The Surprising History of Vending Machines

When you’re in front of a vending machine, the last thing you’re thinking about is the historical origin. Instead, you’re likely thinking of what snack or drink to get. While we can’t blame you for focusing on the snacks at hand, the origins of vending machines are quite interesting! So grab a snack and tuck in to learn about the surprising history of vending machines.

The First Vending Machines

Shockingly- the first instance of a vending machine dates back to first-century Egypt! Created by the engineer and mathematician Hero of Alexandria, the device dispensed holy water in temples. When a person inserted their coin into the machine, it fell upon a lever, allowing the holy water to flow. After the coin fell due to the pan tilting, a counterweight would shut the lever.

After that, different versions popped up. In the early 1600s, brass vending machines were built to dispense tobacco. They were small, portable, and often found in taverns. In the early 1800s, Richard Carlile created a dispensing machine that allowed patrons of his store to buy banned books.

However, the first fully automatic vending machine (as we know it) appeared in 1867 and was built for dispensing stamps. As more were made, they could readily be found at railroad stations and post offices across London. Over time, they began dispensing envelopes and postcards in addition to stamps.                                                                                    

Vending Machines Today

A lot has changed since the first vending machine! Since then, vending machines have changed in size, material, location, and the goods they dispense. While some vending machines still take change, most modern machines are equipped with card readers.

While they are a stark difference from the first vending machine in Egypt, one thing has remained the same: vending machines have always been placed with the intent of helping people out. Whether it was providing food for a nickel, or even vending machines offering handmade jewelry and socks, they are always there to help a community.

No matter the location, every business can benefit from a vending machine. When you’re ready to begin your vending machine journey, contact us here at Orsino Vending. We have everything from coffee machines to fresh food machines for sale! Our machines are equipped for dollar bills and cards, and we offer quick, precise maintenance. 

We have proudly served Englewood, NJ, and its’ surrounding areas for over 25 years. We know you will love your machine, and we offer free consultations- so pick up the phone and call 201-871-9286 to get started!