I posted a thread over two years ago on RGP, with some great feedback. One member gave a lengthy, but very educational reply. Here it is...
"This isn't exactly on subject but CFH offers some interesting insight
here on pinball rubber. Taken from Pinside, but it was posted here on
RGP several months back:
-as many know, I don't post to RGP any more. But for this, i will make
one exception. I can offer some facts on rubber that perhaps a lot of
people don't know. You all may find it useful in rubber choice on
First off, rubber today is WAY different than rubber from the past.
Since the end of "ABC" rubber (which Williams had a good share), things
have changed in the world of pinball rubber. ABC rubber was the standard
by which all other rubber was and should be compared. It was perfect
rubber in terms of durometer and durability. I think most people will
agree on that (at least those that remember ABC rubber.)
Today, largely, there is really just one maker of rubber in Taiwan. They
hold the molds for Terry (Pinball Life), Steve Young, Marco, and the
other guys that make rubber. So when you buy Pinball
Life rubber and you see "PL" on the rubber, it's really no different
than the other brands (generally speaking, though there are some
exceptions.) Same formula, just they use the molds belonging to whomever
is ordering rubber.
That said, today's White rubber is absolute trash. SR is quite right
that putting white rubber on games today is suicide. Today's white
rubber is way too soft. It has no longevity, and comes apart quickly.
(about 3 weeks white mini-posts fall apart or rip, and slingshots tear
and fall apart.)
I operate games, and frankly I can't use today's white rubber. For games
in your home, I'm sure it's fine. But out in the "commercial world", new
white rubber is junk. The formula is bad, improper, and useless, in my
experience. It's way too soft and way too white, and just wears really
poorly. For your game room it's soft and spongy, really white, and
probably works well for the 100 to 200 games you'll put on your machines
in a year. But out in the field, new white rubber does not work in high
I've discussed this with Terry at PL. He doesn't want to change things.
His customer base is home owners, and they like the soft-like-bubble-gum
white rubber. So after considerable whining to Terry and Mark at Marco
by Tim Arnold and myself, Marco has come up with a NEW formula for white
rubber. We've been testing it for Marco, and I have to say, it's a HUGE
improvement over the stuff everyone else is selling.
So is the new Marco rubber better than ABC rubber of old? Frankly, no. I
would say the new Marco rubber is a lot like the HAPP and WICO rubber of
10 years ago. Not amazing, not perfect, but miles ahead of the stuff
everyone else is selling today. I've found it far more durable on my
I believe Tim Arnold is getting about the same results too. Hats off to
Now a little about the history of rubber. You'll ask how i know this
useless crap, but i *collect* white rubber. I have stock piles of ABC
rubber from 15 years ago, brand new, stored in ziplock bags, in dark
cabinets. I also have Wico, Happ, and a few other brands offered over
the last 15 years. I have this stuff in huge qualities too, so i can
test and compare today's rubber to the "rubber of old." (It gives a nice
point of reference, as I have about 10,000 pieces of white rubber in
I also have some black rubber too from years ago, but not nearly the
quantities to do much testing. I will say this about black rubber today,
it's better than black rubber of old. Today's black rubber is actually
pretty decent. Hence SR's usage of it today is really not a huge factor.
Personally I like (vintage) white rubber better than today's black
rubber, but that's me. I completely understand why SR uses black. I mean
I don't like it, but given the choice of today's black versus today's
white rubber, black wins in durability by miles. It still looks like
hell though - clean white rubber will always win in looks. (Sorry SR.)
I will say this though. We are operating all the new Sterns, including
SR's titles. And they all have vintage white rubber on them. People come
play them and are like, "Wow this game is really
different, i like it!" The games play more difficult, with different
bounce properties. spiderman is the perfect example. With black rubber,
I find game times to be fairly high (in excess of 5 minutes.)
Switched to vintage white rubber, and game times are about 3 minutes.
The game is a lot harder, and frankly a lot more fun! Personally i like
that, but that's me. Some people find it more frustrating, but in the
end, that just means they play more games!
We also use vintage ABC rubber on a lot of our games (both Tim and I
have some inventory of original ABC.) It's still the standard that all
others should strive. But I've largely moved to using vintage ABC on EM
games only, and use vintage white Happ and Wico (etc.) on the solidstate
games. The only "new" white rubber I use (other than the Marco stuff) is
mini-posts, as i have NO old inventory of white mini posts! This really
sucks because today's white mini-posts last about 3 weeks. PLEASE TERRY
I hope this helps everyone. I won't do any follow up posts to this. I
just hope it helps. Also if you could all support Marco and his new
flavor of white rubber, I think that would be good move (the price of
his new rubber is no different than existing white rubber.) When
ordering you have to talk to Mark about getting it, the new Marco white
rubber is not the "default" rubber that he sells."