Kauko's EM collection

I was thinking that pinball hobbyists have already forgotten EM machines, but now after seeing Kauko Kannisto's sixteen game collection, I am glad to be wrong! In December 2000 Kauko phoned me and told about his hobby, and soon after New Year I had a chance to visit Kauko. I took a WPC guru APz, who had never even seen an EM game, along and after a while we arrived in Karvia.

Kauko's games are at the basement of an industrial building, where he has built a "pinball cave" that is also open to public once a year during the Karvia Carneval. At other times the games are just for Kauko's personal use. As walking down the basement stairs, lots of memories came to my mind when a genuine EM pinball smell reached me. Getting to the cave, I almost dropped my eyes when seeing the rows of games:

(My camera had a bit troubles in the low light, so the pictures are little grainy)

Kauko has now collected EM games for about 5 years. All games are from the 1960's and 1970's. At the time of our visit, the following games were set up:

Kauko is working on some more games, and the cellar has room for at least four more, so we are eagerly waiting for more!

Some games I had never played before, and the day went very fast. We visited Kauko's home for some snacks and then came back to the cave and admiring the games.

Here I am checking up the Joust. How great it is to play EM machines again!

Kauko's collection includes also this pool themed machine with lots of drop targets, Gottlieb Hot Shot from 1973. My pinball mechanic career began in 1979 with repairing a Hot Shot, so this was a nice game to see again.

The owner opens Space Odyssey...

... and electronic game wizard APz wonders the amount of relays.

(Note even the original type number on coil)

EM spares are not found everywhere anymore, but since Kauko is a clever pinhead, it is easy for him to make the missing parts himself. So if it happens that a game is missing a flipper coil or plunger link, Kauko creates a replacement part from what happens to be at hand. A wooden ice-cream stick matches well with Gottlieb's broken drop target. Just glue it to targets backside!

Kauko's oldest game, Ten Spot by Williams from 1961. Even then there were quite a lot of relays and other stuff inside a pinball machine.

Ten Spots playfield does not shame the newer machines at all even if it is 40 years old already!

Years affect also pinballs. Especially backglass paint tends to flake and shade. Of course this kind of little problem does not stop Kauko, he takes his paint pen and fixes up the backglasses, sometimes on quite large areas. For example, here is a Swing Along by Roy Parker. The backglass was originally about half gone. Now it looks like new! This is the first game with rotating spinner. As we all know, rotating movement fascinates mad people, including us suffering from pinball madness, so it is great Kauko has this kind of treasure restored.

Naturally Kauko can also repaint cabinets. Too often the previous owner has painted his machine with a happy gray paint. Fortunately the original decorations can often be traced so that Kauko is able to redo them. EM machines had a special splash finish, which Kauko reproduces by using black paint, a toothbrush and his thumb!

This Williams Tom Tom backglass was missing a large piece of glass and even larger amount of paint. It doesn't even show clearly in this picture how Kauko has repaired it, but that only shows how good job he has done.

EM classics Space Odyssey and Capt. Fantastic are both in Kauko's collection. His Capt. Fantastic has an unblemished backglass. Kauko being also a music man, naturally has also Elton John's "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" LP from 1975.
(Pity that guitar virtuoso Frank Zappa never appeared on any pinball, then probably I would also have a pinball themed LP!)

Helping to move games around Kauko has designed and built a pinball cart, that can be used for moving games and also as temporary legs for a pinball.

Many thanks to Kauko for showing us his collection. I hope he will find many more fine machines. Next game I am buying is sure to be an EM game, so great did it feel to play again these a little forgotten games.

Some changes in Kauko's cave summer 2001

Kauko had to move his machines. Fortunately another cellar room was available from the same building. It looks now even more cave like, as all the games are in one row.

There are 19 games now. Since last visit the collection is grown with three new games. Gottlieb's Orbit and Williams's Heat Wave and Big Deal, designed by legendary Ed Krynsky and Steve Kordek.

Many remember Williams's newer Big Deal from 1977. This is however a little older game of the same name.

Kauko has his machines in very good shape now, so there will be many happy players at the Karvia Carneval on 4th of August 2001!

Kauko and his pinballs on TV

The finnish TV company MTV3 (not to be confused with Music Television) made a special clip on Kauko's collection 23.9.2001. Of course pinballs would deserve a whole series, but this is a good start. Download the video (2.45 MB) here. An English translation of the video clip is here