Fun With Pinball


Patents offer a wealth of information about the designs and history of pinball machines and the devices that make them work.  Below are links to the patents of some of the more important or interesting devices used in electromechanical pinball machines.

Please feel free to suggest any other patents that should be included using Contact link at the bottom of this page.


Patent #

Issue or Publication Date





Patent USD90927Patent USD90927 USD90927S 10/24/1933 Game device David C. Rockola   Rock-ola World's Series game
US1975374-1US1975374-1 US1975374A 10/2/1934 Game apparatus David C. Rockola   Rock-ola World's Series game
US2017274-0US2017274-0 US2017274A 10/15/1935 Switch device Herbert G Breitenstein Raymond T Moloney First tilt mechanism
US2073132-0US2073132-0 US2073132A 3/9/1937 Game device Harry E Williams Pacific Amusement Mfg Company First use of a solenoid
US2109678-0US2109678-0 US2109678A 3/1/1938

Contact Switch for Ball Rolling Games

Nels A. Nelson Raymond T Moloney First electrical scoring bumper
Patent 2138243Patent 2138243 US2138243 11/29/1938 Timing mechanism Frank G Nicolaus   Score motor
Patent 2155929Patent 2155929 US2155929 4/25/1939 Score registering device Charles J Breitenstein, Alfred F Chouinard   Projection unit
US2184868US2184868 US2184868A 12/26/1939 Bumper switch Harry E Williams, Lyndon A Durant   Spring bumper
US2216957-1US2216957-1 US2216957A 10/8/1940 Game apparatus Frank G Nicolaus Raymond T Moloney Score motor with a Projection unit
Patent US2219898Patent US2219898 US2219898A 10/29/1940 Ball Rolling Game Donald E Hooker Raymond T Moloney Kicking round bumper before the Pop Bumper
US2219934-0US2219934-0 US 2219934A 10/29/40 Ball rolling game Nels A Nelson Raymond T Moloney Spinning bumper
Patent US2242971Patent US2242971 US2242971A 5/20/1941 Switch stack assembly Edward Joseph Glennon Comar Electric Co Switch stack
Patent US2281262Patent US2281262 US2281262A 4/28/1942 Step-up mechanism Charles T Breitenstein Raymond T Moloney Projection unit
US2296548US2296548 US2296548 9/22/1942 Universal Impulse Unit Harry E Williams, Lyndon A Durant   Score motor
US2296549US2296549 US2296549A 9/22/1942 Impulse Control Harry E Williams, Lyndon A Durant   Score motor controls
Patent US2321834Patent US2321834 US2321834A 6/15/1943 Relay Carl G Anderson,
Folke A Brandstrom,
Frederick J Marco
Comar Electric Co Relay
US2317506US2317506 US2317506A 4/27/1943 Accessory for Game Apparatus Harry E Williams, Lyndon A Durant   Kick out holes
US2322091-0US2322091-0 US2322091A 6/15/1943 Ball bumper Livingston Callard,
Donald E Hooker
Ace Patents Corp Scoring bumper
US2410708-0US2410708-0 US2410708A 11/5/1946 Variable stroke mechanism Charles T Breitenstein,
Robert H Breither, Frank G Nicolaus,
Herman L Seiden
Raymond T Moloney Step up unit
US2429810-0US2429810-0 US2429810A 10/28/1947 Multiple connector David Gottlieb,
Anthony Jerard
David Gottlieb,
Anthony Jerard
Improved Jones plug
US2479707-0US2479707-0 US2479707A 8/23/1949 Free-play control circuit for amusement games Lyndon A Durant Royal Patent Corp Ball release gate
US2487979-0US2487979-0 US2487979A 11/15/1949 Electrical switching device Wayne E. Neyens David Gottlieb Pop bumper
US2501021-0US2501021-0 US2501021A 3/21/1950 Ball bumper George R Benak Raymond T Moloney Pop bumper (user operated)
US2520283-0US2520283-0 US2520283A 8/29/1950 Pivotal ball return means for pin games Jerry C Koci Chicago Coin Machine Co Flipper
US2574721-1US2574721-1 US2574721A 11/13/1951 Magnetic Ball Activator Walter Von Stoeser Raymond T Moloney Playfield Magnet
USD167550-1USD167550-1 USD167550S 8/19/1952 Amusement game apparatus Harry E Williams   Horse racing game
US2610277-0US2610277-0 US2610277A 9/9/1952 Ball game switch Robert H Breither,
Donald E Hooker
Raymond T Moloney Rollover button switch
US2618719US2618719 US2618719A 11/18/1952 Step-Up Switch Mechanism Lyndon A Durant, Gordon Horlick   Step up unit
US2663568-0US2663568-0 US2663568A 12/22/1953 Projecting device for pin ball amusement apparatus Lyndon A Durant Gen Patent Corp Shooter gauge
US2680618-0US2680618-0 US2680618A 6/8/1954 Simulated baseball amusement game apparatus Harry E Williams Williams Patent Corp Man running unit
US2724024-0US2724024-0 US2724024A 11/15/1955 Step-up mechanisms Lyndon A Durant,
Marcine P Wolverton
Gen Patent Corp Score reel
US2727433-0US2727433-0 US2727433A 12/20/1955 Score projector with shiftable optical system Frank G Nicolaus Raymond T Moloney Projection unit
US2779200US2779200 US2779200A 1/29/1957 Step-Up Mechanisms Lyndon A Durant   Score reel
US2830819-1US2830819-1 US2830819A 4/15/1958 Movable ball bumper Pearl Irving Harry Williams Mfg Company Disappearing pop bumper
US2858390-0US2858390-0 US2858390A 10/28/1958 Ball bumper switch for amusement apparatus Steven F Kordek Genco Inc Pop bumper
Patent US2932705Patent US2932705 US2932705A 4/12/1960 Convertible locking relay Frank G. Nicolaus Lion Mfg Corp Interlock relay
Patent US2945624Patent US2945624 US2945624A 7/19/1960 Counting number register Frank G. Nicolaus American National Bank and Trust Co Score reel
Patent US3064891Patent US3064891 US3064891A 11/20/1962 Stepping Switch Mechanism Frank G. Nicolaus Lion Mfg Corp Score reel
Flipper Patent US3298691Flipper Patent US3298691 US3298691A 01/17/1967 Reprojecting Ball Bumper Harold O. Berninger,
Herman L. Seiden
Lion Mfg Corp Flipper
US3390255-1US3390255-1 US3390255A 6/25/1968 Stepping mechanism for use in a pinball machine or the like Roman F Garbark D Gottlieb & Co Score reel
US3404888-1US3404888-1 US3404888A 10/8/1968 Ball gating and reprojecting means Joseph E Lally, Jr,
Terrence A Reedy,
Thad F Zale
Lion Mfg Corp Zipper Flippers
USD213981USD213981 USD213981S 4/29/1969 Bumper for a pinball machine Roman F. Garbark   New pop bumper body
Ball return patent US3441279Ball return patent US3441279 US3441279A 4/29/1969 Ball Delivery and Control Means Joseph E. Lally,
Earl F. Heppner,
Harold O. Berninger
Bally Mfg Corp Ball Return
US3452988-0US3452988-0 US3452988A 7/1/1969 Ball gate Thad F Zale Bally Mfg Corp Roll under gate
US3578802-1US3578802-1 US3578802A 5/18/1971 Vertically adjustable bumper for ball rolling games William E Casey,
Norman R Clark,
Frank T Murphy
Williams Electronic Mfg Corp Disappearing or Up Post
US3627318-1US3627318-1 US3627318A 12/14/1971 Force detecting target for pinball machines and the like Roman F Garbark,
Edward P Krynski
D Gottlieb & Co Vari target
US3675927-1US3675927-1 US3675927A 7/11/1972 Two-player pinball machine Alvin J Gottlieb,
Wayne E Neyens,
Robert T Smith, Roman F Garbark
D Gottlieb & Co Challenger pinball machine
US3793510-1US3793510-1 US3793510A 2/19/1974 Add and subtract relay R Garbark D Gottlieb & Co Small credit unit
US3901511-1US3901511-1 US3901511A 8/26/1975 Lighted hole assembly and ball projector for playboard Roman F Garbark D Gottlieb & Co Kickout hole
US4221384-1US4221384-1 US4221384A 9/9/1980 Drop target assembly for pinball game Edward P. Krynski D. Gottlieb & Co Drop target
US4235438-1US4235438-1 US4235438A 11/25/1980 Pinball game spinning target Michael L. Hally Atari, Inc. Spinning target
US4353553-1US4353553-1 US4353553A 10/12/1982 Drop target assembly for pinball game Edward P. Krynski D. Gottlieb & Co Drop target
US4354681-1US4354681-1 US4354681A 10/19/1982 Drop target assembly for pinball game Roman F. Garbark D. Gottlieb & Co Drop target
US4360203-1US4360203-1 US4360203A 11/23/1982 Rollover switch for pinball game Roman F. Garbark D. Gottlieb & Co Star rollover switch