Monday, May 10, 2010

Reconditioning a Pot 'O' Gold Pinball Machine

I'm just putting the final touches on a Williams Pot 'O' Gold pinball machine from 1965.  Williams made 1800 of the under-sea treasure themed game with Great White sharks and divers in the artwork.  Pot 'O' Gold has a mechanical animation in the backbox that tallys in bonus points and extra ball.  Now that I'm down to the final touches, I've been able to play a few rounds and I'm finding it's a charmer of a pinball machine.

Pot 'O' Gold enjoys that special slow pace that you only get in the older pinball machines.  There's four pop bumpers and the flippers have good power so it's not a snooze fest... just plain old long running rounds from a time before our highway system existed - much less the digital age.  As vintage pinball machines go, Pot 'O' Gold is a strong player especially considering flippers had only been in wide use for 10 years or so when it was being produced.

This Pot 'O' Gold pinball machine came to me from a basement game room, the owner had picked it up from a dealer and claimed it had worked recently.  I'm not sure if he had this game confused with another one because this was one of the most out-of -whack pinball machines I've come across.  Steppers were assembled incorrectly and the game needed all new plastics fabricated - something I've not had to do before.  It never ceases to amaze me though how old pinball machines need so few parts to make them run again.  Besides rubber rings and light bulbs, this pinball machine only needed a single coil to be replaced for it to be working 100%.

A few shop supplies went into the game as well including a stip of soft plastic I harvested from the lid of one of the 50 blank CD cases.  A 1/2 inch strip of that made for a suitable track/bulb cover for the bonus unit in the head.  The ball now runs a smooth path from the vertical plunger un around past the wire stop and a new rebound spring I fabricated form an old cell phone holster clip. I might take just a little too much pleasure from watching the rebound spring and wire stop pass that smaller gauge ball back and forth.

Overall the Pot 'O' Gold is in top playing condition now and really only suffers from a marginal quality repaint on the cabinet.  The backglass and the playfield are in nice enough shape and it would show well enough in a line but it might not satisfy a particular owner or a collector.

Having grown up with electro-mechancial pinball machines in the house, these old games really stir up the nostalgia for me.  There's something special about the sounds they make resetting the score reels and bonus relays at start-up, real mechanical bells and cabinet knockers too.  I'm sure that whoever winds up with this one will have plenty of their own magic to make.  

1 comment:

rlgrot said...

I have a Pot O Gold machine. When i went to Southwest Texas State in 1965, I played it and earned spending money betting on games. I bought one from a neighbor and it works except the bonus ball at the end of the regular ball play does not make it up to the slots. Probably back contact or solenoid. I had it fully working once. need to find parts now.