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The Penny Arcade

 The Coin Operated machine Information Site 

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                                                                             Len Ainsworth born 1924

 (there is a wealth of information on the web regarding the Aristocrat company,here we will cover just the basics and                                                                           look at some of their machines)

 Ainsworth industries was founded in 1933 by a NSW dentist to make heavy ,floor standing dental equipment, the dentist's son, Leonard was just 9 at the time. By the time he was 20 Len was in medical school with his father hoping he would follow his footsteps or even become a doctor, but it wasn't for Len, he left collage in 1953 with just high school diploma and took over the dental equipment side of his fathers business. An engineer at the company had recognised the similarity between the way the dental equipment was made and that of mechanical slot machines ,he mentioned this to Len who then started to look into the possibilities of making slots and if they would sell.

As luck would have it the timing was spot on for the switch, The Johnson act in the USA had all but destroyed the slot makers there while Australia was a booming and expanding market with no manufacturer and under supplied with machines.  So the Ainsworth Dental equipment Co designed their first machine, the Clubman followed soon by the  "Clubmaster" .Luck was on Lens side again as just as the machine was launched in 1953/4 NSW legalised slots and Len soon had the market in the palm of his hand. Within a few years the company dominated sales in Australia.

                                                           

                               The Clubman (1953)                                                      The New Clubman (1954)

                                 The Clubman was made under the name of the Ainsworth Dental supply Co

                                                 at Rosebery NSW , initially  at the rate of 2 per week        

                                                                       

                                                                               Clubmaster 1956

                                                                                                 

                                                     Very early photo of Clubmasters being played(1956)

In 1960 the company opened offices in the UK and Europe and in 1961 a large factory in Sydney, they launched their Nevada poker machine the same year, this type of machine known as a "Pokkie" was the big hit in Australia and the money began to roll in.

                      

                                    Aristocrat Nevada                                                                1964 Kingsway "Pokkie"

Unlike many slot companies Len was quick to see the advantages of electro mechanical slots and introduced the worlds very first machine of its kind in 1965, the "Moon Money"this was enough to see off the attack by Bally with similar machines and Len held onto the Australian market (the second biggest in the world)

 

                                                            

                                                           The Aristocrat "Moon Money  1965   

      Len said this machine was the first Electro-mechanical slot in the world,the company said it was the first Electronic slot in the world, In fact it is neither as electro-mechanical slot machines had been around for years and its clearly part mechanical so its not electronic, Bally were boasting of (and are credited with) the first fully electromechanical machine of this kind,the Money Honey but that pre dates the Moon Money by two years anyway.

                                                           

                 

                                                                             

                                                                                           Jubilee Spotlight             

In 1980 Len launched a hostile takeover of rival Nutt & Muddle's Jubilee company , at first blocked by the government it was eventually successful in 1985.

The company had great success with their smaller,cheaper machines,like all Aristocrat machines built to last .

                                                            

                                              Arcadian                                                                                     Starlite                       

In 1994 Len was diagnosed with terminal  prostate cancer and handed over control of the company and its income to his wife and seven sons in equal shares worth tens of millions each, in true Len style there was a restriction,  if any of them sold their share while he still lived he got half the money. This was his way of keeping the business in family hands, the sons didn't like it and it led to a long family feud ,One son sold his share and Len sued him . Six months later, also in typical Len style he beat the cancer and, as yet, it never returned. Len attempted to return to the company but the family blocked him. so ,at 72 years old he formed a new one, Ainsworth Gaming Tech and built it up into another huge company.Len sold his stake in this company in 2016 to Novamatic for $475 million but stayed on as chairman.which as of 2017 he still is. The original company ,still 40% family owned  is now the second biggest slot maker in the world ,second only to IGT in the USA itself a spin off from Aristocrat. 

When it comes to slot machine success forget Mills, Jennings and the rest ,add them all together and they would be insignificant compared to Aristocrat's $900,000,000 annual turnover and Lens personal wealth of $1.25 billion (as of 2017). Len himself seems indestructible, still working at 93 and still driving his Porsche. When he received his $475,000,000 payout from selling Ainsworth Gaming Tech in 2016 he announced most of it would be going to charity.

 

                                                                

 

                                                                 A selection of Aristocrat Machines

 

                                       

                                   1960's "Mad Melons" console                                           1970's "Honey Bee" four reel

 

                                   

                                          1956 Clubmaster                                                                1960's Olympic

                                          

                                      Kingsway "Geronimo"                                                                       Grosvenor

 

                                       

                                                     Arcadian                                                                              Sheerline

 

                                                       

                                                      Nevada                                                                rare 1980'e Silver Cloud 5 reel

 

                               

                                       Clubmaster(open)                                                                Clubmaster(top )

 

                       

                                                           Regal                                                              4 reel aristocrat mech

                         

                                                                                            Flyer