First timer to the forum, first time Allwin owner! HELP!

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First timer to the forum, first time Allwin owner! HELP!

Post by marian »

Hi all,

I hope you can help. I've just bought my first Oliver Whales Playball machine. I'm fairly sure I've already called it the wrong thing so apologies in advance! I originate from Redcar (about 200 yards from where it was made) and I bought it in Holland so it's come full circle! I was hoping the learned amongst you may be able to help answer a few questions I have?! I've attached some pictures but it has been cleaned thoroughly since they were taken and chrome and cabinet have been very carefully polished (and it's come up exceptionally well).

1. What years were this model made or how old is it likely to be?
2. Is it possible to replace the 'win' decals with the correct (or close) foil embossed versions or is my only option internet printed copies/print my own?
3. It needs glazing and I was considering using 6mm glass does that sound about right and is there anything I should know about glazing it in general?
4. The mechanism appears to be in generally good order and it works consistently and the case is in great condition but it has no keys. Would you recommend changing both locks or is best just to leave it? I'm not worried about it being locked but I'm just concerned that I won't be able to get any coins out that drop into the cash box (which is locked)!
5. I think I am only looking to semi-restore it as I would prefer it to have a characterful charm! However, I do have one dilemma given what I've just said... The coloured interior backing has clearly shrunk over the years, I assume it has spent some time without glass. Should I consider replacing it and, if so, how and how difficult would it be?! There is a little cracking but it's mainly shrinkage and I shan't worry too much if I have to leave it in place. I don't intend re-chrome any parts (but you never know) so it may always look a little careworn!
6. Finally, are their any views on semi- or full restoration that may sway me?!

I appreciate that is a lot to ask and any help would be most gratefully accepted! I hope I am not breaching forum first-timer protocol!

Thank you
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Re: First timer to the forum, first time Allwin owner! HELP!

Post by raj »

Hi marian, nice purchase from our friend in the Low Country. I'm not going to give you a right and wrong answer to your many questions, just my opinion. I would avoid over restoring in any way, it has many signs of use (and abuse) which add to its character.
Keep the locks, a locksmith may be able to cut new keys for a low price
The glass would have been 1/4'' plate. If you have a recycling shop nearby, replacement glass should be easily available from old 60's cabinets, or don't get too precious about approx modern thicknesses.
You should be able to unscrew the back to get to the lock screws. All screws will be well stuck or rusted, but this is better than forcing the door. If you need replacement ply, oak, pine, or any old wood, see above about recycling centres.
You may find replacement Win/lose tabs on ebay, but they will probably be photocopies.
The Ollie Whales instruction card is not original, but there are scans in the Resource section on this site.
The Backflash seems to have been replaced or repaired at some time at the bottom of the playfield, so take a view how far your restoration is going to go.
The payout knob looks like a replacement. It will be clearer once the door is open.
Hope this is of help.. !!THUMBSX2!!
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Re: First timer to the forum, first time Allwin owner! HELP!

Post by pennymachines »

A warm welcome to, Marion. Well done on securing this charming historical artefact and bringing it back to Redcar.

1. According to Paul Braithwaite's Arcades & Slot Machines, Playball was introduced in 1956, however it featured a colourful beach ball scene (example in this thread). Yours was made about a decade before this and was based upon an even earlier (1936) Playball made by the British Manufacturing Company of London (example in this thread). When that company folded in 1946, Oliver Whales acquired their stock and produced "budget versions" of several of their allwins, so I would date your game to around this time. These first generation Whales allwins have more in common with '30s games than the style they established in the 1950s. It probably had a "Playball" top sign originally (look for screw holes on the top of the case).

2. Nostalgic Machines made a half decent copy of these for their "repro" allwins. Forum member JC bought their stock, but I don't see them advertised on his website at [url][/url]

3. Answered by Raj...

4. Again, answered above. Some locksmiths will pick the locks for you, saving you the trouble of removing the back.

5. I think your instinct to conserve rather than replace is correct. That flash is actually in pretty good shape, given its age, and shrinkage is unavoidable with these early plastics. I think it's original, ditto the instructions. I guess if you find the bare wood peeping through the gaps offensive, you might try hiding it with colour-matched paint. You can probably remove the rust from the chrome by rubbing with fine wire wool, then Autosol and polish to bring up a shine.

6. I think a full restoration (stripped and refinished cabinet, re-chromed metal) would destroy much of its charm. I find the wood finish hard to judge from the photos, but if it's just a bit drab and lifeless, it might benefit from cleaning with a wood reviver, waxing and polishing.
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Re: First timer to the forum, first time Allwin owner! HELP!

Post by marian »

Thank you very much for such comprehensive answers! It's helped me make a few decisions about the machine. I'm also very glad to hear a little more of its age. It was sold to me as a 1951 unit but it just doesn't feel that age to me. To me it distinctly feels exactly as you've described it i.e. a 1940s machine based on a 1930s design.

The mechanics seem in good order. The only frustration is that the the coin slot has been 'nailed' to take Dutch coins and the coin tube replaced therefore. However both are an easy fix as I would prefer it to take pennies. The cabinet is actually in good shape and has been carefully waxed and polished and is now looking colourful and charming so I'm very pleased with that. The chrome runners are in very good shape and have polished up very nicely. The only real issues I'm concerned about are, most of all, the 'win' foils which I am happy to replace myself at least temporarily and the round metal sheet in the middle of the playfield which is devoid of any chrome and is heavily tarnished. The latter I'm not quite sure what to do with yet although once removed I should certainly be able to tidy it up a little more.

The only other non-genuine item I can see, is the ball flap in the playfield if you'll forgive my unfortunate choice of expression! It has been remade and a rather shoddy attempt by all accounts.

I will replace the glass with something nearer to the period i.e. something recycled as I don't wish it to covered n a dazzled sheet of Pilkington K! So I will keep an eye out for someone that will fit the bill.

If I can get the above done I think I will be happy with that. I really don't want to replace the backflash as I think, despite the shrinkage, replacing it with anything other than an original (which I assume would be tricky to find and even trickier to fit) would detract from it. I'm not looking for a new looking machine, I just wish to refresh it. I also think that once it's glazed that will actually make the shrinkage a little less obvious.

I will consider the locksmith but that's low priority at this moment as it seems a lot of trouble for something I will rarely be bothered by.

So I have a list of jobs to do and I will get on with them immediately! If you come across anybody who has had any success in replacing the win foils with something made from embossed foil rather than paper I'd be interested to hear how they did it or where they sourced them.

Thank you very much for your replies, it's helped a great deal and I'm truly grateful.

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Re: First timer to the forum, first time Allwin owner! HELP!

Post by badpenny »

Hello marian and may I add my greetings to you and welcome you to our merry band of odd people.

Congrats on your first machine, a good choice and long may your infliction deepen to the point you can't move in your house without banging your shins.

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Re: First timer to the forum, first time Allwin owner! HELP!

Post by gameswat »

I remember seeing embossed foil tabs for sale in the UK years ago but they were quite expensive so I never bought any, especially as I've needed hundreds of the bloody things! Can't help you with the embossing but real foil backed decals and tabs are not too hard to make at home. Just head down to your local office supply and buy a pack of the Clear Adhesive Labels paper for printers. You will need to mess around with the brightness and intensity of the colors and ramp them up as they print semi transparent on the clear decal paper. After printing your art then carefully lay out a large enough section of aluminium cooking foil shiny side up, or down if you need a more matte finish for something. I tape the corners down pulled tight and usually buy a brand new roll so it's super smooth. Then the fiddly part is carefully laying the sticker over the foil so as not to get any wrinkles. Worth experimenting but easy once you have the technique down. I cut the waxed backing paper in the middle and work out each way rubbing down the sticker with a soft rag. On the prewar machines I use some slightly darker blue lose tabs and faded red win ones, brighter for the 50's machines. I also age them for older machines by painting over slightly with wood stain and shellac. Hard to photograph but good shine from the foil.

I actually own a big pile of original NOS Win tabs but the silvering is buggered! And in an envelope dated 1955 addressed to someone named Mr O. Whales. !PUZZLED!
win loser.jpg
o whales tabs.jpg
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Re: First timer to the forum, first time Allwin owner! HELP!

Post by daveslot »

I agree with dave, it's all original 1940s. I would not restore, just clean and wax. Incidentally, this is very similar to my first machine but nearly 40 years ago. The mech in yours is minimalistic in that there are very few moving parts, which I am surprised they dropped in favour of the later mechs with more parts. Can't be for reliability issues, as mine has never failed to work in all those decades. Can't find appropiate smiley for feeling old.
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