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Here's what's happening today to the world of coin operated machines. Periodically, we'll post short articles on coin machine trends and intriguing new products. You will be amazed at the extent to which today's coin machine operators mimic the past.. You may even get ideas on what to buy for your gameroom. Remember, today's new products will become tomorrow's collectibles? The newest articles are on top.


"Smart" Vending Machines

Soon your local vending machine may become as smart as your cell phone.

You'll even be able to pay with your phone. There are already close to a million smart vending machines in the market.

A "networked" vending machine will be able to keep track of its inventory so it'll never be empty.

Some "networked" machines can even diagnose themselves and tell the service staff what needs to be fixed or replaced before they come out.

The bad news about all this technology is that vending companies can change prices immediately on all their machines. Now it can take six month for them to get to each machine.

They can even raise the price for one day (for a special event) and then lower them again the next day.

The good news is that these new machine are expensive which mean it will take a decade or more for them to be widespread.


Jukeboxes To Talk to You

Yes, believe it or not, one of the new jukebox features we will be seeing in a jukebox that talks to us.

The Jukebox Advertising Company is working with jukebox manufactureres to add a feature that will allow operators to program their jukeboxes to make announcements. These announcements can be paid advertisement or establishment-specific announcements and would play inbetween the songs.


Coin Machine Arcades Come Back to Times Square

Over the last few years we have heard alot about how Times Square in NYC is changing iwth the opening of a ESPN Zone, ABC's Good Morning America Studio, Disney and other upscale establishments.

The new Arcade, called Broadway City Arcade, features a larger than life two store Wurlitzer 1015 Bubbler at its entrance. It is three story 20,000 square feet emporium of all of today's latest games.


Denny's to Get Unique Bubbler

The Denny restaurant chain is redecorating all of its restaurants into a 1950 theme. A Bubbler jukebox will be featured at each location.

The Bubblers will be Ebony Black shinny jukeboxes instead of the more traditional brown mahogany finishes.


Sega Introduces the Harley Davidson Pinball

Everyone seems to love Harley Davidson Motorcycles.

First Rockola introduced two Harley Davidson jukeboxes, a nostalgic model and a contemporary model.

Now, Sega is introducing a Harley Davidson Pinball. The game will feature Rock'n Roll music, a speedometer ramp that measures the speed of the ball, and a wheelie feature.


Collecting at T.G.I.Friday's

It has now been revealed.

According to Fortune magazine, all the great stuff you see the Friday's restaurant chain comes from a big warehouse in Nashville TN. Each restaurant contains 200-400 items. They have been doing it since 1965 and now have it down to a science.

There is even a Friday's corporate employee who specializes in arranging the collectibles so that they look informal. While no two restaurants have exactly the same mix of collectibles, they all have a airplane propeller and a racing scull over the bar.

Friday's is a big buyer. They open over 60 restaurants a year. All the items are original, except for the photographs. They like, you and I, have to hunt down their collectibles. Now that sounds like a fun business.


The New Penny Arcades

Today, penny arcades are called LBEs, Location Based Entertainment Centers. (I like the sound of Penny Arcade better)

LBEs are massive adult entertainment centers, the most famous being the ESPN Zone, Disney Quest, Sega's Gameworks, and Dave & Busters.

These Centers include all the latest coin-op games, virtual reality games, sports cafes, hundreds of television screens and more. They are designed to fill all your entertainment needs for the day.

LBEs are currently in (or coming soon) to the Baltimore Harborplace, New York's Times Square, Chicago, New Orleans, Seattle, Las Vegas, Ontario CA, Grapevine TX, Tempe AZ, Detroit, Miami, West Nyact NY, Columbus OH and even a couple of locations in England. There are many more, so there is or will likely be, one near you.


Parking Meters Keep Changing

Parking meters go back to 1935. The first one appeared in Oklahoma City.

Today parking meters bring in more than $1 billion in revenue. In order to prevent theft, parking meters are now being outfitted with a wireless telephone devices. These devices transmits how much money is being inserted, when the meter needs to be emptied, and most of important if it is being tampered with. If stolen, the transmitter reveals its location.

These high tech parking meters are a far cry from the early mechanical parking meters. Many of these early meters are now becoming collectible.


3-D Images without Special Eyeglasses

The California Laser Company has introduced the next generation of video projection technology: a breakthrough system that projects moving three-dimensional images in mid-air that are viewable to the naked eye under normal indoor lighting conditions.

CLC's new VIP-103 can project virtually any type of image from either SVHS or DVD video sources, along with stereo audio. Viewed from a distance of several feet, images up to 14 x 14 inches appear suspended in mid-air in front of the screen, creating a hologram-like effect. According to the firm, it is among the world's first video projection systems to produce true 3-D images without requiring viewers to wear stereoscopic glasses.

Just imagine the neat pinball, arcade and video games that will soon be available.


Pinball 2000

Williams Electronics Games introduces a new concept in pinball games. It's called Pinball 2000.

It combines the best features of the mechanical flipper pinball with today's computer and video technology.

The computer projects images onto the playfield creating virtual elements which interact with the ball as you are playing. The first Pinball 2000 is "Revenge from Mars."

Pinball 2000 is modular so that the game motif can be easily changed by changing the back glass, the playfield, decals and game ROMS and software.

The first place you can play a Pinball 2000 machine is at the Coney Island Amusement Arcade in the New York, New York hotel in Las Vegas.


Brand New Virtuoso Violin

No, it's not "New-Old Stock" . . Wouldn't that be great?

The QRS Music Company recently introduced a $10,000 Virtuoso Violin, a self-playing fiddle. The cost is only $10,000. Along with the fiddle, you can buy the QRS Pianomation system, which utilizes CDs to replicate the performances of master performers.

A twelve instrument Nickeleon sells for $18,000 and a player piano sells for $6,000

QRS is located in Buffalo NY.


A Satellite Jukebox

It's here, a jukebox without records or CD that plays songs and video.

It's the new Seeburg Millennium holds up to 5,000 songs and videos that are downlaoded by satellite to your jukebox system. If you want to change your song selection, just download some more.

No more title strips to change. When you download new songs, the title list changes automatically.

The Millennium features a TV monitor or LCD screen to view videos if the artist recorded one. Even the wallboxes have an LCD screen.

When Seeburg introduces new jukebox features, you don't have to buy a new jukebox, you just download the new software.

What will jukebox enthusiats collect in the 21st century? If you want restore your own jukebox, you'll have to be a computer expert.


Ford Gum Machine Company is Alive and Well

Yes, the Ford Gum & Machine Company is still alive. You'll remember that Ford Gumball machines were extensively used by charities to sell gum. That's why we see so many antique Ford Gumball machines.

Now it seems that we may be seeing alot more Ford machines in the future. Ford just announced that it will sell gum with vitamin supplements, oral hygiene ingredients, weight loss products, anti-smoking agents, and motion sickness products.


New Photo Booth Introduced

We all know the photobooths of years ago. Here's a new.

The new photobooth, called Web Pix, takes a digital picture. The customer gets a copy and another copy is placed on the http://www.photopod.com web site.

Friends and relative and then view the photo from their home computers.


The Future of Video Game Networking is Here

After four years in development, the WaveNet is ready to take you into the next dimension of arcade video gaming. WaveNet is a highly advanced data communication network that connects video games in different arcade locations and allows players in different cities to compete head-to-head in real-time. Currently WaveNet is being tested in arcades near the San Francisco bay area, and the Los Angles metropolitan area. For more information, visit http://www.rushrock.com


Gumballs Go Religous: Part 1

Did you know that you can purchase a "Bible Gum" Machine. It's is regular gumball machine that vends capsules that contain a little folded cartons, probably the smallest of its kind for any product, containing two tabs of chewing gum . Printed on the inside of the carton is a complete, referenced verse from the King James version of the Bible. When the carton is unfolded, the verse is revealed, for the privilege of the holder. For more information, call Life Lines on 907-235-6524 or visiti http://www.xyz/~biblegum/home2.html


Gumballs Go Religious: Part 2

The Concord Confectious Company has announced that it plans to distribute "kosher" gumballs.

Apparently there are 7.5 million consumers who buy kosher products.


Gumball Machine to Accept Dollar Bills

The Toy n' Joy Vending Company is beginning to outfit its vending machines with dollar bill acceptors.

The acceptor, called Mr. Bill, is attached to the side of the vending machine. Its goal is to allow people to buy a gumball even if they don't have the correct change. It will also allow items to be sold that cost anything from five cents to $99.95. (That's an expensive gumball)


Now, a 1015 Gumball Machine

That's right, everyone is getting on the 1015 bandwagon.

There is a new gumball machine that looks like a 1015 jukebox. It has a wood grained type cabinet, rope lighting, and you even hear a rock'n roll song when you deposit your coin.

There is even a gambling feature that randomly gives you one to five gumballs.

The 1015 is 20" high, to fit on countertops or stands.


Pinballs on Free Play

In Baltimore's historic Federal Hill neighborhood pinball and video games can be played for free (almost).

A new Pastime Entertainment Center is opening in an old movie theater, complete with batting cages, pool tables, pinballs, and video games. All the machines will be placed on free play. A single admission price ($7 for adults, $5 for children) will give you unlimited play times.

It's a new trend, that is reminiscent of the old time penny arcades that generated lots of business a penny at a time. The one admission centers have several advantages. They can provide variety by using older machines rather than high priced new machines and they avoid vending machine taxes. If they succeed, manufacturers may not need to put coin slots on their machines. What would we collect then?


New From Japan

There are 15,000 pachinko gambling arcades in Japan. After years of rapid growth, bankruptcies are now forcing many arcades to close. Apparently, as a result pachinko makers are looking for ways to make their games more appealing.

Coming to their rescue is Sega, the video game giant. Sega is teaming with a pachinko maker to build a machine that takes the best features of the pachinko and the video game and combines them into something unique and new.

As a result, Pachinkos are a good buy right now, as Japanese arcades sell off their old models to make room for the more sophisticated newer models.


Mani Mania Auto Racing Game

The lastest in coin operated games is a racing stimmular where four players actually get into 4 small racing cars and race each other on an interactive 120 inch screen that is positioned in the front of their windshild.

The cars shake and sway, just like real racing cars. Stereo speakers inside the cars add to the realistic effect.

Remember when steering a minature car on a rotating drum was considered neat. How far we have come.


Penny Press in a 1015 Jukebox Cabinet

We've all seen those coin operated machines that you put a penny in, turn the cranks, and out comes a penny with an engraving on it.

Well, here's a new twist. A company has just introduced a penny press machine that looks like a 1015 Jukebox.

The company, Uncommon Cents, custom builds cabinets around their penny press machine.


Coney Island Comes to Las Vegas

The Coney Island Emporium recently opened in the Las Vegas Hotel, New York, New York. It is the first 24 hour arcade parlor in Las Vegas.

The Emporium has all the sights, sounds and tastes for Coney Island in the 1920s - 1940s period. Like all arcades, it's full of coin operated machines.


Real Life Coin Operated Horse Racing

A new coin operated arcade game, called Final Furlong, lets you feel like a jockey.

You climb on a horse, along with 2 or more other jockeys. You use a rocking motion to encourage your horse down the straight-way. Press your whip button to gain maximum speed. Use the reins to avoid the rail and other horses as it will slow your horse down.

You must pace your horse based on the horses' abilbities. Otherwise, the horse will lose stamina before it reaches the finish line.

A screen in front of the horse lets you see the track and the other horses in front of you. To add additional realism, the races are broadcast "live".


Coin Operated Height Machine for Babies

We are all familiar with coin operated scales. Here's a an interesting twist.

A new coin operated machine, called Luna Baby Scale, features an electronic height system placed in a soft and easily washable cradle. It also provides the baby's weight. The printouts come in 5 languages.


Juke Box Diagnoses Itself from Afar

The latest feature is a jukebox that talks to its owners over the phone lines.

Its electronic circuits record number of plays, cash on hand, internal problems, and other operating characteristics and then sends them via modem to the operator. Jukebox route operator know instantly whether they have to make a service call.


Wal-Mart to feature 50s diners and Jukeboxes

Wal-Mart Department Stores plan to open "Radio Grill Diners" in about half of its stores. The diners will feature a 1950s - 1970s decor and feature a Wurlitzer jukebox with music from that era.

Wal-Mart's decision to open these diners indicates that he public's interest in the 1950s/60s remains strong. This is good news to all those of us to enjoy collecting items from this period. For more information, visit: http://www.wurlitzer-jukebox.com/news-walmart.html


Holiday Inn to Showcase Coin Machines

The Holiday Inn Hotel chain announced that it will be opening "e-space" coin operated machine centers in many of their hotels.

These modern arcades will be spacious colorful additions to the hotels and indicates a new respectiblility for the coin machines.


Cigar Vending Machines
Are Making A Comback

Coin machine collectors know that in the early days (around the turn of the century) cigar vending machine were popular. They were counter display units that the attendant filled every day to assure that the cigars were fresh. People would insert a coin, select a cigar from the cigar box with a spear-type of device and deposit it in the chute.

In the 1940s and 50s, the cigar vending machines looked like regular vending machines, but contained a sponge of water to keep the cigars fresh.

Recently, the popularity of cigar smoking has been increasing. Maybe it is a reaction to the public clamor around cigarette smoking. In any case, with cigar sales increasing, it isn't surprising that someone would come out with a cigar vending machines. Today, however, the vending machine is a climate controlled humidor that carries about a thousand cigars. Forget the nickel cigar, today's cigars cost from $2 to $18.

The machines are called CigarSir and will be installed in country clubs, resorts, restaurants and other upscale locations.

For more What New Stories, go to What's New - Part Two

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Ken Durham
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