Who Invented Bowling?

Bowling has been around for a long time. The exact history of bowling is still a little up in the air, but artifacts dating all the way back to ancient Egyptian times can now be described as what looked like bowling balls and other stone objects used in bowling games.
Vintage sign for bowling alley, Bowl white lettering on red background - ancient bowling ball

Sir Flinders Petrie

A British archeologist in the 1930s is responsible for finding the items in a child’s grave. So this means bowling began in ancient Egypt? If so then why did it take so long to turn into the modern bowling that we now know today?

Who Came Up With Bowling?

The game of bowling has been played for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Egyptian times (about 5,000 BC). The ancient Egyptians used stones to knock over anything they rolled at. Several forms of bowling evolved out of the Ancient Egyptian game as time passed.

William Pehle

William Pehle

According to a German historian, William Pehle, bowling originated in Germany around 300 AD. Bowling was prevalent in England in 1366, when King Edward III banned it to keep his soldiers focused on archery practice, according to historians. It is also almost certain that bowling was popular during the reign of King Henry VIII even though he himself was an avid bowler.

Bowling During World War II

World War 2 field gun  - bowling game

There are many important moments in the fight for civil rights, but one often overlooked is the desegregation of bowling alleys. It began during World War II and didn’t end there. Several incidents marked bowling alleys as a pivotal site in the fight for equality, including Orangeburg Massacre in 1968 that resulted in three deaths and 27 injuries.

Tenpins Bowling (A Modern Sport)

People have been playing tenpin bowling for a long time, but the rules were different in different places. In the late 1800s, people from all over the US got together to make a set of rules that everyone would use. Joe Thum was one of those people, and he is credited with coming up with the final version of the rules.

The tenpin sport is a modern game of bowling using 10 wooden pins and is played indoors.

National Bowling Association

On September 9, 1895, the American Bowling Congress was established at Beethoven Hall in New York City. Soon, regulations would be set, and major national events could be organized.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, women had been bowling, but the American Bowling Congress was for men. The Women’s International Bowling Congress was founded in St. Louis in 1917.

The proprietor Dennis Sweeney encouraged women leaders from all around the country to participate in a tournament. They decided to form what was called the Women’s National Bowling Association.

History Of Bowling Balls

Bowling balls

In 1905, the Evertrue was created as the first rubber bowling ball (followed by Brunswick Corporation’s Mineralite ball a decade later). Hard rubber balls have dominated the market since then, with polyester balls coming into being in the 1970s. Urethane bowling balls were introduced in the 1980s.

Bowling balls are made through an interesting process. But before we get into the details of how they are made, let’s take a look at how this sport came to be in the first place.

People love playing bowling today. But this popular game has a long history that dates back to thousands of years ago. In fact, people think that a similar game was played during Egyptian times. That was some 5200 BC!

Archaeologists found wall paintings that showed people throwing rocks and other objects at other things. In the 1930s, British anthropologist Sir Flinders Petrie found bowling objects from an Egyptian child’s grave. This showed that a sport similar to bowling existed at that time.

Bowling was reintroduced to the world in 300 A.D. by Germany. They played it as part of their religious rituals to cleanse themselves of their sins. Bowling gradually became popular all over the world, but its history in the United States is comparatively new. The first bowling alley in America was built in 1841.

 In 1840, the first indoor bowling alley was built in New York. However, people really started to enjoy bowling in the 1940s. In fact, the 1940s to 1970s is now known as the golden era of bowling. This is when gambling became popular with the bowling game. After that period, interest in bowling died down a bit. But even with all of its ups and downs, bowling is still a popular sport that people play today. 

There are two main types of bowling. “Pin Bowling” is popular in the United States, while “Lawn Bowling” is more popular in Canada, England, and other European countries.

What is Lawn Bowling?

Lawn bowling is similar to regular bowling, but you roll the ball close to the ground. This is because you can’t play on surfaces like sand, where the ball will have a hard time rolling forward. The gentle rolling technique is similar to the way you throw a bocce ball called pointing.

Lawn bowling lanes are a lot wider. This form of bowling is more like bocce ball than actual nine-pin bowling or ten-pin bowling.

Lawn bowling lanes are also made of grass so there is that as well.

When Did Championship Bowling Begin?

The Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ) was founded in 1952 in Hamburg, Germany, to organize international amateur events in nine-pin and ten-pin bowling. The first FIQ World Bowling Championships were held in Helsinki, Finland, in 1954.

The Young American Bowling Alliance

The Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA) helps young bowlers through college age with their league and tournament needs. It was founded in 1982 and now has over 1,000 members. The YABA offers a scholarship program for its members, and also provides insurance and other benefits.

The YABA sanctions tournaments all over the United States. These tournaments offer different levels of competition so that bowlers of all abilities can compete. There are also scholarships available through the YABA to help talented young bowlers attend college.


One of the best things about being a USBC Youth member is the chance to earn scholarships. This can help you pay for college, so you can achieve your dreams. Each year, more than $6 million in scholarships are awarded to youth bowlers based on academic achievement, leadership skills, and bowling performance.

International Bowling Association

The International Bowling Federation (IBF) is the world governing body of nine-pins and ten-pin bowling. They make the rules for these sports and make sure that everyone follows them.

IBF was founded in 1952 by the IBA to help promote bowling and friendship between different countries.

IBF has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee since 1979 as the governing body for bowling sports. Starting with five-member federations in 1952, it grew to 141 in 2010.

IBF is a federation with members in all five Olympic regions. IBF has more than 100 million participants, 10 million competitors, and 250,000 bowling lanes. This sport is well organized and one of the largest in the world.

Women Bowlers

Woman throwing bowling ball - bowling invented

The PBA welcomes women bowlers in all of its regional events, and even offers an annual “women only” event within each region. While the sport of bowling is not typically thought of as one that is dominated by women, the PBA has been working hard to change that perception.

Professional Women’s Bowling Association

In recent years, the professional bowlers association has seen a surge in the number of female bowlers competing in its tournaments.

Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour

In addition to providing opportunities for women to compete against each other, the PWBA also holds clinics and workshops designed specifically for female bowlers.

These events offer participants a chance to learn from some of the best bowlers in the world, and they provide an excellent opportunity to network with other women in the sport.

If you are a woman who loves bowling, then the PWBA is the organization for you!

British Tenpin Bowling Association

The British Tenpin Bowling Association is the organization in charge of Tenpin Bowling in the United Kingdom. They work with Sport England to make sure the sport is run correctly and fairly.

When Was League Bowling Established?

Leagues were soon established after the most modern types of bowling were created in the late 1800s. There are different types of leagues. Some leagues are organized by bowling alleys, and some leagues are started up by people who have a connection to bowling outside of the alley, like from a company, church, or labor union.

Some bowling clubs have a laid-back attitude to the rules, while others are fiercely competitive. A player who commits a foul might be subjected to a passionate debate with other bowlers if he or she does not reveal the required zero score for the throw. International Amateur Competition

The English Bowling Federation is the official sanctioning body for all competitions, leagues, and tournaments held in the UK. They are also responsible for the protection, integrity, and development of the sport.

This organization is recognized by the International Bowling Federation, which is the world governing body for this sport.

The BTBA is the governing body for ten-pin bowling in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It also awards certification for formal coaching qualifications.

The BTBA used to publish a monthly magazine to keep members informed on the latest news in the game, but now there’s just Facebook to stay up to speed.

Bowling Competition

We have come a long way from wooden balls and outdoor bowling games. The term bowling has also evolved during the history of bowling.

The United States Bowling Congress

The USBC is the national governing body for ten-pin bowling in the United States. It has approximately 3,000 local associations across the USA serving over 2 million members. The USBC provides many services to its members, including but not limited to:

  • Maintain the specifications of bowling lanes, lane dressings, pin setting and ball return equipment, bowling pins, bowling balls, and other related bowling products.
  • Conduct research testing for these products. Certify that they meet all the required specifications.
  • Create and publish a set of playing rules, and provide counselors to help players understand them.
  • Organize and manage league competitions.
  • Through its league bonding program, the NFHS protects the financial investment of certified leagues.
  • Coordinate international amateur competition.
  • Facilitate league play.
  • Manage Team USA as they compete in tournaments.
  • Organize championship tournaments: USBC MastersUSBC Queens, USBC Open Championships, USBC Women’s Championships, USBC Youth Open, USBC Junior Gold Championships, USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships, USBC Intercollegiate Singles Championships, USBC Senior Masters, USBC Senior Queens, Team USA Trials, USBC Senior Championships and Pepsi USBC Youth Championships.
  • The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) provides awards to bowlers who have achieved a certain level of success in sanctioned leagues and tournaments. These awards are known as “Lifetime Achievement” awards, and there is only one such award for accomplishments in three games (300 games and 800 series, among others).
  • and much much more.

Bowling Proprietors Association

BPAA membership provides programs and benefits that help bowling centers grow their businesses.

History of Bowling (Nine pin bowling)

In 1895, the American Bowling Congress established standardized rules and organization for nine pins. From colonial times until the 1830s, when several cities in the United States banned nine-pin bowling out of moral panic over the alleged shattering of the work ethic, gambling, and organized crime, nine-pins was by far the most common type of bowling in much of North America.

Even with evidence that 1810 England hosted outdoor lawn bowling games in which ten pins were set in an equilateral triangle as is done today in tenpin bowling, it is claimed that tenpin bowling was developed to fulfill these statutes.

Today, only in Texas does nine-pins exist, where, by 1837, there were plentiful enough nine-pin alleys that rather than a prohibition, the First Congress of the Republic of Texas taxed them at $150 (equivalent to $3,431 in 2020) per annum. All types of bowling have been legal and taxable in Texas since then.

Tenpin alleys were usually found in places where only men went, like saloons. Ninepin alleys, on the other hand, were often built by clubs that were frequented by families. That is, it’s more interesting!

Why Are Bowling Lanes Slippery?

From the least experienced bowler to the most expert, everyone understands that lanes are coated with oil, commonly known as lane dressing because the bowling ball returns with a sheen of oil on it. Oil is used to preserve the bowling lane surface.

A bowler’s game is heavily dependent on oiled lanes.

The most common bowling center shot pattern is a home oiling scheme. While the design varies across different bowling alleys, the principle is the same. There’s extra oil in the center and less on the outside, which comes to about 40 feet from the foul line.

The house shot is intended to be more forgiving, resulting in higher scores. The objective of a house shot is to keep bowlers entertained and returning for more.

Most Famous Bowling Alleys In The U.S.

Here are some of the coolest bowling alleys in the united states.

Rock ‘n’ Bowl: Located in New Orleans

Rock ‘n’ Bowl is a music venue in New Orleans that you’ll love.

This renowned venue in the Big Easy, which dates to 1941 and features live music every night, has patrons known to dance between the lanes. Rock ‘n’ Bowl also goes by the name of the country’s only alley that grinds its own chuck.

The Goodnight: Located in Austin, Texas

“The Goodnight” is all about having fun.

The Goodnight opened in 2012. thegoodnightaustin.com/ Bottom line: Famous for its pet-friendly deck, elevated lounges, and private karaoke room, The Goodnight is moving to a new Austin site with “new food, tablet scoring, virtual reality technology, karaoke and more.”

Hopefully, the new location will feature a “new menu, tablet scoring, virtual reality technology,” as well as other similar amenities that were previously available at the previous site.

JB’s on 41 — Milwaukee

JB’s has a club atmosphere on weekends, an extensive arcade (“The Speed Zone”), and 25 Milwaukee-themed lanes that include lightweight bowling balls, dragon ramps, and automated bumpers. It also has a volleyball facility with its own volleyball pavilion for the summer months.

The Alley — Charleston, South Carolina

The Alley is a place where you can eat, drink, and bowl. It opened in 2012 and has a website at thealleycharleston.com/. It says on its website that it is “not just a bowling alley.”

In addition to its eight lanes for bowling, The Alley offers patrons three bars (one made of recycled bowling wood), retro 1970s arcade games, and two 160-inch projection TVs. If the bowling league doesn’t suit your tastes, you can take a whack at its ping-pong league.

Brooklyn Bowl — Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn Bowl is a one-of-a-kind place. You can bowl, listen to music and relax on sofas. The Bowler’s Lounge gives you a great view of the musical acts. Some famous musicians have played here, like Guns N’ Roses, Kanye West, M.I.A., and Snoop Dogg.

Rolling Stone dubbed the Brooklyn Bowl “one of the most amazing sites on Earth.”

Pinz Bowling Center

The Pinz Bowling Center has been around since 1957. It is located in Los Angeles on Ventura Boulevard. The alley has been a fixture in Los Angeles since the 1950s.

Garage — Seattle

Since 1996, Garage Billiards has been a Capitol Hill favorite in Seattle. The 40,000-square-foot dance club has been a hot spot on Capitol Hill since its inception.

The Garage, popular for its 20 bowling lanes, 25 pool tables, six bars and three private rooms, is changing as a new Bowlmor (formerly Bowlmor AMF) bowling center and arcade are built.

There will be no word on whether the new dinner menu will continue to include local favorites such as seared ahi, Bloody Mary sliders, and a $14 large pretzel served with Habanero beer cheese dip.

Red Rock Lanes — Las Vegas

Let’s get this party started. Red Rock Lanes, which was designed for $31 million, is a true gem in Bowling Green. Bottom line: Although there are plenty of affordable bowling alleys in Bowling Green, Red Rock Lanes is the best choice for serious bowlers who want their alley to keep its traditions.

The Grand Lanes Bowling Center is a stunning 77,000-square-foot facility dedicated to bowlers. It has 72 Brunswick Pro Anvil lanes, as well as a cutting-edge scoring system and pinsetters.

It also has a pro shop with certified instructors. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Red Rock also includes a full-service lounge (with lane service) and an astrological arcade inspired by the universe.

Uptown Alley — Surprise, Arizona

Uptown Alley offers several lovely lanes. Opened: 2012 Website: uptownalleysurprise.com Bottom line: With 40 high-tech lanes equipped with 15-foot projection HDTVs, Uptown Alley will satisfy any serious bowler.

There is also a sports theater with 10-foot projection screens and an ultra lounge with 10 private lanes beyond the bowling alley, which adds to the appeal of this 60,000 square-foot entertainment center.

Shenaniganz — Rockwall, Texas

Shenaniganz is a place where you can have fun no matter how old you are. They have 24 bowling lanes that are new and different. Shenaniganz has been providing a great experience for people in Dallas for over 10 years.

The park’s other activities include virtual reality, go-karts, and “live escape rooms” that will transport you into a “completely immersive environment,” such as Fidel Castro’s headquarters during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

After that, unwind at Rosie’s Sports Bar with its almost 30 draught and bottled beers and martini list.

Bowling’s First World Tournament

The World Championships first started in 1954 with 58 men from 7 different federations. Women participated for the first time in 1963. Between 1963 and 2003, the World Championships were conducted every fourth year.

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