February 25, 2012

RIP Steve Kordek, pinball pioneer

Steve Kordek, the guy who revolutionized the world of pinball by introducing a machine with the now-familiar electromechanical flippers at the bottom of the playfield (imagine: a player can somewhat control the game!), passed away this week at the age of 100. His 6-decade career started off with remarkable serendipity. From the NY Times obit:

On a visit to his hometown in 1937, he was walking down a street without an umbrella when a torrential rain forced him to step into the lobby of a building he was passing. It was the Genco company. A receptionist asked if he was looking for a job.

“I had never seen a pin game before in my life,” Mr. Kordek told The Chicago Tribune in 2009. For 45 cents an hour, he was soon doing soldering on the company’s production line. …

Mr. Kordek never got tired of the clang, clack and buzz of pinball. “I had more fun in this business than anyone could believe,” he told The Tribune.