Gum Ball Machine
Wallace N. Mason Gumball Machine 1934
When the first gum ball machines appeared at the end of the 19th century, they had the reputation to either keep your penny or to provide you with an inferior product. During the prohibition, some gum ball dispenser were even forbidden, since the option of rewarding every 10th customer by giving him his penny back was considered ‘gambling’. In the years afterwards, a young American, who had set out to complement his income as a roofer in winter, when his regular business was bad, leased 120 dispensers. With the support and approval of his minister father, and following religious and altruistic principles of good business conduct, he then decided to improve the product as well as the machines. Headquartered in his father’s church, he began producing the old man’s design and became very successful, with more than half a million machines distributed all over the country, in shops and at petrol stations. He also put up some at the Lions Club and the charity club Kiwanis International, and through his company gave a part of its proceeds to altruistic causes. Realising that he needed to brand his machines, he found the one company who could successfully print his company’s logo on the curved glass of his gum ball container. After being sold to another company which itself was bought by a candy giant, the management purchased his company back in 1996. Today, they produce many different flavors, colors and sizes. Maintaining their reputation for innovation, they are also the first – and only – company offering sugar free gum balls.
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