Whiffle Board

1931, Automatic Industries

The original coin-op pinball machine, this is the one that started it all. There were ball and pin games before it, but the Whiffle Board was the first with a spring-loaded plunger. A nickel got you nine white balls and one red, the red being worth double points.

It was so popular that Automatic Industries—the company founded by inventor Arthur Paulin—actually grew during the Great Depression. Read more about its fascinating history here. Of course, the innovations that would eventually touch the pinball machine make this look like a bunch of nails in a board, which is essentially what it is.