Pool and Billiard balls were initially brought in to the aristocratic homes of Europe in the mid 1500's. This was the start of "indoor croquet" or other lawn games played during that period. Billiard balls over time have been made from many different materials, some of which are quite surprising.
In the mid 1800's a table manufacturer in New York proposed a $10,000 reward for anyone who could invent a suitable replacement for Ivory billiard balls. This was a very large sum of money at that time. They were concerned about the fate of the elephant hunters, not the elephants. A gentleman by the name of John Wesley Hyatt filed a patent in 1870 for a material he called celluloid. This was the first synthetic plastic and the first suitable replacement for Ivory billiard balls. Making those balls was not an easy process since celluloid was a highly flammable material and sometimes exploded during manufacturing.
Billiard balls have been made from many different materials, including clay, Bakelite, Crystallite, ivory, plastic, steel and wood. Most balls today are made from a combination of plastics and resin composites. Often called thermo set, these materials permanently harden when heated.
The most recognizable set of pool balls is the Brunswick Centennial Ball Set. However the past 10 years has seen an explosion in the options available. Those include Elephant Beautiful Balls, the Aramith Super Pro Cup Value Pack which are used on televised professional player events, and licensed ball sets with your favorite NCAA or NFL team logo. The options are endless and if you have a request for a specific set give us a call and we will find it.