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Posts Tagged ‘arcade’

Genco Incorporated, a glimpse at the past

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

I love to hunt for the next game, or game project, but sometimes you find other arcade stuff that’s just as fun. I recently picked up a batch of arcade paperwork, and included in the group was a stack of letters from Genco Incorporated. Genco Incorporated, also known as Genco Manufacturing Company, was based in Chicago from 1930 until 1958. They manufactured electro-mechanical games and pre-flipper pinball machines. There isn’t a lot of information available about the company, so its nice to share these pieces of arcade history.

genco incorporated letter

The letters are all typed on quality two-tone printed stationary, with a signature that’s hand signed in ink. The letters pitch a new game to a wholesaler or distributor and have some interesting bits of marketing lingo, such as “Blondie’s the honey that will bring in the money!” Love it. There is even mention of sending game samples! Imagine getting free samples of coin op machinery in the mail, very cool. Prices are listed for the operator, the jobber, and the distributor. Amazing what some of these machines cost back in the 1930’s, sort of expensive when you consider a 1930’s dollar is worth about fourteen dollars in 2017. Most of these were five or ten cent machines, that would take awhile to get a good return on investment.

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The letters aren’t perfect and you can tell that they were typed with different type writers. Addresses, pricing information, and various details were added to the letters, customizing them for each customer. Very different from today’s lightning fast email, cell phones, or slick internet advertising.

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The letters have a certain charm to them and provide an interesting look at the coin operated business in its early days. I will continue to hunt down and post about arcade history, I’ve got a huge backlog of stuff to work through.

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If you happen to come across any good documentation, letters, or any other arcade paper, drop me a line I’d love to hear about it. If you need watermark free images, I can do that too.

genco incorporated letter

Gaming on hold!

Monday, August 29th, 2011

The summer went by so fast, barely had time to work or play in the arcade. Summer school chewed up a bunch of time and now that the regular school schedule is back, any gaming activity is pretty much on hold until I finish. I have no free time at all. The summer wasn’t a total loss as I did get some interesting bits of info and started some projects, but all that will have to wait. Hope the school year goes by quick!

FedEx toyed with my emotions today

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

If you are familiar with my site or my collecting habits, you know that I’m a big fan of Willis artwork. Willis made some weird stuff and I’m always looking to add to the collection. Well I got lucky not too long ago, and met another collector online that had what I consider to be the holy grail of Willis artwork. An almost complete set of the Willis Enviro-Graphics! This amazing set of wall hanging artwork and atmosphere graphics were supposed to enhance the operators business location or arcade. There were high score save signs, out of order signs, and massive black light graphics, all sold as one package deal. Pretty cool stuff, but because of its size and the fact that most of the pieces were mounted on foam core, very little has survived. The collector I met found a batch of the Willis artwork in some operators flat files out on the east coast. He doesn’t have space for all the art and agreed to sell me a few pieces. After some negotiations, proper packing and a shipping company selection, the 48x48x2 package was on the way. I was ecstatic! I got the tracking info and patiently waited to see this…


fedex tracking

I was really looking forward to opening up this package to get a first hand look at the artwork. I ran some errands with my kids, recapped a wg4900 series chassis, and just kept busy. I would check the FedEx website every 30 minutes or so to see if anything had changed. Nope, it was still on the truck for delivery. By about 6pm I started to get a little worried, but the status hadn’t changed so I figured the holiday packages had kept the driver behind schedule. At 8pm I figured I was screwed, but it wasn’t until 8:20pm that I saw this…


fedex tracking

I could think of lots of things to say, but none of them are nice. It looks like I’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Pat spotted in the parking lot, Pat 9000 that is…

Monday, January 4th, 2010

If you’re into arcade game repair, or have been in the hobby for awhile, you’re probably familiar with the Programmable Atari Test Station, or PAT-9000. This elusive piece of test equipment was sold by Atari to operators and would assist them in troubleshooting and repairing both raster and vector Atari circuit boards. It wasn’t a cheap item back in the 80’s and if you can find one now it would likely cost a small fortune. Oddly enough, I spotted these two gentleman moving one into the back of a Volvo.

Pat-9000

This unit was purchased by a Chicago local and while it had been badly hacked by the former owner, Bill K was able to repair it and get it 95% of the way to full working operation. Imagine that, repairing the repair equipment. The proud new owner will be making the final adjustments and repairs which includes building a housing for a vector and raster monitor to complete the package. A pretty amazing find and a great piece of history.

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