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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Matzo Bowl: 1926

Matzo Bowl: 1926

Washington, D.C., circa 1926. "Jewish Community Center bowling alley." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Alley wax

Nowadays it's hard to be really bad at bowling as the modern waxes really help mediocre out. These alleys don't look to have any wax on them at all. I bet there were a lot of low scores counted at the JCC.

Alive and well

Duckpins still thriving in my native RI, see link:

Canadian Invention

Everything you need to know about 5-pin bowling is here and here. Teenagers in Vancouver into the 1970s worked part time in a few bowling alleys as "pin setters", before automatic equipment arrived. I met someone who did this job, and he described it as very noisy and dangerous.

Reminds Me of Pin setting

Pins were bigger, but it looks like the bowling alley where I used to set pins. You had to lift the bar and get your feet up out the way fast or you would get nailed by flying pins!

Pin boys

My first job ever was being a pin boy; hiding behind a small wooden piece between lanes, pressing a foot pedal to set pins and giving the ball a good push to get back to the bowlers.
$.10 per bowler per game - 2 teams, 5 man each 3 games = $3.00 a night. I learned quickly how to keep score and moved up and out of the pits.

We up North

use the same alley and same size pin only we use five pins, strangely enough it's called Five Pin Bowling.

Duck Pins!

That's all I ever saw when growing up overseas in the '50s. Wasn't until I got to the US that I ever saw big pins.


Much more fun than their ten-pin cousins, and they require considerably more skill. But they're getting hard to find, even in the mid-Atlantic states where they were once popular.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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