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Dan Hosek – Pinball Machine Collector and Restorer

By Admin | May 25, 2008

Dan Hosek is owner and operatior of Pinball Perfection in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a collector and restorer of these quintessential games from baby boomer youth.


Where are you from?

I was in born in Millvale, Pennsylvania.

Where did you go to college and what was your academic major?

Broward Community College. I studied electronics but never finished.

What has been your career path from college to your current position?

All electronics. I worked for Sony on my last job.

How did you get interested in pinball machines?

It was a hobby for years. My parents used to put me on a milk crate in the Grant bar in Millvale. I started repairing them in 1976 and brought my first one home around 1982.

How much does a middle-of-the-road restored pinball machine go for?

Well rebuilt ones start at $500. It just depends on the title, or how far I go with it – new playfields or repainted cabinets, new backglasses or new computers, etc. But, they are all collectable in some degree.

How long does it take to restore a pinball machine?

As quick as a day or it has been as long as 15 years until you find the missing part or backglass, or a good playfield to make it complete.

Where do you get the parts to restore your machines?

I have a lot of parts from over the years. I trade with people or find stuff on the internet.

How many people do you employ?

There are two of us full time, but I have some pinhead volunteers and specialists. I even had a pinchic for a while. I need another one of those, but they are very rare.

Do you restore more pinball machines or slots machines?

More pinballs, but I do slots also and arcade machines and other stuff. Anything that takes a coin.

What pinball machines are the top of the line, Mercedes of the business?

I’d say Medieval Madness and Adams family. But, there are a lot of great titles. Everyone has their favorite.

What pinball machines were the most popular?

8 ball, Fishtales, Getaway, Mata hari, Egg head. It just depends on the era – 60s games, 70s, 80, 90s, etc.

Which pinball machine is your personal favorite?

There are just to many good ones to pick from. Modern machines would be Indy Jones and Lord of the Rings.

What is one little known “fun fact” about pinball machines?

Contrary to popular opinion, there are no magnets, unless it is obvious like Adams Family and a few others.

What demographic group buys restored pinball machines?

Well, since 911 people with lots of money that don’t care if gas is 4 bucks or 10 a gallon. They just want cool machines.

With all the high tech virtual reality Wii games available?

You cannot duplicate a pinball machine with video. In pinball, you can shake the machine and the ball is wild and there is a lot of skill involved.

Can you describe a pinball circuit?

Games older then 1977 are purely mechanical in nature.

Newer games have a board set, with a power supply, computer, driver board lamp board and sound boards. They also have circuit boards for the displays that work with all the mechanical stuff.

Do people try to make a living playing pinball?

Yes, they do, but they only try. There are some really good players out there that usually win most of the tournaments.

How many times a day does somebody bring up the “Pinball Wizard” song to you?

On a regular basis. Or, they ask me if I am one – and I am. I have played in some tournaments and did pretty well.

What is your personal pinball machine collection like?

I have been working towards building a museum of pinball machines and other interesting machines for years and it’s finally open. There is a long way to go but it’s exciting and way cool so far.

It is located on the top floor of our building. It is open Friday nights and Saturdays. All games are on free play for one admission at the door.

Copyright 2008 DailyInterview.com

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