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A Load of Old Balls in Old Harlow

Entertainment / Sat 1st Feb 2020 pm29 06:27pm

ACCORDING to historian Barbara Tuchman, the invention of the ball ranks as highly as the invention of the wheel. Simon Inglis agrees, especially after spending years delving into cubbyholes at pavilions and museums, in workshops and factories, finding out how these apparently simple objects came into being and how their design and manufacture has evolved. He asks, why are marbles glass?

Why did the discovery of gutta percha transform golf? Why were games such as lawn tennis and ping pong made possible only in the mid 19th century? Why did some billiard balls explode, and why are rugby balls such an odd shape?

In 1853 the ingredients of one manufacturer’s cricket balls were listed as cork, worsted, hemp, brown oats, suet, lard, alum, stale ale and dragon’s blood. Can this really be true, or is it, perhaps, just a load of old balls?

‘A Load of Old Balls’ – a lecture by Simon Inglis on the history, design and manufacture of balls in their many uses.

He asks: Why are marbles glass? Why did billiard balls explode? Why did cricket balls include the ingredients
stale ale and dragon’s blood?

Coffee/tea and biscuits served from 7.15pm; lecture starts 8pm

Members free, guests £7.00 on the door
www.theartssociety.org/Harlow

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