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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Brooklyn Pin Boys: 1910

Brooklyn Pin Boys: 1910

April 1910. "1 a.m. Pin boys working in Subway Bowling Alleys, 65 South Street, Brooklyn, N.Y., every night. Three smaller boys were kept out of the photo by Boss." View full size. Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Former Pin Boy

My husband was a pin boy in 1953 at the Yonkers Jewish Center. He said your picture is exactly the way it was.


Still have pinboys in Chicago at Southports Lanes on the northside.

My First Job

My first job was as a pinboy at our local country club in New Jersey. Seven cents a game plus tips. I lasted about 4 hours.

Got paid a nickel a line.

I was a pinboy at age 12 in New Jersey in the fifties. Eight alleys no air conditioning, no breaks, no dental plan. But with tips you made a couple of bucks a night. Enough for a movie, comic books, a coke, and a pack of smokes. Today most folks have to work 8 hours to get all that stuff.

Then & Now

People think they have it ruff now. Nice photo.

Good ole days

I worked lanes like these in the basement of a school attached to our church in Illinois. First time I ever saw a cork ball. And yes, they have thrown the ball down the lane before you had all pins set up, you just had to be quick enough to jump out of the way.

Patrons intentionally bowling before pins were set.

It happened routinely, especially later at night when the patrons were inebriated. However, you could usually expect a better tip from the drunk bowlers, especially if you would "help them along" by discreetly knocking over a few extra pins. We would occasionally taunt them and quickly jump over the safety wall as the ball was approaching.

One of only a handful remaining, there is still a public manual alley in Shohola, PA at Rohman's Hotel, It is cheap (1$ per frame) if you set your own pins or bring you own pin boy, (or girl).


man that job must have

man that job must have sucked did anyone ever throw the ball b4 u were done setting them??

Pin Boy (Retired)

I'm 78 now. I used to be a pin boy, part time nights in Hartford, Ct. from 1944 to 1947. The pay was much better than working on the tobacco farms after school.

The boss looks like...

...Al Swearengen from Deadwood

Is that....

...the dude from "Deadwood"?

my dad was a pin boy. :]

my dad was a pin boy. :]

Bogotá 2006

Reminds me of a bowling hall I visited in downtown Bogotá last year - pin boys and a musty basement smell


I like the hint of the sailing mural on the back wall.Touch of class.

Slave Driver

Not only did he hide all the nine year old kids when he saw the photographer, but I'll bet he also made sure his whip wasn't visible either.

notice the gas lights

notice the gas lights

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