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French rotary crane

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:01 pm
by lohr500
I thought you might like to see a video of my vintage Samson arcade crane in action.
Sorry for the poor quality but this is my 1st attempt.
I've owned the grabber for over 20 years now. It needed quite a bit of work and is still not complete.
Operates on 2p coins.
The rotating prize drum still runs on the original 240v motor.
The crane is running on a 12 volt motor with transformer as the original motor was missing.

Re: Samson Arcade Crane

Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:50 pm
by 13rebel
Welcome to the forum lohr500. In case you are unaware, Samson Novelty Company was most likely the distributor of your crane in the UK. It appears to be a 'Le Pont Transbordeur' made by Bonzini and Sopransi, two Italians who moved to France. A very nice crane - thanks for posting.

Re: Samson Arcade Crane

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:42 am
by ollie h
Some very smart engineering, what year of manufacturing are we looking at roughly?

Re: Samson Arcade Crane

Posted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:36 am
by brigham
Isn't "Pont Transbordeur" French for "Transporter Bridge"?

Re: Samson Arcade Crane

Posted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:52 pm
by lohr500
Thank you so much for the info 13rebel.

I had always suspected it had a French connection as the grab position indicator is marked with Avant, Milieu and Arriere, and the prize draw has "Tirez" on it.
But I never knew who the original manufacturers were.

I had guessed from the styling and 3 digit Holborn phone number that it was be pre 2nd world war but I could have been wrong.
With the new knowledge I have learned from you, I searched the web and found a couple of sites suggesting manufacture from around 1930 to 1935.

Also makes sense that it would be called a Transporter Bridge as the crane mechanism runs horizontally on an overhead gantry rail system.

Thanks again.

Re: Samson Arcade Crane

Posted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:52 pm
by 13rebel
You're welcome lohr. Yes, the dates you have noted will be right. France banned slot machines from 1936 which stayed in place for many years. I'm not familiar with the mechanism of your crane but many cranes of this era would have a locking mechanism so that you turn the positioning wheel to front/middle /back (as in your machine) before you insert the coin. After the crane starts up the lock would come into place so you couldn't re-position the jib to more accurately grab the prize of your choice. In this way it would be deemed a game of skill and could get around gaming laws. For home use this locking mechanism can be disabled making it easier to get the prize of your choice. Personally, I prefer the more difficult and original way. The Holborn phone number is most likely to be that of The Samson Novelty Company who were in London from the mid 1920s to sometime in the 1960s. Tirez from the verb Tirer- to pull. Enjoy your crane, it's a lovely item.