Pinball is an iconic arcade game that has lasted through the decades, from adversity during Prohibition to the arcade golden age in the early 80s. Here are a few things you probably didn’t know about Pinball.
- The concept evolved from French lawn bowling, Boules.
- It used to be illegal. Pinball was banned from the early 1940s to the mid-1970s. Why? Pinball is a game of chance, not skill, so it therefore was considered a form of gambling.
- There were huge Prohibition-style raids by the NYPD. The police made it their mission to round up pinball machines and arrest their owners. They collected thousands of pinball machines in a matter of days and then the police commissioner and mayor dramatically destroyed them with sledgehammers before dumping them in New York City’s rivers.
- Pinball was legalized again in 1976 after Roger Sharpe proved it to be a game of skill. Sharpe’s demonstration, which is often compared to Babe Ruth’s famous called shot in center field, convinced the city council to overturn the ban. He boldly showed them where he would place the ball using his skill and proceeded to do exactly what he said.
- Pinball is still illegal in some places. It is illegal to play pinball on Sundays in Ocean City, New Jersey. Tennessee overhauled its ban on children under 18 playing pinball just a few years ago.
- It was the invention of the flipper that changed pinball from a game of chance to a game that required skill.
- The first licensed theme pinball machine was Wizard, which was based on The Who’s song “Pinball Wizard”.
- The best-selling Pinball machine is “The Addams Family”, which came out in 1991. Over 20,000 units were sold.
- Hugh Hefner collected pinball machines. Hefner cooperated with pinball machine makers to create at least 3 Playboy themed pinball machines over the years.
- There is only one pinball machine manufacturer. Every pinball machine is manufactured at one Stern Pinball factory in the Chicago suburbs, where every machine is assembled largely by hand.
Looking to rent an authentic pinball machine for your next event? Our pinball machines are maintained in their original casing.