Miles Wrigley's PK Gum

Miles Autostack Co., c. 1920's or 1930's, 21". The date range is a guess, but if I were pressed I'd estimate this to be late 1920's. That's a subjective opinion, but I doubt that it's far off.

This was advertised as the first machine that vended wrapped product in bulk without stacking. It's a wall-mounted vendor with a big aluminum hopper inside, into which the vendor poured his ration of Wrigley's PK gum (at least I assume that's what he poured, based on the tag on the machine's front). The hopper leads to a tube shaped like an ever-narrowing downward spiral, and the gum pieces would theoretically wind their way down and align themselves as they went. Maybe it worked, but I see the potential for a lot of jammed product during this process. Silent Salesmen Too says that the capacity of this machine was 600 pieces, so that's a lot of potential jams between refills.

The body is made of thick cast aluminum, and the rear piece that mounts to the wall is heavy steel. The mechanism is attached to the rear plate, so this is a bear to mount straight without scratching the surrounding wall.

I've seen only 2 of these machines in person. This is the actual machine pictured in Silent Salesmen Too, so in this case I can't even say there's a third machine based on its existence in a picture. I'd bet good money that there are other examples, but if so then I don't know where they are. Regardless of the actual tally, these are very tough to find, and their scarcity suggests strongly that the mechanism may not have worked as smoothly as the designers had hoped.

This example is 100% original except for some inpainting. I don't know how extensive the inpainting is, but based on my inspection and what I know about the history of this particular machine, I'd consider the degree to be minor to moderate.



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