Bowling Pin Boys c. 1910

Photo: Lewis Wickes Hine (1910) - larger pic at Library of Congress

Bowling is an ancient sport - archaeologists have discovered primitive bowling balls and pins in an Egyptian tomb dating to 5200 BC.

But before the mechanical pinsetter was invented by Gottfried Schmidt in 1936, how did bowling alleys reset the pins? Why, with pin boys, of course!

The photo above is from the Library of Congress, captioned: 1:00 A.M. Pin boys working in Subway Bowling Alleys, 65 South St., B'klyn, N.Y. every night. 3 smaller boys were kept out of the photo by Boss. And you think you got it tough when you were young!

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I set duckpins from the time i was 10 tell i was 16 i took quit a few hits to the head and still have the marks on my legs.
A very hard job but it gave us boys a good way to pick up a few bucks.
I set pins at raneys bowling alleys in hagerstown Md. they are now owned by Frank Turner
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In reference to earl's comment, we used to be pinboys in the early 70's. The bowlers and pinboys both referred to it as "Kill the Pinboy" when someone was bowling to knock the pins (10 pin at that) off the lane and up to where we sat on a ledge above the lane's end. Worst shot I saw was a headpin come out of the 6th lane and hit the guy in lane 1. We soon learned who was bowling like this and warned each other when they stepped up to bowl.
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A cousin of mine, who set duckpins in the late 50's, told me that some bowlers (usually drunk) would deliberately pick up spares in such a way as to hit the pin boy.
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There are still pinboys in some bowling alleys. I did some duckpin bowling in the philippines with real pinboys, and some searching on flickr reveals pinboys in Milwaukee
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