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The Penny Arcade

 The Coin Operated machine Information Site

                                                                        

                                                                        TH.Bergmann & Co 1936-1968     

Thomas Bergmann entered the slot machine market in 1935 and his first machine was probably   the Hinen model A football table game closely followed with a shooter called "Sharpshooter". These must have had some success as a year later he formed TH.Bergmann & Co which continued under that name for the next 30 years. Bergmann seems to have avoided the Nazi period of gaming machine bans because ,at this time ,he made only amusement machines with no payouts.

                                              

                                                               The Hinein (model B) 1935/6 

This is not a pinball site but its impossible not involve pin balls when looking at TH Bergmann for they produced some of the best Deco style pinball artwork and cases ever made and many of the pinball themes (and art work) and experience crossed over to there slot machines in later years.

                              

                                         Alarm (1958)                                                     Favorit (1939)     

                      

                                         The particualy nice artwork on the "Clipper" 1954  

Not surprisingly all production seems to have stopped when WW2 started and did not resume until the late 1940's when it was once again pin balls that were the main product, but by 1950 they were making several drop case style machines like the Jupiter as well as several allwin style games like their Derby.

                                               

                                              Jupiter (1950)                                                                    Derby (1950)

 

Restricted by the odd German slot machine laws of the time which meant all slots had to be broken up or exported after three years Bergmann took a different route than their competitor Wulff,rather than make cheap machines mainly for the home market and then export them cheap to other countries Bergmann looked for export markets for their better made machines from new.

                                                          

                                    Government issued date restriction(1959 to 1962) licence for a Union Lexus 

  This was to prove a success for them in later years as their product range changed. Like the other German makers they were quick to see the advantages of electro-mechanical machines and with their extensive pin ball building experience they were making a large selection of these by 1954. An extensive range of machines yes but,like other German makers, different on the outside but much the same on the inside. In another cost effective move they used  much of there existing pin ball artwork in the new slots.

 

                                             

       More nice deco artwork on the "City Express"             Horse race themed Gluckszahl artwork

     previously used on their "Nord-Express" pin ball          previously used on one of their "Turf" pin balls

The Export network already being built up really came into its own in the second half of the 1950's with the new demand for juke boxes. Bergmann were early into this market making several impressive units. For some reason Germany was a big user of juke boxes after the war and by 1960 50,000 were in use in Germany against only 20,000 in the Uk and Ernst Bergamnn (now running the business)saw the untapped market in the Uk coupled with his export network as a great opportunity and grabbed it. So big was the demand in the UK for juke boxes at the time American makers couldn't cover the numbers needed mostly because of the time it took to deliver and it was Bergmann who first used airfreight to cut delivery times to the UK,Italy and,surprisingly, to the USA where demand was so high the American makers couldn't satisfy the domestic market's needs.

 

                                                                        

                                                                        The best selling Symphonie 80

As early as the mid 1950;s the company was making an interesting range of console slot machines in different styles including electric flasher types and in 1962 also launched two new shooters the Arizona (mechanical) and the Safari (electric) using a BB type gun made by the Diana air gun co.

                                            

                                    Universum                                                                                      Imperitor

                                                            

                                                                                   Nepomuk(prototype)

                                                                            

                                                                                Arizona Shooter (1962) 

In 1966 things didn't exactly start to go wrong but the company fell foul of a few unusual problems. On the strength of their success they built a very modern new factory outside Hamburg only to find the labour shortage in Germany meant they couldn't get enough workers to get the plant working at full capacity and they were forced to bus in workers from Hamburg just to keep it going. Added to this the juke box demand was slowing  and planned exports of slots to USA were no longer on the cards. Added to this their range of machines was falling into two distinct types,very plain and boring  and very complex and confusing.The company was still doing well but consolidation was the way forward and in 1968 TH.Bergmann merged with other companies but still worked within the gaming industry,these eventually became Crown Techologies Gmbh(Germany) in 2007 who are still making slot machines today,and very nice ones at that.Although described on the companies web site as "money laundering machines" in the English translation

 

                      

                                                                  2017 Admiral Crown II    

 

                                                      A few of the Bergmann range of machines    

                           

             The Rotery(1956) a great light up machine                                    Rouletta(1957)  

     I have one of these & it's a surprisingly addictive game

 

 

                 

      The  Antieke Shooter  was a very successful machine, a rapid fire two player game with a time limit,  

                                                           there were several models,this is a (B)    

 

 

                            

         The Elektro Bomber was a huge early success and went a long way to getting the company going,this flipperless  flat bed pin ball with no rear box featured a rotary counter and an early mercury tilt switch (visable in photo 3 to the right of the toothed wheel). At least four versions of this machine were made

               

                                         

 

 

                          

     The unique Revue 1957(are those legs original?)                                                      Nord Express

 

                     

           The Casino (The Rotary with a different glass)                                                Union Lexus 1958 

                                   

                       

      

                                 beautifully cased Komet                     and                          "Stop" both 1954

 

                             

               The rather odd compact pin ball "Pasch" 1951                                               Ultra Bell 1954

 

                                                 

                              Jupiter coin drop game   1950                                        Favorit   allwin style game  1950

 

                                             

                                                    Trumpf  1959                                                The oddly named "Hobby"     1965

 

                                                 

                                The rather uninspiring Topfit 1967                                                   Super 1954  

 

                                  

             Two of the last machines perhaps getting a little overly complex and confusing  to players of the day

                                          Super Six 1967                                Max & Moritz (themed on the 1895 German dark verse

                                                                                                                   book  about two naughty boys) 1965

 

       

 

    

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