A little Bowling History Print

The origins of bowling can be traced back about 4,000 years to Ancient Rome and Greece. There is evidence of earlier origins claimed by British Anthropologist Sir Flinders Petrie. In Egypt in 1930 he and his team of archaeologists unearthed a collection of objects from a small child's grave that appeared to have been a primitive form of the game.

About 2,000 years ago a similar game evolved. It entailed tossing stone objects as close as possible to other stone objects. This game became popular with Roman Soldiers, and eventually evolved into Bocce, or outdoor bowling.

Modern bowling also has roots in old German religious ceremonies from circa 300 A.D. This is most likely where today's pins were introduced. Parishioners were instructed to place their kegels, (a pin-resembling item that most Germans carried for protection and sport), at the end of a long lane. They then had to roll a rock at the kegel. If they knocked the kegel over, their sins were absolved. Martin Luther was an avid bowler, and set up a couple of lanes in his back yard so that he and his children could enjoy it as a sport.

Bowling was started in England in the early 1100's. By the 1300's there were several variations such as half-bowls, skittles, and ninepins. During the reign of King Henry VIII the game gained popularity and was played as a symbol of nobility and social status.

During the 17th century English, Dutch, and German settlers imported their own version of bowling to America. At that time the game consisted of nine pins. In 1841 Connecticut banned the game due to gambling implications. So, some smart lad added a tenth pin and renamed it bowling to keep the sport alive. The extra pin and the new name gave bowling a new lease on life.

During the late 1800's more standardized rules were put into play and bowling became a competitive sport. In 1901, the National Bowling Congress held it's first championship tournament. As the sport grew, innovations such as bowling balls with drilled holes, and automatic pinspotters revolutionized the sport. The Professional Bowlers Association was formed and went on tour in 1959.

Today, more than 60 million Americans enjoy bowling at least once a year. There are several variations of the game depending on ball and pin size, including duckpins and candlepins.