Saturday, March 02, 2013

Retro Masking Units - Bowling


image source: Bel Mateo Bowl

The above picture was taken from Bel Mateo Lanes, where I bowl Monday nights. Pretty much a typical looking bowling alley. The below picture is taken from an unknown center in Japan, where it features vintage masking units (AMF inverted triangles).


image source: The Streamlane Project

Until last night, I completely forgot about retro masking units. It all came back when I watched on YouTube the 2013 Fusion Realtors Open in Waterloo, Iowa. InsideBowling.com's Mike Flanagan pointed it out during the match.

So, what did Mike say to prompt the walk back to "Memory" Lanes? The masking units light up dots with pin numbers to indicate remaining pins on the rack after the first ball is bowled. When masking units were in their heyday, this was an extremely important feature for bowlers, especially for keeping score. I've included a video from the Fusion Realtors tournament for those of you who want to see the masking units in action.


In doing my due diligence for this entry, I came across Toby Schwartzman's blog, The Streamlane Project.  As described from his About page, "Toby Schwartzman is a former head mechanic of the Moose Exchange Bowling Alley in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania and an active member of the online community of mechanics who share materials and information relating to antique bowling apparatus. Early in 2012 he acquired three rare AMF masking units in dire need of restoration. The purpose of this blog is to document the progress of the restoration and to offer advice, resources and inspiration for similar projects."

A project that is truly a labor of love. Best of luck to you, Toby. His blog's last entry was in December 2012. Hope to see updates soon.

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