Drop Case Machines (1 of 1) - PennyMachines MUSEUM
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Museum

Dropcase Machines

The earliest coin-operated payout gaming machines used the coin as the projectile and its potential energy due to gravity as the motive force, with pins randomising its fall towards the win, lose or return receptacles. This is about as simple a gaming mechanism as one could conceive. Either the coins were dropped from the top, shunted by lever or hand from the side or fired upwards with a spring and trigger arrangement. Early dropcase games usually paid out a cigar, token or ticket to the winner, while later versions tended to offer more generous payouts and jackpots. In so far as they allowed the player to aim the coin, they could make some claim to be games of skill.


 

The Tivoli

The Tivoli

The classic features of a first generation British slot machine are all there, from the "Test Your Skill" motif, to the pinfield, coin return and "good cigar" prize rewards.

With its elegant cabinet design, it would not look out of place in respectable clubs and hotels, but the raked top was provided to protect it from rain and snow should it be located outside. Before the advent of the dedicated amusement arcade, this was the lot of many slot machines.

 


 

The Challenger

The Challenger

The most successful dropcase machine of all, versions of the game were dispatched from the Birmingham factory from the late 1920s until the late 1960s.

Pennies inserted were directed by the faceted wheel (controlled by the knob on the left) through the pin-field towards the rows of coins below. The object was to drop a penny into a full column in order to win its contents. Payouts ranged from 6 in the centre to 4 in the outer columns. At first it appears you can't lose, because as the plaque says, "ALL COINS THAT FALL INTO THE COLUMNS BELOW WILL EVENTUALLY BE RETURNED TO THE PLAYERS". It doesn't mention that the coin triggering a payout goes to the cash box.

The psychology is perfect. Losses go unnoticed because the "cut" is taken just as the player wins. There were two flies in the ointment though. The arrangement of the pins made alternate columns almost impossible to reach and frequently (as in this example) the central one was converted into a lose channel in an effort to increase the takings.

Bradley Automatics, 1929 S Greenfield

 


 

Super Challenger

Super Challenger

Bradmatic Ltd., 1960s

This was an updated version of the above. The crucial differences were that it was cheaper to make, all payouts were five pennies and they were automatically tripped by the winning coin (previously, coins were inserted by depressing the top lever and payouts were released with the same lever).

The cases were beech or something similar, faced with a variety of 60s patterned plastic laminates - making them reminiscent to baby boomers of kitchen tables and other domestic furniture of the day. The early, all-oak example here is unusual; perhaps a prototype even.

 


 

Tooty Fruity

Tooty Fruity

Patent 1068859

Crompton Amusement Machines Ltd., 1966

pointer Click image to enlarge

 


 

Billiards

Billiards

British Manufacturing Co., 1930s

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