More 1930's Pinball Games

 
1932 Mills WoW. Mills Novelty Company who are well known for producing slot machines, also produced early pinball games. Above is a colorful countertop machine from 1932.
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  • 1932 Bally Goofy. After releasing a few popular straight countertop pin games, Bally found itself facing increased competition from other manufacturers introducing unique playfield designs. For example, Gottlieb released Five Star Final which has a figure eight playfield geometry. Ray Moloney hired New York designer Jack Firestone to come up with a competitive Bally product. Jack designed a game whereby traditional Bally features, such as the Bally Hole (free ball) were maintained, yet it has attractive side alley shots that players could try to reach for additional points. The game was very popular and several knockoff clones were produced by other manufacturers leading to Bally pursueing legal action inorder to stop the clones. As the advertising copy for Goofy, written by Herb Jones went: "Thru 32' twas Ballyhoo ~ Goofy'll smash all records too!"
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  • 1932 Dallas Novelty Sales Company Inc Hi-Low. In spite of a warning on the label "The machine is for entertainment only - Not for gambling" this machine was used for betting on a simple game of Hi-Low between players at bars. A game cost one cent and the ball's are lifted to the playfield by a unique flipping wood ramp assembly inside, controlled by a lever on the right side.
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  • 1933 Gottlieb 'Big Broadcast'. Introduced in January 1933, Big Broadcast was the first machine to introduce a very important feature to pinball: Automatic Scoring! Named after the 1932 Paramount Pictures movie 'Big Broadcast' starring Bing Crosby, Burns and Allen, Kate Smith, Cab Calloway and others, the game also introduced a new type of ball trap hole for the ball's to score into. The new holes consisted of a flap which opens at the beginning of a game, but snaps shut after a ball roll's into the hole, thus preventing any other ball from scoring in the same hole. Gottlieb called these 'ball traps', but route operators at the time affectionately refered to them as 'toilet seats'. After a ball goes into a hole and the lid snaps shut, it roll's down a passageway tripping a rolling score reel near the bottom of the playfield. All scores are clearly displayed in the score row at the conclusion of the game. Big Broadcast was very popular. Demand was so high, that Gottlieb also produced two other larger versions of the game with legs. The playfield represents radio station microphones with associated radio stations in major cities. The walnut cabinet is engraved with a 1930's style microphone on each side. Big Broadcast's introduction of automatic scoring provided a future direction for the pinball industry.
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  • 1933 Genco Commander. Genco Manufacturing Company of Chicago, Illinois produced arcade games from 1931 until 1957. They are best known for their incredible Gypsy Grandma Fortune Teller produced in the 1950's. However, Genco was also a major manufacturer of early pinball machines. This particular mechanical, table top game was produced in February, 1933 and is the only known example to still exist.
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  • 1933 Bally 'The Pennant'. This sports themed pinball was sold to operators in 1933 as a affordable alternative to some of the highly mechanized machines being sold by Bally and Rockola. "1934 game features at 1932 game prices". This game is similar to Rockola's in that the ball does a complete loop of the playfield before beginning play. Several spinners and spring wires add action while playing.
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  • 1934 Bally Fleet. After Harry Williams introduced electricity to pinball with 'Contact' the flood gates were open for ways to put it to creative use. In 1934, Herb Breitenstein of Bally designed a game using seven electric cannon's which become 'loaded' with balls during play. When the 'action' hole is hit by a ball, a electric bell sounds and the cannon's fire sending balls up the playfield. Thus, it was possible to have 'multiball' (up to seven) as early as 1934! This mechanical marvel is fun to both play or watch! This is the original full size Fleet. Two months after introduction, the game proved so popular that a smaller countertop version was also produced to satisfy locations with less space.
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  • 1932 Automatic Industries, Baby Whiffle.With the introduction of the coin operated version of Whiffle in 1931, a market was seen for a smaller version which could sit unobtrusively on bar tops for patron play. In the beginning of 1932, Automatic Industries produced Baby Whiffle with a playfield having the same layout as it's bigger brother. The game sits on a rotating swivel stand and has a wheel ball lifter mechanism as well as a wooden switch at the bottom to actuate ball return after a game.
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  • 193x Homebuilt Pinball. With the tremendous popularity of pinball in the 1930's, some skilled craftsman would create their own pinball games for home use. The game pictured here, built by a private individual in the 1930's has many features of the commercially produced arcade machines such as a shuttle board underneath to allow the ball's to be return to the shooter automatically. The shooter is built from a steel flange probably picked up in a hardware store.
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