The first anti-tilt mechanism?

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coppinpr
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The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by coppinpr »

Copied and edited from Rock-ola 1930s pinball parts - Site Admin.

I needed to make a new tilt reset lever for my machine (the old one being missing altogether) which was fun to work out. The tilt mech is quite clever, yet simple. A large metal ball sits in a shallow dish holding the tilt sign back, rock the table and the ball falls off the dish and the tilt shows.
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by pennymachines »

Oddly, if you ask pinball historians who invented the first anti-tilt device they say Harry Williams, who used the ball on pedestal idea on his Advance pinball of October '33. He even described how it was named:

Historical Interlude wrote:...he initially called this innovation the “stool pigeon” until he observed a patron exclaim, “Damn it, I tilted it” after activating the device and decided it should be called the tilt mechanism, though this story may be apocryphal.

Problem is, Rock-Ola's Jigsaw came out in August '33 and has a more sophisticated indicator with 'TILTED' cast into it. In fact, it seems Gottlieb's Brokers Tip of June '33 may have been the first pinball with anti-tilt.

Showing Rock-Ola anti-tilt.
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by coppinpr »

Looks like we can push the Pin ball "Tilt" back a little further. The K & F Speciality Company, of Chicago, Illinois, USA released Whirls Fair in May 1933 (clearly another attempt to cash in on the 1933 World's Fair) not only did the machine have a Tilt Mech, they actually sold an add on tilt mech for any machine! I would really like to see one of those add ons.
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by coppinpr »

While trying to track down the earliest mention of a "Tilt" system for pinballs, I came across a couple of interesting items in the May 1933 issue of Automatic age magazine. The first, as well as containing the announcement of what appears to be a "new" item, the tilt indicator, also has a piece about a vending machine aimed at arcades to sell packets of stamps for stamp collectors(?). Towards the end it describes how arcades have improved over the arcades of "youthful memory".
The second, from the personal ads in the same issue, throws light on the honesty of many slot makers of the time.
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by pennymachines »

Seems The K & F Speciality Company missed a trick by not filing a patent (unless it already existed on earlier machines).
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Post by coppinpr »

That was my first thought, and I searched to see if one existed but found none. Problem was I suspect you can't patent the concept only the design which could easily be "slightly" changed to avoid the patent. Most of the pinballs I had back in the 1970s used the standard mercury switch, but I remember many with the metal pendulum hanging in a metal ring which cut out the power if the two touched.
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by cait001 »

Here is an ad for Whirls Fair that also advertises the add-on tilt mech: Whirls Fair

Do we have any idea how the mech would get added to a machine to be reset? Most of this type had a ball under the mech that flipped the displayed flag when dislodged. Maybe the operator was expected to manually reset it? Unsure.

Released in June 1933, Brokers Tip is believed to be the first pinball machine with a "stool pigeon" tilt mech, which is my favourite style.
A small metal ball is placed on a pillar and if it falls off, game is tilted. Brokers Tip

You can also read a bit more on the early tilt mechs here: The First Pinball Book
go to "CHAPTER 4 - A DECADE OF INNOVATION: 1931-1941"
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by pennymachines »

As Coppin says, Whirls Fair pre-dates Gottlieb's Brokers Tip by a month and as makers of a retrofit tilt mechanism, they're the current front runner. To complicate matters, Exhibit Supply flat-top dice trade stimulators, like Booster, were also using the 'stool pigeon' in 1933. Question is, did anyone employ it before that?

It appears that Harry Williams told pinball historian Russ Jensen that he invented the device, and this has been widely accepted despite apparent prior art.
Russ Jensen wrote:Harry then told me that the first complete game he designed was called ADVANCE and that it was "entirely mechanical". He said that he sold it to Seeburg, adding that this game was the first to use his now famous "tilt" mechanism, and also the first pingame to have a "visible coin chute".
A Visit with Harry Williams, by Russ Jensen

Advance was made by Harry Williams' Automatic Amusement Co. of Los Angeles in October 1933.
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by pennymachines »

Here's a trade stim with anti tilt: Pacific Amusements' Marblo of 1931.
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by cait001 »

pennymachines wrote: Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:49 pm Here's a trade stim with anti tilt: Pacific Amusements' Marblo of 1931.
Ha! Take that, 1933!
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by coppinpr »

Ha! take that!! Harry Williams, who also claimed to have introduced the term "Tilt" after he heard a patron say he had tilted his "Advance" machine. Clearly the patron had seen a machine with a tilt mech before and Harry had not. :lol:
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by videogamehistorian »

As my name indicates, early coin-operated amusements are not my primary area of research. That said, it appears that Marblo game is not from 1931, but rather from 1935. Automatic Age has an ad for it in the February 1935 issue (https://aa.arcade-museum.com/Automatic- ... 02-077.pdf), and its clearly a brand new game at that time. This also makes sense based on other evidence. The Pacific Amusement nameplate on the Marblo lists a Chicago location, which I am almost certain did not exist before the company began manufacturing Contact. I am also suspicious that PamCo did not even exist yet in 1931, but I have not done enough research to state that definitively.

As for the rest, it does appear that Advance was not the first pinball game with a tilt to appear. I don't think that necessarily makes Williams a liar (or "embellisher" to be less antagonistic about it). Both of those games were released in pretty close proximity to Advance and by companies located in the Midwest. Its entirely plausible that Williams had not seen either game yet on the West Coast when he came up with the idea. I mean, that still makes him wrong, but perhaps not in a deliberately deceitful way. Of course, an even earlier machine may still appear considering how little hard research has been done on the period.
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by pennymachines »

Thanks for your input, videogamehistorian.
You may well be correct. Although The International Arcade Museum and PinballHistory.com date Marblo to 1931, the Internet Pinball Database says that Pacific Amusement Manufacturing Company existed from 1932-1937.

And, yes, it would be wrong to assume Harry Williams was lying. As you say, such things can be independently reinvented. It's also easy to assimilate and incorporate ideas, then years later forget where they came from, and assume they were yours. We all do it, I'm sure.

I don't see any recent updates on They Create Worlds. I hope the project is still progressing. |/XX\|

Edit to add: Bally's payout pinball Rocket of 1933 had a more advanced anti-tilt mechanism than the above. It pevented cheating by breaking the payout circuit.
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by historyofhowweplay »

Reviving the dead here, I have two anti-tilt things to add!

At some point. D Gottlieb added an anti-tilt to his Husky Grip tester. This seems odd, but it was due to the machine registering the tilt as a coin being inserted, presumably due to the type of weight mechanism being used. This is the earliest example I've yet found of a 'tilt' in those words, though I have to imagine mechanisms existed before that and maybe were described differently. (Automatic Age 1929-06 pg 40, 42)

A more familiar version of the tilt appears right before pinball in Keeney's Three Jacks, a penny drop game. It doesn't exactly describe how the prevention works but it specifically advertises that it doesn't have to be bolted to the counter, implying this used to be a very pervasive problem. (Automatic Age 1930-03 pg 38)
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by santelmann »

1905 German "Hopp Hopp" by Hoffmann/Polter closes a curtain in case of tilt.... :D
https://alte-spielautomaten.de/automaten/hopp-hopp/
Mechanism using a weight and some cords:
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by pennymachines »

That's extraordinary! !!HAPPY!!
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by santelmann »

pennymachines wrote: Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:45 pm That's extraordinary! !!HAPPY!!
These type of machines seemed to be from another dimension. :D They use a lot of specials.

This is a cashbox from a early machine (like "Zeppelin" and others):
OlympiaKasse.jpg

Compare it with a Polter cashbox from same age......Box locked when tilt!!! :shock: :
hopp2.jpg

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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by coppinpr »

What am I missing here? What was the point of locking the cash box on "tilt"? !PUZZLED! Did they think the offender was going to turn the machine over and shake it!! :!?!:
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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by john t peterson »

Maybe a sales gimmick intended to sway the less savvy potential purchasers. "Look, this game is safer than the Bank of England! It locks up your money at the first hint of cheating."

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Re: The first anti-tilt mechanism?

Post by badpenny »

Possibly.
It might also be to slow down any sticky fingered mechanic visiting to repair or unjam an out of order machine.

My favourite "stitch up" was a Friday Lunch in my pub in The West End.
The busiest session of the week, and as usual we were heaving.
Suddenly amidst the hoard of punters waving empty glasses and £10 notes appeared two geezers in overalls and flat caps.
Pushing a sack barrow in front of them they merrily took chunks out of my customers' ankles.
Getting to the front they thrust a clip board under my nose as I was feverishly pulling pints. While levering Bass into four glasses (one with an 'andle) doing ongoing mental arithmetic, £9.12p. I was repeating the rest of the order as it was given to me " two dry white wines, no make one of them a red, a pint of Heineken, no make that two, I mean a pint and a half ......"
In the middle of that lot I recall hearing the flat cap telling me they were changing the fruit machine, order of the brewery, here's the paperwork.

An hour and a half later while collecting empty glasses I was impressed to see that originally my carpet had been bright red, I'd only ever seen it as brown before. However there in the corner where there should have been a JPM fruit machine was a three feet square of shiny carpet.

BP :NBG:
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