The History, Design, and Customization of Parsons Pool Tables

The History, Design, and Customization of Parsons Pool Tables
Table Of Content

The History and Design of Parsons Pool Tables

Pool, also known as billiards, has been a popular game for centuries. The earliest known pool table was built in the 15th century for King Louis XI of France. Since then, pool tables have evolved in their design and construction. One style that emerged in the early 20th century is the Parsons design. Parsons pool tables have a distinctive look and feel that make them stand out from other types of pool tables.

The Origins of Parsons Pool Tables

The Parsons design was created by the Brunswick Billiards company in the 1910s. Brunswick employee H.M. Parsons developed the first Parsons pool table after being tasked with creating a new design. Parsons came up with a table that had square legs, a wide apron, and a playing surface framed with cushion rails. This clean, straightforward design was a departure from the ornate, decorative pool tables of the time.

The Parsons design grew in popularity over the following decades. Its simple elegance appealed to players who wanted a pool table that was handsome yet understated. By the 1950s, Parsons tables could be found in pool halls, bars, hotels, and homes across America.

Distinctive Visual Features

There are several distinctive visual elements that characterize a Parsons pool table.

  • Square, tapered legs. Parsons tables have straight, squared legs that taper slightly from the bottom to the top. This gives them a bold, architectural look.
  • Wide aprons. The aprons, or support boards, on a Parsons table are wider than on other pool table styles. This allows plenty of knee room for players.
  • Clean lines. The Parsons design features straight lines and minimal ornamentation. This streamlined aesthetic sets it apart from earlier Victorian-era pool tables.
  • Slate playing surface. Nearly all Parsons tables feature a playing surface made of slate. Slate provides a perfectly flat surface that yields great ball roll.

Other distinctive elements include leather corner pockets, aluminum or wood outer rails, and a stained solid wood finish. Common woods used are oak, mahogany, and walnut. These visual features come together to create the classic Parsons billiards table look that is recognized worldwide.

Playing Characteristics

In addition to its distinctive appearance, the Parsons design also provides excellent playing characteristics. Here are some of the things that make Parsons tables a joy to play on:

  • Responsive slate surface - The slate bed on a Parsons table provides the truest, most consistent ball roll possible in a pool table. The surface is perfectly level across the entire playing field.
  • Precise pockets - The leather pockets on Parsons tables have a rigid design that prevents balls from bouncing out. The pockets are cut precisely to accept shots from a wide margin of error.
  • Substantial weight - A solid wood Parsons table has considerable weight that keeps it stable and steady during play. This allows for smooth, controlled shots.
  • Ample playing space - With their wide aprons, Parsons tables offer comfortable space around the entire perimeter for players to spread out and take shots from any angle.

For both casual and serious pool players, a Parsons table provides an outstanding playing experience. The top-notch slate bed, reliable pockets, hefty weight, and open floorplan check all the boxes for optimal game play.

Customizing Your Parsons Pool Table

One great advantage of Parsons pool tables is that they can be customized in many different ways. While they follow a standard design, there are options to personalize a Parsons table to match your decor or playing preferences.

Size Options

Parsons pool tables come in a range of standard sizes to fit any space:

  • Barbox - Compact 7-foot tables designed for small spaces or children
  • Standard - Full-sized 8-foot tables, the most common size
  • Professional - Extra-large 9-foot tables used for tournaments and championships

In addition to these common sizes, some manufacturers can do custom sizing to create a Parsons table tailored to your room dimensions.

Table Shapes

The classic Parsons table has a rectangular shape, but other shapes are also available. Here are some options:

  • Octagonal - An 8-sided table that saves room in corners
  • Round - For a modern look and unobstructed views
  • Racetrack - Elongated rectangular shape that fits narrow spaces

These shape variations put a fresh spin on the traditional Parsons footprint.

Wood Finishes and Colors

When it comes to colors and finishes, Parsons tables offer tons of customization. Different wood stains can create all sorts of looks. From dark espresso tones to soft weathered grays, the possibilities are endless. Other options include:

  • Painted tables in bold colors like red, green, or blue
  • Two-tone tables pairing a light and dark stain
  • Unique materials like bamboo or reclaimed wood

Choosing a custom color or finish is a great way to complement your existing furniture and decor.

Accessories and Upgrades

Owners can also customize their Parsons table with useful accessories and upgrades such as:

  • Overhead lights or lamps for optimal visibility
  • Leather pockets or grommets to hold cue sticks
  • Drawers or cabinets to store accessories
  • Dining tops to convert the table into a dining surface

With the right accessories, you can tailor your Parsons table to meet both form and function.

Where to Buy a Quality Parsons Pool Table

When shopping for a Parsons pool table, you'll want one constructed from quality materials by an experienced manufacturer. Here are some places to find top-tier Parsons tables:

  • Specialty billiards retailers - Stores dedicated to pool tables and equipment often carry Parsons tables and can help with custom orders.
  • Online billiards retailers - Shopping online gives access to a huge selection of Parsons tables that can be tailored and shipped right to your home.
  • Local furniture stores - Some furniture showrooms, especially those specializing in game room furniture, offer Parsons tables.
  • Used marketplaces - You can find high-quality used Parsons tables through classified ads, auction sites, antique stores, etc.

Be sure to inspect any table thoroughly prior to purchase. Key things to look for are a level, warp-free slate bed, sturdy cabinet and legs, quality felt, and sharp, responsive rails. With a properly constructed table, a Parsons design will provide many years of pool playing enjoyment.


What are the standard sizes for Parsons pool tables?

Common Parsons table sizes are 7-foot barbox tables, 8-foot standard size, and 9-foot professional size tables. Custom sizing is also available.

What types of wood are used to make Parsons tables?

Oak, mahogany, and walnut are typical woods used for Parsons tables. Other options include maple, cherry, and exotic woods like bamboo.

Can you get Parsons tables in different shapes?

In addition to the traditional rectangular shape, Parsons tables can also be found in octagonal, racetrack, and round shaped designs.

What are some popular accessory options for Parsons tables?

Common Parsons table accessories include overhead lighting, custom wood stains, leather pockets, cue stick holders, and dining table conversion tops.

Where are the best places to shop for a Parsons pool table?

High-quality Parsons tables can be found at specialty billiards stores, online retailers, quality furniture stores, and on the used marketplace.

Advertisement 1

Advertisement 2

More from Art

A Strange TikTok Claiming Spirit Contact Regarding Angela Grace Dye

A Strange TikTok Claiming Spirit Contact Regarding Angela Grace Dye

A TikTok user shared a bizarre video claiming their daughter was communicating with the spirit of Angela Grace Dye, an unsolved homicide victim, and may have information to help solve the case. But how credible is this strange online spiritual claim?

What do you mean? My card for declined? Try it again. Buy me product

What do you mean? My card for declined? Try it again. Buy me product

An in-depth analysis of the popular artwork by TikTok artist @a0tski depicting their beloved cat burglar character from One Piece. This fanart explores the relationship between fans and beloved characters through creative expression.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Drawing Realistic Pearls

A Step-by-Step Guide to Drawing Realistic Pearls

Learn how to draw realistic looking pearls with markers through this comprehensive step-by-step tutorial. Detailed instructions on shading, blending colors and creating texture will have you drawing beautiful pearls in no time.

The Fascinating History Behind Nutcracker Figures

The Fascinating History Behind Nutcracker Figures

Learn the fascinating history of how nutcracker figures originated as a German toymaker's design and evolved into a globally recognized Christmas symbol through the classic ballet and modern merchandising.

When and Why Would You Want to Use a Whiskey Decanter?

When and Why Would You Want to Use a Whiskey Decanter?

A guide to understanding when and why you may want to use a decanter for your whiskey instead of leaving it in the original bottle. Decanters are best suited for short-term storage and display.