My Sydney collector friend says that the object of the Old Thro Ball machine was indeed to catch a ping pong ball in the cup. This was fairly difficult at first but the player did not lose the ball if it did not land in the cup. Mostly it was returned for another shot, so that one got about ten shots before the ball was actually lost and it did not return to the ledge that propelled the ball. After a while one learnt how much force to exert on the ball in order to land in the target. He got a bit bored with the machine and sold it on to a collector in Adelaide a few years later. When he bought it at auction the cabinet paint was peeling and he stripped it and re-polished the cabinet which he did not consider to be the machine's original one. So, presumably the machine survives in Australia.
*Topic split & moved to The Whirlygig fortune teller - Site Admin