1966 Gottlieb Cross Town Pinball Machine (My Pride and Joy)

This is a random start to a blog post, but recently I switched home insurance providers. When I went into the office to sign the official paperwork, the agent recommended that I inventory everything in my house in the event of a catastrophe. In fact, the company even has an Android app that will help catalog everything. This got me thinking if the house did in fact burn down, what would I really miss?

This is one of the random events that I hope will never happen, but I’ve spent countless hours thinking about. If there ever was a catastrophe, I feel I’m overly prepared. I have all my computer files backed up with Carbonite so I won’t lose any music, documents or pictures.  Furniture and televisions can be replaced. About the only thing I own that I would miss is my 1966 Cross Town pinball machine manufactured by Gottlieb.

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The pinball connection started sometime in the 70’s when my Old Man bought it secondhand. For some reason growing up, the pinball machine was kept at my grandparents house. This made visiting them all the more awesome (they also had an original Nintendo for my brother and I…. Grandparents are the best!). I remember going over there and how fun it would be to hear all the noises and put the coins in the slot, hear the noises and the unique smell. After a few years of playing, I would start to create challenges for myself. I still have a rule that if I don’t score 500 points, I quit for a playing for a while.

The pinball machine is absolutely amazing. It was originally built in 1966 and is the last Gottlieb machine to have the manual ball lift (where the player pushes a plunger to ‘push’ the ball up onto the playing surface). Gottlieb only manufactured 2765 units of this model. The machine is 100% electromechanical and, in my opinion, an engineering marvel. The pictures below don’t come close to doing justice on how many wires and switches there are. This machine comes from a time when people took an immense amount of pride in their work.

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IMG_4183The guts of the Machine

Ever since I’ve been lucky enough to own my own house, I’ve been begging my dad to gift me the pinball machine (the pinball machine went back to my parents house when my Grandparents downsized). My justification was that he was doing a disservice by not playing it. Since it is electromechanical, it needs to be used frequently or it fall into a state of disrepair. When I was going through a rough time in my life, my dad knew the perfect thing to cheer me up. He drove down with the pinball machine in tow and personally delivered it. I had a friend over to help lift and set it up in the basement. When my dad was giving me an overview of the maintenance and how to access and maintain everything, he made special mention how he thought it was amazing that the machine still had the original glass. At that exact moment, he jinxed it because within a week, when I went to change out some burnt out bulbs, I managed to chip the glass. I felt horrible, but at the end of the day, the glass could be easily be replaced.

IMG_4335Chipped Glass

What I love most about Cross Town is that it is genuinely fun to play. It hasn’t been influenced by inflation as it is still costs a dime for one game or a quarter for three. I keep a small box full of change underneath for when anyone comes over. The machine is so old school, it only counts to 1999. Any score over that number isn’t official unless there is a witness to verify the numbers flipping over. I’m quite proud that I have the all-time Roehl high score of 2948 and also have the Ohio record of 2115. I sincerely hope I have the pinball machine long enough to pass on to my children and I’m grateful to own a piece of history and the closest thing I have to a family heirloom!

IMG_4333Free Game at 1200, 1600 & 1900

IMG_8757My niece getting her Pinball on

If you have any pinball stories or if there is any possession that you are particularly proud of, feel free to drop a comment below.

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6 responses to “1966 Gottlieb Cross Town Pinball Machine (My Pride and Joy)

  1. Hi, Just spotted my Fathers Cross Town Pinball machine in storage he has been planning on restoring for the last 25 years, hopefully he gets around to it soon! Great looking pinball machine though!

  2. I have a Crosstown that is missing the flipper linkage. I purchased a replacement pair but they need to be cut to length. I am wondering if you could give me the measurement from your machine. Tim

    • Hi Tim, I’d be happy to. Could you give me a little more info on what I’m looking for so I can make sure I get you the right measurement?

      • I only had one of the flipper linkage parts, so I removed the one I had to have another one made but the guy I gave it to lost it. I have two new ones I bought online but they are too long. If you could measure the phenolic piece that attaches to the flipper and the other end is the metal piece that goes into the solonoid. maybe the total length and the distane hole to hole. You could even send me a picture with a ruler along the side. Left and right should be the same. Tim

  3. I played that game as a kid and loved it.

  4. 1966 at my local YMCA in England. I had been playing pinball for a few years but Crosstown took it to a whole new level.
    I loved it. All my friends loved it.
    Gotleib excelled themselves with this last pintable of the old age. After this they became 3 ball ripoffs with bizarre, creepy themes.
    By 1970 my interest had died. But seeing this here brought back that old thrill. Of course, playing so much made me a wizard and I would clock uo scores tht no one would believe.
    Getting a “rattle” on one of the four bumpers sent your scores soaring. The pinball would get caught between the bumper and the rubber and just oscillate. The secret was to keep it going by gentle shaking without tilting.

    Boy hood heaven!!!

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