William’s Pinball History – by Michael Thomasson
Without question, Williams’ pins are the gold standard in the industry. After designing just
shy of 450 unique pins, they are by far the most prominent producer of pinball machines of all time. The Williams Manufacturing Company dates back to 1943. Its founder, Harry Williams, first made fortune telling, electromechanical,
and novelty coinoperated amusement devices.
His initial entry in to pinball were not original tables, but conversions. The second World War created material shortages, so Williams chose to make alterations to existing pins by making minor changes to the playfield and reskinning the cabinet with new artwork. His first original table was Suspense (1946) and was released before Gottlieb changed the game from a game of luck to a game of skill by adding flippers. In 1950, Williams released Lucky Inning, which was the company’s first pin to have the inward facing flippers commonly found all most pinball machines since.
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