Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How To Turn Your Antique Slot Machine Mechanism Into A Dust Infested Monster! By Don Creekmore

Mills 25c Roman Head Restored by Nations Attic
Roman Head Mechanism Coated In Fine Sticky Dust

Recently we just finished up restoring one of my favorite slot machines, a Mills Roman Head from the 1930’s. This model epitomizes the early style of the Golden Age of Slot Machines which lasted from the early 1930’s till the start of World War 2.
One of the biggest jobs involved with a restoration is working on the internal mechanism. This particular Roman Head had some internal parts missing and broken, but it also had another nasty surprise inside – blanketing layers of fine dust, lint and hair on every square inch! Shown below are a few close-up photos of just what I'm talking about.
Mills Mechanism - Close-Up Of Stuck On Dust!
Nasty Mills Mechanism! - Click To Enlarge Photo
Most machines are going to have there fair share of grease and dirt inside but this one was different. So how in the world did this particular mechanism turn into a dust magnet? The reason is simple, someone sprayed liberal amounts of a product know as Water Displacement 40 or WD-40 on the mechanism.
WD-40 will indeed lubricate antique slot machine mechanisms; it will also attract dust like mosquitos in a nudist colony! This is why many old machines simple get bogged down with dust after they have been sprayed over and over with WD-40.
Originally slot machine manufactures would recommend cleaning and lubricating the mechanism with gasoline. With the safety hazards associated with that and the fact gas is $4+ per gallon now, the best product to use is good old 3in1 oil. It does a great job of lubricating the small areas of a slot machine and will not attract the dust like WD-40 does.
As for the Roman Head mechanism that looked like it was evolving into a small furry dirt creature, after hours of hand cleaning each part and a little light media blasting it was resurrected and is now taking quarters as fast as they can be put into the machine!

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