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NBVA Conference - Oak Manufacturing


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I have been learning so much lately about the history of bulk vending from my friend Frank Parisi. He knows ALL the history of bulk vending, the major players, the major companies, everything. He is an amazing young man, having been born into this business. His family was very prominent in this field for years and years.

Anyway..........I wanted to share this with everyone about Oak Manufacturing Company. Obviously, I did not know alot of this. Oak truly has been the the leader in the bulk industry in so many ways. Enjoy the reading folks:

In 1948, Leon "Hi-Ho" Silver and other members of the vending machine business on the West Coast felt the acute need of a machine which could serve many operators for many purposes. Leon's friend and neighbor Harold Probasco was just finishing up his patent on a precision built, die-cast aluminum machine with interchangeable parts. Such a machine became a dream and ultimately a realization of the officers of the Oak Manufacturing Company, Inc.

Late in 1948, the Oak Manufacturing Company, Inc. was formed by Harold T. Probasco, who was then Vice-President and Production Manager, Sam Weitzman who was President, Sid H. Bloom who was Chairman and Secretary-Treasurer of this organization and a small percentage for the introduction went to Leon "Hi-Ho" Silver who helped with sales.

Sid Bloom and Sam Weitzman owned the Operators Vending Machine Supply Company which was then a manufacturer of jaw breakers, candy coated peanuts commonly called Boston Baked Beans, gumball's and other products to be sold in bulk vending machines. Besides manufacturing, Operators Vending Machine Supply Company was the largest distributor of vending machines, charms and supplies on the West Coast.

Oak started out with rather limited ambition of supplying operators of the Western States with a multi-purpose vendor through their local sales office, the Operators Vending Machine Supply Company in Los Angeles, California. A small plant of approximately 1,000 square feet was put into operation. A great portion of the work was done by hand; parts were cast and painted on the outside.

Attending the N.A.M.A. show in 1949, the Acorn bulk vendor was greeted with a flood of orders from the East as well as the West. The directors of Oak were forced to expand their production facilities and a new plant of approximately 6,000 square feet in size was designed and built. Five years since its inception, the Oak manufacturing Company occupied a factory of approximately 20,000 square feet with an additional 15,000 square feet of warehousing space.

Housed then in the Culver City, California plant, it became the only factory of its kind in the world. Devoted, as it was, exclusively to the manufacture of a precision-made, die-cast aluminum vending machine. Oak became the largest bulk vending machine manufacturer in the world. Full time engineers, drafting department, die-casting department, punch presses, painting department, deburring department, polishing department, all keyed to producing a machine and its parts in quantities sufficient to meet the "machine a minute" pace set by the order department.

Backed by the dream of the Oak Manufacturing Company, was the skill of engineer-craftsman Harold T. Probasco, who as an officer-stockholder as well as Production Manager has applied engineering "Know-How" to the manufacture of vending machines.

Oak's President and Secretary-Treasurer were dynamos at the head of Operators Vending Machine Supply Company, leaders in the vending machine business and the largest West Coast supplier to the vending machine business for over 25 years before Oak started. They knew the demands of a machine in the field and operators were able to take credit for the supremacy of Oak machines and then the future "coming of age" of a full-sized bulk vending industry.

Growth of the Oak manufacturing Company was and is an inspiring story of American ingenuity and foresight. With superior products, fair-minded sales policies, sound pricing, rapid service, Oak's Acorn bulk vendor then years later their line of Vista machines could be found in every country in the World.

Sam Weitzman's two sons Norman and Barry joined the Oak manufacturing company in the 1950's. Norman was said to be the most brilliant engineer the bulk vending industry has ever seen. In the 1970's, Sam's youngest son Lane entered the business.

Sid Bloom, Sam and Norman Weitzman together built the largest bulk vending machine empire in the World. Operators Vending Machine Supply Company supplied every operator on the west coast with quality vending products, Oak Manufacturing Company became the largest bulk vending machine manufacturer with distributors all around the World. There wasn't a country in the World that you couldn't find Oak bulk vending machines. They formed another division which became the largest operators of bulk vending machines in chain stores in the west coast with plans to go national. They also were the first in vacuum-metalizing which was a chroming process on metal and plastic parts. This division produced toys for the famous Mattel Toy company.

Lane Weitzman years later came up with the idea of antique die cast gumball machines for home use. For many years Oak was the largest producer of antique home machines. Carousel industries (today owned by Ford Gum) was a distributor of these machines and knocked them off in China with a cheap plastic version years later. This plastic version is the popular one you see today in stores.

Some fun facts...

From 1949 to the mid - 1960's the Folz Vending Company purchased Oak Acorn machines and used them to help the company grow nationally. Folz Vending purchased over 50,000 Oak Acorns. In the mid- 1970's, Folz Vending purchased Oak's route of over 20,000 bulk vending machines in chain stores on the west coast. This helped Folz become a truly national operating company and the Largest operator on the West Coast.

In the early 1970's, Leo Leary, then President of the Ford Gum and Machine Company and father in law of present day President and owner George Stege decided that it was time to discontinue the famous round globe, chrome body one cent Ford gumball machine and decided that the Ford Gum and Machine network of distributors where to operate only Oak Vista machines. Ford Gum and Machine Company purchased over 500,000 Vista machines for their charity routes.

In the late 1970's- early 1980's, Ford Gum and Machine Company purchased the Operators Vending Machine Supply Company and changed its name to Astro Operators which is still in business today.

One of the most famous facts, today's Beaver RB is the Oak Acorn. Many may not know, the Beaver Vending Machine Company was originally founded by Kenneth McPhail of today's Actionmatic Company in Canada. Kenneth McPhail was the owner of McPhail Vending Service which was the largest route operator in Canada. One of Kenneth McPhail's route drivers, Joeseph Schwarzli was asked by Mr. McPhail if they could manufacture the Acorn bulk vending machine that they presently operate and distribute. Mr. McPhail went on to found the Beaver Casting and Vending Supply Company. Their first product was an exact copy of the Acorn machine. in October of 1962, Oak charged in court Beaver with Patent Infringement which Oak won the case. Beaver had to stop producing the Acorn style machine which is known today as the Beaver RB. Problem's occurred and Beaver was sold to Vendors Manufacturer's in Tennessee. Joseph Schwarzli moved to Tennessee for two years before purchasing the Beaver Company. Today, Joseph and Bernie own and operate the Beaver Machine Company which still manufacture's the Beaver RB with much success. Beaver is now known around the world but many people do not know that this machine is actually the Oak Acorn.

Did you know that the Eagle Vending Machine Company and A&A Global Industries PO 89 and PM Supreme are copies of the original Oak Vista line of machines designed by Norman Weitzman.

In 1985, Jim Hinton purchased the Oak Manufacturing Company. Jim started in the 1960's doing everything from working on the routes, to working in Operators Vending Machine Supply Company and now present day owner of the Oak Manufacturing Company.

Oak is the Original. Oak was always the leader in bulk vending. Oak always had a wonderful name for quality and service. Oak has helped grow operators all over the world.

In the 1990's, that's when Northwestern, Beaver and A&A started really coming on the scene and starting to make head way in the bulk vending industry. Its time for us to all come back to the original, the company that helped grow this industry. Give Oak a try. Oak machines were always the finest and will be the finest again for the future.

"From Little Acorns - Mighty Incomes Grow!"

Oak Manufacturing Company, Inc.

2120 East 25th Street

Vernon, California 90058



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