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Inventors The History of Pinball
By Mary Bellis

Early pinball machines appeared in the early 1930s. They were countertop machines without legs, the three most popular games were "Bingo" made by the Bingo Novelty Company, "Baffle Ball" made by D. Gottlieb & Company, and "Bally Hoo" made by the Bally Corporation.

"Bally Hoo" was the first coin-operated pinball game, it was introduced in 1931, invented by Raymond Maloney who founded the Bally Corporation. However, the term "pinball" was not used until 1936.

The tilt mechanism was one of the first addition to pinball games, invented in 1934 as a direct answer to the problem of players lifting and shaking the games.

The first battery operated machines appeared in 1933, a year later machines were designed to be used with electrical outlets and lights and back-lite colored glass were added.

The pinball bumper was invented in 1937.

The flipper was invented in 1947, introduced in a pinball game called "Humpty Dumpty" made by D. Gottlieb & Company.

Pinball machines during the early 50s used separate lights behind the back-lite glass scoreboard - to show the scores. In the late 1950s a digital scoring system was invented.

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From Mary Bellis,
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