Mills Owl

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Mills Owl

Postby flipper77 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:04 am

Have had many three reelers over the 35 years that I have collected but always thought about adding one upright. Finally found a reasonably priced unrestored Mills Owl that plays easy and smooth. The all wood cabinet and even the bell that rings on any payout just appealed to me. Even my wife likes this one and agreed we could put it in the living room! We are all fortunate to have such a fun rewarding hobby. Flip.
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Re: Mills Owl

Postby leospanner » Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:47 am

Wow, it's beautiful. My dream is to have something like that in my home one day. We have such a great hobby.
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Re: Mills Owl

Postby SLOT DYNASTY » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:32 pm

Hi Flip:
Very nice original "Owl". And with the parts order sheet still intact, to boot. The "Owl" was Mills introduction into the Upright machines, and was one
of the most produced, beside the "Dewey". Yours is a fairly early model, just when they were going into the transition of the smooth coin head. There
were so many wood gingerbread, and casting changes over the years, that I still may not have seen them all. I restored one of the latest "Owls" I had
ever seen, for a local collector, many years ago. A very 'plain-jane' case, with hardly any trim, and all the castings were mounted from the outside, with
wood screws, rather than the standard inside mount, with machine screws. It didn't look too bad after the restoration, but still on the 'Blah' side. All of
the "Owl" & "Judge" models, are still in the most reasonable price range of any Upright. At one time, you could get a decent one, in the $3,000 to $3,500
range, and on todays market they are about double that. Then there are the "Jockey" and "On The Square" models, in the same size case, that are in the
'out-of-site' price category. I would like to get the serial number from your "Owl", to add to my files, and will also give me an idea of production timeline.
Very few had the number stamped on the outside, upper side panels & door, but all had the numbers stenciled in black, on the wood panel that the mech.
is attached to, and many times on the inside back panel. Check all numbers. If they are different, it would mean that someone switched units at one time.
The "Dewey" & "Chicago" were the next step-up in price, and also had many trim changes. Even the musical models had three different casting versions.
One of the biggest nightmares to work on, is the "20th Century". They have a much more complex mechanism, and notorious for having the same problem
in most I have worked on. The worst item to work on, is the heavy, wide, flat-wound spring, that is enclosed in a housing, which has a tendency to break,
due to deterioration, and non-proper lubrication over the years. Much care has to be done with removal from the housing, as it can un-coil rapidly, and
cut-the-hell out of ones-self, as it flies apart. Re-installation is just as tedious. I have only found one spring manufacturer that has this size and thickness
of flat spring, and it's a bit pricey, because of being a special order, in very small quantity.
Good luck with your "Owl". You should have many years of pleasure, as they are generally a smooth running machine, when lubed properly.
Bill
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Re: Mills Owl

Postby flipper77 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:09 pm

Afternoon, Bill,
Always appreciate your informative posts! The serial on the Owl is 4349 and is on both the inside back panel and on the mech wood panel. Must say, the first time I rolled the mech out of the side door, I was unnerved. This mech and it's operation is little like a three reeler - out of the cabinet, you have to put the handle on and play it to understand the counter balance weights and all.

Flip
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Re: Mills Owl

Postby marsonion » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:47 pm

WOW-- Flip, that's marvelous! =D>
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Re: Mills Owl

Postby Midcoast Vintage » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:20 pm

Very Nice!!
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