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Cushions (also sometimes called "rails", "rail cushions", "cushion rubber", or "bumpers") are located on the sides of the tables rails. There are several different materials and design philosophies associated with cushion rubber. The cushions are made from an elastic material such as vulcanized (gum or synthetic) rubber. The chiefly American jargon "rail" more properly applies to the wooded outer segments of the table to which the cushions are affixed.
The purpose of the cushion rubber is to cause the billiard balls to rebound off the rubber while minimizing the loss of kinetic energy.
The profile of the rail cushion, which is the cushion's angle in relation to the bed of the table, varies between table types. The standard on American pool tables is the K-66 profile, which as defined by the BCA has a base of 1-3/16 inches and a nose height of 1 inch . This causes the balls' rebound to be somewhat predictable during game play.
On a carom table, the K-55 profile is used (with a somewhat sharper angle than pool cushions). K-55 cushions have cloth, usually canvas, vulcanized into the top of the rubber to adjust rebound accuracy and speed
Finally, snooker tables use the K-66 profile, like pool tables, but the cushion is an "L" shape. This is mostly[clarify] because snooker uses balls of a smaller diameter and smaller pocket entrances than does pool.
Cloth Billiard cloth (sometimes erroneously called felt) is a specific type of cloth that covers the top of the table's "playing area". Both the rails and slate beds are covered with 21-24 ounce billiard cloth (although some less expensive 19oz cloths are available) which is most often green in color (representing the grass of the original lawn games that billiards evolved from), and consists of either a woven wool or wool/nylon blend called baize.
Most bar tables, which get lots of play, use the slower, thicker blended cloth because it can better withstand heavy usage. This type of cloth is called a woolen cloth. By contrast, high quality pool cloth is usually made of a napless weave such as worsted wool, which gives a much faster roll to the balls. This "speed" of the cloth affects the amounts of swerve and deflection of the balls, among other aspects of game finesse. Snooker cloth traditionally has a directional nap, upon which the balls behave differently when rolling against vs. toward the direction of the nap.
Carom billiards tables Or Pocketless carom billiards tables are used for such games as three-cushion billiards, straight rail, balkline, artistic billiards and cushion caroms. Regulation carom billiards tables are rectangles, with the bed of the table (the playing surface) measuring 10 feet by 5 feet (though 9 ft by 4.5 ft are increasingly common).
The slate bed of carom billiard tables are often heated to about 5 degrees C (9 deg F) above room temperature, which helps to keep moisture out of the cloth to aid the balls rolling and rebounding in a consistent manner, and generally makes a table play faster. A heated table is required under international carom rules and is an especially important requirement for the games of three-cushion billiards and artistic billiards.
Heating table beds is an old practice. Queen Victoria of England (1819-1901) had a billard table that was heated using zinc tubes, although the aim at that time was chiefly to keep the then-used ivory balls from warping. The first use of electric heating was for an 18.2 balkline tournament held in December 1927 between Welker Cochran and Jacob Schaefer, Jr. The New York Times announced it with fanfare: "For the first time in the history of world's championship balkline billiards a heated table will be used...
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