Hamilton 3-Way Vendor

Hamilton Enterprises, Inc, Kansas City, MO, c. 1939, 14". This is one of 2 vendors made by Hamilton, both of which use the same globe and decal. I don't know why this is just a generic "3 way vendor" while the other Hamilton gets to claim "Mickey Mouse and His Pals" as its moniker, but there you go. The other was born a year earlier and I guess Disney is like royalty; the first-born inherits the kingdom.

Both are great vendors. This one has smooth green porcelain rather than the fluted black porcelain of the other model, but I love the color on this one. The machine is designed well, built solidly, weighs more than a small boat anchor, and works smoothly every time. It's a quality machine all around.

In spite of that, it'd be just another heavy vendor were it not for the decal, which completely encircles the inside of the globe and is one of the most cherished decals in vending. In fact, the decal accounts for about 80% of the value of this machine, so if you have a machine with no decal or one in poor condition, you probably won't do very well if you sell it. Unfortunately, I can attest to that from experience.

The decal has been reproduced, but even the developer of the reproduction says it's not hard to tell the difference between an original decal and the reproduction. I don't recall ever seeing a reproduction in person, but I've heard from several people that it looks good although it's not a match for the original. If you want to buy a reproduction of this decal, email me and I'll put you in touch with its originator.

This model has a quirk that I've never been able to figure out. Most green Hamiltons I've seen have a dimple in the gate (which by the way also came blank, without the writing shown on the example pictured above). This one has it as well. It's as though someone took a small punch and gave the gate a sharp whack near its middle, driving a small dent into it but doing so without scratching the metal. The first Hamilton 3 way vendor I saw had this feature, and most I've seen since then have it as well. I can't fathom why. Was there an anti-Disney madman in the 1940's or 1950's who traversed the country seeking these machines on routes, but by the time he found them was too weak and malnourished to damage them beyond this single ding? Could this reflect a fraternity hazing gone too far? Or perhaps it was sabotage at the Hamilton factory, caused by a disgruntled packer whose affections were spurned by the boss's daughter? Or, come to think of it, perhaps Warner Brothers was involved. As unlikely as those possibilities sound, I can't come up with better ones.

The example above is 100% original. The decal is very good but has some wear to the edges that prevents it from being perfect. I'm happy with it, though. The rest of the machine is nearly perfect, although I wish that damn dimple would disappear.



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