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The Penny Arcade

 The Coin Operated Machine Information Site 

                                          O.D.Jennings & Co



                                                                                    Ode D.Jennings

Ode Jennings was born in Kentucky in  1874. In his late 20's he went to work for the Mills Novelty Co where his natural engineering ability soon made him an expert on coin operated machines.So much so he was give the task of running the Mills arcade at the 1904 World Fair in St Louis . This appears to have been a cross between a trade stand and an entertainment venue at the fair.

Two years later in 1906 he left Mills(seemingly on good terms) and founded the Industry Novelty Co Inc whose business was refurbishing Mills machines.

By 1923 the company was called O.D.Jennings & Co and was doing very well despite a misguided attempt to revive the Garbell Typewriter Corp which he had bought out of liquidation,the attempt was a total disaster. In the same year he was granted a US patent for an improved coin selecting device which could discard coins that were too small. In 1925 he invented and was granted a patent for an anti coin jamming device 

In 1925 Ode bought a large house/farm in Schaumburg Illinios and like another country boy turned factory owner,Henry Ford, spent the rest of his life eascaping from the factory when ever possible to be  a part time gentleman farmer breeding cattle and horses



By 1936 the company,was,like Mills, making a large range of slot machines in different styles, including a very unusual payout pin table called the Sportsman.This was more like a slot machine that a pin table  




Ode Jennings died on 29th November 1953 at the age of 79 having personally run the company for 47 years. Having no children he left everything in trust to his wife on the proviso that it past to the town and hospital on her death but she seems to have got round that as far as the company was concerned by setting up Jennings and Co in 1954 which purchased the assets of O.D.Jennings and Co  from the estate of Ode Jennings.



Jennings and Co was merged with the Hershey Manufacturing Co in 1957 although 80% of Hersheys production was Jennings machines. By the early 60's Jennings were the top producer of slot machines in the US with 45% of total sales.

By the mid 60's with laws in the US cutting slot sales to a fraction American Machine and Science Co acquired the failing Jennings Co along with Bell-o-matic (the remains of the Mills Slot division) and merged them to become TJM Corp run by Tony and John Mills but a failure to come to grips with the new electro mechanical slot machines Bally had grabbed the market with plus the failure of Mills to protect their business rights in Japan caused the company to close in the 1980's

Ode Jennings wife Jeannette died in 1963 and as proposed in Ode's will left the house and lands to the town and donated $500,000 to the local hospital for the building of the O.D.Jennings wing which opened in 1966.


                                              A selection Of Jennings Machines


Most slot machine collectors want at least one Jennings machine in their collection. The early models are always interesting and the later ones are often considered THE classic mechanical slot machine. The Indian Chief figure head is instantly recognisable even to those not involved in the history of slots. They were always well made with great build quality and the designs have stood the test of time. Here are just a few of Jenning's amazing machines.


                   For a more complete list click the green button at the top of the page



                                       1920 5c Play                                                    1925 25c Counter model



                                          Dutch Boy                                                                           Century




                                             4 star  Chief                                                                    One star chief



                                                   Dixie Belle                                                                    Dixie Belle



                                                   Century                                                           "Bull Durham" Triple Jackpot


                                                  Peacock                                                                         "The Witch" 




                              Quality Mint Vendor                                                               Silver Club




                                       Bronze  Chief                                                         Fortune teller gum Ball Vendor



                                      The Little duke                                                                inside the little Duke



                                         Golf Ball Vendor                                                           Puritan Girl Trade Stim



                      Fortune teller gum ball vendor                                                                 Penny Play


                                               Rockaway                                                                  The Favorite        





                                               Victory Chief                                                          Target Drop





                                          Silver Chief                                                 always good quality build    



                                     Triplex Chief                                                                    The Long Shot


                                                 Silver Moon                                                              Console Chief





                  The very advanced but but not very pretty "Modern Vendor" which used some electronic parts was made in                      1940  for  use in states that didn't allow gambling, but wasn't in production for very long.



                                                                                          The Sportsman


                                In 1948/9 Jennings looked to produce the first of a range of machines that were 

                                     to become their most iconic and recognisable  machines, Based on the 

                                     slightly earlier,more rounded design these had straighter crisper lines and

                      although many  different variations followed they all retained the same basic look and shape.


                                                                            The first was the "solid front"



                                                          A Selection of the Classic later machines 


                                                                                     Governor Tic-Tac-Toe                                             



                            1946 Standard Chief                                                       1947 Chinese Front



                               Prospector(Monte Carlo)                                                   Buckaroo 4 reeler



             For me at least,its hard to find any make of slot machine that looks as good as the Jennings Standard

                   Prospector and its console mounted brother. If you were told you couldn't win I would still play it



                         Constellation  ( Nevada Club )                                     Sun Chief(closed front,ribbed)



                          Governor (light up front)                                             Sun Chief (light up front)


          Thanks to Paul Olsen for allowing us to use these two photos of his "Buckaroos" the one one the left is labelled                                                                                              as a "Midget Buckaroo"


                Tikki Aku Aku Limited edition specially made for the Stardust Polynesian lounge in LasVagas, by Slim Ewing at Ewing Enterprises.  The machine pictured here has been very carefully restored to its original condition by the owner, Larry Zeidman,a leading collector and casino machine expert in the USA. and we thank him for letting us use the photos and providing the information on the machine.The Handle is the right "ear"   of the head


                                                              The Last Of the Jennings machines



                                            The Galaxy                                                                      700 Series 

          Some Galaxy's had UV tubes and florescent           This machine was actually ahead of its time

                  reel strips which worked quite well                   with the use of mixed line payouts as  used today


                       The 400 Series (sometimes fitted with  "the Skill Stop" buttons) & "The Olympic(?)"

                                                in production in 1980 and the last Jennings machines

         These 400's were found packed like this 30 years after they were made,they appear to have been well                                                                        used before storage

             (this photo and that of the single 400 courtesy of the owner of the machines John Spina)