Northwestern 40

Northwestern Corporation, Morris, IL, c. 1940, 13 1/2". This is very similar to the Northwestern 39 and is made of painted cast iron or porcelainized cast iron. I've seen several original colors of paint, but only red in the porcelainized examples.

Silent Salesmen Too calls this "an economy version of the Model 39" and says that it's made of "pressed steel or porcelain." Bill was wrong on this one. Perhaps it was less expensive, but it's a solid machine with a cast iron base and a pressed steel lid. The body castings on the Model 40 are often rougher than those on other Northwesterns, so perhaps the quality control was "cheaper." In spite of that, the Model 40 is more reliable than the Model 39, so in that sense it was a better machine to have on route (and remember that's what they were made for, not so we could stick them onto a shelf 60 years later).

Bill also said "There are few survivors in good condition," but I've not seen a strong trend toward that. Many have rougher paint that you'd expect, but they're not corroded the way I'd expect them to be based on that comment. In addition, the porcelain examples have survived as well as other porcelain models have, although only about 5% of the Northwestern 40's made were porcelainized.

Northwestern gave a chrome-plated Model 40 to any vendor who ordered 250 or more Model 40's. I don't know how many of these were given out, but I can't imagine that many vendors qualified for that honor. Nowadays the chromed version is very scarce, with only 2 known to the collector who knows most about them. Northwestern must have paid more attention to the quality of the casting on the specific machines they chrome-plated, since a bumpy chrome surface wouldn't confer much honor to its recipient. If you stumble across a chrome example for sale, make sure the chrome is original before you spend more than you would for a stock example.

The easiest way to tell the difference between a Model 39 and a Model 40 is the coin slot; Model 39's have a horizontal insert while Model 40's have a vertical insert flush with the base. The Model 39 base is also indented just below the gate, while the Model 40 base is not.

The examples above are 100% original. The machine on the left is painted, the one on the right is porcelainized. The decal on the porcelain machine is obviously "wrong" for this model, but it's been on that globe for longer than I've been alive. That's right enough for me.

Many thanks to Dan Davids (a.k.a. "Mr. Northwestern") for his critical review and content suggestions.



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