Most people know the bed of a snooker table is made of slate, with the frames and cushions being constructed of timber. However in the mid 1800s a firm by the name of E.G. Magnus made quite a few tables with slate being used for the frame and cushions!! Many were shipped to tropical countries due to termite and beetle attacks on the timber. Wooden frame tables often had plates of paraffin placed underneath them which due to the smell was hardly an ideal solution.
There are some very notable tables both in Queen Victoria’s Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and Penrhyn Castle, Bangor, North Wales – though this particular table has a mystery surrounding the actual maker. These tables have enamel paint and inlays applied to the rather dull slate surface to enhance their appearance.
I have only ever come across one of these tables in the UK which we had to move to a new site. Weighing in at over 3.5 tons (normal tables weigh around 1.5 tons) it was a very difficult, long job, bearing in mind slate doesn’t bounce well! Drop one of the legs or frame parts and it’s game over as slate just shatters into thousands of little pieces. There are a few parts of slate framed tables made of timber such as the cushion cappings but even the internal bearers on this particular table were made of slate. Rare beasts indeed.