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Antique English Wooden "Lawn Bowl" Ball

Antique English Wooden "Lawn Bowl" Ball

$75.00

TWC
SHC - 1
SHC - 2

Found at market in the north of England, a small collection of 19th-century wooden lawn bowls that are rich with the beauty and charm of this beloved, ancient sport.

Made of hard Lignum Vitae (Wood of Life) they are in wonderful condition, beautifully crafted and reassuringly heavy. The dense, dark wood has a wonderful patina and as was customary for avid players, the bowls have small bone plaques bearing the initials of their original owner.


Strictly limited quantities and subject to prior sale. Please choose a specific bowl from the drop down menu above. Bowl "TWC" measures 4.25"D. Bowl "SHC" measures 4.75"D. In very good antique condition.

Learn More About Lawn Bowls

Lawn Bowls is the anglicized version of a family of sports in which several larger balls are rolled or thrown at a smaller target ball. Such sports have spread across the world and have taken on a variety of forms, Bocce (Italian), Bolla (Saxon), Bolle (Danish), Boules or Petanque (French) and Ula Maika (Polynesian).

The original English version of the game came about, like many other games, on a grass lawn because that suits the climate in England. In France and Italy, where the hotter weather makes lawns a rarer commodity, they play on gravel or dirt pitches.

The second distinguishing feature of English Bowls is that the balls are rolled rather than thrown. And the final, very important factor is that the balls are usually not balls at all - instead of being completely round, they are "biased" or slightly "out of round" which makes the game that much more challenging as the English Lawn Bowls do not travel in a straight line!

From the early 15th century, bowls were made of wood, usually yew, ash, oak, holly or boxwood. Nobody knows exactly when the use of Lignum-Vitae (Tree of Life) to create bowls began in England, but the island of San Domingo in the West Indies (where Lignum-Vitae wood comes from) was discovered by Columbus on December 3rd, 1492, so it likely became the wood of choice sometime in the 16th century.

Lignum-Vitae wood is said to be the hardest and densest wood in the world. With a density of three-and-a-half ounces to the cubic inch, it sinks in water. As world supplies of Lignum-Vitae became increasingly scarce, the lawn bowls were eventually made of dense, weighted plastics. 

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