Schermack Products Corp., Detroit, MI, 24". This is one of the few machines on this site for which I don't know a year to assign, and that I can't even guess. Silent Salesmen Too doesn't cite a year for it, and it's a timeless design without (as far as I can see) any influence from a specific era. It could be from the 1910's, 1920's, or 1930's.
It was made by Schermack, which made a myriad of models but most of them were much smaller than this. This model is big and heavy and has all of the features a collector could hope for. It has nice graphics, intricate and detailed castings, and great presence. It has a counter, a flap that closes over the coin entry to tell the customer the machine is empty, a porcelain cup, and a wheel that shows the last 6 coins inserted. You can see these features in more detail here and here. The only thing it could have but doesn't is an automaton that turns, tears off your stamp, and then turns back and hands it to you, but that's it.
The machine above is 100% original and has great patina. It showed up at the Spring 2013 Chicagoland show and I was smitten immediately. I'd never seen one before in person, and never paid much attention to the one pictured in Silent Salesmen Too. But the model had been on my mind because during the 4 to 6 weeks preceding the show an example almost identical to this one had been appearing in serial auctions on ebay, with opening bids that can be described kindly as "excessive." When I first saw the picture of the machine in the seller's first attempt to sell it, I thought Wow, is that cool; too bad the opener is outrageous. So imagine my surprise when this appeared on a table at the show and was priced reasonably. At first I thought it was the same machine, but it's not. I bought it and wrestled it out to my car.
A couple of months later I had the chance to discuss this model with the country's foremost collector of stamp machines. By the end of our conservation he knew of 3 existing examples: 1) His, which is pictured on page 271 of Silent Salesmen Too; 2) the one starring in the serial ebay auctions at the time; and 3) the one above. Before our conversation he'd known of 2, and before the other one appeared on ebay he'd known of only one---his. This is a rare machine, a fact also noted by Bill Enes in Silent Salesmen Too: "There are only a couple of examples known of this 24" tall, unique and rare, cast-iron stamp vendor."
Given the rarity of the model, it's interesting to note that all 3 of the known examples differ in some way. The one pictured in Silent Salesmen Too has smooth sides, whereas the sides on the one above and the one on ebay have a dimpled pattern. The one above and the one on ebay look identical but have different styles of hinges. Assuming that very few were made, you'd think that at least 2 of the known examples would be identical, but you'd be wrong.
©Small Vintage Vending 2013