Skee Ball Machines Over Time


The skee ball ‘machine’ was invented in the early 1900s by Joseph Simpson, he filed his patent in 1907 and got it in 1908. He didn’t make any money, and in fact he eventually fell into financial ruin. Soon J. Dickinson Este made two alleys in a back alley of New York City for his daughter’s birthday. So he decided to buy the company, that at that point was in financial ruin, and he started to heavily market it across the country. The machine was about 38 feet long and kids and adults alike were spending tons of nickels on the game all over the country. In 1934 owner ship of the company changed, but the company ran along as smooth as ever. In 1945 The ownership changed again, this time they increased production and and started to use conveyor belts to make their games. The company didn’t change owners until 1988.

Though the design of the skee ball hasn’t changed much since the early 1900s the way we have manufactured it has changed so much. In the beginning it was just wooden being produced by a few workers. Then it’s production changed in 1941 when it started to become created by large groups of workers who each did a specific job in large factories. Soon machines were able to create the machines with much less money spent. It became even more efficient in the 1980s when almost complete automation became an option. The production has only gotten more efficient since then and now it takes less than 20 minutes to make 5 skee ball machines in a large factory. Production has almost stopped because of the decline of the skee ball use.

Skee ball, arcade redemption game, variant Ice...
Skee ball, arcade redemption game, variant Ice ball (Photo credit: Wikipedia)