is a 140 cm long mace, probably English dating from around 1800,
of which the mahogany head
provided with a central sight line, see picture left (*).
player is Frederik Henry, Prince of Orange, count of Nassau.
Ladies of the time also play with a mace in the drawing 'Le Noble jeu de billard' (1643) [iii] by Abraham Bosse (1602-1676).
In the detail below, you will notice a lady holding in her hand a mace turned on its side, a "sweeping" position that enables to roll her ball - keeping close contact with it - on the billiard table.
progressive replacement of a mace by an untipped billiard cue that
could only hit the centre of a balll, began around 1680, was already
well advanced in 1700, and lasted until about 1900 .
cues dating from the 1700s and the early 1800s are shown in:
Note that Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) used a one-piece ivory mace with a carved gold head  (made by Jean-Antoine Belleteste 1731-1811). Napoleon (1769-1821) played with a monobloc cue as can be seen in  p. 31 where he is represented with his wife Marie-Louise of Austria and Marshal Ney. According to Gelli , the cue, crafted by an Italian cabinetmaker, was made of rosewood and decorated with several ivory inlays, including imperial emblems. The one he had in exile on St. Helena island was not decorated and 1.37 m long .
between 1807 and 1818, billiard cues began to be tipped with leather.
This invention attributed to Mingaud and the use of chalk finally
enabled the players to apply "English" (= "side")
to the cue ball by striking it off centre. Two-piece
cues appeared in 1829 .
built the oldest French billiard cues?
the builders may have been corporations making furniture and occasionally
some billiard tables and cues (, p. 495). In France, these corporations
consisted of craftsmen (cabinetmaker, wood carver, gilder, designer
...) who were restricted to the conduct of only one trade, as for example
the father of Jean-Baptiste Chardin (**). The Allarde decree of 1791
removed these corporations and their rules. From that time on a cabinetmaker
was for example allowed to open a workshop where billiard cues were
made and decorated. French firms whose activity was solely billiards
gradually appeared: Chéreau in 1816, Hiolle in 1820 and Hénin
Aîné in 1830.
Other billiard firms, like Finck (1839), Dorfelder (ca. 1860) and Schröder & Kartzke (1884) in Germany, Sampaio (1880) in Portugal, Brunswick (1894) in France, and Van Laere (1906) in Belgium (see more firms ) were set up later and there were gradually fewer and fewer craftsmen.
Unsigned billiard cues from the 1800s are shown in:
are marquetry cues.
The first one, without splice, is the oldest and dates from about 1825.
The Boulle marquetry of the last two is very rare. All cues are monobloc
except the next to last.
different styles and designs.
first signatures appeared in the late 1800s.
without splice (1 to 3) or with forked (4, 5, 8 and 9) or '4-point' (6 and 7) splices, bordered or not by veneers (****). They are provided with bevels, simple (2 and 3 with escutcheon) or adorned with mother-of-pearl arrows (triangular plates) with veneers (4 to 9). Cues 8 and 9 are decorated with wooden marquetry. Other materials such as copper or ivory are also listed, as well as the possibility of adding splices, a screw in the middle, a rubber bumper, etc... Note that the price of a cue can thus increase by a factor of 50.
early 1900s were particularly rich in inventions. Cues, signed, patented
and bearing names,
in Section J. 1, stopped being manufactured. From
that date on, triangular plates disappeared and almost all cues have
borne the stamp of their manufacturers.
and, from top to bottom, two Hénin Aînés, one Brunswick, two Van Laeres, one Sampaio and one Finck.
It should be pointed out that most of these firms have closed now and that Hiolle, Hénin Aîné and Van Laere were among those that existed the longest.
Below, a few fine handmade carvings and mother-of-pearl inlays.
finally, here are the results of a study of all the cues of the collection
shown in Sections B, G and M.
The identification of this two-piece mace is based on the shape of its
head, the angle of attachment of the handle (see photo on the right)
and William Hendricks' History of Billiards. Ed Hendricks, Roxana, U.S.A.,