Flippers have been an important part of pinball games since they were introduced in 1947 with Humpty Dumpty. Just the same, modern pinball players would most likely feel frustrated by the flippers on early pinball games, which were only two inches in length.
Since they were so small, they lacked the power and reach necessary to really keep the ball moving.
The average size of flippers changed with the release of Hayburners II in 1968.
Produced by the Williams company, this game boasted a new style of flipper that was an extra inch in length, giving the player more swinging power.
These three-inch flippers were also reinforced with extra rubber that helped them give the ball a powerful kick when flipped. The end result was a new sense of control for the player.
Hayburners II offered even more features in its backboard, which reflected the game’s horse-track theme. This backboard featured a set of six horses behind the glass that would ‘race’ towards a finish line when the player triggered their motion.
This was achieved by hitting a set of six targets at the back of the playfield with the pinball. The novelty of these racehorses was a definite enhancement to Hayburners II’s arcade appeal.
Just the same, it was the longer flippers that made Hayburners II one for the history books. By the spring of 1969, Williams started making all of their pinball machines with three-inch flippers.
Other pinball companies followed suit, and three-inch flippers had become the industry standard by 1972. This history-making innovation makes Hayburners II one of the all-time greats of the pinball world.