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Re: Matthewson (Automatic Sports Co.) games

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:09 am
by bob
I am glad that my recent contribution to the Forum dealing with the Matthewson machines has proved of interest. I had also intended to mention that there are records of another Matthewson Cricket being operated in Australia. This was in the old Melbourne Aquarium housed in a building that was an annexe to the Royal Melbourne Exhibition building. The Exhibition building is a still existing World Heritage Site listed building dating from the Melbourne 1880/1 World Exhibition. The aquarium housed a whole variety of unusual exhibits other than marine life including “The Cricket Match, ancestor of all pinball machines” so described in a newspaper column which listed a whole series of other novelties including two engines emitting “automatic music” on insertion of a coin. Sadly the aquarium annex building was destroyed by fire in 1952 resulting in the loss of all of these objects including Matthewson’s Cricket Match, although mercifully the seals on exhibit were saved.

It was also not clear from my last contribution that whilst the restoration on the 18 Matthewson shooters was undertaken by Fred Bolland in 1946, not earlier, he had in fact bought out some of the surviving stock of Matthewson’s Automatic Sports Company in the 1920s as reported by Nic Costa. Also Nic was certainly well aware of Rowland, even if he did not write at length about him. Indeed, as he commented in a letter to me in 1986: “almost since the start of my interest in machines (in the early '70s) I’ve only had two names thrown at me by all and sundry - Matthewson and Rowland. According to popular consciousness they made almost all the old machines, and single-handedly pioneered the industry. Nobody else existed!”

Costa was concerned that there were many, many other British inventors and operators of coin operated machines that predated them in shooters, racers and other competitive games that deserved recognition and acknowledgement. I also neglected to mention that a two man Football Game that in a wooden case as shown both in the mechanism and design patents still exists in Australia. This however was not operated in Australia but brought here from England some years ago by a British coin op machine collector.

Due to the interest in the Matthewson and other early machines I hope to make a further contribution here soon. This will deal with the discovery in Adelaide in the early 1970s of the Holden collection of coin op machines and its subsequent dispersal, including their restoration and 2 subsequent auctions. These had belonged to an amusement machine operator and included the Mermaid Yacht Race and most of the other Matthewson cast iron machines that have survived in Australia.

Re: Matthewson (Automatic Sports Co.) games

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:45 am
by bryans fan
I can't wait to read the next instalment of this enthralling story! !THANKS!

Re: Matthewson (Automatic Sports Co.) games

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 12:43 pm
by john t peterson
You go, Bob! Great reading. It's not too late to finish writing that book!! :tarah:

J Peterson
#1 American fan

Re: Matthewson (Automatic Sports Co.) games

Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 3:18 pm
by gameswat
As most of us have found, often cashbox doors go missing on machines once out of operating life - but not so likely with any of the Mermaids. The first time I visited Bob in Melbourne to see his amazing collection his wife Bev thought it was very funny to show me what a great sense of humour Mathewson had. The cashbox key fit into the mermaids belly button and then I had to grab both breasts to lift the torso out!! :o :shock: :burp: :HaHa:

Re: Matthewson (Automatic Sports Co.) games

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:39 am
by bryans fan
I was pleased that posting the photo of the "Castle" shooter prompted others to share photos and information. This jogged my memory of a postcard I had which I had mentioned in the past to Bob as having three mermaids in a row. Having recently discussed and shared this image with another very knowledgeable collector, it was pointed out to me that it was in fact two mermaids and a castle !! Should have gone to specsavers! The date on the bill board was also pointed out to me as being significant as it was 1929. All other postcards I have of Clacton on sea are much earlier and seem to have the same few machines, in different configurations, this is the only later card I have of Clacton with the new central shelters.

Typical view of Clacton
photo clacton027.jpg

Later view.
photo025 - Copy.jpg

Re: Matthewson (Automatic Sports Co.) games

Posted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:43 pm
by sweetmeats
The postcard posted by Bryan's fan is fabulous. It is very rare to find any postcard showing machines on a pier after about 1915. Most show cast iron mermaids (as racers), Cricketers, Football or Golf and fortune tellers and cast iron mutoscopes. These are I expect a set of the three cast iron shooters (and most likely to be some of the Bollands machines found after the war). Other than the poster advertising the latest show for 1929, the machines seen further to the right are all 1920s machines rarely seen together with cast iron machines from the early 1900s. I have about 15 different views of Clacton pier all showing machines but none after about 1915. If anyone has any late postcards showing clearly 1920/30s machines, perhaps they could post them. I have a couple of small photos showing a Pussy Shooter and an Essex race game only in 20 years of looking.

Re: Matthewson (Automatic Sports Co.) games

Posted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:04 pm
by youngerap
I remember my Gran telling me that a lot of stuff like iron railings, gates, etc. were taken to feed the WW1 war effort. I wonder if the cast iron machines met the same fate, hence their scarcity after 1915?

Re: Matthewson (Automatic Sports Co.) games

Posted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:09 am
by bob
I've just looked through all my hundreds of postcards and like Sweetmeats I can find none showing amusement machines dated after 1915 or if undated wearing anything other than Victorian or Edwardian clothing. I have however got a postcard which is undated but shows people wearing '30s/'40s ? clothing which has a Salter Everitt scale. So here's one cast iron coin op that avoided being melted down in the 1st and possibly the 2nd World War.
I've also got the same Clacton postcard showing the three Matthewson machines. Unfortunately it's undated but it is much later, as Sweetmeats says, as clearly it has people wearing more modern clothing than all the other many Clacton pier postcards with coin op machines.

Re: Matthewson (Automatic Sports Co.) games

Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:20 pm
by sweetmeats
Bryans fan has sent me this enlarged close up of the Clacton postcard which I received this morning, showing the three shooters.It has been printed in sepia rather than the original black and white. Just thought other people might like to share the image.
pier pic.jpg

Re: Matthewson (Automatic Sports Co.) games

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:53 pm
by gameswat
Here are two great views of the same oceanfront Baths & Cinema with Mathewson machines by each entrance amongst others. I just researched the White Rock Baths and the cinema was short lived between 1913 and 1915.