This article will discuss the development of bowling balls from their creation in 1927 to their current state. In 1864, Robert Thorne took 54 wickets with a cricket ball on an old carpet, which led him to patent the idea of a lawn bowling ball in 1868. The first bowls were made from hardwood and lignum vitae which are both very heavy and bouncy, but they were not good for outdoor recreation due to the woods being so heavy. Let’s get into the memory lane of bowling balls.
The First Ball: Robert Anderson and the Birth of the Bowling Ball
Robert Anderson patented the first bowling ball in 1868. He created his innovation from an upturned shoe, which, when rolled along with a cricket ball, would create vibrations and let those vibrations transfer into a bowl that would roll easily. This was a big improvement over the standard bowling ball made from hardwoods, and he started selling his balls (which is still in production today).
1907: The First Professional Bowling Ball
This is the first recorded bowling ball with a dead center. This ball still had a modern look to it, but it became very popular and was the standard of the Professional Bowlers of that time. A few famous bowlers in this era were Tom Egan, Ned Williamson, and Walter Hagen.
1927: The Birth of Modern Bowling Balls
In 1927, Charles Stoner introduced his bowling balls, which were made from several treatments. First, the balls were made of Dunlop’s rubber compound with a standard ball weight. Then, Stoner introduced spherical that could be used as counterweights for the ball. This allowed bowlers to make subtle changes in their bowling motions and weapons. The last step was to add the dimples, which greatly improved a bowler’s pin setting and helped control the ball’s flow.
1940: New Materials
During the Second World War, the U.K. and U.S.A. were fighting constant battles in Europe and Asia, so many of the essential materials to make bowling balls were unable to be produced. The military had ordered bowling facilities to stop selling balls as they were being used for military training purposes and recreation for soldiers at war. This made way for a newer material created by kapok, a natural fluff fiber from the seed pod of a tropical tree. This fiber is soft and fluffy, and since the material was lightweight and sturdy, it was perfect for a bowling ball. The U.S.A. had the vast majority of the production of this material in St. Louis, Missouri, while the U.K had a small amount in Yorkshire (where cricket is very popular). After America’s involvement with kapok, Stoner began to use it to produce his balls and the Pro League Bowling Ball Company in Indianapolis, Indiana, who manufactured them for distributors throughout America and Canada.
1949: The First Bowling Ball Called a Pearl
In the 1940s and 50s, bowling became a popular sport for civilians during their leisure time. This was because many of the soldiers who returned from the war were trained on how to bowl. Since the soldiers had learned to bowl on kapok balls, they wanted the same type of ball at their local bowling alley. This made way for polyester resin which was made from plastic and silicone resins. This material was stable in all weather conditions so that it could produce a bowling ball that could use the kapok property and be used outside. A company known as American Bowling Supply Company Inc. created the first bowling ball to be used outdoors called the “Pearl.” Professional bowlers did not receive this type of bowling ball well because they were slower than the previous balls. However, the Pearl did have a major effect on the game as the sport’s popularity dramatically increased, with over 5 million people playing since 1955.
1982: The Birth of Spin!
The focus of professional bowling has shifted from lane speed to spin. This was possible because of such developments in materials and manufacturing techniques. Polyester balls were now being made stronger and with more layers to keep their durability during use. The outer shells were being created from a variety of materials and grades, while the cores of the balls were made from rubber, resin, or a combination of polyester shells with resin and/or rubber cores. This improved bowlers’ performance tremendously as it allowed for more revolutions on the lane, which provided more action for the spectators.
Modern Bowling Balls: The Present
The current technology in bowling balls allows bowlers to make adjustments to their ball without having to use equipment specific to one particular bowler. This allows bowlers to change the details of their bowling ball to fit their individual needs and to determine what they need to fix. For example, a bowler may want a heavy ball that will have more power with some spin to it, thus making his or her pin setting easier and adding more ball speed. This is possible because of the huge array of balls which are on this market. Also, the technology improves so rapidly that even bowling companies must keep up with these changes. For example, bowling balls are now being made with two-piece cores or consist of only one piece of material in the core. These changes are in response to how the ball shoots through the power zone on the lane. Another change that has occurred is that many balls use a tungsten weight for counter-mass so that it can be fine-tuned and customized to a bowler’s needs. To set up these custom balls, you have to match their momentum with your release angle and ball speed.
Modern bowling balls are manufactured with the dual purpose of enhancing the ideal ball speed as well as improving the results that a bowler gets at the end of a game. In essence, this means that a bowling ball is meant to provide an optimal combination of features and benefits for the individual user. Generally speaking, the materials used in creating these balls include resin, natural or synthetic fibers (including wool), and vinyl plastic compounds (such as K-Mart). Also, the manufacturing process includes molding and an airtight outer cover to keep the balls’ core together.
To create a good bowling ball, many things are considered. The most important factors that affect the performance of the bowling ball (and ultimately result in a higher score) include:
Ball weight: A heavier bowling ball is generally more powerful but will also have more drag because it is heavier.
Ball shape: A conventional bowling ball is designed like a bullet or sphere that is designed to roll on the lane with smooth motion. This shape also helps in providing bowlers with a lot of ball speed and momentum.
Ball surface: A smooth surface on the ball reduces friction and increases the ball’s accuracy, resulting in a lower ball speed. To compensate for this, some manufacturers use hard plastic or rubber over the normal grains of resin to increase friction and keep their balls on the lane.
Ball core: Some of the common core materials that are used in the construction of these balls include wool, glass fiber, resin, and natural fiber (such as kapok).
The Future of Bowling Ball:
The next generation of a bowling ball?
The Fact that bowling balls are manufactured in a mass quantity and used for millions of games every year has resulted in the development of many materials and technologies that have greatly enhanced the performance of the balls. However, there are still changes that can be done to improve these balls and make them better for bowlers. For example, a recent trend among manufacturers is to replace core materials with synthetic fibers, which will decrease their weight without sacrificing much durability. The next major development in bowling balls is to eliminate the heavy core. This could be achieved by developing synthetic fiber core balls that will not take any damage after a million shots.
In the future, manufacturers will be spending time and money on creating new materials for bowling balls. These developments include two-piece cores, plastic cover wraps, and the use of tungsten weights that can be customized to fit the individual needs of bowlers. These changes will result in improved bowling balls that will react and react faster to changes in the core. Also, these balls are expected to be more durable and lighter weight. Finally, these new materials are expected to give bowlers more ideal ball speeds with lower drag, resulting in higher ball speeds with improved accuracy.
There is no doubt that the technology in bowling balls has made major improvements over the years. The many changes that have occurred in the development of these balls have made them more durable while at the same time improving performance. In addition, the many technological advancements allow bowlers to fine-tune their game easier and make adjustments to get optimum results and better game scores. As a result, bowling has become a much more complex sport than it was before.