Pinball History Articles

A collection of Pinball History Articles, includes bagatelle, bingo, payout and coin-op machines! Imported from Pinball Nirvana's old home page.

Flipperless The very first Whiffle Board (Automatic Industries, 1931)

The True History of the Whiffle Board
(by Paulin's daughter Lois Paulin Hollerman, with granddaughter Karen Kettering)​

Arthur L. Paulin, a carpenter by trade, was cleaning out his old barn, Christmas-time 1930, when he came across a curious old, dusty board with carved-out holes and about 30 nails in it. It looked as if it was about 50 years old.

He looked at the funny game-board for a few days and played around with it, until he came up with what we...


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Historic Baseball Pool Table

An Interesting Slice Of History
Chester Pollard Amusement Company
by tiltjlp & Susan Ford

Even before the days of arcade games, there were all sorts of amusement and game devices to while away your leisure time. In fact, the variety for players was much more diverse than nowadays, as is evidenced by the baseball table I found offered recently on eBay. Believed to be the only remaining one like it, the Chester Pollard Amusement Company's coin-op game looks similar in size to a pool table...


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Historic Firsts and Lasts

Pinball has a storied and fascinating history, and much of that history involved both Flipperless and EM tables. This History Lesson will tell on one beginning, which corrects an incorrect myth we may believe, and two endings. While many pinheads might think Baffle Ball by Gottlieb was the first Pinball Machine, that simply isn't true. The game that is recognized as the first Pinball machine is Champion Whiffle in 1931, by Automatic Industries, possibly only weeks before Baffle...


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History of Bagatelles

When most pinball fanatics think about the origins of this game we all love, if they ever do at all, they may recall hearing about bagatelle, or maybe they remember playing a toy version. But the roots of Stern's Simpson's Pinball Party may run much deeper and extend quite a bit further back then most of us would ever begn to imagine.

An Interesting Bit Of Pinball History

As Bullet6 these photographs will show, bagatelle began as a different game than we know it as today. Actually, the...


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History of Flipperless Coin-Ops

The first known flipperless coin-op was made either in 1902 or 1903 by Caille Brothers, and was Log Cabin (IPD Link). Log Cabin was actually a trade stimulator used by a single player, while a store owner watched to see if the player would get a ball in one of the scoring slots. If the ball made it into one of the numbered slots, the player would win 1, 2, 3, or 10 cigars, depending on how good, or how lucky a player he was.

A Lesson About Flipperless Coin-Op

The difficult part...


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History Of Magic Screen Bingo Machines

By Wally

I have been playing Bingo Pinball for about twenty-five years, and consider myself a 'good player'. Like any game of skill, the more you play the better youl become. A flippered pinball game may take a player years to master, where a bingo game can take decades and still be just as fun and exciting as day one.

Bingo, A Fun Challenge!
In Hawaii, where I live, there are over 100 bingo machines in operation, almost all 'Magic Screen' machines. (Clicking on the machine name will...


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History of Payout Machines

By Will Degelmann, druadic

Clicking on a name below opens a IPD link

Flipperless payout machines first appeared about 1933, when folks seemed to enjoy a good challenge, and a quick way to double their lowly penny, nickle, or dime. Many payout machines were made by rather obscure manufacturers, but some of the best known machines were made by Bally and Keeney. Both companies were somehow always came up with many new, inventive ways to fatten their own pockets, as well as help operators...


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Introduction to Trade Stimulators & Counter Games

It would be an easy segue to say that trade stimulators and counter games were the same games under different names. But they really weren’t. While both categories of these games are chance machines that award the player minimal prizes in one form or another for high scores or skillful accomplishments without making actual payouts of cash or products, they differ in when and where they were placed, and what they offered the accomplished or purely lucky player. To really appreciate the...

Russ Jensen, Pinball Historian

(webmasters note, Pinball historian and author Russ Jensen passed away on Saturday 10th November, 2007 aged 71.)

With the passing of Dick Bueschel, Russ Jensen may well be our leading pinball historian. And just like Dick, Russ is generous not only with his time and resources, but also his knowledge.

I feel that should earn Russ not only our gratitude, but also our thankful respect. I can’t think or anyone who as a hobbyist has done more to promote and help preserve pinball...


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