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Harris Automatic Coin Changer

July 16th, 2010 · 1 Comment

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Vending Machine Changer

The Harris Automatic Coin Changer was designed to operate on all kinds of vending machines including soda, cigarette and candy vendors. It could be modified to return change in many different combinations, as needed. An important feature at the time was the ability to prevent “jackpotting”, or releasing a gush of coins all at once.

The introduction of the automatic coin changer was announced in the August 1946 issue of “Billboard” magazine, with a projected release date of three months later. The device was named after Charles F. Harris, the inventor. According to a 1947 article in “Popular Science”, Harris got the idea for the machine years prior while he was working as an executive of a railroad. He was attending a murder trial at a courthouse on a very hot day when he tried to get a cold soda from a vending machine. He didn’t have the proper change and had to go a number of blocks to find a store where he was able to get a nickel. This frustrated Harris enough that he set about inventing a coin changer to be installed in the vending machines. Harris later served as head of the research and development department at Johnson Fare Box Company where they manufactured his coin changer.

The Johnson Fare Box Company was a manufacturer of fare boxes for trolleys, cable cars and later, buses. They developed the very first fare box around 1905. In 1955 the company was acquired by Keene Corporation, and in turn General Fare Industries bought them in 1980. They still operate today as GFI Genfare.

Manufactured by:
Johnson Fare Box Company
A Subsidiary of Bowser, Inc.
Chicago, Illinois

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We show restored items in this blog to encourage discussion, prompt questions and further the hobby of collecting and restoration. We also enjoy sharing the photos of the many items we have restored over the years.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Donald Brim // Dec 29, 2011 at 8:41 am

    I’m interested in restoring an old Johnson farebox I found. However, there is no key. How can I get a key? It’s a Cleveland Farebox Size 1., C.P. 8 The keyhole on the money box is 103. Inside the door on the back is Z350. ANY info is appreciated.

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All Images are the Property of and Copyrighted to Vintage Vending Inc.