Cue Chalk

March 9th Celebrates Cue Chalk

Today on Day’s to Remember, we celebrate how on March 9th 1897, a patent was issued to William Spinks, and William Hoskins for cue chalk.

William Alexander Spinks, Jr. (1865–1933) was an American professional player of carom billiards in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was known professionally as William A. Spinks.

At his peak, his was a household name in U.S. billiards the New York Times ranked Spinks as one of “the most brilliant players among the veterans of the game”, and he still holds the world record for points scored in a row (1,010) using a particular shot type.

Cue “chalk” (used since at least 1807) helps the tip better grip the cue ball (very briefly) on a stroke and prevents miscuing, as well as permitting the player to impart a great deal more spin to the ball, vital for position play and for spin-intensive shots.

In 1892, Spinks was particularly impressed by a piece of natural chalk-like substance obtained in France, and presented it to chemist and electrical engineer William Hoskins (1862–1934) of Chicago for analysis.

He determined it was porous volcanic rock (pumice) originally probably from Mount Etna, Sicily. Using the rock as a starting place, the two experimented together with different formulations of various materials to achieve the cue ball “action” that Spinks sought.

While regular calcium carbonate chalk had been packaged and marketed on a local scale by various parties English player Jack Carrs.

I wonder who invented chalk and when?

Natural chalk is made up of prehistoric saltwater organisms high in calcium that formed rock-like sediment. There is no inventor. Chalk-based materials have been used in writing for centuries, with no known inventor.

Scotland’s James Pillans is often credited with the invention of colored chalk as well as the blackboard.

He taught geography and was headmaster of the Old Royal High School in Edinburgh, Scotland. Pillans’ recipe for colored chalk included ground chalk, color dyes and porridge.

Chalkboards had made their way into almost every classroom by the mid 1800s.

Cue chalk is made from the same idea as school chalk, as we celebrate how on March 9th 1897, a patent was issued to William Spinks, and William Hoskins for cue chalk.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell


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