Vending Machines (Video Included)

The first reference to a vending machine is in the work of Hero of Alexandria, a first-century engineer and mathematician. His machine accepted a coin and then dispensed holy water. When the coin was deposited, it fell upon a pan attached to a lever. The lever opened a valve which let some water flow out. The pan continued to tilt with the weight of the coin until it fell off, at which point a counterweight snapped the lever up and turned off the valve.

1952 Source Minnesota Historical Society via Wikipedia

Vending machines waited for the Industrial Age before coming to prominence. The first modern coin-operated vending machines were introduced in London, England in the early 1880s, dispensing post cards. The first vending machine in the U.S. was built in 1888 by the Thomas Adams Gum Company, selling gum on New York City train platforms. The idea of adding games to these machines as a further incentive to buy came in 1897 when the Pulver Manufacturing Company added small figures, which would move around whenever somebody bought some gum from their machines. This idea spawned a whole new type of mechanical device known as the “trade stimulators”. The birth of slot machines and pinball is ultimately rooted in these early devices.

Live bait Vending Machine (Wikipedia)

In December 1970, Ussery Industries of Dallas, Texas at its Dallas convention displayed its “talking” vending machine, the Venda Talker. With insertion of a coin, the machine said “thank you” and added a one-liner voiced by comic Henny Youngman.

Learn more from Wikipedia.
See photo’s of other different types of vending machines in Wikipedia.

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11 Responses to Vending Machines (Video Included)

  1. Rebekah says:

    It’s quite amazing how these things have evolved, with all the electronics! Very interesting.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Rebekah,
      I think it’s something that a lot of people use especially for treats etc. but never really think about how it all started. 🙂

  2. souldipper says:

    Mags, your diversity of information is amazing!

    I think the crab vending machine is an act of cruelty. It should be outlawed. Sorry…I feel very strong about this.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi souldipper,
      Yes you have a good point about the crabs, I actually chose this vending machine because it seemed so unusual and I didn’t think too many people would of known it existed. I usually try to pick something that I think or hope people haven’t already seen. I’m sorry if it upset you that certainly wasn’t my intention.

      • souldipper says:

        No, Mags – you have not upset me. It’s better to know this kind of horror exists. I cannot be a ostrich with my head in the sand! However, I need to speak up when greed once more abuses living creatures under my nose. It just makes me growl.

  3. travelrat says:

    There was a drunk in a pub feeding coins into a cigarette machine, although he had quite a pile of packets of smokes at his elbow. When it was suggested he give it a rest, he replied:

    ‘Not yet; I keep winning!’

    And, (True story) Graffiti on the contraceptive machine in the ‘Gents’:
    ‘Don’t buy this gum! It tastes awful!’

  4. Barbara Rodgers says:

    Looks like they’re redefining the meaning of fast food!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Barbara,
      It was amazing the different things they put into vending machines these days, believe it or not some way too rude for my blog, the mind boggles. 🙂

  5. dearrosie says:

    Thanks for sharing this story. 200 crabs a day! Good lord! And you can see the Chinese people are surprised to see what’s been sold in the vending machine because they’re photographing it.
    I don’t think its any more cruel than leaving lobsters in those large tanks of water with their legs tied up.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi dearrosie,
      Yes it seems the company that thought of this is going to make a bit of money, and it seems like he employes a few people as well which is a good thing. The video was put on You Tube in Nov.2010, so it is very much a new idea.

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