Bajazzo Clown wall machines

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nobby.pennytoy
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Bajazzo Clown wall machines

Post by nobby.pennytoy »

Can you help me identify the maker/manufacturer, age and why the Union Jack motif on the ball? There are no markings on the cabinet i.e. letters or numbers stamped on it. However, it is stamped THIS MACHINE IS THE PROPERTY OF (can't read) BIRMINGHAM on the inside of the front door. Any information you may have about this game will be great.
Many thanks
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PHOENIX 'CLOWN CATCHER'

Post by nobby.pennytoy »

My own research has revealed that this rare 'Clown Catcher' was infact produced by Phoenix Manufacturing Company of Birmingham cica 1920's. I believe the Union Jack was added as a symbol of victory following World War 1.
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Post by pennymachines »

Nice!
We're back to William Thompson and the Phoenix Works again.
They started copying German clowns in 1913 and had an injunction served upon them for patent infringement which was nullified by the outbreak of WWI. Putting a Union Jack on the ball was like a two-finger gesture of victory.

There must be many unidentified machines produced by the Coin Operating Company - I wonder why they were so coy about putting their name on the games. Maybe they were happy to pass them off as German (at least until the War), trading on that country's engineering reputation. Many so called Saxony Allwin Deluxes were actually Birmingham-made Phoenix or Harwood copies. Birmingham was a hive of slot machine manufacturing but information is scarce.
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Allwin deluxe

Post by badpenny »

Great Stuff ....... Could Pennymachines gaze at his crystal balls and advise me if the Allwin Deluxe I bought from a gentleman in the Black Country kind of direction (known to us both) nearly a year ago I think, is of Brummagem fame as well?

I only enquire out of interest, as it is a super machine and I felt guilty at the time for getting it so cheaply!

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Post by john t peterson »

How about a picture, Badpenny, so that we all may share your guilt?
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Post by pennymachines »

This is the machine Badpenny was referring to. It may have been made in Birmingham but I'm not sure how to tell. One theory is that every so-called Allwin Deluxe produced in Germany started life as an Allwin Reserve but the vast majority were downgraded to "Deluxe" by British distributors because they were considered too generous. If this theory is correct (and I'm not at all sure it is), British Allwin Deluxes might be distinguished by the absence of evidence of a removed reserve mechanism. Maybe some of our German collector friends could help us here.
Actually, looking more closely at the picture, I notice a hole in the metal flash, roughly middle left, between the runners. There would have been a small ball blocking gate there - part of the reserve mech. So, going on my theory that British manufacturers didn't copy the reserve mechanism (because the operators didn't want it), I reckon it's a German model.
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Clown restoration

Post by ninecup »

Topic merged - Site Admin.

Is there any way you can repair (what looks like some kind gas strut) on the left hand side of the mech, which is used to dampen the ball release after the ball has been put into play?
Thanks for all the help in my earlier post about the whales nestle backflash.
it's has now been restored. If anyone would like to have the jpg. file, please email.
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Post by badpenny »

I take it that it's all there but just doesn't dampen the ball lift when it returns?

If so, try spreading the washer inside (it's probably only leather) and repacking with grease. Also ensure the breather hole isn't blocked or you'll get a compression lock.

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Thanks

Post by ninecup »

Thanks for that. I removed the piston and managed to pull it apart. On inspection the washer had completely disintegrated. I cut a circle out of a rubber door mat and packed the plunger with grease. Wow perfect!
The wife will kill me :-x . Off to buy a new door mat.
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Bajazzo Clown

Post by fredslilja »

Topic merged - Site Admin.

Hi
It is me again with all the pictures :) . Well it seems to be the best way for me to ask questions with pictures. After all my english is not that good and sometimes I don´t find the right words to explain my questions.

Anyway, I have some particular questions about my clown machine.

The lock
The machine had no lock when I bought it. Now I have bought a lock that fits perfectly with the carved hole of the back of the door. The thing I wonder about is the hole for the lock cylinder in the door. That seems to have been drilled bigger sometime in the past. What I don´t get is, if the hole has been drilled bigger, why isn't the carved hole also bigger???

I have seen another machine on the eBay (see picture) there is a ring around the cylinder hole. Is this something that was common to place around the hole. If I look closely around my cylinder hole I can see marks of a ring like that and also two holes where the screws has been. Can someone explain this to me??

The topflash
If I look on the top of my machine I can see two holes that i presume is for a topflash. I have only seen one with a topflash on ebay (see picture). Could this be an original topflash or is it made later on??

The number in the wood

L.M.O 103
SAMC660
Does someone knows what that stands for??

The text over the coin-rale and the instruction card
The text ”the clown nr 103B licensed under patent 23 431/1900” I don´t know how to read this information, could someone explain it to me?

On the instruction card a small paper is glued over i think the word ”coin”. Has this machine been working with some kind of tokens??

I have been told that the machine is from the year 1912-1913. Could this be a correct information?

Other than my particular questions I am pleased with any information about this machine.

fredslilja
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Re: Bajazzo Clown

Post by fredslilja »

:oops: I forgot that I only could put in 5 pictures. Here is the other 3 pictures
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Re: Bajazzo Clown

Post by fredslilja »

Come on guys, say something :(

Someone ought to have some information :wink:
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Re: Bajazzo Clown

Post by badpenny »

I'm at work at the moment and shouldn't be looking at this :???:

The only comment I can make at this point is if you look at the photo of the top of your machine I can see what looks like two holes that might have token a top flash at some point in time, and have now been filled in.

I am not an expert in these machines, I do have one, and was told that the date was about right. I believe Mr Pennymachines knows a lot about these, I don't know where he is at the moment, perhaps Nursey is jump starting him for another hectic week.
:eek:
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Re: Bajazzo Clown

Post by pennymachines »

fredslilja wrote:The lock
The machine had no lock when I bought it. Now I have bought a lock that fits perfectly with the carved hole of the back of the door. The thing I wonder about is the hole for the lock cylinder in the door. That seems to have been drilled bigger sometime in the past. What I don´t get is, if the hole has been drilled bigger, why isn't the carved hole also bigger???
It's very common for the lock to have been replaced. The key got lost, the lock jammed, someone forced it...

It's very uncommon for it to be replaced with exactly the same size/make of lock. There are hundreds of slightly different types. The barrel may fit, but the body of the lock is different so out with the chisel!
fredslilja wrote:I have seen another machine on the eBay (see picture) there is a ring around the cylinder hole. Is this something that was common to place around the hole. If I look closely around my cylinder hole I can see marks of a ring like that and also two holes where the screws has been. Can someone explain this to me??
See below image of an original Clown lock with oval barrel surround plate. Maybe yours was originally more like this.


clownlock.jpg
clownlock.jpg (19.57 KiB) Viewed 3545 times

fredslilja wrote:The topflash
If I look on the top of my machine I can see two holes that i presume is for a topflash. I have only seen one with a topflash on ebay (see picture). Could this be an original topflash or is it made later on??
Yes, I think all the small German Clowns originally had these topflashes. The majority seem to have been removed at some time (made it easier to stack the machines for transport) and were either chucked away or lost.
fredslilja wrote:The number in the wood

L.M.O 103
SAMC660
Does someone knows what that stands for??
I'm guessing the L.M.O 103 refers to the Clown model number 103B.
If you google SAMC660 - you come right back here to this wonderful website! If anyone can answer, it's probably a German collector, but I should think it is the unique serial number of your machine. An old operator once told me that when he bought a second-hand Clown he'd lift it up as if weighing it. What he was really doing was feeling for the serial number stamped on the side of the case, just beneath the top. If it was there, he knew he was buying quality German engineering and not some low-grade British copy.

I liked this story but then I came across a British Clown with a number stamped on the side. Maybe the British manufacturers got wise.
fredslilja wrote:The text over the coin-rale and the instruction card
The text ”the clown nr 103B licensed under patent 23 431/1900” I don´t know how to read this information, could someone explain it to me?
I imagine Clown number 103B represented some improvement over Clown 103. I think Clown 103B was in production longer and is therefore more common. Patent 23431/1900 was filed by Henry John Gerard Pessers in 1900. This is the original Pickwick patent - so although the German's invented the Clown, they had to licence it under this British patent, because we were first with the ball catching idea. Also it helped to associate the machine with one that had already been adjudged "a game of skill" in court.
fredslilja wrote:On the instruction card a small paper is glued over i think the word ”coin”. Has this machine been working with some kind of tokens??
Correct. It would have read "Place Coin in Slot" but your Clown was probably operated in a location that exchanged coins for checks or tokens.
fredslilja wrote:I have been told that the machine is from the year 1912-1913. Could this be a correct information?
That's about the date they first appeared, but they were made for many years. Don't know when model 103B was introduced but they were manufactured in Germany until the Nazis banned all gaming machines.
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Re: Bajazzo Clown

Post by fredslilja »

Thank you very much Penny Machines :D
Great information :D

I am although a little confused about where the machine is coming from.
On the instruction card I read "made in France"
It works with old pennies.
And you tell me it comes from Germany . :-o

When I bought it, the seller wrote that they made the machines with red velvet before WW1 and then they used green velvet after the war. Could this be reliable information or was it written only to make the history about it more interesting?

As you can see in the picture below, the iron in the coindrop is in very bad condition. The seller wrote that before the WW1 was it hard to get good metal because of the arming industry. Maybe another made up story? I don´t know.
maybe I should look for a better one and replace it?

fredslilja
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Re: Bajazzo Clown

Post by pennymachines »

Hi fredslilja,

With Clowns it often is confusing because they were made in Germany, France, Britain and America.
The spandrels on yours are not the typical German versions but look more French. The crumbling mazak (monkey metal) coin slot is certainly French. Many French machines used mazak both in the mechanism and exterior fittings. British and German machines didn't - at least not until the post WW2 German wall machines. However, just because the coin slot is French doesn't prove the machine is. If it was operated in France you should find two screw holes somewhere on the front where the licence plate (see Clown below) was fixed.
Maybe it was made in France, or maybe in Germany for the French market and later exported to the UK and given an English instruction card???

I never heard the red/green velvet theory before. Not sure I ever saw a German Clown that didn't have green plush.

The one below is from Jean-Claude Baudot's "Arcadia". The carved top, coin slot and fancy lock surround are all distinctly French style but he says it was made in Germany. Some French Clowns are unmistakable with very decorative fittings and fruitwood cases.

Have a look at the Clown I posted in this thread - about half way down the page. It is almost identical to yours - same spandrels and notice the lock surround. Notice also the coin slot which doesn't quite cover a hole in the case - I think it replaced a broken mazak slot. It has French instructions and I had it down as French-made, but who knows?

See also: British Clown
When is a Clown a Bajazzo?
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Re: RULE BRITANNIA!!!

Post by JC »

Pennymachines, you do us injust! I sincerely hope you and I never fall out over slot machines (or anything else come to that), but I really must take issue with your statement:
"quality German engineering and not some low-grade Britiish copy"
Where does this misconception that early twentieth century German engineering was so superior than ours come from? Afterall, WE invented engineering!
OK, so the Krouts bashed out countless bog-standard allwins and clowns, but until the 1950s they never showed any inovation or true inventiveness, and I really don't believe their slot machines were any better built or engineered than ours. (Actually, if you want see really superior engineering and design, look to the French - but that's another story).
Take a look at the pictures below - the Germans could never have had the wit or imagination to have come up with a mechanism such as this (the pictures do not do it justice). This is an incredibally well designed and engineered mechanism (I'm looking at it right now) - and it's British! (By the way, remember who won the war)?
So, please, let's dispel this superior German thing, cos it just aint true.

RULE BRITANNIA :D

On the subject of the colour of velvet used, I too have heard this, although I think Fredslija has got it slightly wrong. I understand (as the story goes) machines built prior to WWI had brown velvet; the small number built during the war had red, and all those built after the war had green velvet. This is probably confused by the relatively large number of machines that have been restored over the last thirty-odd years, although it should be easy to tell whether a machine's velvet is original.

Jerry
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Re: Bajazzo Clown

Post by arrgee »

Interesting thread here, well done Mr PennyMachines for your dissemination of information yet again.

My Clown has the same patent number but with a different 'Clown' No 8303 B (see photos below). My payout token mechanism releases the token from behind the backboard and it then rolls down the visible slide and into the exit tray, whereas on Fredslilja's Clown, the release mechanism is linked to the foot of the visible payout slide, hence the tokens are permanently on display.

I understand that this token display feature was a later addition to the earlier version (ie as in my Clown, the tokens are not on display) If the number and suffix indicated modification of model then my number 8303 B does not seem to bear this out?

My Clown has P.M.W.G. with XX stamped on the top left hand side so was manufactured (imported?) by Pessers Moody Wraith and Gurr. As can be seen it still has the original brown backcloth and incidentally the original cash tin. P.M.W.G went out of business around the time of WW1 but whether that has any significance regarding the colour of backcloth and date is anyone's guess.

I think the Clown is a classic machine and great fun to play and if mine was manufactured by PMWG then it certainly bears out Jerry's comments regarding solid British engineering, the machine still works perfectly, almost a century later.
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Re: Bajazzo Clown

Post by fredslilja »

I also want to thank mr Pennymachines for all helpfull information.

Maybe someone knows the difference between the clown-numbers and what it means. There is a lot os numbers between mine 103B and arrgees 8303B :-?

If the British was behind the patent of this machine idea and the Germans was the first with the clown figure. How did the first machines from the british patent looked like??

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Re: Bajazzo Clown

Post by fredslilja »

:dammit: :dammit: :dammit:
Was going to correct the hinges. When I was removing the door I smashed the coin slot in the top of the cabinet. The coin slot is in mazak (monkey metal) and it went into a thousand pieces.

Someone knows where I can get another suitable coin slot :-?
Maybe someone has a spare that I can buy :|
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