21 June 2006
[CARD TABLE.] -- HAMMOND, LAURENS (1895-1973), INVENTOR. "HAMMOND ELECTRIC BRIDGE TABLE." MODEL 4H, 115. SER. NO. 7674. CHICAGO: HAMMOND CLOCK, CO., .
28½ X 28½ X 28½ INCHES. WALNUT-STAINED SCALLOPED-RIBBED SIDES AND FOLDING TAPERED LEGS, REMOVABLE TOP (COVERING REPLACED). INSIDE THE ELECTRO-MECHANICAL DEVICE FOR DEALING CARDS, ALUMINUM FRAMEWORK, PLASTIC GEARS, BRAIDED CORD AND BROWN PLASTIC PLUG, THE WHOLE MOUNTED ON ORIGINAL PICTORIAL PRINTED BASE WITH INSTRUCTIONS AND COMMENTS ON THE TABLE'S FUNCTIONS.
A LUXURY FOR THE BRIDGE ENTHUSIAST. Hammond's electro-mechanical bridge table was introduced in 1932, just in time for Chicago's 1933 Century of Progress exhibition. The Hammond company and its inventor/owner Laurens Hammond wer known primarily for its production of clocks and organs, notably the B3 which featured the Leslie rotating speaker. A chess and bridge aficionado, Hammond invented the electric bridge table wherein a card deck is placed in the deck tray. Pushing in this tray activates an electric motor by opening a strategically placed switch on the metal frame. As the mechanism turns (clockwise) an arm bearing a rubber "thumb" swings around . As it nears the tray containing the cards, it lowers and pulls the top card up a ramp onto the circular track. A second arm hooks the card and carries it around the track.
The mechanism in the center "decides" which of the four hands will get the card. The serrated wheel has notches cut to three depths in 52 positions. The depth of the notch determines the destination hand. Each full deal cycle requires 53 rotations of the mechanism, so each deal is begun from a different point in the pattern. Hammond called this the "robot."
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