Manufactured by the Buckley Mfg. Co., Chicago, Illinois the 1930s Chicago Deluxe Digger is one of the rarest and most sought after digger machines ever produced. Manufactured exclusively for luxurious hotel lobbies in Chicago, this art deco crane machine enticed players to try their luck and skills in order to obtain a prize.
The digger machine was originally designed to be filled with colorful candy prizes. However, enterprising business owners soon realized that these machines could be used for gambling. Instead of filling the digger machine with candy, the machine would instead be filled with silver dollars and other currency! Chancing a nickel for a silver dollar was an appealing bet to many Depression-era folks.
This secondary use did not go unnoticed for long. All digger machines were eventually classified as gambling devices, and with the passage of the Johnson Act of 1951, they were no longer able to be transported across state lines. This crippled the industry, halting the production of new diggers and forcing business owners to either hide or dispose of their machines.
In the 1970s and 1980s, crane machines reemerged. This time, they were regulated and filled with toys and stuffed animals.
This elegant 1930s Chicago Deluxe Digger has been fully restored and is in full working condition.