One of those big round things on a pinball machine. When a pinball runs into one, a metal ring around the bumper squeezes down, forcing the pinball away from the bumper.

Usually this also scores some points, although these are often some of the lowest-scoring targets on the table. Often the center of the bumper contains a light, and various other targets/combinations can light up the bumpers, making them worth more points.

A bumper is a thing on the back of your car, on which to place stickers that state your opinions to everyone else on the road. This is its sole purpose; if it helps cushion the blow of an accident, you just got lucky.

The rubber piece on the end of a pool cue used to add weight (Usually 1-2 oz) and protect the finish of the butt when stood upright.

See Anatomy of a pool cue

In December of 1936, Bally introduced a pinball game named "Bumper". This game was very unique at the time - instead of the metal pins that had littered the playfield of previous games, twelve large, metal springs were scattered around the playfield. These springs could detect when they were hit, to give points to the player, and would bounce the ball off at a higher speed than standard metal pins.

The bumper soon spread to all pinball games manufactured after Bumper, and replaced the scoring holes as the method of scoring points in the game.

These types of bumpers lasted for about twelve years. In 1948, the pop bumper was invented, and these bumpers, which are also sometimes called passive bumpers, started being seen less and less.

Bumper was produced by Bally Manufacturing Corporation. The playfield consisted of twelve bumpers, in groups of three, across, with the center bumper higher on the playfield than the two on the sides for each group. Along the sides of the playfield there were metal rails, with curved metal plates to keep the ball from running down the side of the playfield, and instead pushing it into the bumpers. The plates look like they were coiled at the ends around metal pins, which may have allowed the ball to bounce off of the plates instead of just deflecting.

The backbox and backglass were very simple, the name of the game, a tilt light, a "game complete" light, and area for scoring. It, like all pins of its day, was made with a wood frame.

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In the world of broadcast TV, a bumper is the short piece of film indicating the channel ID displayed in breaks. The bumpers used to be just the logo of the broadcaster, but now they are animated showcases featuring the logo. BBC World has an excellent bumper series, featuring news quotes, time-to-broadcast countdown, all in nice but not too flashy animation.

Bum"per (?), n. [A corruption of bumbard, bombard, a large drinking vessel.]


A cup or glass filled to the brim, or till the liquor runs over, particularly in drinking a health or toast.

He frothed his bumpers to the brim. Tennyson.


A covered house at a theater, etc., in honor of some favorite performer.



© Webster 1913.

Bump"er (?), n.


That which bumps or causes a bump.


Anything which resists or deadens a bump or shock; a buffer.


© Webster 1913.

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