History of Iwan Simonis

1. Establishment of the Simonis factory

The town of Verviers, Belgium is in the flat basin formed by the valley of the Vesdre River. The water there was of such high quality, thanks to its low lime content, that it was particularly suitable for washing wool.

It was in this valley that the Simonis factory was set up in 1680 by Guillaume Henri Simon Simonis, a middle-class Verviers merchant born in the town in 1640 and known as “le Mercier” (“the haberdasher”).

The company itself was established on a more permanent footing by Jacques Joseph Simonis and was named after his son Iwan, who was born in Verviers in 1769. Today the name Iwan Simonis is now synonymous with the highest quality billiard cloth.

2. William Cockerill

At the end of the eighteenth century, a spinner in Verviers would work with a single spindle, whereas in England, the Industrial Revolution had already resulted in machines being used for spinning wool. The British government threatened anyone who exported this technique with permanent exile, in order to protect the country’s monopoly.

Nevertheless, William Cockerill, a young British engineer, departed for Sweden in 1797 with the blueprints for his famous wool-spinning mill. However, no one seemed to be interested in his ideas, and he eventually ended up in Hamburg. There, he met a wool buyer from Simonis who realized the value of this technique, which had until then been unknown in continental Europe.

This pioneer in the field then came to Verviers with his family and signed a contract in which he agreed to produce spinning machines exclusively for his new employer. The first machine was constructed in 1797 in the building known as “Au Chat”.

Success was not long in coming to Simonis, which, in addition to being able to compete with the English on level terms, had gained a major technological advantage over its continental competitors.

3. The golden age

This spinning machine was only the first of many technological innovations that were to see the light of day in Verviers at the beginning of the nineteenth century. These inventions included machines for carding and spinning wool, longitudinal shearing machines and the Leviathan, which was used to clean the wool.

More generally, electricity, the steam engine and the coming of the railways increased capacity in terms of both production and transport to levels never seen before. In this same period, the bill of exchange became widespread in commercial exchanges, seeing as it had the advantage of eliminating the risks associated with transporting and using cash, in the form of gold or silver coins, for business transactions.

In 1857, demand from the wool industry in Verviers led to a plan to build a dam in the area, in order to supply all the local textile companies with pure water of equal quality. This dam, at La Gileppe, with a capacity of 12 million cubic metres, was inaugurated in 1878.

All these innovations, plus an abundant supply of skilled labour, made Verviers a prosperous town and a center of the wool industry, like its competitors Bradford (England), Mönchengladbach (Germany), and Roubaix (France).

4. The two World Wars

During the First World War, there was a sharp reduction in the trade in woolen cloth because of the shortage of raw materials.

Then came the economic crisis between 1929 and 1935, which caused a further decline in industrial activity, especially in the Verviers area. Production was cut and workers were laid off.

The Second World War followed and, like the first, led to a shortage of wool. However, there was worse to come. At the end of the War, the Allies mistakenly bombed Simonis’s spinning mill, and this prevented the company from playing a full part in the recovery in business life that followed.

5. Peltzer & Fils

Peltzer & Fils, a celebrated company in its own right, was established in 1785 by Jean Henri Peltzer, from Stolberg, in Germany. The company was set up at Hodimont, which is now part of the district of Verviers, but which at the time was part of the Duchy of Limburg, a Dutch territory belonging to the Hapsburgs.

The company continued to expand, and a subsidiary was established in Buenos Aires in 1849 and another in Poland in 1885.

In 1961, the activities of S.A. Simonis and Peltzer were combined and the Société Anonyme des Draps et Filés Iwan Simonis (or the Belgian public limited company Iwan Simonis Cloth) was created, with an emphasis on commercial continuity. The capital of this company was fully subscribed by the PELTZER group.

The growth in demand for Iwan Simonis cloth in North America led to the creation in 2000 of the subsidiary Iwan Simonis Inc., at Gurnee, near Chicago, Illinois (USA). Iwan Simonis, Inc. subsequently moved to a larger facility in Libertyville, Illinois (USA) in January of 2010. Iwan Simonis billiard cloth is now exported from the production site in Belgium to more than 50 countries, on every continent.

In 2005, the Iwan Simonis companies celebrated their 325th anniversary. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the company archives in 1982, and so the exact date on which the manufacture of billiard cloth began is not known. Nevertheless, for over two centuries, generations of technicians and skilled workers have been producing our world-famous, high-quality billiard cloth, which others have tried to imitate, but always in vain.

Our large factories contain the very latest specialist equipment, and our technicians are constantly monitoring and improving the quality of Iwan Simonis cloth. This is why, throughout the world, the Simonis Brand means the very best in billiard cloth.

To the owners of billiard tables or billiard clubs, and to players, Iwan Simonis cloth means the highest efficiency, a perfect roll and absolute precision.

Today we manufacture a complete range of pool, snooker, carom and pyramid cloths, to suit the characteristics of every type of game played on a billiards table throughout the world.

The Cloth of Champions®

Simonis is a global company and you will find Simonis cloth on tables all over the world. In fact, Simonis cloth is one of the constants in the sport.

Sold in over 50 countries, Simonis cloth is truly the universal choice for cue sports. Having earned its reputation with professional players and amateurs alike, Simonis remains the choice for more tournaments worldwide than any other cloth.

Simonis is truly The Cloth of Champions® and you can use its functional superiority to enhance your enjoyment of the game because it allows you to play your best.

A Modern Company Built on Over Three Centuries of Experience

Simonis has always been and we remain the innovators to the billiard industry, and we have always been the standard to which all other cloths try to compare.

Manufacturing superior quality cloths since 1680, and with more industry firsts than virtually all other billiard cloth manufacturers combined, you can rest assured that Simonis will remain at the forefront of billiard cloth manufacturing and technology, and will continue to provide the truest playing cloth. 

Only Simonis cloth actually improves the surface of slate. Slate is only as good as what covers it… because the balls touch the cloth, not the slate. Table manufacturers are very particular about the slate they offer on their tables, and it only makes sense to cover that slate with the most accurate cloth.

Over three centuries of experience enables Simonis to craft such a consistent cloth.

Built to Play the Best

Simonis cloth delivers the most accurate play. For generations, Simonis has focused on what makes for the most accurate, most consistent play and we have woven it into our cloth. Simonis is considered the best overall value in billiard cloth because of its durability and unmatched playing characteristics.

We make our own cloth in our own mill

Still under the direction of the Simonis family (currently managed by Marc Simonis), our craftsmen in Verviers, Belgium have spent generations raising the weaving of premium quality worsted wool cloth to an art form, ultimately developing superior table coverings that have defined the needs of carom, pool and snooker.

To this day, the distinctive quality of Simonis cloth has never been duplicated.

The Ultimate in Specialization

Simonis is the oldest company in the billiard industry and the only textile mill in the world dedicated solely to the production of cloth for pool, carom, pyramid and snooker. Our specialization enables us to maintain the precision and consistency that have become the reference standards for the billiard industry.

Simonis continues to define the standards for the industry.

Providing a flawless, defect-free playing surface is why Simonis Cloth has been on tournament tables all around the world for generations and why it is the perfect choice for commercial rooms and home tables alike.

“Simonis is not a common felt, it is carefully and precisely woven fabric, specifically designed to enhance your game by allowing the ball to roll straight and true while maintaining consistent speed and spin.”

There is a reason that all other cloths compare themselves to Simonis.

Simonis cloth has been around since the beginnings of the game.

We take care to maintain the very best characteristics that have evolved over the centuries and these characteristics are what define our cloth. In a world where most companies are trying to cut corners and produce “adequate” products, Simonis goes the extra distance to produce truly exceptional cloth.

The care that goes into the manufacturing of our cloth produces accuracy and consistency that make Simonis cloth the reference standard for all cue sports cloth worldwide.

Don’t settle for imitations.

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