Bagatelle; The 19th Century Game Console


Victorian_Folding_Bagatelle_Ta_as209a652z-119th Century Folding Bagatelle Game

Bagatelle was a game, invented in the 18h century, which used metal balls, steel pins and pockets. It was the forerunner of modern Pinball and a cousin to the Japanese game of Pachinko. Early forms of the game used cues (see above) instead of the spring loaded shooter which was invented in the mid-19th century.


The above rendition (circa 1850) would today be considered a game center. It included built in cribbage boards and a chess set. It was made of several woods including maple and rosewood. 


Bagatelle was popular enough in the 19th century for one political cartoonist to use Bagatelle as a metaphor for the 1864 Presidential election between Abraham Lincoln and General George B. McClellen. 

To see a version of the game with a spring loaded shooter see the next page.


The above late 19th century Bagatelle Game used a spring loaded shooter rather than cues. It can easily be seen how this version, with the addition of electricity, became the modern Pinball machine. 

Leave a Reply