Pinball Was Corrupting Our Children in Lanark County



Photo-Slot machine raids were often conducted as media events. Pinterest

From the beginning of pinball in the early 1930s, a recurring problem encountered by the pinball industry was the anti-gambling forces. Because of the preponderance of Slot Machines, trade stimulators and other gambling devices, many people opposed to gambling were suspicious of ALL coin-operated devices. As a result, for many years to come, pinballs had to be defended as being amusement and not gambling devices.

One must realize though that many pinball parlours, bowling alleys and bars were seedy and prone to be habited by low life people, who in addition to gambling were casting bets on the side. Slot machine raids were often conducted as media events. The press was pre-invited so the politicians could get maximum publicity.




A clamp down on pinball machine operators was in full swing in Eastern Ontario in the spring of 1959. Twenty machines were seized with nine of them being confiscated. The purge started after several complaints about illegal gaming houses. Five electric pinball machines, estimated at a value of $4,000 were burnt at the Perth and Almonte dumps under the supervision of the Perth OPP detachment.

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The Ottawa Journal26 Jan 1940, FriPage 1

Over $233 in nickels were removed from the coin boxes prior to the machines being smashed and burnt. In charge of the clamp-down was Constable D. Pierce an Corp. L. Gartner of the OPP Perth detachment. For the machines to be destroyed, thirty-one days had to elapse after an operator was convicted. The forfeited money was sent to the local magistrate who in turn would forward the money to the provincial treasure. Photo shows an O.P.P. constable smashing a pinball machine at the dump.

Ken Brown from Brown’s Pool Hall on Gore Street was quotes in the Perth Courier that he had nearly been put out of business. One would say it was a slippery slope to the Mafia taking over the town:)

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The Ottawa Journal04 May 1959, MonPage 7



No doubt about it– You Couldn’t Touch these pinball machines as it was Hammer Time in the 50s.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun


About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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