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Take a look deep inside the guts of a pinball machine

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The backside of a pinball playfield - JAMIE RAMSAY
  • Jamie Ramsay
  • The backside of a pinball playfield

For our latest issue, Ryan Smith delved into the seedy history of pinball and the champion player Roger Sharpe, who helped lift the ban on the game while his sons are leading today's renaissance.  We photographed Roger and his sons Josh and Zach, the next generation of champion pinball competitors, at the Stern Pinball factory in Elk Grove Village, IL.  It's the oldest and largest manufacturer and designer of pinball machines in the world.  It ships machines all over the globe.  Every station of assembly is touched by human hands to create the games themed with everything from Guardians of the Galaxy, to Star Wars, to Stern's latest machine dedicated to Iron Maiden.  We've got a few extra looks, from inside the factory, that couldn't fit in print.


A worker finishes the a pinball playfield before it's placed in a cabinet - JAMIE RAMSAY
  • Jamie Ramsay
  • A worker finishes the a pinball playfield before it's placed in a cabinet

Workers install electronics on the backside of a pinball playfield - JAMIE RAMSAY
  • Jamie Ramsay
  • Workers install electronics on the backside of a pinball playfield

Pinball play fields being built on the assembly line - JAMIE RAMSAY
  • Jamie Ramsay
  • Pinball play fields being built on the assembly line

A close look at the flippers of the Iron Maiden game before the playfield glass is installed - JAMIE RAMSAY
  • Jamie Ramsay
  • A close look at the flippers of the Iron Maiden game before the playfield glass is installed

Iron Maiden pinball cabinets prior to assembly - JAMIE RAMSAY
  • Jamie Ramsay
  • Iron Maiden pinball cabinets prior to assembly

Electronic wiring awaiting installation into pinball machines - JAMIE RAMSAY
  • Jamie Ramsay
  • Electronic wiring awaiting installation into pinball machines

Inside the customizations area of Stern Pinball factory - JAMIE RAMSAY
  • Jamie Ramsay
  • Inside the customizations area of Stern Pinball factory

A wall of customizations available for pinball machines - JAMIE RAMSAY
  • Jamie Ramsay
  • A wall of customizations available for pinball machines

Flags representing all of the countries to which Stern ships pinball machines - JAMIE RAMSAY
  • Jamie Ramsay
  • Flags representing all of the countries to which Stern ships pinball machines

Zach, Josh and Roger Sharpe wait for lighting to get set up for the photo shoot. - JAMIE RAMSAY
  • Jamie Ramsay
  • Zach, Josh and Roger Sharpe wait for lighting to get set up for the photo shoot.

Former pinball champ Roger Sharpe's signature footwork during pinball play - JAMIE RAMSAY
  • Jamie Ramsay
  • Former pinball champ Roger Sharpe's signature footwork during pinball play

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