Are you looking to take up a new sport but don’t know what a billiard ball is? You’ve come to the right place!
This article will explain all you need to know about what a billiard ball is and how it helps you in playing this beloved game. Take the plunge into billiards and discover this fascinating new world.
What is a Billiard Ball
A billiard ball is a round object commonly used in cue sports such as pool, snooker and carom billiards. Billiard balls primarily come in two types – traditional ivory-colored, or plastic variants. The size of a modern billiard ball is the same across all variations of games and typically has a diameter of 2 5/8 inches (67.5mm). Since the uniform size and weight of billiard balls was first established in the 1870s with certain modifications over time, they have become virtually identical across all pool table games.
Made out of polyester resin or phenol with clay fillers, modern day billiard balls are highly durable and consistent in feel and size. This allows players to learn quickly how to play the game without having to adjust to different variances in each table—but also allows for maximum spin off walls because the more level surface creates more predictable reactions from bank shots.
History of the Billiard Ball
Billiard balls have been part of the game of billiards for hundreds of years. The exact origins are unclear, but it is believed that some form of cue sports has been played since as early as the 15th century. During this time period, balls were made out of a variety of materials including wood, cork and even ivory.
The first billiard ball to be made out of a single material was patented in 1868 by John Wesley Hyatt and is cited as being “the first substitute for ivory billiard balls”. These balls were made from the newly invented plastic celluloid and quickly replaced ivory as the preferred material used in making billiard balls.
At this point in time, companies were searching for ways to make the game more interesting and began experimenting with manufacturing different colors onto each ball. By 1900, there were 56 colors available but by then players had developed certain patterns they preferred so companies refocused on creating standard colors for each ball.
Today’s modern billiard balls come in three distinct types; Aramith Premium Belgium Balls, Brunswick Superstar II Billiards Balls, and Obutto/Stellin American Pool Balls. Each type consists of 16 color coded pieces: 1-7 (solid colors), 8-15 (striped colors), and 16 (the cue ball). The exact composition can vary between manufacturer but typically each type is composed from a combination of phenolic resin with additional coloring pigments added to create the desired hue.
Materials Used to Make a Billiard Ball
Billiard balls come in many sizes and materials in order to suit different styles of play. Most billiard balls have a core, which is encased in a shell that is commonly made of either phenolic resin or one of several plastics. Their outer surfaces are most often smooth, but some billiard balls have been manufactured with coarse texturing that aids the cue tip in getting a better grip on the ball when executing a shot.
Phenolic resin is often used for tournament-level billiard balls because it has the ability to maintain tight tolerances and be machined with micro-precision design patterns that restrict jump shots and push shots. Phenolic resin billiard balls are also renowned for their durability, wherein they’re almost not subject to damage from outside sources such as chalking or oils from hands, over time they will maintain their original shape and makeup without warping or deformation.
On the other hand, plastic composite billiard balls reign supreme in recreational settings due to their affordability, accessibility, improved coefficient-of-friction surface and the range of visuals they display (such as glow-in-the dark). Plastic composite billiards typically don’t feature intricate design patterns like those found in phenolic resin models but offer more choices than ever when creating custom settings for pool halls or home tables.
The Different Sizes of Billiard Balls
The official size for billiard balls are determined by the governing bodies of the various games. The most commonly used sizes are 2-1/4 inch, 2-1/2 inch, and 2-7/8 inch, but other variations may also be used. The balls are not true spheres due to the manufacturing process they go through; they vary slightly in diameter and have a red line that runs along its equator which helps to keep them in balance during play.
In traditional American pool or 8-ball, a set of sixteen billiard balls— of which there are seven striped ones and seven solid colored ones— is required; one white cue ball, seven numbered object balls ranging from one to seven, and seven object balls colored either solid red or yellowish. According to World Pool Billiard Association standards for competition 8-ball each ball is required to weigh 5.50 ounces (156 grams).
Pool games that require the use of just fifteen balls thus eliminating the one ball include nine-ball and rotation pool. In nine-ball, each ball numbered from one to nine is present; however there are no stripes or solids included in this game play variant though some sets may include them for aesthetics purposes only . The world pool Billiard Association requires these fifteens to weigh 5.33 ounces (151 grams).
The smallest sets typically used for playing billiards refer to international style pocket billiards known as carom where three unnumbered object balls must be struck with the cue ball. These particular sets typically weigh 4.48 ounces (127 grams).
The Different Colors of Billiard Balls
Billiard balls are used when playing a variety of cue sports, such as pool, carom billiards, snooker and bar billiards. These games require balls of different colors to differentiate the players. Generally, these balls are made from phenolic resin plastic or polyester to give them durability and resistance to chipping or cracking. The modern-day standard size of a billiard ball is 2 1⁄4 inches (57.15 mm) in diameter, though some games require different sizes or weights.
The typical American set of billiard balls consists of 16 balls: seven striped (1 through 7), seven solid-colored (9 through 15) and two white—the “cue” ball (8) and the “eight” ball (black). This arrangement is appropriate for most pool games but won’t be suitable if you’re playing snooker or bar billiards which use 15 reds instead one colour identity in each frame.
The colours used are dependent on the type and regional variation of the cue game being played but include yellow/gold, green, brown/burgundy, blue, pink/magenta, black and some shades of every colour combined to create patterns in different shades and saturations as never seen before in traditional sets of billiard ball designs.
The Different Types of Billiard Balls
Billiard balls come in a variety of sizes and materials, each designed to perform an important role for the game being played. This range includes pool balls, snooker balls, carom balls and even pyramid billiard balls. Each ball is manufactured from different types of materials, including wood, clay-baked composite and polymers.
The size of billiard balls varies according to the type and age of the game being played. The World Pool Billiard Association (WPA) standardizes all official competitions with 2 1/4″ diameter regulation-size pool balls made from polymer resin. These are used in 8-, 9- or 10-ball pocket billiards to deliver maximum speed and consistency when playing the game. This ensures predictable results for players participating in professional tournaments or leisurely friendly games alike.
Snooker players enjoy using a slightly larger 2 1/2” diameter regulation ball set crafted from Aramith phenolic resin that is almost impervious to scratches or fading with use — ensuring years of optimal performance without experiencing any degradation in quality from continuous playing over time.
Regular carom ball sets are slightly smaller than their snooker counterparts at 62mm (2 3/8”) diameter; playing exclusively with these when competing avoids confusion that could arise from using a combination of differently-sized ball sets during an official tournament game.
Pyramid billiard has its own special set of larger Obut tungsten alloy weighing an impressive 220 grams per ball with a choice between glassy crystal 66mm (2 5/8”) diameters offering precisely balanced gaming they way they were intended, while 65mm (2 9/16”) aged tungsten sets offer superior control over each shot by providing superior effect off cushions intended for indoor play only.
How to Care for a Billiard Ball
Caring for billiard balls is important to ensure the longevity of your game and to ensure that the play surface is kept in the best condition. Here are some tips on how to clean, handle, and store your pool balls correctly:
• Clean your billiard balls each time you play. Use a soft cloth or a damp towel. Avoid using any cleaning products on the balls, which could damage them.
• Handle your billiard balls with care to prevent chips or dents. Do not press too hard when racking or when shooting. Use a chalk holder when chalking so you do not have to apply excessive pressure when rubbing chalk onto the cue ball.
• Store your billiard balls in an appropriate container such as a box lined with foam padding or in another type of case designed specifically for storing pool balls. Avoid exposing them too much light, moisture, and temperature extremes which can cause damage over time.
Following these steps will help keep your pool table game surface pristinely clean and aid in maintaining smooth play functions of your billiard game – maximising game time fun!
In conclusion, a billiard ball is a round object typically made of plastic, slate or ivory that is used in the game of billiards. Handling of the balls on the table and during use are governed by official rules set by their respective governing board. Various sizes, weights and colors can be used to differentiate one type of billiard game from another.
As this guide has shown, these balls have been around for centuries and remain an essential component of any game of billiards. Whether you are playing at a casual level or taking part in competitions, having regulation size, weight and condition balls can make all the difference to how you play the game.