SI Vault
December 09, 1957
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December 09, 1957

Events & Discoveries

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The other Friday midnight, Bus Eaton, 35, an unemployed truck driver who had nothing better to do, stepped up to a bowling alley in Portland, Ore., bowled a game, bowled another, then another—and kept on bowling. All Saturday morning, Saturday night and into Sunday morning his pace was remarkably steady. He would take a four-step approach, release his first ball, sit on a chair for 20 seconds awaiting the return, then roll his second ball. At times he appeared to be asleep in the chair, but he providently rested one foot on the ball-return, so that he was jolted alert whenever the ball arrived.

At 9 o'clock Sunday morning he shaved for two minutes with an electric razor plugged into an outlet in the alley bar. Every two hours he drank a cup of broth, varying his nourishment at intervals with orange juice, Coke and milk. He removed his shirt because a seam was causing a blister to develop, modestly asking the permission of the women in the audience before he took it off. Then he went back to bowling.

Between 2 and 6 on Sunday afternoon Eaton almost quit. "I think I would have," he said later, "if I could have thought of a reason."

At 8 o'clock Monday morning he shaved again and then resumed bowling. At 7:15 Monday evening, he rolled a 109 game and stopped. He had bowled continuously for 67 hours and 15 minutes and had completed 425 games—a new world record for this particular endeavor. His average was 157.5 pins a game, his high game 235 (his 138th) and his low game 95 (his 379th).

His record set, Bus Eaton headed for a hot tub, then dressed and went out with friends to sample the fresh outdoor air of Portland until one a.m. By Wednesday he was back in his home town of Roseburg, Ore., 170 miles away. "Had to get back to bowl in my regular league," he said.


There has been talk for years now about how the atom is going to benefit humanity, and at last it looks as if there may be something to it. The B. F. Goodrich Company has produced a new atomic golf ball which can add 10 yards to a golfer's drive. The balls are given two minutes' exposure to gamma rays of high intensity, and some of the atomic energy thus put into them appears to come out when you hit them; anyway, they get up and go. The process does not make the balls radioactive—a Geiger counter would pass one by without a click of interest.

There are, however, two thorns to the rose. For one thing, atomic golf balls are so costly to produce right now that nobody is going to produce them, except experimentally. For another, the U.S. Golf Association thinks people are driving golf balls too far already (SI, Sept. 30). The association has a machine which indicates the velocity of a golf ball, and if a ball doesn't fall within the prescribed limits of performance, it doesn't get approved. The USGA has asked the Goodrich Company for a few irradiated samples of the new product, to be used, as the USGA says ominously, "for testing."


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