END OF AN ERA

Story dated 8th December 2000

Pinball legend Steve Kordek has retired from his position at William's after 63 years in the industry.


Thanks to Duncan Brown for the above picure.

Kordek became something of a figurehead for pinball having designed almost 100 games at Genco and then at William's where he latterly headed-up the pinball design section. Since the closure of the pinball division, he has been working on archiving the large number of historic documents and designs.

In his design career, Kordek produced such famous games as Beat Time, Pokerino and Liberty Bell. Besides designing such great games, he also introduced a number of features which are now regarded as essential elements of any game. Beat The Clock was the very first multiball game - using two balls at once - and Vagabond was the first game to use a drop target.

Despite these innovations, Steve Kordek is probably best remembered as the man who placed two electrically-powered flippers at the bottom of a game either side of the sinkhole.

Humpty Dumpty has introduced the use of flippers, but these were mechanically driven and there were six of them down either side of the game. When Kordek had to design the game "Triple Action" for Genco in late 1947 (for a trade show in January 1948) he couldn't afford to use more than 2 flippers, so he placed them where they still reside today.

Thanks to Russ Jensen for the above picture.

There were a few differences from today's games. Most obviously, the flippers pointed outwards, not towards the middle. Secondly, they were single action only, so there was no way to hold the flipper in the raised position - it just flipped and then fell back. Finally, although there were two flipper buttons, either one activated both flippers at once.

Steve Kordek has become a much celebrated character in pinball, and is great at recalling the details of his early years in the industry. His work is much celebrated and here at Pinball News we wish him a long and happy retirement.

If you'd like to send Steve your best wishes for his retirement, Pat Lawlor is collecting messages to deliver to Steve at his retirement party. Click here to send a message or e-mail Pat at plawlor@patlawlordesign.com but don't leave it too late!

 

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