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Ad-Lee Duette

Ad-Lee Co., c. 1936, 18 1/2". Columbus made many of Ad-Lee's early, cast iron models, but I don't know about this one. It's not really in the style of Columbus gumball and peanut machines, although Columbus match machines suggest that their range of styles went beyond that exemplified by simple cast iron machines such as the Columbus A, Columbus 21, and Columbus M. My money would be on another manufacturer. This is not a rare model, but I've not seen many over the years, and very few of those have been in good original condition.

The styling is strongly art deco, which is not unusual for a 1936 machine. It's a heavy machine---much heavier than I'd expect from sheet metal. The metal that makes up the case is thick, but I'm still surprised by how hefty this is. There may be some cast iron incorporated in the base, but I didn't see any direct evidence of that. Maybe I'm underestimating sheet metal's density, but whatever the reason, this is one hefty machine.

The 2 compartments are separated by a glass window. Each side would presumably contain different products, and all but the dullest customers could figure out which side to put the coin in to get what he or she wanted. Another version---shown in Silent Salesmen Too---has 2 turn knobs in front, rather than the slides shown above, and has a dedicated chute for each side, rather than the single shared chute on the machine above. My hunch is that the slide mechanism and single exit is earlier, but my only rationale for that belief is that the slide mechanism looks earlier and the dual exits strike me as an improvement over the single exit design.

The example pictured above is 100% original except for the front glass, the original of which was cracked when I bought this.

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