November 4, 2014
Drop Coins Slowly
These photos portray an assortment of old postage stamp vending machines I have found in Indiana’s neighborhood bars. The machines have been adapted to dispense small paper gambling tickets called pull-tabs, which can be redeemed at the bar. Like lottery tickets, pull-tabs can be purchased for as little as a quarter and promise pay offs of up to thousands of dollars.
Pull-tab machines have made illegal appearances in Indiana’s bars for years. In 2008, in a move to help small taverns stay afloat during the recession, they were legalized. Licenses were purchased and stamp machines resurfaced from the backroom or basement.
Many of the machines were manufactured a half-century ago and show significant signs of wear. Sometimes they jam easily or have only one ticket slot working. Modern, electronic pull-tab machines are often also available, but people seem to prefer to take a chance on the malfunctioning, timeworn stamp machines. I find this curious and charming, and so I decided to begin documenting these objects and the spaces they inhabit.