The LATE style mechanism is sleeker looking. It replaces the large stepper-based accumulator on the right side of the EARLY style mechanism with an integrated mechanical accumulator inline of the coin drop.
If a coin gets rejected by the coin rejector (on the top part of the coin mech), it passes down the left-side channel into the coin return cup in the front door. If on the other hand the coin is a real coin and passes properly through the coin rejector, it runs down the right side of the coin mech, into the rectangular shiny mechanical accumulator with the fancy label in the central area of the coin mechanism.
The mechanical accumulator has a single switch that is pulsed once for a nickel, twice for a dime, or five times for a quarter. The problem with this mechanical accumulator, I think, is that it depends upon the
weight and momentum of the inserted coin itself to advance the internal
wheels and operate a switch. (In contrast, advancement of the wheel of
the EARLY style accumulator above is operated by way of an electric
solenoid.) But either the dimes and nickels in current circulation do not match
well with the mechanical accumulator, or it never really worked well.
Invariably a dime or nickel will get stuck going through the mechanical
accumulator, thereafter holding up passage of any more coins of any
denomination. Because of this, operators even at least as far back as
the early 70s modified the coin rejectors of just about all machines to
accept only quarters (which run pretty well through the mechanical
In contrast to the EARLY style coin mechanism, once a coin passes through the accumulator in the LATE style coin mechanism it merely drops irretrievably into the cash box. Should the customer pull the coin return knob before putting in enough cash to vend, only a coin stuck in the coin rejector would be returned - not necessarily the entire amount that they've inserted into the machine. Presumably a customer would have gone to an attendant to get any due money back. Adjustable in nickel increments starting at 5c, the maximum price
setting of the LATE style coin mechanism is only 18 nickels: $0.90