Chicago Coin

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Chicago Coin logo.svg

Chicago Coin was one of the early major manufacturers of pinball tables founded in Chicago, Illinois. The company was first a label and then a division of Chicago Dynamic Industries which was founded in 1931 by Samuel H. Gensburg to operate in the coin-operated amusement industry.[1] In 1977, Gary Stern and Sam Stern purchased the assets of the Chicago Coin Machine Division as it was then called to found Stern Electronics, Inc.


Sam Gensburg founded Chicago Dynamic Industries after a stint as the co-founder of Chicago Coin Machine Exchange with brother-in-law Sam Wolberg and third partner Lou Koren, a company which had a business of trade-ins for coin-operated games. In 1931, Sam Genburg's brothers Louis Gensburg, David Gensburg, and Meyer Gensburg had founded Genco as an amusement manufacturer and Sam decided to enter that business by establishing Chicago Dynamic Industries with the label Chicago Coin to use on its products. The company started off by making replacement boards for early pinball games before creating the table Blackstone (1933) which was manufactured by a partner named Stoner.[2][3][1] Genco would remain a competitor with Chicago Coin until the companies merged in 1959.

Though never a technologically-driven or innovative company, Chicago Coin was highly successful in the years preceding and immediately succeeding World War II. Their pinball table Beam-Lite (1935), which featured a lighted playfield, sold 5,703 units and their flipperless game Kilroy (1947) sold 8,800 units which was the highest selling pinball table up until the 1970s.[2][3] The company also diversified in later years, creating sports tables and shuffle alleys.[1]

In 1973, Chicago Coin was one of the many companies who created Pong (1972) clones with TV Ping Pong (1973). In subsequent years, the company took to licensing games from other manufacturers including TV Goalee (1974) from Australian Leisure & Allied Industries, Super Flipper (1975) (originally UFO) from Model Racing of Italy, and Destruction Derby (1975) from Exidy of California. As a result of entering the video game market, in 1974 Chicago Dynamic Industries was one of the many companies sued by Magnavox regarding patents related to the Magnavox Odyssey (1972).[4]

Following subsequent financial trouble, Chicago Dynamic Industries sold the assets of Chicago Coin which were incorporated into the new company Stern Electronics, Inc.

Notable Pinballs[edit]

Chicago Coin tables are often lesser known than those made by Gottlieb, Williams, and Bally. Nonetheless, there were several Chicago Coin tables which stood out amongst the larger market.

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


  1. ^ a b c "Historical Interlude: The History of Coin-Op Part 4, From Sportlands to Playlands". They Create Worlds. 2015-05-11. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
  2. ^ a b "The Early Pinball Books" by Russ Jensen
  3. ^ a b "Encyclopedia of Pinball Volume 2: Contact to Bumper 1934-1936" review by Tim Ferrante
  4. ^ Smith, Keith (2014-10-04). "The Golden Age Arcade Historian: The First European Imports???". The Golden Age Arcade Historian. Retrieved 2017-09-26.

External links[edit]