Billiard

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A.S.P. Pipe Parts Charts, by Bill Burney, Copyright 2003-2011 (used by permission; all rights reserved)

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The following is Bill Burney's excellent essay on on the Billiard shape, which he wrote for A.S.P.[1] and is used here by permission:

The Billiard

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by Bill Burney'

February 2010

Some years back, I decided to do some research into the names of different pipe shapes, just to get a better understanding. This eventually led to my doing the ASP Pipe Shapes Chart. I don't consider myself an authority on the subject, but I have studied a bit.

For the new ASP website, I thought I might discuss some of the shapes in more detail. Arbitrarily, I decided to start with my favorite shape - the Billiard.

The most classical of the classic shapes, nearly every pipe maker makes a Billiard. The bowl is nearly cylindrical with a rounded bottom, or heel. The bore, or tobacco chamber, is also cylindrical. The shank is round and approximately the same length as the height of the bowl and the stem is usually tapered. The bowl tilts away from the shank by a couple of degrees.

One feature I look for in a Billiard is a flat rim. Think about it: if the bore or tobacco chamber is cylindrical and the outside of the bowl is cylindrical, the rim should be equal to the thickness of the bowl sides all the way down. I expect a small "belly" to the bowl, giving you a little extra wall thickness where you need it. Some makers taper the top of the bowl to meet the bore or round off the lip of the bowl. While there is nothing wrong with this, it doesn't really meet the classical specs. As long as it doesn't make the bowl look too much like an Apple or an Egg, I would still consider it a Billiard, at least in inspiration.

Many other shapes are based on the classic Billiard. For example, make the bowl a bit rounder and you have an Apple. Make the shank longer and the stem shorter and you have a Liverpool. Make the bowl taller and it's a Stack, shorter and it's a Pot. Make the bottom of the bowl flat and you have a Poker.

The Billiard
There are also variations that are like subcategories. If you put a saddle stem on a billiard, you have a Saddle Billiard. You can also have an oval shank or a diamond shank or a thin "pencil" shank. The bowl and/or shank can have flat panels resulting in a Panel Billiard. A box-shaped bowl with a square shank is a "Four-Square" Billiard.

Billiards are made straight, 1/8 bent, 1/4 bent, 1/2 bent, 3/4 bent and full bent. There may be a way to accurately measure which is which, but I haven't seen much precision applied to this feature. Particularly between 3/4 bend and full bent, the naming seems very approximate in practice. The full bent, a good choice if you're a clencher, is sometimes called a Hungarian or an Oom Paul.

So, where did the name "Billiard" come from? I haven't been able to find a definitive answer. The best explanation I have heard so far was that at the time the shape was named, the game was very popular, so whoever came up with the name for the pipe shape named it after the popular game of the day. Maybe. Good thing the popular game wasn't craps.

There is another group of shapes derived from the Billiard: the Long Shanks. This group includes the Canadian, the Liverpool, the Lumberman and the Lovat. I'll cover them in the next article. (see Canadian).

The following shape numbers appear to be Billiards, as far as I can tell from flyers and catalogs. Thanks to Chris Keene's Pipe Pages[2] for the research material. Note this list may not be terribly accurate, based on old information, and is definitely incomplete.

Saddle Stem Billiards are marked with (s), Pots are marked with (p), Stacks with (c), Bents with (b) and Military or Army mounts with (a).

  • Barling: 1100, 1195, 1265(p), 2105
  • BBB: 606, 636, 667, 638, 304(b)
  • Charatan: 12x, 420, 148x(p), 48x(p), 211(b)
  • Dunhill: 114, LB, 710, 59, 577(s), 39(s), 57(a), 120(b), 501(p)
  • GBD: 9457, 135T, 2515T, 122, 124, 133, 9435(s), 9442(s), 9447(s), 347s(s), 392(s), 508T(b), 867(b), 508(b), 107(p), 116(p), 117(p)
  • Comoy's: 105, 6, 74, 131, 431, 341, 106, 112, 245, 405, 206, 47, 340, 189, 97, 64, 292, 98, 28, 270, 110, 291, 185, 332, 186, 27(s), 6(s), 484(s), 182(s), 437(s), 554(s)
  • Peterson: 957, 951, 3024, 902(a), 953, 934(c), 3214(c), 914(c), 689(p), 686(p), 2001(b), 968(b), 936(b)
  • Sasieni: 16 Regent(b), 17 Rutland(b), 19 Pembroke, 39A Felsted, 55 Buckingham
  • Stanwell: 03, 12, 14, 29, 41(a), 42(a), 45(p), 51, 53, 58, 60(c), 57, 61, 66(c), 72, 80(s), 81(c), 95(c), 98(p), 80R(b), 89R(p), 82R, 81R
  • Savinelli: 1011, 1014(s), 1002, 4006, 1025(p), 1024(p), 505(s), 3006(p), 1018(p), 1015(p), 6007(b), 1026(s), 4014(s), 6002(b)

Back to Pipe Shapes

Off site links

Logopip.gif La pipa Billiard an italian article about the Billiard shape by pipology.com