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Museum Fun Facts

Harry Williams
manhattan ad
humpty flyer
Mayor LaGuardia
Bally Hot-Rods
Hot Rods 1949

Pinball is even cooler when you know these Museum arti-facts:


  • New York Mayor Fiorella La Guardia's anti pinball campaign is captured in the poster of him pushing over a 1936 Bally "Bumper".

  • Pinball and pachinko share a common ancestor, the game of bagatelle. Though they share many similar attributes, pachinko machines operate vertically, while pinball is played on a 6-8 degree incline.

  • A 1931 Whiffle Board, the first commercial coin operated pinball machine.

  • The 1936 Bally Bumper was one of many that were confiscated by Oakland Police. Some were given to Police in Alameda as gifts. The PPM has two of these.

  • Our Bally Bumper is the same one as seen on the Travel Channel's "Mysteries at the Museum" 


  • 1952 Gottlieb "Queen of Hearts" was game designer Wayne Neyens favorite game.

  • The Visible Pinball Machines are one of a kind handmade art pieces by Michael Schiess, built by Wade Krause, Christian Schiess, and Michael Schiess.

  • The PPM designs and builds our own pinball science exhibits.

  • The murals throughout the museum are hand painted on canvas by 4 artists: Dan Fontes, d'Arci Bruno, Ed Cassel and Eric Kos.

  • The jukebox is a Seeburg LPC1, the same model seen at the Double R in the series "Twin Peaks".

  • 1979 Williams "Gorgar" was the first talking pinball machine with an 8 word vocabulary.

  • The 1980 Bally 'Centaur' was inspired by the classic Bally's 1956 'Balls-A-Poppin'


  • The 1992 Bally "Addams Family" was the highest selling "flipper" pinball game of all time. Also, the upper-left flipper on this game employed artificial intelligence to learn to accurately shoot the ball during special game play.

  • The 1999 Williams "Star Wars, Episode 1" was supposed to save pinball but actually killed it for Williams. Stern became the only pinball company for the next 12 years.

  • Famous for such notable pinball titles as High Speed, Black Knight, and F-14 Tomcat, designer Steve Ritchie was also the "Finish Him!" voice actor in the classic video game Mortal Kombat.

  • Jersey Jack's 2017 game Dialed In was designed by legend Pat Lawlor (Addams Family, Twilight Zone, Funhouse), with artwork by John Youssi. Note the similar colors and disaster theme to 1990's Whirlwind also designed by the duo.

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