What You Should Know About Collectible Gumball Machines

Antique gumball machines are fun and fashionable conversation starters to add to your home or office decor. These vintage pieces can also be upcycled and repurposed into new pieces with flair. Most used and pre-owned bubble gum machines are still operational and can be filled with not only gumballs but with your favorite hard candies as well.

What are the features of a standard bubble gum machine?

Vintage and antique gumball machines share several key features, including:

  • Clear glass bubble - This can be shaped like a sphere, a square, or a rectangular box, where the gumballs are stored.
  • Die-cast metal base - This is often painted red where the mechanical parts of the device are located
  • Tall metal stand - Some machines also feature tall metal stands. The stands often sit on claw feet.
  • Extended base - Other machines feature an extended base with an enclosure for the gumball to travel down, such as a series of chutes or a clear tube.
What unique gumball machines were manufactured by Carousel Industries?

Carousel Industries, a manufacturer of the machines from the 1950s through the 1980s, manufactured several unique collectible items, including:

  • A machine shaped like a duck that features a small globe on its back
  • Musical gumball machines
  • A machine that also has a functional digital phone as a part of the base of the machine
What are some ways to repurpose a vintage gumball machine?

Because of the distinctive look and function of a gumball machine, these pieces lend themselves to many different uses besides storing gumballs. You can use a collectible gumball machine as:

  • A fish tank
  • A lamp
  • A terrarium
  • A display case for other collectibles
  • A flower display
What other treats can you put in a gumball machine?

Bubble gumball machines can house an array of treats besides gumballs. Hard candies can be substituted for gumballs. It is advised that you use hard candies with a hard outer shell rather than chewy candies. Peanuts can also be substituted for gumballs. If the items you are putting in the vintage gumball machine are smaller in diameter than the gumballs, you can take the device apart and resize the adjustable dispensing wheel.

Regardless of what kind of treats you use in the gumball machine, it is important to always begin by unscrewing and removing the screw lock that sits at the top of the glass globe. Then, remove the cap underneath the screw lock and carefully pour the treats into the machine. Finally, replace the cap and the screw lock. It is essential not to apply too much pressure to the glass globe when screwing the screw lock back into place.