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Seven mysteries of the Saxony allwin

Postby pennymachines » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:59 pm

Recently I was discussing with JC a number of unresolved issues surrounding that staple of the old British amusement scene, the Saxony Allwin Deluxe and Allwin Reserve.

Now that we have a few German contributors, maybe they could help answer some of these questions.

1. Who were the principal manufacturers, apart from Jentzsch & Meerz?

2. Why are there so few allwins on the Deutsche Mark? There are plenty of French allwins on Centimes. In the German books and German auctions, Allwin Deluxes and Allwin Reserves are few and far between.

3. Were they made chiefly for export to Britain?

4. If so, why?

5. Were Saxony allwins predominantly or exclusively manufactured as reserve ball games?

6. Were they predominantly or exclusively manufactured as token payout games?

7. On the reserve ball games, what is the purpose of that little gate half way up the outer left hand track (usually removed)?
ballgate.jpg

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paulbohlmann
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Re: Seven mysteries of the Saxony allwin

Postby paulbohlmann » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:27 pm

Hi,
There are a lot of mysteries for us German collectors as well, not all is known.
We know a lot about the time after 1949, but the years before 1940 is still a little bit foggy...
I will try to start with a few answers...

1.Manufacturers
The biggest (and the oldest one) was Jentzsch & Meerz Leipzig.
They also built billiards and gramophones and pinballs, and they were really proficient at exporting their machines.
I think they were the only one who built and exported the Allwin-style machines, could also be that they exported parts for them.

Other big manufacturers:
Raimund Singewald / Leipzig
DEWAG / Hannover
Fr. West Automatenbau und Vertrieb Leipzig
West & Ludewig Automatenbau / Leipzig (former Fr.West)
Paul Schülke Automatenbau / Berlin
TURA Automatenfabrik Leipzig(former C.M.Schwarz)
...and a lot of other, between 1927 & 1940 there existed 60 companies which built at least one skill machine (proved by ads etc.)

2. Why are there so few allwins on the Deutsche Mark?
I am not sure about, but I think there were two main reasons for that:
1.) the legal basis (is it luck or is it skill?)
2.) perhaps the German players just did not like the allwin-system.

3. Were they made chiefly for export to Britain?
When you talk about the allwins, I guess yes –
You will not find any German Flyers or ads for them.
I only know the "Elektro" as an allwin-style machine, sold in Germany.

4. If so, why?
I guess there are many reasons for that:
Germany was a cheap wage country in those times, and it must have been more easy to sell to other countries than in Germany.
When you look back, skill machines had not the best times in Germany…
1909-1918 “Automatenauskehr” (there were a lot of laws against skill-machines in every district different and so on).
1914-1918 first world war
1921-1923 “big Inflation” (how to play on a wall machine with a billion bank note ?)
1933 new laws, the skill machines need to have a fixed odd / win margin.
and 3 years later they were completely forbidden...
and they only built entertainment games for the German market.

5 & 6 & 7 - I don't know....

Regards.
elektro.jpg
elektro.jpg (23.32 KiB) Viewed 6068 times

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Re: Seven mysteries of the Saxony allwin

Postby badpenny » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:40 pm

A brilliant response, many thanks paulbohlmann and welcome on board.

Badpenny

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Re: Seven mysteries of the Saxony allwin

Postby pennymachines » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:45 am

Four out of seven answered and ten out of ten for effort and quality of reply - great stuff, Paul. !THUMBS!
It's nice to get a bit of background on these from the country of origin.

The answers to 5 & 6 can only come from collectors carefully examining their Saxony allwins for those tell-tale signs of conversion and comparing the results of their observations. A complicating factor is that it's not so easy to distinguish German allwins from British clones.

The reserve ball feature makes the game so much slower and easier to win that operators wouldn't stand for it. Why add the expense of a feature most customers were going to disable? Maybe, as Coin-op has suggested, in the early days, the manufacturers had to supply more value for what was a much more valuable penny. If this is the answer, I think it points to an early but fairly short boom period, with huge quantities of these German Allwin Reserves being shipped to the UK, producing a large pool of games, most of which were eventually "neutered" by operators over the many decades they remained in service, as inflation devalued the penny.

This theory would also be supported if I'm right in thinking most, if not all, German allwins started life as token payout. Token payout, as a gambling regulation dodge, dates back to the early decades of British amusement machine history. Can anyone offer some precision here?

Re. question 7, I've added a picture of the little ball gate (also just visible in Marco's picture). Anyone got an Allwin Reserve with this part intact? Come on, what's it for?

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Re: Seven mysteries of the Saxony allwin

Postby gameswat » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:15 pm

Mr PM, I restored a totally original Reserve Ball machine many years ago and had figured out that flap quite quickly at the time, but it's been a while since then! I seem to remember that it was there to stop you playing a ball until you'd done something first like payout? I've only ever found one Reserve mech myself, and just a door that was "unreserved" so my friend is going to lend me his machine at some point so I can bring mine back.

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Re: Seven mysteries of the Saxony allwin

Postby lepingouinmecanique » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:34 pm

pennymachines wrote:6. Were they predominantly or exclusively manufactured as token payout games?
It looks like you had the choice: model A (token) or model B (coin)
JENTZSCH & MEERZ - THE ALLWIN DELUXE.JPG
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Re: Seven mysteries of the Saxony allwin

Postby pennymachines » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:59 pm

You have some superb paperwork, lepingouinmecanique and have provided answers to questions 5 and 6.
That it was advertised as "Allwin de Luxe" and not "Allwin Reserve", with no special attention drawn to the reserve feature, implies that the Allwin de Luxe was a reserve game as standard.

So, with contributions from Germany, France and Australia, we seem to have solved all but the final mystery:

(1) The vast majority of Saxony allwins were made by Jentzsch & Meerz (2) but because the game's large element of chance did not sit well with German authorities and players (3) they were made almost exclusively for export to Britain (4) where a more amusement machine-tolerant environment provided a good market, and comparatively low German wages made them price-competitive. Wars, laws and economic turmoil also played their part. (5) They were reserve ball games, (6) originally manufactured as token payout and later also as coin payout versions.

I thought mystery 7 would be unravelled first. Like Gameswat, I'm sure I discovered the purpose of the little gate when restoring one - and, like Gameswat, all I now recall is "it was there to stop you playing a ball until you'd done something first". I've seen many allwin reserves, but most are missing this part, so it must have caused trouble.

Of course, new questions come to mind reading this thread:

8. Who invented the allwin?
9. Who made the first version with an open track (a big improvement on the closed spiral of the earliest games).
10. Did Jentzsch & Meerz invent the reserve ball feature or was it found on earlier non-allwin-type games? Date? Patent?

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Re: Seven mysteries of the Saxony allwin

Postby arrgee » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:43 pm

lepingouinmecanique wrote:It looks like you had the choice: model A (token) or model B (coin)
Hi lepingouinmecanique, do you know the date of this Allwin Deluxe information sheet?

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Re: Seven mysteries of the Saxony allwin

Postby lepingouinmecanique » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:49 pm

Unfortunately, I don't! I got a batch of advertising flyers from the grand son of a French Riviera distributor who was mainly in activity in the '20s and '30s.
In this batch, I can date precisely some of them from being printed from 1912 to 1936...
For sure not after 1937 As gambling machines were forbidden in France in 1937.

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Re: Seven mysteries of the Saxony allwin

Postby goddardr » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:45 pm

I have a reserve allwin in full working order, with the "little flap" intact. It activates (i.e. blocks the spiral) when the win knob starts to turn and returns to its original position when the win has paid out. This stops you sending another ball into play until the payout is complete.
My machine (rebadged as "The Belvedere" sometime - I'd guess from the style - in the twenties) is, as suggested earlier, a token payout system - four tall columns. I still have some of the (presumably original) tokens, but luckily 5ps fit nicely, and it's such a well made mech and well-balanced coin release that 5p also releases the ball perfectly, so when I take it out, that's what it operates on. However, it's not a great machine to make a profit - the reserve feature works in favour of the player to some extent so a single coin played can last a long time!
If anyone wants to see a photo of it, let me know at rpgoddard@gmail.com.
Cheers
Richard Goddard


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