As someone who's going to a ton of arcades over the years, I'm very familiar with old-school digger mechanical claw machines. I just saw an antique one a week or two ago at the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park, NJ. While going through my e-mail this morning, I was surprised to see that a company is making reproductions of these cool mechanical arcade machines today.
In a message from the Nebraska pinball distributor and pinball speaker manufacturer, Pinball Pro, I saw an advertisement for "Vintage Erie Toy Crane Arcade" games. How cool are these? Below is a description of the machines from the company's website:
Custom made to order allow 2-3 weeks
Beautiful over-restored condition, just like the vintage 1931 diggers. These are customs built, by hand, just as they were made in the 30’s. Shipping crate may serve as a stand
The mechanical/electrical mechanism of this Erie Digger ‘Electramatic’ model features a new motor, switches, wiring, chains, and parts.
The digger displays and plays wonderfully! It is guaranteed for life 100% for parts and labor.
Available with a red or green enamel case with polished and plated trim
It also features a desirable “Skill Knob” feature: Twist the dial to position the claw In-and-Out.
The larger turning handle locates the claw position Left-to-Right.
These combined positioning controls result in much more player control and satisfaction than the standard Erie Digger.
The coin slide is the correct 3- bolt, 25c ABT, for a dime play, which was the standard in the 1930s-50s era.
The merchandise in the digger is not included, but assortments are available for a small additional cost.
The special replica shipping crate shown in the photos can also serve as a stand.
Dimensions: 22″ x 25″ x 76″ high including stand and header signs. Digger by itself is 23.5″ x 19′ x 34″ high.
Shipping weight is 148 lbs which includes a disposable pallet.
Available in British Green or Red with lacquered Birch trim. Custom colors, or walnut are also available upon request.
Terms: Subject to availability, no exports. 2-3 Week lead time. Items shipped via freight are not subject to the return policy. These items are too large, however any and all issues will be resolved via the manufacturer warranty. Damages cause by shipment must be documented, do not sign for a truck freight shipment if damage is determined.
Everything is expensive these days, but in an era where New In Box pinball machines cost $8,000, "only" $1,699.95 for a custom-made vintage differ claw machine actually seems pretty reasonable to me. Of course, I have no space for one right now, but if you do you can click on the link below to check it out: