1920's Bennett Automatic
Machine Company Drop Card Viewer
With Top Cabinet Crank
Here as purchased. This is a very rare drop card machine.
As of now no other example has been found of this configuration.
It may have been altered after it was built or by Bennett, unknown at
It has a Caille sticker on it but it is not a Caille Bros.machine but a
machine made by George W. Bennett.
Original parts needed- name plate
& marquee frame
If your reading this and have seen another example or own one -
There is a motorized version which looks almost identical
except the cabinet is taller and has an electric motor in it's
base, no crank, and has a different coin entry.
The restoration of this will include new plating on all metal trim ,
cabinet repair, mechanical / electrical restoration.
The viewer has been disassembled and evaluated. I
have determined that it started life as a motorized machine.
At some point in it's history a change was made. It was converted from
a 3D viewer to a straight viewer by exchanging the dual
wedge shaped lenses and their associated mounted with a single
lens to view Civil War drawings from a book
It turns out that the first page of the set is a partial book cover
from a book published in 1881, however the remaining images turn out to
from a another source yet to be determined, I assume another book
sacraficed to make this card set.
To complete the transformation the motor and drive shaft were
exchanged for a manual crank and new drive shaft protruding from the
Finally the coin system was disabled , removing the coin tube and
knife switch and it was rewired to be powered as soon as plugged in.
I may choose to retain the manual operation or not. Some of this
depends if I can locate or can make the parts needed to restore
it to motorized.
When motorized, once activated it would run through all 15 photos
before returning to the start and standby.
Some of the trim pieces have been "flashed" in gold. This will be
The "U" shaped wood mounted where the marquee frame should be will be
discarded. A new frame will be constructed to replace it.
That frame mounts to the 2 cherub castings on the top back deck, which
have tapped threads for the bolts that hold it.
Restoration of the Mechanism
Below is an image of the Mechanism in the cabinet as purchased.
Here new 1/8" steel rods have replaced badly rusted originals, the
drive gear has been cleaned and polished along with the drive shaft and
Here it's basically finished. It's missing a cap for the side switch