The bowling pins are the crucial-most equipment in any bowling game such as tenpins, five-pins, duckpins and candlepins. In ancient times, these pins were regarded as skittles or Kegels. The manufacturing of the pins holds a critical value for the players. Points are scored only if any player can knock out the pins with their bowling ball. Hence its sizing, mass and circumference matter a lot in the game. Bowling pins vary widely depending on the size, shape and the type of games and are manufactured by stacking & glueing blocks of rock maple wood. It is then brought into a basic shape with a lathe (machine) and coated with plastic. In the end, the pin is painted followed by adding a glossy finish.
The tenpin’s pin specification is regulated by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC). These pins have a width of 4.75 inches (121mm) at their widest part and a height of 15 inches (380mm). The pins weigh around 3.5 to 3.6 lbs (around 1.5 kg). The pins usually consist of two stripes in the neck region. The diameter of these pins lies somewhere between the diameter of duckpins and candlepins.
Kegel pins are majorly used in a German bowling game known as Kegel. The overall shape of the kegel pins resembles a lot with tenpins with a smaller size (like duckpins). These pins are attached with strings at the top that connects them to the pinsetter.
These pins are the tallest as compared to other regular pins. The pins are approximately 40 cm tall and have a width of approx. 3 inches. Generally, each pin weighs around 1.1 kg. The candlepins are nearly cylindrical with tapered ends. It makes them resemble candles, and hence regarded as candlepin. They are hard to knock down because of the smaller size of balls used in bowling. They generally have a stripe on the body and have a narrow top.
Duckpins are shorter and squatter in size as compared to tenpin bowling pins. Each pin weighs around 3.6 lbs. The heavyweight of the pins make them hard to knockdown during a match and require high energy and striking rate.
Bowling pins are usually manufactured from hard maple wood. The wood is crafted into proper shape with the help of lathe (machine) and is coated with plastic material and finally covered with a glossy finish. The pins are generally 15 inches high. The base, on the other hand, has a diameter of 2 ¼ inches. The narrowest part of the pin has a diameter of 1.8 inches with a neck region of 10 inches. However, bowling pins for all the variants of the sport have different dimensions and sizes.
The first record of bowling pins was available in Germany around 300 AD. Pins, in the earlier times, were manufactured from a single block of hard rock maple. The wooden pins were durable, but because of the varying density of wood, it wasn’t possible to standardize their weight. Later in 1946, to overcome the drawbacks of wooden pins, American Machine and Foundry patented the automatic pinsetter machines. The pinsetters were harder on the pins leading to splintering and cracking. In 1954, Vulcanate pins were produced by the Vulcan Manufacturing to resolve the issue. The Vulcan pins were more durable and resistant than the solid woods. In the same year, plastic-coated pins were also introduced. Henry Moore was the first to present the idea of plastic coating, but it was little cumbersome and prone to chipping. By 1961, solid pins vanished utterly from the markets and were replaced with the pins similar to the Vulcan pins. The new age pins are durable, lighter in weight and more scorable.
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