Who Invented the Pitching Machine?

Who Invented the Pitching Machine?

Who, When, and Where Was the Pitching Machine Invented?

For as long as the sport of baseball has been around, so has the innovation of baseball training products. The next level is always out there, and as long as we are competing for it, someone will be innovating the next product that will help us get there.

Depending on who you ask, you may get a different response if you ask someone who invented the pitching machine.

Purely for the love of baseball and the history behind the products we sell daily, we decided to ask ourselves the same question to provide you with the best possible answer.

Of course, we already know our history, but we decided to write this article to share with you, our customer, the history behind pitching machines.

Who Invented the Pitching Machine?

Charles Howard Hinton invented the first pitching machine in 1897 at Princeton University.

Charles Hinton was a mathematics instructor at the University of Princeton when he sought to design the first prototype of the pitching machine.

According to a Wikipedia source, his first design resembled a catapult. This design, however, failed to meet his expectations and the expectations of the Princeton baseball team. It could not throw accurately and consistently enough.

His next design resembled that of a rifle. According to one source, "It¬†occurred to [him] that practically whenever men wished to impel a ball with velocity and precision, they drove it out of a tube with powder.‚ÄĚ

Who invented the first pitching machine?

That's right, Hinton essentially designed a baseball cannon. The pitching machine utilized gunpowder, which was unpredictable and dangerous.

According to an article on Wikipedia, the baseball cannon pitching machine led to several injuries and his dismissal from teaching at Princeton.

To this day, there is actually one machine that resembles Hinton's original design, the Zooka pitching machine. Made of cheap plastic, this pitching machine is nowhere near as dangerous as the first baseball pitching machine invented.

Although the first baseball pitching machine was never brought to market and mass-produced, Hinton's invention was the first necessary step toward the modern pitching machine. 

Who Invented the First Mass Produced Baseball Pitching Machine?

After Hinton's failed invention, there were over 50 years without innovation with the pitching machine. It wasn't until 1952 that baseball innovator Paul Giovagnoli invented the arm-style pitching machine, one of the few types of pitching machines on the market today. 

Iron Mike Masterpitch Pitching Machine

Utilizing a simple pitching machine design, Paul's arm-style pitching machines used a steel arm to catapult the baseball into the strike zone. His pitching machines achieved the necessary speeds and accuracy and were later brought to market and sold to baseball teams and batting cages nationwide.

These pitching machines are still around today and are known as Iron Mike baseball pitching machines. In fact, we sell Iron Mike pitching machines here at Anytime Baseball Supply, and our customers love them.

If you ever go to a batting cage, there's a good chance that the machine that throws you a strike is an Iron Mike pitching machine.


To learn how pitching machines work or how to use a pitching machine and to learn more about the different types of pitching machines, be sure to check out our blog.

Nowadays, pitching machines are such an integral part of baseball training. They are enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels. Read our recent report on pitching machines from over 126 surveyed customers. 

Pitching machines technology has come a long way from this first iteration, and nowadays, there are options for any level of play. 

We hope you liked this article as much as we enjoyed writing it. For more about pitching machines, check out our collection of pitching machines or check out our blog post, where we talk about the best pitching machines for baseball and softball. And feel free to share this article with friends.


Founder / Senior Contributor

Kevin King, founder of Anytime Baseball Supply and senior contributor of the Daily Diamond blog, started the company 7 years ago. He loves the Los Angeles Dodgers, playing the occasional pick up baseball game, skateboarding and his dog Panzer. Despite his busy schedule, he still finds time to contribute to the blog.

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