Bowling History

Bowling is a great sport that has a long and full history. Today, bowling is one of the most popular sports in the world and is the most participated recreational sport played in the United States.

Evidence of bowling in the past
Bowling can be traced back as far as 3200 BC. A crude form of the game was believed to have existed when a collection of objects was discovered within an Egyptian boy’s grave sometime during the 1930’s by Sir Flinders Petrie. There is even strong evidence that a form of bowling was even popular in England in 1366. It was so popular, in fact, it is rumored that King Edward III outlawed the game because his troops were neglecting their archery practice in order to bowl.

Evolution of the game
The game of bowling that we play today was not always played with 10 pins. It actually started as a nine pin game and played all throughout Europe. One very unique variation of the game of bowling is still being played in Edinburgh. The player takes a ball without holes and heaves it at the pins from between his legs which results in the player landing on his stomach.

The very first bowling location was more than likely in New York and was played more like lawn bowling. That area has since gone through changes and is now in the heart of the financial district and the small area where the game was played is now called Bowling Green.

As the game of bowling was becoming more popular in America it was drawing negative attention. In 1841 Connecticut law makers made it illegal to run any nine pin lanes. This was due to the level of gambling that was becoming associated with the game. This law was quickly circumvented by adding an addition pin which paved the way for today’s 10 pin game.

The game of bowling today
In the late 1800’s, it was evident just how popular bowling was becoming when many states were participating in the game. From New York to as far west as Illinois, people were getting into the game. The lack of official rules and regulations lead to each region creating it’s own details for how the game should be played. Variations included ball weight and pin dimensions.

All that changed when a restauranteur named Joe Thum got representatives from various bowling clubs all over the country and formed the American Bowling Congress on September 9th in 1895. The ABC would establish a standard for all bowling in America and would organize national competitions. The American Bowling Congress continues its role today and is at the heart of bowling in America but is now known as the United States Bowling Congress or USBC.