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Advance Model D

Advance Machine Company, Chicago, IL, c. 1923, 12 1/2" (short globe; left machine); 15 1/2" (tall globe; right machine). This is the sister machine to the Advance Big Mouth but is more common. It's made of rolled steel and vends a gumball for a penny. This model is correct with a large or small Advance football globe or small round Advance globe.

When I first started collecting I wanted a Model D because I thought it looked great and was old. I saw the patent data of 1923 and figured it must be ancient, not realizing that Advance made this model into the 1940's and maybe even the 1950's. My perception of "old" has also changed a bit between then and now. I finally got one and cherished it for several years, and then one day had an epiphany: This is a relatively common machine. It's good-looking and designed well, which is why Advance sold a zillion, but I've come to think of them more as Victor Topper-type common rather than the early gem I once thought they were. Growing up is tough.

Red paint is by far the most common finish for this model. I've seen some painted gold hammertone and once heard of a batch that showed up years ago at Chicago with original green hammertone paint. If the machine has original paint it should have a bunch of patent numbers stencilled in black paint onto the bottom. If you don't see that feature on a red machine then it's probably been repainted at some point, although there's no guarantee of that. I have a red Model D that I swore has original paint but it doesn't have the patent numbers listed on the bottom---but, man, the paint looks soooo original---and then one day I noticed a couple of patent dates (not patent numbers) stencilled in black on the machine's back near the bottom of the midsection. This confirmed the paint's originality, but Advance hadn't stencilled the patent numbers on this one. I haven't checked the bottom of a gold or green hammertone machine, so I don't know the stencil status of those variations.

This model was also available chromed. I've seen enough of these to know they're obtainable, but they're far less common than the red painted versions. The machines I've seen with original chrome don't have the patent numbers stencilled onto the bottom. I believe the chrome finish was a later option, so Advance may have given up the practice by then.

Some examples I've seen have "PAT PEND" stamped into the front plate where the 1923 patent date is stamped on most Advance D's. I assume those are early examples. Another small variation on the front plate is the shape of the wire handle; on most (including both examples above) the ends of the handle flare out, but on some the ends are curved more tightly back toward the center of the handle, forming a right angle to the front plate and a shorter radius than that on the more flared handle. I've noticed the shorter radius on machines with "PAT PEND" instead of the 1923 patent date, so methinks the short-radius handles are older.

The red example above is one of the 2 best-looking Advance Model D's I've ever seen. It's 100% original and has not one, but 2 decals on the globe. Most Model D's don't have an original decal, so finding one on a globe is tough. The chrome machine above has an original finish in very nice condition. It also has a gate, which on this machine is a very well-done vendor modification. The gate's not original, but the inventiveness and quality of this piece enhances this machine rather than detracts from it.

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