Vending Machines Recent History II

Mirroring the concept of Fulahia’s orange juice vending machine and Hero of Alexandria’s holy water vending machine, soda vending machines of the 1920’s dispensed a trickle of soda into cups. By feeding a coin into the vending machine, soda would be dispensed into cups, allowing a consistent amount of soda to be dispensed each time. The concept of this machine has evolved into hot beverage vending machines and fountain drink machines.

The year 1920 gave way to the invention of a useful vending machine for women. Realizing the need for feminine hygiene products, the first sanitary napkin dispenser was invented in 1920. Today, feminine hygiene product dispensing vending machines can be seen next to baby product vending machines and make-up vending machines.

The first cigarette vending machine was invented in 1926 by American inventor William Rowe. With the ability to dispense packages of cigarettes, Rowe’s vending machine could be found on many streets of America. With the growing population of smokers, the matchbox vending machine was also created. These machines could oftentimes be found together in large cities. Today, there are many laws that prohibit the sale of cigarettes in vending machines unless it’s located in a bar. Like the vending machines of 1926, these vending machines dispense cigarette packages and lighters.

There was a surge of vending machines being invented in the 1930’s. During the Depression, a single cigarette vendor was invented, dispensing a single cigarette for a penny. During this time, people couldn’t afford whole packages of cigarettes, which is what Rowe’s vending machines were offering. A lotion dispensing vending machine was also invented during this time. For a penny, you could get a pump of lotion after washing your hands.

Right after the Depression, a vending machine was invented that dispensed a box of cigarettes with a matchbook. This eliminated the need for two vending machines and led the way to the collaboration of vendable products, like combination snack and soda vending machines.

To supplement the postcard vending machine, the postage stamp vending machine was invented in 1930. This postage stamp vending machine dispensed one stamp at a time. Presently, there are postage stamp vending machines that dispense books of stamps at a handful of different rates. Additionally, vending machines today can be found dispensing postcards and envelopes with prepaid postage affixed.

The most amusing vending machine created in 1930 had to be the fruit cake vending machine. For a few cents, this vending machine would dispense a slice of fruit cake. Today, cakes and muffins are pre-packaged and are dispensed in snack vending machines.


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*Vencoa is an authorized distributor of USI vending machines and is not an authorized distributor of Selectivend products.