Northwestern 33 Junior

(Click on image to enlarge it)

Northwestern Corporation, Morris, IL, c. 1933, 12 1/2". The 33 Junior is another member of the Northwestern 33 line, if you can call three models a "line." They're tall, small-footprint machines with an octagonal base, lid, and globe. The aluminum mechanism is the same as that on the Northwestern 33 Peanut, except that it's octagonal instead of round. It's a bulk vendor that can dispense gumballs if they're the right size, but works better with peanuts or candy. The model was available with 2 sizes of globe, which were identical except that one was 2" shorter then the other. You can see examples of both in the pictures above.

The earliest versions of the 33 Junior didn't have a hold down ring; instead, they had a second rod about halfway between the center rod and the front of the mechanism that attached to the top plate of the mechanism and connected to a clip that hooked over the front top rim of the globe. The painted cast iron machine on the left is an example of this early version. Many later mechanisms have an untapped vestige of this attachment point, which appears as a small useless nipple on the top surface of the mechanism.

Like the other Northwestern 33's, this was available in a variety of colors. From most common to least common, in descending order, the finishes are as follows:

When I first wrote this page around 2006, I included the following sentence: "So far only one example of the red porcelain and one of the tan porcelain are known to still exist." Since then some red examples have come out of the woodwork, so now (in December 2015) seven are known to Mr. Northwestern, who keeps track of this. I bought the (previously unknown) seventh one, thinking it was the third until he set me straight. Why did I think third instead of second?---because the seller knew of one that had sold on ebay 6 months prior which I hadn't seen, and he pointed me to it. It's still a rare color, but is not as unobtainable as once thought. It's a bit strange that red is rare for the 33 Junior, since it was so common on Northwestern's 33 Peanut and 33 Ball Gum, as well as on the later Model 39. The tan machine pictured above is the second tan example to have appeared, and is still one of only 2 known.

Really nice 33 Juniors don't often come up for sale. I'd wanted one for years and they eluded me. The green porcelain machine above is only the second all-original 33 Junior I had the chance to buy, which doesn't indicate rarity as much as lack of luck on my part. What I'd really wanted was a white one, but I decided to get the green as a placeholder until I could get a white one, and then sell the green one. I revised my plan when the green one arrived and was perfect! I finally got a white one in June 2005 thanks to eBay, and kept both for awhile until I sold them in 2012 or 2013 to help defray college tuition expenses.

The 33 Junior has a couple of differences from other Northwestern 33's that I found intriguing when I first got one. First of all, the center rod that runs from the baseplate to the top lock is very thin, but goes through a hollow metal tube so you can't see the rod until you take a machine apart. Secondly, the lock is different. The outside diameter is smaller and the bore is much smaller, which makes sense once you know the center rod is so thin. Thirdly, the globe on porcelain versions has a thin tin sleeve that covers the top rim but serves no useful purpose that I can discern. Lastly, the hold-down ring on the porcelain versions has tiny nipples that fit into the angles in the globe. I doubt this is necessary, but I haven't tested that theory. Maybe Northwestern did and that's what they're there. Needed or not, once the hold-down ring is clamped down it's not going anywhere unless the globe breaks first. You can see most of these differences here.

The porcelain examples above are 100% original except for maybe the decal on the tan example; it's old-ish, but may not be original to the globe. The cast iron machine on the left was probably repainted at some point---although I was never 100% sure about that---and has a new decal. I no longer own all of these machines.



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