Gumball Charms

Charms first appeared in vending machines in the 1930’s in the US, and were generally imported from Japan. The charms were generally sold in penny vending machines, coming with a lolly withing a plastic ball shaped container.

The Penny King Company (Pittsburgh) started making charms in 1949 for the growing vending machine market. Most of the charms were available in either copper, silver or gold plate or out of plastic. In 1953 the company became the national sales agent for Acorn Charm Vendor parts and accessories, and from 1955 it became the sales agent for the Penny-Nickel Atlas Master vending machines (as seen below).


The various figures are printed on paper and glued to a metallic looking (silver, gold or bronze) plastic casings. Various colored charms were also created, including yellow, blue, red, green or white colors. In addition another distinct series of the charms was double sided with a clear frame, with different figures on each side.

Images of the Phantom, Diana and Devil were the only characters used relating to the Phantom story line.