Velvet Mint Gum Co., Detroit, MI, c. 1910's, 15". My date on this is an estimate, but I can't imagine it being far off the mark. This is listed as "rare2" in the 2002 Silent Salesmen Too price guide, and Bill Enes says in that book that he's "seen this machine in brass or in a nickel-plated version." The machine above is nickel-plated brass, so I'd guess that Bill saw a nickel-plated brass version and a buffed brass version. This was found with a twin---more on that below---and together they comprise 2 of the only 3 I've ever seen or heard of existing.
This is made of thick nickel-plated brass, with a cast iron mechanism. The glass on the globe is about a foot thick. All in all, it's a pretty substantial machine. For some reason I'd always pegged it as having a pot metal mechanism, which would mean you'd have to be really lucky to find a working example. You still have to be lucky to find one of these, but at least the one you find is likely to work.
The example above is one of two found in an attic in the spring of 2006. The story is here. It's 100% original and works well.
©Small Vintage Vending 2003-2009