(Topic ID: 133226)

You need a Cow’s help to move a Horse.

By SteveinTexas

6 years ago

Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

  • 34 posts
  • 15 Pinsiders participating
  • Topic is favorited by 8 Pinsiders


Linked Games

  • Nags Williams, 1960

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#1 6 years ago


Williams during the 50’s thru 1960 under Harry Williams guidance made very interesting moving mechanisms to attract interest from players and probably another watching audience that possibly gambled on the outcome. Possibly the most popular mechanism still are the baseball games with the rotating men in the light box. One of the most unique is the Nags rotating bumpers. These popular mechanical inventions have made these games hold premium interest for collectors even today. The fact that the 1960 Nags had two of these mechanisms mentioned probably explains some of its popularity. I think its bright colors are a plus too.

This moving horse or racing car mechanism was first fitted by Williams on the 1951 Hay burners, followed then other games every month such as Jalopy (cars), Nags, Sparkplugs (horses not cars) and Sea Jockeys (Sea horses). The next year was Horse Feathers and Sweep Stakes then Daffy Derby in 1954 and finally the last Nags in 1960. It is a simple and fun idea from the time and that helps make the games popular to many collectors.

Whist restoring my Nags game I needed to clean and inspect the moving horse mechanism. I have the same mechanism in my 1951 Jalopy which has a racing car theme and on review the mechanism seems to have changed little in the 9 years between the games. I like this feature as you can probably tell and it is probably why I sought out a 1960 Nags game as it is well known as the best of all these types of games.

The assembly has a 50V double motor actuated device that moves the horses individually down a track until one reaches the end, winning the game and if it is your horse the game pays you replays. On the surface it all seems simple but to work the mechanism needs to be able to move the horses individually when a bumper is actuated, or in groups when the target or lane for odd and even is actuated and then all together when game is restarted and the horses are lined up at the start line. How it does this is thanks to as the title hints is a cows assistance.

To strip down the motor to inspect there are pins through the gear wheel and shaft to be removed. Using the correct punch drive out and slip of the chain and gears. The motor can be removed by removing the 4 screws. The drive shaft sits in the assembly and once the frame side is taken apart it slides out. On my game and probably yours the shaft assembly (see picture 11) needed no further stripping down just cleaning and lubrication.


I will add the next story upload in a little while. Topics seem to max out at 8 photos regardless of their size.

#2 6 years ago





The horses each are connected to their own cog wheel that are mounted on a motor driven shaft with an individual cog brake lever that is only unlocked from the cog when a signal is actuated by its individual relay. The gear wheel or cog wheels are now free to rotate on the shaft whilst the others remain locked. If this was all there was the motor rotated and all the cogs brake levers locked the motor would burn out quickly, it doesn’t because there is a spring loaded pressure washer made from leather and soaked in Neatfoot oil that allows the cogs to remain stationary and the shaft still to rotate.

So how does a cow help? The spring pressure and increases the friction imparted to the gear cog but the motor when energized is sized to overcome this friction. Neat foot oil is made from cow shin bones and is readily absorbed by the cow provided leather washers to make a long-lasting lubrication. Other oils are not a good substitute so try to use the real Neatfoot oil (All farm feed stores stocks the real oil for conditioning of horse saddles) your game not the cows will appreciate it. This game would not have lasted this long without the correct oil so there you have it, it’s a cow that makes it work properly.




#3 6 years ago


The drive chain is connected together with a spring and the horse connector is located at this point also. The edge of the horse connector is designed to hit the physical stops at each end as it passes and opens switches that make the winning circuit or signals that all the horses have reached the start line when the game resets. This area can be quite messy but doesn’t need hardly any grease.


The unit will clean up nicely but you will need to take it all apart and remove years of probable incorrect lubrication excesses to get the mechanism to function flawlessly. You need liberal lubrication of the Neatsfoot oil every 6 months or when you are bored and a little Teflon grease on the metal rails no more that. The chains will get lubrication second hand from the cogs so go sparingly and it will run for years and stay clean.

The use of a leather washer and Neatsfoot oil was used on the rotating mixer and control units in bingo pinball games and is a highly effective and rarely have issues even after 55+ years, if lubricated on a regular basis. If you need to make a replacement leather washer I would use a piece cut from a tool work belt that all box stores sell. An ordinary pants leather belt is probable too thin as it is has a filler stitched in the center, guess how I know.

#4 6 years ago


Thanks for sharing,

#5 6 years ago

Excellent. I love it when games get placed in the right hands.

#6 6 years ago

Nice work. Thanks for the pictures.

#7 6 years ago

Man, that's when they really made stuff!

#8 6 years ago

This is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

#9 6 years ago

It makes me think about the old rather dry put down line " You don't know what you don't know". How things were operated and how materials available were used is becoming totally lost to many.

Sites like this with superb picture and story picture viewing potential are a stop gap archive. However, Pinside could be gone tomorrow and Pin wiki has only a fraction of what knowledge is out there. Maybe a "Ripleys believe it or not" style pinball museum is a possibility, or not.

#10 6 years ago

Thank you for taking the time to do this. I might even ring your doobell one day for a tour!

#11 6 years ago

Interesting. Thanks!

#12 6 years ago

Happy to do it, I enjoy the hobby for the restoration part. I still have to get this game to work now its back together but that won't take too long.

#13 6 years ago

Outstanding work. Thank you for sharing.

LTG : )™

#14 6 years ago

Very nice work Steve and thanks for sharing! That's how it should be done, then you know exactly what you've got. Enjoy.

#15 6 years ago
Quoted from Cash_Riprock:

Very nice work Steve and thanks for sharing! That's how it should be done, then you know exactly what you've got. Enjoy.

I agree the older games that I have totally rebuilt so far are my most trouble free. Makes this hobby fun.

#16 6 years ago

I'm glad that of your talent is around to share. thanks!

#17 6 years ago

Thanks for the info...I shopped a Williams Derby Day awhile back with the same horse unit. I oiled the leather rings with 3 in 1 oil....it works great (for now) but now I know better for next time!

3 months later
#18 6 years ago

I recently acquired a 1967 Williams derby day...it has the same unit in it, which functions 80% correct maybe 70% of the time....but thanks to this thread I'm not shooting in the dark when I go to clean it! great tip on the neatsfoot oil too; I had no idea. Great pictures, great explanations. Thank you in advance for making this resto that much easier!

#19 6 years ago


You are very welcome. Like others, trying to pay forward as others have before me.

Steve J

#20 6 years ago

Hi Steve - this is great info, and I do like the similarity between other clutch-driven mechanisms like in the bingos.

Quick question for you - I was told by a bingo restorer that the Neatsfoot oil as found in a tack store is not the same as the Neatsfoot compound found in hardware stores. He advised never to use the tack store Neatsfoot oil as it would become gummy on the clutches over time. The Neatsfoot compound apparently contains some kind of additive that makes it more viscous? I'm really not certain. I can tell you that over a period of years, the Neatsfoot compound does not gum up.

When I lubricate bingo clutches I always use Neatsfoot compound, but that's because I live and work closer to a hardware store than a tack or feed store. If I was closer to a tack or feed store I most certainly would have purchased the big jug of Neatsfoot oil.

I wonder if in home use the point is moot - it is highly unlikely that you will play your beautiful Nags (and just like your Can Can, it is beautiful indeed) as heavily as it was played on location - but I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the matter?

#21 6 years ago

The Neatsfoot oil I show in the picture a few threads up states on the front that it's 100% pure. I get it at animal feed stores as I said. If I recall leather can be soaked so to soften it for horse bridles etc. I don't remember seeing a compound and that word means it is more than one ingredient by definition so does not make me think it's pure.

Steve J

#22 6 years ago

I guess Turf Champ is another machine they used this similar mech. I'd love to find I nice example of that...

#23 6 years ago


Reviewed recommendations on the web and wiki page. The compound or prime neadsfoot oil is mixed with mineral or petroleum oils and may breakdown the leather quicker. Some prefer the compound or olive oils. Say overall it is 60% for pure neatsfoot oil over other products but none mention pinball or bingo.

I doubt it matters which you use so I am with you its probably a moot point. So find the cheapest I say and lube away.

Steve j.

#24 6 years ago

Thanks Steve! I thought it was odd that the compound would be considered better - the manual for these games never calls out a compound, only Neatsfoot oil.

Much appreciated!


#25 6 years ago
Quoted from pinhead52:

I guess Turf Champ is another machine they used this similar mech. I'd love to find I nice example of that...

Yes Turf Champ has the horses on the playfield. It doesn't look like there is much room for the ball and wow it has got to be a ball drainer!


#26 6 years ago

quick question steve,

i am in the position of replacing some of the leather washers...you said about tool belt leather being thicker than a pants belt, so i tried an old work boot and a welding glove....the work boot is very thick leather, about .110" and looks like it might be suitable for the large leather washers in my first picture below. unfortunately they all look great and im not intending on replacing them. in the second picture you can see one of the small washers is missing entirely from horse #5...these washers all seem thinner, and so the welding glove was an idea but its only about .060" and it seems like its a suede kind of leather. do you think using the thicker leather will be acceptable for the small washers? it seems like the springs should be able to soak up the extra thickness without a problem, but i figured i should ask an expert.

its curious, the differences between your mech and mine...i didnt see the large washers on yours, and mine has copper chains of all things...just interesting stuff...



#27 6 years ago
Quoted from Foose:

and mine has copper chains of all things

until you stick a magnet to it....then its steel....what?!

#28 6 years ago


Interesting. I cleaned my chains in the ultrasonic cleaner. The gear drive chain came out looking like it had a copper coating. I wonder if it is an intermediate coating on the carbon steel links before they plated with nickel or something.

The large washers are replacements and they could have been soaked in the neatsfoot oil prior fitting. Anyway squirt a bunch of oil and they will soon soak up and migrate the oil thru the leather. Sometimes on eBay they sell the leather washers under the bingo pinball description. But use what you have and see.

I have a transformer to rotate them prior putting back in the game so this helps with testing. When you rebuild with the missing leather washer I released the 'Allen' key tension and let the components and springs etc equalize there positions on the shaft before retightening. They seem to work OK. I think the smaller leather washers do not need much oil as they are so small.

Here is some horse game info from the 69 parts manual you might like.

This is going to work well when you are finished.

Steve J.


#29 6 years ago

Here is a link to some washers on eBay for a bingo game. Pricey if not for a complete change out on a game.


#30 6 years ago

and then i remembered i have a book with parts and prices for this machine!....oddly enough, the small washers are identified as being felt, only the washers to the left side of the gear are the leather ones. and what you said about the copper chain makes complete sense...good call! thanks again for all your help, you are an invaluable resource!

#31 6 years ago


Interested in your felt reference info. Could you point me to it for my edification.

#32 6 years ago

sure thing steve, ill try to get all my materials on here...ive got the instruction book, and the catalog supplement "F" with parts and prices, wiring diagram, all that stuff. it might take me a minute but ill get them on here. until i do, and i dont know if this helps, but the part number for the felt washer was 20A-7550 and the leather washer was 20A-7551.

#33 6 years ago

well, ive scanned in all of the documentation ive got. here is the page out of the supplement "F" with the horse assembly on it. is there a specific spot i should upload the entire thing to?




#34 6 years ago

What this is showing is that Williams were tweaking this drive arrangement. From review of my 51 Jalopy which works perfectly it is all small leather washers. The Nags is similar I think. The 69 parts manual are different to what you show on your parts page. I have never seen the felt washer but again I never knew to look. Do you notice that the compression spring number is different too.

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