Midget 3 Musketeers

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sentimental salvage
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Midget 3 Musketeers

Post by sentimental salvage »

They’re still out there!
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coppinpr
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Re: Mills ?

Post by coppinpr »

These dice versions were also listed as "Mills" and of course it could be, but it doesn't feel like Mills to me. In fact, the more original one has "Chas Fey 585 mission St, San Francisco, Calif." on the front card. I think we talked about these once before. They usually have the "lucky 4 leaf clover" on them as this one has.
Interesting that the colours on the roulette wheel have been repainted wrongly. 3 black pays a high $2, yet there are more black than any other colour and there is no green but it's listed as a payout. I assume this machine had three balls that spun and settled at the same time giving the chance of three of a kind?
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pennymachines
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Re: Mills ?

Post by pennymachines »

According to Marshal Fey (Slot Machines, A Pictorial History of the First 100 Years), the original Midget 3 Musketeers Triple Spin was invented and manufactured by Chas Fey from 1924 and was the aluminium successor to their 1914 cast iron On The Level Triple Roll. As can be seen, their machine had the company name cast into it, but there was nothing to prevent several small rivals from making versions of it.

Perhaps as 'CHAS FEY & SON SF'' is not in the casting, the example (top) is by L.C. Graham Co., Atlas Mfg. Co., or another lesser-known outfit that cloned them.
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coppinpr
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Re: Midget 3 Musketeers

Post by coppinpr »

I'm sure we have a previous thread about these or a similar machine that was copied almost exactly by several companies. It's well known that Fey refused to patent ANY of his designs, which is how Mills came to copy the Liberty Bell. I wonder why he took that view? perhaps it was because he is known to have copied the bell machine from a co-worker.
pennymachines
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Re: Midget 3 Musketeers

Post by pennymachines »

Fey patented machines (as did his son) in 1913, 1914 and 1918. He didn't get a patent on the Liberty Bell having witnessed two expensive legal battles (Shultze v Holtz and Wertheimer v Dworzed) which suggested it might not be worth the paper it was printed on. In both cases Judge Morrow ruled the patents invalid because gaming machines have no element of utility.

According to Richard Bueschel, who explored the matter in detail (Lemon Cherries & Bell-Fruit-Gum, p56-57), Mills didn't steal Fey's machine. Up until the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Fey was slowly hand building his Bells, one at a time. The quake and ensuing fire destroyed his workshops, patterns and blueprints, so in 1907 he visited the Mills Novelty Co. with one of his machines and struck a deal. Mills could develop the idea and supply him with 50 machines in exchange. According to Bert E Mills, after Fey received them he bought more.

Bueschel gives more detail in the book and supplies two sources supporting this account. He also points out that Mills didn't simply copy Fey's machine; a lot of work went into making it more practical, robust, attractive and harder to cheat. It was more than 18 lbs heavier than Fey's game.
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