Brian

James Loflin’s Bally-Midway-Williams collection Edit

Summary

Identifier
115.94
Finding Aid Author
Julia Novakovic
Finding Aid Date
20 June 2016
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Dates

  • 1980-1997 (Creation)
  • 1996-1997 (Creation)

Extents

  • 4 Linear Feet (Whole)
    MC1, Dr1

Agent Links

Subjects

Notes

  • Abstract

    James Loflin’s Bally-Midway-Williams collection is a compilation of original copies of documents from a collector who retains the records of Bally-Midway-Williams. The bulk of the materials are dated between 1996 and 1997, though some are undated.

  • Language

    The materials in this collection are in English.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Though the donor has not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, he has given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes.

  • Custodial History

    James Loflin’s Bally-Midway-Williams collection was donated to The Strong in January 2015 as a gift from James Loflin. The papers were accessioned by The Strong under Object ID 115.94.

  • Preferred citation for publication

    James Loflin’s Bally-Midway-Williams collection, Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong

  • Processed by

    Julia Novakovic, June 2016

  • Historical Note

    What we now recognize as pinball evolved in America during the 20th century, with several well-known companies leading the way.

    Raymond Moloney founded the Bally Manufacturing Company in 1932 to make pinball games. Along with pinball, Bally fabricated mechanical slot machines and gambling devices. (During World War II, Bally halted production of recreational items and instead made ammunition and airplane parts.) The addition of flippers and bumpers transformed pinball from a gambling machine to a skill game. Bally purchased Midway Manufacturing Co., another amusements manufacturer, in 1969. Midway operated under its own name for another decade, until Bally merged its own pinball division with Midway’s to form Bally/Midway Manufacturing in 1981.

    In 1943, Harry Williams founded Williams Manufacturing Company in Chicago, Illinois—the American center for pinball production. His company rose to prominence as one of the most important arcade and pinball game manufacturers in the United States after World War II. Williams pinball designers introduced many pinball innovations, including ramps, scoring reels, drop targets, and modern 3-inch flippers. The company was acquired and incorporated several times, resulting in company name changes (becoming Williams Electronics, Inc. in 1974 and WMS Industries in 1987).

    In 1988, WMS purchased competitor Bally/Midway. The pinball division of WMS closed in 1999, after more than 50 years of designing and manufacturing electro-mechanical and solid-state pinball machines.

  • Collection Scope and Content Note

    James Loflin’s Bally-Midway-Williams collection contains a compilation of documentation from the Bally-Midway-Williams companies, as assembled by a pinball collector. Materials include a 1980 organizational chart from Williams Electronics, Inc., a production chart template [likely also from Williams Electronics, Inc.], a code chart for Bally/Midway projects, a memo from a Williams employee visit to Atari Games, a proposal for the Star Wars: Episode I pinball game, and a pinball playfield for NBA Fastbreak. The collection spans from 1980 through 1997, and though several items are undated, they appear to fall within this date range. Additional scope and content information can be found in the “Contents List” section of this finding aid.

    James Loflin’s Bally-Midway-Williams collection is arranged into two series. The materials are housed in five archival folders, stored in one map case drawer.

  • Related Materials

    The International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) holds more than 30 pinball machines from Bally, Midway, and Williams.

  • System of Arrangement

    Series I: Corporate documentation, 1980-1997 and n.d

    Series II: Pinball playfield drawing, 1997

External Documents

Components