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brigham
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Re: How many cherries?

Postby brigham » Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:39 pm

I don't remember cherries on the third reel until the electro-era. They still look wrong to me.
The single-cherry payout is usually ascribed to the Mills Chrome Bell, of January 1939, at least according to the advertising blurb of the day. This is the machine which the 'jobbers' came to call the 'diamond front', but it IS a genuine Mills product, not an 'after-market' conversion. It WAS the machine which set Pat Buckley on his journey from repairer to maker, though.
The difference in the mech. is simply the length of the payout finger. If you shorten it (or otherwise bend the vertical lever) so that the 'notch' comes into play between the first two payout discs, rather than the second and third, it will pay for single cherry/two cherries, rather than two cherries/two cherries and bell or lemon.
ALL the Mills mechanisms I have seen have been punched for bell and lemon in the cherry position on the third disc, even the ones on 'single cherry' pay; so I conclude that the 'old' payout remained an option.
Can anyone look inside a genuine late Hi-Top, to confirm if, or not, the third disc is still so punched?

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Re: How many cherries?

Postby quadibloc » Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:50 pm

brigham wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:39 pm
I don't remember cherries on the third reel until the electro-era. They still look wrong to me.The single-cherry payout is usually ascribed to the Mills Chrome Bell, of January 1939, at least according to the advertising blurb of the day.
I have seen, on page 160 of Lemons, Cherries, and Bell-Fruit Gum, what appears to be an advertisement for the original Mills Chrome Bell from 1939, showing single-cherry pay in the photo, but the illustration doesn't ambiguously show that it's something from Mills.
And Automatic Age seems to have mostly dropped slot machine ads by 1939. However, if the Mills Chrome Bell is from January 1939 and not late 1939, then I may have been looking in the wrong place - both in Automatic Age and in Billboard, so maybe there's a chance that I can positively verify this.

I have now sorted things out. There is a nice splashy ad, even with color, by Mills, in Automatic Age magazine, for the Chrome Bell, showing that it has single-cherry pay... in the October 1940 issue!
The Chrome Bell indeed existed in 1939, since there was a news item in the May 27, 1939 issue of Billboard that was about it - however, the scan of the page I found was not clear enough for me to draw any conclusions about its payout.
But that does definitely establish that Mills did originate single-cherry pay, and it existed before the post-war era.

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Re: How many cherries?

Postby badpenny » Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:25 pm

Interesting research there gents.
Thank you both.
I wonder if we can find evidence for War Eagles and Castle Fronts as well?

BP !THUMBS!

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coppinpr
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Re: How many cherries?

Postby coppinpr » Sat Mar 07, 2020 9:35 am

attached is the official company flyer that went out to customer announcing the new 1 cherry payout in 1939
one cherry.jpg
and just in case someone asks "how many melons" below is the not so politically correct flyer that introduced the new "melon" symbol two years earlier in 1937, at that time only used as a new Jackpot line
melon.jpg

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Re: How many cherries?

Postby badpenny » Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:04 am

That looks hopeful Paul, I'll read it when I get back from the boat, thanks.

BP :cool:

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brigham
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Re: How many cherries?

Postby brigham » Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:59 am

So the Melon as a symbol pre-dates the Hi-Top Melon Belly.
I didn't know that. My fault for making assumptions.

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Re: How many cherries?

Postby coppinpr » Sat Mar 07, 2020 12:45 pm

The melon was introduced in 1937 for this rather odd machine the "Melon Bell" which to all intents and purposes is a "Bursting cherry"...with out the cherry!
The company had high hopes for this machine but it seems to have actually been a flop for it came out later in the same year as the bursting cherry but retained the melon jackpot payout but with a smaller payout . The problem with the original seems to have been the jackpot,the double window jackpot contained a massive $10 in coins BUT it was was hand filled AND attendant paid, on winning the jackpot the player had to ask the attendant to unlock the jackpot which then gushed out into the payout tray,the company thought this would be a big selling point..it was not. The jackpot had then to be hand loaded with $10 of coins and an internal meter recorded the payout.
One interesting fact is the colour,the one in the photo is the original colour, Mills paid for research done by a "famous psychologist" (?) into men's favorite colour,they were told violet (??) so they made it in violet...Im guessing they got it wrong again :lol: The case design was made to look like a bursting melon!! unfortunally this was not obvious to customers so on the flyer they added an arrow pointing to the window saying "This is a melon" :HaHa:
The bursting cherry was revamped in 1939 as the "Brown front" but the melons were dropped for this model
melon bell 2.jpg
melon bell 2.jpg (28.95 KiB) Viewed 1164 times
its a melon.jpg
Last edited by coppinpr on Sat Mar 07, 2020 1:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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coppinpr
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Re: How many cherries?

Postby coppinpr » Sat Mar 07, 2020 1:26 pm

Examining the list of reel strips used by mills in the 30's it appears the "castle front" and the "War eagle" never had 1 cherry payouts, the only machines that did were
Chrome Bell
Golden Falls (late models only)
Black Cherry (almost all of these had single cherry payouts but min double cherry was available( this is the machine that Pat Buckley based his designs on))

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Re: How many cherries?

Postby quadibloc » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:20 am

I knew about the pre-war Melon Bell, although I never saw that incorrect flyer! That at least settles that it is the watermelon it looks like, rather than a true melon like a Honeydew. Or are watermelons really melons? Looks like a trip to Wikipedia is in order to sort out this botanical mystery!

Both watermelons and canteloupes are true melons, belonging to the same genus Cucurbitae as pumpkins, squash, and gourds as well.

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Re: How many cherries?

Postby badpenny » Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:06 pm

Thanks everyone for your input, especially Paul.

I think we now have enough evidence to ascertain that single cherry pay out on Mills machines didn't appear pre WWII.
Also it rules out War Eagles and Castle Fronts.
Such a machine sporting single cherry awards seems to point to: -
Faulty machines altered during their operating life in order to get them back out and earning, without attention being paid to authenticity. Someone suggested to me a while back that operators post war may have uprated their pre war machines to single cherry pay out. I can't imagine a profit driven operator spending time and money altering a machine so it would pay out additional combinations.

Sadly a more obvious reason for there being so many pre war Mills slots displaying single cherry awards indicates skulduggery and rip offs. Especially once collectors appeared on the scene.

BP |/XX\|
PS Well I'm off now to collect my brand new Triumph Herald 3.5 ltr articulated Combine Harvester that I was so lucky to find.


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