The Not So “Silent Bell” of Lanark County




The slot machines of the 1930s were designed to be quieter and these machines were called the “Silent Bell.” Of the many improvements that were done to slot machines over the years, an important development was removing the noise from the slot machines. Probably due to the fact that they might be found out by local authorities. So the Silent Bell of the 1930’s was the answer to local illegal gambling spots which was just what the name proclaims – silent!

The double jackpot was introduced as the new payout system, which meant that players could hit a jackpot one after the other. Themed cabinet designs were introduced to make the machines look more appealing to players. These themes included the War Eagle, the Lion Head, the Roman Head and the Castle Front.

The gooseneck coin slot which had become the norm was changed to a different system, in which coins could be seen inside the slot machine moving in a row. This allowed the managers to see that real coins were in fact being used while at the same time improving the look of the slot machine. However, I guess that Silent Bell wasn’t so silent after all.

In January of  1935 the Almonte Gazette reported that fines of $40 and $33.40 costs with an alternative of two months in the county jail were penalties handed out, Wednesday, by Dr. J. T. Kirkland, district magistrate. It was a sequel to charges brought against thirteen businessmen of Lanark County who had allowed the operation of slot machines on their premise?, Only two charges were brought against an Almonte businessmen, the remaining eleven being divided between Carleton Place and Smiths Falls.


Perth Courier, October 16, 1896

John Duncan, $20–Gambling


Perth Courier, November 13, 1896–R.J. Illingsworth, once of Carleton Place, was shot through the heart and killed instantly on Oct. 30 by a man named T.S. Gardner at Devil’s Lake, N.D.  The two had an altercation about a gambling transaction.  Both were prominent citizens.

Perth Courier, Feb. 6, 1964–Snow Road–A side light of the big picnic might be mentioned as it reflects credit on the Odd Fellows as guardians of public morals.  A few visitors who were interested in making a less than honest dollar were ordered from the grounds with their gambling devices.  They continued business by the road side near the K & P station but with fewer patrons.

*In Carleton Place in the early 1900s there was a shooting in one of the rear rooms of the Mississippi Hotel. It was said there was a disagreement between two gamblers in the back gambling room


*In 1874 the press reported that the Council of Carleton Place have passed a by-law prohibiting the keeping of billiard, bagatelle and pigeon-hole tables for public resort in that village, under a penalty of not less than $25. The reasons for this stringent step as set forth in the preamble to the bylaw are contained in the following paragraph : As gambling is a vice of a very aggravated nature, which encourages drunkenness, profane swearing and frequently causes the ruin of both body and soul of those addicted to it, and not infrequently murder, it should therefore be discountenanced and suppressed within the Corporation of Carleton Place.


The Schwerdtfegerisms of Tobacco and Gambling

A Warning to Those Gambling Ladies of Carleton Place!

Gambling in Carleton Place — Viva Old Las Carleton Place

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News


About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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