More About the Billiard “Pointer.”
It is scarcely necessary for us to mention that the first
and chief object of our paper is the benefit of the game of billiards.
That being so, we should be remiss in our duties if
we did not draw the attention of our readers to the fact
that with the appearance of the “Pointer,” and its explanatory
book, the “Practical Science of Billiards,” there has
arrived something like an epoch in the history and development
of the game.
It marks the change from a lack of knowledge to a very
complete knowledge. Certain mathematicians appear to
question whether there has been a new discovery of knowledge,
and claim that Newton’s laws cover the whole field.
This is rather outside our province, and we will leave
them to fight the matter out amongst themselves, but as far
as we can ascertain not one of them appears to be able to
show that what Colonel Western calls the principle of the
equal reversed opposite semi-circles (on which the
” Pointer “is based, and by which, and only by which, it is
possible to demonstrate practically and originally the directions
of the billiard balls under every possible condition),
has ever been previously discovered or demonstrated as
being a property of the laws of motion of the billiard balls.
A fairly convincing proof of this is that as late as 1904,
Hemming, who attacked the subject as a very advanced
mathematician, and who previously to Col. Western is the
only mathematician who ever treated the subject seriously
as a whole in the form of a book, was evidently completely
in ignorance of this property, and attempted to apply the
equation tan (C + O) = a tan O, (to which equation Newton,
Hemming, and Western all arrive in different forms
and by different methods) in quite a different manner, instead
of the simple, straightforward method which is applicable
and available when Colonel Western’s principle is
known and understood.
But this is not the only new thing. The principle in
itself is not sufficient for practical use, and one by no
means implies the other.
We are able to state from personal information from
Col. Western himself that the two discoveries were far from
synchronous. As a matter of fact he patented another
method of applying the principle more than a year previously
to that in which he invented and patented the
The important fact, however, to us is that there has now
been discovered and made available for the use of one and
all, a practical instrument by means of which any player
can discover exactly with scientific accuracy, what he does,
or what he should do, at every stroke of billiards. The
importance of this is made evident in the article in our last
issue on” The Necessity for Science at Billiards, “here
it is shown that up to the present no player has been able to
ascertain for certain whether he did, or did not, aim
We think we have said enough to demonstrate how important
a thing to the game of billiards is this new practical
knowledge and we will now proceed to the instrument (the
“Pointer”) that places it at our disposal, without the necessity
of any calculations or even mathematical knowledge on
the part of the user.
Col. Western states that ‘ any player in possession of a
Billiard Pointer will have always at hand a silent instructor
that can tell him:
1. How any stroke, whatever the position of the balls,
can be made, if he has the capacity.
2. Whether it is within his powers.
3. All the different ways in which the stroke can be
4 Whether he hits the ball in the manner in which he
5. To what extent and in what manner he fails to do so.
6. His natural and half-ball angle at any strength.
7. His power of screw at any and all distances.
8. Where to aim to make a winning hazard.
9. Where and how balls should be placed in order to
afford any specified or desired strokes; and
10. In fact and shortly one that will answer correctly any
question whatever regarding how a stroke can be made, or
has been made.”
He also states that this sounds somewhat a pretentious
claim, but we have satisfied ourselves personally that it is
The manner of using the “Pointer” is a very simple
matter. Here, again, we feel we cannot do better than
quote Col. Western’s words. He enumerates no less than
12 different distinct uses to which it can be put, but, as he
says, they all consist in three simple acts combined in different
ways according to the object desired. They are:
1. Bringing No. 1 arm into the direction taken, or to be
taken, by the object ball, which in itself fixes the point of
2. Bringing No 2 arm into the original direction before
contact of the cue ball, which determines the exact point
or division at which the object ball has been, or should be,
3. Bringing the cord into the direction taken, or intended
to be taken, by the cue ball after contact.
There is nothing difficult in the manipulation, all parts
of the Pointer move with the greatest ease, and the instructions
are full and simple, and only require to be followed
in rotation to ensure success.
We have only to add that we can strongly recommend
every possessor of a billiard table to provide himself with an
adjunct (particularly considering its extremely small relative
cost) that should add so greatly to his knowledge, his
skill, and his enjoyment of the game, and to those of any
person using the table.
It is also desirable to bring to notice that the use of the
pointer is not confined to full-sized tables and balls. It is
equally applicable to tables or balls of any size, the only
requisite being, in the case of balls the diameter of which is
other than 2 1/16 inch, that the distances apart of two holes
in the pointer should be varied accordingly.