So, the machines I’ve owned of this type usually state the manufacturer as one ‘BARBER WESTON LIMITED’; the WESTON in the title is in fact Weston-super-Mare which is where I live. The factory was a wartime sheet metal / forming type of place, owned by a Mr. Barber, the machines side of the business must have been fairly large though, as they also did conversion work for the Post Office (AFAIK these were real old Victorian era stamp machines which were effectively gutted other than the fancy casings?). However, in a book which you can google freely (as in it’s been scanned in totally and hosted by Google, long being out of copyright) the machines barely get a mention. The site, which for bandit fans couldn’t have been too far from Brenco’s factory, is one where very little happened apart from the helicopter manufacturer, Westland, downsizing then going completely, now the land in question is rapidly being turned into hundreds of houses and a bypass-to-the-bypass apart from the odd bits that have been listed as part of the original airport. It has to be said these machines (or again the later ones I’ve seen, with the long coin plate) have an interesting approach to coin security, using proper coin mechanisms made by an external maufacturer, mechs that have carried on in production in one way or another to this day for simple applications such as hairdryer and salon timers etc… The multi coin units seem very sophisticated (and fiddly) compared to many.
I don’t know for sure, but I think manufacturing wound up in the late 70’s; by then, they were making wheelchairs and I believe both the brand (which wasn’t Barber) and the manufacturing of these chairs moved up North at some point, I think the wheelchair company itself has only recently ceased trading though. As for the Cadburys machines, I think I’ve also seen them in slightly different configurations for Nestle [large plastic window at the top] and maybe even Bubblegum machines which I assume had different, and fixed rather than variable column guides. It seems that they carried on being made in Bristol by BDR who also made machines for the Post Office and a large amount of Tobacco machines for the Bristol based firm of W.D. & H.O. Wills, later rolled into Imperial Tobacco. I’m only assuming this though, because what *seem* to be the newer machines that I’ve seen have this BDR badge… Or perhaps it was the other way around – but I’m not convinced easily! I imagine these machines carried on being made until the early 1980s, and in service until the mid 1980s going by some of the pricing (I’ve never seen anything more than 20p) at which point I assume the UK changed almost overnight to multiple product, multi coin vending.
Please add your comments here if you know better than me 🙂
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