William A. Spinks


William A. Spinks

Infobox Person
name = William A. Spinks


image_size = 257
caption = William A. Spinks in 1924
(passport photo from Dept. of State microfilm)
birth_date = July 11, 1865,
birth_place = San Jose, California
death_date = death date and age|1933|01|15|1865|07|11,
death_place = Monrovia, California
residence = Brooklyn, New York; Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; and San Jose, San Francisco, Duarte and Monrovia, California
nationality = Flag|United States
ethnicity = White
other_names = W. A. Spinks, Billy Spinks
known_for = Co-invention of billiard Cuegloss|Chalk|chalk,
balkline billiards world record,
the Spinks avocado cultivar
occupation = Billiards player, inventor,
sporting goods manufacturer,
oil company investor/director,
farmer/horticuluralist
years_active = ca. 1893 – 1920s

William Alexander Spinks Jr. (1865–1933), known professionally as William A. Spinks or (in the initialing practice common in his era) W. A. Spinks, and rarely also referred to as Billy SpinksFact|date=September 2008), was an American professional carom billiards player in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In addition to being amateur Pacific Coast billiards champion several times, a world champion contender in more than one cue sports discipline, and an exhibition player in Europe,Cite journal
url=http://www.toaster.org/hoskins_tragic.html
title=The World's Most Tragic Man Is the One Who Never Starts
last=Clark
first=Neil M.
journal=The American
month=May
year=1927
accessdate=2007-02-24
; republished in "Hotwire: The Newsletter of the Toaster Museum Foundation", vol. 3, no. 3, online edition. The piece is largely an interview of Hoskins. (And there actually is a Toaster Museum, backed by a related foundation. They take the history of toast, and electrical heating in general, quite seriously.)] he became the co-inventor (with William Hoskins) in 1897 of modern billiard chalk.US patent|0578514, March 9, 1897] He was originally (and again in retirement from the billiards circuit) a Californian, but spent much of his professional career in Chicago, Illinois. At his peak, the "New York Times" labeled Spinks " [one] of the most brilliant players among the veterans of the game", and he still holds the world record for points scored in a row (1,010) using a particular shot type. Aside from his billiards playing career, he founded a sporting goods manufacturing business, and was both a petroleum company investor and director, and a flower and avocado farmer and horticulturist, originator of the eponymous Spinks avocado cultivar.

As an inventor (1892–1897)

While Spinks was a world-class player, his lasting contribution to cue sports was the innovations he brought to the game and the industry resulting from his fascination with the abrasives used by players on the leather Cuegloss|Cue tip|tips of their cue sticks.

Cuegloss|Chalk|Cue "chalk" (used since at least 1807) helps the tip better grip the Cuegloss|Cue ball|cue ball (very briefly) on a Cuegloss|Stroke|stroke and prevent Cuegloss|Miscue|miscueing, as well as permitting the player to impart a great deal more Cuegloss|Spin|spin to the ball, vital for Cuegloss|Position play|position play and for spin-intensive shots such as Cuegloss|Massé|massés. In the 1800s, actual chalk (generally calcium carbonate lumps, suspended from strings), and even plaster was often used, but players experimented with other powdery, abrasive substances,Rp|46 since true chalk had a deleterious effect on the game equipment, not only discoloring the billiard cloth but actually causing the fabric to rot. [cite book | author = Victor Stein & Paul Rubino | year = 1996 | edition= 2nd |chapter= Tables, Cloths, and Balls | title = The Billiard Encyclopedia: An Illustrated History of the Sport | publisher = Blue Book Publcations, Inc. | location = Minneapolis, MN | pages = p. 240 |id= ISBN 1-886768-06-4]

In 1892, Spinks was particularly impressed by a piece of natural chalk-like substance obtained in France, and presented it to chemist and electrical engineer William Hoskins (1862–1934)Cite web
url=http://chemhistory-chicago.org/1843.html
title=C.H.i.C. Timeline 1843–1880
work=A Guide to the Chemical History of Chicago
publisher=Chemical History in Chicago Project
year=date unspecified
accessdate=2007-02-24
] of Chicago for analysis, who determined that it was porous volcanic rock (pumice) originally probably from Mount Etna, Sicily. Using the rock as a starting place, the two experimented together with different formulations of various materials to achieve the cue ball "Cuegloss|Action|action" that Spinks sought.

They finally honed in on a mixture of Illinois-sourced silica and the abrasive substance corundum or aloxite (a form of aluminum oxide, Al2O3),Cite web
url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=pccompound&term=Aluminum%20oxide
title=Substance Summary: Aluminum Oxide
work=PubChem Database
pages="aloxite" and "corundum" search results
publisher=National Library of Medicine, US National Institutes of Health
year=2008
accessdate=2008-08-16
] Cite web
url=http://www.chemindustry.com/chemicals/14835.html
title=Aloxite
work=ChemIndustry.com
pages=Chemical Info database
year=1999-2008
accessdate=2008-08-16
] Cite web
url=http://www.traveltotourism.com/recreationarticles.php?ID=5419
title=Billiards — The Transformation Years: 1845-1897
last=Russell
first=Michael
work=Leisure and Sport Review
date=December 23, 2005
accessdate=2008-08-19
(Also appears on several other sites.) This questionable article was obviously used as the source for the "" season 6 episode [http://www.crimelab.nl/transcripts.php?series=1&season=6&episode=22 "Time of Your Death"] , in which pool chalk plays a small but crucial role; the show perpetuated the "axolite" for "aloxite" error in that article, to millions of viewers. It is retained as a (red-flagged) source here specifically to document this fact, as the term "axolite" cannot be found anywhere else. ] founding William A. Spinks & Company with a factory in Chicago after securing a patent on March 9, 1897. Spinks himself later left the company as an active party, which retained his name and was subsequently run by Hoskins, and later by Hoskins's cousin Edmund F. Hoskin, US patent|1524132, January 27, 1925] after Hoskins moved on to other projects.

While regular calcium carbonate chalk had been packaged and marketed on a local scale by various parties (English player Jack Carr's "Twisting Powder" of the 1820s being the earliest recorded example, although considered dubious by some billiards researchers),Rp|46 the Spinks Company product (which is still emulated by modern manufacturers today with differing, proprietary compounds)Rp|46 effectively revolutionized billiards.Fact|date=May 2007 The modern product provided a cue tip friction enhancer that allowed the tip to better grip the cue ball briefly and impart a previously unattainable amount of Cuegloss|Spin|spin on the ball, which consequently allowed more precise and extreme Cuegloss|Position|cue ball control, made Cuegloss|Miscue|miscueing less likely, made Cuegloss|Semi-massé|curve and "Cuegloss|Massé|massé" shots more plausible, and ultimately spawned the new cue sport of artistic billiards. Even the basic Cuegloss|Draw|draw and Cuegloss|Follow|follow shots of pool games (like eight-ball and nine-ball) depend heavily on the effects and properties of modern billiard "chalk".

Spinks made a "fortune"Cite journal
url=http://search.ancestry.com
title=Ten Years Ago
author=
section="History" section
pages=p. 4
journal=Evening Times
location=Cumberland, MD
date=January 15, 1943
accessdate=2008-08-21
Confirms "fortune".] from his co-invention and the company that sold it to the world.

As a player

Spinks was a formidable specialist and professional competitor in straight rail billiards (early on), and balkline billiards (arguably the most difficult of all cue sports aside from artistic billiards), especially 14.2 and later 18.2 balkline, and skilled enough at the even more difficult 18.1 variant to hold his own against World Champions.

1890s: Rise as a professional contender

He began his competitive professional playing career in Brooklyn, New York,Cite journal
url=http://eagle.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/Default/Scripting/ArchiveView.asp?BaseHref=BEG/1893/12/20&Page=8&SelectedEntity=Ar00807&skin=BEagle&GZ=T
title=Saw Good Billiards: Union Leaguers Entertained by Four Star Cue-wielders
author=
journal=Brooklyn Daily Eagle
date=December 20, 1893
pages=p. 8
location=Brooklyn, NY
accessdate=2008-08-19
The piece (as several others did) misspelled his surname as "Spink". "Note": Each section of the newspaper page scans on this site can be clicked for a readable closeup.] ca. 1893."Cf." the newspaper sources cited in more detail elsewhere in this article; no billiards-related coverage has been discovered so far pre-dating 1893.]

On December 19, 1893 in Brooklyn, Spinks played in an exhibition that also featured the great Maurice Daly and young champion Frank Ives, and gave demonstrations of fancy Cuegloss|Massé|massé shots. He also played a 14.2 balkline match against World Champion Jacob Schaefer Sr.; Schaefer won, 250–162, with a high Cuegloss|Run|run and average of 88 and 20 (respectively) to Spinks's 33 and 13.

In 1894, he was living in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in January of that year offered a convoluted challenge to veteran Cuegloss|Cueist|cueist Edward McLaughlin of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to play him either a single 14.2 match to 600 Cuegloss|Points|points for US$500 each (a substantial amount of money in that period for someone to put up personally on a bet – approximately $11,400 in 2007 dollars)Cite web
url=http://www.westegg.com/inflation/
title=The Inflation Calculator
last=Friedman
first=S. Morgan
year=2007
work=WestEgg.com
accessdate=2008-08-21
] in New York, or one in New York and one in Philadelphia, or one in Cincinnati and one in Philadelphia, whatever McLaughlin preferred, and even offered to pay travel expenses to Cincinnati.Cite journal
url=http://eagle.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/Default/Scripting/ArchiveView.asp?BaseHref=BEG/1894/01/06&Page=8&SelectedEntity=Ar00812&skin=BEagle&GZ=T
title=Spinks Will Meet McLaughlin
author=
journal=Brooklyn Daily Eagle
date=January 6, 1894
pages=p. 8
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-19
]

Spinks issued an even more curious challenge in November 1894, to play 14.2 balkline against (almost) any challenger to 600 points for a $1,000 pot again, and while including French champion Edward Fournil, the bet specifically "excluded" the top-three names in that era of the sport, namely Shaefer, Ives and George Franklin Slosson.Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50B1EF63A5515738DDDAC0894D9415B8485F0D3 |title=Spinks's Billiard Challenge
author=
journal=New York Times
date=November 5, 1894
pages=p. 6
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2007-02-25
A very short sports column note. NB: Though the article called the game "fourteen-inch balkline" it meant 14.2 balkline more specifically, because 14.1 was not introduced into tournaments until 1914.] The challenge was accepted by well-known Chicago pro Thomas Gallagher (in a match that future champion Ora Morningstar traveled all the way to Chicago to see).Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9E00E0D61131E033A2575AC1A9679D94659ED7CF |title=Billiard Notes
author=
journal=New York Times
date=November 18, 1894
pages=p. 7 (below Navy article)
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-18
Sports column entry.] Cite book
url=http://books.google.com/books?id=G8cUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA364&dq=%22William+A.+Spinks%22
title=City of San Diego and San Diego County: The Birthplace of California
volume=Vol. 1
section=Section 31: "Morningstar, Maurice Daly, billiards"
last=McGrew
first=Clarence Alan
pages=p. 364
year=1922
publisher=American Historical Society
location=Chicago, IL & New York, NY
section="Ora C. Morningstar" entry
]

Spinks was apparently not a fan of upstart cueist Ives in particular. Days after issuing his caveat-laden challenge, Spinks was described by an onlooking journalist as "very uneasy until the seventeenth inning" as a spectator at the 14.2 balkline World Champion challenge Cuegloss|Match|match between Ives and incumbent Schaefer; the latter's point total had been trailing, sometimes badly, in all sixteen previous Cuegloss|Inning|innings until he rallied in the final one of the Cuegloss|Game|game.Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F4071EFE395515738DDDAA0994D9415B8485F0D3 |title=Schaefer Is in the Lead – The "Wizard" 32 Points Ahead of Ives, the Young Expert: Both Men Played Good, Strong Billiards and Ives Led Up to the Last Inning — Pretty Nursing by the Youthful Aspirant for Championship Honors — Ives Had the Best Average and the Highest Run in the Opening Night's Play
author=
journal=New York Times
date=February 25, 1894
pages=p. 2
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2007-02-25
An eyewitness summary of the first day of the match. The piece amply demonstrates the popularity of the sport at the time, as the in-depth article made the second page of the newspaper as a whole.] Spinks, along with Gallagher, even helped Schaefer train in 14.2 for another match against Ives, in October of that year; though Spinks lost this practice match 600–369 (averages 23 vs. 14), he had a high Cuegloss|Run|run of 109, to Schaefer's 102 (and Gallagher's 157 total).Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9B0CE7D61531E033A2575AC2A9669D94659ED7CF |title=Billiards by the Experts
author=
journal=New York Times
date=October 29, 1894
pages=p. 12 (below real estate article)
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-18
Sports column entry.]

Spinks was reported in the press in 1895 to be specifically desired as a competitor in an upcoming seven-man invitational tournament for "second class" professional players (i.e., not the top 3), organized by Daly, and with as much as $1,200 (approx. $28,400 in 2007 dollars) Cuegloss|Added|added.Cite journal
url=http://eagle.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/Default/Scripting/ArchiveView.asp?BaseHref=BEG/1895/02/22&Page=4&SelectedEntity=Ar00431&skin=BEagle&GZ=T
title=Crack Billiards Players in Tournament
author=
journal=Brooklyn Daily Eagle
date=February 22, 1895
pages=p. 4
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-19
]

Spinks had moved to Chicago by 1896,Cite journal
url=http://eagle.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/Default/Scripting/ArchiveView.asp?BaseHref=BEG/1896/09/24&Page=12&SelectedEntity=Ar01201&skin=BEagle&GZ=T
title=Good Billiards Ahead: Maurice Daly Promises Great Things for This City
author=
journal=Brooklyn Daily Eagle
date=September 24, 1896
pages=p. 12
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-19
] and was perfecting his billiard chalk with Hoskins. That year he was noted for besting McLaughlin at 14.2 by a comfortable 2500–2300 margin (with averages of 11 vs. 10) in a five-evening, $250 (approx. $6150, in 2007 dollars) 14.2 match, December 8–12, in Slosson's New York City billiard hall. At one point he had trailed rather badly, 1500–1880, after McLaughlin pulled off a stunning run of 140 (Spinks's highest recorded run of the match was 69).Cite journal
url=http://eagle.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/Default/Scripting/ArchiveView.asp?BaseHref=BEG/1896/11/24&Page=10&SelectedEntity=Ar01031&skin=BEagle&GZ=T
title=To Play 14-inch Balk Line
author=
journal=Brooklyn Daily Eagle
date=November 24, 1896
pages=p. 10
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-19
The event was originally slated to begin December 7.] Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9801E3DF1038E233A25753C1A9649D94679ED7CF |title=Spinks Leads at Billiards
author=
journal=New York Times
date=December 9, 1896
pages=p. 9 (below track and field article)
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-15
A short sports column note.] Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9801E3DF1038E233A25753C1A9649D94679ED7CF |title=McLaughlin's Brilliant Run
author=
journal=New York Times
date=December 10, 1896
pages=p. 2 (below cricket article)
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-15
A short sports column note.] Cite journal
url=http://eagle.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/Default/Scripting/ArchiveView.asp?BaseHref=BEG/1896/12/11&Page=10&SelectedEntity=Ar01039&skin=BEagle&GZ=T
title=Spinks Still Ahead
author=
journal=Brooklyn Daily Eagle
date=December 11, 1896
pages=p. 10
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-19
Sports column note.] Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9D03E4D8103BEE33A25751C1A9649D94679ED7CF |title=Spinks Wins at Billiards
author=
journal=New York Times
date=December 12, 1896
pages=p. 3 (below Platt article)
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-15
Another very short sports column note.] Cite journal
url=http://eagle.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/Default/Scripting/ArchiveView.asp?BaseHref=BEG/1896/12/12&Page=9&SelectedEntity=Ar00932&skin=BEagle&GZ=T
title=Spinks Wins the Match
author=
journal=Brooklyn Daily Eagle
date=December 12, 1896
pages=p. 9
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-19
Sports column note.]

By 1897, the year of the launch of Spinks & Company, he had evidently overcome his seeming reluctance to face World Champions again (perhaps from having several years' experience with his own product prototypes). Spinks competed in (but did not win) a December 3 open tournament.Cite book
url=http://books.google.com/books?id=2VwMAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA99&dq=Spinks+billiards&lr=#PPA99,M1
title=The International Year Book: A Compendium of the World's Progress in Every Department of Human Knowledge During the Year 1898
last=Colby
first=Frank Moore
coauthors=Peck, Harry Thurston; Engle, Edward Lathrop (eds.)
section="Billiards" entry
pages=p. 99
publisher=Dodd, Mead & Co.
location=New York, NY
year=1899
accessdate=2008-08-19
]

The next month in New York City, a January 15–21, 1898 double-elimination, five-man invitational 18.2 balkline tournament was arranged, again in Chicago. It was a handicapped event, featuring the five top players from the previous event – Schaefer and Ives, as World Champions, had to reach 600 points to Spinks's, William Catton's and George Sutton's 260.Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9F03E2DC1638E433A25755C1A9679C94699ED7CF |title=Chicago Billiards Tourney
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 15, 1898
pages=p. 4
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-15
Another short sports column piece.] Without having to rely on the 600-point handicap, Spinks beat Schaefer flat-out, 260–139 (with a high Cuegloss|Run|run of 48 vs. Schaefer's 38) in his January 18 second game.Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F1071FF8395811738DDDA00994D9405B8885F0D3 |title=Spinks Defeats Schaeffer "sic"
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 18, 1898
pages=p. 5
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-16
Another short sport column piece.] Spinks (with a high run of "only" 44) was himself defeated in a very close 249–260 third game a day later by Catton (high run 56) – by way of comparison, the same night Ives trounced Sutton by a whopping 400–160.Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9A0CE6D8123CE433A25753C2A9679C94699ED7CF |title=Chicago Billiard Tournament: Catton Defeats Spinks and Ives Defeats Sutton by 400 to 160
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 19, 1898
pages=p. 5
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-16
More summary sports coverage.] By January 20, Spinks seemed to be running out of steam, as Sutton took him 260–118, (high runs 73 vs. 30), Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9405E7DE1030E333A25752C2A9679C94699ED7CF |title=Chicago Billiard Tournament: Sutton Defeats Spinks, and Is Beaten by Schaefer
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 20, 1898
pages=p. 4
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2007-02-25
More summary sports coverage.] and he lost again 154–400 (with another high run of 44) to Ives a day later. (In Spinks's defense, he not only did better against Ives than Catton had, but Ives also had a very impressive high run of 136, making it virtually impossible to catch up.) This loss put Spinks out of the tournament at 4th place.Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9A06E3DB1638E433A25751C2A9679C94699ED7CF&oref=slogin |title=Chicago Billiard Tournament: Schaefer and Ives Win Games – The Former Breaks a Record
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 21, 1898
pages=p. 10
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-17
More summary sports coverage.]

1900s: World-class competitor

Spinks was still considered a newsworthy contender over a decade later, for the World 18.2 Balkline Championship of 1909, being enumerated in "a fine list of entries" anticipated for the March event.Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70816F83C5C15738DDDAD0A94D9405B898CF1D3 |title=Billiard Titles in New Contests: Clearance of Clouds and Quibbles Promised in Winter Series of Games – Championships Are Lure – Challenge Match Between Sutton and Slosson Will Open Tilts and Lead to Open Tournament
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 24, 1909
section="Sporting News" section
pages=p. S3
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2007-02-25
Another in-depth piece that further demonstrates the popularity of carom billiards in its heyday and the seriousness with which it was treated by the media. It is notable that Spinks, Sutton, Slosson, Morningstar and Albert Cutler were simply given by name, while all others on the list were given by name and city (e.g. "Calvin Demarest of Chicago"), indicating that Spinks was a well-known public figure at this time.]

On January 11, Spinks (with a high run of 51) beat former amateur champion and then-pro Calvin Demarest, 250–199, in only 15 innings, despite scoring 0 points in 4 innings and only 1 point in another, by building several solid runs in the innings in which things went his way. For all intents and purposes it was a 10-inning win.Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9C04E6DE1031E733A25751C1A9679C946897D6CF |title=Surprise in Billiards: Spinks Scores Well-earned Victory Over Demarest in Final Inning
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 12, 1909
pages=p. 10 (below NYAC article)
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-18
A sports column piece.] Demarest took his revenge only days later, defeating Spinks in a close 250–225, 23-inning game on January 13, despite Spinks's high run of 78 (his highest 18.2 run on record in publicly-available sources, and considerably higher than Demarest's 52 that night).Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9F06E2DE1031E733A25757C1A9679C946897D6CF |title=Two Games for Demarest
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 13, 1909
pages=p. 8 (below New Orleans article)
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-18
A very short sports column piece.] Spinks lost to him again the very next day, 175–250, in an exhibition game, despite Spinks's solid high run of 69, and also beat veteran pro Tom Gallagher.Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9903E1D7143DE733A25756C1A9679C946897D6CF |title=Demarest Beats Veterans
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 14, 1909
pages=p. 7 (below Syracuse & Sutton articles)
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-18
Short sports column.] Clarifyme|date=August 2008

In January 1909, just prior to an 18.1 balkline championship at Madison Square Garden (in which Spinks was not competing), he and Mauricy Daly were observed playing practice games with Sutton for the latter's pre-event training, in Daly's billiard hall in New York City, on multiple occasions over a several-day stretch. While Spinks lost all but one of the recorded matches of this series, one loss was by a hair, at 400–399, another was 400–370, and his victory was a surprising 300–194 – and 18.1 was not his preferred game.Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9903E1D7143DE733A25756C1A9679C946897D6CF |title=Sutton to Practice at Daly's
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 14, 1909
pages=p. 7 (below Syracuse article)
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-18
Short sports column.] Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9802EFDE1031E733A2575AC1A9679C946897D6CF |title=Sutton Wins and Loses
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 18, 1909
pages=p. 9 (below McGann article)
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-18
Short sports column.] Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9B03E4DD1031E733A25752C2A9679C946897D6CF |title=Two Billiard Victories for Sutton
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 21, 1909
pages=p. 7 (below Dartmouth article)
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-18
Short sports column.] Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9D0DE2DD1031E733A25750C2A9679C946897D6CF |title=Sutton Scores a Double: Billiard Champ Beats Morningstar and Spinks in His Practice
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 23, 1909
pages=p. 7 (below the Dartmouth article)
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-18
Short sports column.] Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9806E7D91738E033A25757C2A9679C946897D6CF |title=Sutton Wins Two Balkline Games
author=
journal=New York Times
date=January 24, 1909
section="Sporting News" section
pages=p. S1 (below the ice skating article)
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-18
Short sports page note.]

Many articles of the era stress that Spinks was a Californian, because during this period American billiards was completely dominated by East-Coasters and a few Midwesterners."Cf." the "New York Times" pieces cited in more detail elsewhere in this article.]

1910s: Setting a record and leveling the field

Spinks was noted in 1912 for a still-unbroken world record Cuegloss|Run|run of 1,010 continuous points at 18.2 balkline using the "Cuegloss|Chuck nurse|chuck nurse" (a form of Cuegloss|Nurse|nurse shot), and could have made more, but stopped,Shamos 1999] Rp|52, 289 before Cuegloss|Anchor space|anchor space rules were instituted especially to curtail the effectiveness of the chuck nurse.Rp|8Cite web
url= http://www.jimloy.com/billiard/chuck.htm
title=The Chuck Nurse
last=Loy
first=Jim
work=Jim Loy's Billiards/Pool Page
year=2000
accessdate=2007-02-24
The Shamos source is the authoritative one, but this site provides an animated illustration of precisely how the chuck nurse works.] The use of such repetitive, predictable shots by Spinks, Schaefer Sr. and their contemporaries led to the development of the more advanced and restrictive "14.1 balkline" rules (invented in 1907, but not played professionally until 1914), which further thwarted the ease of reliance on nurse shots than the older balkline games already did.Rp|15-16

In August 1915, Spinks was tapped to join a consultative panel of notable players and major billiard hall proprietors to help develop a new handicapping system for balkline billiards, organized by the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company, at that time the organizers of the World Championships. The inspiration for the new system was simply making it possible for the newly ascendant Willie Hoppe to be meaningfully challenged (his near-unassailability was hurting billiard tournament revenues, because the outcome was considered foreordained by many potential ticket-buyers), although the system was expected to level the playing field in other ways, especially making it easier for skilled amateurs to enter the professional ranks.Cite journal
url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9806E7DE103CE333A25756C0A96E9C946496D6CF
title=New Billiard Plan of Rating Players: Hoppe Will Lead the List—Handicaps for All of the Others"sic"
author=
journal=New York Times
date=August 5, 1915
pages=p. 9
publisher="ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-19
The article refers to him as "W.M. Spinks of Los Angeles", a typo for "W.A." or "Wm.", and could not plausibly refer to anyone else, as there was no other notable W. Spinks in the billiards world of the period (or since), only two amateurs, C.A. and John Spinks, meanwhile William was the only Californian among them.]

As an oilman

Spinks described himself as a director of an oil company as of 1900. He invested money from his billiard equipment corporation in the petroleum industry in California.Fact|date=September 2008|comment=Sources found, just need to add them. -SMcCandlish.

As a farmer

While Spinks was not operating a farm as of 1900, he described himself as a flower farmer (among other such specialists in the area) in 1910, and an avocado "rancher" by 1920. As a pomology horticulturist, he developed the Spinks avocado cultivar.Fact|date=September 2008|comment=Sources found, just need to add them. -SMcCandlish. As a floriculurist, he made no known major contributions.

Private life

William A. Spinks Jr., the youngest of five children, was born July 11, 1865 in the then-small township of San Jose, California, to struggling farmer William A. and wife Cynthia J. (Prather) Spinks. He had blue eyes, dark hair and a ruddy complexion, and was 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) tall by adulthood.Cite book
url=http://search.ancestry.com/
title=1870 United States Federal Census
year=1870
section="William A. Spinks" entries in California (there are only two, father and son). Provides age of 5, birthplace, parents' names and birthplaces, mother's middle initial, father's occupation, siblings, father's assets ($2,000 in total estate value, did not own the land he worked, in contrast to most neighbors). "Note:" The full details of the search results from the URL provided for this and various other public records here are only available with a paid subscription to the search service, but are extant in their original paper forms for verification.
publisher=US Census Bureau
location=Washington, DC
accessdate=2008-08-19
] Cite book
url=http://search.ancestry.com/
title=Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Francisco, 1893-1953 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1410)
section=item "List of United States Citizens: SS Golden State, Departing from Hong Kong May 2, 1922, Arriving at Port of San Francisco"
publisher=US Immigration and Naturalization Service
location=Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85, National Archives, Washington, DC
year=1954
accessdate=2008-08-21
Provides William's middle name, marriage date, Duarte residence overlapping with Monrovia ("cf." 1920 Census); confirms Clara's middle name, William's birth place, birth dates of both. "Cf." 1922 passport applications. Another ship manifest shows them returning from a trip to Italy in 1909, amusingly listing William's occupation simply as "capitalist". Another shows Clara returning from a visit to her native country of Sweden in 1937 (necessarily alone). Neither provide additional details, so are not cited here in full. Another, with both returning from England in 1925, again confirms that they retained the property in Duarte after getting the Monrovia house. All of the above are available as scans from Ancestry.com.] Cite web
url=http://search.ancestry.com/
title=Braddock Family Tree
last=Braddock
first=Bruce
work=Ancestry.com
publisher=The Generations Network
location=
accessdate=2008-08-20
Provides mother's maiden name. While a tertiary source, it agrees in every respect with vital records data. "Note:" The full details of the search results from the URL provided for this and various other public records here are only available with a paid subscription to the search service.] Cite book
url=http://search.ancestry.com/
title=Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1490)
section=entries for "William A. Spinks" (1922), and "William A. Spinks" & "Clara A. Spinks" (1924).
publisher=US Department of State
location=General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59, National Archives, Washington, DC
year=1926
accessdate=2008-08-21
1924: Provides full birth dates and places for both, photos of them, their height and appearance, William's occupation as "fruit grower", plans for whirlwind world tour including the British Isles, France, Italy, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Egypt, India, Palestine, the Holy Land, Switzerland, Austria and Germany, for the purpose of "travel" (and "visit relatives" in the case of Clara), summer of 1924; confirms residence in Duarte (overlapping Monrovia), William's father's name and birthplace. 1922: Same confirmations, for William; photo of the couple together, travel plans for Japan, China, Hong Kong.] Nothing is known of his education.

On September 1, 1891 he married Clara Alexandria Karlson (b. December 12, 1871, Gothenburg, Sweden, immigrated 1872; d. October 4, 1949, Los Angeles); they were to remain together for over 40 years. They returned to California from Chicago before the turn of the century. After a period in a San Francisco apartment (ca. 1900), they lived in the (then-rural) L.A. suburbs of Duarte (ca. 1910) where their farm was, and later (by 1920) Monrovia, where they maintained a modest house in addition to the farm. After William's business success, the couple became extensive world travelers.Cite book
url=http://search.ancestry.com/
title=1900 United States Federal Census
year=1900
section="William A. Spinks" and "Clara A. Spinks" entries (the only ones in California)
publisher=US Census Bureau, "ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-19
Provides San Francisco residence, marital status, marriage year 1890–91, William's occupation as "oil company director"; confirms ages, birth places, no children; does not mention farm, or Clara's immigration year.] Cite book
url=http://search.ancestry.com/
title=1910 United States Federal Census
year=1910
section="William A. Spinks" entry in Los Angeles (the only there one, and the only one in California for that matter)
publisher=US Census Bureau, "ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-19
Provides Duarte residence/farm, marriage year 1891–1892 (off by 1 compared to multiple other sources), Clara's immigration year, William's occupation as flower farmer (employer), land owned free and clear, neighbors engaged in flower farming; confirms marital status, no children, ages, birth places, parents' birth places. Copy is poor; data columns verified by comparison to [http://c.ancestry.com/pdf/trees/charts/1910.pdf legible blank 1910 census form] .] Cite book
url=http://search.ancestry.com/search/default.aspx?cat=35
title=1920 United States Federal Census
year=1920
section="William A. Spinks" entry in Los Angeles (the only one there, and the only one in California)
publisher=US Census Bureau, "ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-19
Provides Monrovia residence, William's occupation as avocado farmer, Clara's immigration date; confirms ages, marital status, birth places, no children, parents' birth places, free-owned home, Clara's immigration year. Copy is poor; data columns verified by comparison to [http://c.ancestry.com/pdf/trees/charts/1920.pdf legible blank 1920 census form] .] Cite book
url=http://search.ancestry.com/
title=1930 United States Federal Census
year=1930
section="William A. Spinks" entry in Los Angeles (the only one there, and the only one in California)
publisher=US Census Bureau, "ibid."
accessdate=2008-08-19
Provides home value of $6,000 in Monrovia, non-veteran; confirms Monrovia residence, owned home, living on farm, William's occupation as avocado "rancher" (employer, active), marriage year 1880–1, ages, marital status, birth places, no children, parents' birth places. Copy is poor; data columns verified by comparison to [http://c.ancestry.com/pdf/trees/charts/1930.pdf legible blank 1930 census form] .] Cite book
url=http://search.ancestry.com/
title=California Death Index, 1940–1997
publisher=Center for Health Statistics, Department of Health Services, State of California
location=Sacramento, CA
year=1998
accessdate=2008-08-20
Provides Clara's maiden name, death date and place; confirms her birth date. Curiously, William does not appear in the index, despite have been reported to have died in Monrovia, L.A. County. It is therefore possible that he actually died in an out-of-state hospital.]

William Spinks died January 15, 1933, aged 67, in Monrovia.Cite journal
url=http://search.ancestry.com/
title=Billiard Cue Chalk Inventor Dead
author=
journal=Associated Press Newswire
location=New York City, NY
date=January 16, 1933
publisher=Associated Press
accessdate=2006-11-25
Appeared in the San Antonio, Texas "Express", Helena, Montana "Daily Independent", "New York Times", Huron, South Dakota "Evening Huronite", Hagerstown, Maryland "Daily Mail", and many other newspapers. The exact title and text varies from publication to publication – from 2 sentences to five paragraphs – due to editorial alterations to the newswire. The full version can be found in the "Express" and "Daily Independent". Provides specific mention of Chicago factory; confirms involvement in oil industry, avocado growing, as well as birthplace and that he made a "fortune" on the chalk; also provides info on use of pre-Spinks chalk.] Cite journal
url=http://search.ancestry.com
title=W. A. Spinks Dies
author=
section="Sports: Local—District—World" section
journal=Newcastle News
location=Newcastle, PA
date=January 16, 1933
accessdate=2008-08-21
Provides more specific death place; confirms Pacific Coast Champion titles; implies incorrectly that he died on January 16; mentions his world record, but off by 10 points.]

The Los Angeles County valley Spinks Canyon, its stream Spinks Canyon Creek, and the local major thoroughfare Spinks Canyon Road (running through Duarte and Bradbury), are named after William Spinks,Cite journal
url=http://search.ancestry.com
title=Area Street Names Traced to Pioneers
last=Beardshear
first=Laurie
journal="Star-News"
pages=p. C3
location=Pasadena, CA
date=December 13, 1973
accessdate=2008-08-21
] who would probably be surprised that homes in the area can fetch over $1mil; his house in nearby Monrovia was valued at only $6,000 ($72,000 in 2007 dollars) in 1930.


References

Persondata
NAME = Spinks, William Alexander, Jr.
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Spinks, William A. (most common professional name); Spinks, Wm. A. (professional name as used in some media); Spinks, W. A. (professional name as used in some media); Spinks, Billy (professional name as used in some media)
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Carom billiards player, inventor, oil company investor and director, farmer/horticulturist
DATE OF BIRTH = July 11, 1865
PLACE OF BIRTH = San Jose, California
DATE OF DEATH = January 15, 1933
PLACE OF DEATH = Monrovia, California


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • William H. Spinks — William Hooey Spinks (July 23, 1873 1950) was a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1920 to 1932, as a member of the Conservative Party.Spinks was born in Blackstock, Ontario, and was educated at …   Wikipedia

  • Spinks — is a surname, and may refer to* Leon Spinks, a former professional boxer * Cory Spinks, a professional boxer and son of Leon Spinks * John Spinks, a former president of the University of Saskatchewan * Michael Spinks, a former professional boxer… …   Wikipedia

  • William Spinks — may refer to:*William A. Spinks (1865 ndash;1933), American billiard champion, co inventor of modern billiard chalk, oil investor, farmer, and originator of the Spinks avocado variety *William H. Spinks (1873 ndash;1950), Canadian Conservative… …   Wikipedia

  • William Thompson (boxeur) — William Thompson Fiche d’identité Nom complet William Abednego Thompson Surnom Bold Bendigo Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William John Hocking — William John Hocking, CVO, CBE= Born Senen Cove, Cornwall into a Congregational church family in 1864.Royal MintW. J. Hocking went to London and secured a clerical post at the Royal Mint. In 1908 Hocking travelled to Melbourne Australia on… …   Wikipedia

  • Spinks — This interesting surname is English. Recorded in several forms including Spink, Spinks, Spincke, Sphinx, and Spincks, it derives from the medieval word spink meaning a chaffinch. As such it was originally given as a nickname to one who was… …   Surnames reference

  • John Spinks — For the guitarist and lyricist of the British rock group The Outfield, see John SpinksJohn William Tranter Spinks, C.C., S.O.M., M.B.E., (January 1, 1908 ndash; March 27, 1997) was the President of the University of Saskatchewan from 1960 to 1975 …   Wikipedia

  • Glossary of cue sports terms — The following is a glossary of traditional English language terms used in the three overarching cue sports disciplines: carom (or carambole) billiards referring to the various carom games played on a billiard table without pockets; pool (pocket… …   Wikipedia

  • Monrovia, California — City of Monrovia   City   I210 in Monrovia with San Gabriel Mountains in the background …   Wikipedia

  • University of Saskatchewan — ] In many fields Biologist Walter P. Thompson leadership brought innovation, insight and research to new areas beginning with rust resistant varieties of wheat which curtailed the 1916 catastrophic outbreak of rust. He also was instrumental in… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.