Short History

     The earliest known forms of bowling date back to ancient Egypt in 3200 BC. Bowling games of different forms are also noted by Herodotus as an invention of the Lydians in Asia Minor. About 2,000 years ago, in the Roman Empire, a similar game evolved between Roman legionaries. Around 400 AD, bowling began in Germany as a religious ritual. In 1299 the oldest known bowling green for target style bowling was built, Master's Close in Southampton. In 1366 the first official mention of bowling in England was made, when King Edward III banned it as a distraction to archery practice. In 1463 a public feast was held in Frankfurt, Germany, with a venison dinner followed by lawn bowling.
     In the 15th-17th centuries lawn bowling spread from Germany into Austria, Switzerland, and the Low Countries. In 1670 Dutchmen liked to bowl at the Old King’s Arms Tavern in New York City. In 1840, Knickerbocker Alleys in New York City opened, becoming the first indoor bowling alley. In 1875, the National Bowling Association (NBA) was founded in New York City to standardize rules for ten-pin bowling, and in 1895 the modern standardized rules for ten-pin bowling were established. By the late 19th century New York City was made a center of bowling. In 1909 the first ten-pin bowling alley in Europe was installed in Sweden, but the game failed to catch on in the rest of Europe until after World War II.
     In 1926 the International Bowling Association (IBA) was formed, holding four World Championships by 1936. About 1950 the golden age of bowling began, when in 1952 American Machine and Foundry of Brooklyn, began marketing automatic Pinsetter machines. In 1958 the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) was founded in Akron, Ohio and in 1960 the first Championship was held in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1952 the Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs (now the World Bowling (WB)) was founded in Hamburg, Germany to coordinate amateur competition in nine-pin and ten-pin bowling. In 1954 the first World Bowling Championship was held in Helsinki, and in 1965 the Bowling World Cup was established.