Everyone has visited a vending machine at some point in their life. Those tall machines full of snacks and drinks always seem to be there when you need them. But have you ever wondered about the history of that vending machine in your school or office? Vending machines actually have a long and interesting history that dates all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Read on to learn about how ancient vending machines eventually evolved into the technological marvels they are today.
When was the vending machine invented?
As mentioned above, vending machines of a sort originated in Ancient Egypt. In fact, the first recorded vending machine was made by a Greek mathematician called Hero of Alexandria. The machine that Hero of Alexandria created sat inside Egyptian temples and dispensed holy water after a coin was inserted.
The next wave of vending machines
Following Hero of Alexandria’s invention, the next version of vending machines would appear in 17th century England as a tobacco dispenser. These machines were constructed with brass and usually sat inside English taverns. After that, a bookshop owner named Richard Carlile began selling banned books through a vending machine. Carlile would first release his book dispensing machine in 1822.
In the early 1880s, the first coin-operated vending machines appeared in London, primarily in train stations. Created by Percival Everitt, these coin-operated machines mostly dispensed notepaper, postcards and similar items.
In 1887, the first specialized vending machine company would make its appearance. This company, called Sweetmeat Automatic Delivery Company, specialized in the delivery and installation of vending machines.
Vending machines in the United States
The United States got its first vending machines a little later than England. In 1888, the Thomas Adams Gum Company brought the first vending machines to the United States. Like Percival Everitt’s vending machines, the Thomas Adams Gum Company’s machines appeared mostly at train stations, but sold gum as opposed to stationery.
Following this, beverage vending machines began to pop up. Paris had the first beverage vending machine, which dispensed beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages. This machine first appeared in 1890. Later, in the 1920s, soda dispensing vending machines made their first appearance.
Vending machines in the modern age
At this late date in vending machine history, you can find just about anything in vending machines. All over the United States, we have vending machines that dispense bottled drinks, snacks, toys and much more. Vending machines are even more popular in Japan, dispensing a multitude of specialized items, including full meals, smartphones, clothing and sake. There are even vending machines that dispense cars and other vehicles!
Vending machines have come a long way from their humble beginnings. Most modern vending machines feature technology that allows you to pay with credit cards and Apple Pay. Digital touch display and internet connectivity are also common features in modern vending machines. It’s going to be interesting to see how vending machines advance even further in the future.
Contact VSI Vending & Coffee Services today for all your vending machine service needs.