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Who Invented the Vending Machine?
- Greek engineer and mathematician Hero of Alexandria invented the first remnant of a vending machine approximately 215 B.C. His machine, found in Egyptian temples, provided holy water to people who exchanged coins.
- In the 1880s, the first coin-operated vending machine appeared in London, dispensing postcards. At the same time, English publisher and shop owner Richard Carlisle invented a book-dispensing vending machine. In 1888, the Thomas Adams Gum Co. placed a vending machine that dispensed Tutti-Frutti gum on a subway platform in New York City.
- The Pulver Manufacturing Co., in 1897, invented a vending machine in which animated figures entertained customers when coins were dropped in the machine.
- In 1902, the Horn & Hardart Baking Co. invented a vending machine that was used in a coin-operated Automat restaurant. In 1907, the first gumball machine was introduced.
- Vending machines dispensing sodas were invented in the 1920, with customers receiving their beverage in a cup. A decade later, machines for cold, bottled soft drink were invented, and the Vendolator Co. built vending machines for the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in 1937. Decades later, in 1978, water was added to soft drink vending machines.
- In the 1970s, Polyvend invented and introduced the first glass-front snack vending machine. In the 1980s, vending machines for frozen food were invented.
- In the 1940s, the first coffee vending machine was invented, introducing the coffee break. Two decades later, inventors introduced the first single-cup coffee vending machine. In the late 1980s and the early 1990s, coffee-grinding vending machines hit the market, and vending machines with flavored coffees, espresso and cappuccino became commonplace.