on December 9 to play 18,000 for £100 a side, Reece receiving
    1,250. At present Inman is playing Diggle at the same
    place and conceding the same start as to Reece in the first
    of a series of three matches of 18,000 up for £100 each
    time, with additional amounts depending upon the highest
    proportional breaks. In reply to a challenge by Dawson
    offering 1,000 start in 18,000, Inman dictates the same start
    to Dawson as that conceded by him to Reece and Diggle and
    six-tenths of the”gate. “o W. J. Peall, whom he will
    meet at Leicester Square in February, Inman concedes half
    the game (spot-barred) and takes the same proportion of
    the gate money as stipulated for in Dawson’s case.
  • A suggestion has been made that a match might be played
    between amateurs of Liverpool and Manchester.
  • Smith is willing to concede A. F. Peall 2,000 in 16,000 for
    £50 a side, with a limit of 25 successive red losing hazards,
    after which the balls would be spotted.
  • The autumn handicap on average is proceeding amongst
    members of the B.C. Club and other fixtures are:—

    • Dec. 2.—
      Invitation Inter-Club Volunteer Snooker Pool Championship
      for the B.C.C. Challenge Cup. Holders, Wellington
    • Jan. 16.—B.C.C. Championship (by invitation) open
      to members of the B.C.C.; leading London and provincial
      clubs and the Oxford and Cambridge Universities. (Entries
      close Dec. 31).
    • Feb. 2.—Invitation Inter-club Billiards
      Championship for the B.C.C. Challenge Cup.

    Holders, Junior Constitutional Club. It is also the intention
    to arrange a ladies’ night during the season.

  • Llewellin, the Welsh professional champion, has been
    challenged by T. Carpenter, Cardiff.
  • The match at Newport between Reece and Falkiner was
    a particularly fine and interesting one. Reece made breaks
    of 248, 204, and thirty others of over one hundred, and Falkiner
    made breaks of 232, 209, 207, 206, and sixteen others
    of over one hundred. At the finish of the game, with Reece
    as the winner, there was only a difference of 88 points between
    the players.
  • The illness of M. Clark, the very well-known head
    marker and referee at the Palmerston Restaurant, is stated
    to be serious.
  • Miss Hilda Morley, the seventeen year old daughter of
    the Cheshire amateur champion, was one of the competitors
    on November 27 in the Manchester Amateur Charity Tournament.
    She is the first lady ever admitted into the competition,
    and giving a convincing and delightful display, registered
    a popular victory against W. Gillett by 138. Miss
    Morley was conceded 290 start on the handicap.
  • The notable event in the Stock Exchange tournament
    thus far has been the defeat of Mr. P. Wood, although this
    fine player had, of course, to concede a long start to his
  • The tenth annual contest for the amateur championship
    of Leeds was concluded on November 23, the players being
    the holder, A. W. A. Smith, and B. Hardwick. The game
    was 500 up, played with crystalate balls on a standard table,
    and the winner holds the Crystalate Cup, value 25 guineas
    ( which has to be won three times in all) for twelve months.
    Closing scores:—Smith 500, Hardwick 494. Mr. J. H.
    Teague presented the prizes, as follows:—Cup and gold
    medal, A. W. A. Smith; silver cigarette case, B. Hardwick;
    cue and case and the balls played with for the largest break
    of the tournament (60), J. Henry, jun.; and cue and case,
    J. W. Vine. Messrs. A. W. A. Smith, H. Dawson, and
    J. W. Vine have each won the cup twice, and Messrs. B.
    Hirst, F. Moore. W. D
  • Reporting the Inman-Diggle afternoon session of November
    26, The Daily Express said:—”The most exciting incident
    of the afternoon was when Inman passed a summary
    death sentence on a moth that made a series of volplanes
    from the lamp bracket towards Inman’s face. This so disconcerted
    the player that the game was temporarily stopped
    while Inman made violent digs at it with his cue. The
    marker and the spot boy also joined in. Candidly, the billiards
    was not nearly so exciting as this moth hunt.”
  • Alec Taylor, sending a copy of The Natal Mercury, says:
    “In it you will see that I have made five breaks over
    100 in 800 up. The paper described it as a world’s record.
    I know it is so for England and South Africa.”
  • Diggle was good at draughts and various other games
    before he became famous with a cue. Even now he gets
    visits from people eminent at various simple pastimes, who
    want to play him. One evening, just after a championship
    round at Soho Square, he was handed the card of somebody
    who described himself as “Amateur Champion of
    Thanet.” “Thanet?” gasped Diggle. “I know draughts,
    and ping-pong, and jig-saw, but what on earth’s Thanet?”
    —London Opinion.

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