Penny King or EHL 4-in-1

Penny King (or EHL), Detroit, MI, c. 1930s, 17 1/2". This looks more like a lunar landing module than a candy machine. I've never thought much about what it's made of, but someone recently told me 'pot metal' and looked surprised that I didn't know. Regardless of what's on the inside, it's chrome-plated on the outside. It's got 4 compartments separated by a middle divider, and it swivels on its stand.

Each compartment has its own mechanism. The last penny 'played' is visible in a window to the right of the turn handle. Put the penny into the coin hole on the left, turn the handle, and the previous penny falls into the machine and the penny you just played moves across the machine to the right and stays until the next penny is played. I don't know why EHL designed it this way, unless they throught it would help prevent slugging.

These machines are around, but really nice ones are tough to find. Ninety percent of those I see have something wrong with them, usually a broken globe. Most of the rest seem to have a missing gate, a cracked casting, a broken mechanism, or something else wrong. I don't know why these are so prone to breakage, but I've become scared as hell of them. The globes aren't reproduced, and a broken globe will knock two-thirds off the price. They're not fragile, but I try to not look too hard at mine in case the machine gets shy about it and decides to implode.

The center divider and stand can be painted different colors. Silver, red, and black are the most common colors I've seen. I prefer the silver, but I've talked to others who eschew silver and want one of the other colors. In addition, I've seen only 3 or maybe 4 with any kind of decal on the globe.

I know of 2 styles of gate. The styles differed only slightly, but when you know what to look for you can see the difference immediately. I prefer the style on the nicer machine, whichever style that happens to be.

The example pictured above is 100% original except for the center divider, which has newer silver paint.



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