Q: My old tabletop slot machine is called a “Twin Jack Pot.” It’s 19 1/2 inches high, 15 inches wide and 14 inches deep. The front and top are cast iron, the sides and platform wood and the back heavy-gauge steel. It must weigh close to 75 pounds. All the parts appear to be original and everything works. There’s a “W” cast into the top face of the machine. Please tell me more about the machine and its value.
A: Your Twin Jack Pot slot machine is a classic model introduced in 1931 by the Watling Manufacturing Co. of Chicago. Slots and other coin-operated gaming machines were very popular in the United States from the 1890s until 1951, when a federal law went into effect that prohibited the interstate shipment of gambling devices except to states where the devices were legal. Watling, which had been founded in 1901, stayed in business another 15 years, but it primarily made scales. Twin Jack Pots sell today for more than $1,500.