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

American, British, French or German? We want to know about it.
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Neil
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Boland Black Beauty, Screen Stars, Brooklands, White City...

Post by Neil »

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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Post by JC »

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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Post by JC »

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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JC
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Post by JC »

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

Post by Neil »

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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Post by JC »

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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Post by pennymachines »

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.
Attachments
Brooklands Totalisator from recent Tennants sale
Brooklands Totalisator from recent Tennants sale
B-5.jpg (30.5 KiB) Viewed 19758 times
Unconverted Mills Black Beauty
Unconverted Mills Black Beauty
B-4.jpg (18.1 KiB) Viewed 19759 times
B-3.jpg
B-3.jpg (19.15 KiB) Viewed 19759 times
B-2.jpg
B-2.jpg (15.58 KiB) Viewed 19761 times
Screen Star Single Reel
Screen Star Single Reel
B-1.jpg (23.01 KiB) Viewed 19762 times
Neil
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Post by Neil »

Thanks for the additional photos.

It is clear from the first 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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Post by pennymachines »

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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Post by daveslot »

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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Post by pennymachines »

So is the Mills Black Beauty not really a Mills machine at all, but a Boland revamp? The one pictured has a jackpot.

Here's another Stars of the Silver Screen from Southern Counties auction 2006:
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AA-4.jpg
Last edited by duckiezoo22f on Thu May 24, 2007 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by daveslot »

Yes, I have never seen one with a live jackpot, they have always been false ones. They used any old mech that was handy. I have seen them with Jennings and Watling mechs.
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White City

Post by davidcoplansky »

Hi all

Here you go a White City Picture! Any idea of the production year?

I guess the inside might be a Mills and not Jennings
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wst1-1.JPG
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Re: Mills Black Beauty Brooklands slot

Post by Jack Pot »

First Post: -

I have recently acquired a Brooklands Totalisator machine which is different from the others shown in this thread.

I am interested in spares availability/sources - the numbers on the reels are in some cases illegible. These appear to be inserts. Does anyone make new ones?

The only fruit machine restoration experience I have is a Rotomat which I think was converted to pennies from another currency (German?)

It was a 'pig' to restore as all the main castings appear to be made of an alloy with rather less strength than cheese. I had to remanufacture many parts. Steep learning curve and all that.

Anyway, the Mills mech in my latest machine seems much more solid. Any tips and guidance much appreciated.

I'd be interested to know the date of manufacture of the original mech and the date of the conversion? (MLB 217A stamped on the mech). The wood of the case appears to have been 'extended' vertically.

I found a website for someone in USA who offers resto books for Mills and maintenance/adjustment data but would welcome recommendations before I part with cash.

Addictive, isn't it? :)
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c505185f8c-2.jpg
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operator bell
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Re: Mills Black Beauty Brooklands slot

Post by operator bell »

the castings on the Black Beauty is all Bollands, nothing remains of the Mills
Aha! That explains a lot. A mate of mine has one exactly like JC's picture and up until about 90 seconds ago I believed it was a German machine, a Rheinlander. The front casting is the worst I've ever seen, exceptionally rough, like the foundry used beach shingle instead of proper sand. The mech is clearly Mills but yes, a very old one. Mills strips and spares fit it but usually some bending or filing is called for.
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Black Beauty Identified

Post by malcymal »

Topic merged - Site Admin.

Can anybody shed any light on this machine
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/MILLS-one-arm-ban ... 2|294%3A50
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bndt.JPG
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treefrog
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Re: Can anybody tell me about this Bandit?

Post by treefrog »

Malc,

If you do a search on this site there is a thread that has covered this. (Merged above - Site Admin.)
They appear to have been Mills conversions by Tom Boland and included a variety of other machines you will have seen before, including the Brooklands, Totaliser and Screen Stars (single reel).
The mechanism looks like an early one probably from a gooseneck type machine, which make sense as the coin slot is on that side. I seen seen some nice ones before that are totally veneered, but this one is a later Formica type.
Tom
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Black Beauty State Side

Post by treefrog »

Topic merged - Site Admin

Very nice looking Tom Bolands Black Beauty Brooklands on 50C. Never seen one not on 1D or later conversion.

BLACK BEAUTY
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operator bell
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Re: Black Beauty State Side

Post by operator bell »

An American half dollar (50c) is almost exactly the same size as an old penny, so the only conversion on this machine would be the denomination sign!
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Re: Black Beauty State Side

Post by pennymachines »

Two old penny examples from Tennants auction in 2007 and the one at the bottom appeared in a Canterbury saleroom a couple of days ago - estimate £200-300. Don't know if it sold.
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bb1.jpg
bb2.jpg
BlackBeauty.jpg
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