The History Of Pinball Machines

Pinball machines have a complex history. The roots of the modern-day pinball machines that you use in your local café come from games such as croquet and billiards, which constitute of guiding a ball to a precise location by hitting them with an instrument. However, the real spiritual ancestor to modern pinball machines was the game of Bagatelle. Developed in France during the 18th century, the game consisted of getting balls into the holes on one side of the board using a stick or a cue. The surface of the board was inclined, and obstacles were set in front of the holes to provide a more challenging experience. Many of these features have been adapted and can be seen in modern pinball machines.

In the 19th century an inventor named Redgrave took the design of the Bagatelle game and improved on it. One of his additions, still visible today, is the plunger: a device which launched the ball up an inclined field. However, once the ball was released from the plunger the user could not interact with the ball further, as flippers for the pinball machine had not yet been developed. This lead to individuals gambling on the outcome the ball would face. As a result, pinball machines were banned in many parts of the United States, including in New York City from 1940 up to 1976. The ban on the machines was ended in a famous case where Roger Sharpe claimed that the balls could be controlled by skill (with the addition of flippers) and were not solely based on luck. On a pinball machine present in the courtroom, he announced where he was going to hit the ball and proceeded to do so successfully.

The 1930s saw much innovation in terms of the design of pinball machines. The machines now included limited electronic functions such as basic sounds and the ability to propel the ball without the user’s force. Several new features were introduced at this time as well, such as the tilt mechanism and free games. These new features were groundbreaking for those days and sparked a renewed interest in pinball machines. The “Humpty-Dumpty” pinball machine was the first pinball machine to include flippers. This meant that users could now play a ball for a greater period of time and introduced the whole aspect of skill and controlling the ball while playing pinball.

However, with video games being developed in the 1980s, they were quickly set aside in arcades to make way for the innovation provided by the video game sector. Many companies which had made their fortunes on manufacturing pinball machines were forced to close. It was only in the 1990s that pinball machines made a comeback, bringing exciting innovations to the machines such as a complex displays and sound systems.

Yet the turn of the millennium was a turn for the worse for pinball machines, and the sales reported by many manufactures were falling dramatically. Most manufactures were once again forced to close. Today, Stem Pinball is the only remaining manufacturer in the industry. We will have to wait and see whether they are able to bring innovation to an industry which has had so many ups and downs.

History of Bowling

The history of bowling can be traced back to the Stone Age. The first evidence of the game was discovered by the British Anthropologist Sir Flinders Petrie and his team of archaeologists in Egypt in the 1930s. He unearthed a collection of objects from a small child?s grave that appeared to have been the primitive form of the game. However, some argue that the game evolved much later than that. William Pehle, a German historian, claimed that the game of bowling originated in Germany around 300 AD. In Germany, the game had its origin as a religious ceremony for determining absence of sin. This game, introduced by the German monks to the masses, flourished as a customary test of faith.

In England, bowling was started as early as the 1100s. Throughout England, several variations of bowling, such as half-bowls, skittles and ninepins, existed during the mid 1300s. But, the first written mention of the game was made by the King Edward III in the year 1366. In this reference, he allegedly imposed a ban on playing this game among his troops because it was distracting the troops from archery practice. Later, during the regime of King Henry VIII, the game gained popularity and was played as a symbol of nobility and social status.

Bowling has been popular in America since Colonial days. During 17th century, English, Dutch and German settlers imported their own version of bowling to America. At that time, the game consisted of nine pins which were regularly played in an area of New York City still known as “Bowling Green”. Connecticut banned ninepins in 1841 because of their gambling implications.

The American Bowling Congress was formed on 9 September 1895 and is credited with standardizing bowling in the United States and organizing official competition. The Women’s Bowling League followed in 1917, under the encouragement of proprietor Dennis Sweeny.

Through the years, the game has changed. A variety of tactics have been developed. The invention of automatic pinspotter in the 1940s revolutionized both the bowling game and industry. Currently, the sport of bowling is enjoyed by 95 million people in more than ninety countries worldwide.

The Rich History of Playing Cards

Playing cards have been a source of amusement and game playing fun for centuries. For hundreds of years people have been playing them for fun, gambling with them and even fortune telling with them! They are a truly international and universally known and acknowledged game. With literally hundreds of variations of games that can be played and enjoyed any number of players from one individual to a group. What are your favourite card games to play? There’s no doubt you can think of one straight way, in fact, you may know may card games you enjoy.

The history of card games is rich and varied and illustrates how versatile this old game really is.

Let’s look at the deck of cards first. A deck or pack is made up of 52 playing cards. They are made up of four suits, Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds and Spades. Each suit is made up of numbered and face cards, the numbers run from Ace through to 10, and then the face cards are Jack, Queen and King. In most games, the Ace value can be counted as high or low depending upon the game rules. For example, in Poker and Black Jack the Aces are high.

On the back of the cards is usually a design or custom image, this depends upon who has had the cards printed. Companies and casinos have their own customer designs done. There are also traditional ornate card designs and colours which are usually red, blue or black. There is also a wide variety of designs and themes for the suits. Even well-known film franchises like Star Wars and Marvel comics have created their own playing card suits.

Over the year literally hundreds of games have been created and passed down through generations. The traditional card games are all still played, like Poker as previously mentioned. But there are also fun games like Solitaire, Hearts, Go-fish, Trumps and more.

For years cards have been used to tell fortunes. Fortune tellers use the suits and the cards are they are dealt out to give the questioner a glimpse into their futures. Whether you believe in this or not, there is no doubt that it is an art in itself and something that is still popular with many people today.

It is believed that the four suits represent the four season of the year, and that each card a day. When you had the cards up they do come to 365 which is the total number of days in the year. There are many little facts like this that add to the interest and mystery of playing cards and how they came about so many hundreds of years ago.

The next time you pick up a pack of cards and start to play think about how historical they really are. Many books have been published on this subject and for many it has become and hobby and passion. In auction houses around the world the oldest packs in perfect condition go for literally thousands of dollars and more. The older they are, and if all cards are present, they can fetch huge sums of money.

The History of Bookmakers

The origins of bookmaking have vanished into the past, but betting, especially on horse racing, has been ingrained in the character of England for centuries. Originally betting would have been between individuals, with the largest sums of money wagered on the Classic races, such as the Derby and the St Leger. Betting was the domain of the wealthy, but betting contracts, where no money changed hands, often led to large debts and animosity. The Gaming Act of 1845 banned this practice and bookmakers began to insist on cash up front.

Betting shops started being set up around the country but were outlawed by the 1853 Betting Act, and were not legalised until 1 May 1961, after which 10,000 were set up within 6 months, with some of the illegal bookies making it through the new vetting procedures, established by the 1960 Betting and Gaming Act. However a lot of them found that entering into the business world was outside of their capability, being unable to set up premises, pay staff and ‘go straight.’ As well as this, betting tax was increased and the Government imposed a 33 per cent tax on the fixed-odds coupons issued by bookmakers. The number of High Street shops began to decline, and now there are just over 8,000.

Punters could listen only to an audio commentary on races in the betting shops, provided by the Exchange Telegraph Company, with each region having a ‘local’ commentator with a ‘local’ accent. In 1986 the regulation relaxed and television screens were permitted which would bring live racing via satellite to the majority of shops. Bookmakers were permitted to open in the evenings and on Sundays, but duty at 10 per cent was driving punters to illegal bookmakers, who, operating in pubs, clubs and factories, accounted for a 10 per cent of betting turnover.

Another two events have had a massive impact on bookmakers – the first when Frankie Dettori rode all seven winners at Ascot in 1996, which resulted in massive payouts. The second was the introduction of the National Lottery and particularly scratchcards in 1995, with the betting shops being denied the right to sell tickets. A Government survey on gambling revealed that 57% of gamblers use the lottery, 20% buy scratchcards and 17% bet on horseracing.

However in the past decade, measures have been taken to rebalance the nation’s gambling impulses. Tax on betting-shop wagers was cut from 10% to 9% and abolished in 2002, in favour of a tax on the bookies’ gross profits. Rules regarding betting on football were relaxed, allowing bets on single matches, and betting shops have been allowed to install fixed-odds betting terminals and fruit machines.

Online gambling is today’s worry on bookmakers but the figures suggest that the world of internet gambling and betting shops could live side by side -the four biggest betting shop companies still seem strongly committed to betting shops. William Hill currently runs more than 2,250 shops; Ladbrokes has 2,350; Coral owns 1,600; and totesport manages 540. Paddy Power, which has 58 British shops, mostly in and around London, announced profits of £55.2m for 2007, half of this coming from online operations. But its UK shops also made money and it plans to have twice as many by 2011.