How Technology Has Changed the Game of Bowling

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  What gives businesses the competitive advantage over other companies that offer similar products? The answer to this question is innovation of technology. With advances in technology, the company can offer new products to the ever demanding consumer and stay ahead of the competitive markets. This is also true in the sports world. Innovation in technology is the main reason why more people are interested in bowling. Not only is bowling fun, individual’s performance has been improving because of the technological advances.

Technology has changed bowling since the day it was born. Ever since a crude bowling ball and pins were found in an Egyptian child’s grave in 3200 B. C., technological changes have been made to improve the sport of bowling.

When bowling was introduced to the United States during the Colonial era, it was called “Bowl on the Green.” Bowling was originally played outside on grass. Did you ever try to bowl in your back yard and try to get a strike? While this was possible, strikes were almost nonexistent. It was not until 1840 when Knickerbockers, the first indoor bowling alley was built. This advance in technology was in possible for the many people today to bowl a perfect game of 300.

The original bowling balls were mostly made of oak and lignum vitae, a very hard wood (unless if you consider the cannonball that King Henry VIII used when he played as a bowling ball). This was the norm before the 20th Century.

In 1905, the Evertrue, the first hard rubber ball was manufactured. In 1914, Brunswick Company started making the Mineralite balls. This new material replaced the wooden ones and was the same for over sixty years.

In the 1970s, manufacturers developed hard plastic balls. By softening the balls with solvents, the ball had a softer cover and bowlers were able to get higher scores. However, some balls gave people the edge and the USBC set balance regulations for balls.

In the 1980s Ebonite introduced polyurethane balls. This advance in technology helps bowlers get a better spin on the ball. Since the company did not think people would pay the high price for this ball, they sold the rights to the American Machine and Foundry Company (AMF). This new ball was in high demand and people were willing to pay more for it. The polyurethane ball is said to be the turning point in individual performance.

With technology, bowlers no longer have to wait on the pin boys to re set the pins. The semi-automatic pin spotter was invented in 1936. Then in 1946, this was replaced by the fully automatic pin spotter. Not only does this technology make it quicker for the pins to get set up, it makes it safer for the lane attendants.

With the birth of television in the 1950s, National Broadcasting Company (NBC) had the first coverage of “Championship Bowling”. Bowling became popular overnight because of shows such as “Bowling for Dollars” and “Celebrity Bowling”. If technology had not brought about the television set, bowling would not be as popular as it is today.

No longer do people need to learn how to keep score. While some people have no problem making tabulations for each frame, some people do not know how to accurately keep score, since you get bonus points for spares and strikes. Most bowling alleys have computers that do the scoring for you. You know can concentrate on improving your score and not if you had done your math right.

Technology is constantly changing. These changes are for the better. In bowling people are improving their performance and more are getting interested in the sport. If it was not for the technological advances throughout bowling’s history, this sport would not be as popular as it is today.


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