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Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:53 PM

Pin setters

When I was a kid, my dad used to bowl every other week with a group of friends he worked with on the railroad. Sometimes, I got to go with him. Sometimes my cousin came with, and sometimes my little brother. I think we were there to give our mothers a much needed break. My dad's friends would give us orange pop, cream soda, root beer, potato chips and ice cream bars. I am amazed that we did not throw up from all that junk food. Of course, we loved it. Kids in the 1950's did not get as much junk food as they do now.

Aside from all the sugary and salty junk, I loved watching the pin setters. I don't mean those machines that come down reset the bowling pins. The bowling alley my dad went to was not automated yet. It had guys back there, human pin setters. They were on little platforms above the pins. They put all the pins back by hand. You could see them at work after each person bowled. In the summer, I think it was hot back there, because one of the guys was always shirtless. I looked for him, because I could tell him from the others.

I imagine that was a decent enough part-time job for some young guys.

Does anyone else remember manual pin-setting? Did anyone here ever have a summer or after school job setting pins?

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Pin setters (Original post)
murielm99 Apr 2012 OP
Suich Apr 2012 #1
LineNew Reply .
Go Vols Apr 2012 #2
Rhiannon12866 Apr 2012 #3
benld74 Apr 2012 #4
Martysbestcatch Apr 2012 #5
frogmarch Apr 2012 #6
Gidney N Cloyd Apr 2012 #7

Response to murielm99 (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 01:24 AM

1. I remember them from the early fifties in Portland, OR.

Never had a job setting pins, though. I picked strawberries, and raspberries for a summer job.



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Response to murielm99 (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 01:38 AM

2. .

I never witnessed it,but my grandfather set pins in the '30's and '40's as part of company(Genesco) sports.He played baseball in summer,bowled in winter and made shoes in between.Someone in the family has pics.

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Response to murielm99 (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 02:16 AM

3. I believe my father had that job in his youth.

His father died suddenly when he was only 12, so he started working at a young age, mostly as a musician, but I know he also mentioned being a pin setter. This would have been in the '40s.

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Response to murielm99 (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 01:38 PM

4. My brother-in-law did the job in his teens,,,

In STL. THis would have been late '60's. He met his wife at the lanes, she worked at the snack bar.

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Response to murielm99 (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 09:00 PM

5. Hubby was a pin setter

My husband was a pin setter back in 1951-1952. He started when
he was about 12 years old, before he had a work permit. When he
got experienced at it, he worked two lanes at a time. He said he
thinks they paid him 10 or 20 cents a bowler each frame.

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Response to murielm99 (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 10:44 PM

6. I never saw one, but

one time in the early 60s when I guttered a ball and hit a pin setter, I heard him yell, "Goddamit!"

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Response to murielm99 (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 11:08 PM

7. I vaguely recall my dad telling me he did that. Not sure when but he was born in '29.

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