Did you know that holy water was once sold in vending machines?
Vending has a long history, which began, like so many things, around 215 BC in Greece. Hero, a mathematician, invented a machine to vend holy water in Egyptian temples, according to the Automatic Vending Association.
Later, during the early 1880s, the first commercial coin-operated vending machines were introduced in London, England and dispensed post cards. Around the same time, Richard Carlisle invented a machine that vended books.
In 1888, the Thomas Adams Gum Company introduced the very first vending machines to the U.S. via subway platforms in NYC. The machines sold Tutti-Fruiti chewing gum. A bit later, in 1987, the Pulver Manufacturing Company added animated figures to its gum machines to attract more customers. In 1907, the gum ball was introduced. Sodas and cigarettes first appeared in the early 1920s.
In the next century, vending machines soon offered everything– from cigars to stamps. Until 1962, a completely coin-operated restaurant existed in Philadelphia.
Today, vending franchises are predominately vend food. Healthy vending machines have become increasingly popular in recent years, selling healthy alternatives to junk food.