What Are Bowling Pins Made Out Of?

Ever wonder what bowling pins are made out of? Many people assume they are made out of wood, but that is not always true.

Modern bowling pins are actually made out of plastic or maple wood. These pins are designed to be durable and withstand the impact of a bowling ball hit. The core material of the pin is made mostly out of wood, while the coating material of the cover is some form of layered plastic manufactured into identical pieces of the typical bowling pin shape.

If you are curious about what bowling pins are made out of, then this guide is for you. Keep reading to learn more about the materials used in making bowling pins.

Function of Bowling Pins

Bowling pins are targets for bowling balls. They are set up in a triangular formation and the object is to knock them down. There are 10 pins and the person who knocks down the most pins, in the least amount of throws, is the winner.

Bowling Pin History

Bowling pins are designed to be durable and withstand being hit by a bowling ball traveling at high speeds. They also need to be light enough so that they can be easily picked up and moved around.

While the materials used to make bowling pins may vary, their function remains the same – to provide a target for bowlers to aim for with their bowling balls.

The history of bowling pins can be traced back to Germany in the late 18th century. A game known as Kegeln was played, which involved knocking down wooden bowling pins with a ball. The game spread to America in the early 19th century and became popular among people of all ages.

In order to make the game more challenging, bowling pins started to be made out of a harder material.

The technology of automatic pin setter was invented by American Machine and Foundry in 1946. These automatic machines were designed to work continuously without being reset in bowling alleys.

Vulcan Manufacturing created the first bowling pin that was able to withstand the impact of the pin setters.

Bowling Pin Core Materials

Bowling pins are made of a hard maple wood core and a molded rigid plastic material.

Bowling pins are designed to hit each other and be hit by bowling balls. They have a specific weight and size that is regulated by the United States Bowling Congress and the Women’s International Bowling Congress.

The core of the pin is usually made of a maple wood pieces glued together, but there are some bowling pins that use a metal or steel reinforcement inside to help withstand damage.


Coating Material

The plastic material that is used on the bowling pin is a molded rigid plastic. The bowling pins have been made from nylon and Dupont’s Surlyn, or other various plastics.

The coating material has different purposes for each type of bowling pin. A durable coating ensures that breaks happen as rarely as possible.

Manufacturing of Bowling Pins

Bowling pin manufacturers have been making bowling pins from various types of plastics and metals since the 1960s. In some cases, these manufacturing companies use a plastic material that is molded into the shape of a bowling pin for indoor play.

For outdoor play, bowling manufacturers use harder and more weather resistant plastic materials.

Pin Construction Regulations

Manufacturers need to follow the construction regulations set forth by the American Bowling Congress or USBC, and similar organizations. These bowling regulations promote a uniform pin size and weight for bowling pins.

The USBC regulates how many pieces make up a bowling pin, assembly methods, and other guidelines in order to promote competition.

Also, bowling pins require maple wood harvested from trees planted above the 45th parallel and with a lower mineral concentration, resulting in denser wood.


Painted Pins

The pin design of pins is sometimes painted with outdoor acrylic paint, while plastic bowling pins are usually covered with a factory applied enamel paint.

Selecting designs in given situations is determined by the manufacturer and what regulations the United States Bowling Congress has set forth.

Bowling Pin FAQs

The following are some of the most common questions that are asked about bowling pins.

How Long Does a Bowling Pin Last in a Bowling Alley?

A pin in a bowling center usually lasts for about a year or two. After that, the pins start to lose their shape and can no longer be used in competition.

How Often Should You Replace Bowling Pins?

Pins need to be replaced due to wear and tear on the bowling alley’s ball returns. When bowling balls are returned by the pinsetters, they become scratched up. The scratches can damage a pin over time, especially when it’s hit repeatedly or played in for several games in a row. If they behave in a strange way, the pins have to be replaced.


How Many Bowling Pins Are There?

A full set of bowling pins consists of 10 pins (in ten pins bowling). Nine pins bowling is played with 9 pins.

Are Bowling Pins Hollow Inside?

No, bowling pins are not hollow inside. Bowling pins are solid and made out of plastic cores and other materials.

What is the Weight of a Bowling Pin?

A single pin should be roughly the weight of about 2 lbs 6 oz to 2 lbs 10 oz (1.077 kg-1.190 kg).

Why Do Bowling Pins Have Red Stripes?

Some people may wonder why bowling pins have red stripes. Bowling pins are striped in order to make them more visible to the bowler. This is especially important when playing in low light conditions or on a dark lane. This is the design has been accepted by the USBC.

How Are Bowling Pins Set Up?

At the start of each frame, there are ten pins at the location where the bowling lane ends. They’re positioned in a triangle, with the bowler’s position at the apex. The head pin is positioned in the front, followed by two pins in the second row, and three pins are in the third row, and four pins are located in the fourth row.

All bowling alleys use automated machines to set the pins, but some locations may still use manual methods – which require resetting after every game.

Closing Thoughts About Bowling Pin Materials

Bowling pins made hard plastic are molded into the shape of a pin. In older bowling games, wooden bowling pins were used, sometimes with large numbers painted onto them.

Wooden bowling pins can be made from maple or birch and they often have a high gloss finish that helps them last longer. Plastic bowling pins are also popular for recreational purposes because they’re durable and inexpensive to replace if needed.

If you run a bowling alley or work with the equipment, it’s important to know what materials they’re made out of so that you can take care of them properly and keep them running smoothly for years to come.

What kind of material do your bowling pins use? Have you ever had any problems with maintenance because they weren’t made from durable enough materials?

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