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Columbus Models M and MG

(Click on image to enlarge it)

Columbus Vending Company, Columbus, OH, c. 1928, 14" with small round globe (#8) or octagonal (#4) globe. The Model M is a relatively common machine. It was a mainstay of the Columbus line from the early 1930s through the start of World War II. According to Silent Salesmen Too, it was actually developed in 1928 but wasn't patented until 1930. That's a strange approach for a company to take with one of its products, but I know Bill Enes researched the Columbus line thoroughly and therefore I believe it. Silent Salesmen Too contains a pretty thorough description of the Columbus M, MG, MB, and ZM, so I'll not repeat it here. Instead, I'll describe the machines pictured above, all of which have a unique feature even if that feature is merely exceptional condition.

The first machine is chrome-plated and has a cam lock in the baseplate, which I take to be a very early example of this model. I'd normally associate chrome plating with a later example, but that shows how much I know. This is a beautiful machine in exceptional condition.

The second machine also appears to be very early. It has an unusual slug rejector nearly identical to the one pictured on page 40 of Silent Salesmen Too, which Bill describes as a "rare 1920's version." This example is a normal Model M other than this slug rejector, so this particular example is the slug rejector. I bought this on ebay in 2003, but the seller told me that he'd bought it with a bunch of other Columbus machines from the heirs of a lady who was their great aunt. The heirs said that the aunt was in the vending business back in the 1930's, and at the time of her death these machines were stored in a decrepit old garage on the aunt's property in Ashley, OH, a small town about 35 miles north of Columbus.

The third picture is a painted model. The painted versions are considered less desirable than the porcelain models, but I don't know why. The rich patina of aged paint is (in my opinion) less common and more appealing than the green porcelain of the conventional Model M. This example has great paint and vends gumballs, making it a Model MG instead of a Model M. Note that the Model MG has a shorter stroke than does the Model M, which is the easiest way of telling the difference at a glance. The vending wheel resembles a sprocket with exposed holes, and in that way reminds me of a Ford or a Columbus Model K. Each penny moves the vending wheel the distance of one hole, which explains the shorter stroke since a gumball is smaller than a handful of peanuts.

The fourth picture is a normal Model M except for the slug rejector and condition. I bought this on ebay from a guy in Northern California who told me that his dad bought this at a farm auction in the 1970s and hadn't done a thing to it. The appealing features of this machine are the slug rejector and the overall condition; it's perfect, including the decal. I could look for years and not find a nicer example.

Finally, the last one pictured is a very nice green porcelain Model MG. This is a conventional example, but as with the previous Model M, the condition of this particular machine is exceptional.

Many thanks to Roy Leatherberry for his critical review of this page.

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