William V. Thompson

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William V. Thompson
WV Thompson 1909.jpg
Thompson in 1909
Born (1865-04-25)April 25, 1865
Princeton, Illinois
Died September 30, 1938(1938-09-30) (aged 73)
Nationality American
Years active 1891–1921
Known for Champion tenpin bowler
Notable work Rules for tenpin bowling
Spouse(s) Margaret M. Thompson
Children 2

William V. Thompson (April 25, 1865 – September 30, 1938) was an American professional and champion tenpin bowler. He was the proprietor of Plaza Bowling Alley in the Chicago Plaza Hotel, the first official regulation ten-pin bowling alley. He formed a bowling club from champion bowlers and challenged other organizations across the nation. Thompson was influential in forming of the ultimate sanctioned regulations rules of the game and an advocate of the original American Bowling Congress. He was general manager of the department at Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company that made the bowling equipment for the alleys.

Biography

Thompson was born in Princeton, Illinois on April 4, 1865. While in his teens he was part of the high school sprinters. Thompson was on the Princeton Tigers football team in his early twenties. His first career job was as a railroad man in his early twenties. Around 1911 he picked up an interest in ten-pin bowling, a new game at the time.[1]

Thompson decided in his mid-twenties to become a professional bowler. He became an expert champion bowler of Chicago in the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century.[2][3][4][5] Thompson had his own team called the Chicago Colts.[1][6][7][8] He was in charge of the champion bowlers of Chicago at this time and set up tournaments with other organizations around the United States.[9][10][11]

Chicago Plaza Hotel had Plaza Bowling Alley

In 1889 Thompson owned a bowling alley in the basement of the Plaza Hotel located in north Chicago at Clark Street.[12][13] In 1891 he started to upgraded his slate alleys to a larger size and wood construction.[14] His design was adopted in 1892 as the standard regulation type and size for future alleys of ten-pin bowling.[14][15] The Plaza Bowling Alley was the first official regulation bowling alley and others followed in its footsteps. [1][16] Chicago had 230 certified regulation bowling alleys by 1910, many of which Thompson personally inspired.[17]

Thompson was nicknamed "W.V." in the bowling circles throughout the United States.[1] He formed a bowling club in 1894 at the Plaza Hotel from the champion bowlers of the Plaza Bowling Alley. His club challenged other clubs across the nation that had regulation bowling alleys that were developing at the time.[18] Arrangements for cash prizes and trophies for these contests were through the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company.[19][20][21]

Accolades

Thompson was labeled by many as the "Father of Bowling" for his efforts to get the new game of ten-pin bowling to standardized rules that all would follow for fair contests.[22][23][24][25][26][27] Many details concerning rules and regulations had to be worked out for contests and tournaments (i.e. pin size, pin positioning, ball specifications, lane dimensions, foul line, penalties).[20] Thompson helped formulate these and promoted the new game more than any other person during this time in its early stages of development.[28][29][30][31][32] Thompson, however, preferred not to be called the "Father of Bowling" so was given the title "Dean of Bowling" instead for his involvement in promoting the game to tournament standards.[14]

Thompson was the manager of the manufacturing department at Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company that made the majority of the equipment for the game.[22][33][34][35][36] He worked directly under and was closely associated with Brunswick's president Moses Bensinger. He managed Brunswick's All-Star bowling team on promotional tours around the United States.[37][38][39][40] Thompson was sent by Bensinger as a counselor to England, France and Germany to help launch the new game to Europeans and introduce Brunswick's bowling products.[1] He showed them the American hook for making strikes.[1]

Clubs and associations

Thompson was a major contributor to the forming of the ultimate sanctioned rules and regulations of tenpin bowling that became the by-laws of American Bowling Congress (ABC).[14] He was known in the Eastern United States as the protector of the ABC and its bylaws for regulation tenpin bowling.[41] He became the vice-president of the ABC in 1900 and continued for the next five years.[17][42][43][44] The by-laws governing the rule on the regulations of the balls, pins, and alleys were updated several times through his efforts.[45] From time to time various bowling associations that Thompson worked with eventually joined the ABC and followed their by-laws.[46][47][48][49]

Thompson assisted in setting up a world's bowling championship tournament at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.[50] At that time he was claimed to have earned more trophies and prizes for his bowling talents than any other man.[17] By 1909 he was well known in the bowling field worldwide.[51]

Thompson was associated with the Illinois Bowling Association in the early 1900s.[52] He was also associated with the New York Rotary Club at that time and helped organize contests for most of the Rotary Clubs throughout the United States.[53] During this same time he was a Turner in the Chicago German-American gymnastic club.[17] Thompson often bowled with Mrs. Gertrude Hull, the woman national champion of America then in the early 1900s.[54][55][56][57][58][59][60]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Davis, J. R. (December 24, 1911). "W. V. Thompson, Leader in Bowler World". Anaconda Standard. Anaconda, Montana – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  2. ^ "Champion Bowler". Nebraska State Journal. Lincoln, Nebraska. April 20, 1899 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  3. ^ "Delay Official Announcement For Arrival of Late Entries". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, New York. May 11, 1909 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  4. ^ "William V. Thompson". Pittsburgh Daily Post. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. March 19, 1909 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  5. ^ "The Champion Bowler". Times-Democrat. New Orleans, Louisiana. February 17, 1901 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  6. ^ "Greatest Bowling Tournament of the World will begin in Louisville Saturday with 20,000 bowlers in attendance". Courier-Journal. Louisville, Kentucky. March 11, 1906 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  7. ^ "Personal and Otherwise". Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. May 5, 1907 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  8. ^ "Six Bowling Congresses". Omaha Daily Bee. Omaha, Nebraska. February 16, 1908 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  9. ^ "National Bowling Congress". Indianapolis Journal. Indianapolis, Indiana. February 21, 1902 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  10. ^ "Booming in Louisville". Indianapolis Journal. Indianapolis, Indiana. January 9, 1903 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  11. ^ "Bowlers of Cincinnati". Indianapolis Journal. Indianapolis, Indiana. January 30, 1903 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  12. ^ "Opinions of the Experts / Chicago Bowling Tournament Highly Praised". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. January 13, 1901 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  13. ^ "Wants a Bowling Tournament with St. Paul". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. March 3, 1895 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  14. ^ a b c d ""Dean of Bowling" now a New Yorker". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, New York. October 9, 1915 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  15. ^ "Why Bowling is Popular". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. February 1, 1903 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  16. ^ "Chicago Recreation Survey". Archive.org. 1938. Retrieved November 24, 2016. The first regulation bowling alley in the city of Chicago was installed in 1891 in the Plaza Hotel, situated at Clark Street and North Avenue. 
  17. ^ a b c d Pfister 2013, p. 47.
  18. ^ "Plaza Bowling Club's Challenge". The Inter Ocean. Chicago, Illinois. September 9, 1894 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  19. ^ "Bowling for prizes". Wheeling Daily. Wheeling, West Virginia. January 11, 1898 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  20. ^ a b "Inter-City Bowling". The Inter Ocean. Chicago, Illinois. March 10, 1895 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  21. ^ "A Bit of a Hitch". The Saint Paul Globe. Saint Paul, Minnesota. March 25, 1895 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  22. ^ a b "Booklet Issued by Company A Factor". Washington Herald. Washington, D.C. November 16, 1915 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  23. ^ "Select A.C.B.A. Leaders With P.T. Moran at Helm". Washington Post. Washington, D.C. November 11, 1915 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  24. ^ "Bowlers Honor Grant". Washington Post. Washington, D.C. December 5, 1915 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  25. ^ "no title". Washington Times. Washington, D.C. April 4, 1916 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  26. ^ "Duckpin Scores are Low". Washington Post. Washington, D.C. April 4, 1916 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  27. ^ "A.C.B.A. is to meet at Ebbitt Tomorrow". Washington Post. Washington, D.C. December 3, 1915 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  28. ^ "Sporting News". Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. December 6, 1898 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  29. ^ "All Star Bowlers". Decatur Herald. Decatur, Illinois. November 15, 1898 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  30. ^ "Chicago has Good Teams". Inter Ocean. Chicago, Illinois. March 3, 1907 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  31. ^ "Brunswicks Crowd a League Record". Inter Ocean. Chicago, Illinois. December 20, 1913 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  32. ^ "Brunswick Players Roll a Four-Figure Total". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. March 19, 1902 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  33. ^ "Thompson's Great Work". Indianapolis News. Indianapolis, Indiana. January 15, 1900 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  34. ^ "Thompson is Optimistic". Indianapolis News. Indianapolis, Indiana. January 10, 1903 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  35. ^ "Champion Woman Bowler to Compete". Oregon Daily Journal. Portland, Oregon. March 8, 1904 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  36. ^ "Bowlers will Flock to City". Detroit Free Press. Detroit, Michigan. December 25, 1909 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  37. ^ "All Stars are Coming". Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. November 14, 1899 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  38. ^ "Champion Woman Bowler". Indianapolis. Indianapolis, Indiana. February 26, 1900 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  39. ^ "National Interest in Coming Tournament". Indianapolis Journal. Indianapolis, Indiana. February 1, 1904 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  40. ^ "Tournament Gossip". Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. February 9, 1908 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  41. ^ "Tri-City Tenpin Match Presents Best Bowlers of cities Represented". Washington Times. Washington, D.C. January 22, 1916 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  42. ^ Colby 1900, p. 132.
  43. ^ "With the Bowlers". Saint Paul Globe. Saint Paul, Minnesota. January 11, 1901 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  44. ^ "For Bowling Congress". Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. December 18, 1905 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  45. ^ "Crisis Exists in Alley Game". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. February 1, 1903 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  46. ^ "Bookwater Chosen". Saint Paul Globe. Saint Paul, Minnesota. January 24, 1902 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  47. ^ "Interest in Tournament". Indianapolis Journal. Indianapolis, Indiana. August 20, 1902 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  48. ^ "Chicago leads Bowling World". Chicago, Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. February 1, 1903 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  49. ^ "Buffalo after A.B.C. Tourney". Detroit Free Press. Detroit, Michigan. June 10, 1909 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  50. ^ "Bowling at World's Fair". Indianapolis Journal. Indianapolis, Indiana. March 6, 1904 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  51. ^ "Famous Bowling Star". Pittsburgh Daily Post. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania date= February 23, 1909 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  52. ^ New York World 1911, p. 373.
  53. ^ Rotary International 1917, p. 248.
  54. ^ "no title". Minneapolis Journal. Minneapolis, Minnesota. February 29, 1904 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  55. ^ "Champion Woman Bowler to Compete". Oregon Daily Journal. Portland, Oregon. March 8, 1904 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  56. ^ "Mrs Hull Rolls a Match". Pittsburgh Daily Post. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. February 24, 1909 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  57. ^ "Women Will Bowl". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochchester, New York. February 2, 1904 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  58. ^ "Pertinent Advice for Women Bowlers". Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. November 25, 1904 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  59. ^ "Mrs Hull to play in East". Inter Ocean. Chicago, Illinois. February 29, 1904 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 
  60. ^ "Three Straight for New York". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, New York. October 13, 1908 – via Newspapers.com open access publication - free to read. 

Sources