Produced in: 1
Features: 6 balls per play. Trap holes (6), Free Play hole (1). Non-electric operation. A push plunger on left side of cabinet front resets game. No flippers, but a handle protruding from front of game allows player to mechanically operate a “bridge” to guide balls across a wide mid-playfield outhole trough and towards six parallel scoring channels. The object of the game is to maneuver one ball into each of the six channels. A ball falling into a middle, seventh channel hits a bell to ring it and is returned to the player to shoot again. The cabinet measured 30 inches long and 18 inches wide (including trim) or 29 1/2 inches long and 17 1/2 inches wide (excluding trim). Height without legs and including trim is 10 3/4 inches high in the front and 13 1/4 inches high in the back. No backboard. Maximum displayed point score is 21 points. Sound: 1 bell
Type: Pure Mechanical (PM)
MPU: , Model Number:
Manufacturer: Culp Products Company, of Elkhart, Indiana
Design by: Art by: Music By: Sound By: Software by: Animation by:
Notes: Pictured here are two examples of this game having a flat game board (not a bowl). Both are coinless. The one shown on its legs has had both left and right plunger escutcheons replaced with non-original parts. The three knobs also may not be original. The handle in the center front is not original. Near the bottom edge of the playfield, and out of view in the image, should be the manufacturer name. Fortunately, this information was provided by the seller in their ad: CULP Products Co. Not Inc. Elkhart, IND. USA. The game shown without legs has this information along the bottom playfield edge, “Made Only By Culp Products Co. Not Inc. Elkhart, Ind. USA. Pat. No. 2195718”. Regarding this second game without legs, we corresponded in 2020 with Ed Smith, operator turned collector and past contributor to the now-defunct The Coin Slot magazine. Ed was an employee and friend to Johnny Frantz (whose company, J.F. Frantz, was known for making gun games, trade stimulators, and other coin-op devices) for the ten years preceding Johnny’s death in 1983. Johnny told him that he received this very game from John W. Culp to retrofit a coin slide into it but that he never got around to doing it because his success with his other products left him no time (and he factored in that the Bridgeball game had no history of success like the other games). Frantz gave the game to Ed, unmodified, around 1980. It would appear from this that Frantz did not proceed at all with the Bridgeball game. We don’t know what year this second game was made or when Frantz had received it from Culp, but we did find several Billboard ads from 1949 indicating that J. F. Frantz Manufacturing Company produced one or more ‘Bridgeball’ games under agreement with Culp and brought them to the CMI Show on January 17-19, 1949. We assume those show games were coin-operated to have been of any potential profit to attendees of that show and to make it worth Frantz’s while. If those Billboard ads are to be believed, we do not know how those 1949 games intersect with what Frantz had told Ed about not having time for this one game that Ed received from him. See J. F. Frantz’s 1949 ‘Bridgeball’. Patent 2,195,718 [AMUSEMENT DEVICE] filed September 21, 1938. Granted April 2, 1940 to J.W. Culp.