Brief History of Vending Machines

By: James Hunt

There are many different types of vending machines or automatic retailing as it is also known as. There are snack, soda, gumball, toys, coffee/tea, candy, and also hot soup vending machines that are located just about every where we look. Vending machines came about in 251BC when a Greek mathematician invented a machine that could vend Holy water in the Egyptian temples.

Many years following that the first coin-operated vending machines were invented that dispensed post cards in the early 1880's in London, England. Years later, Richard Carlisle, an English professor invented a vending machine that could dispense books.

Vending machines have come a long way since then. In 1888, Thomas Adams Gum Company introduced the vending machine to the United States and it sold Tutti-Fruiti gum. Later on 1907, the very first round candy coated gumball that all children love was introduced.

As the years went on there was a vending machine for just about everything; cigars, stamps, postcards, cigarettes, soda, even snack foods. We still use some of these vending machines today. In the early 1920's, the vending machines started to offer soda in cups for the first time. That is where the hot coffee/tea/cocoa vending machines originated as well. We still use the soda vending machines that allow us to place our soda into cups. You can find them in any self serve convenience store or fast food restaurant.

Some famous vending machines are the Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola machines. We still use them today, but not in cups, they come in bottle or cans. Snack machines are very popular as well these days especially in hospitals, colleges, bus stations and airports. We like convenience, choices, and low prices. Vending machines offer all of these and they have been offering it for hundreds of years; meaning vending machines must be doing something right.

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