• Jersey Jack Pinball’s Wizard of Oz machine

As I mentioned in my piece on Stern Pinball, the Melrose Park company is the last of the many Chicago-based pinball manufacturers left standing, and in fact for the past 12 years it’s been the only company in the world manufacturing new machines. Or at least it has been.

Sometime in the next couple of months the first completed machine is expected to roll off the assembly line at upstart Jersey Jack Pinball’s Lakewood, New Jersey headquarters. Founder Jack “Pinball Jack” Guarnieri is a former pinball repairman and designer, the founder of PinballSales.com, and a pinball columnist, which is a title I’ve been begging my editors at the Reader to create for some time now.

Before Pinball Jack’s debut machine, based on the classic film version of Wizard of Oz, officially ends Stern’s benevolent monopoly of the pinball industry I talked to Guarnieri on the phone.