H. E. Winters Match Machine

H. E. Winters Specialty Co., Davenport, IA, c. 1916, 16 1/2". This 2-column vendor is very similar to the Griswold Match Machine, but is a little bigger and has sides made of metal rather than glass. You can see a side-by-side comparison here.

This is not shown in Silent Salesmen Too, which I didn't realize until I had a lead on this machine and looked there to get some information. I thumbed through the match machine section 3 or 4 times before I finally accepted that it wasn't there---I was sure it was there and would've bet Big Bucks on it had someone been here to take my bet. Good thing for me that I was alone.

The distinctive feature of this model is the "MATCHES" scripted with matchstick on the sides. I think that is so cool, and this is the only model I know of that has that. Other than that it's a conventional---albeit stately---2-column, white porcelain-and-painted vendor that's like many others.

I wasn't aware of another H. E. Winters machine except for maybe the Winters Minimax Ball Gum, so I checked Silent Salesmen Too to see if they made others. Man, was I surprised. They were indeed responsible for the Winters Minimax Ball Gum machine---only one of which is known to exist and it's pictured on the rear cover of Silent Salesmen Too---but they also had White Vending Co. make a private-labeled Lion Vendor for them, and had Wagner Mfg. Co. make the Red Star for them. These guys weren't pikers! Their lowest-end and most common model by far appears to be the one pictured above, and it's a nice one.

This history suggests that H. E. Winters was a jobber that didn't make anything themselves, but instead contracted other manufacturers to produce things in their name. That was not uncommon, and many of the machines we associate with one company were made by another. Examples of this are Ad-Lee's E-Z, World's Best Machine, and Model D, all of which were made by Columbus. Given the similarity between the H. E. Winters and Griswold match machines, it wouldn't surprise me to someday learn that Griswold made the H. E. Winters.

The example pictured above is 100% original.

Update: March 2012. I received an email from Steve Hardy, the great-grandson of Theodore W. Briegel, who founded Briegel Method Tool Company of Galva, IL. Steve said that a long time before Mr. Briegel founded that company, he was hired by H. E. Winter to design a vending machine case---you guessed it, the one above! Steve has a copy of the design patent hanging on his wall, which indicates that the patent was filed on June 16, 1916, and approved on September 5, 1916. The patent description says only that it's for a vending machine, and doesn't give any indication of how big it is or what it sells.

Mr. Briegel also invented a stamp machine, the patent for which was granted in 1915 and was originally assigned to the Midland Supply Co. Can anyone tell which machine this patent describes?



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