| Initial pool mentioning was found at ancient China. The first note about pool plays in European countries is referred to sixteen century. The King Carl IX played pool in famous "The Massacre of St. Bartholomew", Shakespeare (1616) might have been already familiar with this game, because in "Antony and Cleopatra, act II, scene 5", Cleopatra plays pool. Mary Stuart in the day of her dramatic death (17.feb.1587) wrote in letter to Glasgow archbishop to watch her pool table. There are many rumors about where pool appeared earlier - in France or in England. John Wilk assured that pool appeared in England first and was called "Balyard" (Old Saxon language). Shturtz in his written labour "Games and funs of English nation" pointed to the beginning of pool in the game, named Palle Malspiel, similar to croquet. In the seventeen century, pool became popular in Great Britain but King George Second prohibited playing pool in public spots and institutions with official fine set to ten pounds. In 1674, Etienne Liason published his book "Rules of pool" in France, Lyons.|
Billiard ( fr. Bilard, from it. biglia – ball) is a big oblong right-angled table with cushions, which length is one third bigger than width. Anyway there is samples of round tables and of tables with complex structure often used in mathematical recreational activities. Billiard table can be of different sizes, length may vary from 250 to 275 cm, and width may vary from 140 to 153.5 cm; height is up to 2.5 feet. According to the size, billiard can be small, middle and big. According to pocket types, billiard is classified into:
- Russian billiard – with narrow pockets, protruding from cushions, convenient to cue with any power.
- Polish billiard – with big pockets in comparison with ball size; cushions are a bit lowered and balls are pocketed easily. This billiard is small and it does not allow powerful hits.
- Vienna billiard or French billiard with pockets; cushions are extremely resilient;
- French or Italian cannon billiard with no pockets; not big in size; cushion is not very resilient.
Cushions and board are usually covered with dark green cloth (rarely with red and blue), which shouldn’t be villous in order not to prevent correct moving of balls. Cushions can be from 2.5 to 5 inches high; the purpose of cushions is to parry balls correctly. Cushions in Russian billiard are narrower than in French billiard. Cushions are made from the most dry and hard wood, mostly from oak, red wood, and nut wood. The board of billiard should be hard and plane; it was made from pieces of wood, glued together, like on parquet floors. Nowadays, wood is not used for boards, instead of that, people use schist because it is lighter, much resilient, harder and cheaper material; billiard boards consist of three parts. There are six pockets with hanged up net baskets on billiard; 4 pockets situated in corners and 2 of them are in the middle of long sides. Billiards without pockets are called French and serve to play cannon, that is very popular in France. Cannon became widely spread in 1827, when Mingaut, the author of "Le noble jen billard", had published his method of improving cue. A good billiard should have absolute horizontality and slickness of board, so balls in their movement subordinate hits only, but not secondary causes, such as roughness or slope of board. Horizontality is detected by carpenter’s level; there are special screws on each of six billiard legs that move by the use of nuts and serve to set ultimate horizontality of billiard board.