Chicago’s Stern Pinball is the last manufacturer of pinball machines in the world.
Hard to believe, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, an ADD age and the move towards electronic entertainment now means that just 10,000 of the machines are produced annually, and most head towards the game rooms and basements of private homes, rather than the arcades and bowling alleys of yore.
Though pinball has roots in the 1800s game of bagatelle, these are by no means simple machines. Each one contains a half-mile of wire and 3,500 tiny components, and takes 32 hours to build — as the company’s president, Gary Stern, likes to say, longer than a Ford Taurus.
Can pinball survive much longer?
For the sake of children and childhoods everywhere, I can only hope that the answer is yes.