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Dawne Dunton

Myrtle Beach, United States

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Skee Ball at the beach is always a happy memory.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina / USA
Nikon D3200

The game was invented in 1909 by J. Dickinson Este in the city of Philadelphia. In 1935 the rights to Skee-Ball were purchased by the Wurlitzer Corporation, which in 1945 sold them to the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, an amusement park ride manufacturer. In 1977 the Philadelphia Toboggan Company set up Skee-Ball, Inc. to market the game, now located in Chalfont, Pennsylvania.
When Skee-Ball alleys were first sold in 1914 to the outdoor amusement park industry by Maurice Piesen (the stock was held by nine year old Maurice on behalf of his father, Hugo Piesen), the game had a 36-foot (11 m) lane. This was much too big for most arcades, and made it so that only people who were quite strong could play it well. As a result it was later changed to 14 feet (4.3 m), but was eventually changed again to the modern length of 10 or 13 feet (4.0 m). Soon after these changes, skee ball became very common in arcades around the United States. Because prizes were given to the players, the game was considered a form of gambling in some parts of the country. This led to restrictions on the number of machines allowed in an arcade in some places, and banning of the game in other places. These laws, however, did not last long, and thus skee ball is now found in almost all arcades in the country. It is also a staple of the restaurant/arcade chain Chuck E. Cheese’s.
In 1932, the first ever skee ball tournament was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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