Peep Show Barrels

Peep Show Barrels

Retro Coin Op Synopsis

One of the earliest and most successful companies to work in the arcade business was Exhibit Supply. This company got started in 1901 and produced arcade machines by the dozen until they decided to close their doors in the late 1950’s. It’s fitting that this old-school company achieved their most notable success with one of the most old-school arcade attractions around: the peep show.

Exhibit Supply specialized in a style of peep show attraction known as the 'peep show barrel.' These 'racy' scenes were housed in decorated wooden barrels that featured a peep hole. The exterior art offered the promise of an intriguing sight, either outrageous or titillating, if the customer was willing to pay a dime to look inside.

When the suckers paid that dime, they were reward with a cornball visual pun on what was offered by the barrel’s name. For instance, A Barrel Of Fun turned out to house an array of plastic monkeys, and looking inside a machine that offered “a collection of shapely pin-ups” revealed a series of colored clothes pegs.

During the 1940’s, Exhibit Supply’s peep show barrels became a regular feature in arcades all over the country. Demand started to slow down for these old-fashioned attractions in the 1950’s, but the company continued to produce them into the middle of the decade. One of the last peep show barrels produced by Exhibit Supply also happened to be one of their most memorable. It was called Nudist Colony and offered customers a peek at ‘Nature in the raw, at play at work.’ The come-on aspect of the barrel was further enhanced by an illustration of a shapely female silhouette. When the viewer looked inside Nudist Colony, they were greeted with the sight of a real live ant colony.

By the end of the 1950’s, Exhibit Supply had closed its doors. One by one, their peep show barrels began to slowly disappear from the arcades. Today, lucky arcade fans might see one at an arcade museum or at an arcade that specializes in old-fashioned attractions. They remain good for a cheap laugh (in both senses of the word) and continue to bring smiles to the faces of arcade goers young and old.

Arcade Machine Release History

1940s - Peep Show Barrels

Arcade Game Sub Categories


Machine Manufacturer

Exhibit Supply

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