In bowling, if a pin is “nudged” from its original location (by the ball or another pin’ after the first ball is bowled, is that pin’s new position saved and restored by the pinsetter?

Is this even possible with newer “string pin” bowling machines?

  • String pin machines are ancient - but it looks like they've updated the technology a bit. And no, they are always respotted in those machines I guess. Even spotting the pins for the first frame would be a bit erratic - at least on the old machines. Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 13:36

1 Answer 1


Don't know anything about a string pinsetter.

On a traditional pinsetter there are 10 spotting tongs above the pin holes in the table.

If the pin is too far off, the pin won't even line up with one of the holes, and the setter will knock it over on the way down.

If a pin does appear in one of the holes, the tongs will close and drive the pin into a line with them closed. As the tongs are aligned front-to-back when closed, there's a bit of play in that direction that would be kept. But any side-to-side nudge will be lost.

  • I remember the Brunswick A2 machines were able to place back pins that had moved sideways a bit. Sometimes on a large enough shift the pin would be picked up a bit skewed and placed back even further away (wobbling on its base). Also a pin would not always be knocked over. Sometimes the machine would just stop and the cycle had to be manually overridden. Not sure about the AMF pinsetters, our alley had A2's and for those I was always running to the back to fix small issues during the leagues I was playing. Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 13:41
  • Do you remember how that happened? Were the tongs straight forward and back (when closed) on it or were they side-to-side?
    – BowlOfRed
    Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 15:59
  • Sorry, too long ago. Last time I played is probably more than 15 years ago. Commented Feb 10, 2023 at 9:53

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