In this installment, I take a break from pinball repair and work on an interesting old arcade device that is mostly mechanical. In addition to this, it’s a specific machine I remember from when I was in high school and worked at a local amusement park. This device was saved from being taken to the city dump and stored for 30 years until I found it. The challenge is, can it be made to function again? Let’s see!
This is an interesting mechanical device that will take aluminum “tokens” and allow you to stamp your own messages on them. These were vary popular at carnivals and amusement parks and museums and arcades around the world. The tokens originally cost about 7 cents each, so for a quarter, the operator could make almost 3x his money. But now it’s hard to find the original blanks for under $1 each. Still, this is a very unique piece. These machines were made from the 1930s until the 1980s.
In this video, I basically have to “reverse-engineer” how the machine works because there is so little documentation on it. I only found one other video online showing the game’s basic operation, so I decided to document my progress with this, including the mistakes I made. This 8 part video series covers the trials and tribulations of getting the machine operational. When I picked it up, it had been sitting in storage for 30+ years. All the movements were seized. I wasn’t even sure if the machine was complete.
If you ever wonder how these things work in the movies and television series, here’s some insight. Why are some games modified? What happens when there’s a scene involving a game, that *gasp* gets smashed?
A few years ago, I was involved in bringing some pinball machines out to a movie set for a series done for HBO/Cinemax called, “Quarry” – it was a very cool story based on a series of fictional books, about a Vietnam Veteran who comes back from the war and is shunned in society and becomes a “hit man.” The series was set in the 1970s and the filmmakers wanted various pinball machines and coin op devices which we supplied.
Here’s a promo trailer featuring some of the scenes and pinball sounds:
Here’s a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the set design and work that went into re-creating a vintage carnival arcade, and some of the things the set designers have to do for legal reasons. I wasn’t able to show this video at the time the show was in production, but the series has since been canceled so I don’t think there’s any issue in sharing it.. here’s a neat glimpse behind-the-scenes…
People were complaining that one of the flippers in our Gottlieb “Slick Chick” was not working properly. The metal was fatigued on the assembly and the switch contacts were well worn, so I’ve ordered new switches and am showing how to remove and replace the flipper switches and make your flippers perform much better.
This is a story about an impulse buy off eBay for a pinball machine. It perhaps may be a cautionary tale of how sellers can hide the true condition of a machine. This also explains why it’s important to really “low ball” unknown sellers of games. There’s a very good chance what you see and what you get are two different things… here is my story of an eBay purchase of a Williams Love Bug (the add-a-ball version of Williams Doodle Bug).