30 August 2011

Knocked out! A Golden Era Gottlieb!

Brilliant Harry Mabs

Wow! From an 1982 Orbitor 1 to a 1950 Knock Out .. very cool. It’s been amazing to see the innovations on the play fields on these pieces just acquired. I purchased this from a gentleman who had found this in a pawn store, says he’d never seen anything like that before and just couldn’t resist the wow factor. He got his very first home standing game real quick-like after the store said “today only or the curb!” Thank his stars he wanted a project - an amazing great find.
D. Gottlieb & Co. dominated the 1950s pinball market - it’s why we know the name so well. Often referred to as the Golden Era, some truly inspiring innovations began in these years. We take it for granted today that the flipper had to begin with the 1st pin with one. Harry Mabs put a coil under such a flipper bumper and made it a reality in the famous Humpty Dumpty in October 1947. All of the technologies developed on the field to that point, such as the bumper itself, were perfectly complimented by this idea of ‘shooting it back up the middle’. Moving “from chance to skill”, the game seriously hasn’t looked back since the invention. Unlike the actual ‘pins’ that we see no longer, the flippers are now the real base of the pinball game.

So this is a December 1950, D. Gottlieb & Co.
Knock Out
Serial # 047946KO
The 28th pin made with the new flipper design from Harry Mabs, it’s famous for its manikin boxers inside a miniature playfield boxing ring. Please refer from Michael Shalhoub’s wonderful set of books, “The Pinball Compendium, 1930s-1960s” for more information. There’s also a great restoration page for this pinball @ Sands Mechanical Museum.

Not sure if you caught those #s: that was 28 pinball machines from October 1947 through December 1950 -one man at one Co.. Add Genco, Bally, Williams, and Chicago Coin to that 3 year tally and you would flip out! (And you thought they built games like crazy in the 1980s!)

Here are some ‘before’ pictures (having just set it up in my shop). I’ll update this as I can when restorations are completed. I’m just stunned at how cool this pinball is! Holding the wood rail and pressing the side buttons, gathering all the imagery that Roy Parker hits you with ...this will be a true joy to see working again!

Meantime here’s a nice game restoration walk-through. :)


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