Everything Candlepin


A Buyer’s Guide to Candlepin Bowling Balls

EPCO Ram Pro Rubber

Thanks to our founding fathers, Rich and I were able to take a trip down to Paramount Industries on President’s day for a discussion with Mr. Bob Parrella. Many of you are familiar with EPCO, which is the foremost manufacturer of Candlepin bowling balls today. Located in Medway, MA., EPCO manufactures a line of products that is distributed by their sister company, Paramount Industries, Inc.

Bob Parrella, a Director of the International Candlepin Bowling Association (ICBA), has spent a lifetime in the industry of Candlepin Bowling and has seen historical change occur over the years. Mr. Parrella was generous enough to take the time to talk to us about his experience. Historically, there were up to seven companies simultaneously producing Candlepin Bowling balls. Today, EPCO remains as the only manufacturer. EPCO uses a “top secret” formula and process for making their bowling balls. Perhaps this is why their product has prevailed over less expensive and less reliable methods of production. Most EPCO bowling balls are a solid, one-piece construction with each ball being perfectly weighted and balanced.

You may ask yourself – “So how can different balls be different weights?” The answer to this is hidden in the density of the formula that is used to manufacture the bowling balls. In the past (and currently with some bowling balls [EPCO Starline]), a solid core was used to weight the bowling balls for different bowlers. The issue with this is that the core would rarely be perfectly centered to allow the ball to properly roll. We all know how frustrating it is when closely missing a single pin for a spare, so we want our bowling balls to roll as smoothly and straightly as possible.

With compressed bowling balls, several layers of rubber were sandwiched together and compressed with tons of hydraulic pressure. This would cause the layers to bond due to the intense heat caused by the pressure applied. This type of bond allowed for bowling balls of limited colors, and the bond of the rubber was not strong enough to withstand the repeated crashing into pins, pinsetters – and the inevitable gutters. Thus, this manufacturing process proved to be unsuccessful for Candlepin Bowling balls.

With EPCO prevailing, new technologies were introduced to allow for many different colors to be applied to a single bowling ball while remaining one-piece. With this new process, bowlers were now able to purchase reliable, custom bowling balls in a color (or colors) of their liking.


So how can you choose a bowling ball for yourself?


EPCO’s products are made from a variety of chemical formulations including rubber, urethane, resin, and other chemicals. When considering what to purchase yourself, it’s important to consider the types of bowling lanes your league house(s) have. Traditionally, Candlepin bowling is played on rock hard maple, which offers a softer and more absorbent reaction to your bowling ball. Currently, many bowling centers are converting to the harder, more durable synthetic approaches that are installed as sheets. Bob was able to explain to us that bowling balls are rated with a Durometer or “D” rating. A Durometer reading indicates the surface hardness of a material that is being produced and can be useful in understanding which bowling balls are more appropriate for the surface you’re bowling on.

According to Paramount SolidsMr. Parrella, a harder bowling ball will be more appropriate for a harder surface. For example, a Paramount Solid bowling ball, which has a D-Rating of 80-85 would react better to a lane with a synthetic surface. Typically, synthetic lanes would be more advantageous to those who roll a straighter ball because there is less “grab” on a hard synthetic surface. For an all-wood lane, a product like the EPCO Ram Pro Rubber bowling ball would offer softer reaction and would “grab” the lane for better accuracy. This particular bowling ball has a D-Rating of 72 (softer). Additionally, the Rams are made of a rubber composition, which may be better for bowlers who tend to curve or “hook” the ball toward their target. Of course, there are several different weights and many different colors offered when buying Candlepin bowling balls, so ask your friends if you can try their bowling balls before making a purchase!

Paramount Industries’ retail store can be visited at 42 Milford St in Medway, MA. For any questions or additional input, please email me at fdeluca(at)everythingcandlepin.com. I’d love to hear your experiences with different bowling balls over the years.

 April 5th, 2013  
 Frank DeLuca  
 0 Comment

Quick Worlds Update

Most people in the bowling community use Voy, but for those that don’t.

Click here for the stats on the Worlds.  The ID is 21302.

Once you put in the number, you can see each “week”.  The first match is actually week 2 in the drop down.

 November 7th, 2012  
 Rich Limone  
 0 Comment

A History Lesson From Kenj

Being only 34, I’ve missed A LOT of candlepin bowling on TV, in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Canada.  I got an email when I first started this little adventure from Loretta and Ken up in Canada about adding a term to the glossary which we have.  I know my Friday night teams gets annoyed when I scream “julian” for back door anything, but they deserve to be annoyed.

I got a little history lesson from Kenj, and I’d like to share that with you. I hope that this is something that becomes a recurring theme here at Everything Candlepin, and that’s not directed at Kenj specifically, it’s aimed at everyone that’s a fan and has something to share.  If someone has a story they think the candlepin bowling world should hear about, feel free to send it along to me at rlimone@everythingcandlepin.com.

Teams For the Hall of Fame:

There may never be a Nova Scotian in the Candlepin Hall of Fame.  There has been many a great roller from this farthest point east, that candlepin has reached. However we, Bluenosers have been very lax record keepers. Wilbur Martell owner of an alley in Halifax once held the Candlepin Record [high] single of 213, done on wooden pins. Back in his day there were few tournaments and the closest thing to a World’s was likely the Maritime and Eastern Maine Tournament. In 1905 The Bottle Pin Trophy was donated by the Brunswick Balke-Collender Company for this tournament and the original was replaced in 1932 with a new shiny replica, that was played for up into the mid-sixties. I can’t tell you when the US teams finally dropped out but I can tell you that Houlton, Maine won the trophy twice, and the last record for the tournament being held in Houlton that I have was in 1956;  Eastport Maine Browns won three times and Calais Maine one time; these numbers dwarf for The Saint John Blacks won this award twenty-one times.

One day perhaps the Hall will honor teams and records like this which are documented will prevail.

Other Nova Scotians worthy of recognition might include Jack James and Gerry Levy; their exploits are still spoken of and in the mid sixties both travelled to Bangor for a World’s Singles event and finished second and third; Jack lost by a single pin and Gerry was six back.  Jack spoke on television that he felt Gerry had been cheated of the victory being called on a lob that robbed him of an eight count on a spare; in Jack’s words; “…no one in Nova Scotia could ever say that Gerry had lobbed a ball in his life…”

When I became proficient enough to be on a Tournament team, and being a “terrible fan” of our game, I made sure to look at the records boards in every alley I went in; all of those built prior to 1969 the high singles and triples were all held by Gerry Levy. Most of those buildings have long since been torn down, made into parking lots, shopping malls and their records ?

Teams from Halifax, Nova Scotia have impressive records in the modern World’s Tournament, their individual stars have earned solid reputations in the candlepin world but unless they’ve maintained flawless scrapbooks they’ll never see their names nominated, there’s no governing body keeping any records for these chaps here. Their individual exploits are ripples on the water that fade in memory and like the water that returns to a mirror-like appearance they are gone. My advice to all local up and comers – keep your own records, score sheets, press clippings; never know someday some old geezer like me might want to nominate you – and we’ll need proof that you were that good.

I really appreciate the email and I think it’s great to get a glimpse into Canada.  I hope this email is the start of something that can be a regular occurrence on Everything Candlepin.  Keep them coming folks, and I hope to hear from you soon.

I received a second email shortly after with some trivia from Kenj for added information and some humor.

Bowling once became so popular in England that in 1366 King Edward III passed a law to forbid the people from playing it. He was afraid that men wouldn’t spend enough time practicing their archery skills which was so important to the military of the day.

Sir Francis Drake must have believed in pleasure before business because he insisted on finishing his game of bowling before sailing off to destroy the Spanish Armada in 1588.

There are written records that go back to the year 300 AD that show that bowling occurred in the Monasteries of Europe. People often carried clubs in those days and the Priests as a teaching aid would stand the club up a distance away and tell the peasants it stood for the evil of the devil and they were given a large stone to roll at the club. If the peasant hit the club he was praised but if he missed he was told to go and lead a better life. This took hold of the people who soon were practicing “bowling”.

Tell everyone to think of this on their next nine pin break!

Hope to hear from Kenj again as well as other writers out there!

Article submitted by Ken Jollymore, fellow fan of bowling up in Nova Scotia, Canada to everythingcandlepin.com

 October 17th, 2012  
 Rich Limone  
 Guest Author, Resources  
 0 Comment

Glossary Update

It’s great to get outreach from bowlers like Eddie Dunn and Tricia Cawley and we at Everything Candlepin thank you!  I received an email yesterday from Loretta and Ken – from Canada no less – about an update to our glossary.  Just as Frank stated earlier we are more than willing to take suggestions and accept corrections when we make an error (we are currently still in discussion about a certain World Record Holder’s suggestion to the glossary.  I say “yes”, Frank says “no” – so it’s a hung jury!).

Here is the email – and yes, I will be happy to add it for you

Hey Rich,

Up here is Canada (Nova Scotia) we coined a shot name – a strike where the headpin falls last is a “Julian”.  It’s named for Dave Julian, a former World’s bowler some years ago.  He mentioned to me that one time that he got a great kick on hearing a few Americans bowlers pick up the term whilst in the World’s on hearing the Nova Scotians say it.

Obviously there has to be a reason for naming a shot after a guy, and in this case no one around here threw more of this kind of strike than our Dave.  One might say he had more crap on the ball than Carter had Liver Pills.


Thanks for the email Kenj!  It’s been added!


 September 27th, 2012  
 Rich Limone  
 0 Comment

Candlepin Glossary – Update

Hello readers!  I hope you’re enjoying the site so far.  I’ve moved the Glossary to its own page now that you can see as a link above the posts.  If you have something you’d like to add feel free to email the Glossary’s founder Frank De Luca at fdeluca(@)everythingcandlepin.com.

You keep coming back, we’ll keep updating!

 September 16th, 2012  
 Rich Limone  
 0 Comment

Candlepin Glossary

Hello readers!

As my first post, I thought it would be helpful to the Candlepin Community to have a concise glossary of terms that you’re likely hear at any Candlepin House during any Pro event or house league. Some of these words and phrases may leave you scratching your head in wonder. If we want to promote our game, we must acclimate bowlers and spectators to the lingo of the game. This, of course, will be revisited since it has potential to be pages and pages long, but its a starting point. If you feel as though I’ve forgotten something, or something is missing, email me at fdeluca(at)everythingcandlepin.com to make a suggestion. All suggestions for new terms to be added will be considered (but may not necessarily be added). Enjoy!


 September 11th, 2012  
 Frank DeLuca