Baltimore has a gem in the National Pinball Museum, the love labor of curator and pinball enthusiast, David Silverman. The concept is simple: have a museum for the history of the pinball machine. However, the brilliance of the place is its floor of playable pinball machines from the 1950s to the present. When you buy your pass to the museum, you actually buy a play card too, loaded with coinage to flipper some balls around to your hearts content.
First up is the History of Pinball exhibit. I had no idea that pinball actually started with the French game Bagatelle, a version of billiards. Then, at pinball’s height of popularity in the 30’s, there were such things as pinball arcades that were almost like a bar/casino.
Then I took the elevator to the second floor. Here was the heart of the museum, the arcade. I played a pinball machine from every decade starting at the 50’s. First, I
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