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Billiard lights are lighting fixtures usually suspended over regulation pool and billiard tables for shadowless illumination. Billiard lights may be constructed from glass, plastic or metal elements and supported by chains or track lighting frames. This allows free access around the entire length of the table -- traditional lighting fixtures would create unwanted shadows or interfere with cue stick positions.
Traditional billiard lights form a rectangular hood several feet above the playing surface. Designs range from elaborate Tiffany-style stained glass to promotional logos to simple monochrome shading. Tournament sponsors may arrange to have billiard lights feature a slogan or trademark, since hundreds of spectators will be in position to notice them. Commercial pool halls may select sturdy metal billiard lights to provide functional lighting without the risk of damage to elaborate glass shades. Home pool players may prefer more decorative glass billiard lights with stained glass elements.
Billiard lights are usually offered through specialty sports suppliers, larger lighting supply outlets and local home entertainment stores. Besides their obvious use as illumination for pool tables, billiard lights are also popular as track lighting accessories. They can be suspended over kitchen islands, intimate dining tables, coffee tables and large aquariums, for instance. The thick shades do not provide much general lighting, but anything placed below billiard lights will receive strong, focused illumination.
For most recreational pool playing, billiard lights are not strictly required. Strong overhead lighting from standard sources should be enough to eliminate shadows and other distractions. But most commercial pool halls and tournament locations tend to keep the 'house lights' very dim, much like the bars and lounges with pool tables in the rear. Without billiard lights providing strong overhead lighting, playing pool in a traditional location would be nearly impossible. The rectangular shades keep the light squarely focused on the individual tables. Elaborate billiard lights arranged over a collection of pool tables in a tournament setting can be quite an interesting sight.
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