What were billiard balls made of prior to the invention of celluloid?

“Celluloid and its predecessors were all made with nitrocellulose, also known as pyroxylin, flash paper and gun cotton,” Davis writes. “As you might guess from that string of names, these plastics were highly flammable, and when used in billiard balls, they had some, well, interesting results.”

What plastic are billiard balls made of?

Nowadays, billiard balls are mainly made of phenolic resin, a material that behaves similarly to ivory, and have a few additional qualities: they get dirty less quickly, they are perfectly spherical and they last longer.

Who invented plastic billiard balls?

Although not the first artificial substance to be used for the balls (e.g. Sorel cement, invented in 1867, was marketed as an artificial ivory), John Wesley Hyatt invented a composition material in 1869 called nitrocellulose for billiard balls (US patent 50359, the first American patent for billiard balls).

Were pool balls made of ivory?

The best billiard balls once came exclusively from the tusks of Asian elephants. No natural material other than elephant ivory had the physical size, strength, and beauty to perform in the billiard room and the concert hall.

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Why was Celluloid not suitable to replace ivory that was used to make billiard balls?

Their invention wasn’t ideal for billiard balls, for they not only made an explosive cracking sound on collision, but also at times caught fire when striking each other. The nitric acid used to produce nitrated cellulose was responsible for the flammability.

Do pool balls get old?

The average billiard balls wear out after about a year of use to a size that is no longer considered to meet specifications. The cue ball will degrade faster due to constantly being struck by cue tips. However, if your pool table isn’t subjected to much use, then your balls can last well over a year.

Are billiard balls made of plastic?

By the mid-1920s, the majority of pool balls were being made out of Bakelite. Today’s pool balls are usually made of acrylic or plastic resins, which are extremely durable and can be milled to exacting standards. Ferro, Shauncey. “The First Plastic Billiard Balls Routinely Exploded.” MentalFloss.com.

Why did billiard balls explode?

It was a side effect of no longer making them from ivory

There was a time when taking a perfect shot in a game of billiards could cause the ball to explode. That’s because the balls were made of celluloid, an early plastic that was, unfortunately, combustible.

What are the best pool balls?

The 6 Best Billiard Balls 2021

  • Best Overall: Aramith Pure Phenolic Pool Balls Regulation Belgian Made Billiard Ball Set.
  • Best High-End: Super Aramith TV Pro-Cup Pool Ball Set.
  • Best Entry-Level: Japer Bees Pool Balls Set.
  • Best Budget: Iszy Pool Table Billiard Ball Set.
  • Best Splurge: Brunswick Centennial Billiard Balls.
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What is inside a billiard ball?

Pool Balls are made out of polyester or phenolic resin. Phenolic resin, the better material, is used only by 1 ball maker worldwide, Saluc which manufacturers the Aramith brand of billiard balls.

Why do pool balls turn yellow?

Pool balls turn yellow due to exposure to UV light, heat, and air. These elements combine to break down the materials used to construct pool balls, giving them an off-white appearance.

How can you tell if pool balls are ivory?

An ivory cue ball will not look like your typical cue ball made of acrylic. It may be discolored with dark lines or cracks snaking through it. When an ivory cue ball is pricked with a hot pin, it will not melt and will smell like burning hair.

When did they stop using ivory for pool balls?

Ivory balls were used up until the 1970’s with A.E. Schmidt manufacturing them until 1975. The problem with Ivory is that it is a natural substance and tends to react poorly with certain temperatures and humidity.

Is celluloid still used?

Celluloid is highly flammable, difficult and expensive to produce and no longer widely used.

Is celluloid toxic?

It is not only dangerous when it comes to highly flammable celluloid, but it can also damage other types of plastics that have collectible value. … All in all, celluloid antiques and collectibles are not dangerous as long as they are stored properly and kept away from open flames or extreme heat sources.

How much are ivory billiard balls worth?

How Much Are Ivory Balls Worth. Usually, an ivory ball would sell from a price of $100 to $250.

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