Pinball Designer Harry Williams Inducted into Amusement HOF


Harry Williams, the pinball pioneer and founder of Williams Manufacturing, was among the legacy inductees into the new Amusement Industry Hall of Fame this spring.

Photograph by James Hamilton from PINBALL! (E.P. Dutton, 1977), used with permission.

Born in 1906, Williams is an industry icon who brought electricity to pinball and invented the tilt mechanism, according to PinWiki. He designed his first game, Advance, in 1933, starting the Automatic Amusements Co. in Los Angeles.

By 1944, he founded Williams Manufacturing, where he designed the majority of his games. Among them were Rainbow (1948), 8 Ball (1952), Thunderbird (1954), Hot Diggity (1956) and Golden Bells (1959). In 1963, he sold Williams Manufacturing to Seeburg.

In the 1970s, he came out of retirement to design games for Stern Electronics. (Sam Stern previously bought into Williams Manufacturing in 1947.) Among the games he designed for them were Wild Fyre (1978), Dracula(1979) and Freefall (1981).


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