Chicago Coin

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Chicago Coin logo.svg

Chicago Coin was one of the early major manufacturers of pinball tables. Chicago Coin, founded in 1931, would make pingames and modern pinball machines for over 45 years before being sold to the Stern family in 1977 and becoming Stern Electronics, Inc. The proper name of the entity was Chicago Coin Machine Division of Chicago Dynamic Industries. The signage on the final corporate location (1725 W. Diversey Parkway) said: "Chicago Dynamic Industries".

Early history[edit]

As its names implies, Chicago Coin Machine Manufacturing Company was located in Chicago, Illinois, the center of the pinball and arcade game industry since the early days of the coin-operated amusement industry. Chicago Coin was formed in 1931 by partners Sam Gensburg, Lou Koren and Sam Wolberg. [1][2] Incidentally, Sam Gensburg's three brothers Louis, Meyer, and David formed a rival pinball company called Genco. Genco would remain a competitor with Chicago Coin until the companies merged in 1959.

The first Chicago Coin pingame was actually manufactured by Stoner, a manufacturing partner of Chicago Coin. The game was called Blackstone and was made in 1933. The first original Chicago Coin game was a pingame called Leland, produced two months after Blackstone. In 1935, Chicago Coin produced Beam-Lite, which sold an astounding 5,703 units.

Chicago Coin's first pinball table to have flippers was Bermuda, released in November 1947. Unlike the "big three" of the post-flipperless pinball industry, Chicago Coin was often seen as not being as innovative as rivals Gottlieb, Williams, and Bally. Additionally, CC pinball tables were often seen as lower quality than their more popular rivals. Chicago Coin would struggle to shake this reputation throughout its existence.

Chicago Coin made ball bowlers from 1957 - 1973. Some of these machines are regarded as the finest ball bowlers ever produced.

Later history[edit]

Chicago Coin, more so than its main competitors, tended to be a general purpose arcade amusement company. The company made products such as shuffle bowling games, electromechanical car driving games, and skeeball tables. In 1973 Chicago Coin attempted to get in on the Pong craze by releasing two arcade game consoles: TV Football and TV Hockey. The company also manufactured a unique arcade videogame item in 1975 called Super Flipper, which was essentially a video game simulation of pinball with a display monitor housed in a miniature pinball cabinet. In spite of these efforts, Chicago Coin was in financial trouble, and by 1977 the company's assets were sold to Stern Electronics. It is erroneously believed that Stern Electronics, Inc. became Data East Pinball, which became Sega Pinball, which became Stern Pinball, Inc. This is untrue as interviews with Gary Stern, president of all 4 companies has pointed out. Stern Electronics, Inc. went bankrupt in 1984 and did not become any other entity.[citation needed]

Notable Pinballs[edit]

Chicago Coin tables are often lesser known than those made by Gottlieb, Williams, and Bally. Nonetheless, there were several CC tables that were more distinguishable than others.

  • Bronco (1963)
  • Casino (1972)
  • Gold Record (1975)
  • Hee Haw (1973)
  • Hi Flyer (1974)
  • Hollywood (1976)
  • Red Baron (1975)
  • Riviera (1973)
  • Sound Stage (1976)
  • Stage Coach (1968)
  • Sun Valley (1962)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Early Pinball Books" by Russ Jensen
  2. ^ "Encyclopedia of Pinball Volume 2: Contact to Bumper 1934-1936" review by Tim Ferrante

External links[edit]