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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.

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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Are Pinball Games Too Complex?

By evaluating comments made on rec.games.pinball it becomes readily apparent that many contributors feel that current pinball games involve too much complexity. This complexity can be in the area of playfield design and/or in a machines ruleset. If a playfield is too complex they feel that it tends to confuse some players (clutter) or demand a skill level above that of the average player (tight shots). If the ruleset is too complex they feel that it prohibits some players from enjoying...

Ever Play A Bingo Machine?

Many pinball fans are not knowledgeable about Bingo Machines, and few have played them. HERE'S YOUR CHANCE!

Visual Pinball is the FREE program that lets you play simulated versions of REAL pinball machines on your computer. It is not difficult to load and use Visual Pinball. True, it's not the same as playing the real machine, but where can you play hundreds of simulations for free, on machines that work fine and require no spare parts? The simulations vary in quality from so-so to...


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Flipperless Boring? Hardly!

(webmasters note: Since this article was written there have been over 375 VP Flipperless Games and 25 VPM Tables - Flipperless Games added and the numbers in this article are now incorrect, All of the downloads can be found in the Downloads section!)

The major reason I hear from people about why they don't play Flipperless games is that they find it boring. And so I'll always ask which Flipperless games they've played, so I can suggest at least a few others for them...

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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How Players Can Help the Pinball Business Stay Viable

There has been considerable grumbling within the coin-op amusement business about the decline of pinball. Blame is flying in several directions, but it's clear that neglecting maintenance hurts pinball worse than some other kinds of coin-op games. In industry surveys, operators are more likely to complain about pinball revenues than they are about other high-maintenance pieces, such as pool tables or whack-the-funny-animal redemption games. (Unsure about when to say "operators", "locations"...

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...


I am a pinvangelist.

I have discovered my mission in life, and that is to bring pinball to the people and the people back to pinball. There is a longing in their souls, I can see it, an aching gap that can only be filled by the healing touch of the flippers and the arcane symbols traced in speeding argent across the tables.
And it is not hard, friends, to find Those Who Would Be Called. Merely mention The Word. "What are you doing for lunch?" someone at my office will ask. "Grab a quick...

Road Trip to the Pinball Hall of Fame

Remember when there were these places called 'arcades'? I’m not referring to some 20’ x 20’ room that your local movie theatre might have, or even the larger facilities out there like GameWorks or Dave and Buster’s. No, I’m talking about an honest to God arcade, where the sight owns, operates, and maintains all the machines inside. A place where the attendants actually cared more about you having a good time than making an extra fifty cents.

Welcome to the Pinball Hall of Fame...


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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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Why It Is Not Called FlipperBall

It's amazing to me how often I have heard that one certain phrase.
I'm pretty sure those who say it aren't really intending to upset me, and if they realized how much their words really sting, they probably wouldn't even say it in the first place. I consider each of them friends, and I'll presume most of them return my opinion, which makes their words just that much more bitter of a pill to swallow. Now, maybe I should correct the next person who says it to me, but I don't want to make...


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