Simpson "Big Ball Leebold"

R. D. Simpson Co., Columbus, OH, c. 1923 (probably), 13". This model is not in Silent Salesmen Too, so I had to name it myself. You could tell, couldn't you? It's a variation of the Simpson Famous 1-2-3 (a.k.a. The Leebold), which is in Silent Salesmen Too, but it's different enough to deserve its own name. Like the regular (small ball) Leebold, this model has a cast iron baseplate, base, midsection, and lid. This example is chrome-plated and gives one gumball for a penny.

Here's the story: At the Chicagoland show in April 2011, I walked into my friend Shawn's room and said, "You got time for a quickie?" Ha ha, I'm joking; I didn't say that. Shawn always has time for a quickie, so I never need to ask. But afterward, I noticed that he had the above-pictured Simpson on his desk. The machine was as pictured above, but it had even bigger gumballs in it, like this. They were huge!

I asked if he'd bought it at the show to take home, or brought it from home to sell. He said it was for sale. So I looked at it and said, "This'll never vend these gumballs," to which he smiled---or maybe he smirked---and said "yes it will." Well, Shawn knows his Simpsons, so I looked again but still didn't see it. He then pointed out that the exit hole is larger than those on the normal Simpson Leebold, and said that the holes in the vending wheel are larger, too. This model is made specifically to accomodate much larger-than-normal gumballs, and I'd never seen or heard of one before. I ran a penny through, and after some tugging to get the lever all the way across, I found out that Shawn was kinda right---it did vend a gumball, but in multiple pieces, about 3 big ones in this case, with a lot of crumbs. Now I knew why the lever took so much effort.

Shawn looked at the carnage and said, "They must have warped." Huh? He said, "They used to vend just fine, but it's been a long time since I tried it. The balls used to be round." Welllll, maybe, but I'm pretty sure that Simpson never intended gumballs this big to be put into this machine, and my evidence for that is that the balls don't fit through the space in the hold-down ring. A route guy would've had to take the hold-down ring off just to load the machine on route, and he wouldn't have wanted to do that. I replaced Shawn's balls with my own, which are a little smaller but still pretty big. Mine are actually jawbreakers, not gumballs, but the point remains. The balls pictured in the machine above fit through the hold-down ring and vend well, proving that when it comes to gumballs, size does matter and bigger is not always better.

The example above is 100% original. Shawn has seen only 2 of these machines, this being one of them. He used to be big into Simpson but has since divested himself of almost all of them, and this was the next-to-last one he kept. Now it's gone, and he's down to one. Poor guy. Maybe I should give him his balls back---but I kinda like 'em.



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