American Products, Inc. was founded in 1951 by Albert Bertozzi (pictured). It started when he purchased a piece of property in a strip mall in Pawtucket, RI and it happened to have a duckpin bowling alley in its basement. He took a great liking to the sport! And in the early 1950s, duckpin bowling was a booming business, with about 20 alleys in Pawtucket alone (a city that is only 8.74 square miles of land area). As of 2014, there are NO duckpin alleys in Pawtucket and only 7 in all of Rhode Island! Also at that time, the pins were made of wood and they didn’t last very long. Being the business man that he was, Al saw an opportunity and decided to manufacture pins that were more durable. He started with wood and when plastic transformed the world in the 1960s, he began making plastic pins. The 100% plastic duckpin and candlepin are what the company still manufactures today.
He named the company American Products, Inc. because back then, people used the “Yellow Pages” to look up businesses and with the company name starting with an “A”, it would be the first advertisement people saw.
Albert first opened a pin manufacturing plant in Maine and began producing and then leasing his pins to bowling alleys throughout the east. Then in the 1960s, automatic pinsetters were introduced. This was a huge revolution to the bowling industry and both duckpin and candlepin bowling grew tremendously. However, for reasons unbeknownst to anyone, duckpin and candlepin bowling remained and continue to remain games primarily on the east coast and Canada.
Unfortunately, the plant in Maine was totally destroyed in a fire. Al then opened a factory in Pawtucket and continued manufacturing the pins there. He trained his son, Danny, and great-nephew, Peter in pin-making and demanded perfection from both. His education technique paid off because the company is still in the family and making pins even after Al’s passing in 2002.
The manufacturing plant remains in Pawtucket where it has been since 1978, where Albert Bertozzi’s legacy endures.