Here it is, a recent auction buy.
It's a 1936 Exhibit Supply Imperial
More soon as the project begins.
It doesn't operate, electrically , however the crane boom does move
manually left and right.
The first step will be to fully evaluate the machine.
It appears to be complete with the exception of it's missing feet,
missing cash box and
it has the wrong crane boom. ( a 50's version)
(Later to find out the entire crane assy is wrong for this model)
More photos will follow:
So I will be searching for the correct crane boom (more about this,
learned later-see below), cash box,feet and ship castings.
A undamaged original Lattice style boom, Imperial feet,
and Cashbox drawer
(A damaged boom has been found and is in the process of being repaired
for use until a undamaged one can be found)
Here is what those missing original parts look like, this is the
lattice style boom .
This style of crane boom was used in multiple models of early
Exhibit Supply "Diggers"
Here are the unique feet and coin drawer found only on a Exhibit Supply
The feet are metal, the back feet appear to be a front foot cut
half. The coin drawer is 4.5"H x 5"W x 9"L
So if you have these things or know someone that may have spares,
let me know.
Email address below
Turning Back The Clock
During disassembly of the
Digger, I found there was a major alteration
made to this Imperial. When the original lattice boom (included in the
area) was damaged a complete non original crane assy was substituted.
Thankfully, the signs mounted to it, unique to imperial were retained.
It was not
in the auction photos, the Digger's prize receptacle which should mimic
front bow was replaced with a later version assy like that found on the
"Blue Streak" Digger. This later style crane was modified by the
factory to eliminate the 3 castings that made up the front of the
"ship". They altered one remaining casting of the assy and replaced
the ship castings with a
single piece of stainless steel, bent in an arc. The 2 screws used to
and secure the separate front ship castings are still there in the
floor, but no
small casting. This indicates the original floor remains. This
disappointing. I guess, lucky for me, Exhibit used this original ship
in more than one of their early diggers and I was able to locate the
missing parts. Thanks Bob Lee! in the UK I have repaired the
altered floor, not
clear in the comparison photos below but the plywood and metal covering
were also cut to
match the new stainless shape. The floor covering originally
been replaced with polished aluminum.
Here is what the Exhibit Supply "Blue Streak" Digger looks like
1939 Exhibit Blue Streak (stainless ship)
Additional Images added below
On the left as purchased, on the right what it looks like now,
less the clean out hole cover and back casting with signs
Good news, everything inside the
cabinet appears original! (with exception of the locks) All crane
mechanism parts and coin mechanism are intact.
Before removing wiring connections and the wire itself I made the
The digger has been completely disassembled. More photos coming soon.
Here the front emblem and drawer front have been cleaned polished and
Note: Though difficult to see in the painted photo, there are 2 holes
on each side of the "Pull" marked "oil" this is to
shaft the prize drawer pivots on
The rectangular raised area under the IMPERIAL letters is for the
number of the game in this case- 8195
Below is the restoration of the
top light assembly.
The original wire lead Hubbell switch was replaced with a
new old stock replacement.
The original cloth wiring which was also badly cracking was replaced.
The original Hubbell brass light socket was cleaned and polished.
Finally the front area of the housing was polished to restore it's
This serves as the power distribution block in the machine, located in
the back right corner of the mechanism deck wall.
The top socket is for a fuse, the bottom uses a line cord adapter. That
adapter will be where the doubled plugged line cord will plug in.
The cord exits the cabinet through a porcelain sleeve (not shown here)
These are the locks I found that are a perfect match for the mortises
in the doors. (after the doors were repaired)
Generally all the original cabinet locks for games are changed out by
operators, usually when games are put on location for first time.
At this moment I don't know what the original lock types were.
These replacement locks can be found keyed alike, but are not sold that
are marked on the packages with the key #
In the case of the Imperial, it uses 4 locks on the cabinet, and I
believe a 5th on the cashbox.
Here the front top trim restored , patent / instruction sign, stainless
mirror and locator assy cleaned and polished
Restored coin chute
Restored prize door bumper assy.
These bumpers proved to be too thick
Thinner ones will be located
Coin Mechanism, with Mercury power switch, Counter, and Operators
Shown here in the activated state. This is a fairly unique setup.
The glass tube is filled with a small quantity of Mercury. The
coin activation arm is connected to a spring loaded mechanism that once
activated tilts the mercury vile to the right as shown.
This completes the power circuit to the digger motor, which activates
the mechanism sequence.
As part of that sequence this mechanism connected to the main cam assy
will be reset. The coin arm shown down here after being struck by a coin
will be raised back into the standby position, once there the mercury
switch, linked to that arm will move to the left turning the power off
to the motor.
The counter located at the far left is mechanical, advanced by the coin
mechanism going through the above sequence. To avoid tampering a "seal"
was placed parallel with the coin meter activated arm. Disabling the
counter would require cutting that seal. That seal there to keep the
location merchant honest.
Here the major damage to the Imperial
cabinet has been repaired. Normally this machine stands on 4 metal
feet. They can be seen in a photo above from another
machine undergoing restoration by James
Because the feet had been removed the machine sat directly on the
floor, hence the damage to the bottom.
I was told by James that those feet were needed when the machine was on
location, because patrons would attempt to tip the machine to grab a
prize they wanted.
The damaged plywood was carefully removed , new 7/8" plywood
installed, bottom trim repaired.
The mountings for the feet are also restored, in case feet are ever
found, or new ones created.
Here damage to the left side cabinet
door frame is being repaired, the door having been forced open at some
The cabinet has been stripped of it's finish on the left , all
parts have been removed.
The side doors are on the cabinet, repairs on them being completed. All
door mortises have been repaired to accept new locks. The cabinet is
refinished, re-plated trim re-installed around the middle of
the cabinet. This is the only known example, so far, of this model
Digger with this added wrap around trim. The top decorative trim is
back and new glass installed in the front door, replacing Lexan found
in it when purchased. Burgundy pin stripping has been added to the
left and right columns to match the front burgundy painted
parts which have been added in the last photo.
The bottom door trim has also been added back, the exterior cabinet now
complete with exception of new side glass and a new back cabinet mirror.
Once the original mirror and side glass were illuminated with the
internal light too many flaws were discovered requiring their
Here re-assemby has started. To be clear about the process every
part was cleaned,
polished or painted before this stage.
This includes every washer, screw, bolt and nut. Moving parts have been
or will be lubricated. The electric motor and gearbox was disassembled
cleaned and re-luibricated before this stage. All wiring has be
installed, including new cloth twisted wire to the top light fixture,
with the exception of the special line cord. that will plug into the
porcelain block, seen here with temporary power installed for testing.
On the left a new old stock ABT coin slide, installed .
The restored front trim and prize drawer are installed. The last
photo shows one of the cam assy rollers removed for cleaning and
lubrication the cotter pin shown attaches to the arm the roller
mounts to and is used by a spring connected to that arm so the roller
will follow the cam lobe it rides on.
It's very close now, I am waiting
for a few things I ordered , mostly hardware to complete the
All 3 pieces of glass have now been replaced, along with the back
mirror which though it appeared in good shape turned out to be "foggy"
lite by the games light.
With the exception of missing original feet and coin box
(still looking for a perfect crane boom)
You'll notice on the left, in the last
photo of the digger the indian head bank seen here
This is the coin slide used by
If your seeing this and own an Imperial...email me
I am also looking for this 1936 Exhibit Supply Sales flyer that
the Imperial Digger on the cover - to purchase or even just a scan of