The pinball machine today is often pushed aside and forgotten when the gaming industry is discussed. Pinball has been regulated to the sidelines of American gaming culture today, but it has had quite the past. While unknown in popular culture, pinball has some surprising ancestors and has interacted with American society in some shocking ways. The timeline above shares a broad overview of the history of the pinball machine. For an in-depth look into the nostalgic game, explore the rest of our website!

-Cameron, Laura, Danielle, & Shannon.


1. Nellum Technologies, “History of Billiards,” The Billiard Shop, accessed March 16, 2017,

2.United States Croquet Association,”Croquet in America: From Backyard Game to Worldclass Sport,” accessed March 16, 2017,

3. James Masters, “Bagatelle – History and Useful Information,” accessed March 16, 2017.

4. Redgrave, Montague. 1871. Improvement in bagatelles. U.S Patent 115,357. Issued May 30, 1871.

5. “Pinball/Baffle Ball,” TV Tropes, accessed April 3, 2017,

6. Christopher Klein, “That Time America Outlawed Pinball,” History In the Headlines, November 15, 2016, accessed April 4, 2017,

7. “Humpty Dumpty,” Internet Pinball Machine Database, accessed April 03, 2017,

8. Dave Lifton, “The Day the Who (Reluctantly) Recorded ‘Pinball Wizard,’” Ultimate Classic Rock, February 7, 2015, accessed April 3, 2017.

9. Ann Struthers, “God, Ronald Reagan, and the Cosmic Pinball Machine,” Minnesota Review 30, no. 1 (1988): 52, Project Muse.