See 40+ vintage pinball machines from the 1940s

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Vintage pinball game

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While pinball-style tabletop ball games have been around since the 1700s, it took a giant egg to help usher in a new era of arcade game fun in the late 1940s.

The Humpty Dumpty pinball machine was released on October 25, 1947, and was the first such machine to include flippers the player could move, which required more skill to play, and allowed the ball to stay in play longer.

This post-war innovation — touted as “sensational player-controlled flipper bumpers” — really did boost the game’s popularity, and record numbers of these amusements were made and played.

Here’s a look at an early ad for that first newfangled pinball machine, and 45 more of the many themed pinball games that followed in 1947, 1948 and 1949.

Vintage pinball machine with flippers


The first pinball game: “Humpty Dumpty” (1947)

The greatest innovation in the history of pin games!

The player will laugh! The spectator will roar! The operator will be thrilled!

Yes… something new has been added… sensational player-controlled flipper bumpers!

Super-sensitive Flipper Button, on side of cabinet, controls 6 unique flipper bumpers on playing field.

With skill and timing, player can control balls… can send them zooming from the bottom right back to the top… whizzing and bounding around the field for additional scoring! It’s positively terrific!


“Moon Glow” vintage forties pinball game (1948)

Moon Glow pinball game - Billboard Dec 11, 1948


Vintage arcade-style pinball games – Genco’s “Big Top” (1949)

Step this way gentlemen… and get a load of this action-packed… thrill-filled headliner!

It’s big! It’s great! It’s a topper and a stopper!

Yessiree… every day will be a big day with “Big Top“!

Vintage arcade-style pinball games - Genco's Big Top (1949)


United’s “Ramona” vintage pinball game (1949)

United's Ramona vintage pinball game (1949)


Bally’s “Jockey Special” pinball machine (1947)

New Bally one ball multiples — “Jockey Special” and “Jockey Club” with amazing new horseshoe flash!

More thrills for players! More profits for operators! Thanks to the new sensational horseshoe flash which permits player to play extra coins to qualify for 5 big horseshoe features:

  1. Purse section receives Win odds
  2. Show section receives Win odds
  3. Show section receives top odds — 40, 80, 120, or 160
  4. Number 4 added to lit sections
  5. Numbers 3 and 5 added to lit sections

No wonder players never stop at normal multiple play… but keep on… six, eight, or ten coins per game.


United’s “Hawaii Roll-Down” console cabinet (1947)


“Photo-Finish” — Universal’s sensational 1-ball winner (1949)


Go places with Gottlieb’s “Cinderella” arcade cabinet (1948)

Ride along with “Cinderella” to get into the best spots in town!

The game with the Gottlieb “Magic Touch” opens all the doors for dependably bigger earnings!


Williams’ 5-ball “Bonanza” pinball game (1947)

ALSO SEE: Remember vintage coin-operated rides? Horses, spaceships, boats & more from the ’50s


Genco “Triple Action” pinball machine (1948)


Bally’s “Champion / Kentucky One-ball” pinball machines (1949)

New “Wild” sections — New Double-Score — Famous “Citation” Odds

2 horse-shoe buttons insure 25% to 100% increase in coins played per game!

Bally “Champion” is actually three great games in one.

Players play coin after coin for selections and odds. If you thought “Citation” was a sensational money-maker, wait till “Champion” starts working for you.


Vintage Gottlieb’s “Lady Robin Hood” with flipper bumpers (1948)


United’s “Manhattan” with new “Double-Double” feature (1948)


Vintage Bally “Gold Cup”, “Trophy”, and “Ballerina” pinball machines (1948)


Chicago Coin’s “Champion” arcade game (1949)

Chicago Coin’s newest success! Operators claim it first choice over all other games on the market today.

“Champion” — successful ’cause it’s different!

  • Basketball flippers
  • Opponents scoring feature
  • Thumper bumpers
  • A worthy successor to “Majors” and “Super Hockey”


Pinball machine “Beach Club” by Nasco (1949)


Location lifesaver! “Barnacle Bill” pinball by Gottlieb (1948)


Vintage pinball machine “Speed Way” by Williams (1948)


Triple action, triple profit! “Triple Action” pinball by Genco (1948)


Pinball arcade cabinet “Singapore Roll-Down” (1948)


Chicago Coin’s “Sally” vintage pinball machine with no bumpers (1948)


Williams’ first bumper pinball machine “Sunny” (1948)

“Terrific!” “A Sockeroo!” “Money in the bank!”

Everything you said at the show about “Sunny”!

Goes double on locations! Flipper action with convenient feather-touch dual button controls.


Gottlieb’s “Lady Robin Hood” & Marvel’s “Gold Mine” pinball machines (1948)

Yes sir! We’ve sure got that new look! You’ll get it, too, when you operate Gottlieb’s “Lady Robin Hood” with the original flipper bumpers!

“Gold Mine” — Sensational flipper action, unlimited bonus scoring, plus features galore!


United’s “Tropicana” 5-ball pinball arcade game (1948)


Vintage Bally “Citation” and “Lexington” pinball games (1948)

Sensational mystery ‘multiple’ and guaranteed odds!

Odds “multiply” on mystery basis. Second coin may “multiply” odds by three or four, instead of only two. Player continues to play additional coins for additional selections… because odds never drop back to a lower bracket.

Other Bally hits: “Carnival”, “Big Inning”, “Reserve Bell”, “Wild Lemon”, “Double-Up”, “Triple Bell”, “Hi-Boy”, “Hy Roll”, “De Luxe Bowler”, and more.


5-ball novelty — Chicago Coin’s “Catalina” arcade cabinet (1948)


Genco’s “Trade Winds” will blow greater profits your way (1948)


Gottlieb’s “Telecard” pinball machine (1949)


Gottlieb’s amazing 2-sided “Double-Shuffle” pinball game (1949)

New! Double the appeal! Twice the sport! Double the play!

Gottlieb’s amazing 2-sided “Double-Shuffle”! With winning play on red or green sides and sensational scoring action!


United’s vintage “Show Boat” arcade pinball machine (1949)


William’s “Tuscon” pinball (1949)


United’s “Tampico” arcade cabinet game (1949)


Quick play! Super fast action! Chicago Coin’s “Trinidad” pinball machine (1948)


The rush is on for “Tennessee” pinball by Williams (1948)

A terrific 5-ball thriller with:

  • Unique flipper action
  • Sequence
  • 3-Spot roller overs
  • Premium score
  • Double premium score
  • Reserve score
  • Highest high score, plus…
  • William’s new pylon lights!


United’s vintage pinball game “Paradise” (1948)


“Circus” days are here again! Pinball by Exhibit (1948)


No bumpers! Genco’s “Screwball” — more action, livelier, faster! (1948)


Williams’ “Gizmo” vintage pinball machine (1948)


“Carnival”, “Gold Cup”, and “Trophy” pinball games by Bally (1948)

Double your earnings in every 5-ball location in your territory with Bally “Carnival”! Famous build-up bonus, and “All-12” skill feature — plus high score competitive play appeal.

A Bally game for every spot! “Big Inning”, “Triple Bell”, “Wild Lemon”, “Double Up”, “Hi Boy”, “Hy Roll”, “Deluxe Bowler”, and more.


3 great ways to score replays — United’s “Summertime” pinball game (1948)


Exhibit’s pinball game “Contact” with six ‘exploding’ kickers (1948) 


New… by Gottlieb: “Bowling Champ” pinball machine (1949)

Most realistic bowling theme ever built into a pin game!

Bumper “Ten-Pins”! Automatic “Pin” reset! Percussion bumpers — Whiz-bang action! Special “Strike” rollovers! New type trouble-free bumpers contacts!

…There’s everything you need to keep rolling in top form — “Bowling Champ”!


You will be tickled pink with Genco’s “Three Feathers” pinball (1949)

From the standpoint of looks, player appeal and cash box results!

Exciting power bumper action! Sensational 3 way high score bonus! Tantalizing multiple replay action!

And as usual… every day will be a good day with this newest Genco 5-ball game… “Three Feathers”!


Bally’s “Citation” and “Lexington” pinball arcade cabinets (1949)

More than seven solid months of steady production… and still going strong… Bally “Citation” continues to smash all records.

But the greatest record broken by “Citation” is the sudden magical way it injected new life into the entire coin machine industry… bringing thousands of players back to pinball plungers to give operators and distributors the financial pick-up they needed.

For the fattest profits in one-ball history, get going with “Citation” now. 


United’s vintage pinball game “Pinch Hitter” (1949)

Terrific baseball animation — 3 kicker bumpers with extra score features — Replay scoring possibilities each ball


William’s “Star Series” baseball-themed pinball machine (1949)

Get the real lowdown on high earnings… positive proof that “Star Series” earns up to 4 times as much as any ordinary game on the same location!

NOW THIS: See 20 vintage jukeboxes, including Classic Rock-Ola & Wurlitzer machines

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