August 09

Pinball Resurgence Keeps Elk Grove Village Factory Humming : Chicago Tonight

Stern Factory 2_2MB.jpg

Chicago Tonight has written an article about the history of Stern pinball and its factory.

I didn’t spend much time on pinball machines until I went away to college. I didn’t even go that far away–about 30 miles from home. But since I wasn’t living with my parents that was far enough. I met another suburban kid adrift in the city and he introduced me to pinball. Pinball and cigarettes.

You put a coin in (a quarter?) and played three balls. Usually I tanked. But I felt it was cool to spend an hour in a bar somewhere in the hours between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., lighting up John Player Specials bought from a shop on Wabash, dumping coins into a dead end of flashing lights, bumpers, flippers, TILT and art work that was entirely beyond the pale of anything that passed for tasteful or friendly or even nice.

Representations of women with come-on faces staring over shoulders showing off ample figures, posing like odalisques for the slightly smirking, bored-looking James Bond-like guys, or celebrations of autos and sports.  I felt like I belonged to the edge of the movies I was just beginning to see, films by Rainer Werner Fassbinder about people destined for big league trouble, pinball-playing sadists who sometimes murdered to handle their complicated emotions.

Hey, it was just a pinball machine.

Read the entire article here :

Thanks to Chicago Tonight and Dan Andries for the article and pictures.