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Frank Bird

Mecca Supporters 2019
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Frank Bird last won the day on June 28

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About Frank Bird

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  • Birthday November 9

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  1. Frank Bird

    JPM, my view from the inside. Frank Bird.

    That's the one... Good times, used to have a banging disco....
  2. Frank Bird

    JPM, my view from the inside. Frank Bird.

    Every single machine had and 92250 key on the outer cash box and the back doors.
  3. Frank Bird

    JPM, my view from the inside. Frank Bird.

    Hey guys let's not forget there were many more pubs than arcades in those days and in truth arcades didn't necessarily have the latest product. At that time we had to change products every 6 to 8 weeks and these filtered down to secondary sites etc.
  4. Frank Bird

    JPM, my view from the inside. Frank Bird.

    I used to visit at least once a month, remember the Wigan Pies but didn't know what the hell a barm cake was! I stayed at the hotel they owned, damned if I can remember the name. I did a lot of training for them as well, we hired a couple of bingo halls and brought in loads of engineers - more of that in later recollections.
  5. Frank Bird

    JPM, my view from the inside. Frank Bird.

    We did peak at 1000 in one week at one point...
  6. I recall that machine and the design but at that time I was off the tools as such and managing Development and production engineering and or SWP project management. What I do know is that the cabinet design was as a desire from Jack Jones to get into the US market, we even had an arcade on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, and as you may know eventually after JPM, Jack bought and I ran as MD, a sheet steel engineering company and developed the curved top, metal cabinet idea and the Azkoyen hopper through to large scale manufacture when we kicked off the Astra cabinet design, but if you read my posts I will go into that again.
  7. Frank Bird

    JPM, my view from the inside. Frank Bird.

    Sorry fella no, we never dreamt in a million years that they would be a collectors item! I do remember feeling a right pr3£k at the time doing a photo shoot and I can remember the crazy old colourful (ooh matron) coot taking the photos. He was playing the "Ink Spots" over and over again on a huge pair of corner mounted Tanoy speakers which I envied!
  8. Frank Bird

    JPM, my view from the inside. Frank Bird.

    To be honest I was happy to be using my head and not my hands and I had no focus other than my willingness to work and be rewarded. I had no bigger vision as it were. Regards Frank
  9. Frank Bird

    JPM, my view from the inside. Frank Bird.

    Once again forgive me, these are personal observations so I’m bound to figure in them. Ok, so early to mid 1970’s. Flairs were the in thing, that and turtle neck sweaters, bright flowered shirts and JPM were reinforcing their early beginnings. We seemed to have found a recipe for machine development that combined decent technical detail and popular game play. Most of this was the brain child of Alan Parker, Howard Parker and Ron Watts the latter being the one that combined the ideas of the others into great artwork design. At this time I had moved from reel build and test onto the Control Board test and from there a step, literally a step, through a newly opened break in the wall and onto the final machine test area. In reality this was taken quite soon after I had begun my employment with JPM and I was one of only a few individuals to have worked full time in all the areas within the JPM test area although others had obviously done similar with other smaller companies. Alongside the production staff’s motley collection of vehicles, the car park was beginning to be populated by vehicles that displayed, quite rightly, the recent success of the company. BMW 5 series, Rover P6 3.5, Aston Martin ( ok second hand ) and Mercedes. Visitors regularly turned up in equally high class vehicles and it was not unusual to see the odd Rolls or Bentley parked out front as the larger than life operators and distributors, sometimes with their secretary's ( nudge nudge ) came to look around. Let me necessarily outline at this point a little about the culture at JPM. It was a Team. That is no hyperbole or unrealistic exaggeration. That phrase has been hi-jacked over the years by wannabe’s with no real substance behind their claims, but it was used as a slogan in the JPM Marketing Strategy ( photo to follow ) and quite honestly, it was the truth. There was just not an us and them. The directors had a job to do as much as we all did but they often joined in with conversations at the factory door or came to have a chat and ask how things were and if anything could be improved, and they quite often were as a result. They also bought Fish and chips ( no Domino’s in those days ) when there was a need to work late, sometimes all nighters, and it was far more that just ‘trying to stay with the boys’. One of the biggest factual statements of the team culture was the payment structure. As memory serves we were on about £30(ish) a week, now that wasn’t a lot of money and certainly less than I had been earning as a time served Joiner and latterly a Ceramic tiler, but I had to give it all up due to an injury which is why I took this temporary job in a factory! (Nothing as permanent as temporary eh) If you worked a flat 40 hours then no bonus was payable ( as I remember ) needless to say I never found out and when the shout of “Bonus is up” was shouted out, the top wage earner on the huge paper chart pinned to the wall was either Gary G, Gary P, or me or one of very few others. I have recollections of monthly pay slips boosted by over £1,000 but 70-80 hour weeks were not unusual, and you were never, never ever, late. I also have vague recollections of going over to the Plymouth Arms on bonus day, but I don’t remember going home. That is not to say that this was a constant, I remember vaguely being asked to go the cabinet shop which had a large open area that was usually filled with cabinets but on this day was ominously empty. As we all circled Jack Jones he explained about the huge downturn in business and that he had to lay off 30% of the production staff, turning around he apologised individually as he picked every third person, I did the maths and the head count pretty quickly and stayed exactly where I was but filled with fear at the possibility of being laid off for the first time in my life. A few months later most of those staff that were laid off were back anyway. However it was just a little time later when a position was advertised internally for the development department and although I had not long been married and taken on quite a mortgage, the idea of a constant flat salary, but admittedly at a considerably lower wage, appealed to me after all I could still earn a few quid on the weekend tiling if I needed to! And so it was that I left the production area and climbed the stairs ( and not just metaphorically ) to claim my bench in the development area and join a bunch of new colleagues and disciplines. L These were the TEAM ( printed on the back) give away T shirts - one was in each Cash box for a period L -> R Rob Higgins, Me, Ernie Beaver, Rob Old, Howard Parker, Huw Thomas
  10. Frank Bird

    JPM, my view from the inside. Frank Bird.

    Ron Watts was the design guru behind a great deal of JPM's products and success. I was always happy to work with Ron as he was open with guidance and assistance, but as well as the work aspect he was a solid guy to know. More to come in my recollections!
  11. Frank Bird


    Love it...
  12. Frank Bird

    JPM, my view from the inside. Frank Bird.

    Sorry chap no, although we still meet so with this forum now in mind I'll ask around. Regards Frank
  13. Frank Bird

    For sale

    Anyone know how much I could get a JPM Winner for. Well that is if one still exists Regards Frank Bird
  14. Frank Bird

    JPM, my view from the inside. Frank Bird.

    Here's one for you... Development team. The older gent was Charles Weekes, a mentor, what a guy, we've all grown used to stepper reel units? They were his brainchild. More in future stories. Left to right. David Mead, Tony Braggins, Ron Watts, yours truly, Charles Weekes, Charles (Bingham) Hazel.
  15. Frank Bird

    JPM, my view from the inside. Frank Bird.

    In one.. spot on..