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On March, 19th, 2009

The sphere krutitsja-spins... The billiard

If several centuries ago it was possible to manage, say, without a table and киев as those billiard spheres already at that time were a necessary accessory of "progenitress" of billiards. Not without reason on a boundary XVIII – XIX centuries the known expert on Russian admiral A.S.Shishkov tried to rename billiards in «шарокат». However, for all time of existence of game the manufacturing techniques of spheres underwent time and again changes while they have not got optimum game qualities.
 
Death for the sake of game
Of what only did not try to make a billiard sphere for all time of existence of this game. However we will begin with the most known material spheres from which and today fans of rare things sport. It, certainly, an ivory. Not all tusks which have arrived on stock exchanges of New York, London or Paris, went on manufacturing of spheres. In an ideal it there were canines of females of elephants. The matter is that in a tusk as in any tooth, there is a channel in which there are nerves and capillaries. At female individuals this channel passes strictly through the bone middle (in the middle of a sphere from a tusk of an elephant cow it is possible to see a small black point), and at males it turns to edge because of what the sphere can turn out unbalanced. Preference gave to tusks of the Indian elephants: they are larger, than at African which canines often went on manufacturing of piano keys.
To imagine scales of destruction of elephants for needs of the billiard industry, it is enough to tell that on the average it is possible to make of one tusk only 4 – 5 spheres. That is for the complete set of billiard spheres it is necessary to kill two adult elephant cows. Population of these animals was sharply reduced with constant growth of interest of the public to billiard game. After all the ivory was used and for manufacturing киев – such accessories considered as riches sign. Besides, with gradual transformation of billiards from simple entertainment in the present sports there was a requirement for mass production of spheres of the identical size, weight and density. To achieve such from an ivory it was for those times impossible.
It is no wonder that to the XIX-th century middle the severe need in synthetic substitutes of an ivory has ripened. Experiments with a teeth of hippopotamuses, walruses, wild wild boars, cachalots and even fossil tusks of mammoths have not crowned success: spheres from such material at the best concerned the second grade.
Sphere for 10 000$
In 1863 firm «to Filan энд Kollender» has offered 10 000 dollars for patent rights to the one who will think up an alternative material for manufacturing of billiard spheres. The award waited for the owner three decades, but and has not been handed over. Though a suitable substitute of an ivory all the same have invented. The chemist and the inventor from Illinois John Uesli Hajet, having learnt about this competition, with special eagerness was engaged in search of a substitute of an ivory. After all on the account of American Kulibina already was over 200 patents for every possible inventions. Scientific researches, at last, have led to concrete results when Hajet has casually spilt in the laboratory a flask with коллодием (cellulose nitrate). The solution has fallen asleep on a floor in the form of an elastic film. The chemist has decided to use a substance as replacement for an ivory. However spheres from fallen asleep коллодия broke up at the first collision. To make a material more удароустойчивым, Hajet has thought up at high temperature and pressure to add to коллодию camphor – so that celluloid which began to use for photo- and film manufacturing later has turned out. It was easy to paint this material so to make similar to an ivory. However spheres for billiards with a celluloid cover did not meet requirements «Filand энд Kollender».
Novelties from Hajeta found the buyers until there was a hearing that celluloid spheres blow up. Actually it was only illusion: the top cover of spheres from strong blow burst only. Till now it is not known, whether there was this hearing "sneer company" display from outside envious persons and competitors of Hajeta, but, having come to grief, Hajet has for ever refused idea to invent a substitute of an ivory and was switched to manufacturing of tooth artificial limbs. In a XIX-th century artificial spheres long time remained not recognised among fans of billiards. In those days concepts "rich man" and «the fan of billiards» were practically synonyms, and rather cheap composit spheres simply were not entered in an aura of prestige which surrounded all billiard world up to the beginning of XX century. And here the price of 160 dollars for a set of spheres from an ivory was quite comprehensible payment for an exclusive.
But demand for artificial billiard spheres increased proportionally to growth of interest to billiard sports in general. As materials were gradually improved.
«Allow someone to another to incur risk and to spend an extra time, to show to you as it is necessary to operate», - industrialist Leo Bejkland spoke. Following this principle, the enterprising American has invented so-called «бэйкелит» - a material which, unlike celluloid, was easy in processing, not горюч and is cheap. So in 1912 in Albany «the Pool Ball Kompanii» began to make from «бэйкелита» billiard spheres.
But the present revolution in manufacture of synthetic spheres has had for 30th years when for the first time for this purpose pitch has been used фенолформальдегидная.
"Plastic" revolution
Small Belgian small village of Kalenel. In 1923 the Belgian firm Saluc which, apparently, makes today everything that has the roundish form here has been based: from spheres for bowling to balls for computer mice. But world popularity of the company was brought by its mark of billiard spheres Aramith. Saluc lets out spheres for all kinds of billiard game. And for each kind there are degrees of quality of production which are defined by 7 criteria: density, balance, diameter, stability, sphericity, colour, polishing of a surface and shine. To a highest level of quality Aramith for «Russian pyramid» there correspond spheres Super Aramith PRO with which play all large competitions on billiards. They are exposed to especially rigid individual control of the size, colour and weight. Aramith Premier concede on quality indicators Aramith Super PRO a little, and in category Aramith Standart those spheres which, for example, differ from each other on colour a little concern and consequently do not meet the requirements for Aramith Premier.
For a pool there are 6 degrees of quality. It (since the higher) Super Aramith PRO, Aramith Premium, Aramith Premier and Aramith Standart. Spheres Aramith Economic which differ from the previous themes Further follow that numbers in them are inlaid at the manufacturing final stage, instead of cast together with a sphere. And last level – Aramith Continental. If other spheres Aramith get the necessary colour through colouring of the pitch Continental are coated already ready. Naturally, this covering is erased in due course. Snukernye spheres by the same principle are subdivided on Aramith Super Cristalate, Aramith Tournament Champion and Aramith Premier.
Process of manufacturing of the Belgian spheres, at first sight, is simple enough. Fenolformaldegidnaja pitch is filled in in the disposable glass form and stiffens. Then it bake «to readiness» in special furnaces at the established temperature mode. After that each sphere expects scrupulous processing: it grind and grind, leading up to a faultless condition. And all cycle of manufacture is automated. Only at the final stages manual skills are used: finished articles weigh, measure with jeweller accuracy and sort according to rigid sports standards. After all for each game there is a certain size and weight of spheres which are strictly supervised at the international competitions. So, tables in the size to 8 foots play spheres in diameter of 60 mm, and on tables in the size of 9 foots and it is more – spheres with a diameter 68 mm and it is powerful 282 For a pool the established weight of a sphere of 170, diameter – 57,2 mm. Snukernye spheres have diameter of 52,4 mm.
Billiard spheres on a bit different technology make in China and on Taiwan, using as a basis polyester – both local manufacture, and imported of Germany. Components mix in an original centrifuge to homogeneous weight with which then manually fill in in reusable forms. After structure hardening turning processing, polishing, check on conformity all follows the same established standards.
If to compare on quality these spheres with Belgian it is possible to tell with confidence that the buyer is found by both marks. A difference only that Aramith at the dearness are calculated on longer term of operation whereas полиэстеровые serve less, but also the price for them much more low. It is necessary to notice that полиэстеровые billiard spheres from South East Asia can be as low, and quality, depending on mark. In this region under brand Start Billiards make billiard spheres for a pool and «Russian pyramid» from high-quality German polyester: Start Billiards Premium (tournament level), Start Billiards and Classic (amateur level). Thanks to application of modern technologies these spheres are the best on quality among полиэстеровых.
In Germany too made billiard spheres – from фенолформальдегидной pitches. But the versatile concern which is letting out them, has decided to sell this manufacture. Company Saluc has responded to so favourable offer and has got it then to liquidate. Therefore the Belgian monopoly in this branch was established. In connection with absence of competition Saluc began to rise annually in the price on Aramith approximately on 3 – 5 %.
However monopoly Saluc comes to an end, as in China have mastered manufacture of billiard spheres on a basis фенолформальдегидной pitches which on quality do not concede to the Belgian. While here let out only spheres for a pool, but, probably, shortly in connection with geographical affinity to Russia there will be also spheres for «Russian pyramid».
And what at us?
Manufacture of billiard spheres existed and in the Soviet Russia – in such cities, as Minsk and Dnepropetrovsk. And the Dnepropetrovsk spheres were considered as the best. Though, according to professionals of billiard sports, should pass half a century before these spheres became similar that legendary Russian master Andrey Petrovich Chemodanov made.
Almost all billiard tables and the accessories made Chemodanovym, are considered till now as the inaccessible standard. And spheres – not an exception. Its pupil George Stepanovich Mitasov, the vice-president and the state trainer ФБСР, considers that the reason consists not in unique technology, and in talent умельца.
- Even the Belgian spheres cannot make a worthy competition Chemodanovsky, - George Stepanovich speaks. – It is possible now, after so much years, to take a micrometer and to be convinced that its each sphere is ideal. In game they simply do not have the equal. Andrey Petrovich, my teacher and the instructor, felt heart, it is possible to make faultless billiard spheres of what site of a huge tusk. And unless it can learn? It is gift which it is impossible to express in formulas and rules.
Probably, therefore after death of Chemodanova nobody could make the same billiard spheres. They have turned to a curiosity which can be met unless in private collections of rich men. Perhaps, there is no such admirer of billiards who would not dream to play these spheres.
Why presently in Russia there is, for example, a manufacture of high-quality tables, and any factory, any master not undertakes to make spheres? Here is how this question is answered with George Stepanovich:
- I can tell with confidence: the best spheres for today make in Belgium. They never bring. With such reliable spheres all your knowledge and abilities it is available. And with bad as happens? Like you beat directly – and the sphere deviates that more to the left, more to the right. About what then calculations there can be a speech? And so, to make bad spheres of work will not make. It will be simple them nobody to buy. In the market of billiard spheres Belgium and South East Asia were strongly fixed, to catch up which very difficultly. Perhaps if there was at us such master as Suitcases, and has dared to adjust the manufacture … Speak after all: if not you, someone another.
"The spherical" physics
* Billiard cue blow accelerates a sphere from 0 to 30 km/h for a fraction of a second.
* The friction temperature between a sphere and cloth reaches 250 degrees.
* The quality sphere maintains pressure to 5 tons, more than 400 000 impacts (and it is a minimum of 80 days of unceasing game) and falling on a firm surface from height of 35 metres.
Vyacheslav Gorchakov

 
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