1956 Genco Official Skill-Ball

Description: Official Skill Ball, Genco, 10/56, two players (or six player), a skee ball type game. Has three or four frames (operator selectible, four frames is the default) with three shots per frame (unlike traditional skee ball that has 9 balls per game). Also if the 50 point scoring pocket is made one free ball is awarded for that frame (this option can be turned off). Only one free ball can be earned per frame. Length is just over 10 foot long, which is the normal skee-ball length in the 1950s. Lane breaks down into a 7' 10" section. Genco Skill-Ball also came in a 6 player version (less common). Total size is 117" long by 75" high by 26.5" wide.

Player can shoot balls as fast as they want (don't have to wait for the scoring to catch up). Genco was very proud of this feature. As a new frame starts, three balls are given to the player. If the 50 point pocket is hit, the ball is diverted to a different internal runway and the player gets that ball back (make it a four ball frame). Only one extra ball per frame can be earned. Game also requires three balls (it will not work with any other number of balls).

At the time this game came out, Philadelphia Toboggan Company owned the rights to skee ball, and was the only maker of skee ball games. Genco got away with doing this game by changing it a bit. For example in regular skee-ball, it's just 9 balls per game (there are no frames, and you can't win additional balls, and all nine balls are released to the player at the game's start). Also Genco made the pocket score values incremental (2nd frame has a 2x score multiplier, and 3rd and 4th frames have 3x score multipliers). This idea was so good that Chicago Coin copied it and released their own skee-ball games (four of them) during 1957. Note the "skee" name is not used so there is no conflict with Philly Toboggan. This game is also very similar to Chicago Coin's Tournament Ski-Bowl (1957).

If you have this game for sale please contact me at cfh@provide.net

The author's Genco Official Skill Ball (minus the plexiglass hood cover):

The selenium rectifier was replaced with a standard bridge rectifier.
This increases coil power a bit, and is safer (selenium rectifiers tend
to burn up and spew dangerous gases). Genco was about the only company
to use DC power for all of their coils during the 1950s.

This Genco Official Skill Ball has its original plexiglass hood cover.

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