Trade Stimulators

 
1940's Groetchen Imp. This machine is known as a 'trade stimulator' They were similar to slot machines in that they have three spinning reels. However, they have no payout and were thus legal in places where slots were not. This machine has cigarette label symbols on the reels. During play, when three like brands lined up, the customer won their choice of smokes from the operator. In addition, each penny play dispenses a gumball inorder to maintain the illusion of no gambling. Imp has a metal flap which flips over the reels and has a radio dial printed on the other side making the machine look very much like a small radio to unknowing authorities.
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  • 1931 Pacific Amusements Marblo. Pacific Amusements is best know for creating the first Pin game to use electricity, "Contact" in 1933. (See the First Pinballs section of this website). Before the creation of Contact, Pacific Amusements produced Trade Stimulators for use in bars etc. This is a very rare 1931 Pacific Amusements Marblo trade stimulator. A patron inserts five cents into the coin slot and the coin slides to a window below so that the operator can verify a real coin was used. The patron then push's in the mechanical button attached to the slide and rotates a knob on the right side of the machine and selects a number from 2 to 12. Simultaneously, a small ball is placed on a pedestal which will fall off and indicate a "tilt" of the machine if the patron attempts to move it. When the button is released, the selected number is locked in place and two dice are sent tumbling below the glass. If the dice end up with the number the patron selected, face up, the operator would payout based on a chart printed on the machine.
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  • 1940's Evans Penny Drop Game. Coin drop games are very simple. A player drops their coin in a slot where it then falls by gravity down the playfield striking pin's which randomize it's trajectory. If the coin lands in a particular target, the player win's. Otherwise the game simply keeps the coin and the player can try again. In this game, the goal is to get the coin to land in the clowns mouth. If it's a miss, the coin falls into a coin box inside. If it lands in the mouth, it is held in place to show a win until released by a wooden push button on top. These were very popular in bar's where patrons would insert their spare change. Win's were shown to the proprieter who would then payout a win as either a free drink or a cash prize (usually five or ten cents on a penny machine). many variations of coin drops were produced throughout the years including ones that had actual jackpot's which could be made to payout when a coin landed in a target. This game was produced by H. C. Evans & Company of Chicago.
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  • 1938 Mills Kounter King. Monty Hall and Let's make a deal, circa 1938! This trade stimulator allows for varying payback odd's depending on how much risk the player is willing to take. A penny is inserted and the handle is pulled, spinning 5 wheels. Shutters cover wheels 3, 4 and 5. Wheel 1 and 2 are exposed and if the numbers match, the player win's a 2 to 1 payback. However, they can now 'go for the curtain' and push a button revealing whats on reel number 3. If it doesn't match, the player loses and the game is over. If it does match, the player can accept a 6 to 1 payback, or risk it all and go for reel number 4! Again, if reel 4 doesn't match, the player loses everything. If it does match, a 20 to 1 payback is offered, or the player can opt to go to reel number 5. If reel number 5 doesn't match, all is lost. If it does match, a whopping 60 to 1 payback has been earned by the brave player. A gumball is dispensed after each play whether the player win's or loses. This game is extremely well built and was very popular.
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  • 1930's Buckley Ball Gum Trade Stimulator. During the 1930's several manufacturer's produced trade stimulators with ornate designs to be placed in locations where standard slot machines were illegal. This machine was produced by Buckley Manufacturing Company of Chicago Illinois. It has a beautiful art deco design and when a penny is inserted, the reels spin and stop on three symbols. The symbols were then checked against the "Your Fortune" card below. Each "Fortune" happens to mention a number as part of the fortune (EG. "Eighth", "Fourth" etc.) and that was actually used as the basis for the manual payout by the games operator. In order to maintain the appearance of a novelty game, each play was rewarded by a ball of gum if the player pressed a button on the lower left side.
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  • 1957 Twico dice machine. This trade stimulator accepts a penny, then spin's a turntable tumbling 5 dice with playing card images on them. The resultant poker hand was then paid off appropriately by the operator of the establishment. To keep things looking legal, several 'fortunes' are described on the glass for certain poker hands. In addition, a ball of gum is dispensed after each play.
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  • 1930's Skill Play. The line between pinball and gambling machines was often blurred. This trade stimulator game was produced in the 1930's and operates like a pinball game allowing the patron to shoot 7 balls for one cent on to a playfield. The circular playfield has point values. After the seven balls are shot, the total is added and compared to the chart on the bottom. Each of the score results (Excellent, Good etc.) correspond to a payout chart posted elsewhere at the establishment operating the game. The patron was then paid based upon score.
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  • Modern talking Alcohol level tester. Interest in trade stimulators and novelty games continues in modern times. Coin operated versions of police style "breathalyzers" are quite popular and lucrative at bars and pubs. Since the machines are operated under non controlled conditions, they should be regarded as novelty machines only, but are quite entertaining. Wrapped straws are provided in a compartment on the left inorder to keep things sanitary. When a patron inserts 25 cents, the machine verbally requests the customer to insert a straw into the center hole, then blow into it for 5 seconds which the machine counts down aloud. After the sample is taken, the machine displays the customers blood alcohol level in a numeric display on the upper right. It also gives a rough display of level of intoxication with LED indicators on the bottom. Depending on the amount of alcohol detected, the machine makes one of twenty seven different humorous verbal comments. Everything from "Your perfectly ok" to "Your bombed, call a cab". These type of machines are very entertaining and could potentially even save lives if patrons heed the machines warning.
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  • 1940's Colorscope Penny Peep Show. This peep show, manufactured by Colorscope of Moline, Illinois was produced in the 1940's. It operates by inserting one cent, which illuminates a light inside the view finder. Nine color stereo 3-D images can then be viewed by pushing the lever in front. The light is shutoff when either all nine images have been viewed or (if the patron takes too long) a one minute mechanical timer inside turns off. The stereo image cards are replacable depending upon location. This particular peep show machine has images of Tarzan as well as several other cards which can be swapped in. This machine also has a rarely found instruction marquee on top.
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