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What are billiard balls made of? What is the difference between a modern billiard set and the first ones?
What are billiard balls made of? What is the difference between a modern billiard set and the first ones?

Quality billiard balls give a lot of pleasant moments during the game. So popular, widespread today. Many fans of this table entertainment are interested in what billiard balls are made of, what materials are used to achieve the best product properties. The methods of their manufacture were constantly changing, only the requirements for cue balls remained.


Ivory balls

During the existence of billiards balls were made from several materials. Therefore, there are several answers to the following question at once. What are billiard balls made of? The most famous of them is ivory. Rare lovers like to show off balls from this material on occasion.

Not all tusks are suitable for making balls. The best balls were made from the tusks of female Indian elephants. They had perfect balance and spin. In the elephant tusk there are channels in which the capillaries are located. In females, the channels run through the center of the tusk, while in males, it turns to the edge, which is why the ball is unbalanced.

Only 5 balls were made from one elephant tusk. Forto create one set, it was necessary to obtain the tusks of two adults. The more popular billiards became, the more rapidly the number of Indian and African elephants decreased.

Ivory was also used to make cues - such accessories were considered a sign of special we alth.

Ivory cues

As a result, this material became too expensive. After all, the process of turning a bone into a ball was long and laborious. With the transformation of billiards from an ordinary entertainment into a serious sport, there was a need to produce balls of the same size, mass and density. It was very difficult to achieve this from elephant tusk products at that time.

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To save the animal population, it was necessary to find a new material for making balls. For this purpose, the teeth of various large animals began to be used: hippos, wild boars, sperm whales, etc. But the balls were of poor quality. Manufacturers tried to find a material that even approximately matched the characteristics of ivory.

Chemist John Highet proposed the use of celluloid. But products made from this material were not very popular. They were soon replaced by billiard balls made of cheaper bakelite, which was easy to finish.

In 1863, Phelan and Collender offered $10,000 for a patent to anyone who could find a new material to make balloons. The award waited for the owner for thirty years, but was never awarded.

In the 30s of the last century, balls fromphenolic resin. It was poured into molds, waited for solidification and baked in a special oven. A similar manufacturing method is used today.

What billiard balls are made of now

Set of billiard balls

The most popular materials for balls at present are various composites. What are billiard balls made of today? 2 materials are common: phenolic resin and polyester.

Phenolic resin

This material's uniformity, scratch resistance ensures ideal properties. Resin retains strength, elasticity and gloss of products for a long time. The price of these balls is high, but it pays off in a short time. Their service life is several times longer than the service life of various composite analogues.


This is a cheap billiard ball material that has gained immense popularity due to its performance. Polyester has several drawbacks compared to other materials - high weight, poor scratch resistance, loss of luster, short service life, and others. But still, this is a good option for economy class billiards. Most polyester balloons are made and sold in China.

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