Vintage pachinko machines were made by hundreds of companies (Make) over the decades. Some of these companies include Daiichi, Ginza, Heiwa, Kyoraku, Maruhan, Maruto, Mizuho, Monako, Monami, New Gin, Nishijin, Okumurayuki, Sankyo and Sanyo. You may find the company name on the front or back of your machine. If that doesn’t work, browse our Restoration Manuals page which has pictures of many different machines and try to find one where the front and back look like yours.
These companies did not have specific identifications for each model they produced. The machines were made in assembly line fashion and in order to create variety, parts would be mixed and matched to create various combinations. So while there were many machines with a particular laminated playfield design, the combination of parts on the playfield can vary.
Also we have seen cases of two machines that have the same laminated playfield and all the parts on it are exactly the same, but one machine is in a wood case and the other is in a case that has laminate. Other items that can vary are the play tray door, overflow tray and all the mechanical parts of the machine.
Interestingly we have even seen where various parts on the playfield for one company are also being used by another company. Perhaps “suppliers” would provide parts to more than one company.
It also appears that the companies were very efficient and no parts were wasted. Even as a new “model” design was being introduced, extra parts from prior models were used on the new models creating interesting variations.
So all this means is that there is no definitive list of every pachinko machine produced with quantities and other statistical information. However, most people like to know what their machine is called or its model name.
Since there are no official model names or designations we assign each machine we restore a model name which is a description of some aspect of the playfield. It might be the design on the playfield laminate, a description of some of the parts on the playfield, or a word or phrase that can be seen on some part of the playfield.
This can be interesting when you have a background laminate with horses and the center attraction is a hockey ring. Or the laminate is a picture of clowns but the center attraction is of a sumo wrestler. In this case we usually pick item that stands out the most.
This method works OK for machines from the 1970s which were often have a “themed” laminate or part. It is harder to do on machines from the 1950s and 1960s which are more “generic”.
If you have a machine that is hard to name, we suggest asking a few friends or family what comes to mind when they look at the machine (similar to spotting shapes in clouds). You will likely get a few different ideas then you can pick the one you like.