Jeff has a fantastic collection of Soapy Smith artifacts that he loves placing on display in his home. Jeff says his ex-wife often referred to his Soapy museum as "The Shrine" hence the name of this page.
Jeff made a nice little saloon in his home in order to display some of his collection. On top of the bar at the left is an 1893 Three Jack-Pot slot machine made by the Clawson Machine Co. The player deposited a nickel in the top slot and pushed down on the plunger which dropped the coin inside a glassed playing field of pins on which the nickel bounced off of as it dropped. The nickel ended up in one of three square bins at the bottom. If the player was lucky enough that the nickle landed inside one of three slot openings located just above the bins then the player once again pushed down on the plunger thus opening the bin directly underneith sending the prize nickles out to the winner. Every push of the plunger also activated a small music box inside the machine that playing a little tune for each nickle. Jeff's father, John Randolph Smith purchased the slot machine from the well known Harriet Pullen auction in 1973. It now resides proudly in the Skagway City Museum.
On the right of the bar top is an 1895-1897 Decatur Fairest Wheel model 3. This is called a trade stimulator, because they stimulated trade through the increased sale of cigars rather than pay off in cash as a slot machine does. The
player dropped a nickel in a slot opening located on the top of the
machine. The weight of the nickel as it rolled downward along the
inside edge turned the wheel visible under the glass. All around the
wheel are pins with numerals in between each pin. There are three
of the numeral "2" and one of the numeral "3." The rest are "1's." The top has a small flag
and what ever number lands under the flag, the player wins that many
in cigars. Cigars were regularly five cents so a player could not lose.
The player received at least one cigar for his nickel but took the
chance at winning two or even three cigars for the price of one, thus the proprietor's trade was stimulated.
The little arm you see at the far right of the photograph above belongs to Jeff's daughter, ever the ham Ashley had to get into the picture...somehow.
-THE SOAPY SMITH MUSEUM-
The following photographs are of Jeff's Soapy Smith collection. The little museum may have been small but it was packed with artifacts real museums can only dream of. Most of the items in the cases were owned by Soapy Smith.
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