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Re: Australian Manufactured Coin Op Machines

Postby speedwell » Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:48 pm

Thanks Bob for all the interesting and informative posts as always. Great pictures too.

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Re: Australian Manufactured Coin Op Machines

Postby bob » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:19 am

Not even the suggested week has gone by and yet a further contribution from me, again dealing mostly with Australian made machines. But then it is a long weekend here in Oz, in honour of the Queen’s Birthday, no less, which is still months away.

One of my earliest coin op machine acquisitions was from an elderly operator who had bought the Penny Patience machine company which made large wall “golf” type machines from an Australian patent on this type of machine. In this machine , which had a jackpot mechanism, half the coins played went into this visible jackpot. After some years the machine was declared illegal as a gambling machine. Consequently the manufacturer an operator of coin op machines eliminated the jackpot mechanism and put the machine on a floor standing cabinet. He improved play by replacing the captive washer used to propel the coin with a tapper mechanism. The machine has a hidden adjustment that the player is not aware of, which makes the play more or less difficult, by raising or lowering a “stop” at each end of the machine and the coin’s travel. The elongated holes in the playfield are there, the operator explained to me, to stop the player banging the glass (which is a “fluid” material) with their fist and momentarily trapping the penny which would subsequently travel slowly and gently drop onto the level below, and so on enabling an easy win of the jackpot.

Penny Patience with captive washers036.jpg
Penny Patience Floorstanding Model.jpg
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I have also come across other examples of the Penny Patience/Golf machines that have been made in Australia in rather basic metal cabinets.

Tin Patience.jpg
Aust Golf type machine052.jpg
The same manufacturer who made the Penny Patience also made a very basic similar machine called the “Penny Skill”. This was a very simple machine which was very easy to win on. The operator said that this was a good feature, as the player would inevitably keep playing until he lost and then the penny became the operators.

Penny Skill.JPG
He also made a similar very small basic fortune teller which had a spinning pointer, set in motion by the weight of the penny.

Have Your Fortune Told.JPG
Another machine that he manufactured in some quantity was the Skillo, a very well made “Clown Catcher” type of machine.

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He also manufactured a companion machine to the upright model Penny Patience machine, the “100 % Skill Test”. This was a machine which returned your penny if you completed the track. However once you learned how this could be done, you could do it every time and so the machine lost the player’s interest, particularly since all that happened was that you got your own coin back.

100% Skill Test.jpg
Another machine that he manufactured was an almost exact copy of the Exhibit Supply Silver Bullets machine except that his was a single not dual gun machine and it used a copy of the unique Jennings Little Duke poker machine coin entry. The second photo shows the Exhibit Supply version of the Silver Bullets.

Silver Bullets single gun Australian copy037.jpg
Exhibit Supply Silver Bullets053.jpg
The person who originally patented the Penny Patience machine also took out a patent for a “column” type machine but I have never come across the actual machine. There is however an Australian column machine the Skillmaster, manufactured by an Australian coin op machine operator who actually put his name on the machine, a rather well made and attractive machine in a rather large cabinet about the same size as a British Challenger.

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Another machine made here was the “Rock and Roll” where again the player manoeuvred a penny in the hopes of success. I have the Australian design patent with the date of 1947.

Rock and Roll Reaction Tester042.jpg
Only one example has ever turned up here of the “Mystery Cabinet”. This cute fortune teller has a “C” as a clue to the machine’s maker and a Bolland type card vending mechanism and may well be British.

Mystery Cabinet.jpg
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The “What does the Old Witch Say” card vendor is another machine where only one example has turned up here and again it may be a British machine.

What does the old Witch Say040.jpg
Cricket is an example of an American machine aimed at the Australian/ British market by changing various American features for British/Australian ones. The baseball bat has been changed to a cricket bat on the playfield and the lever that projects the balls has also been changed to a cricket bat. The original graphics were long gone when I got the remains of this machine and have been remade by me with the aid of cigarette cards of cricketers.

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This trade stimulator gambling machine was made by a Sydney game manufacturer A.O. Buchanan of whom not much is known. Copied from and looking like a machine from the 1800’s it was made by Buchanan in 1937. Some were chrome plated as this one was; others were copper plated with a Florentine Bronze finish. It was a copy of the Little Duke, a trade stimulator that was the third machine made by Mills of Chicago in 1898. A version without the curved edges was made by the American Royal Novelty Company as the Royal Trader and then by Mills Novelty Company as the Mills Trader in 1904. The Australian machine simplified the betting variations into a more basic version by adding the name “The Australia” to the casting where the various gaming options were illustrated and relevant coin entries were on the original machines.Interestingly enough the lovely designs for the cabinets for all these machines were taken from those used by the Chicago Cash Register Company on their cash registers in the early- mid 1890’s, most likely a case of the designer recycling earlier successful designs of his or hers.

The  Australia.jpg
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Another interesting example of the reuse of much earlier machines is the case with the Charles Shelley “Shelspeshel”. The mechanisms used in these trade stimulators were from French trade stimulators dating from the 1890-1910 single wheel machines. These were illegal in France at the time they were bought cheaply by the Sydney coin op machine operator Charles Shelley after World War II. Shelley took out an Australian Patent No 136877 of 1947 that patented some features not present on the original machines. He then rehoused the machines in a more modern sheet metal housing and operated these machines. Several examples of these machines have survived.

Shelspeshel 2.jpg
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Shelspeshel 1.jpg
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Sydney manufacturers of Poker machines such as Ainsworth “Aristocrat” machines and Nutt and Muddle, “Jubilee” have been most successful and manufactured many models of pokies/bandits that readers of this forum will be much more familiar with than I am, as these machines have been exported to many countries including the UK, so I will not deal with them here but there have been other manufacturers. The copy of the Mills Hi Top without its troublesome escalator system made by and labelled APEX on its front is perhaps the probably the best known of these and the earliest Australian poker machine.

Apex Bell.jpg
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A machine of interest is a Mills Novelty Co “QT” model poker machine with a distinctive reel symbol of a kangaroo, a couple of examples of which have turned up over the years. This probably occurred with this model having non standard symbols for poker machines, making it easier to introduce an unusual symbol. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of this, perhaps Gameswat has one?

I had intended to put a couple more items in this posting but the system won't let me put any more photos on, there must be a limit to the number of photos or the amount of data. Never mind they will keep till next time.
The  Australia 1.jpg
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Last edited by bob on Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Australian Manufactured Coin Op Machines

Postby john t peterson » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:19 am

Goodness, Bob. What a delightful treasure trove of information complete with pictures. You're definitely on a roll here.

Accordingly, I now pronounce you a "National Treasure, Australia." You join the august ranks of Treasures which include Mr. PennyMachines, "National Treasure, Great Britain."

Well done, Sir.

J Peterson
Bestower of Honors, American Division :didact:

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Re: Australian Manufactured Coin Op Machines

Postby gameswat » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:01 pm

Bob wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:19 am

A machine of interest is a Mills Novelty Co “QT” model poker machine with a distinctive reel symbol of a kangaroo, a couple of examples of which have turned up over the years. This probably occurred with this model having non standard symbols for poker machines, making it easier to introduce an unusual symbol. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of this, perhaps Gameswat has one?
I don't remember seeing a QT with Aussie strips Bob, the one I found locally was original with the US Iron Cross strips. But I do have this copy of a Nutt & Muddle award card that was on a 1950's machine we owned, and it clearly uses the QT Iron Cross symbols. Sadly couldn't copy the reel strips as they were too perfect to try and remove, as much as I wanted them.
nutt and muddle.jpg

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Re: Australian Manufactured Coin Op Machines

Postby bob » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:20 pm

Clearly my memory is astray here and what I saw was not a Mills QT but a Nutt and Muddle machine with the kangaroo symbols. I don't really remember it as a Mills QT, just a poker machine with the QT iron cross symbols and so assumed that it was a QT that I had seen.
I am sure that Rory is right and it was a Nutt and Muddle Jubilee machine. Thanks Rory for posting the award card which shows it all.

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Re: Australian Manufactured Coin Op Machines

Postby bob » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:47 am

I had intended to post the next couple of items last time but the system would not accept any more photos so here they are now.

Another machine, or rather the mechanism of one that I came across was a ticket vendor. As it had no plates on it, I never knew what type of ticket it vended or who had made it, nor have I come across another one in my travels. I assumed it was Australian, but it could be of British manufacture. It eventually went to Gameswat and finished up with DD’s Toys who has made an attractive wooden case for it. Has anyone come across a similar ticket vendor and can supply some information as to its manufacture and use?

Ticket Vendor.jpg
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I’ll include in this posting on Australian manufactured coin op machines another ticket vending machine. Certainly not of Australian origin, but one that I feel would be of interest to readers here, it belongs to a fellow Australian collector who found it many years ago. This is a small cast iron machine, similar but not identical to, others I have come across in a reprint of a German coin op machine catalogue of the very early 1900’s. It is complete with a most attractive vitreous enamel sign plate. Its last and perhaps only commercial use, was to sell tickets for a merry go round in Australia. Its original intended use, if one can judge by the decorations on its attractive cast iron front would most likely have been to sell tram tickets, although it was probably sold as a generic type of ticket vendor.

Merry go round Ticket Machine049.jpg
As I’ve previously stated I was interested in coin op machines from an early age. I was particularly interested in gambling machines that paid out money or tokens, although I was mainly interested in the mechanics of these rather than the gambling aspect. Aside from poker machines which were rare, as they were not legal outside of clubs and some country pubs, I was interested in rather complicated gambling type pinball machines that paid out tokens or registered credits that were illegally paid out by the shopkeepers where the machines were located. As the cost of playing these was threepence if they were in shops and sixpence (5 cents) if they were in pubs, I watched people lose their money on these rather than playing them myself. To give an idea of the value of such an amount at that time, sixpence was the price of a cinema ticket for me then, so these were costly games for a youngster to play. However, very early on I won a huge jackpot on one of these located in a hamburger shop and for a while I was sucked in by this and spent rather more money than I should have on such machines. Needless to say I never won another such jackpot.

In a building in the “city” of Melbourne (ie the central business district) opposite my father’s shop, there was, on an upper floor, the workshop of an operator of these types of machines where I whiled away quite a bit of time watching them being repaired and built. Once I borrowed, actually hired for a small weekly amount, a poker machine. This weighed about thirty kilos and I carried it home in a hessian bag on the tram, quite a task for a young lad. I was not sure what my parents would think of this, but in fact they quite approved, thinking that when I could see that you could only lose your money on them, I would cease wasting my pocket money on such devices. It did indeed teach me this lesson and since then I have only spent a most negligible amount on gambling of any sort.

Not much happened to further my interest in coin operated machines for many years although I was particularly fascinated by the Bally coin operated pin ball gambling machines. At first these consisted of one ball horse race type of machines known as “multiples”, as one could attempt to increase the odds of winning by adding more coins before actually commencing the game. Later these were declared totally illegal and were replaced by Bally Bingo pinball machines in which the player had to get three four or five balls in line to get replays which would be cashed out by the shopkeeper. One could also try to improve the chance of winning by adding additional coins before actually playing the game. These were brought out in the fifties, sixties and seventies with ever more complex features and variations. They were all over Melbourne in cafes, milk bars and hamburger joints. I resisted the urge to play them as I knew that one could only lose on them in the long run. However I used to watch with fascination as others played these ever more complex games which existed in a sort of semi legal state in Melbourne. My coin op machine collection eventually included one of these types of machine, a Turf King which was the last and most highly developed example of a “multiple” type machine.

These become illegal after this model came out and the place of this type of machine was taken by the Bally Bingo/in line pinball machines for many years with ever further development of novel features with increasingly compelling player appeal.

Turf King.jpg
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Many, many years later, when I started collecting coin op machines I explored this operator’s abandoned premises in the basement of a derelict ice skating rink. There I found a couple of wrecks of machines that I restored, a Town Broker and a Target Skill, some parts and pinball back glasses and some interesting correspondence and other printed materials. But that’s another story, for another time.

Town Broker Game of Skill.JPG
Target Skill.jpg
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In the 1940s and 1950s this operator made most of his money from the Bally “multiple” gambling pinball machines. These could no longer be imported from the US and consequently, with the aid of the technical skills of a young telephone technician who “moonlighted” for him, he built such machines using telephone equipment such as “uniselectors , which were readily available from “surplus stores” which appeared after World War II and by rebuilding earlier Bally non gambling pinball machines. Some of these used Australian original painted back glasses that had the customary horse racing theme such as “Valley” and “Valley Derby” named after the Melbourne Moonee Valley racecourse.

Valley Pinball Backglass048.jpg
Valley Derby047.jpg
As well as operating these highly lucrative illegal and semi legal games, this operator also operated conventional coin op machines and made a couple of machines which much later became part of my coin op machine collection. One of these Ask Me Another was a straight out copy of an Exhibit Supply Fortune Teller machine, the other, the Witch Fortune Teller, was, I believe, an original.

The mechanism of these was very basic. The coin dropped through the slot to the coin bucket inside and the weight of the coin tilted the bucket until the coin fell out of it and it and it returned to its original position. Whilst the lever was tilted a mercury switch mounted on the lever powered a telephone type uni selector mechanism that lit up light globed behind the glass on the machines.

Ask Me Another.JPG
Witch Fortune Teller.jpg
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A machine of a similar type is the Your Fortune and Lucky Number which I believe was made in the Melbourne Luna Park workshop that made a number of similar machines that lit painted glasses detailing fortunes etc., from behind. This one is unusual in that it activates an electric motor driven pointer.

Your Fortune and Lucky Number054.jpg
I assume this lifter type strength tester to be Australian as I have never come across it in the US or UK and no markings are on it to indicate where it was made. The handle is of an interesting design catering for people of various heights.

Australian Lifter055.jpg
This is an Australian copy of the very popular British Conveyor machine.
Elevator Australian Conveyor copy051.jpg
I’ve always thought of this machine as American but Gameswat believes that it’s an Aussie machine copied from an American one using the American sourced belts of 35mm photos. Maker unknown.

Beauty on Parade stereo viewer before020.jpg
There have been other Australian made coin op machines not covered here, such as kiddie rides. These include a lovely series of horse ride machines made over 70 years ago by a company that commissioned a rocking horse maker to make them. The wooden horses were carved Robert Bartlett, a rocking horse manufacturer for the Dow manufacturing Co who had over 200 of these made. Each horse was named after an actual racehorse of the era. These were operated for over 50 years with the horses maintained by Bartlett. Some of these kiddie rides were still in use commercially until a few years ago. Kent Amusements, a rival kiddie ride company, also operated similar machines, also with horses carved by Bartlett.

Unfortunately I did not have a photo of one of these machines but have copied one from a book. This is actually the definitive book on Rocking Horses, a beautifully illustrated book, written by a friend of mine here in Melbourne:”The Rocking Horse, a History of Moving Horses” by Patricia Mullins. The photo is copyright to her and the book and any reproduction should be acknowledged.

Bartlett Horse on Kiddie Ride.JPG
In later years there have of course been large operators and manufacturers of poker machines and other coin op machines such as Hankins, who made five pinball machines here in Australia as well as many videogames, and Leisure and Allied who again operated and made, mostly under licence to overseas companies, many videogames from Space Invaders on, but these machines don’t fall under my area of interest.

Let me finish this posting however with some rather charming one off machines, that are an example of the quaint, almost “folk art” ball type machines, made by a showman in his seasonal layoff period.

Sloper's Flip Flop Machine045.jpg
Sloper's Flip Machine043.jpg
Sloper's Old ThroBall Machine046.jpg
Sloper's Whacko Machine044.jpg
The next and final postings of mine on this subject will cover what is quite a large area of Australian coin op machines, vending machines.

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Re: Australian Manufactured Coin Op Machines

Postby gameswat » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:47 am

The Old Throball machine looks like BMCO or Bollands to me. Much like this Beat the Goalie in the museum. Very similar case and coin return on lower rhd.

Pretty sure I've seen an advert somewhere with a Ping Pong machine that might relate to this too?

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Re: Australian Manufactured Coin Op Machines

Postby bryans fan » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:18 pm

Many thanks Bob for sharing these photos and reminisces with us. I just wish you were nearer!

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Re: Australian Manufactured Coin Op Machines

Postby bob » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:23 am

Clearly Gameswat is right when he considers that Old Thro Ball is more professional looking than the other three showman’s games. However I think that all four show their origins as the remains of professionally made games that quite likely originated in the UK. This can be seen from the details in the door construction, the headboard and the hardware, such as coin tracks and handles , payout cup, etc., which have recycled.

Old Thro Ball is probably the closest to its original game with the cup near the top that brings to mind a game I have previously seen somewhere other than Beat the Goalie. However the coin return is nothing like the one on Beat the Goalie which for years I thought was a Matthewson machine because of the side handles that were on all his sports machines. It’s easy to get sucked into misapprehensions by the hardware. At that time British coin op collectors and historians thought that Beat the Goalie was a cobbled together machine. However I included these for their quaintness that had been introduced in Australia to these remnants of other machines.

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Re: Australian Manufactured Coin Op Machines

Postby gameswat » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:14 am

Bob wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:23 am
However the coin return is nothing like the one on Beat the Goalie
Well even though it's hard to see much detail in the Throball photo it sure looks to me like the blanked off coin return is the same matching rectangular shape as the coin slot, which in turn looks just like those used in the Goalie - missing the outer coin catching hardware of course which does often get broken off or deliberately removed. There are other similarities like the quite unusual small central control knob as used on Goalie, the central locks used on both doors, and rarely seen on a cashbox door as just about always on the end. The small arches on top corners of the door window are also very similar to my own "Over the Moon" Penny flip by BMCO and some other unusual larger cases they made. This machine just seems too good to just be a cobbled together one off in my view.

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