American, British, French or German? We want to know about it.
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 5060
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2002 12:12 am
Location: The Black Country

Laughing Sailor mechanism

Postby pennymachines » Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:26 pm

Pete B took the two pictures (bottom) of the Modern Enterprises Laughing Sailor in the recent Cameo Fine Art Auction.

A Heath Robinson concoction of levers, cams, springs, coat-hangers and string shake his frame, make and break the power and raise and lower the arm of a Dansette record player.

Unfortunately the record itself was missing. Apparently the auctioneer said they're not difficult to find! I don't remember seeing any at HMV.

The Laughing Sailor, a machine which became synonymous with Joyland, standing adjacent to the Promenade entrance. Photograph: Nick Laister (Pennies By The Sea)
LaughingSailor-1.jpg (23.43 KiB) Viewed 2344 times

User avatar
Posts: 938
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:38 pm
Location: Kent

It's not as bad as it looks!

Postby JC » Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:49 am

Yes, Heath Robinson would have been proud of this - particularly the wiring. Many machines up to the 1960s were potentially lethal. I've come across many machines where the main mechanism is permanently connected to Neutral (which isn't quite as bad as Live - but almost).
However, it's not quite as bad as it looks. The main mechanism is very well designed. I operate two of these machines, and they're both very reliable. For those who have never seen a Laughing sailer mech., here's how it works:
Study the picture posted by pennymachines and you'll see there are three cam levers. The sailor is built around a large spring. The cam lever on the left pulls him to the left, and the lever on the right pulls him to the right. The centre cam lever makes him chuckle. You can see in the picture that the centre cam wheel has teeth - this gives the chuckling effect.
As for the string holding up the arm of the record player, this is not part of the mechanism. It's probably there just to keep the arm clear of the turntable. The movement of the arm would have been controlled by the record player's own mechanism.
And as for the auctioneer's claim that the records are not difficult to come by, we should be getting used to these claims's called Ebay!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests