Jim's pinball story, from Magnotron to the Boston Pinball Company...

By BosPinCo

August 12, 2013

10 years ago

The first machine I remember playing as a kid was Magnotron, it was located in a small arcade at a beach near my house. I never really liked the beach much, I alway managed to stay in the arcade while the family was at the beach. I only needed a buck, as that would allow me to play for many hours. I could always get the machine up to 15 credits, and often had to leave many of them on the machine when it was time to go. Another machine I enjoyed was Atlantis (1975 version), I played that machine at a local Zayre's department store. I was playing while the family was shopping. As a teen, my favorite hang out was Salem Willows (in MA.), they always had at least a couple dozen machines to play.

Another one of my favorite hang outs was Cape Ann Lanes (Candle Pin Bowling), they had several machines to play, so I was always playing before and after the bowling league. My friends would always say that I've used so many quarters that I could buy my own machine (probably several). One of my favorites there was Black Knight 2000, it was there for many years. As fate would have it, the first machine I bought, was actually that exact machine that had made the rounds on the north shore, I purchased it from the vendor located in Beverly.

While attending college in Boston, I found a basement arcade near the school that had about 20 machines, I spent all my time between long class breaks there, also while waiting for the train. (Yes, I missed the train several times while trying to play just one more ball!). They had Haunted House, and back in the college break room they had Black Hole, so I spent quite a few quarters on those machines.

On one of my work trips, I found an arcade in Arizona, that's where I came across Stargate for the first time. I can't even rememeber the other machines that were there, I played that machine for many hours a night after work for the 7 days I was there. Stargate was the 2nd machine I bought.

I purchsed several other machines after that. Having an electrical engineering background, I obviously enjoyed repairing the machines. Most of the machines I purchased needed something fixed. It was on the Sinbad machine where I first started thinking about replacement parts. The machine needed a driver board as the one in it had been repaired many many times. So I designed one. Then I started looking at the old plasma tube displays. Decided to see if I could make some new ones out of LED's. Did a bunch of testing on different ones, made some boards, and had the first LED's for Gottlieb System 1 machines. Once I made them, I realized that if I needed them, then other people could probably use them as well. So I made a small batch of each, posted them on eBay and created a website, Boston Pinball Company.

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