(Topic ID: 206993)

What do you consider Prewar?

By jmsvero

1 year ago

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  • 9 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by Hula
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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    War Production Board - 1 - Chic Daily Trib 19420317007 (resized).jpg

    #1 1 year ago

    My self, I consider up to and including all of 1941.
    We entered the war in December 1941.
    Or do you go back to the end of 1939 since the war actually started in Sept. 1939.
    I guess you could go as high as all of 1945 since the war ended in Sept. 1945.
    Nothing past that date. I know a lot of people consider up to the introduction of flippers.
    I feel that is not correct.
    What is everyone's opinion?

    #2 1 year ago

    1939 is where i stop.

    from there in my mind its

    #3 1 year ago

    Im thinking anything before the start of the war. Us Canadians were in it earlier than you guys.

    #4 1 year ago

    If it’s an American made product then up to dec 6 1941 manufacture date. It all changed overnight, it some cases literally as most companies saw it coming. Material, which had been getting scarce thanks to lend lease became even more so after dec 7. And men’s hearts weren’t into anything but war material.

    #5 1 year ago

    Hmmm does this all tie back to the thread regarding pre WW2 pins at VFW pinball?

    #6 1 year ago
    Quoted from smokey_789:

    Hmmm does this all tie back to the thread regarding pre WW2 pins at VFW pinball?

    Don't have any idea about that Smokey.
    I just started it to see what the consensus of what is considered pre war. I see posts in this section on games from 46,47,48, etc.
    Definately not Pre War. I always considered it through December 1941.

    1 month later
    #7 1 year ago

    I've always kept a fuzzy, wordless idea in my head for what "pre-war" was. From working the IPDB, I think I've moved away from a day or a week to more of a transitional period of time. Not particularly in the vicinity of December 7, 1941 so much, but more in the vicinity of when the pinball companies responded to December 7, 1941, either voluntarily or by government order. Here is what I wrote on the IPDB based on an article I read from the Chicago Daily Tribune dated March 17, 1942:

    "On March 16, 1942, the War Production Board ordered the shutdown of all manufacture of pinball games, jukeboxes, weighing machines, and other amusement machines, effective May 1, 1942, to concentrate materials for the war effort. Approximately thirty companies, mostly in the Chicago area, and employing about 10,000 people, were affected by this order. Eleven of the thirty companies were already producing parts for bomb sights, artillery shells, parts for airplane gun turrets, and other war items."

    So, it appears it was not like someone threw a switch and all companies reacted in lockstep. That's not surprising, is it?

    Companies had inventory to kill off in the face of production quotas. Genco apparently took it right up to the wire. I wrote:

    "According to the manufacturer's ad placed in Billboard magazine dated May 2, 1942, this was their last game due to the shutdown in production as ordered by the War Production Board." You can see the ad here:


    I've always wanted to see what items the pinball companies made during the war when they were not making pinball machines. Not just read about them, but see them. Pictures of them. Instead of just having a big hole in the pinball timeline. This might be a time to mention that a colleague was searching ebay for "Keeney" and stumbled on a few wartime items. I decided, what the heck, let's add them to the IPDB, with pictures, creating a new Specialty in our Advanced Search pulldown menu called "WWII Contract". You can see them here:


    It's not much, that list, but a humble beginning, and might be fun for our users to see them. So, if you ever stumble upon a wartime item branded by a pinball company, give me a holler. If you see it on ebay, email me the URL with item number and put "ebay" in the Subject line so I know to jump on it right away before the auction expires. I hardly expect the Specialty to grow by leaps and bounds, but it's another way to enjoy the hobby, I suppose.


    P.S. Here is the article from the Chicago Daily Tribune, which I found interesting:

    War Production Board - 1 - Chic Daily Trib 19420317007 (resized).jpg

    #9 1 year ago
    Quoted from I_P_D_B:

    I've always kept a fuzzy, wordless idea in my head for what "pre-war" was. From working the IPDB, I think I've moved away from a day or a week to more of a transitional period of time.

    Excellent perspective Jay. I'm of similar thought, and feel it was a softer transition from pinball production to wartime efforts. As you know during the war, corporations such as United Manufacturing Company produced numerous conversion games. While their first conversion '42 Midway' was clearly a commemorative design, an interesting but little known detail surrounds many of their subsequent wartime titles. Most obvious was their 3rd release '43 Arizona'. Cursory observation might suggest the game was merely a nod to the state, however the mast and naval pennants boldly displayed on the flanks of the backbox leave little doubt the design was paying homage to the US battleship sunk little more than a year before the game was released. To be certain, the cabinet graphics including bald eagle, and red, white and blue flowing ribbon were thrown in for good measure.

    Less obvious were United's succession of wartime 'state' conversion games which followed their production of Arizona. Far more than coincidence, the string of state titles just so happened to pair with several US Naval vessels which all played significant roles throughout the war; '43 Santa Fe' (USS Santa Fe CL-60), '43 Idaho' (USS Idaho BB-42), '44 Oklahoma' (USS Oklahoma BB-37), '47 Hawaii' (USS Hawaii CB-3), '47 Nevada' (USS Nevada). Although I have not verified this through official UMC documentation, the random odds of chance are clearly more than coincidence. These titles were selected with intent.

    While our focus here remains on prewar pinball, I believe the very limited number of games produced during the war (albeit conversions), and the conditions under which they were allowed to be manufactured, should be recognized as a significant category in it's own right.

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