Bowls Date Stamp

Recognise the date stamp on your bowls

World Bowls Ltd. have in their regulations Section 8.2.2 the following - "To check the accuracy of the bias and visibility of the World Bowls stamp, all bowls should be re-tested and re-stamped at least once every 10 years, or earlier if the date stamp is not clearly legible".

So it is important that you know what the stamp on your set of bowls indicates.

If you have a set of bowls manufactured or re-tested after 1st. April 2002 then your stamp should look like the picture below. Note however that the letter will be that relevant to the manufacturer or tester and that the 10 years includes the year of stamping / re-stamping.

World Bowls Ltd date stamp -

This is the 'new' current (2013) World Bowls Ltd. registered stamp that was brought into force when all the testing facilities had the same test surface, same delivery mechanism and the modern Working Reference Bowl.

Stamp _wb


World Bowls Board date stamp -

Prior to the WB stamp was the Worlds Bowl Board stamp, commonly know as the 'bullet' stamp. This stamp was used from 1993 when the International Bowling Board was renamed and updated to the World Bowls Board. The information shown is basically the same as the current stamp.

Stamp _wbb 


International Bowling Board date stamp

In 1986 after much discussion a new Reference Bowl was issued to all manufacturers and tester and the IBB stamp became the accept date stamp through out the bowls World replacing local National stamps such as the BIBC (British Isles Bowling Council) stamped used on bowls in the UK.

Stamp _ibb _1987

Prior to 1987 and the introduction of the IBB registered 'bullet' stamp the two stamps that were in use in the UK were the original IBB oval stamp and the BIBC stamp. In the UK the BIBC stamp tended to be the more common of the two. In Australia the Australian Bowls Council stamp was the recognised stamp, New Zealand had a NZBA stamp and South Afric a SABA stamp these National stamps were superceded after 1987 by the IBB  'bullet' stamp.

Stamp _ibb 


British Isles Bowling Council date stamp

The BIBC stamp was significantly different to the IBB stamp then in use and the subsequent stamps in that it was for a 15 year period.

Stamp _bibc


The date stamp shows when you should have your bowls re-tested and given that when a bowl is rolling on a green, outdoor or indoor, it is basically running on fine sandpaper they do need this inspection. After all you want to bowl to the best of your ability so don't you want to be sure that your bowls are performing as they did when new.

For the full list of Manufacturers and Testers 'Letters' see your National hand books, a full listing is usually included.

Some additional information discovered after a question raised in January 2006 from Australia about testing and stamping and the introduction of the I.B.B. stamp in the UK. The following pictures are taken from the 1926/7 E.J. Riley catalogue and the 1935 Taylor-Rolph catalogue.

EBA_SBA_tester _EJR1926 

The E.J. Riley page (1926/27 season) shows both the E.B.A. And S.B.A. marks and no mention of an I.B.B. mark.


The above picture is from a catalogue dated 1929-30 season and shows the I.B.B. mark with the year shown as 1929. Which seems to be strong evidence to the year the mark was first introduced.

You will see that within the Taylor Rolph pages from their 1935 catalogue, it mentions the 'new' International Bowling Board 'mark', which implies that it had no long be introduced. So, I believe, from the above evidence it is safe to assume that the I.B.B. mark can be dated to 1929

IBBstamp Info _TR35


© Peter N. Clare © 2003-2006-2009 © E.A. Clare & Son Ltd. 2018.
This article can only be reproduced in part or whole with the permission of E. A. Clare & Son Ltd.