Ruffin Nichols Bowling Lights

Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 in Upcycled Refurbishments | Comments Off on Ruffin Nichols Bowling Lights

255 Route 313, Perkasie PA 18944

Ruffin Nichols Bowling Lights…

Bowling Lights Before & After

This light was recovered from the basement bowling alley of the Ruffin Nichols African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Philadelphia, PA. The church was opened in 1844 and closed in 2010. As impressive as the architectural history was the community history. In addition to a chapel and convent, were a school and community center….and in the community center was the bowling alley!

These particular lights were patented in 1898 by Gustave Burkhardt of Chicago, Illinois. They were hung over the pin deck to illuminate the alley and also worked as pin indicators. These lights were originally gas lights which we converted to electric.

There are few things as nostalgic as the days of bowling alleys. They were at one time a gathering place for fun, food and sport. The photo below was taken in 1909 and shows a group of young boys known as the “Trenton Pin Setters” who stayed at the bowling alley often later than midnight setting pins between each set.

1909 imageAfter removing the light from the church, we had it soda blasted to remove the flaking yellow paint and painted it a colonial green. In addition to minor body work to take over one hundred years of dings and dents out, we also had to replicate one of the tin leaves which was on the corner of the light. We then called upon Lucent Lightworks to convert them from non-functioning gas lights to working, electric lights. We used reproduction brass hardware and had glass cut for the end (which would have a pin indicator painted on it if still used for a bowling alley). Finally, DeWayne Connut of DOA flatliners came on board to add the final touches in an antique white pinstripe.

In our search for information about these lights, we were unable to find one light of this type still in existence! In addition to the rarity of the light as well as it’s very unique appearance, is its’ historical value. It is our sincere hope that while the next owner of this light enjoys the aesthetic appeal of it, he also enjoys nostalgic memories of the communities, churches, people and “pinsetters” of a time long gone.

Bowling Lights 13-after


Depth: 47″

Width: 25.5″

Height: 22″

Qty: 2

Inventory #: Church Refurb

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