Columbus Sanichu

Columbus Vending Company, Columbus, OH, c. 1915, 16 1/2". This model is a Model A-3 with a mechanism that's been modified to take a nickel instead of a penny, has a #9 Columbus globe instead of a #8 globe, and has one of the neatest decals you'll find on a vending machine.

You won't find this model pictured in Silent Salesmen Too, but you'll find a reprint of a Sanichu ad on page 295. In spite of its obvious Columbus origin, the ad and decal list the Sanichu Gum Company of 3624 Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago, IL as the contact. I've seen one other decal that lists the Atkinson Novelty Co. of 513-515 E. 43rd St., Chicago, IL as the contact, so it appears that Columbus didn't have an exclusive arrangement with Sanichu.

Advertised as a "trade booster," it was apparently available in a nickel and dime version. Like the Ad-Lee E-Z, it was primarily a gambling machine. The ad says (among other things) "Every Ball Perfectly Wrapped in Bright, Beautiful Tin-Foil. All Colors---Red, Blue, Green, Gold, Purple, Silver. No Soiled or Unclean Gum." Later on the ad says that the Sanichu "May Be Operated Where All Other Machines Have Been Prohibited. Not a Gambling Machine---Only a Merchandise Trade Booster and Stimulator."

This prompts 2 thoughts. First of all, apparently nobody taught Sanichu's ad writers that the first word of a sentence should be capitalized and that subsequent words in the same sentence should not be. The second is that it must have been hard to keep a straight face when stating that this isn't a gambler---payoffs are plastered all over the decal. 'Course, the discrepancy may lie in the definition of "gambling." The decal states clearly that payoffs are paid "in trade," and the fact that they're paid in trade and not in money may be the technicality that let this be considered not a gambler (if indeed it was considered not a gambler).

Sanichus aren't rare, but they're pretty scarce. This example is 100% original except for an ancient repaint no doubt applied by a vendor. He didn't know this machine would be worth so much someday, or else he'd have removed the gate and vending wheel before painting the cast iron. But he didn't, so the gate and vending wheel also have an ancient repaint instead of being bare aluminum. I can live with it; by now it's part of the machine, and it's a great machine.



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