• Collecting and Valuing the Antique Carousel Gumball Machine
  • Spencer Williams
Collecting and Valuing the Antique Carousel Gumball Machine

History of the Carousel Gumball Machine

In the 1950's Arthur Gold of Des Plaines, IL invented the Carousel brand gumball machine.  At one time, his company Carousel Industries was the world’s largest manufacturers of gumball machines. In the 1980's the company was sold to Ford Gum & Machine Co. 

15" tall King size Carousel Gumball Machine

The base of a Carousel gumball machine is made of die cast metal and has a powder coat finish. The globe where gumballs reside is made of glass. The machines are designed for personal use and SHOULD NOT be used in a commercial setting. This is because 1) the glass globe will shatter if the machine is tipped over 2) the coin mechanism will accept almost any coins, including slugs. The Carousel machine will happily vend small size (0.5"- 0.625" diameter) gumballs plus small candies like M&M's, Skittles and the like. The machine works best if gum and candy are not mixed together. 

Over time, Carousel gumball machines have been made in various sizes, shapes, and colors. Today, the machines are being produced in red only. In the past, the company produced some novelty machines, such as a green and brown mallard duck gumball machine, which can be found on eBay from time to time, and even some of their old machines play music.

Mallard Duck gumball machine by Carousel Industries

In 1988 Carousel came out with the Junior Gumball Machine Telephone. This whimsical product combined both a working digital telephone and a coin operated gumball dispenser. The image below shows the product and the original box it was packaged in plus the owner's manual and warranty card. 

Junior Carousel Gumball Machine Telephone 1988

The machines were initially produced in the United States but later production was moved to China. The models made today still have the copyright 1985 embossed on the top right hand side of the coin mechanism. Just because it has the 1985 stamp does not mean it's vintage.

Are Carousel Industries Gumball Machines Collectible?

Carousel brand gumball machines were produced in large numbers and unfortunately vintage machines are not rare. As mentioned above, new machines are still being produced in China. The original machines have two notches in both the top and bottom of the globe lip. These notches are to secure the globe and keep it from being turned. The older machines also have a sticker posted on the bottom base with Carousel Industries logo, name, model number, and possibly phone number (now disconnected).

Carousel gumball machine with Coke logo

Over the years, many of the Carousel machines have been used as advertising or promotions, as companies have been known to have their logo or name printed or etched on the surface of the globe (to buy a customized Carousel machine of your own, click custom logo branded machine). Some advertising collectors may be attracted to the vintage machines as a result.

The 15" King Carousel gumball machine has a female threaded receptacle on the base that mates to 22" tall antique style pedestal stand. Together they stand at 37" tall. Today the stands are available only in black but in the past they've been produced in the color red that matches the base. On rare occasion, older 12" Junior size machines have the threaded based and can be mounted to a stand. The new Junior machine is designed to be a table top version only.

What is the value of a Carousel Gumball Machine?

Brand new Carousel gumball machines are widely available today and are generally sold for $30 - $80, depending if stand is included. Used vintage equipment sells for slightly more than new, in the range of $20 - $130 at flea markets, antique stores, or online at eBay.

  • Author avatar
    Spencer Williams

Comments on this post ( 9 )

  • Jul 23, 2016

    I have a clear machine with serial number M4-043102. Can you tell me when this was manufactured?

    — Lynn Mallinson

  • Jul 03, 2016

    I have a vintage king carousel gumball machine, and when i look at pictures on eBay, they all say “1885” above the logo on the front plate. My machine does not have a date right above it, and i was wondering if mine is any different then all the ones on eBay. Thanks :D

    — Aaron

  • Apr 30, 2016

    I have a carousel peanut dispenser # 86-k-014554 how old & what is it worth thanks for your help

    — Chris Ballard

  • Apr 10, 2016

    I have a carousel gumball machine with a NO. 87-A-011300, any info on this particular model greatly appreciated!

    — Josh Earley

  • Dec 10, 2015

    Do you still make the king carousel gum all glass globe

    — Candice

  • Sep 26, 2015

    I have a glass & metal gumball machine in red. The bottom reads Made in the United States of America.
    No other information provided on the piece. Would it be from the 1950’s?
    No stand.
    14" Tall
    Thank you

    — Elaine

  • Sep 24, 2015

    I have an old machine not coin operated and I’m wondering how much it is worth no. 86-k-013945 its made by carousel industries., inc. morton grove illinois

    — rebecca tosh

  • Sep 01, 2015

    I truly appreciate the info provided. I apparently have a rare machine (model 88). It’s square in design and the coin receiver says 1988.It’s 2 tone red and black. My 94 year old aunt cannot remember how she came upon it. It’s mint. Thanks again, Tom

    — Tom

  • Aug 27, 2015

    Looking to find value of old claw leg, bubble gum machine. money operated, large gum? fromCarousal Industies, Inc. Morton Grove Illinois

    — gail

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