Great States Mfg. Co., Kansas City, MO, c. 1938, 15". For years I looked at the picture of this model in Silent Salesmen Too and thought it looked like a neat machine, but I never saw one live. One day the machine above appeared on ebay and a week later I was its new owner. Since then I see them for sale occasionally, but not often---it's a scarce model, but not rare.
Great States Mfg. Co. is known for its massive, boat anchor-like machines, and this one is no exception. The body and lid are made of thick cast iron, most of which is finished with black wrinkle paint. The entire machine weighs about 80 pounds. Okay, maybe not 80, but it's one of the heaviest single globe machines I've ever hoisted.
I love the art deco styling. Instead of just a thick homogenously cast and finished base, it has some great chromium-plated ornamentation that sets it apart from other, plainer machines from the same manufacturer. The thick columns up the side, the raised pickets on the front just above the gate and on the side, and the raised plated sections along the bottom rim are (in my opinion) what make the machine. The Sel-Mor Model E is a neat model from the same manufacturer, but the Berkshire has everything that model has plus a bit more. The globe is nothing special, except that this one has its original decals even though one is nearly completely faded.
This is the first Great States machine that I owned, and I believe that I jumped in at the top of the line. I've since bought several Sel-Mor Model E's. The details on the Berkshire make me believe that it was their premium model. I don't know if that translated to higher candy sales for the vendors who owned them, but based on the model's scarcity I suspect that it didn't lead to higher sales of the machine itself to those vendors.
The example pictured above is 100% original. I've shown a side-rear shot to give you a better idea of the detail put into the model.
©Small Vintage Vending 2009