Origin & History of Claw Machine

claw machine game

As we all know, the claw machine is a very simple arcade game device. But few people know his true origins.


If people really want to trace the source, need to back to the early 20th Century. At that time, the steam shovel used in the excavation of the Panama Canal was fascinating. The first claw crane machine was invented by imitating the steam shovel, but it was no longer used to dig earth, but candies.


Early claw machines include Panama Digger, Erie Digger, and Miami Digger. With the development of technology, they not only start to use electricity, but also the prizes inside have changed a lot. The owners no longer put candies in them, but cigars, lighters, and noble jewelry. The owners also designed new pure gold cabinets to replace cheaper ones, and directly put lots of silver coins or coin rolls to attract more valued customers and gamblers. It is not regarded as simple amusement equipment, but a source of economic or luxury goods.


In the 1950s, new legislation was issued. This time direct the spearhead to the claw machine, which was listed as a gambling violation category. The government began to bulk close down them. Only some in hotels or remote places survived. It also declined from the previous golden age.


But there are also people working tirelessly for the rebirth. An amusement owner named Lee moss gathered other recreation owners to lobby the government, hoping to redefine the claw machine as amusement equipment. It took two years to get the government’s compromise, and the compromise was accompanied by stringent regulations. The claw machine could not be automated by electricity, and its coin acceptor had to be removed. This almost cut off the possibility of making money for them.


In the 1980s, the claw machine began to gradually break away from the government’s restrictions and began to slowly back to people’s vision. They occupied a very important position in these Pizza Huts. The following spread to various industries, including several famous teams in NBA can increase club fans by this method that put medals and uniforms into machines. And obtain more economic support from the advertisements on the machines.


In the 1990s, the fire boom of claw machine finally spread to Southeast Asia. They have been exported most in Japan and South Korea. Especially, they have become an essential part of people’s daily life in Japan.