The Cadillac's
By Johhny Duckworth

Well, we have all heard collectors say that the Caille's were the Cadillac's of the floor machines with their large ornate coin heads and their fancy castings. I know there are some collectors that will disagree but everyone will have to agree if they were Cadillac's, the Caille Lone Star and "45" would have been displayed on the show room floor right next to the slant fronts. These two floor machines have not turned up in great numbers over the years and only a handful of each remain so they are a treasured center piece for any collector.

When you see a Caille Lone Star or "45" for the first time you may notice the same cabinet design as the Big Six, Eclipse, & Centaur, but look beyond the cabinet style and it all changes from there. The most unique or big difference would be the color wheels with only 45 spaces opposed to 90, 92, or 120 which are on the other Caille machines, excluding the Big Six which had 12 or 36 depending on the model. They were designed without the use of bugs or cheats and were made to give the operator an edge of 30% in his favor. Like most of the other models in the Caille line up the cabinets were made out of quarter sawn oak or birch and stained to look like mahogany which would then be fitted with antique, nickel, or gold castings. The large and ornate Caille 6-way coin head came in the nickel, quarter, and half dollar denomination.

They also had the option to be equipped with a music box which would call for an overhead wind since they were a front pull machine. Caille's overhead wind music in their floor machines consisted of a 6 screw comb next to a nine inch cylinder and equipped with an "on-off" hole in the side of the cabinet where a key is inserted to turn off the music. They had the Jacots patent device on the music which stopped any runaways or damage to the teeth and pins. Most all of the music cylinders used in the Caille Floor machines are Mermod Freres which are a very high grade music cylinder player.

The color wheel machines of the time had what looked like a large gear with a hole design drilled into it. This gear would appear in front of the color wheel, i.e. Eclipse, Big Six, Centaur, Detroit, or behind the color wheel, i.e. Lone Star and "45". Other Caille machines which have the stopping gear behind the wheel are the "Puck" and the "Black Cat." Every notch on the edge of the gear corresponds to a color on the wheel and this geared wheel functions much like the reel discs on the three reel machines. Pins pass through the holes into the gear and if that color has been played, then it trips the pay slides. The "Lone Star" and "45" were slightly different and if you could magically see thru the color wheel you would observe that the gear with the holes has different size notches on the edge. The lower payouts had large notches for an overwhelming house advantage and all the other notches on the gear continue to get smaller as the payouts grow higher. You can see (in the photo of the gear) the small notches on the edge which represent the larger payouts and it would take a lot of lady luck to hit.

If you look close at the color wheels on the Lone Star and "45" you will see they have the same color pattern and look the same but look again. The "45" would actually spin in the cabinet so the pay out numbers on the color wheel had to be printed to read at the top of the machine. This was not the case with the Lone Star since it was a stationary wheel, and all the pay out numbers had to face up around the entire wheel. Both machines retain the same notched gear and basically the same 45 spaced color wheel but with the Lone Star you have to add that large bronze arrow which spins with the hub to land on a color since the wheel is stationary. Some of the very early color wheels for Caille were hand painted on their machines but beware as some wheels have been repainted over the years and if so, you may need to dig a little deeper to substantiate the authenticity of the machine. Most all the machines you will find should have the tin litho wheels with the exception of those very few original painted wheels that still survive.

The Lone Star machine has a glass star in the center of the wheel, which on an early machine, will have studs mounted on the back of the glass to hold it in place. The later models were held on with ornate claw feet which mounted on the wheel around the edge of the glass. The glass on the Caille "45" has turned up in two different styles with one spelling out Caille 45 and the other with a large "45" in the center of the glass and the trademark in the bottom.

The Caille Lone Star and Caille 45 were produced form 1906 up into the late teens and are so fascinating to watch and play. I think what attracts most of us to these great cold coin-op machines is the pure history and imagination of where the machine was in the early hay days and the journey it has traveled to get to us today.