Brian

Steve Kordek coin-op and amusements collection Edit

Summary

Identifier
116.7102

Dates

  • 1948 – 2004 (Creation)
  • 1968 – 1995 (Creation)

Extents

  • 6.25 Linear Feet (Whole)

Agent Links

Subjects

Notes

  • Abstract

    The Steve Kordek coin-op and amusements collection is a compilation of fliers, brochures, hand-outs, manuals, and catalogs collected by Kordek during his six decades in the coin-operated games industry. The bulk of the materials are from 1968 through 1995.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) have not been transferred to The Strong.

  • Custodial History

    The Steve Kordek coin-op and amusements collection was donated to The Strong in December 2016 as a gift from Duncan Brown. The papers were accessioned by The Strong under Object ID 116.7102. The papers were received from Brown in four boxes.

  • Preferred citation for publication

    Steve Kordek coin-op and amusements collection, Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong

  • Processed by

    Kelli Emler Connor, June-December 2016; Julia Novakovic, December 2017-January 2018

  • Language

    The majority of this collection is in English, though there are some materials in German, Japanese, and Italian. They are denoted as such in the Contents List section of the finding aid.

  • Biographical Note

    Steven Francis (“Steve”) Kordek (1911-2012) was a legendary American pinball designer, renowned for popularizing the now-standard two flippers at the bottom of a pinball playing field.

    Kordek grew up in Chicago, the eldest of 10 children to Polish immigrant parents. During the 1930s, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and worked for the U.S. Forest Service. He returned to Chicago in 1937 and, according to a popular story Kordek told, was hired by Genco Pinball, Co. after stepping inside their storefront to escape a downpour. He studied at the Coyne Electrical School at night and worked his way up through the engineering department at Genco. Kordek revolutionized the game of pinball after improving upon another firm’s idea to introduce electromechanical flippers to the bottom of a playfield, giving the player more control and turning a former gambling activity into a skill game. In 1948, Kordek’s pinball game Triple Action took the industry by storm, and soon after, two flippers became standard.

    In the 1950s, Kordek joined Bally Manufacturing Co., and later, Williams Manufacturing Co. Through his career at Williams, Kordek designed upwards of 20 games per year, and eventually became chief designer. Kordek established other now-key features of pinball games, including drop targets and multi-ball game play. He retired in 1999 following the closure of Williams’ pinball division. Kordek passed away in 2012 at the age of 100.

  • Collection Scope and Content Note

    The Steve Kordek coin-op and amusements collection is a compilation of fliers, brochures, hand-outs, manuals, catalogs, and related materials amassed by Steve Kordek over the course of his six decades in the coin-operated games industry. Of particular interest to researchers are early fliers from major game companies such as Atari, Chicago Coin, Midway, Nintendo, Nutting Associates, Sega, Williams, and more. Several fliers and catalogs contain annotations likely written by Kordek. The bulk of the materials are dated between 1968 and 1995, though many fliers are undated.

    The Steve Kordek coin-op and amusements collection has been arranged into two series. The collection is housed in 13 archival document boxes.

  • System of Arrangement

    Series I: Coin-op and amusements fliers, 1948-2004

    Series II: Coin-op and amusements manuals and parts catalogs, 1967-1998

External Documents

Instances

  • Type
    Accession
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    1-13
    Container 1 Barcode
    Steve Kordek coin-op and amusements collection

Components