It’s been forty years since Ivor Thomas Amusements installed its first fruit machine, with a history in the coin-op business dating back twice as far.
Ivor Thomas Amusements, owned and run by Paul Thomas, officially celebrated 40 years in business on 1 December 2016. Ivor Thomas junior, Paul’s father, started Ivor Thomas Amusements in 1976. However, the association of Ivor Thomas with amusements goes back three generations, beginning with Ivor Thomas senior 84 years ago in 1932.
The Thomas story began in 1930’s Shoreditch, where Ivor Thomas Sr. would install fruit machines and bumper pin tables into clubs and bus stations around London. Thomas Sr. later moved to the Kent seaside town with his wife and three children, where he ran his own bingo stall in an arcade on the seafront.
After building up his business with cranes and a variety of arcade games, Thomas Sr. purchased the arcade in Granville Marina in the early 60’s, before passing away a few years later in 1965. At 24 years of age, his son Ivor Thomas Jr. took up management of the venue, but was forced to sell the site two years later.
Thomas Jr. returned to his father’s old stomping ground in the capital to oversee an arcade in Camden for Phonographic Equipment, before moving to be manager of the arcades in Dreamland, Margate. It was while he was here in 1974 that Ivor gained his gaming certificate and installed his first new machine in a Café in Newington – marking the official beginning of Ivor Thomas Amusements
“I have wonderful memories as a child, working with my father, Ivor Thomas Jr., helping him with the collections and then joining the business several years on, seeing how it has grown to what Ivor Thomas Amusements is today,” said current managing director Paul Thomas.
Paul started in the family business back in the mid-eighties when Space invaders and Pac-Man were all the rage and their machines were starting to be seen in many pubs and clubs in East Kent. Whitbread became a major account and helped with the company’s early growth. Today they are supplying the latest amusements for a new generation covering Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Essex and into London.
Paul added: “The only thing that hasn’t changed over the 40 years is our ethos – supplying outstanding customer service.”