Gottlieb

Gottlieb (formerly D. Gottlieb & Co.) was an arcade game corporation based in Chicago, Illinois. The company was established by David Gottlieb in 1927, initially producing pinball machines while later expanding into various other games including pitch-and-bats, bowling games, and eventually video arcade games (notably Reactor and Q*bert).

Like other manufacturers, Gottlieb first made mechanical pinball tables, then electromechanical tables starting in 1935. The 1947 development of player-actuated, solenoid-driven 2-inch bats called "flippers" revolutionized the industry. Players now had the ability to shoot the ball back up the playfield and get more points. The flippers first appeared on a Gottlieb game called "Humpty Dumpty", designed by Harry Mabs. By this time, the games also became noted for their artwork by Roy Parker.

In the late 1950s the company made more widespread use of digital score reels, making multiple player games more practical as most scoring was expressed by cluttered series of lights in the back box. The score reels eventually appeared on single-player games, now known as "wedgeheads" because of their distinctive tapering back box shape. By the 1970s the artwork on Gottlieb games was almost always by Gordon Morison, and the company had begun designing their games with longer 3-inch flippers, now the industry standard.

The company made the move into solid state tables starting in the late 1970s. The first few of these were remakes of electromechanical tables such as "Joker Poker" and "Charlie's Angels". By that time, multiple player machines were more the mode and wedgeheads were no longer being produced, the last being "Asteroid Annie and The Aliens".

Gottlieb was bought by Columbia Pictures in 1977. In 1983, after the Coca Cola Company had acquired Columbia, Gottlieb's pinball assets were transferred to a new Coca Cola subsidiary, Mylstar Electronics, but this proved to be short-lived. By 1984 the video game industry in North America was in the middle of a shakeout and Coca Cola sought to divest itself of Mylstar, which also made video games. A management group, led by Gilbert G. Pollock, purchased Mylstar's pinball assets in October 1984 and continued the manufacture of pinball machines under a new company, Premier Technology. As a result of this a number of prototype Mylstar arcade games, which were not purchased by the investors, were never released. Premier did go on to produce one last arcade game, 1989's Exterminator. Premier Technology, which returned to selling pinball machines under the name Gottlieb after the purchase, continued in operation until the summer of 1996, when the declining demand for pinball machines forced the company to cease business. Premier did not file for bankruptcy, but sold off all its assets for the benefit of its creditors.

Today, Gottlieb's pinball machines (along with those distributed under the Mylstar and Premier names), as well as the "Gottlieb" and "D. Gottlieb & Co." trademarks (USPTO registration nos. 1403592, 2292766, and 3288024, and other numbers in countries around the world), are owned by Gottlieb Development LLC of Pelham Manor, New York.

Gottlieb's most popular pinball machine was Baffle Ball (released mid-1931), and their final machine was Barb Wire (early 1996).

Read more about Gottlieb:  Gottlieb Video Games

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