Whether called chalk or blue, this is an essential accessory. And for a simple reason: putting blue on the process (the end of the tail, the one that hits the ball) gives it a better grip. And so? And therefore to avoid false tails. So your tail doesn’t slip out of control and you can control your strokes.
The other advantage: the possibility of “putting effects” on the ball. And yes, by controlling the trajectory of the tail, we also control that of the ball. Thus, it becomes possible to put on spin and strengthen your game.
Better grip and possibility of putting on spin: two good reasons thanks to which everything becomes clearer.Yes, it is essential to put chalk ( which is not, by the way, composed of chalk) between each stroke.
The pro trick: Most people rub chalk on the tip of the tail, which actually prevents the chalk from settling. Instead, stroke the end with chalk, making sure that the blue settles everywhere.
GOOD TO KNOW: THE IMPACT OF CHALK ON BALLS
With each stroke, a little resin is deposited on the ball. It will therefore be necessary, in the long term, to think about polishing the balls (with a suitable machine, which can be found in billiard clubs or with a suitable product).
On the practical side, remember to put your blue head up when you put it on the pool table, so as not to dirty the table. There are also magnetic chalk holders to keep chalk handy throughout your game.
THE CULTURAL MINUTE
From Jack Carr , who was not lacking in cunning…
In 1820, Jack discovered the side effect. The only one to master this technique, he presents impressive demonstrations. When questioned, he “reveals” his secret: his remarkable strokes, he owes them to his invention: chalk. Except… except that, of course, Jack Carr is a trickster (yes, a crook actually) . He therefore sells the small cubes of his manufacture at a high price … He ends up being unmasked, but whatever, he was already rich and he could continue his travels and even his demonstrations.
That’s it, you know one of the great secrets of billiards. And to find out why the chalk is blue, just Check below!
Green has been the traditional color of billiard mat for over five centuries. Blue has been the traditional color of billiard chalk for about 100 years.
Today chalk and mat are both available in dozens of colors, but green billiard cloth and blue chalk remain the most popular choices. Our billiard product manager explains the reasons!
THE FIRST REASON IS HISTORICAL
Billiards has always evolved, from its invention by Louis XI to the present day, towards more details. The formidable history of billiards is punctuated by innovations, even revolutions , some of which have made a strong contribution to contemporary industry (the invention of the first synthetic plastic material, celluloid, is due to billiards, while seeking a substitute for ivory for the manufacture of beads).
Two inventions have built the foundations of modern billiards that we know: the process and the chalk.
The process was invented in 1820 by a disgraced French officer, François
MINGAUD (opposite). This leather washer stuck to the end of the billiard cue made it possible to strike outside the center of the ball, and therefore to give the struck ball trajectories that were hitherto unthinkable. These are the beginnings of the effects. Mingaud published in 1827 a reference work “Noble billiard game – Extraordinary and surprising shots”.
SCAM OR GREAT IDEA?
The invention of billiard chalk is attributed to Jack CARR , billiard player and referee, contemporary of Mingaud.
To improve the mediocre performance of simple wooden cues with a flat end, players experimented with all kinds of solutions: to round, file or reduce the end, or … rub their billiard cues against the walls and plaster ceilings of the halls. . The end of the billiard cue thus coated with limestone powder made it possible to slide less on the cue ball.
Jack Carr, a shrewd businessman, did nothing but resume the habits of the players and the invention of Mingaud by cleverly associating with it what we would today call marketing : he developed small containers of chalk, dyed in blue. , and marketed them under the name of “magic chalk” (“twist magic chalk”) by demonstrating it during exhibitions. The grip obtained from this combination of the installation of a leather process at the end of the tail and chalk chalking allowed him new blows, previously impossible. These are the same techniques that are used nowadays to give effects by hitting the half note outside its center (on the left for an effect on the left for example).
Scam or great idea, Carr’s magic chalk was actually just plain chalk , naturally white calcium carbonate but dyed blue, and wrapped in great story telling. A name (magic chalk) , a distinctive color (blue) , a selective price, an attractive packaging, demonstrations … As a pioneer, John Carr, made a fortune by selling his magic chalk at a high price to thousands of amateurs, the billiards being then an extremely popular sport in Europe and the United States. Carr’s good fortune flew when the deception was exposed, when players realized that his magic chalk was nothing more than classic chalk … but blue.
FROM LIMESTONE TO SILICA
Although the manufacturing process was very simple ( limestone blocks were cut in quarries, then re-cut into smaller cubes and finally sold as is in their natural color) , the natural white chalk proved problematic: the cubes dried out. , lost their shape and disintegrated . Chalk also stained the carpet (visually making the table harder to play) and was difficult to clean. The limestone, too abrasive , also came, over time, to degrade the various game supports (at that time the balls were made of ivory).
Subsequently, other patents and other inventions around colored chalk came to complete the panel of choices for practitioners, towards a search of ever more precision via the hook of chalk: patent of 1884 d ‘Anthony Peple , billiard player from Brooklyn; 1885 patent issued by Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co., manufacturer of billiards; first chalk with silica , Paris, 1890; 1897 patent of the chemist and inventor Hoskins and the player Spinks with a chalk composed of 90% silica , a binder, an abrasive, corundum, and a dye-based on French chalk made with from pumice stone from Etna); etc.
Gradually, the chalk limestone (calcium carbonate also called calcite or lime carbonate) was replaced by other compositions, mainly silica (natural form of silicon dioxide, silica is the most abundant element in the Earth’s mantle after oxygen). If we speak of chalk, it is by tradition , but it is not strictly speaking chalk…
Billiard chalk is therefore blue for a first, historical reason. And 100 years later, with its reputation for better quality chalk, “magic chalk”, blue chalk, a pioneer in the field, is still the most popular choice with billiard players of all disciplines. Blue has become a convention.
BLUE: A PRACTICAL REASON
The second reason is more practical.
It is better to give the chalk a color that can make its presence on the carpet and the balls easily visible. The chalk can thus be more easily located and removed so that the balls and belts retain optimal rolling qualities.
And if the chalk is cubic (or more rarely octagonal) , it is also for practical reasons: before, round, it ended up rolling and falling.
The billiard mat is green, the chalk is blue … But nothing prevents you from opting for other colors, as long as your billiard table respects its two main principles: be as precise as possible and … have fun!
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