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Antique Vending Machines

An Antique Vending Machine is a machine that dispensed merchandise such as candy, gum, peanuts and soft drinks when a customer deposits coins in a slot. Validation is done by a currency detector and currency is sufficient enough to purchase the desired item as opposed to a store, where the presence of a sales clerk is required for every purchase.

What is believed to be the first coin operated vending machine was introduced in Egypt in 215 B.C.  By dropping five drachmas into a slot, temple goers received a measure of holy water. Weather coin operated vending machines were used in the centuries that followed is not known. What is known is that by 1615 English pub goers were buying tobacco from "Honor Boxes" whose lids unlocked after the insertion of a coin.

Antique Vending Machines

Such vending machines are the predecessor of the coin operated vending machines, antique arcade machines and antique slot machines that intrigue collectors today. In the United States, antique vending machines generally served the purpose of selling Gum Balls, Peanuts, photo booths, candy, cigarettes, stamps, popcorn, novelties and soft drinks. Most vending machines were operated by store owners or by individuals who purchased the machines and stocked the merchandise. The most desirable of these devices are the older Gumball and Peanut vending machines.

A Vintage Gumball Machine, is a vending machine, which dispenses gumballs, usually for a small fee paid in coins, usually a penny. The first machines were originally set up for stick or block shaped gum in 1888 on New York City elevated train platforms by the Thomas Adams Gum Co. to market his Tutti-Frutti gum.

In 1899 the leading gum manufacturers organized themselves into the American Chicle Company. William White became president and Thomas Adams Jr. was chairman of the board of directors. Other gum makers in the organization included Beeman, Primley and S.T. Britten. Tutti-Frutti, Black Jack, Red Rose and Pepsin Tutti-Frutti gum were made by this company and dispensed by vending machines. The first machines to carry round candy coated gumballs were not seen until 1907.

Antique gumball machines consisted of a clear sphere made of glass which was filled with gumballs, sitting on top of a metal base. The coin was inserted into the base and a handle was turned, depositing the coin and allowing a gumball to be dispensed. Most vintage gumball machines had a simple mechanism for dispensing the gumball. Besides The Thomas Adams Gum Co. major users of gumball machines were the Pulver Manufacturing Company in 1897, in 1909, Emerson A. Bolen formed the Northwestern Novelty Company.

In 1913, Ford Mason made gumball machines and placed them in stores and shops in western New York State. Mason eventually founded the Ford Gum & Machine Company. In 1948, Oak Manufacturing opened its doors; it would become one of the largest equipment manufacturers in the industry.

Peanut and cashew Vending Machines are very similar to gumball machines. However the nuts only last a few months before going bad. But they were just as popular as Gum Ball Machines. Other popular vending machines are soft drink and snack machines.


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