Skeeball, or Skee-ball as its official name is written, has its roots right here in South Jersey.

Thanks to New Jersey's boardwalk arcades, the game became a winner and spread around the world.

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Skeeball was invented in Vineland

Joseph Fourestier Simpson was the inventor of Skee-ball. The Vineland, New Jersey man had his attorney file a $20 fee, and a patent was issued for the game in 1908. He shared the invention of the game with another fellow, William Nice, Jr.

Shortly thereafter, the Skee-Ball Alley Company was formed, with an office in Vineland. Manufacturing took place at a place in Philadelphia.

Within a few years, dozens of the game were built and sold to arcades not only in New Jersey, but in Philadelphia, California, and other locations.

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Company actually stopped production in 1912

With the death of Nice, Simpson and another partner ran out of money to effectively market the game, and production stopped in 1912.

IN 1914, though, a Philadelphia man, J.D. Este, a Skee-ball player himself, bought the company and started reintroducing the game.

By 1915, according to, the game became wildly popular with the forming of "both men’s and women’s teams, often sponsored by corporate employers." Philadelphia was big for Skeeball.

The company changed hands a few more times, as the popularity of the game continued to increase.

Photo by Will Myers on Unsplash
Photo by Will Myers on Unsplash

Big Skeeball tournament in Atlantic City

A stadium for Skeeball was built in Atlantic City: Layman Sternbergh’s Skee-Ball Stadium. It hosted a tournament in 1932, where about 100 players from all around the country competed in a national tournament.

The prize money for first place in the first national tournament was $1,000, a lot of money for the times.

The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company, a jukebox company, bought the company in 1936 and quickly had the game in bad nationwide.

Since those days, the company continued to change hands, and it's now headquartered in Wisconsin.

Find out more about Skeeball's history here.


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