The Magic of Chalk. ~ Peggy Mallen

Chalk on a cue tip is as important as tread on tires.

Chalk creates friction that helps a cue “hug” the surface of the cue ball and keeps the tip from skidding off—especially on those difficult shots where a lot of English is necessary to achieve the results needed to set up for the next shot!

Until 1893 the chalk used on leather cue tips was carbonate of lime, better known as blackboard chalk. This chalk was messy; it discolored and rotted table cloth over time and was only made in white. Most chalk used today is comprised of fine abrasives and does not contain a speck of chalk.

The original chalks were produced mainly to keep the leather tips dry and secondly to assist with grabbing the ball.

The only problem with this was these chalks had no “grit” added and miscues were a big problem.

In 1892, a professional pool player from France by the name of William A. Spinks came to the United States with a few pieces of French chalk in his pocket. When he arrived, he realized that the chalk he had in his pocket was superior to the chalks made in the United States and went to a chemist to learn the formula.

After much trial and error, he then started producing chalk adding Silica and Aloxite—giving the “grit” needed to grab the cue ball and, therefore, changing the game of pool forever. Never before could players make such difficult “English” shots as they could with the new formula!

Most recently, with new technology, chalk formulas have become more complex and “performance” chalk has been developed by many billiard companies. Chalk has become as important to pool players as the type of cue they choose to play.