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A Brief History of Billiards: a Pictorial Chronology and Timeline of the Continuing Evolution of Pool

A detailed chronology of billiards and pool follows a brief pictorial introduction to the games and how they evolved. If you're short of time and looking for something in particular, please try using CTRL-F to find it. 

Who was the first pool hustler? ... The Dutch Baron, John Carr, Edwin "Jonathan" Kentfield, "Lookout," or Marie Antoinette?
Who was the first road player? .... John Carr, John Roberts Sr., John Roberts Jr., Mary Queen of Scots, or Napoleon?
Who was the first American pool champion of a game that is still being played today? ... Albert Frey, Gottlieb Wahlstrom, Cyrille Dion, or Alfredo de Oro?
Who was the greatest proposition gambler? ... "Titanic" Thompson or "Minnesota Fats"?
Who invented "english," draw (backspin) and the massé? ... François Mingaud, John Carr, Mike Massey or Efren "the Magician" Reyes?
Who was the first person to mention billiards? ... Anacharsis, William Shakespeare, Cleopatra, Edmund Spenser, Ben Jonson, Charles Cotton or Abbe McGeoghegan?
Who was the first person to spell "billiards" the modern way? ... John Florio, Dr. Samuel Johnson, or the creators of the Oxford English Dictionary?
Who was the father of American pool? ... Michael Phelan, George Washington, Ben Franklin, Lafayette, or Ralph Greenleaf?
Who was the best billiards and pool player of all time? ... Harold Worst, Willie Hoppe, Alfredo de Oro, Johnny Layton, Willie Mosconi, Mike Sigel, Earl Strickland, or Efren Reyes?
Who was a famous "pool nut"? ... Shakespeare, Mary Queen of Scots, King James I, Mozart, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon, Josephine, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, Wild Bill Hickok, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Vincent Van Gogh, Charles Darwin, Queen Victoria, Pope Pius IX, Teddy Roosevelt, Neville Chamberlain, Al Capone, Babe Ruth, Cap Anson, Jackie Gleason, Paul Newman or Tom Cruise?

The last is a trick question, because they were all nuts for pool! 

Another interesting player to consider as the best ever is Albert M. Frey, who was winning nearly every match almost as soon as the first native American pool games had been invented. According to Michael Phelan, the father of American pool, the first national pool championship took place in 1878. Albert Frey the "blonde boy" wonder and darling of the crowds, made his public debut on December 30, 1880. He won the first professional eight-ball tournament at Republican Hall, NYC, in May 1882. He became the world champion of another new game, fifteen-ball or 61-pool, also in 1882. By 1884, Frey was "almost invariably winning" according to Phelan, while competing against stars like George F. Sutton, James L. Malone, Cyrille "The Bismarck of Billiards" Dion, Alfredo de Oro and Jake "The Wizard" Schaefer. From 1881-1887, Frey won every fifteen-ball championship match or finished second. In 1888, Frey won the first continuous pool (straight pool) tournament, beating Malone in a playoff. In 1889, Frey was tied for first place in the national championship tournament, when he died suddenly of pneumonia. At the time of his death, he had been dominating the American pool scene, whether the game was fifteen-ball, eight-ball or continuous pool. Frey was "widely known as the champion pool player of America," according to his obit in The New York Times. Malone had a crown delivered to the funeral, a touching tribute since he had been Frey's greatest and most determined obstacle to the crown.

If we can look northward, another fascinating player is Cyrille Dion, a French-Canadian born in Montreal in 1843. Dion was the billiards champion of Canada in 1865, at age 22, with a high run of 138 and a grand average of 12.76. He won the 1866 Tournament of State and Provincial Champions, again going undefeated with a high run of 127 and a grand average of 11.28. In 1870-1871 he won a series of four-ball championship matches against stars who included the French champion A. P. Rudolphe and Americans Frank Parker and Melvin Foster. Dion won the American four-ball championship in 1873, with a high run of 127 and a grand average of 11.28. He won the straight rail championship in 1875. In 1876 Dion won the four-ball championship by such a wide margin, 1500-392, that The New York Times predicted there would never be another four-ball championship match. In 1878, Dion won the first American National Championship pool tournament. He died just six months later, at age 35, from severe lung congestion that had plagued him for years. He was the undefeated champion of the first major Canadian billiards tournament, the undefeated champion of the last American four-ball billiards tournament, and the undefeated champion of the first major American pool tournament. He had nerves of steel and was ready, willing and able to play anyone, as reported by the Fort Wayne Daily Gazette on July 18, 1871: "Cyrille Dion has issued a notice in which he challenges anyone in the world to play him a game of three-ball or French carom billiards, the amount of stakes to be not less than five hundred dollar a side. It is thought in billiard circles that an International contest will be the result of this challenge."

In the modern era, Efren "The Magician" Reyes may well be the best all-around player. Reyes is a master of eight-ball, nine-ball, ten-ball, rotation, one-pocket, straight pool, snooker, 18.1 balkline and three-cushion billiards. And he claimed the richest purse in pool history, $163,172 in the 2001 Tokyo Nine-Ball Championship. But whether he's better than Worst is a matter of speculation, if you'll pardon the pun.

A Brief History of Billiards and Pool

But where, how, when and why did billiards originate? Would it surprise you to know that billiards is closely related to golf and croquet? Think about it ... Why was pool table cloth historically green? Because grass is green. Why the term "bank shots"? Because billiard table "banks" (now more commonly called rails) resembled river banks. Why were the pockets of early billiard tables called "hazards," as on a golf course? Because billiards originated as an outdoor ball-and-stick game related to croquet and golf. This "ground billiards" game later migrated to indoor tables in England, Scotland and France, probably due to long periods of inclement northern European weather (i.e., cold, damp and dismal). We know the game is truly ancient because it depicted in works of medieval art. For instance the woodcut engraving below, circa the 1600s, was based on a medieval tapestry commissioned by the St. Lo Monastery of France, circa the 1500s. The images on this page will help us see and understand the evolution of billiards from an outdoor game played with cudgels, to an indoor game played with maces with tapering cues (the French word queue means "tail"), to the modern games we call billiards and pool.



According to Clive Everton's History of Billiards, ground billiards was being played in the 1340s and continued to be played into the 1600s. In Italy the game was known as biglia, in France bilhard, in Spain virlota and in England "ball-yard." I believe the early date derives from an illustration of ground billiards in Sports and Pastimes of England by James Strutt, created around 1344. But if the picture dates to 1344, the game it illustrates could be considerably older. In any case, the first documented billiard table was ordered by King Louis XI of France in 1470; it resembled an indoor putting green, having a single hole at the center. Maces with large heads, similar to putters and croquet mallets, were used to push the balls around. The slender cue (a tapering tail) was used only when a ball was close to the rail, making it difficult or impossible to employ the bulky mace head.



The similarity of indoor billiards to ground billiards can clearly be seen by comparing the images above and below. Note the similarities of the rectangular playing area, the clubs (maces) and the hoop. The image below dates to around 1650. The games that probably evolved from ground billiards include billiards, pool, jeu de mail, croquet, pall-mall (aka pell-mell and paille-maille), trucco (aka trucks), field hockey and ice hockey.



Some of the tables had obstacles. Over time, pockets were added, initially as "hazards" to be avoided. Other tables remained pocket-less, with the object being to carom one ball into another: the French carambole or English carom billiards. The illustration below is from the first known English book containing instructions for billiards, Charles Cotton's The Compleat Gamester, published in 1674.



The relationship of the indoor table game (above) to the outdoor lawn game of ground billiards (below) can clearly be seen in the similar hoops and skittles. In "Port and King Billiards" the croquet-like hoop was called the Port and the upright skittle was called the King. Each player had a single ball which was pushed with a mace, the goal being to knock the ball through the Port in the correct direction and then go back to touch the King, without knocking over either the Port or the King. But if your ball went through the Port in the wrong direction, you were deemed a "fornicator"! Heaven knows what you were called if you knocked the King over ... a "traitor"? At this time, the pockets were to be avoided, unless a player was able to knock an opponent's ball into the hazard. This idea of avoiding the pockets would persist until 1770, when in a variation of English billiards called "The Winning Game," a player was awarded two points for pocketing an opponent's ball. Even then it was "bad" for a ball to end up in a "hazard," but since the other player was rewarded with points, ball-potting became a good thing.



The picture below is of Louis XIV playing billiards in 1694.



The picture below is of Mozart, circa the late 1700s, contemplating billiards, his passion after music.

Mozart at his Billiard table

As the indoor table game evolved, advancements like leather tips and chalk greatly favored the cue over the mace for accuracy and cue ball control. Still, as late as the 1860s, the majority of American players favored the mace over the cue. But then within a few years, use of the mace quickly diminished in serious billiard circles, probably because it was impossible for someone with a mace to defeat a player of similar skill who employed a leather-tipped cue. During the Civil War, billiard games were so popular that newspapers sometimes gave tournaments higher billing than battles. Abraham Lincoln was a self-admitted "billiard addict" and John Wilkes Booth not only haunted pool rooms, but got drunk at one the day he assassinated the president. I believe the image below is a Currier & Ives lithograph depicting a pool game from the Civil War era.



The picture below is of an early pool hall with newfangled overhead lighting (which was first gas, then electric).



Three-cushion billiards and snooker date to the 1870s. The modern pocket billiard games of straight pool, one pocket, nine-ball and eight-ball were invented in the early 1900s. During the roaring twenties, the best billiardists were celebrities of the first magnitude. For instance, Ralph Greenleaf has been compared to Babe Ruth, Red Grange and Jack Dempsey. But after World War II the various games that had come to be known as "pool" were largely consigned to seedy gambling joints (the term "pool room" refers to pool betting; billiard tables were installed to entertain gamblers between horse races). But the 1961 movie The Hustler, starring a young Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson and Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats, created a rebirth of interest in pool, and the 1986 sequel The Color of Money, starring Newman as an aging Felson and Tom Cruise as his young, cocky protégé, helped fan the flames of public interest and keep them alive. Television also helped create public interest in pool, while changing the nature of the game, because slower, more defensive games like straight pool and one pocket were not always entertaining. Couch potatoes wanted to see pool stars like Willie Mosconi, Minnesota Fats, Louie Lassiter and Steve Mizerak perform, but they didn't want to watch them play safety after boring safety. So the TV networks and their millions presided over the ascendency of nine-ball as the dominant "money game."

Timeline of Billiards and Pool

BC


Modern Billiards, published by Brunswick, mentions (dubiously) the travels of Anacharsis, circa 589 B.C., who saw games similar to billiards being played.
Cleopatra (69-30 B.C.) played billiards, according to Shakespeare, but this seems to be an anachronism similar to clocks appearing in Julius Caesar.

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148: The first known reference to the game of billiards occurs in Abbe McGeoghegan's History of Ireland. The Abbe quotes from King Cathire More's will: "To Drimoth I bequeath fifty billiard balls of brass with the cues of the same material."
Since King Cathire More died in 148 A.D., this sets a very early date for the game, if true. More was aka Catkire More and Conn Cetchathach.

1099: According to Michael Phelan in The Game of Billiards, the sport was introduced to Europe by Knights Templar returning from the First Crusade.

1164: At this time the word bille is being used to refer to medieval ball and stick games; billet means "stick" and bille means "ball." Or billiard may be a compound word, bille + art, meaning something like "ball art" or "ball artistry."

1300: Around this time medieval illustrations depict "ground billiards," a lawn game related to croquet and golf.

1470: Records show that King Louis XI of France purchased a billiard table; it had a single hole at the center, like an indoor putting green. A "mace" was employed to push the balls. It was a crooked stick with a sizeable head, like a golf club, and a slender cue ("tail"). Dr. Samuel Johnson mentioned gambling at billiards by Fortunio, an Italian humanist (1470-1517). Since Charles Cotton, who wrote the first English book about gaming, said that billiards originated in Italy, this seems possible.
 
1500: The Manor of the Moor, which hosted Henry VIII and Edward VI, had a "billet bourde covered with greene cloth." The manor was owned by Cardinal Thomas Wosley. The royal inventory was taken in 1547; however, it is not known when the table was installed, so the date above is a guess.

1514: "A large table for the game of billiards covered in green cloth" is listed among the possessions of a French duchess.

1551: During the reign of Henry III (1551-1589) of France, billiards is called the "noble game."

1560: The modern form of billiards has been attributed to the French artist Henrique De Vigne during the reign of Charles IX.

1564: Shakespeare (1564-1616) makes numerous references to billiards in his plays. (Phelan)

1565: Billiards is introduced to North America by a Spanish family living in St. Augustine, Florida, according to Frank G. Menke.

1578: Billiard tables are licensed in Holland by the Lombards.

1587: Mary, Queen of Scots, complains that her captors have deprived her of her billiard table at Fotheringay Castle, shortly before her beheading. Her letter to the Archbishop of Glasgow was written the evening before her death.
Her lady-in-waiting reported that Mary's headless body was wrapped in the cloth from the table. Around this time Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester and a favorite of Mary's nemesis, Queen Elizabeth I, also owns a billiard table.

1588: The first known reference to ivory billiard balls appears in an inventory of the possessions of the Duke of Norfolk. Howard House contained a "billyard bord coered with a greene cloth [with] three billyard sticks and 11 balls of yvery."

1591: The first literary reference to billiards (spelled "balyards") appears in the poet Edmund Spensers’ Mother Hubberd’s Tale.

1598: The modern spelling "billiard" appears in 1598, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. At this time the pockets are called "hazards" and one's cue ball going in the hazard was like one's golf ball going in the hazard: very bad!

1599: A biography of St. John Berchmans (1599-1621) claims that "If anyone asked him to play at trucco or piastrelle, he joined at once." Trucco (also called "trucks") was a game similar to billiards, played on a table with ivory balls and shooting sticks.
 
1605: King James I of England orders a table to be made by "Henry Waller, our joyner," perhaps the first builder of English billiard tables.

1609: In Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra, Cleopatra says to her handmaiden: "Let's to billiards. Come, Charmain."

1610: King Louis XIII (1610-1643) plays billiards.

1611: Cotsgrave mentions billiards, spelling it "billyards."

1616: The poet/playwright Ben Jonson mentions the smoothness of a billiard ball in his play The Devil Is an Ass.

1617: Young Louis XIII stands on a billiard table to be heard as the Cardinal de Richelieu is dismissed from the royal court.

1632: John Locke (1632-1704) mentions billiards as something which needs no introduction: "For when the Ball obeys the stroke of a Billiard-stick..." David Hume (1711-1776) was another philosopher who mentioned billiards when discussing cause and effect.
 
1638: Louis XIV (1638-1715) aka "Louis the Great" and the "Sun King" plays billiards.

1652: Michel Chamillard, a court favorite of Louis XIV, is called "a hero at pool" but a "zero in the ministry."

1654: Gayton in his notes on Don Quixote mentions billiards being played in taverns.

1665: The first known book containing instructions for billiards, La Maison de Jeux Academiques, is published in Paris. Samuel Pepys mentions billiards in his diaries.

1674: The first known English book containing instructions for billiards, Charles Cotton's The Compleat Gamester, is published. "It is permissible to use the small end of the mace if the ball lies too close to the rail." (A step in the evolution of the pool cue.) At this time the pockets were called "hazards" and were to be avoided, unless you could pocket your opponent's ball. Cotton says that in England there were "few towns of note that hath not a publick Billiard Table."
Gambling was a concern, as Cotton cautioned: "Let not a covetous desire of winning another's money engage you to the losing of your own." Players were also warned against gambling with "strangers" (i.e., hustlers).

1677: John Evelyn mentions that the King's apartment in Ipswich has a billiard table. Evelyn notes that the Portuguese mostly use the "sharp and small end of the billiard stick" (i.e., the cue rather than the mace).

1680: Francois Maximilien Misson, author of Travels in England, Scotland and Ireland, mentions billiards in his memoirs.

1689: In the memoirs of the Duke of St. Simon, a hustler becomes a Catholic bishop!

1690: Billiards may still be played "on specially prepared ground in the garden" according to Furetiere's dictionary. Louis XIV installs an elaborate billiard room in his palace at Versailles.

1700: Billiards are played in Russia during the reign of Peter the Great, circa 1700.

1710: Louis XV (1710-1774) was a billiards fan. One of the earliest mentions of the game in America is in the secret diary of Colonial legislator, William Byrd II of Virginia. After making love to his wife, Byrd writes: "It is to be observed that the flourish was performed on the billiard table." M. Jean Barbeyrac, a law professor, writes a book that discusses the legalities of billiards and dexterity vs. chance.

1712: William Byrd II records that he won "two bits" gambling on billiards. But he lost more than he won, accumulating enormous debts.
1716: The Elector of Saxony restricts players to being served only by men, which suggests that female markers may have been popular.
1723: Late-night billiards playing is restricted by the French in the five-year-old city of New Orleans, perhaps to discourage gambling.
1727: By this time, billiards is being played in nearly every Paris cafe.
1734: The first recorded mention in print of the billiard cue ("the stick") appears in Seymour's updated Complete Gamester.
Also mentioned is the French having "wholly laid aside" the port and king (i.e., the croquet-like arch and stick).
Only the good French players were allowed to use cues, and they looked down on players who used maces, including the English.
The good players were afraid the bad players would cut the table cloth, so lesser players were required to use maces.
This suggests that the French were already shooting massés with considerable force.
Many modern pool halls still ban the massé for the same reason: to protect tables from bad players.
1737: Philip Dormer Stanhouse, the Earl of Chesterfield, mentions playing billiards in his letter to the Countess of Suffolk.
According to H. Savile Clarke, the Earl of Chesterfield was hustled by a "notorious gamester" called Lookout.
1743: Jeanne Becu, the Duchess du Berri (1743-1793), was a French billiards enthusiast.
1748: Colonel Denis O'Kelly was a "reckless and daring gamester" who worked as a marker according to Thormanby.
1750: Dr. Samuel Johnson mentions billiards and gambling by Fortunio (circa 1500).
1754: Louis XVI (1754-1793) plays billiards, often being beaten by his wife, Marie Antoinette (the first female shark?).
1755. Dr. Samuel Johnson, creator of the first English dictionary, claims that "billiards" derives from "balyards" and not from the French.
1756: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) plays billiards; his financial problems have been attributed to his obsession with the game.
1757: Billiards was was banned from taverns in England by an act of Parliament during the reign of King George II.
1762: King George IV (1762-1830) is a billiards player.
1765: A billiard room is constructed by the French in the one-year-old city of St. Louis.
1766: Madame Germaine de Stael (1766-1817) is a billiards enthusiast. When exiled by Napoleon, she personally oversees the transfer of her table.
1773: Carambole (pocketless carom billiards, the precursor of three cushion billiards) is introduced in France.
1776: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton play billiards. Washington records his gambling winnings.  
1777: George Washington plays billiards with the visiting French General Lafayette.
Louis XVI plays bagatelle, a form of billiards with wooden pins or skittles (serving as obstacles), at the Chateau de Bagatelle.
Bagatelle later evolved into pinball, bumper pool and modern bowling.
1779: Thomas Jefferson plans to install a billiard table in Monticello but is thwarted when Virginia outlaws the game!
1789: A Paris hustler bets that he can make thirty bank shots in a row.
Around the same time, a shark in Hamburg, Germany makes shots by jumping the cue ball from one table to another.
1792: Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette play billiards on the eve of their imprisonment.
Her cue was said to have been fashioned from a single elephant tusk decorated with gold inlays.
Records show that she beat the king in those final games.
In the words of American writer John Grissim, "The woman was in stroke, but so was her executioner."
1796: John Mytton, born September 30, 1796, lost 16,000 napoleons at billiards, according to Thormanby.
1799: John Thurston goes into business as a billiard table and cabinet maker in London.
Malmaison, purchased by Josephine in 1799, had a billiard room. It became the seat of the French government after Napoleon returned from Egypt.
1800: Cues and maces are being sold in equal numbers in England.
1803: Billiard table making has become "generally a branch by itself" of the furniture industry, according to Sheraton.
1807: Captain François Mingaud is released from prison and demonstrates the spin possible with his invention: the leather cue tip.
Mingaud has been credited with inventing the draw shot and the massé, a shot so amazing that people saw the Devil's hand in it.
At this time "the best cues were made of well-seasoned ash or boxwood" and when stood on the floor would reach the player's chin.
The balls were made of ivory and were around two inches in diameter.
E. White's A Practical Treatise on the Game of Billiards is published, the first English book on the game.
White is the first to use the terms "object ball" and "cue ball."
According to White the mace has been used "almost exclusively" in England, the cue abroad, esp. by the Italians and Dutch.
White advises English players to "rough up" the ends of their tip-less sticks with a file, to avoid miscues.
White describes "side-spin" as a nuisance to be avoided by using the mace rather than the cue.
White warns his readers to be wary of strangers who may be concealing the the strength of their games (i.e., hustlers).
1812: Robert Browning mentions billiards in Mr. Sludge, the Medium.
1814: Charles Greville recounts meeting King Louis XVIII in exile at Hartwell on April 14, 1814, and seeing a billiard table in his salon.
1815: While in exile on St. Helena, Napoleon, an enthusiastic player, receives a Thurston billiard table sent to him from England.
Thurston also provides a table for the amusement of Napoleon's English guards.
The Duke of Wellington, the victor at Waterloo in 1815, also owns a billiard table.
1818: George Gordon, Lord Byron, mentions billiards in his poem Don Juan.
1819: A game called "pool" begins to appear in English rule books.
Michael Phelan, the father of American billiards and pool, is born at Castle Comer, County Kilkenny, Ireland, on April 18, 1819.
1820: At this time, according to Michael Phelan, backwards Americans use the mace almost exclusively.
But in England the cue has superseded the mace.
W. Lake and Ike Dennison are the best American mace players, according to John Roberts Sr.
Pierce Egan in Sporting Sketches paints a convincing picture of the first pool hustler, the Dutch Baron.
The Dutch Baron is a "gentleman of the green cloth" who played "poorly" until it mattered, but at important points won "as if by accident."
The Dutch Baron would get spots from players he was capable of spotting. Whatever they gave him at first, he would end up giving them in the end.
"He concealed his play so well, that no one could form an idea of its extent."
1823: Leather cue tips are being made and sold in New York by Camille Avout, a shoemaker.
Michael Phelan's father emigrates to the United States.
1824: The first player recognized as the English Champion was John Carr of Bath.
However when a deciding match for the title was arranged with Edwin "Jonathan" Kentfield, Carr failed to appear.
Kentfield then became known as "the first player in the world." He remained so until 1849 when John Roberts Sr. challenged Kentfield.
Kentfield then "pulled a Carr," so Roberts claimed the title of "first player in the world" by default.
1825: Pierce Egan mentions matches between John Carr and "the Cork marker," who may have been a Carney/Kearney noted by Thormanby. 
John Carr is also known as Jack Carr. He amazes spectators with a run of 22 consecutive balls, using the "spot stroke" technique.
John Roberts Sr. said that Carr and the Cork marker are the first players "of any pretentions whose prowess is recorded." (The first sharks!)
Egan called Carr "the father of the side-stroke" (and thus of side-spin or "english").
Carr introduces the use of "twisting chalk" to facilitate the cue ball side-spin" now known as "english."
Carr becomes the first "road player" and travels to Spain, where he beats everyone easily.
Michael Phelan's father is the lessee of three billiard rooms in New York, including one at 88 Maiden Lane.
1826: John Thurston creates a pool table with a slate bed; until then most pool tables had wooden beds.
1828: Opponents of president John Quincy Adams charge that he installed "gaming tables" in the White House.
1830: The French master of cue ball spin, François Mingaud, demonstrates the marvels of "english" in London.
John Thurston translates Mingaud's book The Noble Game of Billiards into English.
1831: Charles Stuart Calverley (1831-1884) writes a poem about striking the "dashing hazard" at a place called Brown's.
1833: A billiard table is hauled by mule train to Bent's Fort in Colorado on the Santa Fe Trail.
1834: John Moses Brunswick immigrates to the United States from Switzerland. He will become a leading manufacturer of pool tables.
John Thurston introduces the Imperial Petrosian Billiard Table with a slate bed.
1835: John Thurston introduces "natural rubber" cushions in a table sold to the officer's mess of the 42nd Royal Hussars in Corfu.
John Roberts Sr. remarked that "everybody laughed" at the innovation of "india-rubber" until it caught on.
Samuel Clemens aka "Mark Twain" (1835-1910) is passionately devoted to the game of pool.
1837: Queen Victoria (1837-1901) installs billiard tables at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and Osborne House.
The Windsor Castle table is made from wood salvaged from HMS Royal George, which sank in 1782 with the loss of 800 lives.
The Windsor table has a special heating system developed by John Thurston to keep the rubber cushions warm and "bouncy."
The Osborne House table is "Frost Proof" and made entirely of slate, the work of Mr. Eugene Magnus. 
1838:  Michael Phelan and Michael Carr attempt to open a billiard hall in Galveston, but the project fails due to "slender capital."
1839: Edwin Kentfield, one of England's early billiards superstars, authors On Billiards.
1842: Michael Phelan opens his first billiard hall with his friend Joseph N. White, aka Joe White.
1843: Cyrille Dion is born in Montreal in March 1843. He will win the first major Canadian and American pool tournaments.
His older brother Joseph Dion will also be a world-class billiardist and pool player.
1844: Charles Goodyear patents vulcanized rubber, which will soon be used in pool table cushions.
1845: John M. Brunswick creates his first billiard table, and will become a master table builder.
John Thurston obtains a patent to apply the vulcanizing process to billiard tables.
The first vulcanized rubber cushions are fitted to Queen Victoria's table at Windsor Castle.
1846: Pope Pius IX installs a billiard table in the Vatican.
According to Thormanby, Edwin "Jonathan" Kentfield is challenged by John Roberts Sr., who has a high run of 208 balls.
Reuben Roy authors The Science of Billiards. It covers Fortification Billiards, among other topics.
1847: John Roberts Jr. is born at Ardwick near Manchester. His father runs the billiard room of Manchester's Union Club.
Michael Phelan opens the famous Arcade Billiard Room.
1848: J. M. Brunswick opens his first sales office in Chicago.
1849: John Roberts Sr., the English champion, is said to be able to spot 300 points to all comers, for the next 20 years!
John Roberts Sr. challenges Edwin "Jonathan" Kentfield, who declines to play him in a match for £1,000 on his home table in Brighton.
Kentfield's high run was 196 billiards, according to Thormanby, author of Kings of the Turf and Kings of the Hunting Field.
Maurice Daly is born in New York City on April 25, 1849.
1850: The first American book on the game is Michael Phelan's
Billiards Without A Master.
John Roberts Sr. defeats Starke, the American champion, using the spot stroke.
Gas lighting helps improve shooting accuracy.
1854: The first public stakes match on record, for $200, is held in Syracuse, NY, between Joseph N. White and George Smith.
White wins 500-484. The game is four-ball carom on a 6 x 12 table with six pockets. Runs and averages were not recorded.
1855: Napoleon III sends an ornate billiard table to Russia as a gift for the coronation of Tsar Alexander II.
The first public stakes straight rail match in San Francisco pits Michael Phelan of the USA vs. Monsieur Damon of France for $500.
The match is played on a 6x12 table. The high run is 9, by Phelan, who wins the match and $500.
The match was played before "crotching" and other techniques led to higher runs.
George F. Slosson ("The Student") defeats French champion Maurice Vignaux 800-743 in Chicago's Central Music Hall on Dec. 21, 1885.
1857: Michael Phelan defeats Ralph Benjamin in a $2,000 match on Dec. 30, 1857 in Philadelphia. Phelan wins 161-81.
1858: John Seereiter defeats Bernard Crystal in the first match in which high runs and averages are recorded, playing $250 a side.
Seereiter wins 1000-830, with an average inning of 6.94 and a high run of 53; Crystal has a high run of 68.
1859: Michael Foley and Dudley Kavanagh play in the first match where admission tickets are sold, at Fireman's Hall in Detroit.
Kavanagh wins 1000-989 with an 8.47 average and record high run of 177 balls on a 6x12 six-pocket table, for $250 per side.
The following night, also at Fireman's Hall, Detroit, Michael Phelan defeats John Seereiter 2000-1904, playing for $15,000.
Michael Phelan defeats John Seereiter on April 12, 1859, claiming the first American billiards championship (four-ball).
According to John Roberts Sr., a quarter of a million dollars changes hands, including side bets.
The game was four-ball billiards, pushing and crotching allowed, on a 6x12 six-pocket table
Phelan averaged 12.20 with a high run of 129; Seereiter had a high run of 157.
The admission to the second match was $5 per head, and may have been designed to keep "penny ante" gamblers out.
Michael Phelan is the four-ball champion from 1859-1862 and retires undefeated.
A French caroms player named M. Claudius Berger comes to the U.S. penniless and leaves with $50,000.
Michael Phelan, the father of American billiards, pays all Berger's expenses while he is in the US.
According to Michael Geary, Berger was 267 pounds and "not tall." Berger was so short that he had to stand on a box for some shots.
Berger was remarkable for the power and ferocity of his ball-striking, especially massé shots, which he introduced to America.
Berger possessed "perhaps more power of the cue than any man living" (George Augustus Sala).
American crowds consider the paths of masséd balls to be "marvelous," according to Geary.
Berger has a high run of 69 using a "jawing" technique against future American champion John Deery, then age 16.
Geary takes Berger on the road, charging up to $1 for admission.
This is the first time wall placards are used to advertise billiards matches.
They go to Cuba and put on a match in a bull ring!
Geary practices the massé, but when he demonstrates the shot to Berger, he becomes "cold" and they fall out.
Berger's exhibition tour is ended by the Civil War in 1861.
1860: On July 25 the first intercollegiate billiards match is held between Harvard and Yale. The game is four-ball; Harvard wins.
On Oct. 26 the first pro tournament is held at Phelan & Collender's Union Square Billiard Room, NYC.
Dudley Kavanagh (29.41) wins over Philip Tieman (21.74), James Lynch (18.52), Joseph N. White (12.20) and Michael Geary (9.04).
According to Maurice Daly at this time "Position play, as we know it, was unknown even to the best of them."
1861: The first public match between Western players is won by Philip Tieman over John Deery for $500 a side, in Cincinnati.
This is 100 years before the movie The Hustler and the legendary Johnston City "pool hustler" tournaments in 1961.
1862: John Roberts Sr. sets the record high run of 346 balls in March at Saville House, playing against William Dufton.
The first public match with the push shot barred from straight rail billiards, at Kremlin Hall, Buffalo, NY, on Nov. 6, 1862.
The first public match with crotching barred, at Tucker's Academy, San Francisco, CA, on Aug. 2, 1862.
Crotching was limited to three successive shots, within an imaginary line.
Michael Foley, four-ball caroms, had the record high run of 90 for a 6x12 six pocket table with the push shot and massé barred.
The first public three-ball caroms match is scheduled between Louis Fox and John Deery, but Deery forfeits.
1863: The first formal pro championship on a four-pocket table, at Irving Hall, N.Y.C (June 1-9). Dudley Kavanagh wins over Louis Fox.
Dudley Kavanagh is the second American billiards champion, after Michael Phelan, from 1863-1865.
Other notable players include John Deery, John Seereiter, Philip Tieman, Michael Foley, William Goldthwait, Victor Estephe.
The level of play was called "the most brilliant ever known" by one writer.
Deery runs 313 balls. This is the first public match with "jawing" and the high runs and averages soar.
The Billiard Congress is founded by Phelan, Kavanagh, Fox, Deery, Seereiter, Tieman, Foley, Goldthwait, Estephe.
The last public four-ball match on a six-pocket table takes place on Dec. 17, 1863 in Union Hall, Indianapolis, IN.
John McDevitt, four-ball on a 6 x 12 six pocket table, takes the old game out in style with a record 17.24 average and 148 high run vs. Frank Parker.
According to Phelan, the mace is still being used by American women and children to learn the "rudiments" of the game.
A political cartoon shows Abraham Lincoln playing bagatelle against his political rival George B. McClellan.
1864: Charles Dickens receives a billiard table for Christmas.
Abraham Lincoln is a self-confessed "billiards addict."
Lincoln calls the game "health-inspiring" and "scientific," lending "recreation to an otherwise fatigued mind."
According to Henry C. Whitney: "Billiards, I may say, was the only non-utilitarian thing that I know of Lincoln indulging in."
Michael Geary's pool room opens in Washington, with 2,000 people attending.
During exhibitions, Geary runs 66 balls, then Michael Phelan runs 121. Dudley Kavanagh and Edward Cahill also play.
Dudley Kavanagh wins over Philip Tieman in a NYC championship match on April 7, 1864. 
The first public match in which both the push shot ("pushing") and jawing are barred, on April 8, 1864 in Irving Hall, NYC.
The first state championship, of Connecticut, is held in Allyn Hall, Hartford, CT, Aug. 16-18, 1864 and won by Gershon R. Hubbell.
Michael Phelan, four-ball caroms, runs 56 balls, a record for a 6x12 four-pocket table with jawing and pushing barred.
1865: On April 13, John Wilkes Booth gets loaded at Deery's Billiard Saloon, owned by John Deery, before shooting Abraham Lincoln.
Perhaps the only thing Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth have in common is that they both love pool.
Louis Fox becomes the American four-ball billiards champion.
On Sept. 7, 1865 in Rochester NY, Louis Fox loses his U.S. championship to John Deery. Fox may have committed suicide as a result.
On Jan. 20, Dudley Kavanagh wins a $1,000 match against William Goldthwait, a well-known pro.
According to The New York Times, there was an "immense" audience and side bets of up to $5,000 were offered.
Pierre Carme of France arrives in New York City, is greeted by a crowd of nearly 2,000, plays Michael Phelan in an exhibition, and wins.
Carme defeats Dudley Kavanagh at the French game, then loses narrowly at the American game, which had only practiced for a few days.
The match above is the first public three-cushion billiards stakes match between top-flight professionals in the U.S.
The first and only Canadian championship tournament is held, with Cyrille Dion winning. He later wins the first American pool tournament.
1866: Early in the year, on Jan. 26, 1866, the English billiards champion John Roberts arrives in NY.
The push shot was restored for the Pennsylvania championship but this caused a "division of sentiment" (Phelan) and the series ended.
The Memphis, TN, tournament is won by Melvin Foster, who uses jawing to achieve an average of 50.00 and a high run of 282.
In the first public American match between foreign players, Joseph Dion of Canada defeats Pierre Carme of France.
Joseph Dion is Cyrille Dion's brother.
John Deery defeats John McDevitt for $1,000 and the four-ball championship cue in NY.
John McDevitt, four-ball, runs 409 balls against William Goldthwait in a match in Bumstead Hall, Boston, MA, on Oct. 30, 1866.
Joseph Dion, four-ball, 25.86 average vs. John McDevitt in a match in Mechanics' Hall, Montreal, Oct. 5, 1866.
Joseph Dion, a Canadian, is the American four-ball champion.
1867: The first cushion caroms exhibitions are given, according to Brunswick's Modern Billiards.
Joseph Dion runs 616 balls vs. John McDevitt, using a "jawing" technique on a 6 x 12 four-pocket table.
This led to the barring of "jawing" from the championship series.
In the third championship of Pennsylvania, Edmund H. Nelms has a high run of 470 and a winning average of 38.46 versus Victor Estephe.
Edmund H. Nelms, four ball, has a record high run of 543 on a 6 x 12 table, crotching barred, pushing allowed.
John McDevitt is the American four-ball champion.
1868: Chemist John Hyatt saves thousands of elephants by inventing celluloid for billiard balls.
50,000 elephants died in what Joseph Conrad called "the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience."
The new balls sometimes spark on collision and even explode, requiring a search for improvements that lead to the invention of plastics.
John Roberts Sr. authors On Billiards.
The first American match between French experts pits A. P. Rudolphe and Philip Carme, in Chicago. Rudolphe wins by forfeit.
W. W. Wright, four ball, averages 32.26 on a 5½ x 11 table, pushing allowed, crotching barred. The loser, C. A. W. Jamison, averaged 51.23!
John McDevitt, the American billiards champion, moves to Chicago where "the billiard wonder of his time is tendered quite an ovation."
John McDevitt, four-ball, runs 1,483 billiards (unfinished); pushing and crotching allowed; McDevitt continued to 1,500 to satisfy the audience.
This run was made with balls wedged in the jaw of the pocket but constituted a "carom-table crotch" (Phelan).
John McDevitt, four-ball, runs 1,458 balls and averages 166.67 vs. Joseph Dion in Chicago on Sept. 16, 1868 on a 6 x 12 four-pocket table.
McDevitt was "lifted to the shoulders of admiring friends, carried about the hall" and "nearly stripped of  his clothing."
This match led to the barring of the push stroke. McDevitt returned the championship golden cue to Phelan & Collender.
According to Michael Phelan, "The old style of game came thus to an end." But a new game was just starting to take off ...
Johnny Layton, straight pool, sets a new record with a high run of 78 balls in Chicago.
1869: Joseph Bennett invents the "spot hazard barred" version of English billiards.
Frederick William Lindrum I becomes Australia's first World Professional Billiards Champion, defeating the English master, John Roberts Sr.
Mark Twain in Innocents Abroad uses "English" for spin: "You would infallibly put the `English' on the wrong side of the ball."
The first American pool tournament with contestant entry fees is played in Irving Hall, NYC, and is won by John Deery who pockets $1,000.
This the closest major tournament on record, with six players averaging 21.53 to 25.00 balls per inning. Deery has the high run, 358.
John Deery is the American four-ball champion from 1869-1870.
From this point and forward, pushing and crotching are barred in four-ball championships.
Melvin Foster averages 1,000 by "crotching out" in one inning versus George T. Stone in Breed's Hall, Norwich, CT on Aug 4, 1869.
Melvin Foster, four ball, has a record 492 high run for a 5½ x 11 four pocket table, pushing and jawing barred.
A. P. Rudolphe pockets the biggest American purse to date: $1,000 in stakes plus $1,750 in door-money, in a narrow win against C. Dion.
William Cook, English billiards, begins to have long runs of around 300 balls and decides to challenge John Roberts Sr.
John Roberts Sr. is advised to retire by his friends, but elects to play Cook.
1870: The first official English billiards championship is played between John Roberts Sr. and William Cook.
Cook is favored 5-2, but only wins 1,200-1,083.
The match took place at Saint James's Hall on February 11, 1870 with William Dufton as master of ceremonies.
The match featured a growing controversy over the "spot stroke" with Roberts lobbying for tighter restrictions.
After Cook beat his father, John Roberts Jr. challenged Cook to a match and won by 478 points on April 14, 1870.
John Roberts Jr. and William Cook would take turns beating each other for a decade.
Cook popularized the "spot-barred" version of English billiards, in which the red could not be potted more than twice in succession from its spot.
The modern game of three-cushion billiards dates to around 1870. It evolved from straight rail and cushion caroms.
Snooker was invented by bored British army officers in India. One was future prime minister Neville Chamberlain.
According to George Augustus Sala, there is a billiard table in "every well-ordered mansion" in England, with ladies playing freely and skillfully.
Salas praises "the charms of the shaded lamps, the well-balanced cue, the smooth green table and the ivory balls."
Until the 1870s, the most popular American game was "four-ball billiards," also known as "61 pool."
A. P. Rudolphe, a Frenchman, defeats John Deery for the four-ball championship cue and $1,000 in San Francisco.
The first four-ball match with rules to prohibit nursing was won by J. Dion over M. Foster at the Hippotheatron, NYC on June 1, 1870.
The match was to be a race to 500, but due to slower play it was agreed during the match to only play to 300.
This game was called the "Red, White and Blue" due to the introduction of a blue ball, and the "Experts' Game" due to the skill required.
J. Dion had the high average of 5.36, and M. Foster had the high run of 28.
Frank Parker, four ball, averages 42.86 on a  5½ x 11 table, pushing and jawing barred.
1871: American champion John McDevitt perishes in the Great Chicago Fire on Oct. 9, 1871.
Michael Phelan, the father of American pool, dies at age 53 on Oct. 7, 1871, from exposure suffered while saving his grandson from drowning.
George H. Sutton, aka "the Handless Wonder" (1870-1938), had no arms below the elbows, but was a pro billiardist nonetheless.
The first American handicap tournament is played at Allyn Hall, Hartford, CT from Feb. 23 to March 1, 1871. Clark E. Wilson wins $250.
M. Daly, four ball, has a record 93.75 average on a 5½ x 11 table, crotching barred.
Frank Parker is the American four-ball champion.
Cyrille Dion, a Canadian, is the American four-ball champion from 1871-1873.

1872: Cyrille Dion, four-ball caroms, runs 321 on a 5½ x 11 table, pushing and jawing barred.
1873: Maurice Daly is the American four-ball champion.
Albert Garnier is the American four-ball champion.
The first three-ball straight rail world championship is held at Irving Hall, NY, in June 1873. Albert Garnier wins, with a high run of 113.
There was a three-way tie for first; the Frenchman Garnier won a playoff with Canadian Cyrille Dion and American Maurice Daly.
George F. Slosson, four-ball, runs 534 and averages 142.86 vs. John Bessunger in Kingsbury Hall, Chicago, IL on Sept. 9, 1873.
William Cook, English billiards, runs 396 balls vs. John Roberts Jr. on Jan. 1-2, 1873, at the Hen and Chickens Hotel, Manchester.
Albert Garnier authors Scientific Billiards.
1874: Wild Bill Hickok pistol whips seven thugs who try to prevent him and Heman Baldwin from entering Chicago's St. James Hotel to play billiards.
A. P. Rudolphe of France defeats William Cook of England on an English table for $1,000 in NYC on Oct. 9, 1874.
The French are tough to beat, as A. P. Rudolphe defeats Albert Garnier and Maurice Vignaux defeats Joseph Dion in NYC in Dec. 1874.
Maurice "The Lion" Vignaux is brought to the U.S. by his mentor Francois Ubassy.
Maurice Vignaux, a Frenchman, becomes the American four-ball champion in his first tournament.
The first "balk" line was used in a three-ball tournament, won by Maurice Vignaux. It was designed to prevent crotching and the rail nurse.
Joseph Dion, a Canadian, is the American four-ball champion.
1875: John Roberts Jr. takes the English billiards title from William Cook on Dec. 20, 1875 at a packed St. James's Hall.
The match was of such importance that it was attended by Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales and future Edward VII.
Later in 1875, Cook runs 362 balls only to have Roberts run 345 and 448 (unfinished) to come back and win.
John Roberts Jr. was regarded as the foremost billiard player in the world, spotting top players hundreds of balls.
Neville Chamberlain, in a letter dated March 19, 1938 claimed to have invented snooker in Jabalpur, India in 1875.
His claim was supported by the author Compton Mackenzie in a letter to The Billiard Player in 1939.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography says Chamberlain claimed the players were all "snookers" and the name "immediately stuck."
Cyrille Dion, a Canadian, is the American four-ball champion.
1876: Mark Twain and Bret Harte write a play in the billiard room of Twain's Connecticut home.
Cyrille Dion averages 40.54 vs. A. P. Rudolphe in Tammany Hall, NYC, on April 7, 1876 on a 5½ x 11 table, pushing and jawing barred.
Dion has runs of 141, 45, 177, 114, 216, 99 and 228.
Dion wins 1,500-392 and is called "virtually the champion of the American four-ball game" by The New York Times.
The Times article concludes, "The game last night fairly kills the four-ball American game of billiards" and predicts there will be no more matches.
The Times is correct, as straight rail three-ball carom billiards replaces four-ball as the American championship game.
William "The Comanche" Sexton is the American straight rail billiards champion from 1876-1878.
John Roberts Jr., English billiards spot-barred, runs 558 balls in a match with Tom Taylor at the Globe Hotel, Newton Abbot. 
John Roberts Jr. tours Australia, Ceylon and India, where the tour is called "The Great Billiard Epidemic." He earns around £7,000.
1877: John Roberts Jr., English billiards all-in, runs 756 balls on July 5, 1887 in a match against William Cook at the Suffolk Hotel, Lowestoft.
Fourteen-year-old Albert "The Boy Wonder" Frey is employed by William "Old Comanche" Sexton in his Bowery pool hall.
1878: The first three-cushion billiards tournament takes place in C. E. Mussey's billiard room in St. Louis. Leon L. Magnus, a left-hander, wins $75.
The first American pool tournament (fifteen-ball pool aka "61 pool") is won by a Canadian, Cyrille Dion. Ah, the irony!
The runner-up in the first American pool tournament was Samuel F. Knight, followed by Gotthard Wahlstrom and Joseph Dion.
Other contestants included John McWarble, George F. Slosson, Clarke E. Wilson, William Sexton, A. P. Rudolphe and George Frey.
The First National Championship Tournament was held on 5x10 tables in the Union Square Billiard Rooms, NYC, April 8-20, 1878.
It was actually an international affair, with players from Canada (the Dion brothers), Sweden (Wahlstrom) and France (Rudolphe). 
Cyrille Dion went undefeated, beating all the other players in the round-robin format, and winning a gold medal and $250.
Cyrille Dion's closest matches were 11-10 affairs against his brother Joseph and second-place finisher Samuel Knight.
The tournament was big news, with lengthy articles in all the New York papers. Open gambling was mentioned matter-of-factly.
Admission prices ranged from 25 to 75 cents. There was seating for 500, but there was standing room only toward the end.
In an interesting synchronicity, the 61-pool tournament was held in rooms 60 and 62 of Union Square.
In another interesting synchronicity, Cyrille Dion was left-handed, like Leon L. Magnus.
Gotthard "The Swede" Wahlstrom then becomes the world fifteen-ball champion, defeating Cyrille Dion on August 1, 1878 in NYC.
So the first two American pool champions were a Canadian and a Swede!
Cyrille Dion, the Canadian champion, dies of severe lung congestion on Oct. 1, 1878 in his mother's house in Montreal. He was 35.
Jake Schaefer Sr. is the American straight rail billiards champion from 1879-1881.
1879: Jake Schaefer Sr. scores 690 points in a single inning of a straight rail match, using the rail nurse technique. He is hailed as "The Wizard."
Jake "The Wizard" Schaefer Jr. scores 1,000 points in three innings against George F. Slosson, a 333.33 average, on May 15, 1879.
The "champion's game" or "limited rail" is introduced to counteract the rail nurse technique. It lasts until 1884.
Jake Schaefer Sr. quickly develops the reverse rail nurse technique, and his high runs continue unabated.
According to Billiards Digest, Jack Schaefer Sr. is the #24 pool/billiards player of the 20th century. (His son is ranked higher.)
Samuel F. Knight becomes the world fifteen-ball champion, defeating Gotthard Wahlstrom in April 1879.
Gotthard Wahlstrom becomes the world fifteen-ball champion, defeating Alonzo Morris in Oct. 1879.
1880: Maurice Vignaux of France, straight rail, runs 1,531 balls, April 10-14, in Paris against George F. Slosson on a 5x10 table.
George F. Slosson had a high run of 1,103 in the same match.
As Maurice Daly put it, "Such work put straight rail billiards to sleep as a competitive test for professionals."
Jake Schaefer defeats William Sexton 600-585 with a high run of 162 in a closely contested match at Tammany Hall, NYC.
Samuel F. Knight becomes the world fifteen-ball champion, defeating Gotthard Wahlstrom on Feb. 19, 1880 in NY.
Gotthard Wahlstrom becomes the world fifteen-ball champion, defeating Samuel F. Knight in May 1880.
Albert M. Frey, the "blonde boy" wonder and darling of the gambling crowds, makes his public debut on Dec. 30, 1880.
This is in a tournament preliminary to the upcoming world fifteen-ball championship, with the winners advancing.
The tournament takes place in the amphitheatre of Connor's Union-Square Billiard Hall. 
According to The New York Times, Albert Frey's "precocious skill" has already given him "quite a reputation in local billiard circles."
If TNYT was correct about Frey's age at his death (see 1889), he was around 19 in 1880, but probably looked much younger.
Frey was also apparently very short, being "very little taller than a pool table." (TNYT March 27, 1887)
In his first match, Frey defeats Leslie E. Slosson, the brother of billiard legend George F. Slosson, 7-3.
On the same day, Frey defeats John S. Leonard, 7-4.
Other contestants include Charles Schaefer (the brother of Jake Schaefer Sr.), Joseph King, Otis Field, Frank Smith and Joseph Pihel.
1881: On Jan. 5, 1881 the preliminary tournament concludes with Charles Schaefer first and Albert Frey a very surprising second.
Albert Frey was coached by his brother, George Frey, who promised that Albert "would hereafter play to win at all times."
It seems that during Albert Frey's game with an overmatched Otis Field, he may have "slowed down" and came close to be being barred from the championship.
Charles Schaefer, Albert Frey, Otis Field and James King advance to compete with the top pros for the national championship.
On Jan. 15, 1881 the national championship concludes with Gotthard "The Swedish Phenomenon" Wahlstrom first, Samuel Knight second, Albert Frey third.
Other contestants in their order of finish were Joseph King, Thomas Wallace, Albert Lambert, Jake Schaefer Sr., Charles Schaefer, Otis Field.
On Feb. 7, 1881, Albert M. Frey creates "wild excitement" with his daring play as he defeats ex-champion Alonzo Morris Jr. 21-20.
Albert Frey was again coached by his brother, George Frey.
On Feb. 25, 1881, Albert M. Frey openly challenges Morris to play him "in any public hall in New-York City" for $250 to $1,000 a side.
The March 23, 1881 edition of the New York Times mentions "the straight rail game."
The May 7, 1881 edition of the New York Clipper contains a challenge by boy wonder Albert M. Frey for the fifteen-ball championship.
Gotthard "The Swede" Wahlstrom remains the world fifteen-ball champion, twice beating Albert M. Frey head-up in the championship tournament.
Frey the "boy expert" (TNYT) tied with Joseph King and Alonzo Morris Jr., then beat them both head-up in playoff matches to finish second.
Frey went to the table "smiling and confident" to beat King. Spectators "rejoiced at the little fellow's success."
Frey then defeated Morris 11-9 with "dazzling" play and "great brilliancy and daring" that included a massé combination shot involving four balls. (TNYT)
Frey "often looked up at Morris in a roguish way when he had a difficult shot, and then with a laugh drew back the cue and sent the ball whizzing into the pocket."
Frey's "unusually brilliant play" and "making an astonishing variety of the most difficult shots" had spectators cheering him on, and eating up his act.
During Frey's 11-5 upset victory over heavily favored Jake Schaefer Sr., the referee, ex-champion Samuel Knight, "frequently made admiring remarks about the lad's play." (TNYT)
William Sexton, cushion caroms, runs 77 balls in a match against Jake Schaefer Sr. on Dec. 19, 1881 at Tammany Hall, NY.
John Roberts Jr. crushes William Cook by 2,759 points despite giving him a 2,000 point spot, ending Cook's long run as a top player.
1882: George F. Slosson, champions' game, runs 398 balls, Jan. 30-Feb 3, in Paris against Maurice Vignaux.
Billy Mitchell, English billiards all-in, runs 1,055 balls, the first 1,000 break, against W. J. Peall at Rathbone Place, October 4-7, 1882.
Albert M. Frey, the "boy expert" defeats Samuel F. Knight on March 8, winning $1,000 with crowd-exciting long shots from difficult positions.
Alfred M. Frey wins the First Tournament at Pyramid (Eight-Ball) at Republican Hall, NYC, May 3-17, 1882.
John Dankleman finishes second, George Sutton third (his debut) and Jacob Schaefer Sr. and Thomas Wallace tie for fourth.
Albert M. Frey is the world fifteen-ball champion from 1882-1883.
Joseph Dion is the American straight rail billiards champion.
1883: An 8-inch balkline is implemented, in an attempt to counteract nursing techniques.
This led to the development of the anchor nurse technique by Jake Schaefer Sr., Frank C. Ives, and others.
Maurice Vignaux, the French champion, comes to the U.S. to participate in the first balkline tournament.
Jake Schaefer Sr. is the American balkline billiards (8-inch) champion from 1883-1884.
George F. Slosson, cushion carom billiards, runs 38 balls, a new high run that will stand for 50 years.
1884: Maurice Vignaux of France, balkline billiards (8-inch), runs 329 balls in Paris on a 5x10 table, in January.
The first Call-Ball-and-Pocket Tournament is held in Syracuse, NY. Albert M. Frey is "almost invariably winning" (Phelan) at this point.
James Louis Malone wins the Third National 15-Ball Championship at Music Square Hall, NYC, over Albert M. Frey and Joseph T. King.
The last "champion's game" public match is played.
1885: F. Peterson, three-cushion billiards, has a record high run of 14 balls.
John Roberts Jr., English billiards, has spot-barred runs of 409, 432 and 451 balls.
Cap Anson, the major league baseball hall-of-famer, beats professional Frank Parker 500-364 in a match in Chicago on March 25, 1885.
Joseph Dion is taken to Bellevue Hospital suffering from dementia, then is removed to Bloomingdale Asylum, on Nov. 18, 1885.
James L. Malone challenges Albert M. Frey to play a championship match for $500 a side, and Frey confidently offers to double the stakes.
George F. Slosson is the American balkline billiards (14-inch) champion.
Jake Schaefer Sr. is the American balkline billiards (14-inch) champion from 1885-1890.
1886: Albert M. Frey wins the 61 pool championship and defends it successfully three times in 1886-1887 against James L. Malone.
According to an article in The New York Times about one of the matches, Malone seemed nervous while Frey "wore a confident smile."
In one of the matches the applause was so loud that the massive table shook, and Frey's fans were "electrified" by his "dash and nerve."
In the 1887 match, Frey doubled the score on Malone, winning 80 games to 40, and taking 14 of 15 games in one stretch.
William J. Peall, English billiards all-in, runs 2,413 balls, the first player to exceed two thousand, on November 5, 1886.
John Roberts Jr., English billiards spot-barred, runs 506 balls on April 12, 1886.
John Roberts Jr., English billiards spot-barred, runs 604 balls on November 17, 1886.
1887: Albert M. Fry retains the championship emblem by defeating Alfredo de Oro 11-10, then J. L. Malone in the finals 11-8.
James L. Malone becomes the world fifteen-ball champion, defeating Albert M. Frey in a match at Maurice Daly's Brooklyn billiard hall in May 1887.
Malone and Frey played so well that they "wrought the spectators into a great state of excitement," according to The New York Times.
Alfredo de Oro of Cuba wins the first of 41 world titles. According to Billiards Digest, Alfredo de Oro is the #4 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Alfredo "Balbo" de Oro's first world title is in fifteen-ball (61 pool), over James L. Malone.
According to "Banker" John C. Horgan, the three stars of this era were James L. Malone, Alfredo de Oro and Albert M. Frey.
The first "continuous pool" tournament is held at Daly's in Brooklyn and is won by Albert M. Frey.
Continuous pool is also called "fifteen-ball" and "fifteen-ball continuous pool."
Continuous pool would evolve into 14.1 continuous pool, which is the modern game known as straight pool.
In continuous pool, every ball is worth a single point and the game is played continuously until a numeric goal is reached, such as 150 points.
In an article before the event, TNYT says that Frey is the favorite in the betting, and that new rules will hopefully "do away with tiresome safety play."
The contestants included Frey, Malone, de Oro, Albert Powers, Charles Manning, Samuel Knight and Daniel Lawlor.
According to de Oro, continuous pool was suggested by an Englishman who offered to put up $200 if each ball would count only one point.
Malone confirmed de Oro's account, saying that a match in which Frey beat him while pocketing 39 fewer balls prompted the new rules.
The rule change was prompted after Frey beat Malone while pocketing few balls, but Frey then beat Malone again under the new rules.
Willie Frederick Hoppe is born in Cornwall Landing on the Hudson River, New York, on October 11, 1887. He will win 51 world titles from 1906-1952.
Harvey McKenna, straight rail, runs 2,572 balls and 2,121 balls on Dec. 20-21, 1887, with a 416.67 average on a 5x10 table in Boston, MA.
William "Billy" Mitchell, English billiards all-in, runs 4,427 balls against W. J. Peall.
William Cook, English billiards spot-barred, runs 462 balls on October 18, 1887, second only to John Roberts Jr. at the time.
1888: Vincent Van Gogh paints Night Cafe in Arles with a billiard table as the central feature.
Albert M. Frey trounces James L. Malone in a championship match held at Maurice Daly's pool room in Brooklyn on Feb. 11, 1888.
Malone, however, insists that Frey forfeited by not showing up on time for the match and plays under protest.
Alfredo de Oro is the world fifteen-ball champion, defeating James L. Malone in Feb. 1888.
De Oro is left-handed. It will be nearly 100 years before a another left-hander, Babe Cranfield, wins the world straight pool championship in 1964.
Frank Powers is the world continuous pool champion.
1889: Albert M. Frey wins a match 125-105 against Alfredo de Oro at the Union League Annex in Philadelphia on March 27, 1889.
Albert M. Frey wins the world continuous pool championship in a tournament held in Brooklyn.
Contestants included Frey, Malone, de Oro, Charles H. Manning, Albert Powers, Joseph T. King and William Clearwater.
Frey defeated Charles H. Manning, virtually doubling the score, 100-51, on Feb. 27, 1889.
Frey defeated James L. Malone 158-127 in 19 innings and overwhelmed his other main rival, Alfredo de Oro, by a score of 168-98 on March 14, 1889.
Frey won in a playoff over de Oro, but then died suddenly of pneumonia on Apr. 25, 1889, leaving the title vacant.
According to a March 29, 1889 article in The New York Times, Frey was 28 at the time of the tournament, but looked much younger.
Albert Abrahamson, the chief clerk of the Green Hotel's billiard room, refused to let Frey enter at first, not believing he could be 21.
Albert M. Frey was "widely known as the champion pool player of America," according to his obit in The New York Times.
Frey's pallbearers included his fellow billiardists Harry Mount, Joseph King, Charles Manning and James Malone.
Malone had a crown delivered to the funeral, a touching tribute since he had been Frey's greatest and most determined obstacle to the crown.
George F. Slosson and William Cavanaugh also paid their respects, as did John D. O'Conner and Edward Glover of Brunswick-Balke.
Alfredo de Oro wins the world continuous pool championship, defeating Charles H. Manning in June 1889.
1890: William Peall, English billiards all-in, runs 3,304 consecutive balls under obsolete rules (i.e., potting the same red ball repeatedly) against Charles Dawson.
Jacob Schaefer Sr., straight rail billiards, runs 2,996 consecutive balls via reverse rail nursing in San Francisco from May 29-31, 1890.
"So it came about that schemes had to be devised to handicap the skillful players." (Maurice Daly)
John Roberts Jr., English billiards spot-barred, runs 690 balls with 108 consecutive nursery cannons, playing William Cook in March, 1890.
Alfredo de Oro retains the world continuous pool championship, defeating Charles H. Manning in April 1890.
Albert G. Powers wins the world continuous pool championship, defeating Alfredo de Oro in May 1890.
Charles H. Manning wins the world continuous pool championship, defeating Albert G. Powers in June 1890.
Electric light bulbs help improve shooter accuracy.
1891: Frank Powers is the world continuous pool champion.
1892: Alfredo de Oro is the world continuous pool champion from 1892-1894.
1893: In November 1893, Jake Schaefer Sr. uses the anchor nurse to run 343 against Frank Ives, and Ives responds the following night with a run of 456.
Jacob Schaefer Sr., 14.2 balkline billiards, runs 566 balls via the anchor nurse against Frank Ives in New York on Dec. 16, 1893.
Maurice Daly said of Schaefer, "Many hold him to have been the greatest player of all, master of the best today."
According to Daly the only other player to truly master the anchor was Frank Ives.
John Roberts Jr., English billiards spot-barred, runs 737 balls playing William Peall in March, 1893.
Charles Dawson, English billiards spot-barred, runs 698 balls playing H. Coles a few weeks later.
The American champion Frank C. Ives defeats the English champion John Roberts Jr., running 2,539 balls from May 29-June 4, 1983.
Ives used the rail nurse to get the balls to the place where they became anchored. (Maurice Daly)
Roberts "did not know the rail-nurse" but after Ives taught it to him, Roberts "doubled and trebled his previous records." (Daly)
Ives outdid all players in "patient practice" except perhaps George Sutton on the line-nurse, at which he "led all the rest." (Daly)
Alfredo de Oro defeats the English champion John Roberts Jr. at Madison Square Garden, NYC, playing for $2,000 on Oct. 16-21, 1983.
The score was 1000-924, alternating between American and English tables every 60 balls.
Alvin Clarence Thomas, better known as "Titanic" Thompson, the greatest of the proposition gamblers, is born on Nov. 30, 1893 in Monett, MO.
Minnesota Fats called Titanic Thompson "the greatest action man of all time."
One of his victims, Snow Clark, gave him the nickname Titanic, saying "he sinks everyone."
Ben Hogan called Titanic the best golf shotmaker he ever saw, even though he didn't start playing golf until he was in his thirties.
Titanic would beat someone playing right-handed, then offer to let them "win their money back" by playing them left-handed.
But Titanic was left-handed. He was also only "one stroke better than every other player in the world."
Titanic Thompson killed five men but said they all would have agreed that they got what they deserved.
"Are you a gambling man?" Titanic would ask, "Because I am."
But an acquaintance called "Moves" said that Thompson would never bet unless the game was rigged in his favor.
The character Sky Masterson in Damon Runyan's Guys and Dolls was based on Titanic Thompson.
However, Titanic never smoked or drank because of a promise he'd made his mother.
1894: Frank Ives, 14.2 balkline billiards, runs 487 balls using the anchor nurse in a tournament.
The Parker's Box, named after Charles Parker who suggested it, is implemented to counteract the anchor nurse technique.

This leads to the development of the chuck nurse or rocking cannon technique.
According to Maurice Daly, Frank Ives would spend four to six hours per day practicing the "anchor" and "chuck."
John Roberts Jr., English billiards spot-barred, runs 867 balls with numerous nursery cannons vs. C. Memmott at Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London.
John Roberts Jr., English billiards spot-barred, runs 1,392 balls, the first break over 1,000 made without the spot-stroke, against E. Diggle in Manchester.
John Roberts Jr., English billiards spot-barred, runs 1,017 balls against E. Diggle in Glasgow, Scotland.
Willie Hoppe, age 6, and his brother Frank Hoppe, age 8, are already hustling "drummers" at their father's hotel.
1895: George Spears, straight rail billiards, runs 5,041 balls via nursing.
Frank C. Ives, cushion caroms, runs 85 balls in a tournament in Boston.
William H. Clearwater wins the world continuous pool championship, with Alfredo de Oro second and Jerome Keogh third.
E. Diggle., English billiards spot-barred, runs 985 balls against John Roberts Jr. in London on Jan. 4, 1985.
Willie Hoppe's father takes the young shark, age 7, and his brother Frank, age 9, on a barnstorming tour as "the Hoppe Brothers, the Boy Billiardists."
Wee Willie the "Wonder Boy" delights old master Maurice Daly.
1896: Alfredo de Oro wins the world continuous pool championship, defeating Grant Eby.
Frank Stewart then becomes the world continuous pool champion.
Under the tutelage of Maurice Daly, young Willie Hoppe, age 8, runs 310 at straight rail and 36 at cushion caroms.
1897: Jerome Keogh, who later invented the game of straight pool, wins his first world championship match.
Jerome Keogh becomes the world continuous pool champion.
George F. Slosson becomes the world 18.1 balkline billiards champion.
Grant Eby becomes the world continuous pool champion.
1898: William Clearwater becomes the world continuous pool champion.
Jerome Keogh becomes the world continuous pool champion.
Jake Schaefer Sr. becomes the world 18.1 balkline billiards champion.
Frank C. Ives ("The Napoleon of Billiards" and "Young Napoleon") becomes the world 18.1 balkline billiards champion.
Walter Lindrum of Kalgoorlie, Australia, is born. He loses the tip of his right index finger in an accident, but learns to play left-handed.
Lindrum's grandfather, Frederick William Lindrum I, was Australia's first World Professional Billiards Champion.
His father, Frederick William Lindrum II, was an Australian Billiards Champion at the age of 20.
His older brother, Frederick William Lindrum III, became an Australian Billiards Champion in 1909.
His cousin Horace Lindrum became a famed billiards and snooker pro; the Lindrums may be the greatest billiard playing family ever.
1899: W. H. Catton is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Alfredo de Oro is the world continuous pool champion from 1899-1900.
Willie "Wonder Boy" Hoppe, age 12, has already beaten established billiards stars Ora Morningstar, Al Taylor and Tom Gallagher.
After losing to the boy wonder, 300-207, Al Taylor had a meltdown, gave up billiards, and went to Colorado to take up mining.
1900: Eugene Carter is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Lloyd Jevne is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Snooker is officially recognized by the Billiards Association.
Eugene Carter is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
1901: Frank Sherman wins the world continuous pool championship in Boston, going undefeated and beating Afredo de Oro in the finals.
Alfredo de Oro becomes the world continuous pool champion.
Jake Schaefer defeats Louis Barutel at 18.1 balkline billiards, 1200-946, at the Knickerbocker Billiard Accademy, Brooklyn, on Dec. 22, 1901.
Schaefer and Barutel sail to France together after the match.
Willie "Wunderkind" Hoppe, age 14, also goes to London then Paris to hustle and train. His expenses are paid by Jake Schaefer.
Maurice Daly says of the boy wonder, "Nothing equal to young Hoppe's work at his age has ever been seen."
But Hoppe cannot qualify for tournaments yet because at 4'6" he cannot reach across the table while keeping a foot on the floor.
1902: William Clearwater wins the world continuous pool championship, defeating Charles Weston and Jerome Keogh, among others.
William Clearwater, 15-ball, runs 97 balls in a match in Toledo, OH.
Grant Eby becomes the world continuous pool champion.
Willie Hoppe is busted for gambling in Paris during a money match with Maurice Vignaux. Hoppe and Schaefer return to the States.
1903: Alfredo de Oro becomes the world continuous pool champion.
Maurice Vignaux of France becomes the 18.1 and 18.2 balkline champion of the world.
1904: Thomas Hueston takes the 15-ball championship, defeating J. W. Carney, after Alfredo de Oro declines to defend his title. 
Alfredo de Oro remains the world continuous pool champion.
1905: Albert G. Cutler, balkline billiards, has a high run of 193 balls.
Jerome Keogh becomes the world continuous pool champion.
Alfredo de Oro becomes the world continuous pool champion.
1906: Willie "Wonder Boy" Hoppe, age 18, wins his first 18.1 balkline world championship, defeating French champion Maurice Vignaux.
The match takes place in the "glittering ballroom of the Grand Hotel in Paris" on Jan. 15, 1906.
Hoppe says that he was chewing gum to keep his teeth from chattering, but he couldn't do anything to keep his knees from knocking.
Fortunes are wagered by the French on Maurice "The Lion" Vignaux and by the Americans on Willie "Wonder Boy" Hoppe.
Charles Schwab, the steel magnate, gives Hoppe a wad of money before the match begins, telling him that win or lose, he'll sail home in style.
When Hoppe, who had been a 5-1 underdog, wins 500-323, Eddie Foy sings "The Star Spangled Banner." All the Americans join in.
Hoppe wins $5,000, around $125,000 in modern dollars, and is paid sizeable "commissions" on the 5-1 side bets.
Hoppe averaged 40 balls per inning during the last half of the match.
Hoppe said that at that time the world championship was worth the equivalent of $1 million per year in modern dollars. 
Hoppe defeats George F. Slosson for the 18.1 balkline championship 500-391 in NY on March 27, 1906.
Hoppe defeats Jacob Schaefer for the 18.1 balkline championship 500-472 in NY on March 27, 1906.
Willie Hoppe, 18.2 balkline billiards, sets a new world record by running 307 balls in a pro tournament in Chicago on May 12, 1906.
Hoppe wins 51 world titles from 1906-1952 in 18.1 balkline, 18.2 balkline, cushion caroms and three-cushion billiards.
According to Billiards Digest, Willie Hoppe is the #1 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Thomas Hueston wins a series of matches to win the 15-ball championship, defeating Joseph Keough in the finals match in St. Louis.
John Horgan becomes the world continuous pool champion.
Jerome Keogh becomes the world continuous pool champion.
1907: With the introduction of the Lambert Trophy, three cushion billiards becomes increasingly popular in the USA, and internationally.
Walter A. Lovejoy creates the "anchor cannon" or "cradle cannon" nursing technique, which soon results in massive English Billiards runs.
W. A. Lovejoy, English Billiards, runs 603 balls using the "cradle cannon" or "anchor cannon" nursing technique, in January 1907.
Tom Reece, English Billiards, runs 1,825 balls using the "cradle cannon" or "anchor cannon" nursing technique, in February 1907.
W. A. Lovejoy, English Billiards, runs 2,257 balls in March 1907.
Tom Reece, English Billiards, runs 4,593 balls in March 1907.
W. A. Lovejoy, English Billiards, runs 6,245 balls (unfinished) in March 1907. 
W. A. Lovejoy, English Billiards, runs 23,769 balls (unfinished) over six nights in April 1907. 
Tom Reece, English Billiards, runs 499,135 balls (unfinished) over five weeks, using the "anchor cannon" stroke.
On Sept. 2, 1907 in a special meeting of the Billiard Association, the "anchor cannon" is barred.
Harry P. Cline is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Thomas Hueston becomes the world continuous pool champion.
George "The Student" Slosson wins the 18.2 balkline championship at Madison Square Garden Concert Hall, April 7-21, 1907.
Slosson set a new world record, averaging 100 on April 18, with a high run of 234 (unfinished) in the last inning against Willie Hoppe.
Slosson equaled the record by averaging 100 in four innings with a high run of 246 in a match against Harry Cline on Sept. 29, 1907.
1908: Eight-ball is first recorded as being played in the USA; it probably evolved from other forms of pool in the early 1900s.
Jake Schaefer Sr., although desperately ill, comes from behind with a record high run of 155 to win his last championship, in Paris.
John Daly becomes the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Thomas Hueston then becomes the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Thomas Hueston remains the world continuous pool champion.
Later in the year, Alfredo de Oro becomes the world three-cushion billiards champion and holds the title ten times from 1908-1919. 
Alfredo de Oro becomes the world continuous pool champion.
1909: Orlando "Ora" Morningstar wins the 18.2 balkline world championship at Madison Square Garden, NYC, winning an unprecedented six straight matches.
Charles Watson becomes the world continuous pool champion.
1910: The game of straight pool, then called 14.1 continuous pool, is invented by Jerome Keogh and soon replaces continuous pool.
The innovation of 14.1 continuous pool was that 14 balls would be pocketed, with the last ball being used to break the next rack.
Alfredo de Oro has the record tournament high run of 81 in a game of continuous pool, ironically beating Keogh!
Alfredo de Oro is the world continuous pool champion from 1910-1912.
Fred Eames is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
De Oro also held the three-cushion billiards title three times in 1910.
Howard "Howie" P. Cline wins the 18.2 balkline championship, defeating Calvin W. Demarest.
Thomas Hueston becomes the world continuous pool champion.
Jerome Keogh becomes the world continuous pool champion.
Players had upright stances until 1910 when Major Fleming "bends so low over the table as almost to touch his cue with his face."
1911: George Gray, English billiards, runs 2,196 balls (unfinished) against Cecil Harveson at the Holborn Town Hall, London.
A thirteen-year-old Al Capone evades his first arrest by slipping into a pool hall, then running out the back.
William "The King" Hoppe becomes the first and only billiard player to give a special exhibition at the White House, for President Taft, in 1911.
1912: Straight pool becomes the new official game of pocket billiards professionals.
The first straight pool world championship (then called the World 14.1 Tournament, as in "14.1 continuous billiards"), is won by Edward Ralph.
Edward Ralph defeated James Maturo, who had a high run of 33 balls in his victory over Alfredo de Oro.
Edward Ralph is the first world straight pool champion.
Alfredo do Oro then defeated Edward Ralph in the next challenge match, and became the second world straight pool champion.
William A. Spinks, 18.2 balkline billiards, runs 1,010 balls (unfinished) using the chuck nurse technique.
Willie Hoppe, 18.2 balkline billiards, runs 622 balls in an exhibition.
Alfredo do Oro, straight pool, has a high run of 46 in Philadelphia against T. I. Wilson.
Joe Carney is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
"Banker" John Horgan is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
1913: Rudolf Wanderone aka Minnesota Fats, is born in New York on Jan. 13; his nemesis Willie Mosconi is born in Philadelphia on June 27.
The billiards industry reports one of its best years, ever, for table sales.
Alfredo de Oro, straight pool, has a high run of 59 in New York against James Maturo.
Frank Taberski breaks the record with a run of 70, also in New York.
De Oro wins four championship matches in 1912-1913, defeating Edward Ralph, Frank Sherman, James Maturo and Thomas Hueston.
Alfredo de Oro is the world straight pool champion.
Benjamin "Bennie" Allen then defeats de Oro in Oct. 1913, and goes on to win six challenge matches.
Bennie Allen is the world straight pool champion from 1913-1915.
1914: Bennie Allen, straight pool, sets a new record with a run of 98 balls.
Maurice Daly authors Daly's Billiard Book.
1915: Edouard Horemans, 18.2 balkline billiards, runs 701 balls on January 15 at Thum's pool room in New York.
George Moore is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
William H. Huey is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Charles Morin, three-cushion billiards, has a tournament high run of 18 consecutive billiards.
Emmet Blankenship, straight pool, sets a new record with a run of 141 balls (the first run of 100 or more balls).
1916: The first official Snooker competition is held, the English Amateur Championships.
Emmet Blankenship becomes the world straight pool champion.
Johnny Layton becomes the world straight pool champion.
Ralph Greenleaf competes in his first national championship tournament, held in October at Doyle’s Academy in New York.
The 16-year-old Greenleaf is described as a “Boy Wonder” by the New York Times.
However, Frank Taberski beats Greenleaf 100-44 in their match.
Johnny Layton wins his first world straight pool championship match.
Frank Taberski wins the world straight pool championship and holds it from 1916-1918, winning 10 consecutive challenge matches.
Taberski wins a ruby-and-diamond-studded gold medal for winning 10 consecutive championship matches.
Taberski defeats Ralph Greenleaf (twice), Johnny Layton, Bennie Allen, Joe Concannon, Edward Ralph and James Maturo, among others.
Taberski's high straight pool run was 238 balls.
According to Billiards Digest, Frank Taberski is the #7 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
His slow, methodical style of play earned Frank Taberski the amusing nickname "The Inexorable Snail."
Other players, upset by his slowness (and perhaps by his dominance) quickly lobbied for a shot clock!
Charles Ellis is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Charles McCourt is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Hugh Heal is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Maurice Vignaux, the French champion, dies at age 70 in Monte Carlo on Feb. 17, 1916.
1917: Alfredo de Oro, three-cushion billiards, makes 18 consecutive billiards in New York.
Erwin Rudolph of Cleveland sets a new straight pool high run of 152 balls.
R. L. Cannafax becomes the world three-cushion billiards champion for the first time.
1918: Willie "The King" Hoppe, three-cushion billiards, makes 25 consecutive billiards in an exhibition (a record that lasts 50 years).
Hoppe sets the mark in a match against Charles C. Peterson at Wright's Room in San Francisco on an unheated (i.e., slow) table.
Frank Taberski, the world champion, objects to the imposition of a shot clock, and there are no championship matches in 1918.
Young Willie Mosconi, age six, practices shooting potatoes with broomsticks, because his father locked up the cues and balls.
Augie Kiekhefer becomes the world three-cushion billiards champion.
1919: Ralph Greenleaf wins the first of his 20 world titles. Greenleaf has been called the Babe Ruth of pocket billiards and "the Prince of Pool."
Greenleaf had a high run of 155 balls shortly before the tournament, playing against R. Stone in Danbury, CT.
But his main competition, Frank "the Inexorable Snail" Taberski, refused to compete after a one-minute shot clock was imposed.
Greenleaf would win 6 consecutive world straight pool championships from 1919-1924.
Willie Mosconi, age 6, plays Greenleaf in an exhibition. Greenleaf wins. Mosconi has to stand on a box for some shots.
Fourteen years later, in 1933, Greenleaf and Mosconi will barnstorm together.
According to Billiards Digest, Willie Mosconi is the #2 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
According to Billiards Digest, Ralph Greenleaf is the #3 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Johnny Layton wins the first of 12 three-cushion billiard world titles. Layton was called "the Diamond King" for inventing the Diamond system.
According to Billiards Digest, Johnny Layton is the #13 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
1920: Nine-ball can be traced back to the 1920s; it originated in the USA.
Johnny Layton becomes the world three-cushion billiards champion.
1921: Jake Schaefer Jr., 18.2 balkline billiards, runs 480 balls in a match with Dave McAndless at Chicago, on Oct. 19.
Jake Schaefer Jr. wins the first of eight 18.2 balkline billiards championships.
Frank Taberski has the fourth straight pool "century" and the highest yet, running 200 balls against S. Sharock in Stuttgart, AR.
1922: Jake Schaefer Jr., 18.2 balkline billiards, runs 480 balls in an exhibition against Welker Cochran at Chicago, on Jan. 22.
Ralph Greenleaf sets a new straight pool record with a run of 206 balls against G. Kelly in Loganport, IN.
1923: Tiff Denton is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
1925: Jake Schaefer Jr., 18.2 balkline billiards, runs 400 balls (unfinished) at the 1925 balkline championships, on Feb. 26.
Schaefer became the first and only contestant to run 400 balls in the first inning, in a match in Chicago against Erich Hagenlacker.
Schaefer held world titles in 18.2, 18.1, 14.2 and 28.2 balkline billiards, and twice finished second to Willie Hoppe in three-cushion billiards.
In 18.2 balkline Schaefer had a tournament high run of 432, a high grand average of 57.14, and a high single game average of 93.25.
According to Billiards Digest, Jake Schaefer Jr. is the #12 pool/billiards player of the 20th century. His nickname was "the Prodigy."
Otto Reiselt, three-cushion billiards, scores 100 points in 57 innings, a 1.75 average, in an interstate league match.
Frank Taberski becomes the world straight pool champion.
1926: Otto Reiselt, three-cushion billiards, scores 50 points in 16 innings, a 3.13 average and record for a U.S. championship, on March 10, 1926.
Otto Reiselt becomes the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Ralph Greenleaf becomes the world straight pool champion.
Erwin Rudolph of Cleveland wins national acclaim by ending Ralph Greenleaf's six-year reign as straight pool champion.
Thomas Hueston becomes the world straight pool champion.
Johnny Layton has a three-cushion billiard run of 18 balls.
1927: Johnny Layton has a three-cushion billiard run of 17 balls.
Johnny Layton is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Frank Taberski becomes the world straight pool champion.
Ralph Greenleaf becomes the world straight pool champion from 1927-1928.
Welker Cochran wins his first of two 18.2 balkline world championships. He was also won six world three-cushion billiards championships.
Joe Davis helps to establish the first Professional World Championship of snooker.
Joe Davis wins the first pro snooker world championship and takes home the prize of £6.10.
Joe Davis continued to dominate the era, winning every snooker World Championship for 20 years until his retirement in 1946.
1928: Frank Taberski becomes the world straight pool champion.
1929: Many public pool rooms begin to close because of the Great Depression. The golden era of billiards and pool ends.
Within two years, pool/billiard revenues and employees would be cut in half.
Ralph Greenleaf posts an incredible high single average of 63 in a championship match, and wins with a run of 126 balls.
Greenleaf's high individual grand average was 11.02.
Greenleaf accomplished these remarkable feats against Frank Taberski on a 5x10 table.
Ralph Greenleaf becomes the world straight pool champion.
Frank Taberski then becomes the world straight pool champion.
Harold Worst, future three-cushion and pool champion, is born on Sept. 29, 1929 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Walter Lindrum runs 3,262 balls against Willie Smith at Memorial Hall, London, becoming the first person to pass 3,000 since Peall in 1890.
1930: According to TIME "Curly-haired, florid Johnny Layton was the best pocket billiard player in the world before he decided that knocking balls into pockets was dull..." 
Layton switched to three-cushion billiards and won 13 world titles, becoming one of a handful of players to win major championships in both genres.
The only player to accomplish this feat after Layton was Harold Worst, who ruled both categories in 1965, only to die the following year.
According to the National Billiard Association of American, Layton was first in three-cushion, Greenleaf in pocket billiards, and Jake Schaefer Jr. in 18.2 balkline.
At that time "pocket billiards" essentially meant straight pool.
Erwin Rudolph becomes the world straight pool champion.
Ralph Greenleaf becomes the world straight pool champion from 1930-1932.
Gus Copulus, three-cushion billiards, has a tournament high run of 17 consecutive billiards.
1931: On February 19, Walter "Wally" Lindrum gives a billiards exhibition for King George V and other royals at Buckingham Palace.
The king gives Lindrum a pair of gold and enamel cuff links bearing the royal monogram; Lindrum wears them daily for the rest of his life.
Jimmy "the Boy Wonder" Caras wins his first world title at age 17.
According to Billiards Digest, Jimmy Caras is the #10 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Arthur "Babe" Cranfield wins the U.S. Junior Championship at age 15.
Cranfield earned his nickname by following around a regular at his father's pool hall: Babe Ruth!
Cranfield has the unofficial high straight pool run of 768 balls, and had exhibition runs of 423, 412 and 403 balls.
According to Billiards Digest, Babe Cranfield is the #44 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Jake Schaefer Sr., three-cushion billiards, has a record run of 36 balls using a "double the rail" nursing technique.
Charles C. Peterson, straight rail billiards, runs 10,232 consecutive balls via nursing.
Arthur Thurnblad is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
1932: Walter Lindrum, English billiards, has his high break of 4,137 balls in a match against Joe Davis, precipitating a rule change.
Joe "The Butcher" Balsis, also known as "The Meatman," wins the Philadelphia City Boys Championship at age 11.
Balsis retired from competitive pool for 32 years to work in his father's meat business (hence his nicknames).
When he finally unretired to compete in professional tournaments, he took the pool world by storm.
According to George Fels: "Overall, between 1965 and 1975, he may well have been the world’s best player."
One competitor complained that when he shook the Meatman's hand, his hand hurt for the next two days!
According to Billiards Digest, Joe Balsis is the #16 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Johnny Layton crushed the three-cushion hopes of Jake Schaefer Jr., 50-25, at Mussey's in Chicago, IL, on Jan. 29, 1932.
Augie Kiekhefer becomes the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Ruth McGinnis becomes the World Women's Champion and holds that title from 1932-1940. She had a high straight pool run of 128.
Ruth McGinnis is a member of the BCA Hall of Fame, and was considered to be the best American woman player from 1924-1960.
1933: Walter Lindrum won the World Professional Billiards Championship and held it until his retirement in 1950; he set 57 world records.
During World War II, Lindrum gave around 4,000 exhibitions, raising over £500,000 for the war effort.
Over his lifetime, Lindrum raised more than £2 million for charity.
Lindrum was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1951, and an Officer of the Order (OBE) in the 1958 honors list.
Welker Cochran is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Erwin Rudolph becomes the world straight pool champion from 1933-1934.
Jake Schaefer Jr., cushion carom billiards, runs 39 balls vs. Willie Hoppe at the Morrison Hotel, Chicago, IL, on April 24, 1933.
1934: Andrew "Ponzi" D'Allesandro wins his first world straight pool championship.
Ponzi has a high run of 153 balls. He is given the nickname "Ponzi" when someone observes that beating him is like trying to beat a Ponzi scheme.
Johnny Layton becomes the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Alfredo de Oro comes out of retirement and defeats Layton once and Welker Cochran twice, at age 71.
1935: Erwin Rudolph, straight pool, runs 277 balls. (Chicago Tribune, March 12, 1935. p. 25)
Ralph Greenleaf, straight pool, runs 267 balls.
Ralph Greenleaf, straight pool, runs 272 balls in Norfolk, VA.
Bennie Allen, straight pool, runs 125 balls in a tournament in NY.
George Kelly, straight pool, runs 125 balls in a tournament in Minneapolis, MN.
Andrew Ponzi becomes the world straight pool champion.
Welker Cochran is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
1936: Alfredo de Oro comes out of retirement at age 71, but loses to Willie Hoppe. "
Willie Hoppe is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Jimmy Caras becomes the world straight pool champion, defeating Erwin Rudolph.
1937: Ralph Greenleaf wins the last of his 20 world championships, defeating Irving Crane.
Welker Cochran is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
1938: Welker Cochran remains the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Jimmy Caras becomes the world straight pool champion, defeating Andrew Ponzi.
1939: Irving "the Deacon" Crane, straight pool, runs 309 balls in Layton, UT.
According to Billiards Digest, Irving Crane is the #9 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Jimmy Caras remains the world straight pool champion.
Joe Chamaco is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Joe Chamaco, three-cushion billiards, has a high run of 18 balls in a match against Jay Bozeman in Chicago.
Joe Chamacho is the world three-cushion billiards champion.
1940: Willie Mosconi runs 125 balls in a round-robin straight pool tournament five different times in 1940-1941.
Willie Hoppe wins the three-cushion billiard championship by winning an "astounding" 20 consecutive matches.
Hoppe will hold the world title for five years, 1940-1944.
Andrew Ponzi becomes the world straight pool champion, defeating Jimmy Caras.
Tiff Denton, three-cushion billiards, has a tournament high run of 17 consecutive billiards.
1941: Willie Mosconi wins his first World Straight Pool Championship, with seven runs of 125 balls and 58 runs of 100 balls or more.
Incredibly, Mosconi runs 100 or more balls in every fourth game he plays, against champions like Jimmy Caras and Andrew Ponzi.
Mosconi goes on to win 15 world titles from 1941-1957.
Erwin Rudolph at age 47 wins his fourth and last world straight pool championship, defeating a young Irving Crane.
Willie Hoppe defends his three cushion billiard championship against Jake Schaefer Jr., but collapses while leading 429 to 380.
Hoppe, suffering with influenza, was rushed to the care of a physician. Schaefer, a true gentleman, conceded.
Hoppe had a record of 16-1. Schaefer's record was 14-3.
Other players included Jay Bozeman, Welker Cochran, Allen Hall, Joe Camacho, Art Thurnblad and Crane (Irving?).
1942: Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter becomes the "undisputed king" of the pool hustlers, reportedly winning $300,000 from 1942-1948.
Lassiter earned the nickname "Wimpy" by eating 12 hot dogs and drinking 13 sodas in a single sitting.
According to Billiards Digest, Luther Lassiter is the #9 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Irving Crane wins the first of 24 major championships and gets revenge by defeating Erwin Rudolph for the world straight pool crown.
Willie Mosconi becomes the world straight pool champion.
1943: Andrew Ponzi becomes the world straight pool champion, defeating Willie Mosconi and Irving Crane.
Willie Mosconi becomes the world straight pool champion from 1943-1945.
1944: Willie Hoppe in an interview says that WWII saved billiards, when the army distributed 15,000 billiard tables to American troops.
Hoppe also says that he gave over 400 exhibitions for American soldiers.
Welker Cochran wins the three-cushion billiards world championship, defeating Willie Hoppe.
1945: Willie Mosconi matches Irving Crane by running 309 balls in Perth Amboy, NJ.
Welker Cochran, three cushion billiards, averaged 3.00 vs. Willie Hoppe at Bensinger's Billiards in Chicago on April 15, 1945.
Cochran scored 60 points in 20 innings with an unfinished run of 16 balls.
Welker Cochran remains the world three-cushion billiards champion.
Cecil "Buddy" Hall is born in Metropolis, IL. Hall, known as "The Rifleman" would win three of the ten richest purses in pool.
Many people in the know consider Buddy Hall to be the greatest nine-ball player of all time.
In his prime, Hall gave other top pros the seven ball and usually won.
1946: Joe Davis defeats Horace Lindrum in the longest snooker tournament final on record: 145 frames played over a fortnight.
This was the 15th and last world title for Joe Davis. He scored 10 centuries (runs of 100 balls) during the event.
Irving Crane becomes the world straight pool champion, defeating Willie Mosconi.
Willie Mosconi becomes the world straight pool champion.
Willie Mosconi defends his straight pool crown against Jimmy Caras in a transcontinental tour of ten cities.
According to Arthur Daley, writing for The New York Times, Mosconi "plays faster and with more daring than did Greenleaf."
Willie Mosconi is the world straight pool champion from 1946-1948, defeating Irving Crane, Jimmy Caras and Andrew Ponzi.
1947: Walter Donaldson wins the first of two world snooker championships.
Willie Hoppe wins the three-cushion billiard championship and holds title for seven years, from 1947-1952.
1948: The Billiard Congress of America (BCA) is founded.
Fred Davis wins the first of three world snooker championships and ten major titles.
1949: Jay Bozeman, three-cushion billiards, sets a championship tournament record average of 2.17 (50 billiards in 23 innings).
Bozeman duplicates his feat in 1952.
Jimmy Caras becomes the world straight pool champion, over Willie Mosconi.
1950: Willie Hoppe, three-cushion billiards, sets a high grand tournament average of 1.333, a record for his era.
Willie Mosconi becomes the world straight pool champion from 1950-1953, defeating Irving Crane four times and Joe Procita twice.
Willie Mosconi, straight pool, high grand average of 18.34 in a tournament in Chicago on a 4½ x 9 table.
1951: "Champagne" Ed Kelly begins hustling at age 14.
1952: American interest in three-cushion billiards declines after Willie Hoppe's retirement, with a record 51 world titles.
1953: Willie Mosconi, straight pool, sets a new record by running 322 balls in Platteville, WI.
Willie Mosconi, straight pool, sets a new record by running 355 balls in Milwaukee, WI.
Willie Mosconi, straight pool, sets a new record by running 365 balls in Wilmington, NC.
Ray Kilgore is the world three-cushion billiards champion, after Hoppe retired undefeated.
1954: Willie Mosconi, straight pool, runs 526 balls on an 8 x 4 table (the official straight pool record, with 35 witness signatures).
Harold Worst wins the World Three-Cushion Billiards Championship in Argentina.
Worst turned down a $15,000 bribe by mobsters, and was advised to leave the country by Juan and Evita Peron.
According to Billiards Digest, Harold Worst is the #19 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
According to Ronnie "Fast Eddie" Allen, Harold Worst was the best pool/billiards player of all time.
Harold Worst died of brain cancer, in his pool-playing prime, at the age of 37.
The year Worst died, 1967, he won the three-cushion championship, two major all-round pocket billiard championships, and a snooker tournament.
According to Freddie "the Beard," the best players dodged Worst or demanded mortal locks ... and even then "everybody that played Worst shook."
Joe Procita, straight pool, runs 182 balls in a tournament in Philadelphia.
1955: Irving Crane becomes the world straight pool champion, defeating Willie Mosconi.
Willie Mosconi becomes the world straight pool champion from 1955-1957.
1956: Willie Mosconi has a "perfect game" or "perfect inning," running 150 balls in one inning against "Cowboy" Jimmy Moore in Kinston, NC.
1957: Willie Mosconi wins the last of his record 15 world straight pool championships.
Steve "the Miz" Mizerak turns pro at age 13. According to Billiards Digest, Steve Mizerak is the #6 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
John Pulman wins the first of four world snooker championships.
1958: Allen Hopkins, age 7, runs 10 balls the first time he picks up a cue; his dad says, "Well son, I guess you're going to be a pool player."
According to Billiards Digest, Allen Hopkins is the #39 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
"Cowboy" Jimmy Moore wins the National Pocket Billiards Championship in a 3,000-point match over Luther Lassiter.
Raymond Ceulemans, is discovered as a 17-year-old soccer midfielder, but goes on to become a three-cushion billiards legend.
Ceulemans will claim 35 world titles in three-cushion billiards (23), penthatlon (4), one-cushion (6), straight rail (1) and balkline (1).
1960: Utley "U. J." Puckett wins the National Nine-Ball Championship in Macon, GA.
Harold Worst scores 480 points in 421 innings, a 1.14 average, playing three-cushion billiards against Joe McDevitt in Chicago.
1961: The Hustler, starring Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats and Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson, returns pool to the spotlight.
Rudolf Wanderone begins claiming that he was the real-life inspiration for the film’s Minnesota Fats character.
Walderone's nemesis, Willie Mosconi, is the film's technical consultant and shoots some of the trick shots.
The movie is released on September 25, 1861, exactly one month before the first Johnston City tournament kicks off. 
On Oct. 25, 1961 the legendary Johnston City pool hustler tournaments, sponsored by the Jansco brothers, commence.
George and Paulie Jansco were brothers, and the sons of an Hungarian immigrant who became a bootlegger.
The Jansco brothers consider straight pool to be boring, so they emphasize one-pocket and, the following year, nine-ball.
At the time one-pocket is not sanctioned by the BCA (Billiard Congress of America), so this is the "big" tournament for pros.
This is the first time the "two faces" of pool have been presented together: the "clean" professional image, and the darker "hustler" side.
George Jansco's innovations include attracting TV coverage and prominent sportswriters like Tom Fox.
Tom Fox would help make Minnesota Fats and Johnston City famous, co-writing The Bank Shot and Other Great Robberies with Fats.
According to R. A. Dyer, "Minnesota Fats was as crazy as a sprayed roach. It would be a surefire hit."
The book evolved from the "ego attacks" of Fats, but was mostly derived from his wife's saner recollections, with Fox doing all the writing.
The tournament was held at the Janscos' Show Bar and Cue Club in Johnston City.
George Jansco lived 150 miles away in Evansville, but his mother refused to leave Johnston City, so he kept a residence there.
An Evansville police crackdown on gambling sent George Jansco back to Johnston City for good.
One day, while drinking beers with his friends Earl Shriver and Marshall "Tuscaloosa Squirrel" Carpenter, George Jansco came up with an idea ...
The Cue Club, which held 200 spectators, was the first building created specifically to host a pool tournament.
Minnesota Fats lived an hour away at the time, in Dowell, and he was instrumental in helping get the tournament started.
Shady pool sharks like Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter come from far and wide to gamble, with the side bets vastly eclipsing the $5,000 prize money.
Ironically, George Jansco's nickname was also "Wimpy" from his baseball-playing days.
The first year, the only game played is one-pocket. This was the first major one-pocket tournament anywhere in the world.
Incidentally, or probably not, George Jansco's best and favorite game was one-pocket.
George Jansco provided the first written rules for one-pocket, which were published in Chalk-Up, a billiard trade magazine.
"Connecticut" Johnny Vevis finishes first, "Cowboy" Jimmy Moore second, Hubert "Daddy Warbucks" Cokes third, Rudolf "Fats" Wanderone, fourth. 
Raymond Ceulemans wins his first three-cushion billiards title on February 19, 1961, at age 23.
"Handsome" Danny Jones becomes the World Snooker Champion.
1962: Johnston City winners: Marshall "Squirrel" Carpenter (one-pocket), Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter (nine-ball, straight pool and all-round).
The 1962 JC event was the first integrated professional pool tournament, including Javanley "Youngblood" Washington, a black player.
It was also the first major nine-ball tournament for professionals. Altogether, there was $10,000 in prize money.
This was also the first tournament with divisions (straight pool, one-pocket and nine-ball titles) and an all-around title.
1963: Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter, a nine-ball expert, wins his first world straight pool championship by defeating "Cowboy" Jimmy Moore.
Lassiter wins the New York City World's Invitational 14.1 Championship (BRPAA).
Johnston City winners: Eddie "Knoxville Bear" Taylor (one-pocket), Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter (nine-ball, straight pool and all-round).
CBS covered the finals, the first time a major TV network aired either one-pocket or nine-ball.
"Titanic" Thompson, the famous shark and proposition gambler said of JC, "There ain't a fine, worthwhile hustler in the world who ain't here."
1964: Arthur "Babe" Cranfield defeats Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter to claim the world straight pool crown.
Cranfield is the first left-handed straight pool champion since Alfredo de Oro.
Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter wins the New York City World's Invitational 14.1 Championship (BRPAA) over Arthur "Babe" Cranfield.
Eddie "The Knoxville Bear" Taylor wins the all-around championship at Johnston City, over Luther Lassiter.
For the fourth Johnston City event, the Janscos built the first pool tournament theater, called "The Pit."
1965: Jean Balukas, perhaps the greatest female billiards player of all time, puts on an exhibition at Grand Central Station, at age six.
According to Billiards Digest, Jean Balukas is the #15 pool/billiards player of the 20th century, and the highest-ranking female player.
James "Cisero" Murphy becomes the first pool player to win a world championship on his first attempt, defeating Luther Lassiter.
Murphy had been denied entry in world championship events prior to 1965 because he was black.
Murphy had high runs over 250 balls, and is a member of the BCA Hall of Fame.
According to Billiards Digest, Cisero Murphy is the #41 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Joe "The Meatman" Balsis wins the New York City World's Invitational 14.1 Championship (BRPAA) over "Cowboy" Jimmy Moore.
Balsis has a "perfect inning," running 150 and out on Harold Worst.
Harold Worst, a three-cushion champion playing with brain cancer, wins the Stardust and Johnston City all-round championships.
Worst wins at Johnston City at nine-ball, straight pool, and all-around.
Larry "Boston Shorty" Johnson wins the Johnston City one-pocket championship, his first of four.
Boston Shorty was only 5'2" but he played big, being one of the few modern players to excel at both pocket and three-cushion billiards.
Boston Shorty was one of the very few players to win titles in eight-ball, nine-ball, one-pocket, straight pool and three-cushion billiards.
George Jansco establishes the first modern pool player organization, the Billiard Players Association of America (BPAA).
The Janscos sponsor the first Las Vegas Stardust Pool Tournament, with the richest purse in American professional pool.
1966: The Bank Shot and Other Great Robberies, written by Minnesota Fats and Philadelphia newspaper writer Tom Fox, is published.
Irving "The Deacon" Crane wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship in Chicago, with a 150 run in the final vs. Joe "The Meatman" Balsis.
Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter wins the New York City World's Invitational 14.1 Championship (BRPAA) over Cisero Murphy.
"Champagne" Ed Kelly wins the Johnston City one-pocket and nine-ball titles, his first major championships.
James "Cisero" Murphy wins the Stardust straight pool tournament and finishes second in the BRPAA event the same year.
Larry "Boston Shorty" Johnson wins the Stardust one-pocket championship.
1967: Dorothy Wise wins the first national pool tournament for women, her first of 5 consecutive titles.
According to Billiards Digest, Dorothy Wise is the #46 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Jimmy Caras wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, coming out of an 11 year semi-retirement.
Caras lost his first match, then won 11 straight, including the final two against Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter.
Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter wins the New York City World's Invitational 14.1 Championship (BRPAA) over Jack "Jersey Red" Breit.
Larry "Boston Shorty" Johnson wins the Johnston City one-pocket championship, his second of four.
Pete "Petey" Margo finishes fifth at the Johnston City Straight Pool Tournament, at age 21, and has already run 200 balls.
The Janscos implement another nine-ball innovation: the "ball in hand anywhere on the table" on all fouls after the break.
The Janscos also put on the first amateur event that takes place in conjunction with a pro tournament (the first pool pro-am).
1968: Raymond Ceulemans, three-cushion billiards, breaks Willie Hoppe's 50-year-old record by one, running 26 balls in the Simonis Cup.
Irving "The Deacon" Crane wins the New York City World's Invitational 14.1 Championship (BRPAA) over Luther Lassiter.
Joe "The Meatman" Balsis wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship over Danny DiLiberto.
Frank McGown runs 150 and out on Joe Balsis, but finishes sixth.
Kazuo Fujima, a nine-time champion of Japan, became the first Japanese entrant in a U. S. Open Straight Pool Tournament.
Larry Leake, age 10, was the youngest male entrant, and already had quite a repertoire of trick shots!
But Jean Balukas, age 9, was the youngest off all the contestants. At that time, she was known as "The Little Princess."
Balukas was already a TV star, having appeared on What's My Line, I've Got a Secret, and The Merv Griffin Show.
Jimmy "Pretty Boy" Mataya runs 95 balls at age 19. He will later marry "The Striking Viking," forming pool's first glamour couple.
George Jansco begins to use the word "Hustler" on his tournament posters.
George Jansco opens the Stardust Golf Course.
Larry "Boston Shorty" Johnson wins the Johnston City one-pocket championship, his third of four.
1969: Jack "Jersey Red" Breit wins the Houston Invitational Nine-Ball Tournament of Champions, over Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter
Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter wins the U.S. Open One-Pocket Championship, over Jack "Jersey Red" Breit.
By the late 1960s, Minnesota Fats has landed two TV shows and is pool's biggest celebrity, despite never winning a major tournament.
The Houston police department arrests 100 men for gambling, including Jersey Red, "Handsome" Danny Jones and Ronnie Allen.
George Jansco dies on June 4, 1969 of a massive cerebral hemorrhage on the very day he finalized his plans to build his long-dreamed-of hotel.
Paulie Jansco took over the management of the Johnston City and Stardust pool tournaments.
"Champagne" Ed Kelly wins his first world straight pool championship, over Cisero Murphy.
John Spencer wins the first of three world snooker championships.
Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship.
1970: Steve Mizerak wins the first of four consecutive U.S. Open Straight Pool Championships.
Irving Crane wins the world straight pool championship, over Steve Mizerak.
Ray Reardon wins the first of six world snooker championships.
There is an influx of youth at the Johnston City tournament, with 18-year-old Keith Thompson winning at nine-ball and in the all-around.
Young guns Cole Dickson and Jimmy "Pretty Boy Floyd" Mataya also attend.
1971: Ray "Cool Cat" Martin wins his first world straight pool championship, over Joe Balsis.
Evelyn Dal Porto becomes the first woman to compete against men at the Johnston City tournament.
Jim "King James" Rempe wins the Johnston City one-pocket championship.
From 1972-1978, Rempe accumulated 23 pro tournament wins, more than any other player of that era.
1972: The last of the Johnston City pool hustler tournaments. Louie "Wimpy" Lassiter won the most times, with eleven category and five all-around wins.
Jean Balukas won the first (and last) women's tournament at Johnston City.
Larry "Boston Shorty" Johnson wins the Johnston City one-pocket championship, his fourth of four.
Paulie Jansco dropped straight pool from the thirteenth and last Johnston City tournament.
The FBI raided the 1972 event and Paulie Jansco decided to move the tournament to the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas, where gambling is legal.
Minnesota Fats went to court, saved everyone's bacon with some well-timed jokes, and the hustlers even got their money (200K) back!
Paulie Jansco signs the back of a promo photo: "I gave away more money than all the other promoters combined."
Jean Balukas wins the women's U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship at age 13, beating Dorothy Wise. It was her first of seven consecutive titles.
Alex "Hurricane" Higgins wins the first of two world snooker championships.
Irving "The Deacon" Crane wins the World Pocket Billiards Championship over "Machine Gun" Lou Butera. 
1973: "Machine Gun" Lou Butera wins his first world straight pool championship, over Irving "The Deacon" Crane.
1974: Buddy "the Rifleman" Hall wins an otherworldly 11 out of 14 of the pro tournaments he enters.
"Saint Louie" Louie Roberts wins his first national championship, the 1974 Orlando Open.
It will become the dream of Louie Roberts to defeat Buddy Hall, a dream he finally accomplishes while winning the 1981 U.S. Open.
Joe "The Meatman" Balsis wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship over Jim "King James" Rempe.
Ray "Cool Cat" Martin wins the world straight pool championship, over Allen Hopkins.
Meiko Harada wins the Women's World Straight Pool Championship, defeating a young (and soon to be invincible) Jean Balukas.
1975: Dallas West wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, defeating Pete Margo.
1976: The Women's Professional Billiard Alliance (WPBA) is established; it is the oldest pro player organization in the sport.
The first U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship takes place, contested by just 16 players.
Mike "Captain Hook" Sigel wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, the first of 10 world championships.
Sigel was the youngest nine-ball champion, at age 21.
Sigel has a record 106 professional tournaments wins.
According to Billiards Digest, Mike Sigel is the #5 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Larry Lisciotti wins his first world straight pool championship, over Steve Mizerak. 
Tom Jennings wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship over Joe "The Meatman" Balsis.
1977: Allen "Young Hoppe" Hopkins wins his first world straight pool championship, over Pete Margo.
Allen Hopkins also wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his first.
Tom Jennings wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, his second straight, over Richard Lane.
Jean Balukas wins the first of six Women's World Straight Pool Championships.
1978: Peter Margo has a high run of 330 balls in the World Series of Pool, held in Arlington, Virginia.
Steve Davis turns pro at age 21, and will go on to become of the greatest English snooker champions of time, winning over £5.5 million. 
Irving Crane wins the World Series of Billiards, the last of his major championships, at age 65.
Ray "Cool Cat" Martin wins the world straight pool championship, over Allen Hopkins.
Steve "The Miz" Mizerak wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Willie Mosconi and Minnesota Fats play several televised challenge matches: the most-viewed pool matches in U.S. history.
1979: "Saint Louie" Louie Roberts wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship for the first time, defeating Steve "the Miz" Mizerak.
Mike "Captain Hook" Sigel wins his first world straight pool championship, over Joe Balsis.
The APA (American Poolplayers Association), the "governing body of amateur pool" is formed by pool professionals Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart.
1980: Nick "Kentucky Colonel" Varner wins his first world straight pool championship, over Mike Sigel.
Mike "Captain Hook" Sigel wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his second.
1981: Louie Roberts runs wild at the 1981 U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship in Chattanooga, defeating his idol and nemesis, Buddy Hall.
Roberts lost his first round match, almost lost his second match, then started to freewheel and run out, disdaining safety play.
The crowd, of course, absolutely loved this wild, reckless style of play and Roberts earned barrages of cheers.
Allen "Young Hoppe" Hopkins wins his second U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship (there were two U.S. Opens for nine-ball in 1981).
Steve Davis wins the first of six world snooker championships.
Mike Sigel wins the world straight pool championship, over Nick Varner.
Loree Jon Ogonowski (Jones) wins the Women's World Straight Pool Championship, over Vicki Frechen.
1982: Earl "the Pearl" Strickland wins his first pro tournament, the 1982 Dayton Nine-ball Open.
Strickland goes on to win a record five U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championships.
According to Billiards Digest, Earl Strickland is the #17 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Steve "The Miz" Mizerak wins his first straight pool championship over Danny DiLiberto, then repeats the following year. 
"Little" David Howard. wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his first.
Steve Davis has snooker's first televised maximum break, a perfect 147.
1983: Dallas West wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, defeating Nick "Kentucky Colonel" Varner.
Mike "Captain Hook" Sigel wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his third.
Steve Mizerak wins the world straight pool championship, over Jimmy Fusco.
Ray "Cool Cat" Martin wins the 1983 Music City Open in Nashville, TN.
The top-ranked American pros according to Sports Publications Ltd. are Mike Sigel, Buddy Hall, Earl Strickland, David Howard and Steve Mizerak.
1984: Efren "the Magician" Reyes appears in American pool tournaments using the name "Caesar Morales" to hide his true identity.
According to Billiards Digest, Efren Reyes is the #29 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Ronnie "The Rocket" O'Sullivan has his first century break in snooker, at age ten!
Earl "The Pearl" Strickland wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his first but not his last.
The MPBA (Men's Professional Billiards Association) is formed, with Terry Bell as the first president.
The top-ranked American pros according to Sports Publications Ltd. are Mike Sigel, Earl Strickland, David Howard, Buddy Hall, and Steve Mizerak.
1985: Allison "The Duchess of Doom" Fisher wins the first of 80 national and 11 world titles.
Stephen Hendry becomes a snooker pro at age sixteen. He is generally considered to be the greatest snooker player of all time.
"Hippie" Jimmy Reid wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Mike Sigel wins the world straight pool championship, over Jim Rempe.
The top-ranked American pros according to Sports Publications Ltd. are Earl Strickland, Mike Sigel, Efren Reyes, Buddy Hall, and Wade Crane.
1986: The Color of Money stars Paul Newman and Tom Cruise with cameos by Steve Mizerak, Grady Mathews and Keith McCready.
"Little" David Howard. wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his second.
Nick Varner wins the world straight pool championship, over Allen Hopkins.
The top-ranked American pros according to Sports Publications Ltd. are Mike Sigel, Jim Rempe, Efren Reyes, Nick Varner and David Howard. 
Loree Jon Ogonowski (Jones) wins the Women's World Straight Pool Championship, over Mary Kenniston.
1987: Torbjorn Blomdahl, three-cushion billiards, wins the first of five world titles.
Earl "The Pearl" Strickland wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his second.
Steve Davis becomes the first player to win snooker's Triple Crown in a single season.
1988: Ewa "The Striking Viking" Laurance wins the first of her two U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championships.
Mike Lebron wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Lebron is the oldest nine-ball champion, at age 54, and the first from Puerto Rico.
The top-ranked American pros according to the Professional Billiards Association are Earl Strickland, Mike Sigel, Mike Lebron, Dave Bollman and Nick Varner. 
1989: Nick Varner becomes the second player to pocket $100,000 in pro tournaments in a year, winning an incredible 11 times.
Nick Varner wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his first.
According to Billiards Digest, Nick Varner is the #14 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Oliver Ortmann wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, defeating Steve "The Miz" Mizerak.
Loree Jon Jones wins the women's U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship over Robin "Bankroll" Bell.  
1990: Sang Chun Lee wins the first of 12 consecutive U.S. Billiard Association National Three-Cushion Billiard Championships.
According to Billiards Digest, Sang Lee is the #11 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Earl "the Pearl" Strickland wins his first world nine-ball championship, over Jeff Carter, then repeats the following year.
Nick Varner wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his second in a row.
Bobby Hunter wins the straight pool championship, over Ray "Cool Cat" Martin.
Karen Corr wins the first of three World Ladies Billiards and Snooker Championships.
Stephen Hendry wins the first of seven world snooker championships.
Robin "Bankroll" Bell wins the first of two women's world nine-ball championships.
1991: Ronnie "The Rocket" O'Sullivan has his first maximum break (147) in snooker, at age fifteen! He turns pro at sixteen.
Earl "the Pearl" Strickland wins his second world nine-ball championship, over Nick Varner.
Buddy "The Rifleman" Hall wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his first.
Willie Mosconi plays his last exhibition match, against Jimmy Caras.
1992: Sang Lee, three-cushion billiards, scores 50 points in 16 innings, a 3.13 average.
Johnny "The Scorpion" Archer wins his first world nine-ball championship, over Bobby Hunter.
Tommy Kenney wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Mike "Captain Hook" Sigel wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship over Dallas West.
Robin Bell wins the Women's U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Loree Jon Jones wins the women's U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship over Ewa "The Striking Viking" Mataya.
Franziska Stark wins the women's world nine-ball championship over Vivian Villarreal.
1993: Fong Pang Chao of Taiwan wins his first world nine-ball championship.
Ronnie "The Rocket" O'Sullivan wins the U.K. snooker championship at age 17, the youngest major champion.
Earl "The Pearl" Strickland wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his third.
Oliver Ortmann wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, defeating Chien Sheng Lee.
"Champagne" Ed Kelly comes out of retirement to win the Legends of One Pocket tournament in Reno, over a field of 111.
Kelly won $20,000 and Billy "Cornbread Red" Burge won $10,000 for second.
The tournament was sponsored by Grady "The Professor" Matthews and Richard "Richie" Florence.
Other stars of the past included Larry "Boston Shorty" Johnson, "Weenie Beenie" Stanton, Melvin "Strawberry" Brooks and Leonard "Bugs" Rucker.
Anyone who thinks the old hustlers couldn't compete with modern players should consider who won one of pool's richest prizes ever!
Hsin-Mei Liu wins the women's U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship over Loree Jon Jones.
Loree Jon Jones wins the women's world nine-ball championship over Jeanette "The Black Widow" Lee.
1994: The Mosconi Cup is founded and named after Willie Mosconi.
Efren "The Magician" Reyes wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship over Nick Varner. He is the first non-American to win the U.S. Open.
Ewa "The Striking Viking" Mataya-Laurance wins the women's world nine-ball championship over Jeanette "The Black Widow" Lee.
Jeanette "The Black Widow" Lee wins the first of her two Women's U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championships.
1995: Allison Fisher, the "Duchess of Doom," wins the first of 50 WPBA titles.
According to Billiards Digest, Allison Fisher is the #18 pool/billiards player of the 20th century.
Gerda Hofstatter wins the women's world nine-ball championship over Vivian Villarreal.
Reed Pierce wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Raymond Ceulemans, three-cushion billiards, has a grand tournament average of 2.222 in a Ghent, Belgium match.
Torbjorn Blomdahl, three-cushion billiards, has a grand tournament average of 2.506 in a Zundert, Netherlands match.
Oliver Ortmann wins his first world nine-ball championship, over Dallas West.
1996: Earl "the Pearl" Strickland runs 11 consecutive racks of nine-ball, to claim a million dollar prize, the largest yet.
The insurance underwriter refuses to pay and the case is settled out of court.
Torbjorn Blomdahl, three-cushion billiards, averages 5.00 (50 billiards in 10 innings) in a match versus Tay Quoc Co.
Ralph Souquet wins his first world nine-ball championship, over Tom Storm of Sweden.
Rodney Morris wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Allison Fisher wins the first of four women's world nine-ball championships.
1997: Johnny "The Scorpion" Archer wins his second world nine-ball championship, over Kun Fang Lee.
Earl "The Pearl" Strickland wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his fourth.
1998: Kelly Fisher wins the first of three World Ladies Billiards and Snooker Championships.
John Higgins wins the first of four world snooker championships.
Raymond Ceulemans, three-cushion billiards, runs 32 balls on March 14, 1998 for his Dutch club Crystal Kelly.
Buddy "The Rifleman" Hall wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his second.
1999: Nick "Kentucky Colonel" Varner wins the world nine-ball championship.
Efren "The Magician" Reyes wins the world nine-ball championship (there were two world nine-ball tournaments in 1999).
Johnny "The Scorpion" Archer wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Allison "The Duchess of Doom" Fisher wins the first of her record six U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championships.
2000: Ralph Souquet wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, defeating Min-Wai Chin.
Earl "The Pearl" Strickland wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his fifth, a record.
Fong Pang Chao of Taiwan wins his second world nine-ball championship, over Ismael Paea.
Mike "Tennessee Tarzan" Massey wins his first of six major artistic and trick shot pool championships.
Allison Fisher wins the women's U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship over Loree Jon Jones. 
2001: Ronnie "The Rocket" O'Sullivan wins the first of five world snooker championships.
Efren "The Magician" Reyes win the richest purse in pool history, $162,172 in the 2001 Tokyo Nine-Ball Championship.
Mika Immonen of Finland wins his first world nine-ball championship, over Ralf Souquet.
Earl "the Pearl" Strickland wins his third world nine-ball championship, defeating Francisco Bustamante.
Cory Deuel wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Buddy "The Rifleman" Hall wins the U.S. Open Ten-Ball-Championship.
2002: Ralph Souquet wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Helena Thornfeldt wins the Women's U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Earl "the Pearl" Strickland wins his fourth world nine-ball championship, over Francisco Bustamante.
2003: Thorsten Hohmann of Germany wins his first world nine-ball championship, defeating Alex Pagulayan.
Jeremy Jones wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Johnny "The Scorpion" Archer wins the U.S. Open Ten-Ball-Championship, his first of three in a row.
Karen Corr wins the Women's U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
2004: Jim Mataya, aka "Pretty Boy Floyd," marries the "Striking Viking," Ewa Svensson, bringing some much-needed glamour to the sport.
Alex Pagulayan of the Philippines wins his first world nine-ball championship, over Pei-Wei Chang.
Efren "The Magician" Reyes wins the World Eight-Ball Championship.
Gabe Owen wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Ga-Young Kim wins the first of three Women's U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championships.
Johnny "The Scorpion" Archer wins the U.S. Open Ten-Ball-Championship, his second of three in a row.
2005: Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Johnny "The Scorpion" Archer wins the U.S. Open Ten-Ball-Championship, his third of three in a row.
2006: John Schmidt wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Thorsten Hohmann wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, his first.
2007: Peter Gilchrist, English Billiards, runs 1,346 balls during a 2007 New Zealand tournament, and has a 426 average.
Shane Van Boening wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his first.
Shane Van Boening wins the U.S. Open Ten-Ball-Championship.
Oliver Ortmann wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, his first.
Andy Segal wins his first of four world artistic pool championships.
2008: Dick Jaspers, three-cushion billiards, makes 34 consecutive billiards over three matches during the 2008 European Championship Final.
Mika "The Iceman" Immonen wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his first.
Kelly Fisher wins the Women's U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship.
Niels Feijen wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship.
2009: Mika "The Iceman" Immonen wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his second straight.
Dennis Orcullo wins the U.S. Open Ten-Ball-Championship, his first.
Stephan Cohen wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship.
2010: Darren Appleton wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his first.
Efren "The Magician" Reyes wins the U.S. Open Ten-Ball-Championship.
Oliver Ortmann wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, his second.
2011: Darren Appleton wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his second straight.
Dennis Orcullo wins the U.S. Open Ten-Ball-Championship, his second.
Thorsten Hohmann wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, his second.
2012: Shane Van Boening wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his second.
John Schmidt wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, defeating Efren "The Magician" Reyes.
2013: Shane Van Boening wins the U.S. Open Nine-Ball Championship, his third, and second straight.
Thorsten Hohmann wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, his third.
2014: Darren Appleton wins the U.S. Open Straight Pool Championship, defeating Shane Van Boening.

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