(Topic ID: 144403)

Woodrails, tell me about them...let's see them!


By 5280wzrd

4 years ago



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  • 105 posts
  • 33 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by ZNET
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

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There are 105 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
#1 4 years ago

I'm thinking I need to round out my collection with a woodrail. I can hold my own with more modern EMs but know nothing about the predicessors. There is a flipperless 1947 Rio on the list locally for $500. I would prefer to find a flipper game unless you fellas have any opinions. Just looking for a "fun" game that won't break the bank.

Thanks for any help you can give.

Lem

-3
#2 4 years ago

My take is that flipperless games are as fun to play as a broken gumball machine. At any price.

Gottlieb "owned" the 50's, with what are considered by most as the best play/art packages, with a very few exceptions...Bally's Balls a Poppin and Williams Gusher and Sea Wolf come to mind. Those are high $ games, though. I'd suggest looking for a single player Gottlieb, and there are many that are very good players, too many to list here. I'd also suggest that you avoid reverse flipper games, such as College Daze or Joker, where the pivot point of the flipper is on the inside of the flipper. Also, I don't particularly like the "turret shooter" games like Telecard or Buffalo Bill that have nice art packages, but with wide open playfields (like a pitch and bat baseball game) and no pop bumpers.

Prices on woodrails seem to be declining over time, and you should be able to find lots of choices in the $1000 range, +/-.

Once you see something you like, priced and located right, post back and ask opinions for a particular game.

#3 4 years ago

Thanks, that was what I was thinking as far as flipperless games. From what I was reading, flippers started to show up around 1948. When did the woodrails change to stainless?

#4 4 years ago

Good woodrail info courtesy of Clay Harrell:

http://www.pinrepair.com/gtb/

#5 4 years ago

The more wood you wake up with each morning, the better off you are.

#6 4 years ago

I have a United Mexico (same playfield as Rio, different rules) and I can say it's more fun than a broken gumball machine. It's the game I play when I don't even have time for a 5 minute game. I mean not pay $500 fun, but better than my old pinball gumball machine.

#7 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

The more wood you wake up with each morning, the better off you are.

"Uh-huh uh-huh, I'm hearing what you are laying down good sir... Please, continue."
woodrailfan.jpg

#8 4 years ago
Quoted from NimblePin:

Please, continue.

Vintage wood stays much harder than recycled wood. And is much less prone to defects.

#9 4 years ago

I've got a really nice Criss Cross game here that I'll be selling soon if anyone has any interest in a local pickup.

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, Mi.
269-979-3836

#10 4 years ago

If you go Gottlieb mid 50's so many great games with multiple ways to win. Very addictive rulesets with great artwork. Hardly a bad game in 1954 and if you move away from the collector titles that are big bucks, many great games exist.

Here is an example but it looks like it may have sold now.

ebay.com link » 1955 Gottlieb Twin Bill Pinball Classic Wood Rail Plays Great

#11 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

Vintage wood stays much harder than recycled wood. And is much less prone to defects.

old growth timber?

#12 4 years ago
Quoted from DefaultGen:

I have a United Mexico (same playfield as Rio, different rules) and I can say it's more fun than a broken gumball machine. It's the game I play when I don't even have time for a 5 minute game. I mean not pay $500 fun, but better than my old pinball gumball machine.

Well, with that rousing endorsement, I stand corrected. I also stand validated.

#13 4 years ago

My best advice is to make sure you play whatever game you find a lot before you buy, some woodrails are really not good players, and even the ones that are generally considered to be good don't appeal to everyone. Woody's are very subjective, more so I think than any other era.

#14 4 years ago
Quoted from dgpinball:

My best advice is to make sure you play whatever game you find a lot before you buy, some woodrails are really not good players, and even the ones that are generally considered to be good don't appeal to everyone. Woody's are very subjective, more so I think than any other era.

Hmmm...sounds like a good idea, but why does it make sense to play a $750 game a lot before you buy it, when so many people pay 10X that amount, in advance, for a game they've never even seen, let alone played?

#15 4 years ago

Woodrails are an acquired taste. There was a time when I wouldn't look twice at one. Now, I have several in my collection. I just got done playing a couple of games on my Gottlieb '57 "Royal Flush". It's a very attractive game, and the objective is more difficult to achieve than it may first appear. The gameplay is lively, but the ball times are relatively short compared to what you might be used to. I would say this game is a decent player; not the best and certainly not the worst. There are many good playing woodrails out there, and as was mentioned by someone above, the prices on them seem to be coming down. The more desireable titles are still up there though. I was fortunate to find this "Royal Flush" in someone's garage. The guy was not a pinball guy, and he told me he pulled it out of a house the previous day. It needed a bit of work, but was in generally good condition, and it came out nice. Don't listen to people who'll tell you woodrails play slow. When they are properly shopped, cleaned and waxed, they play plenty fast.

(some woodies at this year's York, PA show)
20151008_194026.jpg

#16 4 years ago
Quoted from JoeGrenuk:

why does it make sense to play a $750 game a lot before you buy it, when so many people pay 10X that amount, in advance, for a game they've never even seen, let alone played?

I'm with ya, Joe............I guess instead of a quicker draining game offering a real skillful challenge, people would rather bang the ball around a dud watching and listening to the bells and whistles.

#17 4 years ago

There's a good selection of wood rails at the Ann Arbor pinball show in May if you'd like to check that out

#18 4 years ago

For me buying a woodrail is like any other game. Don't go by what everybody else says is the best. If you don't have many to play find out what is available, research it by looking at pics on ipbd, and decide if the artwork and layout appeals to you. I have done that with every one I own and have not been disappointed yet and now have a nice variety of single and multiplayers from different manufacturers. They all get played regularly.

#19 4 years ago

Many Williams woodrails 1955-1960 are actually pretty fun to play and have nice george molentin artwork. They are also usually very cheap. And certainly more peppy. Williams was operating with more power than gottlieb stuff.

Play before you buy? Why? Buy something and If you don't like it, sell it.

#20 4 years ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

Play before you buy? Any? Buy something and If you don't like it, sell it.

Harder to find a United Rio and play one before buying than an Iron Man that's for sure. It's easy enough to get an idea of how EMs play via Youtube and see if it's your style. You hit targets and get points, not much mysterious about how they feel.

#21 4 years ago

I have a few woodrails now. Unfortunately, there is nowhere to try them out within a few hours' drive, so I have to buy to try. That also means I have stuck to fairly well known titles, which aren't cheap. I do enjoy them, and I think the artwork on them is second to none. 'Definitely a corner of the pinball universe that is worth exploring.

#22 4 years ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

Many Williams woodrails 1955-1960 are actually pretty fun to play and have nice george molentin artwork. They are also usually very cheap.

I wouldn't mind finding a few of these very cheap Williams woodrails. They are not in my neighborhood.

#23 4 years ago

The Williams woodrails are relatively tough to find. My brother owns a "Casino", but you just don't come across that game very often. "Jig-Saw", "Tic-Tac-Toe", and "Crosswords" come up once in a while, but Williams woodies are fairly few and far between. They made some good ones for sure, but there are many titles that I have never played or even seen. I have a "Reno", "Palisades", "Tim-Buc-Tu" and I was really fortunate to find a "Rocket", but all of those titles are pretty tough to come by. You'll come across Gottlieb woodrails more regularly. "Sunshine" and "Southern Belle" are two titles that seem to come around a lot lately. I recently acquired a "Royal Flush", and it seems that since then, I've seen several come up for sale recently.

#24 4 years ago

Gottlieb's 1950's Daisy May; Frontiersman; World Champ, and Sluggin' Champ are the woodrails I have found to appreciate the most over the years and are keepers as a result. Stagecoach is just as a beautiful machine too, but not as fast and everlasting fun as the aforementioned. There are some great 1970's wedgeheads too! Good luck on your search and lookout for mice and mold...

I do wish I get a Queen of Diamonds back in the collection again. Great game!!

#25 4 years ago

A friend of mine has probably about 30 woodrails but only 3 Williams- Sea Wolf, Nags, and Steeple-Chase and he values those higher than many of the others and had to pay good money for them. Personally I enjoyed playing Steeple-Chase more than most of what he's got and many are games that get lots of mention here. I want my own Steeple-Chase now.

#26 4 years ago

Those three are among the best of the Williams woodrails for sure. As I said, some of those Williams woodies are hard to come by, and you'll pay a premium for them if you find them.

#27 4 years ago

Steeple Chase is a beauty. I also got to play most of the popular Gottliebs at his house, all in great shape and am still happy with my decision to get Frontiersman for myself as it just plays so good. But one I've never seen mentioned here that I couldn't stop playing was Poker Face. I was hoping to load it into the back of my truck but now it is his favorite too, so I doubt that's gonna happen anytime soon.

DSCN3917.JPG

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#28 4 years ago

I may be able to bring home this Classy Bowler though.

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#29 4 years ago

I will put my vote in for 1959 WMS Golden Bells,
as it is both relatively common and affordable for a woodrail,
and has pretty good rule set and is fun to play and nudge away at.
I got my first one for about $200 at an early PAGG show
in the mid 90s from Jim Tolbert.
Golden Bells no.1 IMG_1231.JPG
Found my 2nd one about 10yrs later at a Salvation Army thrift store
in Orange County for $300.
Interesting thing about my SA Golden Bells;
is that it has retrofit stainless steel side rails,
to give it a more modern look (probably by some Operator in early 60s)
when everyone went from woodies to S/S siderails on pins.
Not a good look IMHO.

#30 4 years ago

I'm assuming the woodrails use a motor, steppers etc...? Are they like the 70s EMs as far as mechanics? What do I need to look at as for as the workings?

#31 4 years ago
Quoted from 5280wzrd:

I'm assuming the woodrails use a motor, steppers etc...? Are they like the 70s EMs as far as mechanics? What do I need to look at as for as the workings?

Very similar on the inside with minor differences. Some have fewer components and others are loaded to the hilt. Biggest difference is bells instead of chimes. Something that I prefer anyway. Most have lighted scoring instead of score reels.

What you should look for is condition of things not being overly corroded or dirty. Some games were stored without the glass or rear cover for years and can be a real mess inside.

#32 4 years ago

Here's a few of my favorite woodrails:
20150909_222536.jpg
20150909_222314.jpg
20150517_153035.jpg
2012-08-28_20-25-43_841 copy.jpg

#33 4 years ago

Williams woodrails in the 1953 to 1955 era can have a lot of features that were only seen decades later in pinball (but frankly were invented and utilized around 1934/1935 on flipper less games.) Where Gottlieb was fairly conservative, Williams took a lot more chances with their games. Though the impulse flippers of Williams games turn a lot of people off, this feature is easily convertible to a Gottlieb style flipper (with and EOS switch and changed coil.) Personally I really like the Williams woodrails, but after 1955 they get pretty plain.

You can read up on them at
http://pinrepair.com/wmswood

#34 4 years ago

1954 and 1955 could have been the best back-to-back years in pinball history to date, IMHO. 2012-1013 were great too.

#35 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

Steeple Chase is a beauty. I also got to play most of the popular Gottliebs at his house, all in great shape and am still happy with my decision to get Frontiersman for myself as it just plays so good. But one I've never seen mentioned here that I couldn't stop playing was Poker Face. I was hoping to load it into the back of my truck but now it is his favorite too, so I doubt that's gonna happen anytime soon.
DSCN3917.JPG
DSCN3913.jpg

I passed on a nice Poker Face about a year ago, could have been this year actually - of course I am regretting it!

#36 4 years ago

I don't think anyone posted Knock Out yet, one of the coolest woodrails around IMO. This thread has me wanting a flipper woodrail game. They rarely pop up on my normal channels. I see some auction pics on pinball ninja of rows of bowlers, wedgeheads, gun games, EM arcades, and my local auction is always mostly over-bidded DMDs.

ko3.jpg

#37 4 years ago
Quoted from BenetBoy78:

1954 and 1955 could have been the best back-to-back years in pinball history to date, IMHO. 2012-1013 were great too.

As McEnroe used to scream, "You can't be serious!!!!!!!"

Unless I am missing something, 2012 and 13 brought us ACDC, Avengers, XMen, Metallica, Star Trek, and WOZ, in various flavors.

6 new games, in two years.

1954-55, just for Gottlieb, not counting Williams:

Green Pastures
Lovely Lucy
Mystic Marvel
Jockey Club
Hawaiian Beauty
Daisy May
Dragonette
Gold Star
Twin Score
Lady Luck
4-Belles
Deluxe Jumbo
Diamond Lill
Stage Coach
Ricochet
Twin Bill
Gypsy Queen
Duette
Duette Deluxe
Sluggin' Champ
Jubilee
Southern Belle
Sweet Add-A-Line
Tournament
Wishing Well
Marathon
Frontiersman
Easy Aces
Spot Pool

And 10 or 11 of those are in the "A" list for woodrails.

#38 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

I wouldn't mind finding a few of these very cheap Williams woodrails. They are not in my neighborhood.

What do you consider cheap?

There was a decent Tic-tac-toe for 500 bucks at Allentown that didn't sell till Sunday afternoon. There were hundreds of pinball enthusiasts there who passed on it till that time.

A nice Williams Screamo was on NY/LI Craigslist for a week for $600 or best offer. Appears to have sold by now though.

They are out there. I'd say pinball shows are a great place to find cheaper woodrails as nobody seems to give a shit about them anymore.

#39 4 years ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

What do you consider cheap?

Well, I did get that Pinky on the far left for $100, but I don't think I will be able to score Sea Wolf or Steeple-Chase in that price range.

Woodies.jpg

#40 4 years ago

Whenever I go to my buddy's house I'm like a kid in a candy store.

462556-i.jpg

#41 4 years ago
Quoted from ZNET:

Here's a few of my favorite woodrails:
2012-08-28_20-25-43_841 copy.jpg

I responded to a local ad that mentioned something about an old pinball for sale. He replied it was "Thing".
After doing some searching around and later finding your excellent article about it, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.
The yard sale started at 9, I got off work at 9:30 and it was already sold by the time I got there. I was only hoping for a fixer-upper, but aside from one bad insert, the game was in amazing condition - So pissed

Whoever has it now is probably turning it into wall art

#42 4 years ago

i have had many woodrails and the one i think was the most fun was balls a popping - i will be selling my custom 1957 woodrail pinball machine - this was originally a williams satelite and all the artwork was converted for the 1957 chevy theme. i am selling it because i love to look at it, but i don't like playing the game - most people think satelite is a great game - doesn't do it for me. thanks ed

#43 4 years ago

Some 50's games are out and out classics.

Ace High 1957 has similarities to Frontiersman, Wishing well, Derby day in that you advance targets for jackpot specials.

Simply awesome game, one of the very few games I reckon might be a long term keeper!

#44 4 years ago
Quoted from JoeGrenuk:

As McEnroe used to scream, "You can't be serious!!!!!!!"
Unless I am missing something, 2012 and 13 brought us ACDC, Avengers, XMen, Metallica, Star Trek, and WOZ, in various flavors.
6 new games, in two years.
1954-55, just for Gottlieb, not counting Williams:
Green Pastures
Lovely Lucy
Mystic Marvel
Jockey Club
Hawaiian Beauty
Daisy May
Dragonette
Gold Star
Twin Score
Lady Luck
4-Belles
Deluxe Jumbo
Diamond Lill
Stage Coach
Ricochet
Twin Bill
Gypsy Queen
Duette
Duette Deluxe
Sluggin' Champ
Jubilee
Southern Belle
Sweet Add-A-Line
Tournament
Wishing Well
Marathon
Frontiersman
Easy Aces
Spot Pool
And 10 or 11 of those are in the "A" list for woodrails.

To be alive back then and playing at the local malt shop would have been exciting, as much as it is today playing the great woodrails. I keep thinking pinball, pleated skirts and rumble seat....

The fun I have with the AC/DC LE, MetLE, XMENLE, STLE, etc is different, but just as entertaining.

Hey Joe, I think I bought my first Frontiersman from you in 2007? I could be wrong. No worries, all good.

#45 4 years ago

Two Daisy Mays.....not perfect, but classic artwork and unique flipper action making the gameplay fast, fun and different.

DaisyMayUnrestoredDaisyMayRestored_side-by-side.jpg

#46 4 years ago

My cleaning lady's husband just died and left her a Ballys Palm Springs wood rail. I am interested in purchasing but don't know what a fair prices is. Glass and play field look good but looks like wood was stained. Does that affect value. Thanks.

#47 4 years ago

I don't think Willams made a Palm Springs but Bally did and it is a bingo game.

http://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=1740

#48 4 years ago
Quoted from o-din:

I may be able to bring home this Classy Bowler though.
DSCN3925.JPG

"Classy Bowler" is a great playing and great looking game. I'd love to find one!

#49 4 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

"Classy Bowler" is a great playing and great looking game. I'd love to find one!

It is very tempting and it is a fun game, but not quite the player my Frontiersman is. But that might be asking too much.

#50 4 years ago

"Frontiersman" is one of the best. I'm not crazy about the playfield art, but the strategy and gameplay are great. So is the backglass. I got one at the last Silverman auction, but it's going to need quite a bit of work to get it going and looking good again.

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