Oct 24, 2023 - Culture

Inside Stern Pinball, one of the oldest makers of the game

Greg Freres is a pinball machine artist and he stands next to one of his works--Elvira's House of Horrors. Photo courtey of Stern Pinball, Inc.

Thousands of pinball fans gathered in Schaumburg last weekend for the 39th annual Pinball Expo.

What happened: Tournaments, seminars and memorabilia. Plus, this year, Axios got a chance to tour Stern Pinball, Inc., one the world's oldest and largest pinball machine companies.

A factory where a man bends over a machine with cables and switches.
Photo courtesy of Stern Pinball, Inc.

Fun facts: Hundreds of employees build the machines by hand, from soldering the internal cables to attaching the mini figurines to placing the design decals, Doug Skor tells Axios.

  • Each pinball machine weighs about 300 pounds and the company ships to 42 countries.
Row of Deadpool pinball machines and a group of people walking past them.
Photo courtesy of Stern Pinball, Inc.
Cardboard cutout of man with white hair standing next to real man who looks like cutout.
Stern owner Gary Stern. Photo courtesy of Stern Pinball, Inc.
Two hands working on wiring.
Photo courtesy of Stern Pinball, Inc.
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