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Pinball before WW2 (prewar pinball)
1932 to 1937

by, 05/15/23.

As a starter, any pinball games you have for sale in the 1932 to 1937 era, please contact me at

Before there were flippers on pinball machines, pinball was exactly how the word "pinball" sounds - a wood board with pins (nails) inserted in particular places, to guide the ball to certain scoring areas. Or perhaps put better, to avoid certain scoring areas! This document deals with these 1932 to 1937 pinball games made primarily by Gottlieb, Bally, Jennings, Rockola, ABT, Genco, Chicago Coin, PamCo (Pacific Amusement Co.), Daval. Though there were many other manufacturers during the 1930s, these were the primary pinball manufacturers, making the best models for this period.

So why 1932 to 1937? Because, at least to me, this was the era where true pinball innovation took place. These games were largely PM (purely mechanical), yet the bigger manufacturers did a lot creatively to make them fun. Even the 1935/1936 models that started to use electricity were very creative. Historically and creatively speaking, the 1932 to 1937 games were awesome. But around 1937 when the spring "bumper" came into play, the games really changed. To me at least, the 1937-1947 pinball games were more homogeneous, relying on this one device. The nails were largely gone, and so was the creative emphasis on mechanical ingenuity.

Pre-War Pinball History.
Before we go through what I consider to be the highlights of the 1932 to 1937 era of pinball machines, we should talk about the general history of these games. Though pinball has been around since the 1700s in the French form known as bagatelle, it didn't really look like what we think pinball is today until much later. Basically it was more like a pool table with nails, and a pool cue was used to propel the ball. Advanced scoring holes on the table were protected by more nails, making the game pretty challenging. By the late 1700s, more of a shooter lane developed, so the game was starting to look like what we think of as "pinball" today. But the big development was in 1869, when a the spring plunger (as still used today) was a mainstream bagatelle game feature (patented in the U.S. in 1871.) By the late 1920s, tables with pins (nails) were showing up in bars, and were known as "marble games" or "pin ball." So we're getting somewhere with the design, slowly, but it is progressing.

The story of coin operated pinball starts in 1930. Arthur Paulin, a carpenter, was cleaning out a barn during early December 1930. He came across an old board with holes and about 30 nail. At the time it looked old, but he decided to play around with it until he came up with what we now know as 'Whiffle Board'. Remember this was during the Great Depression and in Youngstown Ohio, where a large mill had just closed. Money was tight so Arthur Paulin decided to make this board game for his daughter Lois Paulin as a Christmas gift.

His daughter loved the game so much that she invited her friends to come and play. Next thing there was a line of kids waiting to play this board game. Hence Arthur Paulin took the board game to a friend of his, Myrl A. Park, who operated a local drug store at the corner of Sothern and Midlorthian Blvd in Youngstown. Paulin wanted to make another one and sell it at the drug store. Park instead suggested putting a coin device on the game, and let people pay to play. Paulin like the idea. Earl W. Froom, who was at the drug store and saw the game, thought the idea was a good one too. Between the two men they came up with a coin device. Paulin, Froom, and Park made a number of experiments with the board game, which they dubbed "Old Jenny." Finally they decided they had it perfected. They tried the game in local general store, and in one hour, made $2.60, at 5 cents per play!

Summer 1931 Bingo Novelty "Bingo" pin game.

On January 28th, 1931 the three men went into partnership. Arthur Paulin was President in charge of construction and manufacture. Earl Froom was Vice President in charge of sales. Myrl Park came to assist Paulin and Froom with 1/6 partnership. William Howell was in charge of all records (secretary) and also had 1/6 partnership. Automatic Industries was born with their first pin game, now called "Whiffle." Sales skyrocketed, and after many moves to larger facilities, there were 53 people working in the shop making games. Unfortunately others took notice and copied the game, and new pin game makers entered the market. Automatic Industries tried to enforce their patents unsuccessfully, paving the way for others to invest in pin game manufacturing.

(It should be noted that at precisely the same time that Whiffle was born, another coin operated pin game called "Whoopee" was developed in Chicago by Jack Sloan. Though not nearly as successful as Whiffle, it was the same idea, invented simulataneously and wit`1hout any influence from the Youngstown people. Though both games could be indentified as the "first" coin operated pinball, most people give the nod to Whiffle instead of Whoopee.)

The November 1931 Gottlieb Baffle Ball.

One competitor to the original Whiffle game was David Gottlieb. In the fall of 1931 David Gottlieb's Baffle Ball was the first big pinball hit of the coin-operated era. Though not the first coin operated pinball (Automatic Industries' 1931 Whiffle got that honor), Gottlieb's was the first that was commercially available in large numbers. It was said that David Gottlieb's company (who made strength testers) worked 24 hours a day manufacturing their Baffle Ball game. Selling for $17.50, the game dispensed five to seven balls for a penny. In just a few months, Gottlieb sold 50,000 Baffle Ball games to taverns and drugstores. America was loving the idea of a coin operated pinball game, especially since it was only a penny to play, and it was something that encouraged gambling. It was the depression, so all this seemed so appealing. Entertainment and gambling potential, and all for a penny.

Interestingly, David Gottlieb bought his initial game design from Chicago handyman Nate Robin and business partner Al Rest, who showed them the design for their summber 1931 pinball machine called "Bingo." Gottlieb took over their "Bingo" game manufacturing from Bingo Novelty in Chicago, and made it as Gottlieb "Bingo", and then as his own "Baffle Ball." That's the short version of the story. The long version gives some interesting details into early pinball business. The "Bingo" game as Nate Robin presented to Gottlieb was not ready for production manufacturing. Gottlieb modified the original "Bingo" game with better mechanisms and refined play. Unfortunately though David Gottlieb and Nate Robin had signed an exclusive agreement, Nate filed patents using Gottlieb's modified version. Robin also took on a new business partner, Leo Berman, who moved Robin's small production to a huge 30,000 sqft factory. Now Gottlieb was on the spot, competing directly with Bingo Novelty, even though Robin signed an exclusive production agreement with Gottlieb. The possibility of Robin getting patents on a game that Gottlieb had perfected was a problem. David Gottlieb would be in a position of producing another man's patented game, meaning he could get swindled. For this reason Gottlieb decided to stop making "Bingo", and go with a game of his own design, for which he didn't have to pay royalties. Gottlieb and Jack Keeney partnered to make the new "Baffle Ball" game. In less than six months, orders for Baffle Ball reached 75,000 units. (But unfortunately Gottlieb/Keeney were only able to make about 50,000 units.) Baffle Ball took over the industry, with orders for "Bingo" being satisfied with deliveries of "Baffle Ball." With production of 400 games per day, Gottlieb still couldn't make games fast enough.

The 1932 Ballyhoo pinball.

(Note early 1931 games were mostly 10 balls for 5 cents. But in an effort to be more competitive, a lot of companies started making less expensive games that offered 5 balls for 1 cent. Hercules Novelty's Roll-a-Ball in June 1931 was the first game to do this.)

By late 1931 Gottlieb distributor Ray Moloney found it hard to get enough Gottlieb Baffle Ball games to sell. In his frustration, he started Lion Manufacturing to produce a game design of his own. (Interestingly, the "Lion Mfg" name came about because Moloney worked at a printing shop, and was offered free stationary with this name on it, on a printing order that was never picked up.) Moloney was working with Gottlieb to get their Bingo/Baffle Ball games, and was continually writing orders for them. Unfortunately it was apparently that Gottlieb's 400 games per day production wasn't going to keep up with the demand. Hence Gottlieb cut his local jobbers short, unable to deliver their desired games. In order to satisfy orders, Ray Moloney was able to get Charlie Weldt and Joe Linehan to invest in his new company. They had an agreement that when they made $100,000, Charlie and Joe would exit and not look back.

Ray put out the word that he needed a game to build and market. Oliver Van Tuyl and Oscar Bloom from Kankakee IL showed their game to Moloney. Ray agreed to a $1 commision for each game made, with some game modifications. First the size of the game was increased to 15" x 30" format (which became a standard.) Also a double scoring hole and a free ball hole was added. The game was shaping up, but Moloney needed a name for his new game. While walking across State Street and Randolph in front of Marshall Fields department store in Chicago, Moloney say a new magazine called "Ballyhoo." That was the name that made sense to Moloney, and he call his new marble game "Ballyhoo." The game became a hit, with its slightly larger playfield and ten scoring pockets, (more of a challenge than Gottlieb's Baffle Ball.) Moleney sold 75,000 units in several months. In 90 days Ballyhoo sold enough copies to pay Linehan and Weldt their promised $100,000 (about $1 million in today's money), and they would exit the business. Well it didn't work that way, and on January 10, 1932, a new company called "Bally" was formed. Moloney was president, J.D. Linehan was vice president, and C.A. Weldt was the secretary/treasurer.

The sales numbers for Gottlieb and Bally in 1931/1932 did not go unnoticed. About 150 (!) companies got into the coin operated pinball business during the early 1930s, most based in Chicago (the home of pinball.) In the four years from 1930 to 1933, more pinball games were designed, manufactured and marketed than another other decade. (1930 being the introduction year, 1931 offering lots of games, 1932 pinball was a national fad, and 1933 pinball was an international phenomena.) Why? Well the games were fairly easy to manufacturer and sell, and the sales numbers warranted the ventures. But to be frank, only a handful of companies during the 1930s were what I would call "real" pinball manufacturers - Gottlieb, Bally, Jennings, Rockola, Genco, Chicago Coin, ABT, Daval, PamCo. The other companies seemed more interested in producing average (cheap) games, where the bigger companies really did a nice job at making actual pin games. For this reason, we'll concentrate on these 1930s pinball makers for this document.

Fall 1932 - Player Control.
Most 1930s pinball games did not have a lot of player control. Sure you could nudge the ball a bit, and take a skillful ball plunge, but beyond that, there wasn't a lot of interaction. But in the fall of 1932, three games were introduced, by three different companies, that incorporated the player into the game play. First was Hercules' Double-Shuffle, which used mechanical metal flippers to advance the ball from the bottom of the playfield to the top. Next was Rockola's Juggle Ball, which had a player controlable rail to direct the ball into specific trap holes. And last was Bingo Novelty's Scoop, which had a similar idea, but using a player controlable scoop. Remember this is all long before the advent of flippers (1947.)

1934 Bally Fleet pinball with ball kickers.

1933 - The Advent of Electric Pinball.
In 1933 the next big thing happened in pinball - electricity. Though obviously electricity had been around for a long time, it hadn't made its way to pinball until Pacific Amusement released a game called Contact in 1933. Contact had an electrically powered coil to kick the ball out of a bonus hole in the middle of the playfield. Another coil rang a bell to indicate the reward. (Early electric machines didn't use wall voltage either, but instead used large dry cell batteries for their power.) Contact had many first seen features, but the main thing was it didn't depend just on gravity to move the steel ball. To summurize, Contact was the first game to use electric powered ball kickers instead of just gavity, and the first to use an electric powered bell. Contact was also the first game design by Harry E. Williams, who started Williams Manufacturing in 1944, and who became a very famous game designer during the 1930 to 1980s!

With the game Contact, other innovations started to be seen. For example, light bulbs indicating higher scoring holes or point levels were now a possibility. Coils with ball kickers and other electrified devices were now being seen. Habit-trails and ball kicks and vertical up-kickers were now possible and seen on 1930s games. It really opened the door to some interesting designs. On the other hand, the sophistication of the games now made them more difficult to manufacture. Having a game with no electric power and nothing more than holes and nails would no longer cut the mustard. Because of this, by 1934 the number of pinball makers declined from 150+ to about 14. Competition had become fierce, but the games also had become a lot better too.

The 1935 Gottlieb Match Play with payout.

Payout Pinball.
By late 1932, some manufacturers started to make pinball games payout money. That is, not just reward replays, but payout actually coins. Bally, Gottlieb and Jennings were makers that really took advantage of this technology. Bally and Gottlieb so much that most of their machines 1935 to 1938 were payout. Some games were made as "one ballers", meaning that you had one ball, one shot, to hit the big money hole, and have the game payout. (Sometimes there were also "five ballers", same concept, but with five balls.) The payout drawer was often hidden too, not obvious like a slot machine, to make the machine not look like it was intended for gambling (but everyone knew better.) To me, this whole gambling thing removed a lot of the fun from the games, as they were more about just plunging a ball into a score hole to try and get a payout. (Kind of slot machines using a ball.) Note Gottlieb made a lot of payout pinball games during this time. This is rather strange, as after WW2, Gottlieb didn't make any payout pinballs, and used the moniker "Amusement Pinball" in their advertising (as if trying to forget their gambling pinball past.)

1934/1935 Pinball Features - What is New Today is Really Old.
During 1934 and 1935 more new pinball features were invented and utilized than any other years in pinball history. Games using electricity had kickers and up kickers and capitive balls and wire forms (ramps or habitrails.) Multi-ball play was used, buy-in features were seen, replays were implimented... All these features are now mainstay pinball items starting in the 1980s and later. Pinball features that were old are now "new". It's amazing as you look down the games from 1934 and 1935 and see pinball features that you thought were invented in recent history, but were really introduced in 1934 and 1935! For this reason, I personally find the pre-war pinball years of 1934 and 1935 the most interesting, and the games I am personally really looking for.

1936 Payout and Bumpers.
Frankly, 1936 wasn't a great year for pinball in my opinion. All the fun features and novelties of 1934 and 1935 were forgotten, as payout pinball took over. One ball games that actually paid out money like a slot machine were the rage. These games are little more than slot machines looking like a pinball game. There were some interesting games made in 1936, but not to the extent of 1934/1935.

In July 1936 Pacent Novety came up with a game called Bolo. Essentially a pinball bowling game, it had a unique feature; a bumper which could be hit from any side and would score. The game was an immediate hit, and Pacent (Utica NY) couldn't keep up with the demand. So by the end of 1936, Bally came out with a game called Bumper. (Actually it was a copy of Pacent Novelty's 1936 Bolo, but with a much better bumper design.) Bally took the idea of having the ball hit spring bumpers, and scored based on these hits. Note the "bumpers" were not like pop bumpers of today; they were "dead bumpers", where the ball would hit the bumper and advance a storing stepper unit. This encouraged the player to nudge the game, keeping the ball at the top of the playfield (remember there's no flippers on pinballs until 1947.) Bally Bumpers also had another first, the usage of plastic bumper caps (a feature still seen on game's today.) Players liked the idea of spring bumpers, because the game involved the player much more than the older nail/pin designed pinballs (that relied mostly on a good plunger shot, and not much more.) But to me, this was the beginning of the end. With the advent of bumpers, playfield designs became more consistent and less different. The upside was that nudging became very important, because the ball could be influnced more by the player off the spring bumpers. But the game designers were now relying on this change, and all the other innovative mechanical playfield devices seen in the 1932 to 1935 era seemed to be the victim of this change.

The 1937 Bally Skipper bumper & payout pinball.

1937 - the end of an Era.
By 1937, pinball machines had evolved from table top mechanical models to electrified games standing on legs. Most even started to look like pinball machines of today, with a vertical lighted backbox. Spring bumpers which scored were king, and the game were also much larger. It wasn't until after WW2, in 1947, when Gottlieb successfully implemented flippers into their games, that things really changed, and pinball became much more like the game we think about when someone says "pinball."

Frankly, the games 1937 until 1947 don't interest me personally. I find their play to be less inspiring and less mechanically innovative. For example, with the advent of "bumpers" (aka "dead bumpers") the game play seems to suffer, at least to me. For this reason, this document will concentrate on the games from 1932 to 1937 that are the most interesting. Add to that the payout machines, one ballers, etc, and pinball got its dirty gambling name in the 1930s. It really had a hard time sheding this bad reputation too, well into the 1970s. (Note this document doesn't cover all the games made in the 1932 to 1937 era, just the most noteworthy examples.)

Pinballs 1931 to 1937
Below is a list of their more interesting games from this era. Note interesting or first time features are shown in bold. If you have any of these games for sale, please contact me at


  • Whiffle, Automatic Industries, 6/31, though not the genuine first coin operated pinball, it is credited as being the one that got the ball rolling. Game.
  • Bingo, Bingo Novelties, 7/31, the game that David Gottlieb took over manufacturing, and later converted to his own game Baffle Ball. Game.
  • Baffle Ball, Gottlieb, 11/31, the first coin operated pinball machine. 75,000 units sold. Copied by other manufacturers. Ad (Rockola), Game.


  • Ballyhoo, Bally, 01/32, Bally's first pinball game, 75,000 units sold. Copied by other manufacturers. Ad, Ad.
  • Bally Round, Bally, 04/32, different footprint than most pinballs. Game, Game.
  • Five Star Final, Gottlieb, 05/32, two round playfield.
  • Screwy, Bally, 06/32, two round playfields in one game.
  • Goofy, Bally, 08/32, standard 30s playfield but with side alley lane casting for interesting shots. Designed by New York deisgner Jack Firestone, Goofy was copied by other makers (and Bally persued legal action to stop this.) Game.
  • Double-Shuffle, Hercules, 09/32, first pinball with (mechanical) flippers. Game play starts at the bottom of the playfield, and patron tries to move the ball to the top of the playfield using mechanical flippers.
  • Scoop, Bingo Novelty Manufacturing Co., 09/32, was one of the first game with player interactive control.
  • Juggle Ball, Rockola, 09/32, interesting player controlled ball rail.
  • CloverLeaf, Gottlieb, 10/32, figure-8 playfield layout.
  • Jiggers, Genco, 10/32, Genco's version of Bally Goofy. Game.
  • Silver King Twin, Standard Amusement (Texas), 10/32, dual playfield pinball.
  • Hi-Low, Dallas Novelty, 12/32, a pin game designed for gambling against the house in a game of hi-low.


  • Big Broadcast, Gottlieb, 01/33, the first game with mechanical score totalizers. Balls would fall into "toliet seat" trap holes (which was a flap and only allowed one ball per game), and roll down a run way under the playfield, tripping a score label. At the end of the game the player could add up all the shown score labels, for a total score. Named after a 1932 movie call 'Big Broadcast' starring Bing Crosby, Burns and Allen, Kate Smith, Cab Calloway.
  • Airway, Bally, 02/33, mechanical score totalizer.
  • Jack and Jill, Bally, 02/33, side by side double playfield pinball game. Ad.
  • Wings, Rockola, 02/33, two rotating playfields.
  • Brokers Tip, Gottlieb, 06/33, two round playfields in a single cabinet. First game to use a tilt mechanism that has a ball sitting on a post inside a metal cup, aka a "stool pigeon."
  • Rol-let, A.B.T., 06/33, a roulette wheel style pinball.
  • Skipper, Bally, 06/33, a roulette wheel style pinball.
  • Silver Cup, Genco, 06/33, metal cup castings on playfield and automatic score totalizers.
  • Crusader, Bally, 07/33, metal castle casting on right side of playfield.
  • Sky Ride, Genco, 07/33, four chrome tracks route balls to high score holes.
  • Worlds Fair Jigsaw, Rockola, 08/33, very cool mechanical pinball where the player tries to complete the mechanical jigsaw painting of the world's fair.
  • Speedway, Gottlieb, 10/33, very neat mechanical pinball that advances cars to the finish line.
  • Rocket, Bally, 10/33, one of Bally's first payout games. Also came in a non-payout version called Bally Blue Ribbon (11/33.)
  • Blue Ribbon, Bally, 11/33, novelty version of Bally Rocket (10/33.)
  • Contact, Pacific Amusement Co. (PamCo), 11/33, first game to use electric kickers instead of just gravity to propel the steel ball. Also first game to use an electric bell. First game designed by Harry E. Williams (who started Williams Manufacturing in 1944.)
  • Autocount, ABT, 11/33, uses mechanical score reels to score game.
  • 42nd Street, Genco, 12/33, cast aluminum trim with chrome-plated stamped steel ball diverters.
  • Pennant, Bally, 12/33, football themed pinball.
  • Score Board, Gottlieb, 12/33, player tries to fill out the mechanical scoreboard using pinballs.


  • Autobank, ABT, 02/34, player adjustable shooter lane angle using a rotating handle on the front of the cabinet. Also has a built in score printer for operators.
  • Autowhirl, ABT, 02/34, built in score printer.
  • Register, Gottlieb, 02/34, plastic bakelite playfield. One of the first pinball machine with a progressive score counter.
  • Sportman, O.D. Jennings, 02/34, hunting themed payout pinball.
  • Official Baseball, Genco, 04/34, very interesting mechanical baseball pinball.
  • Relay, Gottlieb, 04/34, balls falling into Relay Traps are held. A ball falling into the Relay Hole releases the trapped balls, which roll into a higher score pocket.
  • Streamline, Bally, 04/34, progressive scoring game.
  • Three Point, Chicago Vending Co., 04/34, three tier playfield and two habitrails.
  • World Series 1934, Rockola, 05/34, fully mechanical baseball game with moving turntable.
  • American Beauty, Daval, 06/34, single score dial which increments with each ball scored, catipult mystery shot.
  • Radio Station, California Games, 06/34.
  • Show Boat, Chicago Coin Machine, 06/34, ball landing in top Control Hole rings a bell and advances up to 6 balls along a center lane.
  • Step Up, Genco, 06/34, balls landing in top StepUp hole plays a 4-note musical chime, advances playfield balls along the three wire form tracks, and releases all of the outhole balls to be played again.
  • Cannon Fire, Shyvers Coin Automatic Machine Co. (Seattle), 07/34, four ball kickers. Game also made by Mills in 12/34. The two lower cannons are automatic ball kickers, propelling the ball upfield immediately when contact is made.
  • Champion, Bally, 07/34, sports theme with score totalizers.
  • Golden Arrow, Royal Novelty Company, 07/34, first redemption style pinball game.
  • Push Over, Gottlieb, 07/34, five balls per play with bell. Balls landing in top Push Over hole cause other balls to "push over" higher scores holes and eventually return out balls to play.
  • Super 8, Stoner, 07/34, has a "magic button" below coin slide. A low score can be increased by pushing the Magic Button. An early example of a "buy in" feature (as used in 1990s pinball machines.)
  • Big Bertha, Daval, 08/34, electro-mechanical canons shoot the ball.
  • Fleet, Bally, 08/34, has electro-mechanical canons that fire the ball up the playfield. Bally's Herb Breitenstein designed Fleet with seven electric cannons. During play the cannons would load with balls. When the 'action' hole was hit by a ball, a electric bell sounded and all the cannons fired, sending balls up the playfield. It was possible to have up to seven ball 'multiball', all in 1934.
  • Merry Go Round, Gottlieb, 08/34, three mechanical merry go rounds that spin the ball.
  • Pleasure Island, Rockola, 08/34, the same game as Rockola 1934 World Series, but with a different theme and graphics. Designed for markets where baseball was not popular.
  • Flying Trapeze, Gottlieb, 09/34, balls fly through the air on mechanical trapezes.
  • Subway, Genco, 09/34, game has ball scoops and subways under the playfield which divert the ball to different scoring holes.
  • Torpedo, Rube Gross & Company, 09/34, electrical pinball with kickers.
  • Torpedo, Dudley-Clark Company (Chicago), Torpedo, 09/34. Has toliet seat scoring holes and point reels like Bally Airway.
  • Signal, Bally, 09/34, has mechanical cast signals on the playfield.
  • Wild Cargo, Keeney, 09/34. A simplier version of Gottlieb's Merry Go Round with a mechanical spinning wheel, moved by the weight of a pinball.
  • Blue Streak, Daval Mfg Company, 10/34, uses two mechanical ball diverters on the playfield.
  • Drop Kick, Exhibit Supply Co., 10/34, has a right side ball lock and ball kick feature. Football themed pinball.
  • Major League, Pacific Amusement Co. (PamCo), 10/34, electro-mechanical ball pitcher.
  • Goal Kick, Genco, 11/34, football themed pinball with electro-mechanical kickers. Reissued by Genco in 12/34 as Genco Gridiron.
  • Action, Bally, 12/34, balls falling in the Action hole pops up at the top of either side alley. Subsequent balls alternate between left and right alleys.
  • Army and Navy, Rockola, 12/34, football themed game where balls left and right across the football playfield.
  • Beacon, Stoner, 12/34. If balls are dropped into both kickers, then another ball shot into the 'Shooter' hole will cause the kickers to kick the locked balls into higher scoring areas.
  • Cannon Fire, Mills Novelty Co., 12/34, four ball kickers. Game also made by Shyvers in 7/34. The two lower cannons are automatic ball kickers, propelling the ball upfield immediately when contact is made.
  • Galloping Ghost, Pacific Amusement Manufacturing Company, 12/34, has a center rail system that moves the ball left and right, like a good football running back.
  • Rebound, California Games Incorporated (Los Angeles), 11/34. This game was also licensed to Exhibit Supply for their Rebound pinball (12/34), and was known as "Rebound Junior" (where the California Games original version was "Rebound Senior.")
  • Safety Zone, Scientific Machine Corp (NYC), 12/34, kicker and lights.
  • Skyscraper, Bally, 12/34, player tries to light all the floors on the cast mechanical skyscraper.


  • Bally Skee Ball, Bally, circa 1935 (exact date unknown). A center shot turret style mini pinball/skeeball game.
  • Crazy Lane, California Games, 1935.
  • Fury, Rube Gross & Company, 1935, highly electrical mechanical pinball with kickers.
  • All Stars, ABT, 01/35, soccer themed with mechanical men on the playfield.
  • Chicago Express, Daval, 01/35, first game with electro-mechanical upkicker and ramps.
  • Kelly Pool, Gottlieb, 01/35. Pool playing pre-war pinball with short vertical backglass area and two side kickers on a mini playfield.
  • Hurdle Hop, International Mutoscope, 01/35, a miniature skee ball pinball game.
  • StarLite, Exhibit Supply Co., 01/35, seven balls per play with multi-ball and playfield light animation.
  • Barrel Roll, Allied Amusement Companyh, 02/35, has three slot machine reels on the playfield, and two wire form habitrails to kick the ball to high scoring areas.
  • Criss Cross A-lite, 2/35, Genco. Genco revised the entirely mechanical 11/34 Genco Criss Cross by moving the mechanical score totalizer from the playfield to a lighted backbox.
  • Cyclone, Gottlieb, 02/35, has electro-mechanical ball kickers and an automatic ball lift.
  • Flash, Rockola Manufacturing Corporation, 02/35, considered the first pinball game to offer a replay (free game.)
  • Globe Trotter, L&R Manufacturing Co., 02/35, horse racing pinball with four horses racing up the playfield. Potentially first game to have this feature which was used extensively during the 1950s (See Williams Turf Champ.)
  • Impact, Mills Novelty Company, 02/35, countertop version of Shyvers Coin/Mills Cannon Fire.
  • Match Play, Gottlieb, 02/35, payout pinball machine.
  • Neontact, Pacific Amusement Co (PamCo), 02/35, neon lights spell out "Two", "Five" or "Twenty" in backbox, very cool.
  • Time, Pacific Amusement Co. (PamCo), 02/35, has a time clock on the playfield.
  • Turn Table, Gottlieb, 02/35, has a moving turntable to direct balls.
  • Kings of the Turf, Evans, 02/35, has mechanical horses that travel in a circle.
  • Score-a-Lite, Genco, 02/35, first game with dual plungers (right and left), has a small lighted backbox with playfield holes scoring lighting corresponding backglass lights.
  • Traffic, Bally, 02/35, payout pinball, playfield has mini cast traffic signals.
  • Beam-Lite, Chicago Coin, 03/35, first game to use colored light bulb covers.
  • Builder Upper, G.M. Labortories Inc., 03/35, three kick-out holes, 17 trap holes, multiball play.
  • Cavalcade, Stoner Manufacturing Company, 04/35, has a ball kicker and a bell, and red/green playfield lights.
  • Tick-a-lite, Stoner Manufacturing, 4/35. The ticket version of Stoner Cavalcade (4/35.)
  • Kings, Genco, 4/35, and electrical pinball version of checkers. An older version of the 1937 Genco The Wizard.
  • Dealer, Automatic Amusements Company, 05/35, has two ball kickers. This game was deisgned by Harry Williams.
  • Frisky, Bally, 05/35, player shoots as many balls as they like up to twenty one, without going over. Then the player pulls a knob on the front of the game which determines the dealer's score.
  • Hit or Miss, Pacific Amusement Co. (PamCo), 05/35, alley runways to aim ball.
  • Spot Lite, Daval Mfg. Co., 05/35, first game with flashing lights.
  • Base Ball, Genco, 06/35, mechanical baseball game with great playfield aniamtion.
  • Ball Fan, Stoner, 06/35, mechanical baseball game with ball scoring base positions.
  • Big Leaguer, Pacific Amusement Co. (PamCo), 06/35, playfield animated infield, two versions of game one with hidden payout mech.
  • Box Score, Daval, 06/35, modeled after the Genco BaseBall game, the Daval model also had an animated baseball playfield.
  • Cross Roads, Stoner, 06/35, really unique mechanical action with a rising draw bridge in the middle of the game between several habit trails.
  • Play Ball, Exhibit Supply Company, 06/35, a payout baseball with playfield light animation showing the players running the bases.
  • Travel Around the World, Peo Mfg., 06/35, fifteen trap holes, one ball kicker, backglass animation with kicking balls. Similar to 1935 Peo All American Football.
  • Big Game, Rockola, 07/35, first game with non-bell type sound for the gun.
  • Tit for Tat, Chicago Coin Machine, 07/35, mechanical tic-tac-toe game with playfield lights.
  • Spitfire, Genco, 08/35, has electro-mechanical ball kickers and ball habit trails.
  • Split Second, Coin Craft, 08/35, Player tries to time the shooting of the white balls in order to cause any of three center kickers to knock the orange balls off of the habitrail as they roll by.
  • T.N.T., Rockola, 8/35, war themed pinball game. TNT has a three-way autofire electrical mechanism that shoots the ball either straight up the playfield, or to the lanes on either side.
  • All American Football, Peo Manfacturing Corporation, 09/35, ten balls per game, backbox animation with kicking balls that count touchdowns.
  • High Hand, Bally, 09/35, poker/blackjack style pinball game.
  • Hunter, O.D. Jennings, 09/35, this is the non-payout version of Jennings Sportman pinball.
  • Man on the Moon, Daval, 09/35. Has four ball kickers. Has three ways to score: lighting up complete face on the backbox, filling out the face on the playfield, or by high score.
  • Par Golf, G.M. Laboratories Incorporated, 09/35, four balls for 5 cents, illuminated backglass, left-side automatic plunger lane.
  • Rapid Transit, Chicago Coin Machine (CCM), 09/35, ramps and kicker galore, a very cool game.
  • Skill Roll, Gottlieb, 09/35, one ball payout pinball.
  • Squadron, Rockola, 09/35.
  • Cheer Leader, Genco, 10/35, ten balls per play, Light animation in backbox (football on playing field). Football themed pinball.
  • Junior, G.M. Laboratories, 10/35. Fully mechanical pinball where the player launches all five colored balls at once. Score is determined by the order of the five colored balls in the ball trough.
  • Zoom, Stoner Manufacturing, 10/35. Has three playfields and multiple ball kickers, five balls per play.
  • Battle, Bally, 11/35, electro-mechanical animation in the backbox and moving tank turret on playfield.
  • Bomber, Rockola, 11/35, war themed pinball game.
  • Flash Lite, Rockoal Manufacturing Co., 11/35, eight balls per play. The object is to land the ball into the backglass lit hole number.
  • Hi-Lite, Western Equipment and Supply Company, 11/35, ten balls per play. Two ball kickers, 17 trap holes, illuminated backglass with score dial. Western's first non-payout ("straight") pinball machine.
  • Derby, Bally, 12/35, payout horse race game. Ad, Game.
  • Gold Harvest, 12/35, payout pinball, try and get two holes of the same vegtable.
  • Pippin, Chicago Coin Machine, 12/35, two backbox kickers with captive balls for mechanical animation. Named after a rollercoaster ride in Chicago's Riverview amusement park.


  • Par Golf, Moorman Game Co. (New York NY), 1936, 12 balls per game, 16 Trap holes.
  • Big Richard, Exhibit Supply, 01/36, two coin slide gambling payout pinball machine.
  • Jimmy Valentine, Scientific Machine Corporation, 01/36. Get the balls in the holes above the tin "safe" doors, and then drop one in the center hole above those and the safe doors pop open.
  • Roly Poly, Genco, 01/36, has a ball kicker to move captive balls to high scoring area. Ten balls for five cents.
  • Top Hat, Stoner, 01/36, mechanical kickers and short backbox.
  • Top It, ABT, 01/36, game has dice in the backbox and player is trying to beat the dice score.
  • Tycoon, Mills, 01/36, one ball game that is essentially a slot machine masquerading as a pinball machine. Has a payout mech with a hidden payout drawer.
  • Ginger, Chicago Coin Machine (CCM), 02/36, six ball kickers and multiple habit trails.
  • Short Wave, Scientific Machine Company (Brooklyn NY), 02/36, very interesting use of magnets and lights.
  • Pinch Hitter, Pacific Amusement Co (PamCo), 03/36, payout baseball game.
  • Touch Off, Chicago Coin Machine (CCM), 03/36, kick back mechanism allowing for multi-ball!
  • Champs, Genco, 04/36, baseball pinball with captive balls, very cool.
  • Finance, Chicago Coin Machine, 4/36. A copy of Chicago Coin Monopolee pinball (4/36). Perhaps CCM was worried about using the Monopoly game name too closely, and choose to rename their game from "Monopolee" to "Finance."
  • Totalite, Rockola, 05/36, first game to use light advancing scoring in the backbox.
  • Bolo, Pacent Novelty Manufacturing Company, 07/36. First pinball machine designed with bumpers.
  • Short Sox, Stoner Manfacturing Company, 07/36, six balls for 5 cents. 18 Trap holes, two free play holes, and two kicker lanes. The Innings and Out on the backglass do not function as in the sport of baseball.
  • Trapper, Exhibit Supply Company, 08/36, first game to use drop targets. The drop targets are fully mechanical.
  • Hold Em, Stoner Manufacturing Company, 10/36, one of the first two player pinball games.
  • Bumper, Bally, 12/36, Bally introduced their game with spring bumpers which score. Uses progressive scoring through a backlit wheel which turns, showing the total score.
  • Pockets, Bally, 12/36, a pinball pool table.
  • Rugby, Chicago Coin, 12/36, football and rugby players on the playfield that when hit, move and score.


  • Skipper, Bally, 02/37, progressive scoring payout pinball with spring bumpers. A payout version of Bally Bumper.
  • Booster, Bally, 03/37, baseball pinball with spring bumpers and center ball shooter.
  • Baseball, Daval, 4/37, spring bumper baseball game with backglass light animation.
  • Score Board, Gottlieb, 04/37, baseball pinball with spring bumper progressive scoring.
  • The Wizard, Genco, 4/37, and electrical pinball version of checkers.
  • Jig Joy, Rockola, 12/37, similar in concept to Rockola's Jigsaw (1934) where the player tries to complete a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Mars, Chicago Coin, 12/37, mechanical backbox animation.


  • Double Track, Genco, 01/38, one or two players, double playfields, five balls per playfield, two horses race down the track in the backbox.
  • One Two Three, Mills, 02/38, a one ball pinball slot machine with mechanical slot machine fruit reels in the backbox. Has two spinning discs at the bottom of the playfield which can throw the ball to the top of the PF. Also has a payout and an optional "free play" mechanism.
  • Bambino, Bally, 06/38, named after the baseball player Babe Ruth, this game has two captive ball side kickers and spring bumpers.
  • Bally Arcade, Bally, 07/38. Animated backbox with animals that fall as they are scored on the playfield via spring bumpers.
  • Lightning, Exhibit Supply Company, 08/38. Five balls played and seven rollover buttons advance the score. Seven electromagnets beneath the playfield give action to the ball as it travels down the playfield. The electromagnets stay on continuously and only turn off as the ball rollovers a rollover button. This jerks the ball across the magnet, much like is seen on newer games like the Addams Family.
  • Buttons, Exhibit Supply Company, 09/38. Five balls played and seven rollover buttons advance the score. Seven electromagnets beneath the playfield give action to the ball as it travels down the playfield. The electromagnets stay on continuously and only turn off as the ball rollovers a rollover button. This jerks the ball across the magnet, much like is seen on newer games like the Addams Family.


  • Majors, Chicago Coin Machine, 1/39, spring bumpers, backglass animation (men running bases.)
  • Fifth Inning, Bally, 04/39, spring playfield scoring and backbox light animation. Same game as Bally American League (5/39).
  • Lot of Smoke, Gottlieb, 04/39. Same game as Gottlieb Lot-of-Fun, but with a cigarette theme. Art by Roy Parker, who was an avid smoker (and who also died of lung cancer in 1965.)
  • American League, Bally, 05/39, spring playfield scoring and backbox light animation. Same game as Bally Fifth Inning (4/39).
  • Ocean Park, Chicago Coin Machine, 06/39, seventeen spring bumpers and two kickback lanes. Art by Roy Parker.


  • Baseball, Stoner, 2/40.
  • Short Stop, Exhibit Supply Company, 04/40. Twelve spring bumpers, playfield animation with a rotating turntable that loads balls as basemen.
  • Border-Town, Gottlieb, 6/40. Border Town was designed by Harry Mabs and art work by Roy Parker. Has a very unique randomizing feature which flashes all the playfield lights as a ball is plunged. Oil exploration themed.
  • Metro, Genco, 10/40, art work by Roy Parker. Perhaps one of the prettiest pinball games ever made with very unique playfield spring covers of different colors. Light animation of moving cars on the backglass. Not a particularly fun game, but very futuristic and pretty. Has an early bonus feature which is collected by a rollover switch at the bottom of the playfield.
  • Gold Star/Hit the Japs, Gottlieb, 10/40. Hit the Japs was a conversion for Gold Star in 10/42. Art by Roy Parker.

* Contact the author with any pre-war pinball games for sale at
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