The Krow's Nest Operating 6 Ball Bowling Machines

SaraAB87 December 29, 2007 12

This is something I have been pondering for some time. There is a local arcade near me called the Krow’s nest, and they are operating 6 of the large, ball bowling machines. This arcade is a combination kids family fun center and arcade. Yes you heard me, 6 of them. These are not the small puck bowlers either, these are the real ones made in the 1960’s or 70’s and are played with a ball similar to a skee ball. I really don’t know much about bowling machines like these, but I know its extremely unusual to find even one operating in an arcade in this day and age, and that its quite an undertaking to restore even one of these machines to working condition. I have been going to arcades since the 1980’s and I have never seen even one of these machines in an arcade, until now that is.

I have not spoken to anyone at the arcade about these machines, but there is an obvious obsession with bowling machines going on here. You all know the story, it started with one machine, and now there are 6. I am unsure if all 6 are operational, but they are definitely there. I am curious about how far they are going to take this obsession, if there are 6 now, how many will there be in the future?

I took these pictures back when they had 2-3 machines and were just bringing more in. Click the links below to view the pictures.

Bowling Machines at Krow’s Nest

Restoring a Bowling Machine

Here is a link to the web page of The Krow’s Nest Arcade, in case anyone is wondering where it is.

The Krows Nest


  1. Shaggy December 30, 2007 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    Awesome work Sara, we need more stuff like this. I need to go out to my local arcades and take some pictures. I have seen something similar to these bowling machines before, but they are newer than the ones you have pictured – my guess is the operator has a soft spot for these kind of machines and that’s why they are willing to undertake restoring them.

  2. Tim January 14, 2008 at 5:31 am - Reply

    Hello everyone, i am the owner of the Krow’s Nest and i ust wanted to say thank you for showing my baibes on your website. I currently have 6 ball bolwers in operation, ranging in chronological years of 1957 Bally Small Ball Bowler, 1959 Chicago coin Duchess Big Ball Bowler, 1962 United Alamo Big Ball bowler, 1963 Chicago Coin Big Ball Bowler, 1968 Chicago Coin big Ball Bowler, and very soon a 1958 ABC Tournament Ball bowler will be put inot operation as well. These machines have become my obsession and i get the most joy out of seeing all the smiling faces and hearing all types of stories from all ages about these historic machines. They are tought to get going, and you need a lot of patience, but hey are a joy to play!!

    • Barry Bendler August 18, 2009 at 5:56 pm - Reply

      I have a alamo 6 ball in my basement i would like to louis mo 314-606-7539

      • Gary September 9, 2009 at 2:52 am - Reply

        Do you still have the bowler for sale?

        Gary 314-503-9631

    • Matt August 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm - Reply

      Where are you located? I do travel quite a bit and I would love to come play your bowlers.

      I have two EM shuffle bowlers and it seems like the next logical step it to purchase a ball bowler but I have never played one.

      best regards,

  3. SaraAB87 January 14, 2008 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Thanks for reading, another great thing about the bowling machines is they provide something that everyone can enjoy from young to old. So many family fun centers strive to find something for adults to do as well as kids but most fail at this miserably, some adults just don’t like video games and most of the entertainment in these places is geared towards children/families and more geared towards children even if its made so adults can participate too. I think mostly everyone understands bowling (even people who refuse to play or try video games).

    This is one family fun center that has TRULY found something that both adults and kids can enjoy on an equal level instead of just providing entertainment for the kids and nothing for the adults to do.

    Its very cool that you have an obsession with bowling machines and that you are able to pass it on to everyone young and old.

  4. Larry March 15, 2008 at 12:02 am - Reply

    I love the Krow’s Nest and their great collection of bowling machines. Here’s a column from our hometown paper about them:

  5. Mike June 18, 2008 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Hey I’d like to get in touch with the owner of the Krows Nest to see if he knows where I can get some of the ball for a machine. Mike

  6. STEVE December 10, 2008 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    any parts or lane or cabinet parts for sale or machimne for parts

  7. ChewyBees February 10, 2009 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    I was doing a search for these as I am pondering making a computerized 3d digital version and needed some sample pics. Maybe something I’ll attempt to make into a game sometime in the future.

    My father had one of these when I was young, as well as a very old puck bowler and a less vintage puck bowler. I think the old one was a Bally, I know the newer one was a Chicago Coin. The ball bowler was sold at a garage sale for my brother’s soccer team in the late seventies. I think he got $150 for it. I can’t remember the manufacturer, but it was in perfect working condition when we let it go. You had to have mechanical and electrical skill to keep these babies working.

    I remember one time the old puck bowler stopped working, so my Darwinian brother decided he was going to fix it by poking at the high current relays with a scredriver. Thank heavens it was a well insulated tool because a shower of sparks flew up and actually melted the metal with the arc that was produced. Needless to say he decided to stop his career as antique arcade fix it boy. He also had to own up as a high quality tool doesn’t just melt out of no where.

    My only crime was nearly cutting my finger off in the antique baseball game (OK, so I was mentally challenged too). Had my hand in a cast for three weeks so my tendon could grow back together. Anyway, needless to say that if you have young children you’re better off with a Wii. Thanks for your blog!

  8. Bryon Stevens July 7, 2016 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    I have a 62 United Alamo that I would like to sell. Can you give any guidance??

  9. Daniel Harding June 20, 2021 at 11:57 am - Reply

    I am interested in finding a Duckpin bowling alley for my basement. Can you direct me or advise how I can get my hands on one.

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