Last Update: April 25, 2017

Eric Kamen
Age: 1958 -
Profession: Pinball Technician
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Location: Denver, Colorado

Pinball Technician

A dream comes true! I was seven years old and I went with my parents to Coney Island in New York. There I saw all the old-fashioned styles and things from the past, such as pinball machines and other games (because of this, I started to get interested in mechanics). I later went back to New York in 1990 to a store I had seen, in search of pinball machines so I could add them to my collection back home, but the machines were gone. I was really disappointed.

I was born May 6, 1958 in Brooklyn, New York, but despite my disability, I showed aptitudes of putting things together and mechanical ability. At the age of 2½ I attended Lexington School for the Deaf until the age of 12 and continued to show my ability in mechanics.

My interests really got started when I was 12 years old, while a student at the New York School for the Deaf, also known as Fanwood. The school had a game room and whenever a game or piece of equipment would break, the school authority called upon me to repair whatever was necessary to keep the game room operating. At this point I vowed that some day I would own my own game room!

While attending Fanwood, I was sent to West Chester Community College where I took a course in House Wiring. After a year, the instructor said I was #1 in my class. But due to my disability no one would hire a deaf man. Despite my frustration, I continued to improve my ability in working with wires and tools.

At 16 years old, I got a job at McCann Amusements in the Bronx, working on Saturdays repairing pinball machines and other mechanical games. While working at McCann, I learned to cannibalize various machines for the parts, which became useful and important. My boss, George McCann, gave me a Gottlieb Play Mates (1968). I now have the back glass on the wall and added a scorekeeper, which is also a clock that I made myself. My boss also gave me a Midway Golf Champ (1972), which was a wall-mounted electromechanical game.

I appreciated the gifts very much. After graduating from Fanwood, the encouragement of other deaf boys helped me to decide to go to Westminster Community College. Two years later, I relocated to California where I worked for a distributor of mechanical games. The distributor was C.A. Robinson Amusement Co. The technicians who worked there were classified as "professionals." I worked for Robinson for six years, learning my craft and improving my skills. They would say I was one deaf person who is a rare breed in a hearing world.

I now live in Denver, Colorado because I love the outdoor activities, the mountains, and the weather. I have been working for the post office for the past six years. I do get job working part time repairing pinball and slot machines.

My first love is amusement and mechanical games and over the past several years I have been buying and selling various machines. This is my game room and I'm proud of my accomplishment.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Eric Kamen visited Coney Island for the first time at the age of seven. He called it, "a dream come true." Although Eric is deaf, his disability hasn't affected his love for mechanical amusement devices. He is a prop at mechanical game repair.