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The Penny Arcade

 The Coin Operated Machine Information Site 

                                                  The Whittaker Bros Collection



                                                                                         1948 to Present Day.

This Page Is Dedicated To The Range Of Machines Produced By Whittaker                                                                       Bros

             I would Like To Thank Mr John Whittaker For His Help In Making This Page Possible.


           Two things  make Whittaker Bros unique among  British Amusement machine makers, first,they are still going strong today, and secondly they still make some of there original machines. Whittakers decided to put their  major efforts into making multi player machines and its these that have stood the test of time and are still popular in the modern arcade. At least two of their machines even retain their original names (Kentucky Derby & Roulette) as well as their original format


                             The DODGEM CARS                      

The Whittaker company first started trading in 1948, Eric Whittaker was an engineer, he was also a family man who needed to earn some extra money to support his young family, so he started working in his spare time as an engineer, and he would take whatever work came his way, one day quite out of the blue he was asked if he could repair some parts for a chap who ran the dodgems in Blackpool, Eric jumped at the chance, and before long was making his own range of hard to get dodgem car spares, this was so successful it soon became Eric’s full time job, And when he teamed up with his brother Ronald, Whittaker Brothers was born, and building on the success of their dodgem spares business they were able in 1953 to design and produce their own range of dodgem cars. The cars soon got “Royal Approval” when a young Prince Charles was keen to get behind the wheel.



           The photo above shows John Whittaker (left) and his brother Paul                  (right) in the driving seat of one of Whittaker Bros first ever dodgem cars.
  bet they never imagined that some 60 years later they would still be in the           driving seat, and that Whittaker's would become one of the biggest names                                               in amusement manufacturing.
                                           The Photo Is Dated 1953.


                         Royal approval as Prince Charles takes the wheel of a Whittaker Dodgem in the early 60's


     Whittaker didnt just make hard wearing functional Dodgem cars, style and design were always prominent


                       The MONTE CARLO RALLY 1961


1961 saw the production of Whittakers first multiplayer machine, the machine was named MONTE CARLO RALLY, it was a large machine about 6 foot wide and 5 foot tall, and was designed to stand against a wall, or back to back with another machine. The playfield was a large map of Europe with five destinations marked by lights, in front of this were four play stations, each station had five coin slots, one for each of the destinations on the map, you placed a 1d bet in one or more of the slots, the lights on the playfield would then flash in a random pattern and come to rest on one of the destinations, if this matched your bet you won! The electrics for the machine were constructed using ex GPO relays.






                                                                 Thanks to Tom Staunton for the flyer.




Whittaker’s are known mainly for their large floor standing pushers and console style machines, But back in the early 1960s they had a range of very nice wall mounted machines, these machines used “Nixie” tubes for the eyes, the pictures on the playfield were made from colored perspex, there were many designs and they were all interchangeable, the "brain" of the machine was made from ex GPO relays and switches, the idea was to put a penny in the slot, the numbers would start to flash, you then had to press the stop button and hope that the eyes stopped flashing on a pair of identical numbers. The payouts were
                                                             1&1,2&2,3&3,4&4 = 2d win
                                                                                     5&5 = 4d win
                                                                                     6&6 = 6d win
                                                                                     9&9 =1 shilling win



                            The ROULETTE MACHINE


1964 was the year the first roulette multiplayer game was produced, the first machine off the production line was a large two sided affair, with four play stations down each of the long sides, and a spinning roulette wheel in the centre under glass, this oblong design was very quickly replaced with the now familiar round bodied machine we see today. The way the machine works was quite revolutionary for its day, (pun intended)under each of the numbers on the roulette wheel was a sensitive micro switch, and when all the bets were placed,in this case 3d per bet, the wheel would spin and send the steel ball flying round the rim of the wheel, when the wheel came to a stop the ball would drop at random onto one of the numbers switching the micro switch, the resulting signal was sent to the control unit and paid out the winner, the control unit was made up from new specially made relays, the relay were made to order by Maughan Relays of Manchester,gone were the days of using ex GPO relays, The roulette machine is still very popular and in full production some 50 years later.

                                                                     Thanks to Tom Staunton for the flyer.


    A spin off from the Roulette machine was this nice modern version of the old wild west saloon  gambling game featuring an upright spinning wheel. It was called "The Wild West Rick Wheel" and featured some nice graphics



                                              The  2017 production model of the Roulette


                              THE GRAND NATIONAL



Following on from the success of the Roulette machine, it wasn’t long before Eric got a visit from Mr Catlow (the same gentlemen who asked for the original dodgem parts), this time he wanted to know if Whittaker’s could design and build a horse race themed machine, Whittaker’s once again stepped up to the mark, and in 1965 the first multiplayer Grand National machine was produced, and just like a real horse race, the players stood at both sides of the race track as they watched the horses galloped home, this machine was an instant hit with the arcade operators, even Sir Billy Butlin was impressed.

                                          PHOTO SHOWS SIR BILLY BUTLIN always looking for a safe bet??

                The horse race theme proved to be a big hit and several other versions followed along with other machines                                                                                     using the same principle 


                                                  Epsom                                                                                Kentucky Derby


                                              Grand Prix                                                                                    Le Mans


Whittakers managed to ride the troubles times of the late 1960s and early 70s, when due to the introduction of decimal coinage and the revolutionary microchip, many of their competitors who sadly could not keep up with this new technology, went very quickly out of business. Below are just some of the many products they have produced over the years.                                                                                  


               The "Kentucky Derby 2017 model and still much the same in its play function         













           Many of these photos by kind permission of

                                       John Whittaker


                  Please enjoy them and only copy for your own Private use.