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United Manufacturing Co. records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2019.united
The United Manufacturing Co. records contain game design documentation, including wiring, switch, disc, and circuit diagrams. Other materials within this collection include notes, instruction drafts, bills of materials, and work-to-part prints. Electromechanical game types covered within these records are bowling games, shuffle alleys, bingo, baseball, skee-ball, and target games. Additional scope and content information can be found in the “Contents List” section of this finding aid.

The United Manufacturing Co. records are arranged into one series. The materials are housed in three archival document boxes, two oversized flat folders, and 19 rolled storage boxes.


  • 1945 - 1964

Conditions Governing Use

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


22.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes, 2 oversized folders, 19 rolled storage boxes)


The United Manufacturing Co. records are an assemblage of game design documentation (mainly wiring diagrams and disc diagrams) for projects produced by United during the late 1940s through its merger with Williams in 1964.

Historical Note

In 1941, Harry Williams and Lyndon (“Lyn”) Durant worked for Exhibit Supply in Chicago, Illinois. While Exhibit Supply manufactured great quality games, the company did not plan to apply for war contracts, as several other electromechanical game companies were doing during World War II. Williams and Durant formed a new company called United Manufacturing to refurbish games and obtain wartime manufacturing contracts. Williams left United in Durant’s hands in 1942 (and the following year, he established Williams Manufacturing Company).

United Manufacturing continued converting and revamping existing games during the 1940s, but soon began developing their own amusement games. United excelled at creating table bowling games and shuffle alleys. In 1950, score reels (rotating drums which kept score on an electromechanical game) debuted on bowling machines produced by United. The company expanded into skee-ball, target and rifle, baseball, pool, bingo, and other popular electromechanical game types.

During June 1964, The Seeburg Corporation (well-known for its jukeboxes) acquired Williams Manufacturing Co. as a fully owned subsidiary, to operate under Williams’ president Sam Stern. A few months later, in September 1964, Seeburg purchased the assets of United Manufacturing, absorbing the company into the Williams division and effectively halting the creation of any more games under the United name.

System of Arrangement

Series I: Game design documentation, 1945-1964

Custodial History

The United Manufacturing Co. records were donated to The Strong in November 2017 as a gift from Kenneth and Brigitte Fedesna. The papers were accessioned by The Strong under Object ID 117.9829 and were received from Fedesna in two large boxes, along with library materials, two arcade games, and the Ken Fedesna papers.

Processed by

Julia Novakovic, April 2019
Finding Aid to the United Manufacturing Co. Records, 1945-1964
Julia Novakovic
30 April 2019
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository

The Strong
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA
585.423.1886 (Fax)