South Western Kentucky EDC
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Ebonite Celebrates 50 Years In #SWKy

Jun 20, 2017

On Monday, Ebonite International celebrated its 50th anniversary in Hopkinsville with music, factory tours and games, at its factory on West Seventh Street.

 

An expected 400 to 450 of Ebonite’s corporate partners and top bowlers attended the 50th anniversary. Most of the attendees, who came from around the world, traveled from Nashville, where the International Bowl Expo is happening this week.
 

The International Bowl Expo occurs each year, drawing industry members from around the world. The trade show is hosted by a different city each year. With Nashville hosting 2017’s Bowl Expo, attendees could easily drive the short distance to attend Ebonite’s celebration in Hopkinsville.
 

“We feel really good about showing off our people and our products and our facility, and show some of that pride we have for being the largest manufacturer of bowling balls in the world,” said Ebonite International CEO Randy Schickert. “It’s been a really great event. It’s been better than anticipated. The weather has cooperated. It’s just great to have our true customer base from around the world here in Hopkinsville.”
 

Nobody knows exactly when the company now known as Ebonite International started, but well known is the fact that the company moved its factory and corporate office to Hopkinsville in 1967. According to company documents, Ebonite’s origins lie in Upper Newton Falls, Massachusetts. Between 1905 and 1907, a chemist in the Stowe Woodward laboratory invented a formula for hard rubber that could be used for bowling balls.   At the time lignum vitae wood was used for bowling balls. Searching for lower labor costs, the company moved into a former tobacco warehouse in Hopkinsville in 1967.
 

“Hopkinsville is a very important part of Ebonite International,” Schickert said. “We see a lot of good that Hopkinsville does for us and we feel that we do a lot in the community and have been a good supporter of Hopkinsville. We have many long-tenured employees that are in the 40-plus tenure with Ebonite.”

 

During the 50th anniversary celebrations, Ebonite unveiled a specialized solar eclipse bowling ball, painted with the city’s eclipse logo. Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks, Christian Judge-Executive Steve Tribble and eclipse marketing director Brooke Jung attended the ceremony to receive the ball from the company. This August, the eclipse will spread Hopkinsville’s name throughout the country, but Ebonite has been putting the city on the map since 1967.

 

“We’re just a well-known company throughout the world because we’ve been around for so long,” said Ebonite International Sales Manager Rich Hanson. “We reach a lot of different countries. From Europe to Mexico and South America to Australia, Russia, you can imagine, in every country there’s bowling.”

 

Ebonite is the largest bowling ball manufacturer in the world and bowling balls made in Hopkinsville find their way to all corners of the globe. According to Ebonite Marketing Services Manager Danny Vowell, the company is also the largest contributer in Hopkinsville to the local United Way charity campaign, using profits from landscape pavers made from excess material to contribute to the campaign.

 

by Sam Morgen

for The Kentucky New Era

Originally printed on June 20, 2017

 

View Ebonite International's 2017 Homecoming Video via YouTube:  https://youtu.be/MUDLVdmSd14



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