I have an addiction to the carbonated arts, particularly in diet cola form. This has persisted for years, even though I did manage to quit for an arduous three months back in 2006. My co-worker quit smoking at the same time, and NOBODY wanted to work with us.
I like vending machines. They're convenient and impersonal, so nobody can judge your unhealthy choices. Today while buying my third soda of the day, I got to wondering about the original vending machine concept.
Apparently, during the early 1880s, the first commercial coin-operated vending machines were introduced in London, England and dispensed post cards. English publisher and bookshop owner, Richard Carlisle invented a vending machine for selling books, around the same time. I don't like this, personally, because how can you randomly read a few pages to know if you'll like it? And unless there's a coffee-and-pastry machine right next to it, how do I get my full Barnes and Noble experience?
In 1888, the Thomas Adams Gum Company introduced the very first vending machines to the United States. The machines were installed on the elevated subway platforms in New York City and sold Tutti-Fruiti gum. In 1897, the Pulver Manufacturing Company added animated figures to its gum machines as an added attraction. The round candy coated gumball and gumball vending machines were introduced in 1907.
Vending machines soon offered everything including; cigars, postcards, stamps, etc. In Philadelphia, a completely coin-operated restaurant called Horn & Hardart was opened in 1902 and stayed opened until 1962. In the early 1920's, the first automatic vending machines started dispensing sodas into cups. In 1926, an American inventor named William Rowe invented the cigarette vending machine.
Beginning in the 1940's, A company called Vendorlator Manufacturing Company of Fresno California made a series of classic vending machines that mostly sold Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Of course, I look forward to an eventual trip to Japan, where they have the best vending machines ever. Beer? Don't mind if I do. And while you're down there, could you pick me up some panties and a 25-pound bag of rice? And if you get the chance, you can play the claw game, too.