Where Do Bowling Pins Go After You Bowl? (Quick Facts)

Bowling is a beloved pastime for many, offering excitement and camaraderie as players attempt to knock down all ten pins with just one or two well-aimed throws.

But have you ever wondered what happens to those pins once they’ve been toppled by your powerful strike?

In this fascinating blog post, we’ll dive into the journey of bowling pins as they travel from the lane to the pin deck and beyond.

Where Do Bowling Pins Go After You Bowl?

From The Rack To The Lane

The journey of bowling pins begins at the rack, where they are meticulously arranged in a triangular formation. This precise arrangement plays a critical role in ensuring an optimal gameplay experience for bowlers.

During gameplay, as a bowler releases their ball down the lane, it strikes these carefully arranged pins with varying levels of force and precision. The properties of the bowling ball – its weight, size, and rotation – significantly impact how many pins fall during each turn.

For instance, if you’re using a heavier ball with good technique, you might knock down more pins compared to someone using a lighter ball or less practiced form.

Resetting And Clearing The Pins

After the bowler takes their turn and knocks down some pins, it’s up to the pinsetter machine to reset and clear them. The process involves a series of movements with mechanical precision.

Once all loose items have been cleared from the lane, including any fallen pins, an automated mechanical device collects them in one swift motion using metal bars that sweep across each row of bowling pins.

Inspection And Maintenance

Regular maintenance and inspection of bowling pins are necessary to keep them in good condition. Pinsetters have sensors that detect when a pin is malfunctioning, but regular manual inspections help identify problems before they cause issues during gameplay.

Additionally, replacing worn-out or damaged pins is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the game. Depending on usage, some bowling alleys replace their pins every few months to ensure consistent playability for bowlers.

Recycling And Disposal

where do bowling pins go

After years of use, bowling pins can become worn out and damaged. So what happens to them after they are no longer fit for the game? Bowling alleys have different ways of disposing of old pins.

Some may choose to donate them to schools or organizations that use them for decorative purposes like bookends or even as art projects. Others may sell them to collectors or turn them into souvenirs for customers.

Recycling is also an option for old bowling pins since they are made from a combination of wood and plastic materials. They can be ground down and repurposed into other products like furniture, flooring, or playground equipment.

Recycling not only helps reduce waste but also supports sustainable practices in the industry.

The Role Of Pinsetters And Pinboys/Pingirls

Pinsetters are responsible for resetting the pins, ensuring they’re in their original positions, and clearing them when necessary.

In the past, pin boys and pin girls manually reset pins, but today’s automated mechanical device has become more efficient.

Automatic And Manual Pinsetters

Bowling alleys have come a long way from the days of manual pinsetters. Today, most bowling alleys use automatic pinsetters which can quickly and efficiently reset the pins for the next game.

These machines are operated by electricity and use sensors to detect when all ten pins have been knocked down.

While automatic pinsetters dominate modern bowling lanes, some bowling enthusiasts still prefer using manual pinsetters like those used in vintage bowling alleys or during special events.

Manual pin setting requires a person to stand behind the lanes and manually place each fallen pin back into position after every round of play.

Regardless of whether you experience an automatic or manual pinsetter in action, both offer entertainment value through their speed and precision at resetting and clearing out all tenpins after every roll!

The History Of Pinboys/Pingirls

Pin boys and pin girls were once a common sight in bowling alleys, manually resetting pins after each frame. This practice began in the 1800s when bowling was still primarily an outdoor sport played on lawns or rough wooden floors.

As the game moved indoors to specially designed alleys, pin boys became essential for keeping games moving efficiently. They would quickly gather fallen pins and set them back up in their original positions while avoiding getting hit by rolling balls.

Despite this shift towards automation, some traditional-style bowling alleys still employ pin boys or pin girls today as a nod to their historical importance and as a way to offer customers a unique experience.

Additionally, being a pin boy/pin girl is one of those jobs that has become iconic over time; it’s often referenced in movies such as “The Big Lebowski” (1998) where Jeff Bridges’ character reminisces about his early days spent working at his local alley setting pins by hand.


In conclusion, understanding the journey of bowling pins is an important aspect of the game. From being knocked down by bowlers to resetting through pinsetter machines and potentially being recycled or disposed of, each pin has its own unique path.

It’s fascinating to learn about the role of pin boys/pin girls in history and how our modern-day automated pinsetters have evolved. Taking care of these pins with regular maintenance helps maintain their lifespan while sustainable practices can promote eco-friendliness.

Last updated on May 1, 2023