The history of pool

Discover More About the History of Pool

It's difficult to precisely attribute the exact origin of pool because versions differ on the existence of similar games. What is certain is that it has evolved from its primitive forms to become the game we know today.

Originally, Pool Was Played Without a Table

Many agree that pool was originally played directly on the ground. In several European countries, it is played according to slightly different modalities but the basic principle is there: it involves passing balls or balls through wooden hoops using cues that more closely resemble cricket bats.

In the Middle Ages, Pool Comes to the Table

The creation of the first pool table is attributed to an initiative by Louis XI in 1469. Suffering from back pain, he had requested a table to play at human height. On this first, rudimentary table, a stone was placed, which was then covered with cloth. Gradually, the game evolved but remained reserved for the nobility.

Later, pool remained an elitist activity. This is evidenced by engravings dating back to the 17th century, depicting gaming scenes, including one where Louis XIV is seen indulging in this practice. The rules are not yet those we know today.

Pool Becomes Popular

In the 18th century, many variations of pool emerged, and the game became popular, notably thanks to academies where everyone could come and play. They sprouted up like mushrooms in Paris. By the end of the 18th century, there were over 800 such halls in the capital.
The table also evolved. Color engravings show the introduction of a green cloth, the appearance of cushions, and cues that now replace the bats.

It was in the 19th century that the current forms of pool emerged. It was also during this period that it spread beyond Europe. Arriving in the United States around 1800, pool experienced much faster development than on the old continent. Real international competitions were created there, and pool became a cherished entertainment for all. Two types of games coexisted at that time: pool and carom, also known as French pool. Pool continued to evolve, notably due to improvements in equipment. It is considered that French pool as practiced today was created in 1850.

Today, pool is practiced by millions of people around the world, in its French, British, or American variations. Another form of pool is also practiced nowadays: artistic pool. The "trickshots" are astonishing shots that require formidable precision.

Now that you know the history of pool : Check out all our tutorials on learning to play pool and improving your game, with Florian Kohler.

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