A CATALOG OF EARLY 30s PINBALL ADS compiled by Terry Cumming. (No
ISBN Number) 190p, spiralbound, 8 ½ x 11, illustrated, b/w.
Brought to us by Canadian pinball hobbyist Terry Cumming, this new
collection of pinball imagery is culled primarily from original trade ads that
appeared in The Billboard, a century-old industry publication still in
Cumming has dug into the distant coin-op past and extracted over 150
hyperbole-filled pinball advertisements whose builders promised their new table
would make operators rich and richer and richer-er and... .
Working within the years 1931-1934, the author has chosen a wide
cross-section of games and manufacturers and devoted full-page treatment for
each. In some instances he's included articles relating to the game depicted.
These, too, are reprinted from The Billboard's pages and shed additional
light on many forgotten games.
Each of the ads have been scanned and the arduous process of electronically
removing fold lines and imperfections resulted in clean-looking reproductions.
As for sharp detail in the playfield areas, the author states clearly in his
Introduction that he was able to perform just so much restoration. By having to
rely on aged and yellowed source material, the results on some images are indeed
murky, but overall reproduction is about as good as can be expected.
What's mainly at play here is the large chunk of early pinball information
that can be had for a mere $15. It's formatted as if it were a catalog and is
arranged alphabetically by manufacturer. All of the usual cast of pinball
makers are present such as Gottlieb, Genco, Bally, and Rock-ola along with
quickie outfits like Great States Manufacturing, Home Novelty, Success, Allswell
This is a privately-produced book and Cumming's company, Pinnovations, has
previously produced other pinball niche products including last year's Pinball
and World War II. This new addition to his product line dovetails nicely
with Dick Bueschel's Encyclopedia of Pinball Volume 1&2 which covers
the topic through 1936.
As Cumming points out, "Because of (Dick's book), I made very little
attempt to do any storytelling here, and limited this project's scope to only
creating a catalog." And he has done so admirably.
© Tim Ferrante and GameRoom magazine, 1997.