A Rare Coin Operated Mechanical "The Original Ice Hockey Game" by J.P. Seeburg Corp, Chicago c.1933


Origin: American
Period: Early / Mid Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1931-36
Height: 39.5 inches
Width: 25.5 inches
Length: 48 inches

The mechanical hockey game having an attractive polychrome painted pine case with depicted hockey sticks and players to the top, raised on block ebonised legs, the central octagonal playing field having composition hockey players at each goal, the top with original makers plate for J.P. Seeburg and instructions plate.

The condition of the game is fair to good with the paint to the pine worn and faded (though beautifully and naturally we might add), whilst the player mechanisms are in working order, making each spin on thei axis. There are traces of old woodworm to parts but it is not active nor has it made any part of the structure suspect. The coin operation is stiff, the mechanism that pushes the game ball or puck out is still operational. If wanting to use the game as intended it would need some restoration but given its age the overall order is sound.

The Seeburg name is synonymous mainly for top quality 1950's Juke boxes and the corporation also made some mechanical vending shooting games. Born in Sweden in 1871, Justice P. Seeburg came to the United States at the age of sixteen. He settled in Chicago and worked in the piano industry as a mechanic and supervisor. In 1907, J.P. Seeburg started his own manufacturing company using his own name. Then, when J.P. Seeburg entered his 60s in the late 1930s he turned the business over to his son Noel.

Surviving from the second quarter of the twentieth century this particular games last patent is dated to 1936. This particular game appears on a list of games manufactured between 1931-1939 which was published in the January 1940 issue of the Coin Machine Journal. They released fourteen machines under this trade name, starting in 1931. Other machines made by J. P. Seeburg Corp. during the time period Hockey was produced include Multi-O-Line, Western Sweepstakes, Melophone, Grand Champion, and Scram.

In the 1930s, the earliest coin-operated  machines were made. These early amusement devices were distinct from their later electronic cousins in that they were made of wood, did not have plungers or lit-up bonus surfaces on the playing field, and used mechanical instead of electronic scoring readouts. This example is one of these early machines.

As such, it represents a scarce piece of early twentieth century gaming, especially this side of the pond, and a superbly decorative piece of furniture at that.