Mills Golf Ball Machine

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Mills Golf Ball Machine

Postby Dave » Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:04 pm

This find was 30 months in the making.

In Jan. of 2015 I was contacted by a lady who had a Mills Golf Ball machine. She wanted some information about it but said her husband was not ready to sell it.

I gave her some information and told her I would be a serious buyer when they were ready to sell. The machine was in Dallas so it was not close for me to just swing by and take a look.

Two weeks ago she contacted me again.

She said they were now ready to sell. She said she had also contacted another dealer after she talked to me but she didn't like his tactics.

My wife and I jumped in the car and drove the 800 miles to Dallas.

We picked the machine up on Friday. Unfortunately, she did not have the key to the back door but did have the two keys to the lower back door. Based on the condition of the cabinet and the condition of the lower guts I still bought the machine. She had sent me pictures (out of focus) of the machine with the back door but it turns out those were taken when she contacted me 2+ years ago. She thought the two keys she had would open up everything. Apparently, one of the keys got lost when they moved a few years ago. I am not an expert on Mills Golf Ball machines. I have only owned one previously but that was for less than a few hours. I bought it at a VCA auction and sold it to someone else later in the day. On all the machines I have seen, this is the only one that I have seen which had a separate locking door on the back for inserting more golf balls.

Her husband was a golf pro and inducted into the Texas Golfer Hall of Fame a few years ago. He said he purchased the machine back in 1968 so they have had it for almost 50 years! They said it used to payout but hasn't for a long time. My fear was that the batteries had leaked and destroyed the golf ball mechanism.

Anyway, we got home last night. I unloaded the machine this morning. I was dreading having to drill out that lock. I have several extra Mills locks in my bucket of parts as well as a bunch of Mills keys. I thought, what the hell, let me try all my existing keys and amazingly enough one of them worked! I was able to open the back door.

Once I opened the back door I was amazed. The condition is incredible. This machine appears to be all original. I wasn't sure if the case of the machine was original or restored but I think it is a really nice all original machine. There were also some Golf Ball tokens. I didn't even know they made tokens for the golf ball machine but these tokens have the golfer that is on the front of the machine on them.

I then pulled out the golf ball vending mechanism. I was really worried that I would find a corroded mess. Nope, in amazing condition with all the cloth wrapped wire still there and in good condition. The batteries were still in the machine (you have to pull the golf ball dispensing mechanism out) and they were still there. Totally dead but not leaking at all! Unbelievable! The batteries were from the 60's so that jives with what they told me.

The golf ball mechanism still has the counter on it and it indicates the machine has dispensed 2,492 golf balls in its lifetime.

I know most of the surviving Mills golf ball machines have been converted to run on 110 but I am tempted to leave this machine on battery. I might use a 3D printer to make a battery tray to protect the golf ball mechanism just in case the batteries leak but modern batteries are much better than batteries from the 30s.
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Re: Mills Golf Ball Machine

Postby Marty » Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:08 pm

Beautiful! Almost like being in sort of time warp event. Congrats! Marty
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Re: Mills Golf Ball Machine

Postby Midcoast Vintage » Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:22 pm

very nice!
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Re: Mills Golf Ball Machine

Postby Dave » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:10 pm

I just did a YT video on this machine. I go into a lot of detail on how the golf ball mechanism works.
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Re: Mills Golf Ball Machine

Postby clubconsoles » Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:41 am

Beautiful cabinet on that machine Dave.
Love the art Deco Extraordinary.
Was expecting the Golfer reel strips as on the mills base ball you have strips that have baseball related items.
Are any golf strips you see pure fantasy/repro then?
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