The first elongated coins in the United States were created at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois held in 1893. Several designs were issued to commemorate the fair, and such coins can still be found in circulation in the elongated coin collecting community today.
The earliest elongated coin designer on record is Charles Damm, who created the design for the elongated coins available at the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.
The most well-known and prolific engraver is Frank Brazzel. Brazzel died in the early 1990s, but many of his designs are still being rolled today. He helped establish many rollers (those who roll elongated coins) in their businesses. Another of the most famous engravers is Jim Dundon of Florida. His designs, and those of his son, James, can be found across the country.
The hobby of collecting elongated coins (token coins) has expanded throughout the United States and the world. Most modern coin elongating machines can be found in museum or landmark gift shops, souvenir stores, zoos, amusement parks and other locations of this kind. Private engravers make special-issue elongated coins to commemorate historical events, personal landmarks (such as marriage or birth of a child), or other events warranting celebration. They also design elongated coins for private clubs and organizations.
Modern elongated coins are created by inserting a standard, small denomination coin into a small rolling mill consisting of two steel rollers pressed against each other with sufficient force to deform the coin. One of the rollers (called the "die") is engraved with a design that imprints a new image into the metal as the coin passes through it. The resulting coin is oval-shaped and shows a design corresponding to the design on the die in the mill.
Generally, in America, pennies are used in these machines, as they are thin, easy to mutilate, and are the smallest denomnation of American money (you only lose one cent worth of coinage to make the coin, though many machines charge 50 cents in addition to the penny).