Date: 24th - 28th October 2007
Location: Wyndham O'Hare, 6810N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont, Chicago, USA. 60018

Thursday is the first full day of Pinball Expo and as usual, the first event of the day is the tour of the Stern factory.

A bright sunny day for the start of the factory tour

The first area once you get inside the door is the cable department where all the various cables used to connect the different parts of the machine are fabricated.

The cables have their molex pins added to make them complete and ready to fit in the machine.

Eventually you end up with huge piles of cables.

Next to the cables are the piles of empty cabinets.

Behind here are the racks of unpopulated playfields.

Stacks of playfields

The blank playfields are drilled ready to accept the fixtures and sockets using metal templates to guide the drill.

The mounting holes are drilled

Then the lamp sockets are added and the assemblies installed.

Lamp sockets are installed

Followed by the assemblies

Then the playfields are mated with the cabinets to complete the lower part of the machine while the backboxes are assembled and tested.

Backboxes being assembled

The parts all come together to complete the machine.

Empty cabinets in front, completed games under test at the rear

The machines are then tested and packed for shipping.

A completed machine is slid into its shipping box

That's all for the morning's action from the Stern factory. When attendees returned it was time to start the seminars.

Reflections on 25 Years of Collecting - Tom Taylor

Tom Taylor was first to talk when he spoke about his experiences collecting pinball machines. He described how he acquired his first machine in 1980 - a Card Trix - and how from that single machine, he has now amassed 200 pinballs and has a warehouse to store them all.

Listen to Tom's seminar by clicking here
MP3, 39min, 14MB


Collectors Chronicles - Rob Hayes

The second speaker in Thursday's seminars was Rob Hayes who continued the collector theme with his Collectors Chronicles. He told the audience how his collecting began in 1984 when he purchased four machines in a package deal. He went on to talk about how he bought all his other machines and the people he met along the way.

Listen to Rob's seminar by clicking here
MP3, 56min, 20MB

Pinball in the Media Part 2 - Jim Schelberg

Next to speak was Jim Schelberg, publisher of the PinGame Journal magazine and a series of DVDs with clips from TV programmes, films and commercials featuring anything pinball-related. He showed excerpts from the third DVD in the series while Al Warner and Paul Kiefert showed part of their Pins And Vids 3 DVD.

Because Jim's seminar was mainly video-based, we bring you his introductory talk below.

Listen to Jim's introduction by clicking here
MP3, 3 min 20 sec, 1.3MB


Reading Schematics for EM Troubleshooting - Steve Yates

The penultimate seminar of the day came from Steve Yates who was here to explain how electro-mechanical pinball machines work and how to read the schematic diagrams to aid troubleshooting and repair. He explained the symbols used, how each section is constructed and how it appears on the diagram.

Listen to Steve's seminar by clicking here
MP3, 64 min, 23MB

DE/Sega Pinball - Fact Or Fiction

Orin detailed the projects on which he has worked, first at Data East Pinball and subsequently at Sega Pinball. He then began a series of quiz questions about supposed happenings at the two companies, asking the audience to vote whether they thought they were fact or fiction.

Listen to Orin's seminar by clicking here
MP3, 58 min, 1.3MB

After the scheduled seminars, the main show hall opened at 6pm to allow the assembled crowd entry to see, play and buy all manner of pinball machines, parts and collectibles.

Extra Video Seminar - Steve Kordek with Harvey Heiss

In an additional seminar, a video of a fireside chat with Steve Kordek and Harvey Heiss was shown to the audience after which Steve spoke briefly about Harvey, how they met, how Steve worked with Harvey at Genco and about his lifetime of experiences in the pinball industry. Steve was joined by Expo organiser Rob Berk and Roger Sharpe.

Fireside Chat - Michael Gottlieb

Michael spoke fluently about his involvement in the pinball industry since childhood, how his father Alvin and grand-father David Gottlieb set up companies bearing their names and about David's time at Data East and Williams. He also talked about his work now at Midway Games and about the different pinball personalities he worked with over the years.

At the request of the speaker we have removed the link to the audio of Michael's fireside chat.

Internet Get-Together - Dave Marston

The Internet Get-Together is a chance for pinball fans with a connection to the internet - either through newsgroups, websites, discussion forums or by other means - to gather and discuss some of the issues facing pinball. After a round of introductions, the main topic for discussion was finding a means to share all the transcripts, audio and video of historical interviews and talks such as those above.

That concludes our daily report of Thursday at the show.

We'll be back shortly with more seminars from Friday and a look at the show floor, the games, the vendors and everything else happening at Pinball Expo 2007.


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© Pinball News 2007