Point of Interest:

The punchboard business has always been looked at as a little on the shady side of the law. Maybe it was, but that is part of the American way. When you think of liquor, and you live in one area of the country you might think of the Kennedys. If you live in another area you might think of Capone. Punchboards have as much place in our history as cars, guns, antiques, collectables and such. They have been a form of entertainment for people of this country for years. Good, bad or indifferent, it's part of our American history. I am not choosing sides, just trying to show the brilliance that was brought out in order to sustain an industry that for all practical purposes could have been snuffed out at it's inception. I would have to say this would not have happened if it weren't for the legal and inherent minds of the Brewers, who had patents on punchboards classifying them as a vending device. Once that was accepted it was nearly impossible to change. The more I look into this part of our history, the more interested I become.

Ledger Boards

The top ledger board (Figure 1-1) has 8,000 holes. Now at 25¢ a punch, the establishment took in $2,000 and they paid out a new Chevy. As a kind of an advertisement for a Chevrolet (Figure 2-1), they range in price from $495 up to $675, or the special sedan was $725. So you see that that board could take in a lot of money. It was also a register board. There was a big slip of paper that went with it and when you hit numbers like 100, 500, 1000 and up, that is how you qualified for that. So it was guaranteed that the board did sell out and the establishment took their $2000 and they could give away a new car and have a healthy profit.

Closed Ledger Boards
Figure 1-1
Open Ledger Boards
Figure 1-2
Closed Ledger Board Open Ledger Boards

And the board underneath there (Figure 1-2) is a 10,000 hole board and that could be used for the same way you give away a car - you could give away a Lincoln or a Cadillac with that baby and also if you'll notice on both of those boards, a string with the punch for the tickets. Now that's a pretty big deal because this particular board has 121 holes per square inch. And so it takes a special key to poke out the tickets and if the key got lost, you would almost have to use a type of needle or something to poke them out. So Brewer, who invented this particular type of board, had it protected with the patent (Figure 2-1 and 2-2) and the patent on that was unique. It was presented July 8, 1919.

The Punch for Punchboards
Figure 2-1
Brewer's Punch Patent
Figure 2-2
The Punch for Punchboards Punch Pattent

Disguise Boards

Now these are the smallest of the disguise boards. The cigarette pack of that particular one (Figure 3-1) goes inside a pack of short cigarette packs like Lucky's , Chesterfields, Camels or Phillp Morris. The other one with the little red star (Figure 3-1) - that goes into like a king sized which at the time would have been probably Pall Mall or Wings, or Marvel or one of those.

The Diamond match box punchboard was probably one of the most popular as far a small punchboards (Figure 3-1 and 3-2). That could be carried in your pocket and looks like a box of safety matches. Some of the women who were working punchboards could carry them in their purse as a disguise board. You'd have to take the thing apart to know that it was a punchboard. You don't see to many of those around any more, but the catalogs that I have, they really pushed them and they sold a ton of them.

Closed Disguise Boards
Figure 3-1
Open Disguise Boards
Figure 3-2
Closed Disguise Board Open Disguise Boards

Contact Ding Rangeloff at ding@rangeloffcollection.com