Difference between revisions of "The Penny King Company"

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Image:Gumball-Charm-MtM-01B.jpg|''Mandrake / blue casing''

Revision as of 14:22, 11 August 2019

Display Card
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Country: Mini usa.gif USA / English


Charms first appeared in vending machines about 1930 in US, these were mostly imported from Japan and came with silk strings attached. The operator removed the strings before placing them in his machines. The charms were generally sold in penny vending machines with a small candy. The novelty of the charms lasted for a couple of years, but died becauce of lack of variety[1]

In 1949 the Penny King Company (Pittsburgh) started making charms for the growing vending machine market. In the beginning they contracted for molds and jobbed out the molding and plating to outside firms. The firm opened a plant in Puerto Rico for the manufacture of charms n 1951 and became a national sales agent for Acorn Charm Vendor parts and assessories in 1953. By 1955 the firm was one of the major charm manufactures and became sales agent for the Penny-Nickel Atlas Master vendor machines.

Gumball Prizes with King Feature characters

As the world's largest selection of minature charms in 1958 KFS licensed the Penny King Company to manufacture and sell buttons, rings and lockets, using 39 different King Feature characters. The 39 different characters included:

  • Mandrake the Magician by Lee Falk and Phil Davis: Mandrake, Lothar
  • The Phantom by Lee Falk and Wison McCoy: The Phantom, Diana Palmer, Devil
  • Flash Gordon: Flash Gordon, Dale Arden
  • Prince Valiant: Prince Valiant
  • The Lone Ranger: The Lone Ranger, Tonto
  • Little Annie Rooney: Annie Rooney, Zero
  • Bringing up Father: Jiggs, Maggie
  • Henry: Henry, Henrietta
  • The Katzenjammer Kids: Mama, Hans, Fritz, Der Captain, Der Inspector
  • Popeye: Popeye the Sailor, Olive Oyl, Wimpy, Swee'Pea
  • Barney Google and Snuffy Smith by Fred Lasswell : Barney Google, Snuffy Smith, Jughaid, Cricket Smith/Barlow, Toozy Barlow and 2 other figures
  • Tillie the Toiler: Tillie Jones, Clarence "Mac" Macpougall and 1 other figure
  • Rosco Sweenwy by Roy Campbell Crane: Rosco Sweeny, Lucille Sweeney
  • The Little King: The King
  • Little Iodine: Little Iodine


The various figures are printed on paper and have a plastic casings in yellow, blue, red, green and white colors. Several colored casing have diluted colors, light blue, light red, transparang red and on. It appears that it also was produced a series with a metallic looking (silver, gold or bronze) casing. Another distinct series of the charms was double sided with a clear frame, with different figures on each side.


King Comic Feature Rings

In 1959 the Penny King Company adverticed[2] the King Comic Feature Rings, with the same pictures used for the charms.

King Comic Feature Buttons

The same pictures from the charms were also used on the ad for the pinback button series.


  1. "Need to Increase Mdse. Variety Made Charm Mfr. Bulk Op", Billboard 16 July 1955, p 78
  2. Billboard, 25 May 1959, p94