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The Penny Arcade

 The Coin Operated Machine Information Site 

                             The Hawtin's Collection


             PERCY HAWTIN                                                                                                                                   FRANK HAWTIN

                    Thanks to Frank Hawtins grandson Simon who helped to make this page possible


Most people reading this page will have some interest in the vintage British slot machine, some of you may even own a “Hawtin” allwin in your own collection. But who was Frank Hawtin?? 
Frank Hawtin was born in 1902 in the village of Bloxham Oxfordshire, even at the young age of 8 years he was able to spot an opportunity to earn some pocket money, after school he would help to feed chickens on the local farm, or help at the village joiners shop polishing wooden furniture. By the time he was old enough to leave school he had already established a small joinery and shopfitting business of his own, which he ran with the help of his many brother and sisters. At some point around 1922 he became involved in the amusements business when his brother Percy returned from Margate where he had been running a small café, Percy had bought the production rights to a game called Bingo from two Canadians he had met in Margate, what this early game was or if it was ever put into production we may never know, but it was the start of Hawtins of Blackpool, Between 1922 and 1947 the company grew from small ram shackled workshops to a modern three and a half acre factory employing thousands of skilled engineers. During the war years the factory was turned over to the production of aircraft parts for the war effort, by 1947 Frank's attention was turned away from the amusement trade and production of amusement machines was ended and the plant and equipment was auctioned off. Frank & Percy quickly moved on to other things and Hawtin Industries was born, they had interests in Engineering, Building & Construction, Agriculture, Automotive Components & Dental equipment to name a few, by the 1970s Hawtins owned there own merchant bank and finance company, and both men were multimillionaires, Not bad for a couple of lads from Bloxham !! 

The move into banking and finance was however a disaster.After a good start the banking crisis of the early 1970's hit them hard and their  share price constantly  fell  over the next few years. The family seem to have given up control of the company in 1978 when Frank(the chairman at the time) sold the profitable dental company to an American dental company and the remains of Hawtin Industries was taken over by a midlands based car part maker. It then went through several owners (and several different products) until it finally went under in Dec 2011

Below are just a few of the products Hawtin's produced during their time in the amusement trade. 

                              THE HAWTIN DODGEM CAR






                                THE HAWTIN ALLWIN    










                  THE HAWTIN "Jack Hylton" JUKEBOX                                           


  The story behind Hawtins Jukebox production is an odd one.  Following a drinking session with an American army Major during a trip to the USA by the Incredibly popular British bandleader Jack Hylton during which they discussed the large number of US troops now based in the UK and their lack of home comforts (notwithstanding the even greater lack of comforts the UK population was suffering post WW2) . Hylton hit on the idea of supplying Jukeboxes to the US bases in the UK. He soon secured a contract to supply 300 jukeboxes in England. The laws at the time restricted the import of foreign goods that could be made in the UK to no more than 40% of the finished product so Hylton decided to build the machines in England using licensed designs bought from Wurlitzer  . The reason Hylton went to Hawtin is unknown, perhaps they had the production Capacity perhaps they were the cheapest or perhaps Jack simply knew someone in the company. Whatever the reason they went on to make two successful models endorsed by Hylton. Because of his financial interest in the project and his high profile in the music industry, the bandleader was able to persuade many other big music stars of the day to lend their support by popularising and advertising the "Jack Hylton" juke box and several promotional photos can be found with these stars with Hylton marvelling at the jukebox. In later years Hawtin appears to have sold the Jukebox production side of their business to Ditchburn who went on to make a later model that used 45 RPM records (they also supplied a service where older models could be cut down and converted to the new model using fibreglass parts)  The later Ditchburn model was often referred to as the "Fridge" because of its Resemblance to refrigerators of the time.



   This Mk1 case was actually a "stop-gap" design used while the Mk2 fibreglass design was completed. The decision to use fibreglass was brought about by the shortage of suitable wood in the UK (the Mk1 cases were, for the most part, made from the packing cases the Wurlitzer  Simplex components arrived in. Interestingly these components were shipped to the UK in US military planes and marked "essential military supplies"





                                 note:- a US army officer is clearly "supervising" 2nd row up 4th from the left











                                          The Mk2 (16 x 78 rpm) & the Ditchburn conversion (30 x45 rpm)




                     THE HAWTIN CLUTCHING HAND





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                              JUVENILE RIDES & TOYS















                           THE HAWTIN BUNNY SHOOTER





                          THE HAWTIN ROLLING ROAD







                        THE HAWTIN BUCKING BRONCO






                             THE HAWTIN SKEE ROLL






                         THE HAWTIN BIG BEN PINBALL





                              THE HAWTIN RIFLE RANGE