History of Bowling Balls | Wood, Rubber, & Plastic

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Inside Bowling presents the History of Bowling Balls with the Orf's from Ray Orf's Bowling & Trophy Shop in St. Louis, Missouri.

Rich Orf and Steve Orf share their bowling ball collection with you and share their opinions of the most meaningful bowling balls in the history of bowling.

This is part 1 of a 3 part series. Enjoy!

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29 Comments on “History of Bowling Balls | Wood, Rubber, & Plastic”

  1. The golden Brunswick Rhino was my first bowling ball. Followed by a lot of Brunswick, Storm and Lane #1 balls. Still bowling Lane #1 balls today at age 46. The only vintage piece I still throw is the Ebonite skull ball as my spare ball. Those old balls were awesome, lots of stock material but not a lot of reaction. I still like that. Straighter is greater.

  2. Nice video guys. Your dad was one helluva bowler to roll 890 with plastic…splitting boards! Anxious to see your next video. I have a very small collection that includes a Marion Ladewig Brunswick (I’m sure you know her legacy), and a Nu-Line Xcalibur.

  3. What a great collection…thanks for taking the time to post the vids about it! I have an LT-48 I throw occasionally but thought the shell had ground up cherry pits, not walnut shells.

    Very much looking forward to the next vid on urethane…I only throw vintage urethane so it should contain most of my arsenal, lol!

  4. Great video and glad I stuck around to watch the footage of Ray Orf. I sold my yellow dot almost 30 years ago for $10. The idea of collecting wasn’t even a thought. Threw an old Manhatten Rubber as a kid. Back then, whenever I outgrew balls, I’d just donate them to the general houseball inventory wherever I was bowling at the time.

  5. Back in the early 80’s, I had an Earl Anthony “Radar” ball. What a great ball. Carried a 200 avg. wish I had that one back.

  6. That was really enjoyable. Thank you. I remember so many of those balls and threw a few of them. The ending was so cool. Can’t wait for the rest.

  7. Wow! This is the best video I’ve ever seen on the history of balls during that era! Thank you.
    Sorry to hear of the passing of your dad.

  8. 35 in a row! I doubt it was because of the ball. That takes a lot of skill. Congratulations to your family on that record!

  9. Grew up too with a bowling father. He bowled 6 leagues a week most of my youth…there really isn’t anything that matches the bond between a father and son reached through bowling together. Great job guys

  10. Thanks for sharing this slice of bowling history. So great that you had the foresight to keep some of the old stock around back then to build this collection. Makes me weep a little to think of the old stuff I eventually left on ball racks at local bowling centers to get rid of as equipment evolved. Then again, there was this original light blue Crown Jewel that made the rounds via this method. Someone would pick it up, thinking they had scored a treasure. After throwing the thing and realizing it was impossible to keep it from rolling over the thumb hole, it would then get left on yet another house ball rack. I discovered it this way and experienced the same thing. It became somewhat legendary and guys would just laugh when they saw you in possession of it. Sure wish I still had my Columbia Titeline.

  11. Nice collection. I was a bit surprised you didn’t have a Brunswick Mineralite. From just before the Black Beauty which was my favorite rubber ball.

  12. I never thought LT-48 is a rubber ball, cause my dad had one for over 30 years and I’m using it as a spare ball right now. It’s with Johnny Petraglia’s name on it with yellow words.

  13. Wow very informative thank you for taking the time to make this and share your cool collection with us. I watched all three videos and enjoyed them thoroughly.

  14. Great video! Do you know the reason why Brunswick rubber balls were almost always drilled upside down (thumb on top, fingers on bottom)?

  15. My first ball, about 50 years ago when I was probably 9 years old, was a SIX-pound Black Beauty. I remember once making the 5-10 with that ball, by hitting the 5 on the wrong side, and the ball bounced into the 10!

  16. Great video guys thank you for sharing. I have a couple of old balls that I kept around just so my kids and my grandkids could see the kind of balls that we used to bowl with growing up and how things change so drastically.

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