Grandfather's Basement

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Grandfather's Basement

Postby Some Idiot » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:26 am

My granddad died at the ripe old age of 99 years and 8 months just a few weeks ago. Thanks for your condolences, but what I came here to talk about is the two 1930s Mills slots that have been under a tarp in his basement since before I was born.

The back story is that these machines were in a building that was destroyed by fire some time in the 1940s. My granddad discovered them in the early 50s, in a storage room in a nearby building that he rented retail space from, and when he moved his business from there, he liberated these two machines from captivity.

I'll post images of the machines when I figure out how to do that, but from looking at pictures on the internet, I'm pretty sure that one is called Cherry Burst ¢10 and the other is Mystery Castle ¢5.


I spent about 12 hours over the weekend inside the cherry, cleaning and adjusting the mechanism without the benefit of knowing what the hell I was doing. And I'm happy to say that the machine will now operate at a basic level. That is: I can insert a dime into the slot, pull the lever, dimes traverse the escalator, the reels spin and stop fairly smoothly, and dimes occasionally pay out of the brass tube.

Yes, I am feeling quite pleased with myself over this achievement. :D

The payout mechanism seems to be out of adjustment somehow, because it is usually one dime short of what's posted on the schedule, and probably needs to be stripped down and cleaned. I've not gotten that far into it yet because I don't feel comfortable disassembling it that far without a good manual.

So there's my first question for the forum. Which manual? Amazon has widely varying prices on a couple of manuals that seem to be appropriate. Which one would you recommend? What's a fair price?

The general condition of both machines is far from mint.
-The fire didn't directly touch them, but they got pretty damn hot.
-The oak cases are not scorched and cleaned up pretty well with a damp rag.
-The strips in the reels are legible, but yellowed, and might not be in their correct positions.
-The safety-glass windows are all going to have to be replaced because the heat of the fire cooked the lamination film.
-The paint is in poor condition, especially at the tops of both machines.
-The castle machine is missing one of the reel brakes and has had a few nuts and screws replaced with modern hardware. Probably my granddad had tinkered around with it in the 50s.

My concern is unintentionally devaluing the machines with good intentions. Is the original paint more desirable even though it's in poor condition? Should I comb the Earth for period appropriate square nuts and antique slotted head screws to replace the hardware store, low quality hardware that's been installed? Is there a particular type of replacement glass I should use for the windows, or is matching shape and size enough? Was laminated safety glass used by Mills when they were manufactured?

That's all for now. Thanks very much for your help!
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Re: Grandfather's Basement

Postby Midcoast Vintage » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:41 am

Hi, I have interest in your machines. I am located in the Midwest, near Rockford Illinois. Feel free to contact me with a PM through this site. Or, you can call Ted, at the Roscoe antique mall, We are located in South Beloit Illinois. Thank you
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Re: Grandfather's Basement

Postby Some Idiot » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:56 am

Does your interest in my machines extend so far as to offer helpful advice on the questions I asked in the OP? Evidently not, since none was proffered. Perhaps you are exceptionally polite and demure, wanting me to specifically ask for you to share with me your knowledge of Mills machines, without seeming presumptuous?
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Re: Grandfather's Basement

Postby Midcoast Vintage » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:32 am

Hi,
I can offer help or purchase your machines if you want to sell them. I collect, but also sell Macines out of our antique mall. Give me a call. Ted.
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Re: Grandfather's Basement

Postby Nickelslot » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:19 am

An original unrestored machine is more desirable even if it has "character" like from a fire. Acquire old style hardware and replace with vintage hardware if possible. Go online and buy a Mill manual for your reference in taking apart and assembling. When removing the coin payout slides you MUST keep them in the same order when putting back together. Do not lubricate them at all with anything ever! New dimes are a tad thicker than the old silver dimes so the payouts will probably be off, not a big concern. It would behoove you to post some photos so you will increase the likelihood of additional positive constructive input. Welcome to the forum!
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Re: Grandfather's Basement

Postby radiorich123 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:45 am

HI

Nice find and you can restore them with a little LTC. I can send you glass for the slots for free but you pay for shipping and have to cut the glass to fit.The heat probably made the oil and grease in the machines hard and gummy. You need to clean and lube the moving parts. Good luck.

Rich in New Jersey
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Re: Grandfather's Basement

Postby Some Idiot » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:06 pm

Nickelslot wrote:An original unrestored machine is more desirable even if it has "character" like from a fire. Acquire old style hardware and replace with vintage hardware if possible. Go online and buy a Mill manual for your reference in taking apart and assembling. When removing the coin payout slides you MUST keep them in the same order when putting back together. Do not lubricate them at all with anything ever! New dimes are a tad thicker than the old silver dimes so the payouts will probably be off, not a big concern. It would behoove you to post some photos so you will increase the likelihood of additional positive constructive input. Welcome to the forum!


Thanks for your reply. I'm waiting for Google photos to finish uploading now, so hopefully I can share my pix soon. I've never photo sharing before, so please bear with me.

Do you have any opinion on which Mills manual to buy?
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Re: Grandfather's Basement

Postby Some Idiot » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:10 pm

radiorich123 wrote:HI

Nice find and you can restore them with a little LTC. I can send you glass for the slots for free but you pay for shipping and have to cut the glass to fit.The heat probably made the oil and grease in the machines hard and gummy. You need to clean and lube the moving parts. Good luck.

Rich in New Jersey


Thanks for the offer on the glass. I have a glazing contractor that I've been using for many years. I called him at lunch today and gave him the rough sizes. He laughed and said he said he'll make them from scraps for free. :P
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Re: Grandfather's Basement

Postby Some Idiot » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:28 pm

Cherry Burst

Image
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Re: Grandfather's Basement

Postby Some Idiot » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:31 pm

Doing this from my phone, so not sure if that image posted correctly.
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