Pinball Machines Get New Home, Life In Museum

GREEN OAKS TOWNSHIP (WWJ) – Calling all pinball wizards! There’s a new place where you can play your favorite games all weekend long.

It’s safe to say Clay Harrell has a “thing” for pinball machines, after all, he’s collected 200 of them.

“I’ve been collecting pinball machines since the early nineties,” said Harrell. “It’s gotten to a point where I finally needed to buy a venue.”

And that venue is the The Ann Arbor Pinball Museum VFW in Green Oaks Township, where he is now curator.

“When people walk in – you can pretty much see the look on their face as a big ‘Wow’ factor, like ‘oh my gosh’ what has this guy done? Is this cool or what?” he said.

They’re opening the doors for the first pinball showcase festival.

“How they do things is often quite an interesting mix of electronics and mechanical wizardry that makes them really unique,” he said.

Harrell says the machines run from the ’50s to now.

” … a strong selection that they call ‘woodrail’, we’ve got plenty of machines from the sixties – those are called metal rails – we’ve got a lot of 1970s machines then by the late 70s they started to move into solid-state games with computers.”

So why the fascination with pinball machines?

“They are kind of like little circuses under glass,” he said.

This weekend marks the first open exhibit – you can find more information on the Pinball Showcase [HERE]




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