Getting the Right Lighting

From times immemorial, humankind has employed artificial illumination to provide light during darkness. They first used light emitted by fire and switched over to oil lamps later on. If you study the history of snooker, you will discover that candles, placed in candle holders, and suspended over the tables with the help of wooden framing, illuminated the snooker table during the early nineteenth century. The candle holders had flat plates below them to catch wax drips from falling on the playing table. Rich people used chandeliers to hold candles for illuminating the snooker table. Nevertheless, the insufficient light provided by candles made playing snooker very difficult during those days. Later on, oil lamps replaced the candles, but the luminosity provided by them were insufficient too.

More information on chandeliers

The advent of tungsten lamps

Playing conditions improved to a great extent following the discovery of the tungsten lamps and its mass production during the 1920's. However, lamps manufactured during those days were costly, had a short life, and required replacement frequently. This problem continued for nearly 100 years. Playing conditions improved considerably after the drawn tungsten filament vacuum lamps arrived on the market. These lamps provided stability and provided a higher degree of luminosity. The lamps were fitted inside square covers hanging over the playing table. Three individual covers were used during the early days. Later on a light fitted inside a canopy replaced them. The inner sections of the canopy were painted with white paint to reflect light on the table, providing maximum luminosity.

Modern generation spot lamps

Nowadays, many people use spot lamps to illuminate the snooker table. However, these lamps are not ideal, since they focus illumination over a narrow circular part of the playing table. The result is that light does not illuminate the entire surface of the playing area equally. This can cause problems and distraction for the player, particularly when the ball he is trying to aim lies in a dark zone. This is the main reasons why professional players prefer the traditional canopy lamps to spot lamps. However, this type has its disadvantages as well.

How lamps break

If a player leaves the table, after completing his round, and is not careful, the cue can accidentally strike the bulb, breaking it in the process. Apart from this, hidden folds on the green cloth covering the table can cause the ball to jump, especially when the latter is travelling at high velocity. If this vertically upward movement of the ball takes place when it is directly the bulb, it can shatter the bulb, leaving shards of glass on the playing surface, halting the game temporarily, and leading to loss of concentration of the player. Typically, lamps are suspended 61 inches above the ground level. However, it is only 31 inches over the playing surface, after one deducts thirty inches, the standard height of the snooker table. The best way to protect light from breaking is to cover the canopy containing it with a clear polyvinyl sheet. This allows unhindered flow of light on the playing area and protects the bulb too.