The backside of a pinball playfield Credit: Jamie Ramsay

For our latest issue, Ryan Smith delved into the seedy history of pinball and the champion player Roger Sharpe, who helped lift the ban on the game while his sons are leading today’s renaissance.  We photographed Roger and his sons Josh and Zach, the next generation of champion pinball competitors, at the Stern Pinball factory in Elk Grove Village, IL.  It’s the oldest and largest manufacturer and designer of pinball machines in the world.  It ships machines all over the globe.  Every station of assembly is touched by human hands to create the games themed with everything from Guardians of the Galaxy, to Star Wars, to Stern’s latest machine dedicated to Iron Maiden.  We’ve got a few extra looks, from inside the factory, that couldn’t fit in print.

A worker finishes the a pinball playfield before it’s placed in a cabinetCredit: Jamie Ramsay

Workers install electronics on the backside of a pinball playfieldCredit: Jamie Ramsay

Pinball play fields being built on the assembly lineCredit: Jamie Ramsay

A close look at the flippers of the Iron Maiden game before the playfield glass is installedCredit: Jamie Ramsay

Iron Maiden pinball cabinets prior to assemblyCredit: Jamie Ramsay

Electronic wiring awaiting installation into pinball machinesCredit: Jamie Ramsay

Inside the customizations area of Stern Pinball factoryCredit: Jamie Ramsay

A wall of customizations available for pinball machinesCredit: Jamie Ramsay

Flags representing all of the countries to which Stern ships pinball machinesCredit: Jamie Ramsay

Zach, Josh and Roger Sharpe wait for lighting to get set up for the photo shoot.Credit: Jamie Ramsay

Former pinball champ Roger Sharpe’s signature footwork during pinball playCredit: Jamie Ramsay