Williams Pinball Factory Tour in 1988

The Pinball Expo '88 tour arrives at Williams Electronics, Inc. A technician solders parts on a Williams Taxi playfield. Williams Taxi pinball machines undergo test and burn-in before shipment.

Pinball Expo '88 participants visited the Williams Electronics factory to see how Taxi pinball machines were made.
Click photo to enlarge.

A highlight of Pinball Expo '88 was the tour of the Williams Electronics pinball machine factory. We watched metal parts fabrication, playfield construction, component wiring, cabinet assembly, final testing, and crating for shipment. The two dozen photos that accompany this story show how raw materials were transformed into Williams Taxi pinball machines.

These photos were scanned from slides I found recently in a forgotten Kodak Carousel slide tray. The photos inspired me to create the Pinball Clicks web site to share my recollections.

This factory tour (and similar tours at other Pinball Expos) revived my interest in industrial processes. Within a few years, I joined the Society for Industrial Archelology to learn more about our industrial heritage and to accompany them on their many factory tours.

After lunch on Friday, October 7, 1988, charter buses carried us to the Williams factory at 3401 North California Avenue, Chicago, at the intersection with West Roscoe Street. The red brick faced factory building apeared about 20 years old. It stretched about 75 yards along California Avenue and 100 yards along Roscoe Street. Most of the building was a single story, although some second floor office windows were visible.

We gathered in the cafeteria for a brief introduction and then toured the factory in smaller groups. The following pages trace the path of our visit. Our first stop was the metalworking section.

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