Coney Island Penny Machine from Remco (1959)

Company: Remco | Release date: 1958 | Where to purchase: eBay

“Put your penny in and try for the wonderful prizes that come with it.”

Released in 1959 by Remco, the Coney Island Penny Machine was a desktop version of the claw machines routinely found in arcades, traveling carnivals, and state fairs. Remco’s more portable version was made of high-impact plastic and measured 16-inches long x 11-inches wide x 13-inches high.

Players payed a penny to try their luck. Depositing the coin in the penny slot activated a motorized turntable, which slowly spun in a clockwise direction. Players then used two levers to operate a bucket claw and try to snatch a prize from the turntable. The left lever swung the boom side to side, while the right lever raised and lowered the scoop.

Just like its full-sized counterpart, the toy’s built-in mechanical timer limited each attempt to just a few seconds. Players lucky enough to grab a prize had to maneuver the claw to a trap door and drop the toy in a slot, where it would roll out.

The Coney Island Penny Machine operated on two D-batteries and came with a “big bag of prizes” used to stock the game.

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