Simpson Aristocrat

R. D. Simpson Co., Columbus, OH, c. 1935, 13". The design of this machine is much like that of other Simpson models such as the Well Here We Are and the Simpson Vendor. The gate is different---hinged on the bottom instead of the top, so it opens downward---but that's the only real difference other than the shape of the base. Silent Salesmen Too says "it was made of cast iron and brass and plated in chromium," but I say it was made of cast iron or brass and was plated in chromium or nickel. I've had examples of each and as long as the finish is good, there's no way to know the difference between a cast iron machine and a brass machine without a magnet. Nickel-plated examples are earlier and less common than chrome examples, and in my opinion are "softer" looking and nicer.

Silent Salesmen Too also says that "two sizes of globes were available," and that "it could dispense items without crushing according to the ads." The Aristocrats I've seen have all had a small globe. I can imagine the large globe on this model and it doesn't look as good, but if you come across one you'll know it's correct. Regarding the noncrushability claim, the bottom of the product comparment does seem to be designed to funnel product gently to the hole in the vending wheel, but I checked a couple of Simpson Vendors and found no discernable difference in this design aspect except for the shape of the opening in the vending wheel, which I don't think would affect crushing. So it seems to me that the ads may be accurate, but the same claim could also be made for the Simpson Vendor and perhaps other Simpson bulk vendors.

This model isn't rare, but I don't see many around in good condition. I never paid much attention to this model until I saw one in person, and then I liked it a lot. It was smaller than I'd expected it to be, and cuter. That, along with other machines that've provoked an unexpected reaction when I finally saw one live, has shown me that you can't always judge a machine by its picture.

The examples above are 100% original. The one on the left is a typical Aristocrat made of nickel-plated cast iron. The one on the right is made of brass and except for 2 remaining specks of nickel or chrome on the gate, the plating has worn completely off or been deliberately removed, leaving a brass machine with a luxurious patina that's softer and more attractive than that on most of the complete original examples I've seen. Two collectors experienced with Simpsons have told me they've never seen another example made of brass, but I'd bet they're wrong. I can't tell brass Simpsons from cast iron Simpsons without a magnet, which I don't normally carry, so it's entirely possible---probable, even---that brass Simpsons are more common than we think they are. We just assume that an Aristocrat, Well Here We Are, or Simpson Vendor is cast iron until proven otherwise, but we hardly ever test them to provide that contrary proof.

Many thanks to Shawn Flock for his critical review and content suggestions.



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