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Advance Climax 10

Advance Machine Company, Chicago, IL, c. 1915, 20". This is one of the sleekest models I know. It's tall and thin and has great contours---it's in the supermodel class of vending! It's made of cast iron and vends a handful of peanuts or small candies for a penny.

This is not an uncommon model, but it's seldomly found in the condition that most collectors crave. Most Climax 10's have been repainted, and few restored or original machines have the original tray intact. Many are also missing the gate, and original decals are as common as hen's teeth. Trays and gates have been reproduced, which is good to know if you're in the market for a repainted Climax 10. Restored examples of this model are more common and less expensive, but most collectors wait for, or trade up to, a nice original example (or two). Note the pinstriping on the machine on the right; most Climax 10's are found without pinstriping, and the pinstriping on those that do have it is almost always much more faded than that shown above.

A sometimes confusing feature of this model is how you access the product compartment. The lid and hold-down ring are designed to lock together by twisting the lid about 20 to 25 degrees into place on the ring. A spring-loaded rod extends from inside the base up through the floor of the product compartment and continues upward to end just above the hold-down ring. The spring, which is located at the top of the rod, forces the rod up into the lid when the lid's in place, and a little metal piece at the top of the rod somehow catches part of the lid and prevents the lid from twisting open. The bottom end of this rod is accessible through the large coin door in the rear of the base. To release the lid, you open the coin door (if it's there; many Climax 10's are missing this piece as well), grab the bottom of the rod, pull down, and twist it to release its hold on the lid. In the pictures above, what looks like 4 hold-down rods is actually 3 hold-down rods and this spring-loaded "lid lock" rod. This set-up is hard to describe in print, and I've done a superficial job of it, but if you're new to this model and don't have the first clue about how to open it, hopefully this'll get you started and you can figure out the rest. But before you buy a Climax 10, it's important to know that if you can't access the inside of the base through the coin door, you won't be able to get the lid off. That may not matter to many collectors, but I like to keep product in my machines, and if I can't do that then I won't be happy with the machine on display, and it'll be short-lived on my shelves.

The examples above are 100% original, and show 2 versions that are identical except for the coin entry which was available as either a slug rejector (on the left) or a gooseneck (on the right). When I first starting collecting coin-op the "price guide price" of the slug rejector version was $100 more than that of the gooseneck version, implying that the slug rejector is more desirable. At some point over the years I realized that I'd seen far more slug rejectors than goosenecks, to the point that I thought the relative scarcity of the gooseneck probably offset the greater value that collectors typically associate with slug rejectors. Today I don't think that most collectors value these versions differently; in the 2010 price guide the difference was down to $50, and in the 2014 guide the values are the same.

I have a copy of an early 1930s catalog that shows this machine available with the Advance Model D, and the Climax 10 is priced lower than the Model D. Who'd buy a heavy obsolete cast iron machine like the Climax 10 when you can get lighter, more modern rolled steel technology in the Model D? Not me, that's for sure.

I've seen pictures of what appears to be a unique early version of the Climax 10 that I'd never seen before. I've posted 3 pictures here (1, 2, 3) so you can see it. It came to its current owner complete with dirt, bugs, and cobwebs, and is 100% original. It has a different lid, coin entry, globe, bottom base, and tray, and it has a plain face with no writing. Other than that it's just like the one pictured above. Stamped on the brass coin entry is the following: "ADVANCE MFG. CO. CHICAGO, ILL, PATD. FEB 11, 1902," which is earlier than any other Advance patent date I know of. If you know anything about this, please let me know and I'll pass it along.

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