05 October 2019

A "minimum wage machine"

Minimum Wage Machine (2008-2010, updated 2012, and 2016)
Custom electronics, change sorter, wood, plexiglas, motor, misc. hardware, pennies.
(approx. 15 x 19 x 72 inches)

The minimum wage machine allows anybody to work for minimum wage. Turning the crank will yield one penny every 3.24 seconds, for $11.10 an hour, or NY state minimum wage (2018). If the participant stops turning the crank, they stop receiving money. The machine's mechanism and electronics are powered by the hand crank, and pennies are stored in a plexiglas box. The MWM can be reprogrammed as minimum wage changes, or for wages in different locations.
An interesting concept to teach about mindless work for minimal pay.


  1. Also an interesting concept to teach about he importance of learning a valuable skill (carpenter, electrician, mechanic, surveyor, ...) so that you do not have to do mindless work for minimal pay.

    Here is an idea. Place all of the parts for the MWM in a crate, with directions and tools to assemble it, give the person an hour to assemble the MWM, the machine then cranks out $50. That's a lesson...

  2. Las Vegas has machines like this (or used to ). At some casinos there were slot machines that were capable of paying out more than was put in (instead of the usual 95% or so).
    All you had to do is play perfect poker- for hours.
    They were set up so that on average you could earn about $1.50 an hour... if you never made a mistake.

    1. A couple years ago I found a video poker machine at the Ho Chunk casino in Wisconsin on which the jacks-or-better odds were set at 9/6 (instead of the usual 8/5 or 7/5), for a theoretical payout of 99.54%. That's the highest I've ever personally encountered.

  3. Or an interesting concept to teach people that they must work to get paid. Maybe?


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