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A little Pinsetter history


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  • A little Pinsetter history

    I thought I would post this since it seemed to be getting lost in the other thread.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Here is a little about The Brunswick pinsetter from the book "Brunswick the story of an american company 1845-1985."
    In 1911 Brunswick put a Norwegian inventor
    Ernest Hedenskoog on the payroll.
    Over the next 3 decades he filled a Muskegon warehouse with strange contraptions and a trunkful of patents.
    Meanwhile working on a farm in Pearl River New York an inventor named Fred Schmidt had developed AND petented a vacuum device that seemed to solve the pinsetter puzzle.
    A Brunswick salesman went to New York, Robert Kennedy, and formed a partnership with Schmidt.
    Kennedy approached Brunswick and was rebuffed.
    Kennedy went to AMF with his patents and a deal was struck.
    It took 6 years for AMF to produce what they thought was a viable pinsetter, it was not.
    The AMF premier machine in 1946 displayed serious defects.
    2 years later they unveiled a second model but it too proved faulty.
    After the second prototype Brunswick hired Huck & Company ( a new york engineering firm)
    to evaluate ALL the pinsetter work they had done including Hedenskoog's dusty patents.
    They reported Hedenskoogs contributions contained the NUB of a good device.
    1948 Brunswick gives Huck the go ahead to make a prototype.
    They send an employee, M.I.T. grad Saul Jacobson to handle the engineering.
    Project was put on hold to too financial restraints.
    Then in 1952 AMF dropped a bomb with it;s working pinspotter.
    Jacobson and Huck then went into overdrive and had a prototype in 1953 but no funds to go into production.
    Brunswicks attempt at loans was turned down and by chance they hooked up with Byron C Gould of Murray Corporation of America.
    Gould tried to buy Brunswick out of the project but struck a deal instead.
    Brunswick supplied the patents and Gpuld put up 15 million.
    Brunswick and Murray formed the Pinsetter Corporation and a workable pinsetter MANUFACTURED by the OTIS elevator company was ready for testing in 1954.
    The machines were in production in 1955.
    The machine was ready for installation in 1956.
    April 10, 1956 the Brunswick pinsetter made its debut at Roselle Lanes in Roselle New Jersey.
    By 1958 11,000 pinsetters had been installed.

    The model GS pinsetter started by Brunswick buying Schmid and Company in 1984.
    They were a manufacturer of bowling equipment in Switzerland and Germany.



  • #2
    Re: A little Pinsetter history

    Sounds like a good book and I will be getting it soon. If it's still in production. Thanx for including it here!
    A good chunk of history there. Funny how the two companies put their own spin on the early years. There was an AMF insert in all the bowling mags a few years ago about Fred Schmidt and how his glorious invention was such a boon to the sport.
    They really played up the AMF side. This difference in portrayal reminds me of WWII propaganda. I'm taking a WWII class right now, so the association of the two is inevitable. Sorry.
    Also of note, as I recall from the AMF insert in the magazines, is that AMF rented an empty building across the street from the ABC nationals, sponsored by Brunswick, of course. In this building, AMF constructed two lanes with their new Schmidt "Pindilator."
    There was a line out the door of people eager to see this new machine that could set pins, clear deadwood, return the ball, AND keep score. There was even an editorial-style cartoon of some kind of Rube Goldberg type contraption doing all these functions.
    I believe the little story also mentioned that six men were in the back keeping the "Pindilator" running. A picture showed several men in white labcoats around a machine that rivals A-2's in tallness and belts and pulleys every damn place everywhere. Some of the men were holding clipboards, others were watching the machine intently.
    Damn, I wish I'd pulled out that insert and saved it.
    Despite the fact that the vacuum-powered Schmidt invention was riddled with problems, it launched AMF into the bowling business, and provided the business with a healthy competition. That machine is the indirect cause of the creation of so many aftermarket bowling equipment manufacturers and so many people passionately interested in our great sport.
    It is my opinion that without Fred Schmidt, there would be no such thing as bowling today. The idea of some dirty jerk setting pins for you if he felt like it would have died off in the 50's or 60's like so many other things.
    But then, Lincoln's had vacuum-powered everything until the late '70's. And they sold well.

    Thanx again for the history!
    Chad Q.


    • #3
      Re: A little Pinsetter history

      Magic...seeing as the book was printed by Brunswick, for Brunswick, it would probably catch fire in your [img]/content/btubb/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/laugh.gif[/img]

      I have a copy of the book he is talking about. I don't know if it is published for sale, but here is some info on the book for anybody interested...Copyright 1985 by Brunswick Corporation. Written by Rick Kogan. In 1995, another book was published...BRUNSWICK The Story Of An American Company .. The first 150 years. Written by Rick Kogan. (Gee...looks like he cut and pasted the first 103 pages from his previous book) The first book is 139 pages and the second book is 153 pages. Very interesting learning about the history of Brunswick. But I don't think Magic could handle learning about the innovations that Brunswick came up with. Might give him nightmares... [img]/content/btubb/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif[/img]


      [ February 12, 2001: Message edited by: JBEES ]
      TSM & TSM Training Development
      Main Event Entertainment
      480-620-6758 for help or information


      • #4
        Re: A little Pinsetter history

        I just searched to see if this book was in print. It is out of print, but there was about twenty used copies available, varying in price from $16.00-$46.00, depending on condition. I might pick up a copy myself, it sounds like a really interesting book.

        [ February 13, 2001: Message edited by: Brunswick2k ]
        I always wanted a job in a bowling center. Now, it's just fun to help out once in awhile.


        • #5
          Re: A little Pinsetter history

          HA HA!!! Thanx, JBEES for your recognition of the truth.
          Believe it or not, I can tolerate a little "B" if it is for a common good.
          I read the Parker Bohn book and found it very useful. Except that all the illustrations were for leftys. But I worked around that.
          There was even a picture of very dated AMF equipment! Yay!


          • #6
            Re: A little Pinsetter history

            $46 dollars!!! wow!!!! lol . I was working for a BRC center around 95 i guess , they gave allof us employees a copy of the Brunswick book...first 150 years or somethin... wanta buy it??? lol just kiddin but it does have some interesting history about our industry..
            Why yes, we wax them everyday!


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