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Right on Cue! – The History of the Cue Stick

Cue stick, billiard stick, short cue, jump stick. Wondering how the pool cue got its name?

Story:

In the 15th century, outdoor ball-and-stick games ( e.g. golf, croquet) evolved into indoor ball-and-stick games. Players used an object similar to a golf club called a mass. A mace resembled a golf club with a long cylindrical body and a wide, flat foot. It was used to push balls across the table rather than hitting a ball. Players, however, encountered difficulty when the balls were against the rail cushion; they improvised and circled around the mace and used the tail to hit the ball. The name cue actually comes from the French word “waiting line” meaning tail.

In 1800, the cue was only used by “skilled players”. Novice players always had to use the mace because experienced players thought novices would mess up and inadvertently damage the cloth.

Types: There are many types of signals; the one piece tail, the shorty tail, the two piece tail, the three piece tail and even a four piece tail. The one piece cue is usually found in billiard halls. The one-piece cue is a straight cue made from one continuous piece of tapered wood. They can range in size from 36″-60″, but there is a cue called a “shorty cue”. A short cue is a one-piece stick that is 36-52 inches in length and used on tables where there is not enough hitting distance to use a 57-inch cue. Two-piece and three-piece cues break down into two or three pieces. The four-piece cue is usually a “jump cue” or a “pause cue”.

Rooms: Typically, there are six parts in a pool cue.

Tree– The billiard cue as a whole can be called the handle. All sticks are tapered at the end. They can be pro taper or European taper.

Point-The spikes can be slip-on, screwed or glued. The hardness can vary from very soft to very hard. Softer nibs will wear faster than hard nibs, but will hold chalk better than hard nibs.

Ferrule– Is at the end of the shaft. It is mainly used to hold the tip in place and to prevent the shank from splitting.

Cut– In two-piece cues, the joint is where the two pieces attach.

End– The butt of the stick is where the majority of the weight is. They can weigh between 16 oz and 22 oz.

Bumper-The rubber end of the stick. The bumper protects the stock from damage.

Materials: Most cues are made from hard maple wood. However, you will find that most pool cues are made from ash wood.

Famous cue makers include: Balabuska, Lucasi, Meucci, Joss, Jacoby and Dufferin to name a few.

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