An 8-Ball was first used as a fortune-telling device in the 1940 Three Stooges short, "You Nazty Spy," where it was merely called the "Magic Ball." In 1944, Albert Carter, son of a Cincinnati clairvoyant, was inspired by his mother's spirit writing device. Clark developed and patented a functional version of what we know today, although it was shaped as a cylinder and called the Syco-Seer. The patent was for a "liquid filled dice agitator."
In 1948, after Carter's passing, his business partner altered the shape of the Syco-Seer and subsequent device, the Syco-Slate into an iridescent crystal ball. This caught the attention of the Brunswick Billiards Company in 1950, which commissioned the design as the 8-ball design we know today.
Inside the current 8-ball sphere is still the cylindrical shape of the Syco-Seer, containing a 20-sided polygon. The polygon floats in a mixture of dark blue ink and alcohol. Ten of the answers are positive, five are negative, and the other five are neutral.