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The Penny Arcade

 The Coin Operated Machine Information Site 







                                                                             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 were 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 college in 1953 with just a 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 undersupplied 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.

Late in 1954, Len realised he had really become successful when shady rivals planted a bomb in his factory and blew the roof off. When the police asked Len if he had any enemies Len, always a calm quiet man, replied that he was beginning to think he had. The police told " buy a shotgun and put chicken wire on his windows, your in the big time now"

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                               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.

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                                    Aristocrat Nevada                                                                1964 Kingsway "Pokkie"

Unlike many slot companies Len was quick to see the advantages of electromechanical 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)


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                                                           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 it's not electronic, Bally was boasting of (and are credited with) the first fully electromechanical machine of this kind, the Money Honey but that predates 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.

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                                              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 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 $4 billion (as of 2019). Len himself seems indestructible, still working at 95 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.

When Len finally received the massive cheque when the deal was signed in Jan 2018 he announced he would be cutting back to only working 4 days a week in the future. He was awarded the member of the Order of Australia in the Queens birthdays honours list in 2018 for “significant service to business and manufacturing”

  Late 2020 update:-  No Len hasn't died, in fact, he's still working hard (although he did give up asking earlier this year) and is considering a new business venture, storage units!!





                                                                         Name Plate used in the 1960's


                                                                 A selection of Aristocrat Machines


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


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                                          1956 Clubmaster                                                                1960's Olympic

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                                      Kingsway "Geronimo"                                                                       Grosvenor


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                                                     Arcadian                                                                              Sheerline


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                                                      Nevada                                                                rare 1980'e Silver Cloud 5 reel


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                                       Clubmaster(open)                                                                Clubmaster(top )


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                                   Regal "Bobby Dazzler                                                   4 reel aristocrat mech