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Moses Bensinger

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Moses Bensinger August 17, 1839 – October 14, 1904 was an American merchant and manufacturer He held the position of president of the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company from 1890 until his death in 1904 He helped found the American Bowling Congress, which set in place a legislative body to establish the rules and regulations used in modern ten-pin bowling Bensinger was also an innovator of billiard table design and manufacture


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Mid life
  • 3 American Bowling Congress
  • 4 Family
  • 5 Later life and death
  • 6 Billiard table manufacturing
  • 7 Clubs and associations
  • 8 References
    • 81 Citations
    • 82 Sources
  • 9 External links

Early life

Bensinger was born August 17, 1839, in Louisville, Kentucky He was the son of Nathan and Lena Bensinger Bensinger went to Louisville public schools while a child Upon graduation, he apprenticed to a jeweler He started his own jewelry business in 1859

Mid life

Bensinger became an employee of Brunswick, a manufacturer of billiard and pool tables, in 1869 Brunswick's headquarters for his business was in Cincinnati, Ohio, and he had a branch office in Chicago Bensinger, Brunswick and a couple of others formed the J M Brunswick Billiard Manufacturing Company in October 1872 Bensinger became a vice president and was general manager in charge of the Chicago branch In January 1874 the Brunswick Company merged with a rival firm This competitive company, owned by Julius Balke, had factories in Cincinnati and St Louis, Missouri On July 8, 1879, the new merged company formed was incorporated and called Brunswick & Balke Company The incorporators were Brunswick, Bensinger, Julius Balke Sr, A F Troescher and Leo Schmidt This company then merged in 1884 with another manufacturer of billiard and pool tables run by Hugh W Collender The name then became Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company Bensinger was the motivating force in bringing about this conglomerate Brunswick died in 1886 The company extended its business into bowling manufacturing in 1888 and Bensinger was made president of this new company in 1890

Bowling in 1890 was a disorganized sport with no rules or regulations, played mostly by Germans in dimly lit Chicago saloons and basements of buildings Bensinger helped coordinate and was the prominent figure in bringing about the initial organized set of rules and regulations for the sport of modern ten-pin bowling He started then to make bowling balls and pins for new bowling alleys His company also made the bowling lanes for these alleys The first commercial regulation ten-pin bowling alley licensed was installed at the Plaza Hotel in north Chicago Clark Street in 1891 Bensinger sponsored traveling all-star bowling teams to promote Brunswick bowling products Within two decades there were over two hundred commercial regulation ten-pin bowling alleys in Chicago alone

American Bowling Congress

Main article: United States Bowling Congress

Bensinger, Brunswick's German-Jewish son-in-law, was influential in setting up the American Bowling Congress ABC in 1895 On September 9, 1895, the ABC was officially formed as a permanent organization at Beethoven Hall on east Fifth Street in New York City The ABC had their first formal annual meeting four days later on September 13 at the Elephant club on Fulton Street in Brooklyn and adopted the proposed constitution and by-laws The new organization took effect officially on October 15, 1895 The basic organization was a legislative body that enforced uniform bowlers' rules and regulations, through a set of by-laws and a constitution of Articles, for all in the United States to follow as the official standard for ten-pin bowling The organization, since incorporated into the United States Bowling Congress, standardized and still governs all bowling equipment for modern ten-pin bowling


Bensinger married Eleanora Brunswick, the daughter of John M Brunswick, in 1867 They had two daughters, Cora and Edna, and one son, Benjamin Edward Bensinger's son Benjamin became president of the Brunswick-Blake-Collender company upon his death Benjamin's son Robert took over in 1931, making him the third generation of the Bensinger family to hold the office as the company's president

Later life and death

Bensinger held the position of president of the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company from 1890 until his death He died in French Lick, Indiana, on October 14, 1904 The cause of death was heart failure His remains are interred at Rosehill Cemetery

Billiard table manufacturing

Bensinger experimented and researched improved billiard tables and gear, leading to significant patents for rubber bumpers and other innovations In 1880 Bensinger, as part owner of J M Brunswick & Balke Company, set up a branch in San Francisco for manufacturing billiard tables, making his company the only American coast-to-coast manufacturer and distributor of these tables He was involved in setting up tournaments for establishments that had his billiard tables and issued cash prizes and trophies

Clubs and associations

Bensinger was a member of the Lakeside and Washington Park clubs, and of the Chicago Athletic Association Bensinger was a Turner as a member of the Chicago German-American gymnastic club He was a member and on the executive board of the Chicago Sinai Congregation Bensinger was one of the original 1869 members of The Standard Club, which is predominately Jewish He was involved with its new 1889 club-house building on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago, since the original building burned down Bensinger was its president from 1889 through 1893

Bensinger was known as a business negotiator to settle disputes between management and labor He was recognized as being affable, practical, far-sighted, progressive and democratically inclined in his dealing with workers He signed the first agreement with a predecessor of the Amalgamated-Woodworkers Union, which led to a harmonious and productive relationship between union and management



  1. ^ a b c d National Cyclopaedia 1910, p 294
  2. ^ "Severe Storms" Cincinnati Daily Star Cincinnati, Ohio July 8, 1879 – via Newspaperscom  
  3. ^ "Brunswick & Balke Company" The Cincinnati Daily Star Cincinnati, Ohio July 8, 1879 – via Newspaperscom  
  4. ^ Lukas, Paul; Overfelt, Maggie 2003 "Brunswick – When it Comes to the Pastimes of Bowling and Billiards, This Company Has Long Defined the Games People Play" CNN Money Cable News Network A Time Warner Company Retrieved August 16, 2016 
  5. ^ "Brunswick Corporation History" fundinguniversecom Retrieved August 17, 2016 
  6. ^ "John M Brunswick" The Pillar of Achievement International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame 1996 Archived from the original on March 29, 2015 
  7. ^ a b Cayton 2006, p 881
  8. ^ a b c d Jones 2012, p 66
  9. ^ a b Riess & Gems 2009, p 13
  10. ^ "St Paul Against Chicago" The Inter Ocean Chicago, Illinois March 3, 1895 – via Newspaperscom  
  11. ^ "International Directory of Company Histories" "Brunswick Corporation" Encyclopediacom 2016 Retrieved October 26, 2016 In the 1880s Bensinger added another product line, bowling pins and bowling balls Taverns had begun installing lanes, interest seemed to be growing, and Bensinger was determined to be ready for this new market He actively promoted bowling as a participatory sport and helped to standardize the game Bensinger also was instrumental in organizing the American Bowling Congress in 1895 
  12. ^ Rapoport 2001, p 237
  13. ^ St James Press 2006, p 70
  14. ^ "Brunswick Corporation – Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Brunswick Corporation" Adameg, Inc 2016 Retrieved October 26, 2016 Bensinger was determined to be ready for this new market He actively promoted bowling as a participatory sport and helped to standardize the game 
  15. ^ Vierow 1938, p 59
  16. ^ a b Gems 2009, p 13
  17. ^ a b c Pfister 2013, p 47
  18. ^ Mitchell 2001, p 401
  19. ^ Martin & Lehman 1994, p 298
  20. ^ Cayton, Andrew R L, Editor; Sisson, Richard; Zacher, Chris The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia Retrieved September 26, 2016 In 1895, Moses Bensinger of the Brunswick Company founded the primarily mid-western American Bowling Congress 
  21. ^ Bunyan 2010, p 164
  22. ^ "New Rules for Bowlers" Brooklyn Daily Eagle Brooklyn, New York September 10, 1895 – via Newspaperscom  
  23. ^ "American Bowling Congress" Brooklyn Daily Eagle Brooklyn, New York December 30, 1895 – via Newspaperscom  
  24. ^ "Bowlers leave today for Buffalo Congress" Brooklyn Daily Eagle Brooklyn, New York January 19, 1902 – via Newspaperscom  
  25. ^ Belsky 2016, p 190
  26. ^ "American Bowling Congress / It will introduce uniform playing Rules throughout the country" St Louis Dispatch St Louis January 22, 1896 – via Newspaperscom  
  27. ^ "ABC Institutes Tourney Reforms" Indianapolis Star Indianapolis, Indiana January 1, 1911 – via Newspaperscom  
  28. ^ "A Bowling Congress" Brooklyn Daily Eagle Brooklyn, New York January 14, 1896 – via Newspaperscom  
  29. ^ Schmidt 2007, p 4
  30. ^ Grasso & Hartman 2014, p 27
  31. ^ "New Bowling Rules" The Los Angeles Times Los Angeles, California October 12, 1895 – via Newspaperscom  
  32. ^ "BOWLING" Harrisburg Telegraph Harrisburg, Pennsylvania January 19, 1945 – via Newspaperscom  
  33. ^ Rotary International 1960, p 57
  34. ^ Haller 2001, p 132
  35. ^ "Moses Bensinger Estate Bequeathed To Family" Chicago Daily Tribune Chicago, Illinois October 26, 1904 – via Newspaperscom  
  36. ^ a b Marquis 1911, p 56
  37. ^ "Bensinger Heads BBC" Kingsport Times Kingsport, Tennessee March 17, 1931 – via Newspaperscom  
  38. ^ "Heart Failure Causes Death" Marble Rock Journal Marble Rock, Iowa October 20, 1904 – via Newspaperscom  
  39. ^ "Heart Failure" Daily News-Democrat Huntington, Indiana October 15, 1904 – via Newspaperscom  
  40. ^ a b "Death of Moses Bensinger" International Wood Worker The Amalgamated-Woodworkers Union 14 10: 435–436 October 1904 Retrieved August 17, 2016 
  41. ^ "Improvement in combined billiard and dining table" Google Patents US Government Patent Office January 7, 1879 Retrieved November 2, 2016 
  42. ^ "Important Events" Brunswick Billiards Retrieved August 17, 2016 
  43. ^ "Portraits of Chicago" Chicago Billiard Museum Retrieved August 17, 2016 
  44. ^ "Billards" Chicago Tribune Chicago, Illinois March 9, 1880 – via Newspaperscom  
  45. ^ "Billiards for Ducats" Ottawa Daily Republie Ottawa, Kansas December 1, 1885 – via Newspaperscom  
  46. ^ "Won by a Scratch" Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio July 6, 1878 – via Newspaperscom  
  47. ^ "Schaeffer the LevenworthBoy, Matched Against Sexton" Atchison Daily Champion Atchison, Kansas June 16, 1878 – via Newspaperscom  
  48. ^ "Billiard Match" The Republic Columbus, Indiana May 13, 1884 – via Newspaperscom  
  49. ^ "Big Billiard Event Planned for CAA" Inter Ocean Chicago, Illinois November 15, 1903 – via Newspaperscom  
  50. ^ "Will Leave It A Tie" Saint Paul Globe Saint Paul, Minnesota November 24, 1885 – via Newspaperscom  
  51. ^ "Some Square Propositions which may result in a Tournament" St Louis Post-Dispatch St Louis, Missouri December 30, 1886 – via Newspaperscom  
  52. ^ "Billiards for Ducats" Parsons Daily Sun Parsons, Kansas December 3, 1885 – via Newspaperscom  
  53. ^ JSTOR 23600043 Directory of Local Organizations, The American Jewish Year Book, Vol 1 September 5, 1899 to September 23, 1900 – page 127
  54. ^ "The Standard Club" The Inter Ocean Chicago, Illinois March 9, 1890 – via Newspaperscom  
  55. ^ "Elegance and Luxury" The Inter Ocean Chicago, Illinois February 22, 1889 – via Newspaperscom  
  56. ^ "At The Standard" Inter Ocean Chicago, Illinois October 22, 1893 – via Newspaperscom  
  57. ^ "The Demands of the Funitureworkers" Chicago Tribune Chicago, Illinois April 22, 1886 – via Newspaperscom  
  58. ^ "Walkout leads to Open Shops" Chicago Tribune Chicago, Illinois July 4, 1905 – via Newspaperscom  
  59. ^ "Labor in Chicago" Chicago Tribune Chicago, Illinois April 9, 1886 – via Newspaperscom  


  • Belsky, Gary 19 April 2016 On the Origins of Sports: The Early History and Original Rules of Everybody's Favorite Games Artisan ISBN 978-1-57965-712-3 
  • Bunyan, Patrick 1 November 2010 All Around the Town: Amazing Manhattan Facts and Curiosities Fordham Univ Press ISBN 978-0-8232-3174-4 
  • Cayton, Andrew R L 8 November 2006 The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia Indiana University Press ISBN 0-253-00349-0 In 1895, Moses Bensinger of the Brunswick Company founded the primarily midwestern American Bowling Congress 
  • Gems, Gerald R January 2009 The Chicago Sports Reader University of Illinois Press ISBN 978-0-252-07615-2 Moses Bensinger, the heir to Brunswick, was bowling's biggest supporter He pushed the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company in the 1890s to manufacturer bowling equipment, hired traveling all-star teams to promote his products, and in 1895 helped organize the American Bowling Congress ABC 
  • Haller, Charles R 1 January 2001 German-American Business Biographies: High Finance and Big Business Money Tree Imprints ISBN 978-0-9703748-1-3 
  • Grasso, John; Hartman, Eric R 7 August 2014 Historical Dictionary of Bowling Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ISBN 978-0-8108-8022-1 
  • Jones, Jenny M 15 September 2012 The Big Lebowski: An Illustrated, Annotated History of the Greatest Cult Film of All Time Minneapolis, Minnesota: Voyageur Press ISBN 978-0-7603-4279-4 
  • Marquis, Albert Nelson 1911 The Book of Chicagoans: A Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men of the City of Chicago, 1911 AN Marquis 
  • Martin, Susan Boyles; Lehman, Jeffrey 1 November 1994 Notable Corporate Chronologies Gale Group ISBN 978-0-8103-9217-5 1895 Sept – A group of bowlers and proprietors, organized and headed by Bensinger, meet to discuss the standardization of bowling rules and regulations, thereby forming the American Bowling Congress 
  • Mitchell, Julie A 2001 Notable Corporate Chronologies: A-K Detroit, Michigan: Gale Group ISBN 978-0-7876-5050-6 A group of bowlers and proprietors, organized and headed by Bensinger, meet to discuss the standardization of bowling rules and regulations, thereby forming the American Bowling Congress ABC 
  • National Cyclopaedia 1910 Moses Bensinger National Cyclopaedia of American Biography J T White Company 
  • Pfister, Gertrud 18 October 2013 Gymnastics, a Transatlantic Movement: From Europe to America Routledge ISBN 978-1-317-96542-8 Moses Bensinger since the 1870s, engineered mergers with business rivals and orchestrated the founding of the ABC, which standardized rules and equipment 
  • Rapoport, Ron 1 October 2001 Chicago: City in the Spotlight Towery Pub ISBN 978-1-881096-95-5 Bensinger was a founding member of the American Bowling Congress ABC, and he campaigned eloquently for a national bowling championship His vision became a reality in 1901, when the first ABC tournament was held in Chicago 
  • Riess, Steven A; Gems, Gerald R 20 February 2009 The Chicago Sports Reader: 100 Years of Sports in the Windy City Sport and Society Series 1st ed Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press p 13 ISBN 9780252076152 
  • Rotary International March 1960 The Rotarian Rotary International ISSN 0035-838X 
  • Schmidt, Doug 2007 They Came to Bowl: How Milwaukee Became America's Tenpin Capital Wisconsin Historical Society Press ISBN 978-0-87020-387-9 
  • St James Press 2006 International Directory of Company Histories ISBN 978-1-55862-581-5 Bensinger also was instrumental in organizing the American Bowling Congress in 1895 
  • Vierow, Howard L 1938 The Chicago Recreation Survey, 1937 Chicago Recreation Commission and Northwestern University 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 

External links

  • Moses Bensinger at Find a Grave
  • Chicago Billiard Museum

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