A rookie's questions: comparing two Lion's Heads

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Re: A rookie's questions: comparing two Lion's Heads

Postby nvmos2 » Mon May 11, 2015 8:51 am

Note that the above two posts reinforce my previous post;
Freddy's ad repeats the ad posted by Yourbestbet (only with a better quality photo);
it shows the "standard"/common version of the Lion's head shown in advertising when the model first came out.
There were a lot of variations in the features described in the ad;
not all Lion's Heads had the visible reserve; some were vender and skill models; some had mystery payout;
and one of the most notable variations;
not all had the Silent mechanism; Mills used the Lion Head to use up old pre-silent mechanisms starting in 1932 (according to Bueschel).

The award card offered for sale is the common Lion Head regular pay;
obviously, the mystery payout required a different card that may or may not have words versus symbols.
Based upon the number of machines that have been found with it,
I maintain that Mills used the symbol award card on some Lion Heads even for a regular pay machine.
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Re: A rookie's questions: comparing two Lion's Heads

Postby Midcoast Vintage » Mon May 11, 2015 2:05 pm

The machine originally came as a single jackpot.
The double / reserve jackpot was the later version.
Machine was also available in 1 cent / penny play.
It was also available with a side vendor.
Another reason for the award cards to have been switched to fruit symbols was, at the time this machine was current, many people still could not read. They could understand the pictures, but, actual reading of text was beyond the comprehension of a lot of people in the early 30's. The depression was a tough era, and many children were yanked out of school to work and help support the family so they could eat.
Below is a photo of the single jackpot version.
To the best of my knowledge, the single jackpot version HAS NOT been reproduced.
The below is from Tom Gustwiller's book REEL AMUSEMENT".
CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO ENLARGE.
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Re: A rookie's questions: comparing two Lion's Heads

Postby nvmos2 » Mon May 11, 2015 3:09 pm

Midcoast;

Very interesting point you make about symbols being better for the low literacy level;
I don't know if we've progresses so far; the fast food industry instituted pictures on their menu boards for pretty much the same reason;
additionally, it also makes for a quicker decision for those who can read.

When this thread peaked my interest, I looked thru some ads from the old days;
I never saw any Lion Heads for sale in penny play.
I did see one in 50 cent play, but did not mention that earlier since it was not a Mills ad, but rather a used machine sale by a distributor
and there's no way of knowing if the machine had been monkeyed with.
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Re: A rookie's questions: comparing two Lion's Heads

Postby nvmos2 » Mon May 11, 2015 4:44 pm

Just noticed a discrepancy in dates;

Contemporary ads show the 2 jackpot windows in 1931; e.g. Freddy's ad posted above;
but the page from Tom's book says that they didn't switch from single jackpot to two visible jackpots until 1933;
the ads indicate an error in the book.
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Re: A rookie's questions: comparing two Lion's Heads

Postby Midcoast Vintage » Mon May 11, 2015 5:21 pm

Interesting.
Freddy's date of 1931 from the SPINNING REELS book would definitely be correct.
Since the silent escalator style machine (war eagle) also came out in 1931, and it had the standard reserve jackpot system, it makes sense that the reserve jackpot lion would be available at the same time.
So.... i guess we need to hear from some lion front owners of both versions to get some serial numbers and possibly shed some light on this.
I have misplace my Bueschel's slots volume one, which may or may not shed some light on this.
If anyone out there has their copy handy, let us know if Dick answered our question in that first volume.
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Re: A rookie's questions: comparing two Lion's Heads

Postby flipper77 » Tue May 12, 2015 6:08 am

Here is a picture of a gorgeous early single jp Wolf's Head. Not mine but a good friend's machine.

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Re: A rookie's questions: comparing two Lion's Heads

Postby SLOT DYNASTY » Thu May 14, 2015 3:12 am

Midcoast Vintage wrote:Interesting.
Freddy's date of 1931 from the SPINNING REELS book would definitely be correct.
Since the silent escalator style machine (war eagle) also came out in 1931, and it had the standard reserve jackpot system, it makes sense that the reserve jackpot lion would be available at the same time.
So.... i guess we need to hear from some lion front owners of both versions to get some serial numbers and possibly shed some light on this.
I have misplace my Bueschel's slots volume one, which may or may not shed some light on this.
If anyone out there has their copy handy, let us know if Dick answered our question in that first volume.


Just when I didn't need another research project, all this had to pop up. This ought to confuse us all even more. #-o
I am not as familiar with the "Lion Head" models, as I am with others, as I have owned only a couple, (which I no longer have), and worked on a few others.
I had both a single, and a double JP, but never compared the two, other than the difference in the lower front casting. I personally like the looks of the
single JP model, because of the way the open mouth clinches the JP, unlike the confusing look of the twin JP. Another thing that is not present on most of
these models, are the skill stops, even though all upper castings have the stubs for them.
I agree that the Spinning Reels issue of 1931, that Freddy posted, should be the correct info, regarding the introduction of the 'Silent' series, with the new
features, but I don't understand the notation of "Two Payout Cups". I don't ever remember seeing one with a single cup. Does anyone have one with a single
cup? The listings for this machine, that are in our collector books seem to date it as beginning in 1931, but clearly the list that I am showing below, from
Bueschel's "100 Most Slots Vol.3, shows serials between the 1928 & 1929 period. It shows the 'Rebuilt Gooseneck' models listed first, going into the 275,000
serials, but showing no Silent GN listed until after 1932. Then more Rebuilt GN in between the last Silent's. The biggest area of confusion here, is the vast
scattering of the single & double JP. You can also see that most of the "Lion Head" serials listed, are in the 1932 to 1933 range, and even into the 1935-36
period. I only listed a couple of "Poinsettia" & "War Eagle" machines, just for reference of where they fit in with the early serials. Only two of the "Lion's"
had a 1932 date. Not sure if the provider of the serial # also had a date sticker inside the case, or that Dick put them there as a guess from serials that
were given for other models. The 1933 & 1935 dates were placed in the list, as there were many other different model dated machines between the "Lion's".
Bueschel talks about the new Silent "Lion", which Mills called the "Silent Gooseneck" at it's introduction in 1931, in 100 Most Slots Vol.1, on page 59. Saying
that Mills wanted to call it the "Lion Head", but that operators quickly tagged it as "Tiger Front", "Wolf's Head", and "Lion Gooseneck". Where the hell Tiger
and Wolf came from, is beyond me, as the design does NOT look anything like either. The pattern is definitely LION, and nothing else. I believe the WOLF
monicker was placed on it by collectors referring to the Reproductions that began to flood the market in the early 1980's, by a person who's last name was
Wolf. All you newbies, please be aware that there are a very large number of Repro "Lion Heads" in existence, and all are the twin JP model. They are still
showing up in live auctions, on a regular basis, as well as eBay. Always ask for a serial number, and make sure it is in the correct range. I am not aware of
numbers being stamped on the Repro's, as I never bothered to check them in the past. Maybe another member can shed some light on this.

Mills “Lion Head” Serial Number History
(Taken from Bueschel 100 Most Slots 3 of 1981)


215,167--- 5c Poinsettia ----------------------(12/12/1928)
215,317-- 10c Lion Head 2JP Rebuilt Gooseneck
215,999--- 5c ---- // ---- 2JP ---------- // ----------
216,521--- 5c Poinsettia ------------------------------(1929)
221,912--- ??? Lion Head 2JP ---------- // ----------
222,831--- 5c ---- // ---- 2JP ---------- // ---------- (1932)
223,458--- 5c War Eagle 2JP
226,151--- 5c ---- // ---- 2JP
228,622-- 25c Lion Head 2JP ---------- // ----------
234,109--- 5c ---- // ---- 2JP ---------- // ---------- (1932)
247,582--- 5c ---- // ---- 2JP ---------- // ----------
251,471--- 5c ---- // ---- 2JP ---------- // ----------
253,635--- 5c ---- // ---- 2JP ---------- // ----------
274,887--- 5c ---- // ---- 1JP ---------- // ----------
275,562-- 10c ---- // ---- 2JP Silent Gooseneck
287,365--- 5c ---- // ---- 2JP --------- // ---------
287,582--- 5c ---- // ---- 2JP --------- // ---------
289,117--- 5c ---- // ---- 2JP --------- // ---------
294,686--- 5c ---- // ---- 1JP Rebuilt Gooseneck
301,728--- 5c ---- // ---- 1JP ---------- // ----------
302,195-- 25c ---- // ---- 2JP Silent Gooseneck
303,679-- 10c ---- // ---- 1JP --------- // ---------
---------------------------------------------------------(1933)
347,308--- 5c ---- // ---- 2JP --------- // ---------
---------------------------------------------------------(1935)
369,701--- 5c ---- // ---- 2JP --------- // ---------
370,099-- 25c ---- // ---- 2JP --------- // ---------
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Re: A rookie's questions: comparing two Lion's Heads

Postby YourBestBet » Thu May 14, 2015 5:13 am

Very helpful Slot Dynasty. Thanks!
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Re: A rookie's questions: comparing two Lion's Heads

Postby flipper77 » Thu May 14, 2015 6:20 am

The serial on the single JP pictured is in the 275,xxx range. Just FYI. It is a quarter machine.

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Re: A rookie's questions: comparing two Lion's Heads

Postby JPCass » Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:15 pm

nvmos2 wrote:Midcoast;

Very interesting point you make about symbols being better for the low literacy level;
I don't know if we've progresses so far; the fast food industry instituted pictures on their menu boards for pretty much the same reason;
additionally, it also makes for a quicker decision for those who can read.

When this thread peaked my interest, I looked thru some ads from the old days;
I never saw any Lion Heads for sale in penny play.
I did see one in 50 cent play, but did not mention that earlier since it was not a Mills ad, but rather a used machine sale by a distributor
and there's no way of knowing if the machine had been monkeyed with.

As something of a historian and even a contrarian, I'm going to note that we've made vast progress in literacy since the supposed "good old days", if you look at the statistics, a hundred years ago literacy rates were in the ballpark of 50%, and now they are well into the 90s. Even before the Great Depression, it was common for children to only go to school through about fourth grade, and then go to work - or be put to work.

Picture-based machines also would have been useful in the large Eastern and Southern European ethnic immigrant communities of the "good old days", where many people still largely only spoke or understood the language of the "old country" - and quite likely might not have been able to read or write that, either, much less English.
Restored Mills 5c Extraordinary "barn find", long gone - now restoring 1934 5c Extraordinary Gold Award with original World's Fair reel strips
Restoring early Mills 5c Firebird (large coin view window)
About to take on a Mills 5c Vest Pocket
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