Fig. 1: Image Of Vending machine
Vending machines which are nothing less than genies in today’s world, have added to our convenience. With a range of products offered by these tempting titans, one does not have to worry about time of the day for shopping. Starting from smoke, candies to drinks, vending machines have transformed the shopping experience of the people around the world. But do you know where do these marvel machines root from?
By visiting ancient Greece time, one can find the earliest vending machine that was set up in Egyptian temples for dispensing water in return of coins. This was a masterpiece by Hero of Alexandria, a Greek mathematician and engineer. Though the machine was born in 215 B.C, 1880s was the time when it made debut in the commercial world. Earliest of these machines were used for dispensing the post cards in London. And during the time, publisher as well bookshop owner named Richard Carlisle came up with a vending machine that could dispense the books.
Soon New York also became a part of revolution that was being brought around by the vending machines and became the first city in US to get vending machines for selling gums in the subways. And what fascinates most of us-slot machines and pin ball machines also became a part of bandwagon in 1897. Due to new zing to the machines with animated figures and advancements, it made way for the much loved gumball machines.
It would not be overstatement to say that vending machines have bestowed a novel way of selling. In the year 1902, there was major shift in the concept of vending machines and a coin operated restaurant was introduced. Known as Horn and Hardart, this restaurant in Philadelphia served people for about 60 years. Though the concept originally rooted from Germany, this restaurant made automat concept much accepted and usable for people throughout the world. In fact such restaurants are popular in Netherlands even today. The reach of vending machines was spreading like an epidemic during this period.
From gumball machines, vending machines had now evolved to drink vendors too. Beginning of 1900 witnessed vending machines that could offer soda in cups. Without any delays in 1930s, machines for offering chilled soft drinks were introduced. And then how the market rulers could be left behind? Coca Cola came up with vending machine by Vendolator in year 1937 and soon followed the much used vending machines, the coffee machines. Have you ever wondered what would be the world like without the coffee machines in offices, colleges, schools and cafeterias? Well I guess the answer is pretty straight as there are hardly any of us who can do without a cup of coffee. And the concept of coffee breaks started when in 1946 first ever coffee vending machine was set up. With advancements in the technology, bean grinders and flavored coffee machines came into being too.
Interestingly, vending machines started selling life insurance policies in 1950s. These useful vending machines were set up at the American Airports to offer life insurance policies that assured death cover if flight crashed. But unfortunately, the life of these machines was not more than two decades.
Eventually in 1961, canned soda vending machines entered the market too. Following the trail was soft drink vending machines that could also offer water which are even today used in a lot of fast food outlets.
And with a glimpse of an eye, there was no market that was untouched by the charm of vending machines. Polyvend came up with the first ever glass front vending machine for snacks in 1972. All thanks to the company for offering us an immediate solution to craving while walking down the road or hoping the train. And with 1987, came the earliest machine for vending frozen food.
The vending revolution has brought about great deal of convenience in our lives. Over the years, vending machines have evolved and are all over the place. Be it markets, airports, bus stations and even restrooms, vending machines have made life easy. Who among us would have thought that these machines would one day accept bill denominations, accept the credit cards and would make shopping tension free?
With passage of time, the machines have made their way into electronics too. The new machines are known as retail kiosks. The trend of specialization of the vending machines have seeped in completely in Japan and one can find machines for plethora of products- ranging from hot meals, porn to toilet papers.
Now the vending machines have become such an integral part of our lives and all thanks to the companies and people who had put in their hard work to offer something so unique and useful to the world. As they say sky is the limit, you never know we soon have some vending machine that we would have never thought of. There are many more ignited minds out there that are as passionate as the inventors of the vending machine and can come up with something that can do good to the humankind.
Filed Under: Invention Stories