Gum Facts

The Alphabet26 Museum - Section G

Alphabet Gum Machine Prizes
Plastic Prizes from Gum and Vending Machines 

Index (Alphabet26)

Read Amy Lynwander's interview with me in her article Gumball Prizes at CoolOldStuff.

Here are some of the neat prizes that were found in coin-operated bulk vending machines in the 1950s and '60s.  For more fascinating information about plastic prizes, visit the Plastic Gum Machine Prizes page.
Charms --  Charms, sometimes called dangles, usually have a ring at the top for connecting to jewelry or sewing onto a beanie.  The most recognized alphanumeric charms are the "Varsity Letters" originally made by the Eppy Company that look like the alphabets that were found on varsity letter jackets awarded for sports and other activities in high schools and colleges.  The charm pictured at the right is one of my favorites -- probably because it is from a set that is hard to complete.  Charms provide the greatest variety and scope for alphabet prizes in the gum machine prize catagory (Section G) of the Alphabet26 Museum.
[Red M Charm Image]
Click on image to go to Charms
Connecting Letters -- The brand name that I have seen on these is "Magic Letters."  They came out in the 1950s, but smaller, cheaper versions were produced in later years.  They have a bar that sticks out on each side -- one side with a hole, the other with a peg.  They connect together to form words.  The original Magic Letters have 35 different alphanumeric shapes -- A through Z, and 1 through 9 The letter O doubled as the number zero, so the O is easily the most common shape.
[Green Magic Letter A]
Click on image to go to Magic Letters
Pop Beads -- These are also early plastic prizes with a letter on two sides. They have a hole below the letter and a tab above to connect into the next letter.  One would have to read down (or up) for words made with these.  I have only seen these with letters and not numbers.
[Pink A Pop Bead Image]
Click on image to go to Pop Beads
Alphabet Watches -- These prizes probably belong in the charms category, but I think they are unique enough to give them their own listing here.  These are shaped like pocket watches with an antique gold finish.  Each has an alphabet letter on the reverse and a clock face on the obverse.
[Watch Face Image]
Click on image to go to Alphabet Watches
Alphabet Rings -- These rings are from the same era as the watches.  Due to the popular demand for toy rings these days, I have had to pay more for these than most gum prizes.  They are metal coated plastic with paint in the depressions.
[Ring Image]
Click on image to go to Alphabet Rings 

More Information on Gum Machine Prizes

Index (Alphabet26)
Gum Facts
Page created 02/18/98
Copyright © 1998-2001
By Jeffrey Scott Maxwell
Cracker Jack Collectors Association - CJCA