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Updates - The Arlington Mystery and Fairmont

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Arlington mystery game

Russ Jensen and Frank Laughlin also recently brought to my attention an interesting mystery regarding the game Arlington. It is a mystery because, as of this writing, we don't know who manufactured or converted the game! The origins of the Fairmont game were cleared up with this mystery however. One question answered and a new one asked!

Here is what is known: Reinhart Bangerter (he of Cactus Jack's design fame) actually owns an Arlington game (a one ball game), and he has it stored away about 100 miles from where he lives. It was pretty obvious that the game was a conversion of a Bally Fairmont, as everything except the backglass apparantly has "Fairmont" written all over it. In the back box you could even plainly see how they adjusted the lights from 8 to 9 (corresponding to the 8 letters in "Fairmont" and 9 in "Arlington").

The Pinball Collector's Resource lists Arlington, but with no information. However, it lists only one game called Fairmont, and describes it as a February 1944 Bell Products game. In my scanning of Billboards I found nothing to change this information, except that I saw Fairmont mentioned in January of 1944.

Based on Reinhart's game, Russ and Frank checked the old Bally game list and sure enough found an entry for Fairmont, game #449. Bally WW2 production stopped at game #455, just 6 later, so it would appear that Fairmont was produced in late 1941 or early 1942.

I went through some 1944 Billboards again, and looked at the Bell Products ad from January. The ad mentioned about Rockingham having "similar play appeal as Fairmont". I think this statement fooled me (and Russ, many years ago) into thinking that Fairmont was a Bell game. I later found another Bell ad (text only) advertising "Bally Fairmont" games for sale. They were also selling Bally backglasses, which makes sense since they did convert old Bally games and hance would have the Bally glasses left over from the process.

So, it would appear that there was probably one and only one Fairmont, created by Bally in late 41/early 42, and it was converted into a game called Arlington. The question remains as to who did the Arlington conversion. My guess would be Bell Products since they converted a lot of other Bally one balls and mentioned Fairmont in more than one ad. However that is just speculation on my part. Apparantly there were no indications of manufacture to be found on Reinhart's Arlington example. Perhaps when it is dug out next a closer inspection can be made ...

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