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1948 to 2013 & still going strong.
This Page Is Dedicated To The Range Of Machines That Were Produced By Whittaker Bros
In The pre 1970s and Before Decimalization
I would Like To Thank Mr John Whittaker For His Help In Making This Page Possible.
The DODGEM CARS
The Whittaker company first started trading in 1948, Eric Whittaker was an engineer, he was also a family man who needed to earn some extra money to support his young family, so he started working in his spare time as an engineer, and he would take whatever work came his way, one day quite out of the blue he was asked if he could repair some parts for a chap who ran the dodgems in Blackpool, Eric jumped at the chance, and before long was making his own range of hard to get dodgem car spares, this was so successful it soon became Eric’s full time job, And when he teamed up with his brother Ronald, Whittaker Brothers was born, and building on the success of their dodgem spares business they were able in 1953 to design and produce their own range of dodgem cars. The cars soon got “Royal Approval” when a young Prince Charles was keen to get behind the wheel.
The photo on the right shows John Whittaker (left)
and his brother Paul (right) in the driving seat of
one of Whittaker Bros first ever dodgem cars.
I bet they never imagined that some 60 years later
they would still be in the driving seat, and that Whittaker's would
become one of the biggest names in amusement manufacturing.
The Photo Is Dated 1953.
The MONTE CARLO RALLY 1961
1961 saw the production of Whittakers first multiplayer machine, the machine was named MONTE CARLO RALLY, it was a large machine about 6 foot wide and 5 foot tall, and was designed to stand against a wall, or back to back with another machine. The playfield was a large map of Europe with five destinations marked by lights, in front of this were four play stations, each station had five coin slots, one for each of the destinations on the map, you placed a 1d bet in one or more of the slots, the lights on the playfield would then flash in a random pattern and come to rest on one of the destinations, if this matched your bet you won! The electrics for the machine were constructed using ex GPO relays.
WHITTAKERS FIRST WALL MACHINE early 1960s
Thanks to Tom Staunton for the flyer.
Whittaker’s are known mainly for their large floor standing pushers and console style machines, But back in the early 1960s they had a range of very nice wall mounted machines, these machines used “Nixie” tubes for the eyes, the pictures on the playfield were made from colored perspex, there were many designs and they were all interchangeable, the "brain" of the machine was made from ex GPO relays and switches, the idea was to put a penny in the slot, the numbers would start to flash, you then had to press the stop button and hope that the eyes stopped flashing on a pair of identical numbers.
The payouts were
1&1,2&2,3&3,4&4 = 2d win
5&5 = 4d win
6&6 = 6d win
9&9 =1 shilling win
The ROULETTE MACHINE
1964 was the year the first roulette multiplayer game was produced, the first machine off the production line was a large two sided affair, with four play stations down each of the long sides, and a spinning roulette wheel in the centre under glass, this oblong design was very quickly replaced with the now familiar round bodied machine we see today. The way the machine works was quite revolutionary for its day, (pun intended)under each of the numbers on the roulette wheel was a sensitive micro switch, and when all the bets were placed,in this case 3d per bet, the wheel would spin and send the steel ball flying round the rim of the wheel, when the wheel came to a stop the ball would drop at random onto one of the numbers switching the micro switch, the resulting signal was sent to the control unit and paid out the winner, the control unit was made up from new specially made relays, the relay were made to order by Maughan Relays of Manchester,gone were the days of using ex GPO relays, The roulette machine is still very popular and in full production some 50 years later.
Thanks to Tom Staunton for the flyer.
Whittaker's even tried the "roulette" theme in the form of a vertical machine,
the machine was called The Wild West Rick Wheel, it had much
the same play as the roulette machine, but this time a
vertical spinning disk gave the winning numbers, this machine
also had some very nice cowboy graphics.
THE GRAND NATIONAL
Following on from the success of the Roulette machine, it wasn’t long before Eric got a visit from Mr Catlow (the same gentlemen who asked for the original dodgem parts), this time he wanted to know if Whittaker’s could design and build a horse race themed machine, Whittaker’s once again stepped up to the mark, and in 1965 the first multiplayer Grand National machine was produced, and just like a real horse race, the players stood at both sides of the race track as they watched the horses galloped home, this machine was an instant hit with the arcade operators, even Sir Billy Butlin was impressed.
PHOTO SHOWS SIR BILLY BUTLIN is he just about to place a bet??
HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE OTHER MACHINES THAT WHITTAKER'S HAVE PRODUCED OVER THE YEARS.
Whittakers managed to ride the troubles times of the late 1960s and early 70s, when due to the introduction of decimal coinage and the revolutionary microchip, many of their competitors who sadly could not keep up with this new technology, went very quickly out of business. Below are just some of the many products they have produced over the years.
All photos by kind permission of John Whittaker
Please enjoy them and only copy for your own Private use.
The full Whittaker story is available from Jerry Chattenton at the Mechanical Memories Magazine, Just Click On The Magazine Icon Below.
Mechanical Memories Magazine
The only Magazine dedicated to Vintage Slot Machines
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