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Neil
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Boland Black Beauty, Screen Stars, Brooklands, White City...

Postby Neil » Thu May 17, 2007 6:24 pm

Hi,
I'm looking for some details on this old slot.

I remember from years back as a one arm bandit, with an old racing car emblem plate on the front above the payout tray with the Brooklands logo above, presumably the old motor race circuit.

Also been told that it was a Mills or Bollands? and that maybe it had the marquee Black Beauty. If it had that marquee, I do not remember it and wonder what that had to do with Brooklands? Don't remember any visible jackpot as I think the Brooklands emblem would have covered it.

Does anyone have any pix or further details on above?

Once I have the info I will try to source one, so if anyone can advise how rare this is maybe and likely costs e.g., below £500, £500-1000, £1000+ it would again assist.

Am looking for working machine but cosmetically any condition.

Many thanks.

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JC
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Postby JC » Thu May 17, 2007 7:37 pm

Hello Neil

'Mills Black Beauty' and 'Brooklands Totaliser' were two different machines. They were both 'conversions' by Tom Boland (not to be confused with Fred Bolland), and were basically Mills mechs housed in new cases. Tom Boland also produced 'Screen Stars', a more radical conversion with just one reel. The 1950s conversions were housed in cases similar to Mills Hi-tops, but there were several earlier versions of Brooklands and Screen Stars, including veneered wooden cases. I'll try to find some pictures to post, but I'm sure other users of this site will have pictures if I can't find any.

As for cost, you should be able to find a machine in pretty good condition for less than £500.

Hope this has helped

Jerry

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JC
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Postby JC » Thu May 17, 2007 7:41 pm

P.S.

The Boland conversions did not have jackpots.

And just in case there is any confusion, one of Mills early Hi-tops was called Black Beauty

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Postby JC » Thu May 17, 2007 7:58 pm

Here you go Neil, this is the 1950s version. Bit of a crap picture, but you should get a rough idea.
Boland Brooklands.jpg

Neil
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brooklands

Postby Neil » Thu May 17, 2007 9:17 pm

Thanks JC, pix is great.

That is how I remember it, although I think I remember it with a dagger handle. Also, is that the time period they were produced, 1950s and any particular colours, say British Racing Green or other?

Finally, did they produce a range of these machines with other sports instead of motor racing, say horse racing or cricket or rugby?

Thanks again.

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JC
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Postby JC » Fri May 18, 2007 1:14 pm

The above picture is one of the machines produced in the fifties, but Tom Boland started producing his conversions in the early forties. The early machines came in at least two case styles that I know of: Veneered wooden cases that I mentioned previously and a heavier metal case (or metal front - I think the sides were probably wood).

I don't think his machines were supplied in any specific colours. Certainly, the 1950s machines seem to have been made in a range of colours - generally metallic.

As for other sporting themes, the only one that I know of is 'White City', a dog racing theme, although I've never understood the significance. I've never understood either the significance of Brooklands. But perhaps I'm missing the obvious?

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pennymachines
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Postby pennymachines » Fri May 18, 2007 4:07 pm

The three most popular themes seem to have been Screen Stars, Brooklands Totalisator and White City. Often they were single reelers (see first picture) and that, in a way, was their raison d'etre. They fulfilled a niche in the British market for a straight gambling machine that wouldn't immediately be targeted by the authorities hunting down the "fruit machines". At that time "fruit machine" was synonymous with "three reels with fruit symbols", so the inevitable ruse was to reduce the reels down to one and change the symbols.

There was also a great demand after the war for new machines, little having been made in the intervening years. Because of material and legal restrictions on manufacturing non-essential goods in Britain at this time, Boland resorted to the strategy of buying old machines and revamping them as "The Very Latest". Well used post-war bandits were imported cheaply from the States, the jackpots were removed, the reel bundle was altered and the mechanisms were re-jigged to take the old penny. To finish the job, the cases were revamped (usually using parts of the original) and re-themed with prominent castings proclaiming "It's Skill", "Fair Play", etc.

Just like modern slots, popular themes of the period were chosen: stars of the film industry (British and American), the very British Brooklands motor racing track in Surrey (also the theme of BMR's novel Brooklands Racer) and the White City, a former Olympic stadium which became London's most famous greyhound track. These latter themes also served to "un-Americanize" them.

This single reel (or disc) and alternative symbol ploy also accounts for the prevalence of the all-British Stock Broker type gambling machines and the Bryans Clocks.

One reel is pretty tame compared to three and doesn't allow for big payouts. Anyway, the ruse must have worn thin fairly quickly - they seem to have sold more three reel versions, often with numbers in place of the proscribed fruit symbols. By the late 1950s the moral panic about fruit machines had abated somewhat. As Jerry said, they come in many different guises, the earliest (not pictured here) being the most attractive in my opinion.
B-5.jpg
Brooklands Totalisator from recent Tennants sale
B-5.jpg (30.5 KiB) Viewed 8426 times
B-4.jpg
Unconverted Mills Black Beauty
B-4.jpg (18.1 KiB) Viewed 8427 times
B-3.jpg
B-3.jpg (19.15 KiB) Viewed 8427 times
B-2.jpg
B-2.jpg (15.58 KiB) Viewed 8429 times
B-1.jpg
Screen Star Single Reel
B-1.jpg (23.01 KiB) Viewed 8430 times

Neil
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Postby Neil » Fri May 18, 2007 5:48 pm

Thanks for the additional photos.

It is clear from the last two photos that the Brooklands is just the U.S. Mills Black Beauty with jackpot removed and racing plaque in its place and the U.S. coinage replaced with the old penny coinage.

Does this also mean that if I bought a machine similar to the last pic (the blue Brooklands) a standard Mills jackpot could be easily attached to the inside front casting of the machine? (albeit the jackpot window would not be visible, hidden behind the Brooklands marquee), but the machine could then payout and drop a jackpot into the payout tray?

Hope this all makes some sense to you.

Kind regards.

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Postby pennymachines » Sat May 19, 2007 12:58 pm

Two problems with that apart from the one you mention: Boland may have removed other parts that trigger the jackpot and because Brooklands were converted for the old penny, you'd need an old penny (50 Cent) jackpot. It would probably be easier to buy a Mills Black Beauty and stick some Brooklands castings on it, but you'd end up with a machine that was neither fish nor fowl. It's probably better to appreciate these things for what they are, restore them faithfully and preserve their history.

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daveslot
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Postby daveslot » Mon May 21, 2007 7:44 pm

The castings on the Black Beauty are all Bollands - nothing remains of the Mills, also the mechanisms usually used are Poinsettia type mechs, or earlier, therefore they're pre jackpot or in the case of the Poinsettia a differing release.


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