Cigarette Vending Machine

American, 19th c.

Brass and steel

Private collection

When this curious box came to us from Oklahoma, it had lost its key, and the lid no longer opened when a coin was put into the pay slot, and one of the ball feet had broken from the body. We jimmied the lock, disassembled and analyzed the machine’s parts, which were bent, worn and corroded.

We constructed a new key to fit, cut a slug coin to fit the slot, reconstructed the ball foot, and tested our new parts and adjustments until it all worked.

The antique brass cigarette box before restoration

The antique brass cigarette box after restoration.

Side view of brass ‘honor’ cigarette box before restoration.

New hand-made key

Selected parts disassembled

Detail of antique machine parts

Opposite side view