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Charrington / Mills Bandit

Posted: Sun Dec 06, 2020 6:51 pm
by stoxman22
I was watching this Charrington bandit on a auction and have a question about it....
This looks like a Mills Hi Top to me but I guess it is a copy. Was this made in the UK from Mills parts or were the parts made in the UK under license from mills, by who, or is there another story? Where is the Charrington name from?

Re: Charrington / Mills Bandit

Posted: Sun Dec 06, 2020 7:11 pm
by grains
Pretty sure Charrington was part of Bass Breweries and there appears to be a Toby Jug logo in the Jackpot Window so this may have been branded or converted for the brewery.

Re: Charrington / Mills Bandit

Posted: Sun Dec 06, 2020 7:42 pm
by treefrog
I am sure I have seen this machine before, but as stated is a brewery branded machine. This seemed common on machines, especially in '60s and '70s, even with some having modified reel strips and they probably were commissioned by the breweries. This looks like being Sega sourced, but unless you see inside, could be a mix of everything... No idea if it had a special award with light up of the beer sign....

Re: Charrington / Mills Bandit

Posted: Sun Dec 06, 2020 8:24 pm
by grains
Shame there were no keys available for the backdoor so we couldn't get a view of the mech or the inside of the case.
Is it just Sega that made the Hi-top upper castings without central the recess for the logo or did Mills also produce this type?
I liked the domed metal scratch plate above the award card and had not seen this before.

Re: Charrington / Mills Bandit

Posted: Sun Dec 06, 2020 11:30 pm
by coppinpr
Is it just Sega that made the Hi-top upper castings without central the recess for the logo or did Mills also produce this type
actually, it's pretty much the other way round, only the late "Bell-o-matic" Mills machines had the central logo insert I believe all the rest did not have it. But even the early Sega built hi-tops had the insert although when Sega finally bought all the Mills tools and stock they did issue some without the insert from old Mills stock.

This machine is definitely a supplier conversion for the brewery, the toby jug was the trademark for Charringtons biggest selling product "Toby Ale".

UK slot suppliers were slow to see the advantages of offering breweries machines that oozed free advertising every time they were played. It was Kenyon Wilkinson who owned the British made "Bell-Fruit" machine company who first touted the idea directly to the breweries and at first, they did not grasp its appeal and he had to do some keen deals to get it going but it soon took off and every brewery wanted machines themed to their beers. The reason you don't see many now is that the idea didn't really get going till 1963 and by 1965 Bally came out with the "money honey" and the mechanical bandit's days were numbered.

Re: Charrington / Mills Bandit

Posted: Mon Dec 07, 2020 6:15 am
by aristomatic
There was a mongrel hitop sold at the EH few years back in a Mills Jewel cabinet with melon front
that had a correct Charrington mechanism and reel bundle in it that was sold as a Sega mech
in Mills cabinet. I didn't attend the auction as had been poorly and it was sold at the auction.
It was listed immediately afterwards on ebay at twice the price but didn't sell. I offered the seller
to swap the Charrington award card and Sega mechanism for original Mills parts to complete
his machine as all Mills and for me to complete the Charrington project parts I had. Was relisted
on Ebay fairly recently and I offered again but again no response from the seller. It was removed
by the buyer, so presumably sold off ebay. I'd originally swapped Mills nameplates and jp plate
with a forum member as he had them, which he kindly swapped and that was 15 years ago!

So I know of this machine for a longtime! I'm poorly now so don't have energy to spend driving
the country to source machines as I used to. It's easier to trade with collectors for machines
that we both want. I was always surprised that they didn't use the Sega light up model for the
Charrington branding with its lightup topbox and jp award space or one of its many clones......

If anyone bought the mongrel recently, happy to swap out parts with them or trade machine for
an all original Mills machine. But be quick as I'm currently reducing my collection down to a dozen
machines. I'll be buying a couple too but it's like 7 or 8 out for any one addition to the collection.

Re: Charrington / Mills Bandit

Posted: Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:13 am
by treefrog
I assume you refer to this one


Funny thing is I am fairly certain I saw this machine about 10 years ago with a collector in Helston Cornwall. I was buying another machine and this was the time I decided for the money it was too much as an all sort of mixed parts and left it....the melon front is my favourite of all Hi Tops by a long way, even prefer it to a Bonus machine....

Re: Charrington / Mills Bandit

Posted: Mon Dec 07, 2020 9:19 am
by aristomatic
Yes, thats the one from EH, theres other pictures on the web too.

I'd seen a different Charrington many years before and wanted one from that point. That's why iI traded Mills nameplates and jp plate for corresponding Charrington bits so many years ago. I'd learnt from an early point to buy some parts as later the others would turn up too. However, I didn't realise how hard it was to find the reel bundle and award card. I was going to EH but took sick so wasn't at the auction. I was frustrated at the time, as trading parts would have benefitted all but to no avail..

Too old now to get upset about these things! I've had my fair share of wins over the years. Plenty of Bell Fruit & other brewery models and makes but few of these. I have a few other machines just missing a few parts, normally would keep them until I found missing parts until complete but now have to sell/trade them as projects. It's not fair to leave a large amount of machines for others to have to sort thru when you're no longer here. Best, whilst still reasonably fit and able to do the job yourself as you know the machines, what's missing etc and a fair price. It's even more sensible on parts because noone else in my family would have a clue what any of the parts were,. Even I have to scratch my head sometimes. It's quite strange that now going through all my parts,. I've now found the bits a few others had enquired about months and years ago but couldn't find. So have managed to get them out to others to help complete their project machines. I'm just awaiting a final plating and polishing order to be ready and can complete another half dozen then. I stopped accepting any mechanism work from others while back to concentrate on mine but a fellow local collector was having problems with his Governor so, as he was local, I told him fine. If there's anyone else in the NW wants me to direct any further servicing work, just pm me and happy to pass on your details to interested parties.