Nov 172011

Humpty Dumpty 1947

I have always been a great fan of Pinball machines.  I remember when I was very little, watching big kids playing a mysterious game at the local arcade.  It had crazy blinking lights, bells, strange hammer sounds and the big kid playing it looked like he was about to push the whole thing over with the violence of his movements.  I wasn’t even tall enough to see what was going on under the glass!  Once I got old enough to reach the flipper buttons and see the playing field, I was completely hooked.  I must have spent $100s a year in quarters up until the point that most of the arcades disappeared.  Luckily, in recent years a few new arcades have sprung up and I can enjoy playing again!

Humpty Dumpty Under the Glass

When I looked into the history of these machines, I was surprised to find that they have been around for a long time.  The evolution of the pinball machine took at least 300 years to get to from a simple bowling game to the complex ones we have today.  By the 1930s,  the machine had gotten; spring launchers(1871), coin operated(1931), electrified (1933),and  reactive bumpers(1933).

In 1947, Gottleib (Chicago, IL) released the next step with the inclusion of flippers in their game, Humpty Dumpty.  At first, Humpty Dumpty was too low powered and needed 3 of the 6 flippers to get to the top, but with a few tweaks, only 2 were needed.   The flipper idea really took off and soon other companies were offering kit to convert older machines to use flippers. With this innovation and others, Gottleib was able to top the market for many years.

Manufacturer: Gottleib (Chicago, IL)

Model:  Humpty Dumpty

First Producted: October, 5 1947

Flippers: 6 flipper bumpers

Production Run: 6,500

Design:  Harry Mabs

Artwork: Roy Parker



Nov 152011

The Scrambler


The Scrambler is known by many names in different places;  Grasscutter, Twist, Sizzler,  Scramber, and Chacha.  No matter the name, this ride has been one of my favorites at the county fair ever since I was very young.   It is a step up from the little kid rides, and is still too fast for some adults I know!  Often, when you find this ride at amusement parks or county fairs, it is the same piece of machinery that people rode in the 1950s or 60s!


Manufacturer:  Eli Bridge (Jacksonville Florida)

Riding the Scrambler

First Created: 1955

Propulsion: Cog Drive

Cars: 12

Riders: 24 adults Maximum