Candlepin bowling is a unique game found mostly in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Eastern Canada. What makes this game different from other forms of bowling is the shape of the pins and the size of the balls. The pins stand 15 3/4 inches tall with a taper on both ends giving them the appearance of candles hence the name candlepins. The balls are 4 1/2 inches with a maximum weight of 2.7 pounds (with no finger holes). The game consist of ten frames or boxes in which three balls are rolled down a 60 foot maple bowling lane at 10 pins. All pins knocked down remain where they fall until that frame is completed enabling the bowler to use fallen pins (wood) which are still on the playing area to knock down other standing pins. This creates a whole new game with an endless number of shots. Unlike other forms of bowling, Candlepins have never had a perfect game, the highest sanctioned score to date is a 245. If you are ever given the opportunity to try Candlepins we encourage you to do so, just don't expect to get the same scores as other forms of the game. Good luck and have fun.
History of the Game
Many great things have come out of Worcester Massachusetts but surely one of the greatest is Candlepin Bowling. Bowling in various forms can be traced back to the stone ages but it was in 1880 that the game of Candlepins as we know it today was developed.
In 1879 Justin White purchased a billiard and bowling establishment on Pearl Street in Worcester. Shortly after his purchase he discovered some unconventional bowling pins included in the purchase, one inch wood cylinders ten inches high resembling broomsticks, three inch wide cylinders resembling candles and some balls ranging in size from three to five inches. Because these pins made the game difficult and the scores low Justin knew he must make some changes or his future in the bowling business would be short lived.
It was in 1880 Justin would increase the size of his new pins to twelve inches high with the center being two inches tapering down to one inch on each end. Almost immediately the new game took off, with inquires coming into Pearl Street about the new game. Justin began manufacturing the new pins for other proprietors. It wasn't long before many establishments only had Candlepins and competition between members began to increase.
The first published high score in 1880 was a 112 with average scores ranging in the 80's. Being the father of Candlepins wasn't enough in 1888 Justin was given the title as the first Champion Candlepin Bowler because of his record 131 game. This record didn't last long, six months later Justin bowled a 133 game.
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