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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/1947 Mills Hightop 5 Cent Machine


QUESTION: After your description of the jackpots, I am very anxious to look inside my machine and see what is in there.
I have no key, so I am leaning towards drilling the lock.
Any tips?
I will also need to purchase an original lock with key(s),
do you sell them?
Thanks again for your help.

ANSWER: Hi Steve,

You might want to write me via regular email at: I think I can find you a original Mills lock and original key ok, but they are not cheap, or you can get you a repo lock that will fit with a few small washers under the mounting. Problum with drilling the lock is if it has a security plate on it or not. Without this plate you can drill the lock and then use a punch to knock the back plate off the lock, after that the cam will just fall out. But, if it has this security plate on the back of the lock, you can't really knock the back off the lock, so the cam stays in place and the door stays locked unless you can get the cam to drop somehow and that just might not happen. There is another trick that I learned many years ago but doesn't work with a dime machine. What coinage is your machine?
Thank You
Rodger Knutson

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: My Machine is a nickel machine.
Knowing my luck, I probably have the security plate on mine.


Here's the deal and you might be in luck, the nickel gives you the lowest chance of doing this, the dime is just too small, a quarter is great. We are talking about the gap in the middle of your coin escalator. If you get a very long thin stright edged screwdriver which is hard to find, I think sears might carry one. You need one as thick (front to back) as your slot machine is or longer. You break out your coin escalator window, slide any coins in the coin escalator over to the right and they will go into the coin tube and be out of your way. Now you see this gap betweet the top and bottom of the coin escalator. This is where your going with this long thin screwdriver and a light source. look into the machine through this gap and see if you can see the two screws on the back of the lock, you might have to look a bit until you can find them but you should be able to see the side of each screw so you can get that screw tip into the screws slot and remove them. You may have to pry a reel over a bit to see the screws,there are two of them, one on each side of the back of the lock that screws the lock to the back door. If you can do this, you will save your lock and your machine from any other damage except the small escalator glass which is easy and cheap to replace. Neat trick...., what do you think of this little trick of mine?
Good Luck
Rodger Knutson

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: What I did.
At night in the dark, I held a flashlight at top of reels.
I could see the copper cam but did not see any screws.
I drilled the lock and ran into the metal plate you described.
I drilled a hole into that, then a long screw into the hole.
I was able to push off one side but not the other.
I then decided to try a bigger drill bit, but the 1/2" was the biggest I had.
I found a 1/2" grinder bit attachment that came with my air compressor.
It has little sharp teeth sticking out of it.
That was all it took, it shredded the last bits of lock and the cam fell out instantly! The cam didn't stand a chance.
Does the coin drawer lock have to be drilled also?
Does that lock take a different key?
I can't wait to see if there are any old nickels in there.
Thanks for your time,

Hi Steve,
Well you won that one, nice job. As for the cash box door and lock, (It's rare to see one of those on a machine and locked) it must have the snake type lock, Mills like the back door right? Lock should have a rectangle type key entry if it is. If it is a Mills lock, well you're in for it again. I never had to do one of those but I know the metal plate that is above it slides into the cabinet in slots cut in the wood so you can't lift it to clear the lock cam. Also it is cast iron so trying to pry it up is not going to do a lot of good but if you loosen the 4 square nuts holding that plate in place you might be able to pry it up just a tad. If it will move up just a little you might be able to pry the top of that door out as the lock cam is short and the locking tab that holds the door on is very short. I just don't know if there would be enough play or not to try to pry that lock tab out from under that plate if the plate was loose so you might have just a little play. Taking the front casting off would help except one of the screws holding that front casting on, is located in the cash box area so that is no good. If you could pry that door down and the base plate up at the same time to maybe see a little bit of the lock cam, maybe you could cut the cam off with a saws-all or drill a line of holes in the cam so it would just brake off when pried on, but I don't know if you could make that much room by trying to lift the base plate while at the same time pushing the door down. I know this lock does not have the security plate on it, it is just the lock held on by 4 screws so knocking that back of the lock off will be easy this time after drilling it but what a shame to have to drill these original locks. Right now these are the only choices that I can think off. These locks are usualy keyed different, as this locking plate was instaled so the routh operator could leave the back door key with the road house so they could get in and clear a symple jam if he wanted, but yet the cash was still locked up and the route operator kept that key so the money was safe.
Thanks and good luck.

Rodger Knutson

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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Rodger Knutson


I am an expert on old coin operated machines, slot machines, trade stimulator's, jukeboxes, old arcade machines, etc. I have been identifying these for people who respond to my web site listed below, for a few years now. In almost all cases I am able to tell them about their old coin operated machines, the year, the value, and other general information about their machines. I do not know much about soda vending machines, coin banks, or scales, but I will try to help you with these if I can. Please email photo's to: My web site is at:


I bought my first slot machine, a .50 Cent Mills Black Cherry in 1969 and have been hooked from that time, I still have that Slot machine! Before that I found a open barrel full of old scraped jukebox wall boxes behind a restaurant, I wanted them all but never took a one of them. Anything that took a coin drove me nuts!

C.O.C.A. and other slot and coin operated machine groups, associations, groups, and clubs.

Many, the Coinslot magazine, always juken, Coin Slot Journal, Slot Box Collector, and others that I don’t remember at this time.

Graduated from Ballard High School in 1969, went to Edison Technical Collage for a couple of years taking welding and metal fabrication, tig, mig, heliarc, also arc and gas welding and fabrication. Then Apprenticed under a slot machine technician who worked in the slot machine industry Reno Nevada, and set up bar poker progressive machines in the casino's, and repaired machine and did the repairs on slot machine circuit boards there. He also was involved in the 2 hand dealer's market and bought and sold machines at the casinos auctions for the secondary market, which includes selling used machine overseas. I learned a ton from this man; he always had the correct answers and took the time to teach me the business. My interest and knowledge in other and older coin operated machine is for the most part, self-taught. It's been my passion from back in 1968 and before, my thirst for knowledge about these machines has kept me more interested over the years, and keeps me searching for more information even today. I have meet and talked to book authors on these machines, attended hundreds of coin operated shows and auctions, and I stay with that to this very day.

Awards and Honors
Take a look at my allexperts rating, and my guest book, links to these are at Also you can check my 100 percent rating on ebay, as I have been there with ebay from their day one, I am user coinslots at ebay. My other awards come from the very people that I deal with, I always make them happy, no matter what it takes, but they always are happy anyway as the countless thank you letters testify to me, so I know I am doing right, and the best I can. I have found so many hard to find parts for people, I hunt them down and don't stop until I find what is needed to get that customers machine running again and back to life, that is my main goal.

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Client privacy prevents this answer, as some are VIP and famous and I will not betray the trust.

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