B. Books from 1800 to the early 2000s.

Authors: American, Argentinian, Belgian, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.

1807. WHITE E., A Practical Treatise on the Game of Billiards, Ed. W. Miller, London, Great Britain, First monograph on billiards with diagrams. Very rare.


1827. TEYSSEDRE A., Théorie et règles du jeu de billard. Ed. Rousselon, Paris, France. First (?) French book on billiards.Translated into Italian in 1830. Very rare.

1837. CHARRIER, Guide de l'amateur du jeu de billard. Ed. Charrier, Paris, France. First French book with shot diagrams. Very rare.


1857. PHELAN Michael, The Game of Billiards. Ed. Appelton, New York, USA. Reissue No. 1 of a series of 11, with a title change, of the very rare first American book 'Billiards without a Master' published in1850. Very rare.


Above a drawing from the book showing a game of American billiards with four balls on a table with markers on the cushions (probably introduced by Phelan) and pockets. Note that the woman still uses a mace.

1864. MARTINEZ Gregorio, Arte de aprender y jugar el noble juego del Villar. Lib. José Garcia Taboadela, Malaga, Spain.

1873. LAURENT Auguste (= A.L.), Traité complet du jeu de billard. Nouvelle méthode. Imp. Laurent, Brussels, Belgium. Very rare.


The Spanish treaty contains eighty diagrams engraved in two very large folded leaflets pasted at the end of the book (see one below on the left), whereas the Belgian treaty does not contain diagrams because the author wants to avoid their engraving. They are replaced by a grid divided into 190 square boxes, each of them featuring a number corresponding to the position of a ball on the billiard table.


Both books are the first published in their countries.

1898. THATCHER John
A., Championship billiards. Old and new. Containing diagrams of 100 three-cushion shots, etc. Ed. Rand, McNally & Co., Chicago, New York, United States. The first book about three-cushion billiards [1].

Below, three shot diagrams.


Note that the cushions do not yet have markers called 'diamonds'. They are already present in Garnier's book (1880, see Section A) and will become essential in systems that facilitate the aim of shots.

The three-cushion game ('3-cushion') is very difficult because the cue ball is to carom the other two only after touching at least three cushions. Its shots are much more diverse and spectacular than those of previous games. It is based on the French free game too and developed in the United States in the 1870s. Its first tournament took place in St. Louis in 1878 and it was Wayman C. McCreery, considered best amateur billiard player in America then, who largely contributed to its popularisation [2].
A professional 3-cushion championship of the United States, which was a real marathon, was organized in 1925 [3]. There were 12 competitors. Each of them had to meet all his opponents 12 times, that is to say, he had to play 132 games in 50 points. Here are the performances of the first 4 classified according to the number of victories V.

H R.
1. Robert Cannefax
2. Johnny Layton
3. Gus Copulos
4. Otto Reiselt

AV = Average, H= high and R = Run.

1. 2. 4.

As can be seen '3-cushion' was already pretty well launched in the United States at the time.

1904. WOERZ August, Woerz' Billardbuch. Praktische Anleitung zur Erlernung des Karambole-Spieles. Verlag A. Ed. Goldschmidt, Berlin, Allemagne. Première édition. Rare. (+).

1906. GELLI Jacopo, Il biliardo. Ed. Hoepli, Milan, Italy. Second edition (the first, dating from 1895, was entitled 'Manuale del biliardo' and contained one of the first billiard bibliographies. Rare). This book describes mainly the Italian billiards.

1912. MURTRA Domingo, Tratado de Billar, teórico, práctico, completo, exacto y sencillo. Imp. Tragant, Buenos Aires, Argentina. First edition. The oldest Argentinian treaty. Very rare.

1919. ADORJAN Julio, Todos los Secretos del Billár. Tratado del juego de carambolas. Ed. J. Cosano, Madrid, Spain. First edition. Rare.

1925. VAN DER VIJVER Louis D., Leerboek van het Biljartspel. Ed. Van der Vijver, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. First edition. (+).



The five books above are from different countries and were written at roughly the same time. They relate to carom billiards (= French billiards = French free game) and contain numerous illustrations (diagrams, figures, photos). These books are very interesting, in particular Adorjan's, which devotes, already in 1919, a chapter to the 3-cushion game and its systems.


  • one of these systems composed of five basic shots from which many other shots can be derived. For more details, see Adorjan's book above or Wenning's mentioned below.

  • a picture, from Woerz's book, of a balkline match in Berlin (1902) between the American Jacob Schaefer 'The wizzard' and Adorjan (on the right), arbitrated by Woerz (on the left).


Adorjan was a Hungarian champion who first lived in Brussels where he created the 'La Royale' billiard cue (see Cues Section A), then in Paris and finally in Madrid where he was a billiard teacher.

1925. HOPPE Willie, 30 Years of Billiards. Ed. T. E. Crozier. Putnam's suns. New York, United States. First edition. (+).

Willie Hoppe, one of the greatest American champions.

Book about English Billiards.

1926. NEWMAN Tom, How to Play Billiards. Ed. Methuen, London, Great Britain. Second edition (+).

1928. BARRY Edward. H., System Play in three-cushion Billiards. An explanation of the various diamond systems used by world's greatest players. Fully illustrated. Ed. E.H. Barry, New York, USA. First edition. First monograph on 3-cushion billiard systems which, grouped together, bear the name 'Diamond system'.


1935.TROFFAES Georges, Le système des repères au billard. Méthode permettant le calcul mathématique et l'exécution facile de toutes les bricoles. Ed. Billards Van de Kerckhove, Brussels, Belgium. The title is explicit enough. (+).


1912 - 1935. RISO Levi, Great Britain, 9 books on English billiards played on a table with pockets.


Left to right: 'Billiards - The Strokes of the Game (3 volumes)', 'Billiards for All Time', 'Billiards in the Twentieth Century', 'Billiards for the Million' (3 volumes) and 'Billiards in Lighter Vein'.

1933.TABE Takashi, New Technique of Billiards. Ed. Nippan Kokusho Shuppan, Osaka, Japan. The oldest Japanese book of the collection. Very rare.



1936. WENNING H.C.L., Het driebandenspel. Grondslagen en voorschriften. Benevens iets over stoppen. 'sGravenhagen. GB. Van Goor Zonen,'s, The Hague, The Netherlands. (+)..


The author informs that the data are excerpted from the highly esteemed book 'Todos los secretos del billar' in which late Professor Adorjan describes 'Los golpes de tres bandas antes'.

Figure 3 is an example of using the Adorjan system shown above. A cue ball 1 is drawn in three different places 1a, 1b and 1c. Balls 2 and 3 lie in such a way that they would be caromed after three cushions by the fictitious ball (dotted circle), positioned in n, played aiming at mark 2. To get the same result with balls 1a, 1b and 1c, just play them in a direction parallel to line n-2.

1941. HOPPE Willie, Billiards as it should be played. A complete description of all types of billiards with charts, photographs and valuable hints to beginners. Ed. The Reilly & Lee Co., Chicago, United States. First edition. Rare. Although the named author is Willie Hoppe, the book was actually written by Byron Shoeman [1]. (+).

1942. COCHRAN Welker, Scientific Billiards. Ed. Ziff-Davis Publ. Chicago New York, United States. First edition.


Welker Crochran (in the middle) was an outstanding American billiard player who, with his rivals Willie Hoppe (left) and Jake Schaefer,Jr. (right), dominated the game for the first three decades of the 20th century.

1944. GABRIELS René, Van groot spel tot série américaine. Ed. Smit & Zoon, Hengelo, Belgium. + Atlas. (+).

1944. HOREMANS Edouard, Le Billard. Ed. Lumière, Brussels, Belgium. (+).

1950. HELM Edwin McKane, The E.M. Helm three cushion contact bank shot angles self instructing - Cleveland, United States. E.M. Helm - 100 pages.


Small book (11 cm), very rare, with a spiral bound billiard table cloth cover.

1953. CONTI Roger, La tête et le bras. Traité de billard. Ateliers A.B.C. Paris. France. Advertising brochure published by Byrrh wine, containing the picture below and an excerpt of the first chapter of the book (right) which Conti is working on.


In the World Professional 3-cushion Billiard Championship final (Paris 1938), Roger Conti defeated the American Welker Cochran (right) with winning the last three games hailed by the sports journalists as historic. In the middle: Ch. Faroux, ex. world champion (amateur), who refereed the final.

So Conti puts a stop to tne American three-cushion domination.

Press photo 1938.

1956. VAN LEEMPUT Marcel, Les 100 coups de série par Marcel Van Leemput. Imp. Buys, Brussels, Belgium. First edition. Billiard course given by a great Belgian professor.


1957. CONTI Roger, Le billard cet inconnu ... Ed. R. Conti, France. Famous book, sometimes considered the Billiard Bible. The author explains the free game and the three-cushion using a teacher-student dialogue. First edition. This book, whose cover is shown above, was reprinted several times and translated into Spanish, German and Dutch.

1959. MARTY Jean, Le secret du billard. Ed. Marty, Paris, France. First edition. Containing the Marty 'System' for cushion-first shots. (+).

1960. GABRIELS R. and van HAAREN C., Le livre du billard. Preface by Emile Wafflard. Ed. du Jour, Brussels, Belgium. First edition. (+).


The cover of Monty's book (1984) portraits him (see below).
Here, from left to right, Gabriels, Wafflard, Boulanger and Dielis, four other world champions of the time.

...... ...[ii]

1960 ca. BORIS Antoine (= Krpálek Boris), Le casse-tête au billard. Ed. FFAB, Paris, France.(+).


The author is a Czech billiard player, specialized in acrobatic shots played by hand, sometimes with phosphorescent balls. Accompanied by his wife, he performed lots of exhibitions in Europe in the 1960's. The book explains, in five languages, classical shots with a cue, as well as other finger-played fancy shots, like the '3-cushion' backspin with seven balls shown above.

1974. BABUT DU MARES, DIELIS and CORIN, Le billard. Ed. Erasme, Paris, France.

The three parts of this book are entitled 'Les origines du billard (= The Origins of Billiards)' by Jacques Babut du Marès, 'C'est ainsi que l'on peut devenir champion du monde (= This is how to Become a World Champion)' by Ludo Dielis and 'Le billard artistique (= Artistic Billiards)' by Léo Corin who shows and explains the 76 difficult and spectacular shots with 3 ivory balls imposed in Artistic Billiards, originally known as 'Fantaisie classique' when it was created in France in 1930.

Below the last of these shots (*)


and (from left to right) René Vingerhoedt, Léo Corin and Raymond Steylaerts,

[iv] [v] [vi]

three Belgian champions of this discipline. Its first world championship took place in Paris in 1937. It was won by German player Tiedtke ahead of French Kron and Vingerhoedt, then only 15 years old.



In 1932, Spanish Virtuoso Isidro Ribas challenged Chas C. Peterson for world supremacy at 'fancy shot billiards', without preset shots, and won the match organised for this purpose in St. Louis, USA.


- an extract of the match announcement showing Peterson playing billiards.

- a print showing Ribas playing at 'Los 36 Billares', the iconic billiard café founded in Buenos Aires in 1894. It is signed and dedicated by him in 1951 "for the future billiard prodigy" Clement Van Hassel.

- a photo of Belgian player Clement Van Hassel.


As a professional player, Ribas participated in exhibitions all over the world. For more details, see the first part of the book above and Pedro Gomis Lluch's book (1960) below.

........... ..

In 1901, Willie Hoppe, the American who was to become one of the world's greatest champions, achieved a 2,000-point series when he was only 13 years old [4], [5].

Below, in 1910-1915, Hoppe performing a backspin shot in his own special way.

. [ix]

In 1918, in an exhibition match against Charles C. Peterson in San Fransisco, he made a 25-point series at 3-cushion, which remained a record in this type of competition for a long time [2].

1974. TROFFAES Georges, former President of the U. M. B., "Union Mondiale du Billard" (= World Billiard Union), Le billard et l'histoire. Chronique des temps passés. Ed. Laguide, Paris, France.


1979. CEULEMANS Raymond, Mister 100. Three cushion billiards. Ed. Van Belle, Brussels, Belgium. First edition. Book in six languages: Dutch, French, English, German, Spanish and Japanese.




Belgian Raymond Ceulemans (nickname "Mister 100")
is one of the greatest champions in the history of billiards.

1979. EVERTON Clive, The Story of Billiards and Snooker. Ed. Cassell, London, Great Britain. First edition. (+).

1979. ROBIN Eddie, Position Play in 3-Cushion Billiards. Ed. Robin, Los Angeles, United States. First edition.

1983. PARERA SANS Valeriano, Billar. Con efecto y con afecto. Ed. Hispano Europea, Barcelona, Spain. First edition. (+).

1983. MALSERT Philippe, Le guide Marabout du billard. Nouvelles Ed. Marabout, Verviers, Belgium. First edition.

The author quotes the women who were prominent in billiard history.
In short:
- A woman nicknamed Margot : around 1426 she used to beat men billiard players.
- Mary Stuart (1542-1587) and
- Marie-Antoinette of Austria (1755-1793), Queens of France: they played daily.
- Catherine the Great (1729-1796), Empress of Russia and
- Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom (1819-1901), assiduous players.
- Novelist Madame de Staël (1766-1817) (left below) and
- Empress Marie-Louise of Austria (1791-1847) (right below), both excellent at billiards.

..and.... [ii]

In Shamos's book (1992) p. 31, an illustration by Clinedienst features Marie-Louise playing with a billiard cue in the company of her husband, Napoleon I, and Marshal Ney.
Here she is with the Emperor and their son.

1984. HEURTEBISE André, 3 billes aux reflets tricolores (= 3 balls with three-colour reflections). Ed. Féd. Française, Thionville, France. First edition.
History of French billiards. Chapter IV 'Female Billiards' reports that Yasmine d'Ouezzan (1913-1997) won the first women's French free game billiard championship in France. She was a Moroccan princess, student of Professor Fouquet. She is the first Frenchwoman to record a series of 100 caroms (1933). It also mentions that this championship did not have the success hoped for and that the next one, organized almost 50 years later, was no better.

. .....Yasmine d'Ouezzan 1932 [ii].

In fact, women's billiards started to gain popularity in the United States in the early 1900’s with other play modes such as ‘14.1 continuous 'and ‘9-ball', on table-top with pockets. The first great female star of Pool was American Ruth McGinnis (1910-1974),
below at the age of fourteen,

. [viii]

called 'The Queen of Billiards’ and recognized as the female world champion from 1932 to 1940. For more details and photo, see Shamos book (1992) shown below.

1984. MARTY Jean, Le billard par l'image. Ed. Marty, Paris, France. Second edition. Complements the book 'Le secret du billard'. (+).

1985. CONNESSON Francis, L'harmonie du billard. Ed. Connesson, Paris, France. First edition. Book about the balkline game. (+) (photo, right).


1987. VERWORST Jean, Berekend biljarten. Ed. Verworst, Malines, Belgium. First edition.The author has gone deeper into the diamond system and developed his own system, which is recognized in the world of billiards.


1987. BYRNE Robert, Byrne's Standard Book of Pool and Billiards. Ed. Harcourt Brace..., New York, United States. First edition. (+).

1987. JUFFERMANS Cas, Basisboek: biljarten. Instructie, verzamelen, spelsituaties. Ed. Tirion, Baarn, Netherlands. Third edition. (+).

1989. WEINGARTNER Heinrich, Billard. Das Buch zum Spiel. Ed. Weingartner, Vienna, Austria. First edition. (+).


1993. QUETGLAS José María, Billar a 3 Bandas. Preface by Ceulemans. Ed. Tutor, Madrid, Spain. First edition. (+).


The 8 books which follow, published practically at the same time, were among the most consulted during the building of the collection and the development of this site.

1992. ALBOUKER Robert, Autour du billard. Découvertes. Gallimard N°162, France. First edition.

1992. LABLEE Richard, Le billard: histoire et règles du jeu. Ed. Hatier, France. First edition. (+).


1992. SHAMOS Mike, Le billard et le billard américain. Ed. Minerva, Paris, France. First edition. (+).

1996. STEIN V. et RUBINO P., The Billiard Encyclopedia. An Illustrated History of the Sport. Blue Book Publ., Minneapolis, United States. Second edition. 554 pages.


1997. HENDRICKS William, William Hendricks' Official Standard History of Pool, Billiards, Snooker. 'A compleat Historie of Billiard Evolution'. Ed. W. Hendricks, Roxana, Illinois, United States.

1999. SHAMOS Mike, The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards. Ed. Lyons Press, New York, United States. (+).


2002. MARTY Jean, Billards. Ed. du Garde-Temps, Paris, France. First edition.

2003. STELLINGA Mark et Connie, Pool & Billiard Collectibles, Ed. Schiffer, Pennsylvania, United States. First edition.


CAUDRON Frédéric, Le billard en expansion. Imp. Deleye, Ledegem, Belgium, undated (probably 2002). The Belgian world champion synthesizes tne current knowledge of the three-cushion billiard game.



2008. STEIN V. & RUBINO P., The Billiard Encyclopedia. An Illustrated History of the Sport. Balkline Press Inc., New York, United States. Third edition. 629 pages. This magnificient encyclopedia contains 75 pages more than the previous edition.


2019. SPRANGERS Cees, Zoektocht naar François Mingaud, belangrijke pionier in de biljartsport. Ed. Sprangers Cees, Dongen, The Netherlands. First edition. Results of a research of several years about François Mingaud, an important billiard pioneer. The invention of the leather tip has been attributed to him: see Section 1. Queues Q. History).
Mingaud wrote an extremely rare book. On the right, a facsimile (Facsimile Publisher, Delhi, India, 2015) of the title page of its second version, ed. John Thurston, London, 1931, whose text is 'The Noble Game of Billiards, Wherein are exhibited Extraordinary and surprising Strokes which have excited the admiration of most of the Sovereigns of Europe, by Monsieur Mingaud, formerly Capitaine d'Infanterie in the Service of France'.



[1] HAASE Dieter, Das Billardspiel. Eine Bibliographie. Ed. Kassel University press, Kassel, Germany, 2016.

[2] SHAMOS Michaël, The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards. Ed. The Lyons Press, New York, United States,1999.

[3] TROFFAES Georges, Le billard et l'histoire. Chronique des temps passés. Ed. Laguide, Paris, France, 1974.

(*) This shot called 'the pin' (which is on the table and must be avoided) is made by a 'massé' with a special, short and heavy cue with a thick shaft and a broad tip.

(**) See Section 1. Cues Q. History.

(+) More books by the same author: .


[i] Carter's Billiards Library.

[ii] Wikimedia Commons.

[iii] Sebastian Stern (user sebastar), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia.commons.

[iv] Dieter Haase, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia.commons.

[v] Ron Kroon for Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0, NL, via Wikimedia.commons.

[vi] Eric Koch for Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0, NL, via Wikimedia.commons.

[vii] Joop van Bilsen / Anefo, CCO, via Wikimedia commons.

[viii] Unknown authorUnknown author. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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