Other mysteries still remain to be cleared up regarding the Matthewson machines however. There is no patent for the Golf machine, most likely as Sweetmeats says, the mechanism is based on Matthewson's Football machine. However I wonder if he originally intended to design something that worked differently. Golf machines found here in Australia had a Directions plate which had no relation to the way in which the game worked (see Matthewson's incorrect Golf plate photo). Instead they all work in accordance with a later Matthewson plate and the Rowland's Golf plate which is found on the machines that have turned up in the UK. Perhaps Matthewson got the plates made in advance for what he hoped to accomplish and still used them inadvertently or perhaps he just gave the wrong instructions to the plate maker.
Little is also known about where Rowland fits into the picture. Some of this was cleared up by Bolland but his memory was astray and he also added some misconceptions to the Matthewson story. He told Jon Gresham and others that Matthewson had used a recycled aquarium as the pattern for the Yacht Race machine. I was able to scuttle this by finding the design patents for the Matthewson machines including the Yacht Race, Cricket and Football in 1988 after an incredibly tortuous search for the British design patents. These design patents are Cricket No 377195 of 1901, Mermaid Yacht Race 399522 of 1902 and wooden cased Football machine 572441 oddly taken out in 1910 when the machine was patented in 1896. One of these wooden cased Football machines exists in Australia having been brought here by a British collector some years ago.
Strangely enough I found a zinc version of the cast iron base of the mermaid machines in a country antique shop many years ago for sale for $A800 about 400 pounds. The owner of the shop was a Belgian man who imported container loads of antiques from France and Belgium. This would figure as to my knowledge zinc was not usually used in British coin op machines, but was used in coin op machines made in France, eg the chicken egg laying and negro vending machines, the electric shocker pig etc. When I went back to the shop I was told that a local lady had bought it to use in her bathroom??? Shortly after the shop disappeared so that I never got to speak to the owner about the zinc mermaid base's origins.
Further interesting concerns about Matthewson's machines relate to two more of his coin op machines, which, to my knowledge no copies of still exist anywhere. One is a very early one, British Patent No 19, 243 of 30th September 1893 for improvements in Coin or the like Operated Apparatus for Testing the Force of a Blow, a fascinating machine which is really a coin operated version of the well known Fairground Striker which fires the coin up to a bell. The other is a much later patent British Patent no 196,650 of April 23 1923 a relatively simple machine which he called Police. Does any trace of these machines exist beside the patents?