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The type of wall-mounted skill game where a ball bearing is propelled up around a spiral track towards a number of winning receptacles in the centre is called an 'Allwin'.  These games were hugely popular in Britain and Europe, whereas in America they are virtually unknown!  The Allwin, in all its many forms and variants, remains the most popular amusement machine amongst British collectors.

The basic Allwin operates like this:  Upon inserting a coin in the slot at the top right hand side of the case, the ball is released from inside the machine, and falls onto the spring-loaded hammer at the bottom right.  Using all his skill and judgement(!) the player operates the trigger to shoot the ball up and around the spiral tracks.  If the ball lands in one of the winning cups, the player turns the knob at the bottom of the case and the machine pays out a pre-determined number of coins.  Some Allwins pay out varying amounts depending upon which hole the ball lands in.  After a win, the ball is sometimes returned to the player for another shot.

This is the basic Allwin configuration, but there are many variations on this theme.  Allwins may have a reserve ball feature, variable payouts, multiple shots, a ball catching feature, moveable objects in the playfield, or multiple columns of balls.  Some of the designs the manufacturers came up with were quite ingenious.  The trick was to make the game look much easier than it actually was.  This is the hallmark of a good design.

Here are examples of some of the many variations of Allwins

Two examples of early Allwins.  The one on the left has a plain green felt backflash.  Note the elaborately carved topflash on the right hand one.

Later Allwins had plainer cases, and brightly-coloured plastic backflashes to attract the punters.  The two Allwins in the middle gave sweets as prizes instead of coins.

A pair of large Allwins with very colourful cartoon artwork  The one on the left has 24 winning cups.

Bryans Elevenses.  This became the most popular Allwin ever, and was made in vast quantities.  It had eleven cups, all of them winners. A typical Allwin mechanism.  This example is from the Bryans Elevenses, a multiple-payout machine.  The coin enters down the chute at the left and trips the ball release lever.  The long vertical lever on the right is connected to a crank on the payout knob and operates the payout slide.

This Allwin is one of the few with an automatic payout mechanism.  Notice the lack of a payout knob on the left-hand side. There is a separate page devoted to these machines

The Extrawin had a novel variable payout mechanism.  In the centre of the playfield was a rotor that turned whenever the game payed out.  Whenever a ball came to the top of the rotor, the machine payed out extra coins.

This unusual Allwin has a stack of coins forming a jackpot in the centre of the playfield.  A very effective way of attracting more players! Bryans 3-Ball Forks.  One of the most complicated Allwins ever produced.  As well as the multiple balls, this also incorporated a ball catching feature, and a playfield jackpot with automatic metering.

The "Ball Past The Arrow".  A very novel design which incorporated a large moving arrow in the middle of the playfield.  The object of the game is to shoot the ball into any of the cups to the right of the arrow.  This machine also had an automatic payout. The mechanism of the "Ball Past The Arrow".  The large star wheel in the centre spins freely when the player depresses the trigger.  This determines the random position of the arrow.

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