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Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:44 pm
Against my better judgement I have bought a Bajazzo that is in need of some work. Does anyone know what size ball should be in this machine, what type of tokens it takes and any suggestions on how to clean up the clown without rendering the machine worthless?
Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:04 pm
There might be some variation in ball size according to manufacturer - given that clowns were made in Germany, France, UK and even USA, but 9/16 inches is most likely.
Here's a picture of some English and French Clown tokens. At the top is a modern 5p piece for size comparison. Although it may look otherwise in the picture, it is only fractionally wider than the tokens. The tokens are almost half the thickness though.
It's difficult to judge accurately from a photo the condition of your Clown figure. If it is just dirt and nicotine, I would try very gentle brushing with a cotton bud slightly dampened with soapy water. If you see no progress you could advance to something slightly abrasive such as a dab of autosol applied cautiously.
I suspect the discolouration we see is more likely the result of dampness having caused the metal to rust beneath the lithographic image. I've also seen the image lift off the metal like a steamed-off transfer. There comes a point sometimes when you just have to decide between conserving what remains or replacing it. There's a great temptation to restore (ie. "replace") Clown figures when they're very degraded, because they form the key focus and only graphic element on the machine.
Although a Clown in perfect original condition will always be more desirable than a restored one, even with the Clown missing, the machine is certainly not worthless. Some Clowns have been "restored" by replacing the figure with a paper photocopy. I suppose this is better than nothing (provided it didn't mean destroying a half decent original). A better approach is to create a transfer and apply this to the cleaned and re-sprayed base. This mimics more accurately the lithograph, in that the image is more closely bonded to the metal, with no paper substrate.
Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:52 pm
Thanks for all that info.
I think you are right with the damp idea. Some of the bottom of the case has rotted away and needs replacing, also there seems to have been mold on the top of the playfield at some point. Have you a colour photo of one in good condition so I can see what the playfield velvet would have been like?
The case is in need of some work to replace rotted areas and fix the top left of the door. Does anyone have any tips on repairing cases?
Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 6:25 pm
If I'm not being nosey, how much did you pay for it?
Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:05 pm
I'd call that nosey Jimmy.
A couple of pics of the French Clown Wall Machine I sold in the PennyMachines Auction just before Christmas. It's difficult to judge colours from photographs because there are many variables that make them inaccurate. If you feel you have to replace the baize you should try to match the best remaining on your machine. Some reclaimed material off a Victorian sofa from your friendly local upholsterer would be ideal!
PS. this one sold for £620 Jimmy.
Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 3:49 am
I guess you could get the wooden left-hand side section of the door replaced by a good joiner. Another way would be to try and match as best you can the wood and grain with a long strip of veneer to cover the whole left hand side section. I think the veneer is around 0.6mm in thickness, so this could work very well. Plenty to choose from on ebay!
Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 9:18 am
I did the classic mistake with this one. I bought it from the states. I paid £400 for the machine expecting the transport costs to be about £90 based on a previous import but the seller packed it so well it could only be sent DHL and that set me back £200. I now find there are some "issues" beyond what was disclosed. Still, I fancied one of these, so I suppose cost becomes less important.
Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 11:34 am
Another hidden cost to watch out for when buying from the States is import duty
. This is based on the declared value and I think it works out the same as paying VAT on the item. I once bought what I thought was a cheap Payramid on American eBay, but once I'd paid Shipping and Customs & Excise it didn't look such a bargain.
Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:01 pm
I picked up from previous postings that these machines were not just made in Germany. How do I tell the origins of my machine?
Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:13 pm
Hi, I would think it was a British one. Does it have letters stamped on the side of the case at the top? I have one stamped P.M.W.G, which is Pessers, Moody, Wraith and Gurr.