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The Invention of Pinball

Cynthia Brooke

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Pinball is an arcade game where you score points by manipulating balls around on an inclined play field with flippers. The goal is to hit various targets without losing the ball through the drain at the bottom. Most modern pinball machines are themed—they tell a story and players complete objectives to finish the story. Pinball has been around for decades. But where did it come from?

Origins Date to 1871

In 871, the British inventor Montegue Redgrave received a patent for his game, “Improvements in Bagatelle”. Bagatelle was a game that used a table and balls, but Redgrave received the patent in order to make changes to the original game. He added a coiled spring, a plunger, inclined the playing field and made it smaller, and replaced the larger balls with marbles—all of which are features of pinball.

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Mass Production 1930s

It wasn’t until the 1930s that pinball machines appeared in mass. In 1930 and 1931, these games were countertop machines, rather than freestanding with legs as we know them today. Manufacturers began adding legs in 1932.

The first countertop pinball machine was called “Bingo”, and was produced by the Bingo Novelty Company. This was the first pinball machine manufactured by D. Gottlieb & Company. Next, the company released “Baffle Ball”, another countertop mechanical game. In 1935, they released the same game in an electro-mechanical standing version. It even had a payout.

In 1931, another countertop pinball machine was released called “Bally Hoo”. It included optional legs and was the first coin-operated pinball machine in existence. It was developed by Raymond Maloney, the founder of Bally Corporation.

The Ball Report

Origins of the Name

The game was not actually called “pinball” until 1936. The first pinball games did not have flippers, the balls were instead directed by static nails, or pins, which gave the game its name.

Features

One of the most popular pinball machines in history is “Advance”. The tilt mechanism was invented in 1934 because players had been physically lifting the machines to shake the ball around. Tilt fixed this problem.  The tilt mechanism was first used in “Advance” the pinball game made by Harry Williams.

In 1933, battery-operated pinball machines were introduced. They were first made by Harry Williams; by 1934, electric machines showed up which allowed them to offer plenty of extra features, like new sounds and lights. In 1937, the bumpers were added in a game simply called “Bumper” by Bally Hoo. Flippers were then added in 1947, in a game called “Humpty Dumpty”. Flippers were invented by Harry Mabs and incorporated into the D. Gottlieb & Company game. It used six flippers, three per side.

In the 1950s, pinball machines got flashier—they incorporated lights behind a glass scoreboard which helped highlight the scores and added two player options. In 1963, multiple balls were introduced; designed by Steve Kordek and first used in the game, “Beat the Clock”. He is also the one that moved the flippers to the bottom of the game.

Ever Changing Pinball

Pinball has continued to change with the times. Digital scoring was introduced in 1966, and 1975, the first solid-state electronic pinball machine was released. Later, in 1998, pinball machines incorporated video screens, and today, players can play pinball online.  

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The Origins of Memorial Day in America: Rooted in a History of Former Slaves and Bravery

Cynthia Brooke

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Memorial Day is widely celebrated in the United States, as a way to remember the heroism and sacrifice of those fallen American soldiers. The day has become a time of celebration and community gatherings. With parades, food, and fireworks., it’s just like July 4th. But, while we all know the origins of other American holidays (including the 4th of July), Memorial Day is still shrouded in lost and misunderstood history. The full story is not known, and it’s quite a tale! 

Who Invented Memorial Day? 

The first acknowledged Memorial Day is linked with the tragic loss of life in Charleston, South Carolina that took place toward the end of the Civil War. Hundreds of Union soldiers were left for dead at the Washington Race Course, a makeshift prisoner-of-war camp by the Confederate side. With Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s abrupt surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865. The war had taken a brutal toll on both sides, but the end of the war inspired a mass exodus of Charleston by soldiers and citizens alike. Former slaves stayed behind. Inspired by patriotic fervor, they called themselves the “Patriotic Association of Colored Men.” They took it upon themselves to bring honor and dignity to the fallen soldiers left in the race-course prison in unmarked graves when the Confederate soldiers fled. 

They excavated the unmarked mass graves and then dug 257 individual graves, surrounded by a fence to ensure a place of honor and security. Once their final memorial was complete, the community turned out for “Decoration Day,” which is now recognized by many as the first Memorial Day, in 1865.  The event included the march on the race track, singing by 2,800 black school children, preaching by black ministers, and the wide-spread decoration of the graves.  It was a way to honor the soldiers, who’d been viewed as martyrs by the Patriotic Association of Colored Men. 

The Rest is History 

Tragic loss and sacrifice are at the center of virtually every version of the first Memorial Day celebrations, but the scale is important. The Decoration Day tradition was later launched in Waterloo, New York (and yes, they claim to have invented the first Memorial Day). Memorial celebrations for Confederate soldiers took place in April 1866, and then Union Major General John A. Logan declared May 5, 1868, to be Decoration Day. There are a number of conflicting reports and claims for the events and meaning of the commemorations that took place following the cessation of hostilities at the end of the Civil War. But that last event took place at  Arlington National Cemetery. The formalization of the event at Arlington, with the mass decoration of graves with flowers and flags, is part of why the 1868 event is widely considered to be the first national Memorial Day event in US History. 

Memorial Day was then set as a May 30th national holiday, and it has continued to evolve. The true history of the day is complicated by historical bias and the fickle memories of the participants, but the role of these men and women who had once been slaves is important. After all, the Emancipation Proclamation, issued on January 1, 1863, was just a few years old when the war ended. Former slaves signed up to become Union soldiers en masse. An estimated 25,000 soldiers fought for the Union Army, but approximately 10% of their ranks were former slaves. They fought bravely and with distinction. In fact, 16 black soldiers were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroism in battle. It’s about time that we recognized the hidden stories that have for so long gone untold. 

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You Will Not Believe These Classic Era Celebrities Who are Still Rocking Their Golden Years

Anjali DeSimone

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Past and Present

Have you ever watched a classic movie from Hollywood’s Golden Era and wondered where are they now, or just assumed that they were not here? Read on to see some of the biggest stars from days gone by who are ruing their own world in the new millennium.

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Brave Babysitter Steps Up, Saves Child From Dangerous Burglar

Brooke Hurbert

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Making the decision to hand your child over to a babysitter can be a hard one. Every parent has that nagging thought that runs through their head, “What if something goes wrong?”. Jonathan Lai and his wife called on Jenna Lee Baker in order to watch their three-year-old son for an afternoon. What seemed like a regular afternoon soon turned into a nightmare situation. Keep on reading to find out how Jenny turned into a modern-day superhero!

Welcome to Irvine

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Jonathan Lai and his family are based out of Irvine, CA. As a tightly-knit family, Irvine has plenty to offer. The metropolitan area is located in Orange County, CA. The area is known for being home to some truly amazing local attractions. In fact, Irvine is considered one of the best cities to live in the entire United States, at least according to Business Insider and WalletHub! Still, that doesn’t mean that tragedy cannot strike!

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