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!
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