Danny Leach, who maintains the Bingo Pinballs website, wrote to me asking how I became interested in bingo pinballs and other coin operated machines. This was my reply to Danny:
In my teen years here in Galveston the town was wide open. There were slot machines in virtually all businesses from mom and pop stores, restaurants, drive-ins, pool halls, taverns--everywhere. The pinball games were the one-ball horserace themed machines like my Grandstand which paid automatically.
Growing up in this environment, playing them was what many people did. My high school gang sort of got hooked and stayed broke because of them.
I always was curious as to how they worked. So, later in life when I could afford a toy or two, I bought some to satisfy my curiosity.
When I came out of the Navy in '57 I put a few arcade machines on the beachfront at a kiddieland. The machines were destroyed in a storm, but I still had to pay for them. I was fascinated with a machine that would work for me while I slept!
I became interested in some of the carnival games that were used at the kiddieland and ran a few myself as a part time job (I worked regularly for the Santa Fe Railway). Thus the interest in H C Evans catalogs that I publish on my site.
Thanks for your inquiry. Answering your email brought back some pleasant memories.
Within weeks of the above, I received an email from Ray Geigrich whose father-in-law was geneal manager of the H C Evans Co. His email and my reply follows:
Your posting on the internet about H C Evans is very accurate and has my family curious because we have a relationship with Evans,
You must be related to the family or had someone in your family that worked there? My name is Ray (Bud) Giegerich. My father-in-law was general manager of H C Evans for many years until he passed away in 1954. "Uncle" Dick Hood along with his wife, Bess, were the owners. My father-in-law was Rex Shriver and I married his daughter, Lois in 1949. Dick Hood's daughter Esther, and only surviving child, and I are still in contact with each other.
Now about your question regarding a photograph of a mechanism or anything about the product....I am sorry, but I can't be of any help. As mentioned in the story the plant closed in 1954 or 55. The last president was their son, Dick Hood, Esther's brother. He too has passed on.
I would like very much to learn who you are so I can tell Esther and her daughter, Patricia, about your interest and who you are. I am sure they would enjoy knowing.
I hope to hear from you.
Hello Ray -
Thank you for writing.
No, I am not related to, nor have I ever known anyone who worked at Evans.
My hometown of Galveston was open gambling in the 40's and early 50's which were my teen years. Slot machines were everywhere, and one of the most popular machine in numbers was the Evans Bangtails Winter Book. This was followed by Bally one ball pins and console machines, and in rural areas the mechanical Mills machines were exhibited. I loved playing these machines.
I had a fascination with coin machines. I always liked the idea of a machine working and earning while its owner was asleep!
Galveston began closing down beginning in 1951. The automatic payout machines disappeared and the Bally bingo pins were introduced as their replacement.
My Navy years of 1953-1957 took me to Japan where I was a court reporter for General Courts Martial. I found in the evidence files of cases tried before I got there a series of catalogs from the K C Card Co and O C Novelty Co, sellers of marked cards and "advantage" dice.
Home from the Navy I met the owner of an amusement park, Luke Jones. He had a copy of a catalog from the Evans Park and Carnival Device Corporation. I asked Luke about the various games ane how they worked. I bought a Bee Hive and ran that through the summer part time (I worked regularly for Santa Fe Railroad). Later I bought a razzle from Evans. Thus was my introduction to Evans.
I always wanted a Evans horserace machine. I was curious as to how they worked. When the internet expanded I finally found one. Later I added a few other machines that I played as a youth, again with curiosity of how they operated, the odds, etc.
I cobbled together my web site as an information place for others who may be interested in old slot machines or who may have an interest in outdoor amusements. The information I aggregated about Evans comes from various books I have on slot machines such as those authored by Bueschel and Fey. Many photos of machines I took from eBay auctions over several years.
Evidently others are interested in Evans also. The Wikipedia article,
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._C._Evans>, is not my authorship although theyrefer to my website several times.
Again, thank you for writing. I would appreciate corrections if anything I have written is incorrect. Also, if you have any stories about the company, I would be pleased to have them to post on my web site. I have inquiries about these machines and products from all over the world.
Ray Watts - Galveston, TX