What are bowling pins made of?
What are the important aspects you should know about bowling pins?
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What are bowling pins made of
Many people wonder what bowling pins are really made of.
If you ask the question to someone at random, chances are that they won’t know the answer.
Are bowling pins made of plastic, metals, stone, aluminum, wood, latex, acrylic or some other material?
Let’s look at the composition of bowling pins and what they are made of.
A few centuries ago, bowling pins were made of a single block of hard rock maple.
Their advantage was that they were durable and easy to manufacture.
The disadvantage was that it was difficult to ensure that all pins were of the same weight due to the varying density of the wood used.
In 1946, the American Machine and Foundry acquired a pin setter patent and began commercializing its machines.
Pin setters allowed new pins to be set at speeds that the pin boys could not have managed.
However, through the use of pin setters, the pins were not durable enough to withstand the tumbling and thus cracked, splintered and got damaged more quickly.
Ultimately, in 1954, the company Vulcan Manufacturing produced the first bowling pin able to resist the impact of the pin setters.
In the same year, Henry Moore invents a plastic-coated pin in an attempt to better protect the pins.
Eventually, combining Vulcan’s construction process along with the plastic coating, we were able to make the bowling pins you see today in the bowling alleys.
The core material used in bowling pins is regulated by the American Bowling Congress and the Women’s International Bowling Congress requiring that all bowling pins be made “of new (unused), sound, hard maple.”
Other core materials have been tried in the past, such as:
- Particle lumber
- Polypropylene-fiberglass foam core (dykehouse core)
The coating material used on bowling pins helps protect the pins further from the automatic pin setter.
There are two types of coating used today:
- DuPont’s Surlyn
Other coating materials were tried in the past as well such as the ethylcellulose coating applied using a seven-layer process.
How are bowling pins made
Ever wonder how bowling pins are made?
Although technology is advancing at a rapid pace over the past decades and seems to be accelerating, the construction process of bowling pins have not changed as much.
In a way, when something works and is not broken, why fix it!
Historically, bowling pins were made of solid pieces of maple wood (back in the 1800s).
Using maple wood to make the pins worked out just fine until the pin setters were invented in the 1940s.
It was clear that with the use of pin setters, the bowling pins were prone to damages and cracks resulting in the need of frequent replacements.
That’s when the company Vulcan Manufacturing came to the rescue!
In the 1950s, Vulcan figured that it could use smaller pieces of maple and glue them together to make the bowling pins.
Using maple wood provided the advantage of being able to better control the weight of the pins while working with a really solid material.
The last step was to apply a special coating to the bowling pins to ensure they resist impact.
By coating the pins in the traditional way, the weight of the pins would increase affecting a person’s game and eventually the scoring of the game.
Around the same time, a special coating was invented to apply over the pins.
The advantage of using pieces of maple and gluing them together was that they could adjust the amount of material needed to ensure that the weight of the entire pin remained constant even with the application of the special coating.
Ultimately, in the 1960s, they could create really solid pins allowing them to resist frequent tumbling caused by the pin setters.
The modern bowling pin came into existence!
Today, the American Bowling Congress (ABC) and the Women’s International Bowling Congress (WIBC) control the construction of the modern bowling pins.
According to current regulations, bowling balls must be made out of maple wood harvested from trees grown above the 45th parallel as they have a lower mineral concentration resulting in denser wood.
The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) has maintenance procedures and regulations on how to maintain bowling pins so they last longer.
For example, they authorize the use of steel wool or sandpaper to remove dirt and surface splinters.
Bowling pin material
Today, bowling pins are made of either wood or synthetic material.
As you can guess, bowling pins must endure a lot of impact over their lifetime.
As a result, the material used to make them must be strong, durable and resistant to frequent impact caused by bowling balls and pin setters.
The most common bowling pin material is hard rock maple wood.
Maple wood is very strong and can withstand constant impact much better than any other type of wood.
Good bowling pins built with the right material should be able to last about three seasons of league bowling.
So, what are bowling pins made out of?
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
What are bowling pins made of:
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