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Author Topic: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's  (Read 19952 times)

JPbowling151

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The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« on: August 07, 2013, 03:37:35 PM »
To my understanding the majority of the early urethane bowling balls of the 1980's utilized 3- piece pancake weight blocks with the exception to the Faball Hammer line of balls which used a 2-piece grenade looking weight block.

My question here is what was the major difference between high end urethane balls other than the manufacturer or color? For example, the AMF Black Angle vs Columbia 300 Black U Dot, or Brunswick Black Rhino?

On a side note if 2 piece balls hit and reacted that much better than 3 piece balls, why didn't all the other manufacturers follow Faball's lead sooner?

Thanks!
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itsallaboutme

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2013, 05:05:04 PM »
Hardness and finish from the factory made a difference then.  Surface adjustments were not something done frequently.  You could polish and sand balls, but getting them to look like they did out of the box if you wanted to change them back was next to impossible.  Except for Hammers.  I don't remember what grit they came out of the box, but it was close to 180 grit dry wall screen.

They all had there own characteristics, just like today.  The Fab Hammers weren't always better, it depended on the surface.  If the lanes were beat up, the push from the 3 piece balls reacted better. 


avabob

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2013, 11:18:36 AM »
First, not all 3 piece cores were equal.  That went clear back to polyester era.  Columbia high density weight blocks gave a superior reaction to Brunswick and Ebonite 3 pieces blocks.  By the time urethane came out, the AMF Angle also employed the high density weight block.  Despite poor quality control, it was superior to all the other urethanes until Columbia came out with its U Dot series ( wine and black ).  By this time Faball did revolutionize cores with its 2 piece ball.   Although very high rg by todays standards those 2 piece balls were lower than the 3 piece balls, plus they had differential which produced flare and for the first time dynamic balance rather than static balance became a factor. 

When it comes to surface, it should be remembered that the predominant oil pattern was extremely short during the 80's at 24 feet.  All urethane balls came with very aggressive surface prep compared to todays balls.  The most successful ball of the 80's ended up being the Blue Hammer which came at 400 grit from the factory.  I don't think any balls came rougher than that from the factory, but guys did take them down as low as 220.  The problem with the urethanes was two fold.  They needed the strong shell to hit, but the lane would polish the shell up above 600 in no time.  In addition urethanes soaked up oil which altered the shell and kept the ball from being restored to factory, even when the 400 grit was applied.  the result of these two factors was that carry down was a huge factory on the fresh patterns.  While lanes were only oiled 24 feet, the heads were flooded, and there was no buff out.  Anything other than a top hat wall became very difficult in no time.  As an aside, that is where today wet dry top hat pattern came into vogue.  Prior to the 80's lanes were walled, but there was much more of a taper out to the edge as opposed to a wet dry oil line.   

JamminJD

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2013, 12:03:54 PM »
First, not all 3 piece cores were equal.  That went clear back to polyester era.  Columbia high density weight blocks gave a superior reaction to Brunswick and Ebonite 3 pieces blocks.  By the time urethane came out, the AMF Angle also employed the high density weight block.  Despite poor quality control, it was superior to all the other urethanes until Columbia came out with its U Dot series ( wine and black ).  By this time Faball did revolutionize cores with its 2 piece ball.   Although very high rg by todays standards those 2 piece balls were lower than the 3 piece balls, plus they had differential which produced flare and for the first time dynamic balance rather than static balance became a factor. 

When it comes to surface, it should be remembered that the predominant oil pattern was extremely short during the 80's at 24 feet.  All urethane balls came with very aggressive surface prep compared to todays balls.  The most successful ball of the 80's ended up being the Blue Hammer which came at 400 grit from the factory.  I don't think any balls came rougher than that from the factory, but guys did take them down as low as 220.  The problem with the urethanes was two fold.  They needed the strong shell to hit, but the lane would polish the shell up above 600 in no time.  In addition urethanes soaked up oil which altered the shell and kept the ball from being restored to factory, even when the 400 grit was applied.  the result of these two factors was that carry down was a huge factory on the fresh patterns.  While lanes were only oiled 24 feet, the heads were flooded, and there was no buff out.  Anything other than a top hat wall became very difficult in no time.  As an aside, that is where today wet dry top hat pattern came into vogue.  Prior to the 80's lanes were walled, but there was much more of a taper out to the edge as opposed to a wet dry oil line.   

24 ft was not the only oil length, most ranged from 24 -36 ft, now in saying this a lot of Bowling centers still used the spray gun and so as with today standards got a wide variety of applications depending on user and house ect.

Urethane of the 80's dull was very hard to polish, now you could also order polished balls from the factory kinda of like special ordering a car.

The Blue Hammer ruled the late 80's, while the U dot and Angle did very well earlier. Hammer sold A TON of balls back then and this was from only releasing a couple a year if that. Balls stayed available longer. Ebonite came out with the Thunderbolt in 86 I believe and had a lot of success, then to help with the factory ordering came out with the Thunderbolt M/D for medium to dry lanes. Hammer had the Pearl Hammer's, AMF pearls as well. Mo came out with the Sumo, the Cobra's where big sellers.  I am kinda of winging this so if anyone see's a error please correct. It was a great time equipment was a lot simpler, and bowling had a lot more participants.

Urethane Game

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 12:29:21 PM »
Jammin JD  @86 was the first year ABC MANDATED limited distance dressing.  24 ft was the max.  Prior to that, most houses in my area were much longer and 36 feet was definitely considered short.


JamminJD

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2013, 12:37:13 PM »
Jammin JD  @86 was the first year ABC MANDATED limited distance dressing.  24 ft was the max.  Prior to that, most houses in my area were much longer and 36 feet was definitely considered short.



Jammin JD  @86 was the first year ABC MANDATED limited distance dressing.  24 ft was the max.  Prior to that, most houses in my area were much longer and 36 feet was definitely considered short.


Thank you, I was trying to remember the date of that ruling, but for some reason my mind said later. But this sounds much better, I was trying to remember  when the Firebolt Short oil ball came out to try and tie all this together but my minds fried today for some reason..
Thanks again

itsallaboutme

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2013, 03:42:23 PM »
I brought this up today with the local bowling historian, my token left-handed friend and occasional urethane user, Little Litch.  We were trying to remember a few things.  Did Ebonite have a popular urethane before the Firebolt.  What about Brunswick.  There was the Edge's and GTB, did they have a popular urethane before the Rhino?  He actually has a poster in his shop with the U dots and U2's on it.  U dots were marketed as skid/flip and U2's as even arcing.  You watch old shows now and there sure doesn't seem to be much flip.  It's strange what you get used to.

The other one we didn't know was who made what AMF balls.  The purple was from Columbia, but we weren't sure about before that.  We weren't sure what the last ball AMF made themselves.

EL

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2013, 07:09:17 PM »
Oh the good old days......anybody remember the Columbia Vector 1 and 2 where they moved the pancake weight block? What about the yellow Angle? How ugly it looked after it had a dark track on the ball from wood lanes?

From a little research,

In 1981 Ebonite began manufacturing the very first urethane cover stock bowling balls and sold the rights to AMF. Ebonite produced AMF balls at that time. Ebonite did not believe that bowlers would pay the $80.00 price this new technology would demand. That ball became the AMF Angle and this one coverstock change allowed the ball to get a better grip on the urethane finishes used on natural wood lane surfaces, which changed the nature of the bowling game significantly. Then in 1993, Nu-Line Industries produced the X-Calibur, a reactive resin cover. Part-time professional Steve Cooper was the owner and president of the corporation. But production lagged in the early days, allowing firms like Storm, Brunswick and Columbia to enter the reactive market by the following summer. The race to create more and more dynamic balls was on.

JamminJD

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2013, 07:24:48 PM »
Oh the good old days......anybody remember the Columbia Vector 1 and 2 where they moved the pancake weight block? What about the yellow Angle? How ugly it looked after it had a dark track on the ball from wood lanes?

From a little research,

In 1981 Ebonite began manufacturing the very first urethane cover stock bowling balls and sold the rights to AMF. Ebonite produced AMF balls at that time. Ebonite did not believe that bowlers would pay the $80.00 price this new technology would demand. That ball became the AMF Angle and this one coverstock change allowed the ball to get a better grip on the urethane finishes used on natural wood lane surfaces, which changed the nature of the bowling game significantly. Then in 1993, Nu-Line Industries produced the X-Calibur, a reactive resin cover. Part-time professional Steve Cooper was the owner and president of the corporation. But production lagged in the early days, allowing firms like Storm, Brunswick and Columbia to enter the reactive market by the following summer. The race to create more and more dynamic balls was on.

Man I forgot about the Vectors and the Yellow Angle all great balls. I had them all times a few. Several people in my area bought a case or two of the Yellow angles for lean times..Grey Angle for dry, good stuff.

itsallaboutme

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2013, 07:49:23 PM »
So was the Purple Angle the first AMF ball from Columbia?  Black, then Gray and Gold, Blue, Plus, Ultra, LD.  Any others?  Plus, Ultra and LD also from Ebonite or Columbia?

Walking E

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2013, 08:01:36 PM »
I LOVED my Vector 2 and I still have it. That ball rolled really well for me, though only after we put a really funky drill pattern on it (label on pap, big weight hole about 10 inches right of grip center).

Pinbuster

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2013, 09:26:25 PM »
Patterns longer than 24 feet were allowed.

ABC basically said if you didn't dress the lane further than 24 feet then you could put down any pattern you wanted to, If you went over 24 feet then they would tape the lanes after an honor score and they may not allow it if they felt the pattern was blocked too much.

Plus most houses around here only stripped once or twice a week. So you generally were bowling on some carry down.

You have to remember lane dressing volumes were very low compared to today. And shell aggressiveness was much less. So reactions were much less than today.

The Hammer pearls were the first urethane pearl balls I remember and gave different looks.

Few proshops understood how to use weight blocks to generate flair. I believe most of the early hammer pins (that were not colored) were in the center of the label. Since most balls were drilled over the label little flair was generated.

The first ball I remember flaring a lot was the AMF Ultra Angle (I believe their first 2 piece urethane ball). It's weight block must not have been centered. However because of lack of knowledge I would imagine many left handers balls flaired the wrong direction.

I had a Brunswick GTB and felt it was a decent ball. But it came polished and many like a more aggressive cover.

I believe the U2 was Columbia's first 2 piece urethane ball followed by the BUD II.   

Urethane Game

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2013, 07:51:19 AM »
I stand corrected on the Limited Dressing Rules.  I do know that there was one house in my hometown that would only strip once a month or until such time that the out of range calls became too frequent.

The biggest improvements came with the covers.  In my mind, there was a big difference going from a Black Angle to a Black U-Dot.  I had an Edge that took a back seat to my Angle and my Yellow Dot.  I threw a GTB for awhile but when I got my first Black U-Dot, I never looked back.

From about 1986 to 1991, I threw just three balls.  A Black U-Dot (slightly Dull), Slate U-Dot and an Axis Weighted Wine U-Dot.  Eventually replaced the Wine U-Dot with a Gold Dot but those were the three I carried.

I never threw hammers until a friend gave me a Blue Hammer in 90-91.  That was a huge difference both in cover strength and core strength.  I hadn't thrown Hammer before because I had heard so many high trackers like myself would thump them.  There wasn't much knowledge out there at that time like there is now!  I wish I had thrown a Hammer sooner.

Hope that helps...

itsallaboutme

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2013, 08:39:54 AM »
Ah, the days when you could go to league with 2 balls in your Don Johnson Easy Tote.  Or if you were one of the studs, you had an Image Maker bag. 

But I'm sure the old guys that grew up with rubber used to say the same thing about being able to go anywhere with their one ball bag.

jrs813

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Re: The difference in urethane classics of the 80's
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2013, 10:14:38 AM »
it wasn't the yellow angle , it was the gold angle.  the black angle was a good ball but the ultra was great got 4inches flair on mine.  the gray I could hook almost as much as my friends black.