New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1863. Fifth Edition. Hardcover. "Revised, Enlarged, and Richly Embellished with Engravings." Decorated cloth. First published in 1856, all editions of this early billiards book, the second American book on the game, are scarce. The author, Michael Phelan, also published the first American book on the game, BILLIARDS WITHOUT MASTER, just thirteen years before this edition. Considered the father of American billiards, Phelan was influential in devising rules and setting standards of behavior, holds many patents for table designs and cushions, and is credited as being the first to put diamonds on tables. Phelan almost single-handedly turned American billiards into a socially acceptable pastime. This book is indeed richly embellished with engravings, mostly full-page diagrams showing shots on tables but also including full-page and text engravings of people playing billiards. The author covers rules, practical advice, and the history of the game, including a brief chapter on Shakespeare as a billiards player. There are four pages of ads at the end with two illustrations. This book appears to have had a frontispiece portrait of the author. A tissue guard is present, and there is a very, very faint image on the verso of the opposite page indicating that the portrait would have been removed long ago. Despite the missing portrait, a Fine, bright copy of this uncommon title. Item #013615

Price: $750.00

See all items in Americana, Sports
See all items by