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operator bell
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Peter Simper machines

Postby operator bell » Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:53 am

About 30 years ago, there seemed to be wall-to-wall Peter Simper machines in the south and south-west of England. Yet I have never seen one in any collection, nor any auction - I can't even find a picture. I know they're electric machines and not as collectible as Allwins, but surely there must be some survivors. I believe Simper was primarily an operator, and made machines only for his own use. Sounds like an interesting story - can anyone tell me more?

robtroi
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Re: Peter Simper

Postby robtroi » Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:01 pm

I worked for Peter Simpers from about 1978 until its demise around 1990.

At the time Peter Simpers were the largest manufacturer and operator in the UK with depots in London, Bordon, South Wales, Skipton, and Birmingham.
The operation covered the entire range of amusements from Pool tables to Jukeboxes.
As far fruit machines go, they only operated their own Peter Simper machines which were manufactured in Bath, Somerset.
They were turning out about 30 machines a week from the Camden Mills headquarters when I joined. Every single part of the machine was built in house including all the wiring looms.
They had a contract with the Courage Brewery to supply equipment to all their Pubs which at the time was quite a lot!
There were several spin-off companies which operated from the same building. These were PCP who produced kits to convert other companies machines and Playsafe Monitoring who specialized in data capture units for gaming machines.

PCP is still operating in Bath, but now acts as a gaming machine design house for Electrocoin, who now own the company.
Playsafe is also still operating in Bath.

Anything else you would like to know please just ask :D

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slotalot
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Re: Peter Simper

Postby slotalot » Wed Dec 17, 2008 5:15 pm

Hi Op-Bell, and welcome Robtroi :D , I can't say as I have heard of Peter Simper until now :oops: so I have just had a quick Google and found this link, http://users.pullman.com/fjstevens/toke ... /3586.html
It tells you a little more about the company. Robtroi, did they make electro-mechanical or electronic machines :?:, wall or floor mounted :?: , Regards Stuart.
3586-3x.jpg
3586-3x.jpg (4.26 KiB) Viewed 7414 times

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pennymachines
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Re: Peter Simper

Postby pennymachines » Wed Dec 17, 2008 5:49 pm

My google.uk search for "Peter Simpers" came up with a single result - a page from a 2006 forum discussion that mentions a Simpers game called Airport: http://www.fruitemu.co.uk/vb/showthread.php?p=19641
Strange there's so little, given the prominence of the company in the 1980s.
Anyway, http://www.fruitemu.co.uk looks like a useful place for anyone with an interest in this period of British bandit production (which falls just outside the scope of pennymachines.co.uk).
Mention of the Peter Simper Organisation also crops up in Michael Green's reminiscences in the Arena.

http://users.pullman.com/fjstevens/toke ... /3586.html
John Dora v Peter Simper (1999)

robtroi
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Re: Peter Simper

Postby robtroi » Thu May 14, 2009 2:17 pm

The Peter Simper machines were all floor standing machines, for Pubs and Clubs only.
The technology used was electro- mechanical, which means cams and relays which all worked off 115 volts.
Peter Simpers hardly ever sold machines to other operators - that's why you never see them.
When the computer age machine came along, Peters Simper was ill equipped to compete, so all machines were then purchased from other manufacturers such as Bell Fruit, Ace, JPM, and Barcrest.
So as the electro-mechanical machines were replaced on site, they were brought back to base and scrapped.
The only ones which were saved were by employees of the company. I personally rescued two lovely machines, but sadly when I moved out of my parents' house they scrapped them without my knowledge. I was gutted. I am always on the lookout for Peter Simper machines to buy.

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operator bell
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Re: Peter Simper

Postby operator bell » Sat May 16, 2009 6:07 am

So as the electro-mechanical machines were replaced on site, they were brought back to base and scrapped.
Thanks for the information Robtroi, I figured that was the case. Maybe you can help me with what I really wanted to know, since you worked for PS.

In my youth, there was a PS machine in the students' union bar, and another in a working man's club I used to go to (both Courage houses, incidentally). From extended periods watching these machines I came to the conclusion that they were "reflexed", i.e. contained circuitry to control the percentage by avoiding or catching particular payout combinations. The jackpot in particular seemed to be deliberately set up, since the majority of times I saw it hit, the "3rd reel wild" light would come on at the end of a game and on the next game, two PSs would show up on reels 1 and 2. This happened way too often to be random. Then after a run of payouts they would go dead, bringing up the same or very similar losing combinations time after time without even a cherry to break the losing streak. All the regulars knew about this and recognized the losing combinations, and then nobody would go near the machines until some uninformed punter came along and lost about five pounds, then there would be a scramble to get on it afterwards for the winning streak that usually followed.

I was only briefly able to get my nose inside the machines when the service guy showed up, long enough though to see why they'd occasionally empty their hoppers :twisted: Also I noticed there were a lot more studs than necessary on the wiper cards, so I speculated that the extra ones were part of a reflexing circuit to predict and catch a particular outcome. That would have been quite advanced for an electromechanical machine, and as a person who collects technical info on old machines so that the history won't die, I'd really like to know how it worked. I don't suppose anyone has a wiring diagram?

Crave
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Re: Peter Simper

Postby Crave » Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:02 pm

Hi all,
I also worked for Peter Simper in Bordon in 1968. All the pub machines were manufactured there. They were all electro- mechanical, floor standing, and again the whole machines were built in-house, including the wooden cabinets. Considering it was over 40 years ago, they were generally very reliable. Pinball machines, football tables, and jukeboxes were also hired from Bordon and as engineers we spent the Summers at Warner Holiday Camps. It was a difficult time for operators due to gaming laws changing all the time. It would be interesting to hear from any other Peter Simper staff at that time.

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Re: Peter Simper

Postby badpenny » Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:22 am

Hi Crave welcome to the premier slotties site and the forum, congrats on your premier post and don't hesitate to share any stories you have from your Peter Simper days.

Regards
Badpenny

malcymal
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Re: Peter Simper

Postby malcymal » Wed Sep 02, 2009 11:00 am

Crave wrote:Hi all,
I also worked for Peter Simper in Bordon in 1968...
Thanks for your post. It's interesting to see your last sentence about difficult times for operators due to gaming laws changing. I was talking to Joe and Dean the owner of Pagham Amusements near Bognor Regis, West Sussex. You may have read this already, but they are having to dump their modern jackpot machines due to the screw being tightened all the time by the GC. They are making more business from their old Ballys with gold awards, pushers, Wheel Em In etc. (they took our old Bally bandit to operate in there). Joe has been there for over 30 years and said if they got a good offer to sell, they would go tomorrow as it's got so bad. Shame, old amusements are a part of seaside culture and heritage. The government hounding them by impossible licence fees and regulations is killing the industry. Mind you, greed of companies like Electrocoin whose machines will whip £50 off you in less that five minutes doesn't help. I see all modern machines have a sticker, GAMBLING SHOULD BE FUN, IF YOU'VE GOT A PROBLEM CALL THIS NUMBER. Modern machines aren't fun, they are a scourge and cause a lot of problems for those with addictions. The old machines when they had small play fees and maximum payouts, hardly broke the bank did they? They were generally fun and you were completely playing against pure chance with random odds.
Thank you for your post! Malc

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operator bell
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Re: Peter Simper

Postby operator bell » Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:22 am

Modern machines aren't fun, they are a scourge and cause a lot of problems for those with addictions. The old machines when they had small play fees and maximum payouts, hardly broke the bank did they? They were generally fun and you were completely playing against pure chance with random odds.
I couldn't agree more - I hate modern computer-controlled slots, even though I design them :-o The British AWP machines are a joke - Amusement? Prizes? Don't make me laugh. But that brings me back to why I started this thread.

British slots are reflexed, by which I mean they have a method of adjusting the payout percentage on the fly so that the house always wins. Winning streaks turn the payout percentage down, and vice versa. This scheme was first devised for Bingo pinballs, which matched winnings against coins in so that they would tighten up and make it harder for a skillful player to win. This carried over into 60s electric slots, the Keeneys and early Ballys. It couldn't be done with the free-spinning reels games, but it made a come-back with the motor driven electrics, and the computer slots have elevated it to an art form. It's outlawed in the US, where the regulations state that every play must have the same percentage chance as every other. I'm interested in reflexing, from a historical point of view. I want to know how everyone did it. Mostly it was done by preventing certain symbols from hitting, but the Peter Simper machines seemed to be able to catch a stop on selected symbols to force a hot run, not just a cold one. As far as I know, they're the only EM machines that did this. I really, really want to see a schematic of a PS machine, so I'm hoping that one of the ex-PS people reading this has an old drawing tucked away somewhere that they'd be prepared to share. The alternative would be to track a machine down and trace out the wiring - I have actually done this in the past - but there aren't any PS machines to be found.


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