Pioneering Gaming Company Donates Collection to The Strong
October 12, 2015
For Immediate Release
Pioneering Gaming Company
Donates Pinball Design Collection
to The Strong Museum
ROCHESTER, New York—Electronic gaming and amusement company Williams Electronics Games, Inc. has donated to The Strong in Rochester, New York, hundreds of original pinball design drawings from between 1946 and 1995 that document the changes in pinball machine design after World War II. The collection includes more than 200 hand-drawn sketches of playfields (the machine’s surface where the ball rolls), hundreds of mechanical design drawings, and examples of original pinball concept artwork.
“Williams pinball designers introduced many pinball innovations—including ramps, drop targets, and modern three-inch flippers—to challenge and entertain players. They helped make the company one of the most important arcade and pinball game manufacturers of the last half of the 20th century,” says Jeremy Saucier, assistant director for The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games.
The Williams Pinball Playfield Design Collection, 1946–1995, includes playfield designs for games such as Dynamite (1946), Williams’s second pinball machine; Sunny (1947), the company’s first game with flippers; All American Quarterback (1949); Nine Sisters (1953); Daffy Derby (1954); Magic Clock (1960); Vagabond (1962); Apollo (1967); Little Chief (1975); Joust (1983); Diner (1990); The Machine: Bride of Pinbot (1991); Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure (1993); and Dirty Harry (1995). The collection includes drawings by legendary and prolific pinball designers such as Harry Williams (company founder), Gordon Horlick, Harry Mabs (invented flippers while at Gottlieb), Steve Kordek (invented drop targets), Norm Clark, Barry Oursler, Mark Ritchie, and Python Anghelo.
Says former Williams software developer Duncan Brown, “For a pinball company, the earliest of these drawings are as close as you can get to ‘founding documents.’ Drawn by Harry Williams himself and later Gordon Horlick, Sam Stern, Steve Kordek, and Norm Clark, these drawings show erasures, alterations, and additions that tell us about the evolution of a particular game. These designers, so important to the pinball industry, sat at tables with pencils, rulers, and these very pieces of paper, and created magic. To my knowledge, no other such body of pinball design history from this era still exists.”
The Williams Pinball Playfield Design Collection sits among the world’s most comprehensive collections of video games, other electronic games, and electronic game-related historical materials—including the Atari Coin-Op Divisions Collection. Some of the designs will be on display in a new pinball exhibit opening at The Strong in early 2016.
About The Strong
The Strong is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to the history and exploration of play. It is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play and houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play.
About the International Center for the History of Electronic Games
The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) collects, studies, and interprets video games, other electronic games, and related materials and the ways in which electronic games are changing how people play, learn, and connect with each other, including across boundaries of culture and geography. As a result of ICHEG’s efforts, The Strong’s collection of video games, other electronic games, and game-related historical materials is the largest and most comprehensive public assemblage in the United States and one of the largest in the world.