The Man Behind the Cloth ~ Peggy Mallen

When I started to read about the history of Simonis cloth, I couldn’t help but wonder how they survived for the last 333 years!

Yes, you heard me correctly…333 years. Think about it—it was the 17th Century in a mid-size community, Verviers, Belgium where it all started. They probably had knights in armor with swords and metal helmets and jousting. Well maybe not, but it could lead to a great history lesson.

This community, Verviers, the center of the wool industry, was renowned for its production of high-quality wool in the year 1680—and, still is today. Initially, they made wool textiles for many uses but one little known fact is that in the 1860s they made uniform cloth for Union and Confederate soldiers. Unfortunately, the exact date for the initial production of billiard cloth is not known because of a factory fire in 1982 where the company archives were destroyed. Nonetheless, for over two centuries, generations of technicians and skilled workers have been producing Simonis billiard cloth, which is world-famous.

photo: Churchill Photography

photo: Churchill Photography