A nostalgic slot machine collection in Barcelona
The Sanahuja Museum in Sabadell, Barcelona, is one of the largest private museums in Europe showing the history of the gaming industry from its start
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The Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, the Picasso Museum, the Romanesque frescoes of the National Art Museum of Catalonia... The cultural and museum offerings of Barcelona are known all over the world. But if a visitor overcomes laziness, takes a cab or rents a car, and reaches Sabadell, an industrial town on the outskirts of the Catalan capital, they will be surprised by a museum like no other — the Sanahuja museum, a private museum dedicated to gaming machines.
From slot machines to jukeboxes, flips, roulettes or virtual rally machines. The museum exhibits more than 600 coin-operated machines from all eras (all of them still work) making it one of the biggest museums in Europe dedicated to the history of gaming.
"We have the largest collection of jukebox and pinball machines in Europe. And slot machines and video games," explained museum director Jaume Sanahuja in a recent interview with Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia.
Sanahuja's family have run a company creating arcade machines, MGA (Machines Games Automatics Machines) for more than 50 years.
"I have loved these machines since I was a child. Some of them I invented and built by hand," he explained.
Among the machines created by Sanahuja is the first slot machine with a prize in Spain, called Resbalón, launched in 1977. As a child, Jaume recalls going with his father to repair machines all over Spain. Thus began his passion for these machines, whose origin dates back to 1929 in the United States, when Harry Williams created the first pinball machine. They arrived in Spain in the 50s on American military bases. The first Spanish manufacturer of pinball machines was in Zaragoza, next to one of these bases.
To get his collection of machines, Sanahuja usually places ads on second-hand websites, goes to auctions and antique dealers, or visits private individuals.
"I have been collecting these machines for almost half a century, many of them have traveled here in containers from the United States, mainly from Chicago and Las Vegas, after having closed deals with antique dealers and individuals, and others I have found in England and Italy," explained the president of MGA to noticiasclave.net.
It's a lost art in this forever-digitizing age of video games and connectivity.