The History of Bowling

by / Wednesday, 27 August 2014 / Published in Bowling, Latest Posts, Things To Do

The History of Bowling


Everyone knows that for many years now, Franklin Family Entertainment Center (FFEC) has been THE place to go to have a fun time bowling. But this sport, enjoyed by men, women, and children, has been around for much longer than FFEC…or even historical Franklin for that matter. So here we go…Franklin Family Entertainment Center Presents “The History of Bowling”.

Some experts believe an early form of bowling began in ancient Egypt around 3200 BC. Others think it started and was enjoyed nearly 4,000 years ago in Greece and Rome where the soldiers played a form of bowling similar to today’s bocce ball (lawn bowling). Most, however, believe that bowling began in Germany as part of a religious ceremony around 300 AD. Even Martin Luther was a fan. And in 1366 it was so popular with the British troops, that King Edward III outlawed it so his men would practice archery instead. No longer outlawed, King Henry VIII loved bowling and its popularity soared during his reign.

Finally, bowling was introduced into the United States (the New World) in the early 1800s. At the time, it was called “ninepin” because of the number of pins used. It was extremely popular, but was outlawed (once again) in 1841 because it was associated with drinking and gambling. Well there’s always a way around things, so a tenth pin was added and the sport was renamed “bowling”. Bowling alleys (called Knickerbocker Alleys at the time) sprung up all over New York City and the game’s popularity grew amongst men, women, and children who could finally enjoy it in a wholesome environment.

Since then, bowling has come a long way. In 1895, the American Bowling Congress was established. In 1914, Brunswick introduced the Mineralite ball; before they were made of this rubber compound, they were composed of a very hard wood. In 1952, AMF (American Machine and Foundry Company) put into production a technological breakthrough…automatic pinspotters. A bowler no longer had to rely on a “pinboy” to set his pins back up. And balls with finger holes drilled into them were also introduced.

Today, bowling is a popular sport enjoyed by 95 million people in more than 90 countries worldwide. And thanks to Franklin Family Fun Center, you can enjoy it right here in Middle Tennessee. If you check out their website at, you can view their hours, read about “cosmic” bowling, plan a bowling birthday party or corporate event and check out their menu. So come on over and join the craze that began thousands of years ago.

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