Billiards: The Victorian era formally started in the year 1837 after the British monarch, Elizabeth Victoria. Sports, in general, was played earlier as well but for the sole purpose of entertaining themselves.
In the 17th century, the Regency ladies were expected not to exert herself while exercising, while there was some physical motion that was acceptable. Swingings, see-sawing, playing hoops and billiards were sports that were not frowned upon.
Whilst all the outdoor games, billiard gained a lot of popularity during the mid 17th century. It wasn’t considered to be improper for ladies to play billiard in their private homes.
Though, they couldn’t be in a presence of a man alone in a room, especially a spinster because that could ruin their reputation for life.
Billiards Before the Victorian Era
The billiard in the 18th century was played differently. The only similarity between now and then could be found was it was played with a stick. Scholars have determined that earlier billiards was an outdoor game, quite similar to the sport of croquet.
It was played on a field which was surrounded by a fence so the ball would remain in the boundary. A hoop or “pass” was located in the center of half of the field while a peg or “kings post” in the other center of the field.
Billiard in the Victorian era
In the late 17th century, the game was shifted indoors because of the weather problems after gaining huge popularity. It was played on a table with a green tablecloth underneath, to stimulate the idea of grass with wooden rails around the table.
With the end of the 17th century, the hoops were no longer used, also the wooden rails were padded to improve the rebound of the balls.
The original wooden balls were replaced with ivory made balls, which had the problem of shrinking of the ball unevenly depending upon the humidity.
Like the older games, this composite game was a game for two players, played with three balls, a white cue ball for each player and a single red target or object ball.
As the game evolved, to propel the players made use of the opposite side of the stick to get better results which came to known as “cue”.
The tip of these new billiard cues was usually very smooth, which sometimes made it difficult to control how the ball moved when it was struck.
Billiards During Regency and Victorian Era
In 1807, the problem was solved by attaching a small piece of leather to the tip of the cue. In most sets, one of the cue balls was marked with a small black dot in order to distinguish it from the plain white ball.
Points were scored with strokes known as cannons and hazards. Cannons were scored when the striker’s cue ball hit each of the other two balls in succession.
Hazards were scored when the striker’s cue ball drove the opponent’s cue ball or the red object ball into one of the pockets. The use of different color balls other than red and white did not occur until the mid 18th century.