For years I saw these appear in aluminum, and then in the spring of 2004 I saw one on ebay made of cast iron with an embossed gate. I'm sure the seller was very happy with the outcome of that auction. Then several more appeared on ebay, also made of cast iron but without the embossed gate. I liked the cast iron version better (don't we all?) and assume that it's earlier, but what intrigued me was the fact that I'd gone all those years without seeing one and then suddenly a wave of them appeared from different sellers. Could I have passed some by and thought they were aluminum? Perhaps one or two, but I don't think I'd have missed many. I still don't know how or why these were sequestered all those years, but even if I did pass a couple of them in Chicago, it's safe to say that I've seen far fewer cast iron examples than I have aluminum examples.
I bought this mainly because my wife is from Louisville (properly pronounced LOU-a-vull, with the syllables all slurred together) and this is the only machine that I know has a Kentucky connection. That doesn't mean as much to her as I thought it might, but I lived in Kentucky during graduate school so I have my own connection to the Commonwealth, independent of her. That wasn't my only reason anyway---it's a stellar example of the cast iron version, which I liked and which I'd been watching sell for substantial premiums over the aluminum version. I think the cast iron version has a richer look and it obviously has a higher heft factor than the aluminum version.
This example is 100% original. The vending wheel has a single hole for gumballs.
©Small Vintage Vending 2009