This mid 1940's slot machine has been in our proprietor's family since he was a
child (a long time ago!). It is commonly referred to as a Mills black cherry quarter
It was rescued from a fraternal lodge in Northern Illinois just before the sheriff
came with his sledgehammer.
By the time our proprietor inherited it, it was in somewhat sad shape. Apparently,
every time the lodge's bar walls were painted, they painted the slot machines as
well. It had many different color coats of latex house paint over the face, side and
back. The reels operated, but very slowly. The handle worked its way loose, and the
slop eventually split the wood on the right side.
Restoration started with removal of the mechanism from the case and complete
sandblasting of the case. The split in the wood was repaired through biscuit joinery.
The wooden sides were then sanded and revarnished and a reproduction of the
original Mills decal applied to the left side. The front panel was painted a
hammertone blue, a close match to the original discovered during sandblasting
(see comments below on Buckley slot machines.) The rear bonnet and door were
painted the original wrinkle black and a reproduction "Owner's Maintenance" card
was glued to the inside of the rear door.
A relubrication of the mechanism cured the slow operation. The slot now looked
and operated as new.
This example of the Mills Black Cherry is actually a Buckley Company
remanufactured Mills. You can see the Buckley stamp on this picture of the frame.
Buckley would buy used Mills machines, refurbish the mechanics, change the color
scheme a bit, then resell them. So technically, this is a Buckley black cherry slot,
which is why the arrangements of the cherries and the color differ slightly from the
Mills version (the original Mills cherries were offset rather than lining up
horizontally and they painted their cases silver rather than light blue.)
The slot came with the original double sided key, somewhat of a rare occurrence.
Over the years these keys tend to get lost and modern replacement locks end up
Here is a decal we created in Photoshop to replicate the original Mills Owl used on
their slot machine stands.
Click on any picture to enlarge it