During this past month, I was out of the Kitson and Company Gallery and on the road meeting with clients. When I travel in larger, less rural areas, I love to stop at thrift stores and do some old-fashioned picking for antiques. It was a pleasure to stop by the Volunteers of America Thrift store on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre. The store is a total non-profit: monies raised help those in communities around the area and throughout Pennsylvania. I talked with Brian, Susan, and Jasmine, part of their wonderful staff.
While exploring the shelves, I found a Brandt Automatic Cashier. It is quite a contraption, full of multi-colored buttons, and one of the other shoppers even wondered what it was.
Brandt Manufacturing was founded by Edward J. Brandt of Watertown, Wisconsin. In the early 1920s he was employed at a small bank, and was in charge of making a lot of coin transactions as well as payroll disbursement for local companies. Because working with change was so time-consuming, he wanted to find an easier and error-free way to handle coins. After banking hours Brandt developed this automatic cashier to help. By the late 1950s he had expanded his business into Chicago (where he had built a large factory), Washington, DC, and Canada. At the 1964 World’s Fair, all coin receipts were handled using these machines. Brandt Manufacturing went through several changes and buyouts over the years. The Glory Group of Japan purchased the company in 2012.
This particular Brandt Automatic Cashier dates from the mid-1920s and has a neat art deco look with nickel plating and a dragon on the side. The overall condition is good, some keys do not work well, but it probably just needs a good cleaning. We have seen similar machines sell for $75–$150, with ones in complete working order fetching from $150 to $350. Since we believe in repurposing items, we thought this would make a unique menu holder for a restaurant.
Thanks again to Volunteers of America Thrift Store and their wonderful employees. Please visit them and look for other antiques and collectibles. The store’s phone number is (570) 829-5100. When you call, tell them we sent you.
Until next month, I wish you many great finds!