5 c Mills Dewey Upright Slot Machine Copper & Oak - Morphy Auctions. This specific machine and the Mills Novelty Dewey slot machine in general. In the fall of 1899 Mills Novelty of Chicago, IL introduced two 6-way slot machines, one called the Chicago and one the Dewey. Both of these machines allowed the player to bet on 6 different colors, hence the name. Plage casino rabat. An astonishing artifact of Americana, this Dewey-Chicago triplet floor model slot machine is the only one of its kind known to exist today. Created by the Mills Novelty Company of Chicago, this remarkable machine is actually three slot machines in one oak case that play for a nickel, quarter and half-dollar amounts. Dewey Nickel Slot Machine Upright Floor Model by Mills. Features portrait of Spanish American war hero Admiral George Dewey. Has been fully restored approx. Oak case with copper trim. Approx measurements 66' tall x 28 1/2' wide x 17 1/2 deep. The Dewey upright was produced by the Mills Company for 20 years and became the trademark for coin-op machines. This machine is probably of later vintage 'late teens early twenties.' With extra fancy castings featuring lion head legs, owl head handles and decorative ladies and dog heads.
My wife Jenny recently posted a blog about a Mills Deweyupright slot machine that we are restoring.During the restoration process we have ran into a number of interestingdetails about the machine. I thought I would share some of these “finds” aboutthis specific machine and the Mills Novelty Dewey slot machine in general.
|Mills Dewey Upright Glass|
In the fall of 1899 Mills Novelty of Chicago, IL introducedtwo 6-way slot machines, one called the Chicago and one the Dewey. Both ofthese machines allowed the player to bet on 6 different colors, hence the name6-way machine. Mills also made the Owl, a 5-way and the Duplex, a 10-way in thelarge floor standing style as well.
It has been said that Mills intended the Dewey to actuallybe named the Puck. A competing company, Caille-Schiemer named a machine thePuck in 1898. This machine for Caille was a 6-way and turned out to be quite successfulfor them. In the tradition of the industry at that time, Mills was simply goingto copy the name for their new 6-way machine. The name Puck was taken from amagazine called the Puck Weekly, which was a popular humor magazine at thetime.Just as Mills was getting ready to roll their two 6-waymachines out to the market, Admiral George Dewey came back to America inSeptember 1899 as a huge war hero. Capitalizing on his fame Mills decided toname their new machine the Dewey rather than Puck. The admiral’s likeness wouldactually appear on thousands of products during the early 20thCentury. Other slot machine manufactures would also name their own uprightmodels Dewey as well. The Mills Novelty Dewey turned out to be a greatsales success. Initially the Dewey was only available in 5c play but asproduction went on, Mills made everything from 5c to dollars. Mills Noveltymade the Dewey in a large number of variations from 1899 clear into the 1930’s!Brand new Mills Dewey machines could actually be ordered in late 1932.
|MIlls Dewey Inspection Tag|
Green Mills Dewey Upright Slot Machine
One of the rare but special treats with any slot machine isan inspection tag on the inside indicating when it was made. Many times these piecesof paper came off over time or were covered over with dirt and oil. When thismachine came in we were quite excited to see that the original tag is still present.As shown above, the machine wasinspected on April 16th, 1903, making it 109 years old in a few daysfrom writing this blog. The machines serial number of 11004 is also present inmultiple locations including the tag.
Dewey Upright Slot Machine
As mentioned earlier, Mills started offering the Dewey innickel though dollar soon after 1899. This particular machine accepts quarters.Rather than simply putting 25c on the coin head, Mills decided to make theDewey machines that accept quarters a little different. As shown directlyabove, the ornate cast iron coin head had Two Bits cast into it.
|Mills Dewey Coin Head - Two Bits|
Many people today, over 100 years after this machine wasmade, wouldn’t have a clue what Two Bits means or what the two images on thecenter wheel are. (To be honest, it wasn’t that long ago that I wouldn’t haveknown what these various images and phrases were either.) The term Bits, whentalking about money, is a way of saying 1/8 of a dollar – at least in theUnited States it does. Since there isn’t a 1/8 dollar coin many people wouldrefer to a quarter as Two Bits. While it’s not a common term today, it’s wasn’tthat obscure in 1903. As for the images on the wheel, unless you are into horse ridingor equestrian sports, like me, you probably have no idea what they are. First,they are not symbols for some secret organization or part of the Mayan calendarpredicting the end of the word in 2012. What they are is a pair of horse bits.Like a good magic trick, the truth is usually a lot less cool than theimagination initially conceives, unless you are really into horses……
At the turn of the century most people used horses for theirprimary mode of transportation. Like cars today, most people can relate tocommon tools associated with a car. The images of two horse bits and thewording Two Bits on the coin entry of the machine made it obvious to mostpeople in 1903 that this was a quarter slot machine. Today I bet many peoplewould have no clue what kind of coin to put into this machine.Another fantasticfeature we found that I will go into more detail in a later blog posting is thefact this machine had a music box in it. By incorporating music into the machine,it would sometimes skirt gambling laws in parts of the country. The idea was togive the person a catchy song for their quarter, while also happening to begambling at the same time. This put the machine into a gray area in somelocations, allowing it to operate. When we received the machine it had itsmusic box removed, but the details and clues were obvious inside the machinethat one was present originally. We have located an original music box thatwill be re-incorporated into this machine.
Slot machine manufactures were always battling with grayanti-gambling laws in parts of the United States. These musical upright slotmachines were the first to try and complicate those laws. Around 1910 and evena little earlier slot machines started adding gum and candy vender attachments.Rather than installing very expensive music boxes, these candy venders were muchcheaper and did the same trick – confusing the law so the slot machine couldoperate a little longer while lawyers figured it all out.
As we progress further with the detailed restoration we willpost more photos and details. Luckily our restoration and repair business hasbeen so good in 2011 and 2012 that it has been difficult to find time to workon our own machines, but we will keep you updated! – Don Creekmore