The Wonderful World of Skee-Ball

For any of us who grew up in the Rockaways and for others who went to other amusement parks around the country, many have wonderful memories of having fun playing Skee-ball . Here are some wonderful Skee-ball images. If one closes their eyes you can feel the wooden ball, feel the throw and hear the sounds that were part of the playing this simple game. I can feel the thrill of the ball going into the 50,000 hole and seeing my points go up.

Photo by Pam Neff

Photo by Photoseeum

Photo By Masterfile

Photo by Amy Strycula

Photo by Buck Roe

Photo by Defoues

Photo by Shore

Gary Moyer

From left, American artists Bill Giles, Anna Moreska, and Robert Rauschenberg with choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer John Cage watch artist Jasper Johns play skee-ball in Dillon’s Bar

Photo by Skee-ball inc.

Photo by Skee-ball Inc.

Photo by Skee-ball Inc.

1909Skee-Ball invented and patented by J.D. Estes of Philadelphia.
1914First Skee-Ball Alleys sold and distributed to the outdoor amusement industry market by Maurice Piesen. Measuring 36 feet long, the alleys were quite large. As a result, the potential playing market was restricted since the game required some strength to play.
1928Size of the Alley reduced by more than half – to 14 feet. Tremendous popularity achieved as the shortened version widened the range of appeal. Now the game was accessible to women, children and the elderly.
1932First national Skee-Ball tournament held in Atlantic City, New Jersey arcade.
1935Wurlitzer Company acquired Skee-Ball rights from Piesen.
1945Philadelphia Toboggan Company acquired the copyright, patents, and all rights for the exclusive manufacturing of Skee-Ball Alleys from Wurlitzer.

Timeline from