Talk:William A. Spinks

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Did You Know
A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on March 2, 2007.
The text of the entry was: Did you know ...that modern billiard chalk (pictured), which is not actually chalk but a compound of silica and corundum, was invented by player William A. Spinks and a chemist friend in 1897?
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Find sources: "William A. Spinks" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference
Find sources: "Spinks" William billiard – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference
Find sources: "W.A. Spinks" billiard – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference
Find sources: "W. A. Spinks" billiard – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference
Find sources: "Wm. Spinks" billiard – news · newspapers · books · scholar · HighBeam · JSTOR · free images · free news sources · The Wikipedia Library · NYT · WP reference

Needs better sourcing[edit]

The Tobey, Russell and Loy sources do not cite their sources, and are not primary, so they eventually need to be replaced with something more reliable. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 06:39, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Spinkses[edit]

Unresolved: Why was Spinks referred to as "Prof. Spinks"?

A contemporary article from the NYT also mentions (in a billiards context) a "W.M. Spinks of Los Angeles", which could be a typo for "W.A." or "Wm.", esp. given William A. Spinks's origin. Another mentions a "Prof. Spinks" as a player, in (but not necessarily of) New York City. This may be someone else, or Spinks may have actually been an academic and we just haven't found the sources to demonstrate that, or it could have been a nickname for him. Unknown at this time. — SMcCandlish [talk] [contrib] 07:40, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Update: Prof. Spinks could be C.A. Spinks or Amateur World Champion John Spinks, the only other Spinkses of the era mentioned in a billiards context in any NYT articles that I can find so far (curiously, both appeared in the newspaper in Jan. 1909). — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 23:33, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Update: It seems likely that Prof. Spinks is some other individual than all of the above, as the NYT reference to him dates to 1893. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 08:20, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Update: "W.M. Spinks" probably is William Spinks, as theNYT ref. to him dates to 1915 and has him brought in as a member of a board of experts to determine a new handicapping system; William Spinks would have been a likely prospect for such a panel. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 08:24, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Update: "Prof. Spinks" probably is Wm. A. Spinks, as the latter was active with world champions as early as 1894, the date of the "Prof." mention, the other candidates for the "Prof." (see above) do not appear in print until 1909, and were not notable enough to have had challenges accepted by a world champion, which was what the "Prof." column was talking about. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 04:48, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Update: "Prof. Spinks" is definitely Wm. A Spinks, as the piece in question refers to a challenge that he issued only days earlier, and the acceptor of this challenge in the piece played a match against Wm. A. that is documented in another source. So why was he called "Prof. Spinks"? That's the real question. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 06:45, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Update: "W.M. Spinks" cannot possibly be anyone else, as there is no other W. Spinks on record as a notable billiard player in this era, and the position for which "W. M." was recruited would have required expertise and prestige within the sport. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 06:45, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

British claimant to billiard chalk inventor title?[edit]

One of the British snooker pros who has written books (I forget which one) claims in one of his books (I forget which one) that a British man (I forget the name) actually invented billiard chalk. Does anyone know anything about this? The article needs to account for this one way or another. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 09:02, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

This is probably the "Jack (John) Carr's 'twisting chalk'" story; some guy sold chalk, but it was just chalk, and people had already long been using plain chalk (and plaster and other such abrasives). — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 15:01, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Oil connections?[edit]

Resolved: Corroborating evidence found.

A William A. Spinks around 1909 or so was involved in the oil business in Fresno, CA. If this is "our" W.A.S., this might explain why he had $26K (in 2007 dollars) to gamble with. Source: [10]. : "William A. Spinks, president" (of an oil operation the name of which cannot be read; the work is not out of copyright for another year or so, apparently, so Google Books won't show the whole page.

While it's unlikely they are the same person, it is certainly possible, especially given the Southern California location, and the fact that William A. Spinks & Co. had $75,000 in capital stock when incorporated (it was previously a partnership) in 1904 (and I don't mean 2008 dollars, either; multiply 75K by about 26 x, to get that number!) Source: [11].

SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 11:04, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

It turns out, from the press evidence so far that these are the same W.A.S., and so is the farmer below. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 12:27, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Vital statistics[edit]

Resolved: Corroborating evidence found; it is him.

Some searching at Ancestry.com turns up a William A. Spinks Jr., born 1865 in California. Other details (if any) are unavailable, because I'm not a paying member of this (rather expensive) site. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 05:42, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Update: The 1870 US Census shows a William A. Spinks, age 5, in Santa Clara, CA, that is almost certainly the same as the person mentioned above, and fairly probably our W.A.S. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 06:11, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Update: Corroborating data! When William A. and Clara Spinks applied for passports, William A. listed "William A. Spinks" as his father, making him Jr. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 07:09, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
D'oh. Nope, this Wm. A. Spinks is a flower farmer. While it is possible (as with the potential oil connection) that this is still the same guy, it is very unlikely. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 07:36, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
I eat my words! It is him. There's even a canyon named after him. Weirder yet, there's also corroborating evidence that the oilman is him as well! He had his fingers in a lot of pies. Full sourcing coming up over the next few days. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 12:26, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Version 0.7[edit]

This article has been nominated for Version 0.7 of the offline Wikipedia release but did not meet the standards for importance. It has been put on Wikipedia:Release_Version_Nominations/Held_nominations for further review. Please see that page for details.

Unfortunately, this topic is ranked too low in importance for Version 0.7. Walkerma (talk) 07:58, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Spinks "C class"; various new sources[edit]

Unresolved: Article still not quite at B class, and new sources not worked in.

Hey Stanton. I was looking at William A. Spinks earlier today and I noticed that it is listed as C class on the talk page which is absurd so I went to the change it and it is already listed as B class by the coding, so something's going on with the display of the cue sports project assessment template. I fixed one fact tag in the lead and another in the farming section (by replacing them with citations). This is so close to submission for good article. If you can't find anything to expand the farming and oilman sections you can just fold them into his personal life. Some tidbits I found in searches you may not have come across: [12], [13], use the zoom box to highlight the red text, same, same, same (notice the use of "goose egg"), new information? Spinks was Schaefer's manager, same, same, same. --Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 00:11, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for looking into it; I keep meaning to finish up my research on that one, but I get side-tracked by other matters. I agree that after the farming and oil sections are fleshed out a little (they may only need a paragraph each with 2-3 citations), that it is a solid GA candidate. Thanks for the links; most or all of those are new to me. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 19:32, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
PS: The B/C class thing: If any of the B-class "checklist" parameters are not "y", any article tagged as B class will still show up as C. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 01:20, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Relevant 1901 lawsuit[edit]

Unresolved: Source not added to article yet.
[This thread was moved here from User talk:SMcCandlish.

See Hoskins v. Mathhes. Quite a lot of detailed information such as the full breakdown of the chemical formula used for their chalk, how they came up with the idea, prior similar compounds and more. Cheers.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 20:06, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Hot stuff! (Sorry, I forgot to comment on this when originally posted.) — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 08:55, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

I have read this case and it appears that their 1897 patent was basically shot down for lack of invention. In other words, Spinks and Hoskins did not invent modern cue chalk, they simply came up with another formula. (See also the Peple patent from 1830's) I think that the article should include this unfortunate turn of events. DB Bond (talk) 17:08, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:William A. Spinks/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Jaguar (talk · contribs) 21:22, 21 April 2016 (UTC)


I will be reviewing this as part of a GAN sweep. I'll leave some comments soon. JAGUAR  21:22, 21 April 2016 (UTC)

Disambiguations: No links found.

Linkrot: No linkrot found in this article.

Checking against the GA criteria[edit]

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose, no copyvios, spelling and grammar): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
    Citations are discouraged from the lead per WP:LEADCITE, but this won't effect the GAN
    "While Spinks was a world-class player, his lasting contributions to cue sports were the innovations he brought to the game and the industry resulting from his fascination with the abrasives used by players on the leather tips of their cue sticks." - needs a citation
    "Spinks made a "fortune"[2][3][17] from his co-invention and the company that sold it to the world." - the end of the sentence needs a citation
    "(arguably the most difficult of all cue sports aside from artistic billiards)" - sounds like an opinion
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (reference section): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    No original research found.
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images and other media, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free content have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:
    Pass/Fail:

A done a bit of cleaning up, but I don't see why this should be delayed. Looks comprehensive and well written enough. Good article JAGUAR  16:45, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

Great, thanks. I removed the comparison-between-disciplines clause. While it is true and not opinion-based, it would need a source, and it's easy to see why it might look like opinion. (It's actually just a factor of shot complexity, which is essentially physics + geometry; the more variables are introduced, the more complex and thus more difficult it is.) "One of the most difficult cue sports disciplines" is a sufficient statement, without any one-to-one comparison, and the article on balkline billiards, not individual player bios, is the place for WP to source the difficulty of the game, and this seems to be handled already (the entire story of the sport is making it progressively more and more difficult, an "arms race" against the techniques of the world champions). The "his lasting contributions" statement doesn't need a citation, but is the thesis statement summary sentence of that whole section, which is well-sourced in demonstrating the claim. He is remembered for and got rich by his cue chalk innovations, but never won a major title and was always somewhere around 3rd to 10th best even at his peak. I agree the lead shouldn't have citations in it, other than for controversial material, and will work to move those out of the lead (since none of it is likely to be controversial) before going to FA, without losing any information or citations in the article as a whole. PS: The end of the "made a fortune" sentence is covered by the same sources, the cites are just put on the quoted phrase because it's a direct quotation. — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:09, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for clearing them up SMcCandlish! I usually do some minor cleaning/copyediting before reviewing, but I concluded that this met the criteria as it was comprehensive, well written and broad in coverage. It's always hard to pick out what thesis statements are! JAGUAR  11:58, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
Sure, and thanks for the reviewing. I wonder if the material near the quote can be moved around to put the quote at the end without making the sentence ungainly. I don't want to double up citations right near each other, but the FA people might raise the same flag.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  16:18, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

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