He designed the iconic two-flipper pinball machine we know today, went on to build over 100 pinball games and lived for over a century: Steve Kordek, one of pinball’s pioneers, passed away on Feb. 19. He was 100.

Pinball owes a debt to everything from bagatelle to bocce ball and billiards, but in the 1930s, the first mechanical “marble” or “pin” games involved pulling a spring-triggered plunger to send a ball spinning around a board. But getting the ball in a hole required physically shaking the table. Using flippers to repel a ball up a slightly angled playfield didn’t arrive until 1947 with a game called “Humpty Dumpty,” but since its flippers were relatively weak, its design employed six. It was Kordek who — standing in for pinball factory Genco’s lead designer, who’d fallen ill — took the six-flipper design and reduced it to just two. When he demoed his new game, dubbed “Triple Action,” at a 1948 Chicago trade show, it drew raves…and pinball as we know it was born. …

 

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