The body is made of wood and is well-constructed. Put a franc in the coin slot, pull the handle on the right front, and a gumball drops out of the hole on the bottom left of the front. At least I presume it's a gumball; the vending wheel is androgynous and looks like it could accept gum or candy equally well, but there's no doubt in my mind that the exit was designed to accomodate gumballs.
The front "glass" is an unusual multi-colored plastic with a pebbled texture. It's not tranparent or even translucent, and it strikes me as a strange front piece to put on a machine since customers can't see what they're asked to buy. Perhaps it's a replacement, but if so then the same issue remains---why would anyone replace clear glass or plastic with this? It looks good, though.
This example is 100% original and is the only one I've ever seen. I first saw it pictured in the C.O.C.A. magazine in an article by John Carini, who with his family takes several long weekend trips each year to areas rich in antiques stores, and then writes about the trip when he gets home. He found this machine on one of those trips, and I remember seeing the picture and thinking it was a neat machine. I didn't give it any more thought until about 18 months later, when this appeared on ebay. It looked even better there, so I bought it. It's the only example I've ever seen, but I've never been to France, and for all I know they're as common as cheese over there. I doubt it, but it's possible, and I guess the only way for me to really find out is to go there myself and explore.
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