The Invention of the Bumper

The Bally Bumper (1936) introduced pinball bumpers. They consisted of coiled springs that gave the ball the exciting ability to rapidly bounce around the playfield as it went from one spring bumper to the next. Just as ingenious though, Bally added a simple electric switch to the bumper springs that would be triggered each time the ball hit them. The triggered switch was connected to the first electric scoring circuitry called a "totalizer," which projected the score number onto a glass on the backbox. No longer did the players have to manually add up their scores by counting the values of the scoring holes that the balls fell into.

Over time, both the bumper and the scoring mechanism evolved to the types seen below, towards the end of the Electro-Mechanical era.


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