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Discomatic serial numbers

Through the years I've recorded many serial numbers from Discomatics I have seen and found reference to on the Internet. This information is helpful in documenting the history of the Discomatic.

Mechanism serial numbers

The serial numbers assigned to Discomatics should hold some clues to the models and the sequence they were released. All Discomatic mechanisms that I've seen have a serial number in the form AA-123. The plates are normally blue/gold in colour as shown in the picture. From the records I have I now believe each prefix (AA in the example AA-123) was assigned to a unique group of Discomatic mechanisms.

Mechanism serial number
Mechanism serial number plate

Four digit serial numbers

Later Discomatic mechanisms featured four digit serial numbers. For example, BA-0200 and BA-0680. Four digit plates are silver/black. I can find no explanation for this change though to date all four digit serial numbers I have seen have a prefix starting with 'B'.

Four digit serial number
Four digit serial number plate

Serial number table

The table below shows each prefix group with corresponding model numbers.

Serial number prefix Discomatic type
AA KB (beige/orange)
AB KB (beige/orange)
AC Type A
AD KB (beige/orange, two-tone blue)
AF KB (beige/orange)
AG Victor (Japan)
AL mini Symphomatic
AM EL-POR V2 and mini Symphomatic
AN EL-POR V2 and mini Symphomatic
AP EL-POR V2, V3 and mini Symphomatic
BC mini Symphomatic
BE Victor (Japan)
BF Victor (Japan)

It's only my theory that the serial number batches were organised in this way, but based on the records I have that theory is currently holding apart from three examples.

One is an EL-POR V4 with 'AL' serial number. That should place it as older than a V2.

Two are KB Discomatics. Both are blue machines with late machine serial numbers, but with the very first 'AA' mechanisms.

I can't explain either of these anomalies unless older stock mechanisms found their way into new build on these occasions.

KB Discomatic machine serial numbers

In addition to the mechanism serial numbers, KB Discomatics also have machine serial numbers. These are paper stickers fixed internally to the front, right end of the player chassis, just behind the reject button and boxed yellow in the photo.

These machine serial numbers are in the format 952/01234 where 952 appears to designate the model Discomatic and the remaining digits the place the machine took in the manufacturing cycle.

This next table shows the relationship between the KB Discomatic machine and mechanism serial numbers I have recorded. The 952/ prefix is not shown for the machine serial number for clarity.

KB machine serial number
KB serial number location
Machine serial number range Mechanism serial number prefix
02497 - 03964 AA (cream/orange)
04164 - 04429 AF (cream/orange)
04783 AB (cream/orange)
05251 - 05658 AD (cream/orange, two-tone blue)

The results in the table are interesting. With the machine serial numbers listed in numeric order, the mechanism numbers so far fall into a block sequence by prefix. This appears a logical way to assign serial numbers. What is not so logical is the sequence of the prefixes as these do not run in alphabetical order.

The table suggests that the earliest batch of mechanisms used in the manufacture of KB Discomatics was prefix 'AA'. 'AF' followed these, then 'AB'. 'AD' was apparently the last batch with the highest serial numbers and also included all the blue KBs that I have found.

Could it have been that all four batches of mechanism were consigned to KB and just happened to be used in this sequence? I don't think so. In my experience AA and AF mechanisms feature a connection tagstrip and AB and AD mechanisms do not. That suggests to me that the AB and AD batches were made at a later date at Gerinvex as the pickup and lamp wiring would have to be adjusted to match the removal of the tagstrip.

I'm always interested to hear from Discomatic owners who have serial number information. Contact me if you would like to add anything to the serial number story.

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