What are Bowling Balls made of? Everything to know (2023)

Isn’t it amazing that bowling has been around for thousands of years? Remains of this world-famous sport have been discovered in ancient Egypt dating back over 5,000 years.

Throughout history, numerous cultures have developed their own variations of bowling. Of course, the sport’s equipment has developed over time, and bowling lanes are a comparatively recent development. So, how and from what are modern-day bowling balls made?

History of bowling 

Bowling is said to have originated in Egypt with the discovery of a sculpture representing the game on an Egyptian royal tomb about 5200 BC. The sculpture showed ladies and men carrying a ball and aiming at nine different-shaped wood sticks. A British anthropologist made an amazing discovery in 1930 when he discovered bowling pins made of wood buried in the grave of a kid in Egypt thousands of years ago. Following this occurrence, several anthropologists began discovering many wooden objects that resembled bowling pins in various locations in Egypt. Bowling was later created and introduced to people from numerous nations.

The ball and pins were constructed of Lignum vitae, a hardwood, back then. This sort of bowling ball was used for playing in various types of alleys. These wooden balls were created in various sizes and weights dependent on the bowler’s power. For example, strongly developed adults used 20-pound balls, whilst children used balls weighing less than 5 pounds.

Later in 1905, the Brunswick Corporation, a well-known manufacturing business, developed a bowling ball made of strong rubber material, which was used until 1980. This marked the beginning of the contemporary bowling ball’s development.

Bowling has always been used as a stress-relieving activity. Bowling was exhibited at the Olympics in 1988 when 20 nations competed against each other in a demonstration game.

What are modern-day bowling balls made of?

Bowling balls were produced from a hardwood called Lignum vitae centuries ago. The first rubber band ball, known as the Evertrue, was created in 1905. A business called Brunswick Corporation developed a Mineralite rubber ball over a decade later. In 1970, the first polyester ball was created, followed by urethane in the 1980s and resin in the 1990s.

Overall, three coverstock materials are available for bowling balls: polyester, urethane, and resin (reactive urethane).

Polyester, the least-priced material, does not provide as much hook since it is unaffected by the oils on the road. Urethane is a medium-priced material that has greater hook ability than polyester yet requires less maintenance than resin. The most costly substance is resin, which provides more durability and hooks power.

In terms of the core, materials such as barium or bismuth graphite are mixed with resin to form a ceramic or plastic-like substance. Fired ceramic balls are more powerful than graphite or plastic cores, according to Track Inc., since they do not absorb energy. Iron oxide is sometimes utilized to improve the center of gravity at the core.

The making process of bowling balls

Polyurethane or reactive resin: 

These materials are used to create the bowling ball’s outer covering or coverstock. Polyurethane is a synthetic polymer recognized for its durability and adaptability, whereas reactive resin is a form of synthetic rubber manufactured particularly for use in bowling balls. Both materials give a high grip on the lanes and aid in the hook, or curve, of the ball when thrown.

Particle additives: 

These are applied to the coverstock to change the hook potential of the ball. Different particle additions can be employed to produce various ball responses on the lanes.

Creating the core

  1. A mold is made to the core shape generated during the computerized design phase for the specific model of the ball being manufactured. The material of choice is poured into the core mold and allowed to solidify. The firm core is taken out of its mold.
  2. To complete the core, a second step may be required. Some ceramic cores, for example, are burned in a kiln. Inserting the first core into a second mold and pouring material of a different density around all or part of it might result in a compound core.

Creating the shell

  1. The final core is put within a coverstock mold, which is a spherical mold. The core is fastened to a pin that protrudes from the mold’s shell. The pin keeps the core in the proper place. The core is considered to be pinned in if the pinpoints toward the center of the mold; pin out if it is slanted away from the center.
  2. The coverstock material is poured into the mold and hardened, encasing the core. Depending on the design of the ball, the thickness of the coverstock might range from 1 in (2.54 cm) to 2 in (5.08 cm).

Bridging the gaps

  1. When the ball is taken from the coverstock mold, a hole appears where the core-holding pin formerly was. A plastic dowel is inserted and glued into the hole. The coverstock is a different color than the pin. After purchasing the ball, the pin will be utilized as a reference for setting the finger holes in order to take advantage of the core design.
  2. The branding impression that was molded into the ball is filled with fill material. This might be the same color as the pin or a different color. The logo is situated on top of the ball, above the center of gravity.

Related Read: The different types of bowling balls


  1. The ball is polished to the required size specification by rotating it on a lathe and shaving off enough coverstock to obtain the desired shape, or by scouring the ball into the necessary size and roundness using a centerless grinder.
  2. Finally, the ball’s surface is completed to the required texture. The roughness of the sanding material indicates whether it is sanded to a matte finish or to an adequate degree of gloss (generally ranging from 240-600 grit).
  3. The ball is packaged and sent to the company’s distributor.

What does the inside of a bowling ball consist of?

To begin, the core of a bowling ball is created by combining heavy elements such as bismuth graphite with resin to produce a thick sort of plastic or ceramic material.

Recognize that bowling balls are more than simply spheres. There are several varieties of bowling ball cores that come in various forms and sizes. We shall divide them into three categories here:

Cores of pancakes

Cores that are symmetrical

Cores that are asymmetrical

Final thoughts

Finally, we learned about the history of bowling balls from hardwood to plastic/polyester. The advancement of technology has enabled producers to create these balls with various chemicals and structural designs to get the ideal form of a ball for a classy game.

All of the above-mentioned balls differ in very minor ways and are utilized for distinct reasons in various sorts of bowling games. This demonstrates that even minor differences may have a significant influence on the game.

Bowling easy is the article provides various sources of bowling for intermediate to expert bowlers all around the world. 


  1. History of Bowling: https://www.bowlingmuseum.com/Visit/Education/History-of-Bowling
  2. What American Bowling Balls Are Made Of: https://www.bowlingball.com/BowlVersity/what-are-american-bowling-balls-made-of-2
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