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Coney Island Penny Machine from Remco (1959)

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.

Explore classic toys and games that captured our attention and never let go.