Unusual Facts About Top Bowls Brands
Bowls World enjoys an excellent relationship with the sport’s leading names, including the Henselite, Taylor and Drakes Pride brands. Each of these companies has its own distinct history, but all three are alike in their commitment to innovation and developing new, state-of-the-art products.
Here we look at the origins of each of the companies, how they developed through the years, and a few of their latest product lines which are available through Bowls World.
The history of this company goes back as far as the 1820s, when Darlington’s of Liverpool, a crown green bowls manufacturer, began using the name as part of their registered trademark. The Drakes Pride name comes from the famous English naval hero Sir Francis, who allegedly refused to halt his game of bowls even though the Spanish Armada was approaching.
In the 1960s Darlington’s was taken over by E A Clare & Son, a family business who decided to expand the company into the lawn bowls market. From 1982 onwards, Drakes Pride has been a separate division of the Clare family business.
At around this time the bowls industry stopped manufacturing pure wooden lignum vitae bowls, as high temperatures could cause them to crack or warp. Now bowls are made from a composite material containing a hard plastic. Drakes Pride was the first company to use computer-controlled lathes to ensure each bowl is perfectly shaped.
Drakes Pride branded bowls, bowls shoes, bags, outdoor and indoor clothing and accessories are all available for sale from Bowls World. The brand is a favourite with top professionals and grassroots players because of its high quality, and its bowls offer a consistently excellent level of performance.
This Australian company was formed in 1918 by William D Hensell. He helped the sport move away from using wooden bowls, teaming up with Dunlop to develop the world’s first rubber ones.
In 1931 the company started using a material called Phenolformaldehyde and produced the world’s first solid plastic bowl. These bowls, which were known as Henselites, came with separate coloured discs which allowed players to identify them more easily.
In the 1970s Henselite diversified into other sports, but bowls remained its speciality. It has responded to the sport’s rule changes and scientific developments to remain at the forefront of the bowls market around the world.
In 1983 it took over a factory in Scotland and produced Almark bowls for the UK market for 12 years, after which these bowls were manufactured in Australia. Henselite moved from its Melbourne base in 2002 to a nearby site in Fairfield.
Bowls World stocks a wide selection of Henselite bowls clothing, including branded shoes, bags, outdoor and indoor clothing, and accessories. Our new lines include the Henselite Mystic and Beacon Limited Edition bowls, which can now be pre-ordered via our online shop.
This company was formed in 1796 in Glasgow by James Taylor, and it remains a Scottish-owned family business. Taylor’s made musical instruments and wooden legs for soldiers who had been wounded in the Napoleonic Wars.
It was not until the third generation of Taylors that the company moved into bowls manufacturing, when Thomas Taylor made and patented a machine for shaping bowls accurately. He also invented the world’s first testing table, which checked the bias of bowls.
The company continued to invest heavily in research and development, not just in its bowls but also in its ranges of clothing and equipment. This ensures it remains one of the leading names in the bowls industry.
Taylor’s now have a factory shop and visitor centre at their Glasgow base, so you can book a place on a tour to find out how the company makes its bowls.
At Bowls World we can supply a full range of Taylor Bowls products. Our latest line is the stylish Taylor Midi Sports Bag, which is available in royal blue or red and black and is suitable for any size of bowl.
If you want to find out about our full range of Drake’s Pride, Henselite and Taylor Bowls products we stock in our online shop, click here.