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Re: A little piece of Wondermatics history...

Postby polaris » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:22 pm

Sorry Bob meant two handfuls :)

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Re: A little piece of Wondermatics history...

Postby widget2k4 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:37 pm

I remember that day well, he did cry like a bitch :lol:

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Re: A little piece of Wondermatics history...

Postby polaris » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:56 pm

Ouch Keith giving away all my secrets remind me never to do a bank job with you :)

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Re: A little piece of Wondermatics history...

Postby pennymachines » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:57 pm

Tudah Glover sent me the following Wondermatics inside story via a couple of emails in 2007. I tried contacting him (without success) about putting it online, but don't see anything here that he wouldn't want making public. I've edited and slightly rearranged the text for clarity.
Tudah P Glover wrote:Wonders was run by my father, "Jack" Glover, although Jack was just a nickname he used (and was how my mother referred to him). His full real name was Tudah Walter Glover. He was a great one for joking and misleading people - that's probably where the rumour that he was a New Zealander came from. He was actually born in Bethnal Green. The only other director was my mother, the company secretary.

As a child born in the fifties growing up in the sixties, I spent a lot of time at my father's workshops in Edmonton and at 780 Tottenham High Road, where the manufacture of most of these machines took place. In the 1940s my father had machines of all types (pinball, fruit machines, jukeboxes etc.) rented out into some pubs and clubs all over London. This was prior to manufacturing his own models. At that time his business was known as Wonder's Walls (wall machines being his name for any machine that was designed to be placed against a wall). This company went on to become Wonder's Automatics which then became Wondermatics Ltd.

With regard to the workforce, the staff numbers varied according to the order book. The workforce were largely old mates, long standing acquaintances, wartime friends and family members. Four people worked at the Company full time and at busy times work was either contracted out or extra staff used on a temporary basis, sometimes there being as many as eight to ten people working at the factories. Some work was contracted out. For instance, the later plain wood cabinets were made at a cabinet makers/joiners, although the early squarer cabinets he made himself. I can't help much with the dating of the different machines other than to tell you that it was about 1966 that Wonders switched over from plain wood cabinets to the gold and silver Hammerite finish cabinets of the Dropaopper etc.

There was a regular workforce of about five employees during the latter part of the sixties, but when the business moved to Norfolk in June 1970 these were laid off and never replaced, as by then the business was in decline.

From about 1967-68 people stopped buying new amusement machines because they were aware that the impending currency change (from the old 1d to 1 new pence etc.) would make the machines obsolete. The resulting lack of sales put the company into a financially un-viable position. The "Amusement Machines Purchase Tax", as my father referred to it, also had an effect on sales.

Another factor in the decline of the business was the Rhodesia issue of the late sixties when an order for nearly 200 machines was shipped only to sit on the docks in Rhodesia due to a ban on imports and with no way to get the machines shipped back the business suffered a large loss. The customer's name in Rhodesia was Bill Chapman but the import ban caused his business to suffer too.

Wondermatics did do some currency conversions on machines once the business was relocated to Norfolk UK, but only a few. One of these was recently purchased (via ebay) by another of the children of the owner of Wonders - one of only a very few that we converted in 1971 to run on the 1 new pence for a customer located on the East Anglian coast. I recognised the work on the purchased machine as mine. The machine was a "Tower Bridge" and was once at Jack Briggs' Amusement Arcade in Felixtowe.

Wondermatics Ltd. stopped trading in about 1973/4. The owner of Wonders died in 1979. His widow died in 2004. They were survived by four children, all now grown with families of their own. I still have some of the original screens as we referred to them (I see on your forum that some people called them splashes, backflashes or backdrops). The artwork for these my father produced himself from original artwork through to silk screen printing. He actually used a converted pinball machine as a screen print set-up. Having removed the glass, the hinged lid of the pinball machine was modified to support the silk screen in its frame. I also helped to draw artwork and print the screens. The holes where the balls came out were then punched in the screen card after printing. Later he employed a silk screen maker but always he created the original artwork himself, and often joked, telling people he was an artist with art galleries all around the country. He was of course referring to all the arcades that exhibited his machines.

Most of the screens were topical to the intended market or current affairs of the time. Patsy Fair was done as a tribute to Patsy (Patrick) North who owned a good chunk of the funfair at the Vale of Health near Hampstead Heath. You can see North's Coconut Shy to the left of the merry go round on the screen. Only those in the trade would have associated it with the Patsy Fair machine.
Another of the same ilk was Ringla which showed Murphy's Amusements as a hoopla stall. Murphy also had an arcade and shooting gallery. I believe it was at Battersea Fun Fair. I have also included below images of a Pools screen and a brass scroll plate blank. This is how it was at first punching, with a fly press, prior to then being punched again to allow for ball holes etc. This scroll plate can be seen on earlier machines such as Win and Place, Lido etc. Once punched with further holes it was then sent for chrome plating - something that was never done "in-house". This scroll plate has survived like this as I used to use it in my profession as a designer as a curve template when working on a drawing board, back before the days of computers and Computer Aided Design (CAD).
See this page for Wondermatics related patents - ... mit=SEARCH

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Re: A little piece of Wondermatics history...

Postby badpenny » Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:50 pm

A brilliant read, thanks. !THUMBS!

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Re: A little piece of Wondermatics history...

Postby polaris » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:06 pm

Great piece Mr PM. If only Mr Glover could be persuaded to allow these "screens" and any others to be uploaded to Resources. Would love to know what happened to the container in Rhodesia.
Last edited by polaris on Thu Sep 08, 2016 4:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A little piece of Wondermatics history...

Postby john t peterson » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:08 pm

W0W! Well done, Mr. PM. I wish we had more first person accounts like this. !THUMBS!

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Re: A little piece of Wondermatics history...

Postby 13rebel » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:28 pm

Great read, thanks very much for sharing, Mr PM.

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Re: A little piece of Wondermatics history...

Postby sutton » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:06 pm

Very interesting dave, a great read.


Re: A little piece of Wondermatics history...

Postby jingle » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:20 pm

I Have just been trying to buy a ticket to
Rhodesia and know body sells them !!JUNK!!

I can't remember weather the tower bridge was mine
The one he mentions dave
It's was on 1p too
Yes I think it was in the bunch and that's how they contacted me
Off ebay.
Drunk a lot of pints since then and memory is getting shorted !!CHEERS!!

Good job well done dave


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