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Pottsville resident Butch Glauda gets the biggest Bingo pinball collections in the world

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A Pottsville resident Butch Glauda sets the new world record for the highest collections of Bingo pinball collection in the world.

According to him, he started with one bingo pinball machine when he was a teenager.

“My uncle (Michael Joseph) bought me my first one when I was 17,” he said. Glaude, 81, got the Yacht Club bingo pinball machine — built between 1954 and 1955 — in 1957.

Currently, Glauda has over 300 bingo pinball machines, the largest collection in the country and probably in the world.

The oldest of the machines was made in 1951, the year the two main manufacturers, Bally and United, began making them. They were purchased from private owners and large bingo pinball machine operators.

“It took my whole life to get what we have,” He said. At one time, he had more than 400 machines. However, over the years, he has sold some of them.

That allowed him to get parts for the bingo pinball machines he still has. It also freed up space. “I was running out of room,” Glauda said.

He collected the machines as a side project while working as a crane operator at the former Bethlehem Steel, as well as a substitute police officer and cab driver.

Glauda and his son, Mike Glauda, hope to show the public the machines by opening a museum at 530 and 532 S. Centre St. in Pottsville.

The museum would be housed in two buildings, one at 530 S. Centre St. and a second that will be constructed at 532 S. Centre St.

Unlike the traditional pinball machines, bingo pinball machines don’t have flippers on the side. Instead, users put a coin in the machine, press the plunger and the ball lands into a numbered pocket, or hole, on the machine board.

An electronic number on a corresponding board on the backglass scoring area lights up when the ball lands in the pocket. A monetary prize is awarded if a user gets five numbers in a row, with proceeds paid out to the owner. Because the machines were considered a form of gambling, they were often deemed illegal and taken by law enforcement.

The last time a bingo pinball machine was made was in 1988. Glauda has become well known in the world of bingo pinball machine enthusiasts.

Over the years, he has displayed them at shows across the country and in Canada, where he has earned the nickname “Bingo Butch.” He said they have garnered interest from people in countries around the world, such as Sweden and Australia, and the collection is featured in books on bingo pinball machines by Jeffrey Lawton.

Many people have said they want to see them in person, with someone saying they would be willing to come all the way from the Land Down Under to see the collection, according to Glauda’s son, Mike.

“People that were talking to us were saying, ‘You should have a museum,’ ” Butch Glauda said.

“It will show them this actually exists.

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