W & T Avery, Ltd. England, c. probably 1930s, 32". I don't know much about this machine, and I'm guessing on the date but I'd be surprised if I were far off. It's British and vends Nelsons Fruitlets for a large English penny. 'Course, I don't know that's the only thing it'll vend, but since there's no window and 'Nelsons Fruitlets' is emblazoned on the front, it'd be dishonest to sell anything else, dontcha think?
I know of only 3 examples of this model: 1) The one pictured above, which was the first one found on this side of the pond; 2) One that I saw listed on ebay by a seller in England in June 2008; and 3) One that appeared at the Chicagoland show about 2011 and was bought by a friend of mine, who subsequently sold it to me in November 2013.
It has a neat mechanism. The penny trips a lever, which turns the vending mechanism. It's a simple design that could be easily slugged, but maybe they didn't know about slugging in England, it being such a prim and proper society and all, at least till the Beatles and Monty Python came along. Oh, and Madonna, who lives there full-time when she's not touting the virtues of specific U.S. presidential candidates and lecturing about morality.
I bought the machine pictured above from a collector named Bill. He was road-tripping through Southern California and stumbled across it in an out-of-the-way rural antique store. I don't mean he actually stumbled across it---I think it was on a shelf or wall---I mean he came across it. Well, I don't mean he actually . . . . never mind. Anyway, he bought it and was the only owner for years, and then I bought it from him in 2002. It's 100% original and is the Nelson's pictured in Silent Salesmen Too, page 19. You can see from the pictures above that it's a bright blue porcelain and not the drab gray shown in Silent Salesmen Too. In fact, the blue is so pretty, and my wife likes blue so much, that she suggested I hang it in our family room. She didn't just agree to it, she suggested it! What a gal!
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