Many people wonder why they get different pin action at a different bowling center other than their “home” (that is the place they bowl at the most) center. Some places give you horrible and “dead” pin action, while others the pins are running on 10 cans of Red Bull! Well, one reason may be how old the pins are. Another is the pinsetter or pinspotter the bowling center uses, believe it or not! In this post I will discuss the second factor, the bowling machines.
The AMF (American Machine and Foundry) Company produced the first automatic pinspotter back in the 1940s, none of those are never used anymore because of all the parts, so those will not be discussed. Later on in the early 1950s, they came out with the first widely used pinspotter in the bowling industry: the AMF 82-30 pinspotter. Now, I bowled on these machines at a house about 3 hours west of here in Great Barrington, MA when I was about 10 or 11, and the pin action wasn’t all that great, moreover it was strange, but it’s hard to tell now since I have greatly improved my bowling since then.
The AMF 82-70 has pretty decent pin action, again, it’s a little quirky, but it can produce great scores if you hit the pins just right! Good wall action isn’t guaranteed, but shots in the pocket either gets you a 9 or a strike! Good pinspotters to bowl on, in my opinion.
The AMF 82-90 isn’t very good in reliability (meaning here is always a problem) and you leave shots you just didn’t deserve! Again, with the 82-70, you’re not guaranteed good wall shots, but they are better and you get better pocket strikes!
Now, onto the Brunswick machines. The B-12 semi-automatic pinsetter was introduced either in the 1940s or early 1950s (I don’t know the exact date off the top of my head) and they required pinboys, but it made the pinboys’ job a little bit easier by pulling a lever and the pin deck would roll down, the pinboy pulls another lever, puts the pins in place, pulls up on the first lever and up the deck goes. Brunswick then focused on going fully automatic to compete with AMF, and in 1956 (with the help of Otis Elevator Company) the Brunswick A pinsetter was out on the market. These machines were built like a tank and they could handle a lot of abuse! In fact, the first Brunswick pinsetters installed are STILL running today! 52 years later as a converted Brunswick A-2 (I will discuss those in a minute) . The Brunswick A’s provide a lot of pin action and, if thrown just right, your ball cal actually bounce off the back (pit curtain) and fly into the pit with a nice thud! (Just a minor glitch that is fixed in the A-2).
The Brunswick A-2 (and the JetBack) had a lot of improvements done. It had lesser and lighter parts, speed was increased, and it was relatively quieter and produced higher scores (and made the pins go crazy!) These machines have produced a TON of 300 games and bowlers love them for their pin action, wall action, and overall reliability. I recommend these pinsetters as a second choice.
In the late 1970s, Brunswick introduced a brand new pinsetter with all new…everything! It was dubbed the Brunswick GS (meaning Game Setter). It was very unique and when I ever saw them in person this past summer, I was amazed! These things run amazingly quiet (at least, the GS-X model) and the pin action is just plain SICK! I mean sick! I could see a lot of people making splits in ways they couldn’t before, strikes they never imagined happening, and pins just splattering on the pin deck! A number one choice for bowling at…a house with a Brunswick GS-10, GS-92, 96, 98, or the GS-X. This is one of the reasons why Brunswick is the number one bowling supplier in the world…their pinsetters, especially.
If you don’t know how to decipher which pinsetter/pinspotter is which, here’s a little help.
AMF 82-30: You can see another set of pins on top of that rack
AMF 82-70: The deck is thicker than the 82-90
Brunswick A: A big Brunswick “B” logo on the deck
Brunswick A-2: Kind of obvious (A-2 is on the deck)
Brunswick JetBack: Same concept.
Brunswick GS: It says the model on the sweep when it’s down.
So, my opinion, Brunswick machines are the way to bowl on. Great scoring, great pin action (and I’ve even seen the backend of a JetBack machine and believe me, they’re pretty!)
Take Care and Enjoy Your Evening!
- Eric [Bowler4Ever]