R & W Sidney Levin Minstrel band identified

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coppinpr
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R & W Sidney Levin Minstrel band identified

Post by coppinpr »

I have been asked by someone who has this machine in a museum (possibly in Europe rather than the UK), I'm not sure) if I can supply any info on the machine so it can be displayed along with the machine. Any and all info would be greatly appreciated but especially, did R&W make it or just supply it? If the latter, who did make it? What date is it (they think 1951, but I think that's too early). How was the music supplied? (It currently runs on an 8 track tape). Any other info much needed, please.
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treefrog
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Re: R & W "Minstrel band" info please

Post by treefrog »

One sold 4 years ago at the elephant. Would of thought supplied by, rather than made by R&W and 8 tracks came out in late 50’s. Would of thought 8 track was original format as I think the Bimbo boxes originally used these....
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arrgee
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Re: R & W "Minstrel band" info please

Post by arrgee »

treefrog wrote:8 tracks came out in late 50’s
I think that should be mid 1960s treefrog
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moonriver
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Re: R & W "Minstrel band" info please

Post by moonriver »

They were made by Sidney Levine in the late 1940s. He operated in Fulham and started his Modern Enterprises limited company in 1950. He bought in all of his figures and they were made by Len Insull Jnr with some help on occasion from his famous vent maker father Len senior who had a lot of his original head moulds. Jnr concentrated on figures for coin op such as his iconic Laughing Sailors. Insull was considered to be the best although often badly copied.
Sidney sold out to Ruffler and Walker in 1950 who then badged them all up as their own. Insull Jnr died in 1957, his father outlived him working making vent dolls for Davenports right up to his death in 1975. It is amazing how many Jnr produced in such a short space of time.
Originally operated on record players with motor and cams operating elaborate puppet movements and a timer cam which doubled at lifting the needle on and off the record. Ruffler and Walker produced their own 'Laughing' records doubled sided 78rpm which usually lasted a busy season playing on one side, then they flipped it over for the next season and then threw it away, replacing with an unscratched new one. In the 1970's the record players were upgraded to 8 track sound.
Jazz bands made 1950's onwards. 'Jolson Sings' made earlier, 'Sidney Knows' ( named after Sidney Levine) made later.
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pennymachines
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Re: R & W "Minstrel band" info please

Post by pennymachines »

That's funny. I just wrote a long screed about what we do and don't know about R&W which concluded, "Moonriver's our resident expert on this type of machine. Perhaps he has the answer". :lol: That little speaker grill is a distinctly 'Modern Enterprises' feature.
Great info. !!THUMBSX2!!

Just to add - Costa tells us that, although R&W was Modern Enterprises' distribution and sales company in 1951, they had bought a controlling interest by 1953. Also, I believe it's 'Sidney Levin' (not Levine).
treefrog wrote: Tue Mar 02, 2021 1:59 pm One sold 4 years ago at the elephant.
I was surprised to see that's the only Minstrel Band recorded in the Arena. I thought I'd seen more. The EH also sold these original printer blocks, showing that the machine had solid legs (or a stand), and a sister called Hula Girl.
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moonriver
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Re: R & W Sidney Levin Minstrel band identified

Post by moonriver »

I was always unsure about the spelling of his surname as publications have differing, either with an 'e' ( Braithwaite) or without.
I have both of these printer blocks which show another two missing Modern Enterprises machines. 'The Hula Girl' description reads " All the allure of the South Sea" and the other has no title but ''See and Hear, Music and Animation".
Insull Jnr made only a very few female head moulds and even made do repainting male heads if he needed one. His female fortune teller Madame Sandra as an example is a male head.
Along with his Sailors, Insull Jnr even made a few seated laughing women characters depicting the Bamforth large saucy woman on the beach. I think Gameswat found a female head painted under his Sailor's face paint during restoration.

The very clever different styles of painting of the face and style of wool hair enabled all of Insull's Laughing Characters to have exactly the same head mould and yet look entirely different and it's not until you put one of his Sailor, Clown or Policeman right next to each other is it evident, when apart from each other they look entirely different and you wouldn't think they started with exactly the same head.
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coppinpr
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Re: R & W Sidney Levin Minstrel band identified

Post by coppinpr »

thanks very much Moonriver for the very good info . !THUMBS!
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moonriver
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Re: R & W Sidney Levin Minstrel band identified

Post by moonriver »

no worries
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coppinpr
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Re: R & W Sidney Levin Minstrel band identified

Post by coppinpr »

I did find out where the museum is that will be displaying this machine and an interesting place it looks. A long drive through, it's in the Czech Republic. and is called the
Terra Technica Jukebox & Pinball Museum
and here is the link
https://www.terratechnica.info/en/
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pennymachines
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Re: R & W Sidney Levin Minstrel band identified

Post by pennymachines »

It's listed in Archive/Locations. At least one of our members here has visited.

Nic Costa's Coin Slot article about Ruffler & Walker (with reference to Sidney Levin) is available here:
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