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The Penny Arcade

 The Coin Operated Machine Information Site 

                                                                The Buckley Collection                                         

                        

                  

       

 

Patrick J.Buckley arrived late on the slot machine front in 1929 with his Puritan Baby Vendor                                                               and Conversion Bell

                                                              Puritan Vendor 1929

 

         After getting started in much the same way as his competitors it was clear his company was always going to be playing catch up to the big boys so he decided to steer his business down a slightly different path. He did this in several ways.

Firstly although he did make his own machines(and very good ones) he cut costs drastically by producing a lot of machines that used mechanisms from other companies (notably Mills) in his own cases.

Secondly, when he did produce machines he often looked in a different direction from the other firms, this resulted in some of the most interesting(and collectable) gambling machines ever made. Buckley also made a series of unusual Pin tables, some in the form of gambling machines with a payout.

            

         " Track Odds " Buckley answer to "Paces Races" a compressed air console machine

 

                                             

    The "Buckley Bones"  this remarkable dice playing machine is one of the most sort-after slot                                                  machines (see below for more details)

                 

                                                       The "Pay Day" automatic payout Pin ball

                                                   

                                                                       Payday payout system

 

 

Thirdly he wasn't shy of overstepping the mark, copying other companies products was commonplace in the slot industry and Buckley was certainly involved in this. As early as July 1936, just six years after he started up he and his company were in court on patent infringement charges. This was to happen again some years later and run-ins with the law seem to have been a large part of the companies demise in the 50's.

Another plus for Buckley was that he was undoubtedly a good businessman and, unlike some of the bigger firms, he embraced change, modern methods and materials. During  WW2 he realised the potential of plastics, and not just in the slot industry and looked to move in that direction. He also employed several selling plans designed to make his machines easier to buy.

                                     

He also recognised the importance of solidarity amongst the slot makers and was heavily involved in various slot makers associations and in the running of the very important trade shows of the time. He also recognised the importance of international sales and had a large European network of agents by 1939. This side of his business took a huge hit during the war but just six months after the war ended he was booking one of the first flights to Paris (no mean feat in 1946, Billboard Mag reports that his flight took 22 hours stopping in Newfoundland and Ireland). So important did he feel this trip was he handed over the running of the factory to his managers for almost four months while he visited France, England, Belgium, Spain and most surprisingly the recently defeated Italy. He wanted to restore his agent network in Europe as well as feel out the potential for future slot sales but never slow to see the advantages of investing in a depressed area he also had plans to build two factories in Europe, a plastics moulding plant and a die-cast plant.

Buckley made at least 66 different machines and was doing well until the US laws restricted slot sales in the US. A major police raid on the factory in 1958 seems to have persuaded Buckley to move out of the slot business, but not before the launch of one last groundbreaking machine, the "Electric Pointmaker", an electric machine using a light-up screen somewhat ahead of its time. There is some evidence that Buckley may have moved into Plastic production after 1960 but it's unclear.

     

                     Detectives removing machines from the Buckley factory,March 1958

           

                   Buckley machines  being dumped in Lake Michigan by police, note at least two                    Buckley factory packing cases and the last of the Buckley line the electric Pointmaker 

         

                                                                  The last Buckley

         The Electronic Pointmaker (Bingo version)                                     Flyer

 

           Below are some of Buckleys Machines, but first a special mention for the "Bones"

 

                                  

 

If there is one thing all slot machine collectors have in common it's that they all have the Buckley Bones on their wish list. This machine is unlike any other (bar one and we shall come to that later). It looks different, it plays different and, to the average player, it's a mystery how it can do what it does. For the "Bones" appears to throw standard dice and then read the result. The truth is not so magical but amazingly clever. The machine is, in fact, a standard slot machine but instead of strips with symbols on the reels hold a number of small cases each containing a pair of dice, these dice are free to move about in their case but not turn over so each case contains a fixed dice roll that cant change. When the handle is depressed the reels spin so fast it appears a single set of dice are being shaken. When the reels stop suddenly the dice rattle around and come to a stop showing the result for that particular case of dice. In my view, if this machine was still in use there would be a line of players waiting to play it.

As usual with Buckley even with the Bones, all is not what it seems for there is a machine made by Bally called the Reliance which is, to all intents and purposes identical. Did Buckley copy the Bally? did Buckley buy their machines from Bally or vice versa? did they work together on the development? no one seems sure. Either way, the Bones is the more sort after of the two and if I could have just one slot machine it would be this one. Its very complexity kept its production era short and today there are only a handful of people in the world who can dismantle and rebuild this machine.

        

                                              Buckley Bones                                                         Bally Reliance

 

     

                                                                                  Inside the "Bones"

 

                                        

                       

                                                                        Buckley Bones in action

 

 

                                                          Other Buckley Machines

         

                                 Cent-a-pack                                                                        Baby Shoes    

                   

                                          Digger                                                                 The Favorite

                   

       On this strangely reeled Bonanza its hard            This Buckley has many Mills parts but may

  to see where Mills ends and Buckley starts         have a true Buckley mech as the escalator is                                                                                                             a Buckley made version

                

  The Criss-Cross is perhaps the best know Buckley machine and is commonly found in Europe

  These can be found with both Mills and Buckley mechs, The true Buckley mechs have one (sometimes two) small air dampers (one high up on the mech) and the escalators run the coins touching unlike the Mills spaced escalators.   

This machine is a particular favourite of mine (I have two) with its simple deco design but they                                                  rarely have a jackpot unit fitted

                       

                                       Well there is some Buckley on this one..but not much

                         

        This "Five Jacks" machine, like so much        The last Buckley The "Electronic Pointmaker"

       of the Buckley story is a bit of a mystery

The date given it is far too early for a machine

  of this design so I'll leave the date unknown

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 By 1939 Buckley had a large subdivision making a very successful jukebox system under the "Buckley music System Inc " name. It was based on a centre piece unit with counter/booth selection boxes attached  and it was very popular

              

 

                                                                        

                                       Workers at Buckley Music systems Inc  Pat Buckley taking centre stage      

 

    A man looking very much like Alfred E Newman points to a countertop selector with the                                                        main unit against the wall on the right      

 

            

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