>Go to the National Pinball Museum Website" width="597" height="131" border="0" align="bottom"/>

Welcome to the first issue of the National Pinball Museum's quarterly newsletter, TILT!

Music Pinball Hall of Fame opens at the Merriweather Post Pavilion

The big news is that we have launched the Music Pinball Hall of Fame, a permanent arcade exhibit, at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.

What better way to spend a Saturday evening than to take in a show, then shuffle up the boardwalk and past rolldown doors with a beach arcade feel, only to find yourself in the middle of vintage pinball heaven? Just drop some quarters into the pinball game of your choice, and take it for a five-ball spin. The names include Guns and Roses (1994), The Rolling Stones (1980), Kiss (1979), Dolly Parton (1978), Nugent (1978), the new Elvis game (2004), and Heavy Metal Meltdown (1987).


There’s also the classic 1967 Beat Time, a nod to the Beatles and their crazed female fans. To avoid royalty issues, Williams had to name the group “The Bootles,” but the reference was clear.

Of particular note is the campy Captain Fantastic (1976), inspired by the movie, “Tommy,” with a super-funky Elton John rocking a pinball machine in his signature suspenders, bellbottoms, and platform shoes that could sink a ship.

The Music Pinball Hall of Fame is located at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland. The pinball games are open only during show hours at the Pavilion, so check out their website at www.merriweathermusic.com for hours and directions.


DAILY RACES—This past year we have been fortunate in acquiring a number of rare historic games for the NPM collection. One of Charles Leroy Parker’s earliest works of pinball art has eluded us for years. The game Daily Races is a rare piece not only because there are so few in existence, but because it is a One Ball Gambling Game manufactured by the D. Gottlieb Company. In introducing Daily Races in 1936, Gottlieb briefly entered the gambling world, as did Williams for a short time. But Bally and United were the top producers and sellers of these types of games. Both Gottlieb and Williams broke with these companies when they saw that gambling games were going to cause trouble with the public and with state and local laws. State after state was banning this type of entertainment, and Gottlieb and Williams saw the writing on the wall. Fortunately for the pinball world, both Gottlieb & Williams decided to keep their nose clean and stopped producing these games, which explains why they are so difficult to find.

The Daily Races game that we acquired is in excellent cosmetic condition, with artwork that has not faded at all. It has a painterly quality that is most unusual for the time, and quite different from Parker’s future artwork, even compared to the works he did later for D. Gottlieb & Co.


BINGO is another historic game because it is a precursor to Gottlieb’s historic Baffle Ball of 1929. Originally manufactured by Bingo Novelty Company, which Gottlieb acquired, the game was then produced under the Gottlieb name, but was almost exactly the same as the previous company’s version. It did not sell in the astronomic numbers that Baffle Ball sold (57,000), but Bingo was Gottlieb’s legitimate “first game.”

LIBERTY BELLE—Released in 1962, Liberty Belle is one of the earliest four-player games, and features the wonderful artwork of Charles Leroy Parker. Designed by Wayne Neyens, this beauty has four flippers, two roto-targets, and two bullseye targets. The backglass features the curvaceous Miss Liberty in top hat, a vision not to be missed!



METRO— The Metro represents the best in Art Deco Pinball of the 40’s. Over 10 years in the making, our Metro is looking and playing like new. This is such a beautiful machine, one of Parker’s most appealing pieces of art. The reason it took so long was that we had to find a pinball wizard electro-mechanical man to understand this complex game. We tried in the past to get this game working correctly, but the correct power source for this 1940 GENCO game eluded us. We first purchased this game from Larry Beiza with instructions from him to replace the Selenium Rectifier with a Bridge Rectifier. Ultimately it was not necessary, but only after countless hours of work.

Metro has a very unusual feature that remains in practice even in today’s games. It is the hold-over bonus scoring. It holds the bonus score until certain roll-overs are completed, then gives up the score held in memory and counts up the points on the futuristic backglass. This game also has a knock-off unit so when the skilled player receives extra games—too many to play—the store owner pays or gives the player a reward for his/her accomplishments. Then he would press the knock-off button at the bottom of the game and “Knock-Off” the extra numbered games “Free Games.”

The cabinet was completely cleaned and clear-coated to protect it from further harm and age. All the metal playfield parts were electro-plated to restore their original beauty. The playfield was completely stripped and cleaned, with each part delicately removed and cleaned. All the graphite rings were realigned so the bell shape bumpers could score correctly.

CRISS CROSS A LITE— This very early game (1929)—also from GENCO—came to us in pieces. It was shipped to us from Canada without a head, the topglass was smashed into hundreds of pieces, and the cabinet was completely broken. It took many hours of gluing, clamping, sanding and staining to bring the carcass back to one piece. After removing all of its parts, the playfield was resealed with lacquer and rebuilt. With the altruistic assistance of Richard Congers, pinball collector and historian from California, we built a new head. He also provided a backglass that was an integral part of completing the project. This game is considered to be the first to have an electrical backglass. We can’t prove it, but if you have evidence either to support or contradict this, please let us know.

MIAMI—Miami is a beautiful game, created by The Chicago Coin Manufacturing Company in 1938. It is a preflipper game, but what it lacks in flippers it makes up in color, style and action. First of all, the lower number scoring (100’s) is only revealed when the backglass lights up. It is light-animated in beach balls, with the score progressing as the balls are thrown around from one bathing beauty to another.

A rare and unusual feature is the return of a ball that was previously considered finished. If a ball goes over a particular roll-over when certain lights are animated, the ball is returned to be played again. If you can continue to do this, the game can be very exciting. The colors are reminiscent of the bygone era of Art Nouveau, with its pinks and pale blues. Early plastic ball guides illuminated from within give it a wonderful glow. Miami is fast-playing and a thrill to view and enjoy. Oddly, the free ball and free play mechanisms are not available on our game. The holes for the lights and the numbers are on the backglass, but there is no wiring for these features. If anyone has this game, please contact us to see if your game has the features that ours is missing. This is a fun game and one I am sure you will enjoy playing.

SQUARE HEADWe just finished completely restoring this fabulous tic-tac-toe game from 1963. Only 975 units of this game were made, so it’s a rare find indeed. Designed by Wayne Neyens and featuring artwork by the legendary Charles Leroy Parker, Square Head evokes a strange sense of déjà-vu. It’s as if Parker felt nostalgic for his earlier work and decided to revisit his style of the late forties and early fifties. The backglass is reminiscent of Barnacle Bill (1948) with its inane, cartoon-like characters, from babies with moustaches to buck-toothed goofballs. By hitting bumpers and landing in certain locations, you fill up the tic-tac-toe board on the playfield to win. As an add-a-ball game, you don't get free games, just an additional ball to play, but it still keeps you glued to the flippers.


In-kind Donations

Please consider donating your old pinball machines or other paraphernalia to us. The National Pinball Museum is a non-profit organization, so all gifts are tax deductible. For more information, please contact us at 301.384.3802, or email us at [email protected]

Cash Donations

Or consider making a cash contribution, no matter how small (we take change). Your contribution will help us find a permanent home for our over 800 pinball machines, books, magazines, and restoration department equipment. Plus, we have a number of very cool, completely unique and out of this world premiums in exchange for your donation.
Make a donation, get a premium, find out more >>

Yours truly, fellow Pinhead,

David Silverman


Daily Races
Liberty Belle
Criss Cross A Lite
Square Head


Your help is needed so we can find a home! Please make a cash or in-kind donation >>