Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Bottle top fraud

Time for another random newspaper article about bottled beer. Or more specifically, crown corks. These ingenious kids had found a good use for old bottle tops. Though the authorities saw it as fraud.

Fraudulent Use by "Fittie" Youths.
At a Children's Court Aberdeen yesterday five boys from the Footdee district, aged between eight and eleven years, were charged, before Bailie Edwards, with having, on, 16th July, inserted 101 spurious discs into an automatic machine at the Sea Beach, belonging to the British Automatic Machine Company, whereby they obtained 38 packets of chocolate.

The discs consisting the flattened tops beer bottles were produced in court and in the course of evidence one boy said he was pulling the drawer of the machine while another boy inserted the disks.

Questioned as to where they had got the discs some of the boys made reference to an older lad from whom they said they got the discs ready shaped.

Baillie Edwards admonished and dismissed three of the boys.

To two of the boys who had had previous convictions he administered very stern warning, pointing out that theft was very serious offence, and that a further appearance at court would certainly lead to the birch rod. He put both on probation to be of good behaviour for twelve months."
Aberdeen Journal - Thursday 01 August 1929, page 2.

I was confused by the "Fittie" inm the headline, until I dug a little and discovered that it's the slang name of Footdee, a weird little fishing village at one end of Aberdeen harbour.

Based on my knowledge of crown corks and pre-decimal currency, my bet would be that they were counterfeiting halfpennies. How much did a bar of chocolate cost in the 1920's?

The British Automatic Machine Company - not a very snappy name, is it? I suppose it describes the business well enough, but it's not exactly memorable.

1 comment:

Matt said...

My grandad worked as a toolmaker at MetroVicks engineering factory in Trafford Park, Manchester. When the company introduced automatic vending machines on the shop floor in the 50's, they were filled with bits of scrap metal that the workers had turned into dummy coins on the lathes.