Prior to the establishment of Harvard Game Tables, the company was known as Crown Recreation West, Inc. The corporation has an 80-year history in the table gaming sector. The brand name was eventually changed to Harvard Game Tables, and their first patent was filed in 1989 for a basketball goal adjustment mechanism under this firm name.
Harvard quickly established itself as a leader in table games, developing five distinct foosball table models. Harvard also created a variety of additional arcade games geared toward families, including air hockey tables, basketball hoops, and ping pong. As is the case with many brands in the table gaming and manufacturing markets, mergers and acquisitions occur. It is not uncommon for the same parent business to manufacture the same table under two distinct brand or model names.
Harvard was acquired by Escalade Sports in 1980. Escalade owns a number of brands in the family gaming industry and offers a range of sports, arcade games, and fitness equipment. The Harvard air hockytable line has now been discontinued, but it included five distinct table types. Although these models are no longer available online or in shops, they were noted for their high quality build and were more frequently encountered in department stores than at professional tournaments. They make an excellent gift for children or anyone looking for a table for some casual table games, but Harvard does not manufacture a professional table that professional players use.
And if you're looking for the greatest air hockey table manufacturer, let's talk about who first made an air hockey table.
Two happy men playing air hockey
Between 1969 and 1972, a group of Brunswick Billiards employees invented air hockey. In 1969, a trio of Brunswick engineers — Phil Crossman, Bob Kenrick, and Brad Baldwin — began developing a frictionless surface for a game. Some years later, Bob Lemieux resurrected the concept, focusing on developing an abstracted version of ice hockey with a thin disc, two strikers, and slit-like goals equipped with photodetectors. The game's attractiveness to a broader market was subsequently determined, and air hockey was promoted and sold to the general public. Crossman, Kendrick, and Lemieux are cited in the original patents, as well as prior work on air tables.
In any case, the game was an instant financial success, and by the mid-1970s, significant interest in tournament play had developed. As early as 1973, players in Houston established the Houston Air Hockey Association and, shortly thereafter, the Texas Air Hockey Players Association, codifying regulations and marketing the sport through local competitions held at Houston pubs like Carnaby's, Damians, and the University of Houston. The United States Air-Table Hockey Association (USAA) was founded in 1975 by J. Phillip "Phil" Arnold, primarily as an official sanctioning body to assure uniform play standards of the highest competitive quality. Thus, Brunswick Corporation's unfriendly regulations were declared null and void, and the sport of air hockey has remained under player control since that time. Since its creation, the USAA has sanctioned at least one national or world championship each year, crowning 12 different champions over the last three decades. The Air Hockey Players Association (AHPA) was established in March 2015 to provide air hockey players with an extra organization that is also responsible for supervising the sport of air hockey. Both groups operate separately yet adhere to a common set of regulations and share a large number of players. In July 2015, the AHPA crowned not only its first global champion but also the youngest in the history of the sport in Colin Cummings of Beaumont, TX. Today, professional air hockey is played by a small but dedicated community of serious players worldwide, with significant player bases in Houston, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Chicago, New York City, and Boston in the United States of America, Barcelona in Spain, Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and Novgorod in Russia, and Most and Brno in the Czech Republic. From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, Caracas, Venezuela was a hub of activity; three-time World Champion Jose Mora and several finalists were born there. By 1999, the majority of Venezuelan activity had ceased.
Harvard air hocky tables are far from the greatest available. If you're willing to overlook a few shortcomings, they can still deliver fairly decent gameplay on a shoestring budget.
While youngsters may like the Harvard tables the most, adults who prefer air hockey might be better served by a table from a higher-quality brand.