It shows the explosion of the so called "Kinetic vendors" which have come out in the '90's. This is all the information that we have.
The progression of new developments in this field is interesting. In a way, the bigger it gets, the more it becomes a "curious history," worth following in it's own right.
The Gumball Gizmo was first seen in public on October 28, 1993, in Trolley Square Mall, Salt Lake City, Utah, and has been a smash hit. Gumball Gizmo was made by Bixworks Company and Gizmo Distributing in Beloit, Wisconsin. Bixworks went on to design several other machines, and the Gizmo Jr. came out, also being made by Bixworks then Gizmo Distributing, aka Allied Games in Beloit. Gizmo Jr., Gizmo Jr. detail., Other machines have sprung up and are listed below:
Other machines of note: (Probably having nothing to do with all of this.)
At any rate, this giant gumball machine would have probably been all that was needed to start the whole thing off. Certainly the next step happened on its own, the spiral gumball machine. (Known as the "Twister", "Wizard", "UFO", Road Runner, etc.) There is a patent issued on this concept, and we know that, for example, O.K. Manufacturing in Salt Lake City builds quality machines of this type under license of the patent. It is logical to figure that machines would get more tricky, and at some point we would have arrived at the present situation. Quite possibly, machines like the Zig Zag Zoo would have kicked it off themselves.
As soon as we debuted the Gumball Gizmo, people copied the idea directly. Thus the recent proliferation.
Wacky Bubble Gumball Factory- Created by the guys from Global Gumballs, Tim McCarty and John Sanchez. From a videotape of the Gumball Gizmo, and some creative input from people, they were first to develop a competing machine. We first saw it new year's day, 1995, it was astonishing how fast they did it.
Entertainer - Created by a business started by Jerry Moore, built in Salt Lake City Utah. This machine bears many similarities to the Gumball Gizmo, and indeed was copied in many ways. Vending Times now has ads which show West Coast Manufacturing listing the Entertainer as one of their products.
Oscar's Wild Ride - This is a machine by Creative Coin Concepts. It was designed by a Mr. Ross Mann, a kinetic artist in Utah. It debuted in 1995. This machine is substantially different from the Gumball Gizmo and incorporates many unique ideas. It is simpler in design, materials, and execution, as well as attention to detail, than the Gumball Gizmo.
Waldo's Fun Factory- Created by Ross Mann, from Kaysville, Utah. Ross broke with the above company and is pursuing the building and operation of this machine (similar to the Oscar's Wild Ride machine) in various locations around Utah, and perhaps elsewhere. Waldo's Fun Factory uses a plastic ball in place of the vended gumball, which addresses the reliability issue. (Misshapen gumballs are a notorious problem with kinetic gumball machines, Gumball Gizmo included.) At the end of the cycle in Waldo's, you get a "magical color change," where the plastic ball is switched for an actual gumball, which the customer receives. The "color change" technique can be a little odd if your gumball happens to be the color of the plastic ball. (The machine has a soundtrack which announces the color change.) But it's better than stuck gumballs. Ross previously built a machine similar to the Kineticon (entertaining display case-type machine) called the Coin Carnival, before working on the above two machines. Update 2/14/97 - The January 25 issue of Vending Times (p. 96) has an article about the Waldo's Fun Factory machine, and the company which will market it. (4th paragraph) "The first novelty coin-op gumball machine, the "Gumball Gizmo," was introduced in Salt Lake City almost three and one-half years ago, noted Richard M. Astle, Global's founder and currently manager. Customer response was "phenomenal," but only two firms have been developing the machines for longer than two years or so."
The Magician - This is a kinetic machine by the guys at O.K. Manufacturing. They were interested in the Gumball Gizmo from the beginning. The Magician is under continuing development, and from pictures seems different from the Gumball Gizmo. O.K. Manufacturing is very successful in building and selling spiral-type gumball machines of high quality, and they are a competitive distributor of Leaf products for the bulk industry. Their spiral machines may be found at Sam's Club warehouse stores. Some early units have appeared in various locations in the Salt Lake Area - late 1996. They are also marketing a machine called "Circus Circus", which appears to be a version of the Big Top Gumball machine, as seen in Vending Times, Jan. 25 issue.
Gumbotron - This machine is our worst nightmare come true. It is virtually an exact duplicate of the Gumball Gizmo. Of course it has differences, but the intricate mechanical course of our Gizmo has basically been copied down to the very motors we specified on our machine. Don't even ask us about this one. Just don't confuse it with Gumball Gizmo.
Big Top Gumball - We don't know much about this company, although we did happen to see one of their machines in the Stratosphere Casino, (the new one with the big tower) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The machine was in the internal mall that is in there. It seems that O.K. Manufacturing is producing a version of the Big Top Gumball machine, called the Circus Circus machine. The Big Top Gumball machine has suspended miniature animals with red glowing eyes.
The Great American Musical Gumball Machine - We know less of this company, although we saw material on them in Vending Times. (1996) Simple in design, gravity-fed.
Gumball Factory - We think Gumball Factory came out to try to catch the entertainment vendor bandwagon. Also seen in Vending Times, 1996. In fact, all of the above have had some mention in Vending Times.
Gumball Park - This machine came out of Utah, I've observed that it has a cannon which "shoots" a gumball. Into a character's mouth, maybe. (Which wins you another gumball.) IF you "time" it correctly. (There is a swinging obstacle.) And if the (fixed) cannon is capable of hitting anywhere near the mouth. Which it isn't. On the one time I played it, it shot four inches above the target. And I was worried about timing.
Return to Bixworks home page