Pinball Machines

Modern Pinball has only been around for the last century or so, but the origins of pinball go back to the original creation of games!

Pinball is basically a game where you have a ball and try to hit targets. In this way, the beginnings of pinball can be seen linked to games like Croquet, Golf or even horseshoes.

It wasn’t until the invention of springs that something like the modern day pinball table was created. The introduction of coin operation allowed early pinball machines to become monetized, but the biggest leap forward in pinball came from adding electricity, flipper bats and lights.

With the ability to add electric switches and pop bumpers, the game became even more interesting and wild. During World War II, the pinball industry suffered drastically. Like other manufacturers, the pinball companies in the Chicago area had to assist in the war effort. Manufacturers couldn’t use copper as it was being used overseas.

Many manufacturers tried to refurbish older machines or otherwise stay relevant and by the end of WWII, only 10% of pinball manufacturers had weathered the storm. The gold lining? Those who remained saw a resurgence in pinball manufacturing as the war ended and people wanted to get back to playing pinball.

Flipper bats were then introduced to pinball machines to help keep the ball stay in play longer. Manufacturers were always on the lookout for how to make the game more interesting or innovative. Pinball machines where once considered illegal because it was deemed a “game of chance” Many companies added flippers to control the ball, to aim their shot and turn pinball into a game of skill.

Since its humble beginnings, pinball has been on the up-and-up. Pinball continued to grow and change in a market, and forced companies to innovate and become competitive. Companies came and went, were sold or just closed down, but here’s a list of the most influential pinball manufactures from the early days of pinball.

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