Have you ever heard of the the One Armed Bandit, Pinball Machine, Peepshow Machine or Flickball. Anyone interested in the history of amusement machines, amusements arcades and slot machines will already be familiar with these names. Before all the high tech and flashing lights, bell and whistles the machines were literally wooden boxes on the wall or on a stand, metal boxes with cogs, wheels and balls.
We grew up in the family business with amusements arcades all up and down the Blackpool and Fylde coast since the turn of the century and still to this day. It’s heartbreaking really to think back to the days when my father stripped all the ‘old outdated’ machines off the walls and literally threw them onto the bonfire. Values now are through the roof for top quality working machines. Oh, how I wish we had put them in storage – but – there you go – that’s the very thing that makes them valuable today. The fact that they are no longer in arcades, or easily found is what has created the market.
A brief lookup on prices shows that a Mills Cast-Iron one armed bandit circa 1930 is worth over £500, an Allwins flick ball machine nearly £1000, a Gottlieb Universe pinball machine from the late 1950s in excellent condition nearly £2000 and a vintage and very stylish Ford Gumball machine in Chrome on a stand an amazing £600 – gumballs not included.
Are there lessons to be learned? No doubt there are. But who can have the foresight to know what to keep and what to bin and what to keep in storage forever. If we had known then what we know now we think we would have retired to the South of France.
written by The Editor
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