History Of Vending


Vending in its earliest known form dates to 215 B.C. in Egypt. The mathematician Hero of Alexandria describes a device found in places of worship that would dispense holy water when a coin was deposited.

Centuries later, in 1888, Thomas Adams of the Adams Gum Company installed penny gum dispensing machines on New York’s elevated train platforms, and gave vending its start in the United States.

Today, vending machines are operated by many thousands of companies nationwide and worldwide. These machines range from relatively simple to highly sophisticated, and offer an enormously diverse array of products.

• 215 B.C.
Device to dispense holy water used in the temples of Egypt, described by the mathematician Hero, who lived in Alexandria.

• 1076 A.D.
Chinese produce a coin-operated pencil vendor.

• 1700s
Coin-operated tobacco boxes appear in English taverns.

• 1886
U.S. grants several patents for coin-operated dispensers.

• 1888
Thomas Adams company installs Tutti-Frutti gum machines on New York elevated train platforms.

• 1902
Horn and Hardart Baking Company opens Automat restaurant in Philadelphia.

• 1905
U.S. Post office begins to use stamp vendors.

• 1920s
First commercial cigarette vending machines enter the market.

• 1930s
Bottled soft drink machines, cooled with ice, appear on the market.

• 1936
National Automatic Merchandising Association is founded.

• 1946
Invention of the first coffee vendors leads to use of vending machines for coffee breaks.

• 1950
First refrigerated sandwich vendors expand lunch menu.

• 1957
U.S. Public Health Service approves Model Vending Sanitation Code, and NAMA establishes industry’s first evaluation program to certify vending equipment.

• 1960
Dollar bill changers are added to vending banks.

• 1980
Electronic components applied to vending machines.

• 1985
Credit card/debit card devices for vending machines introduced.

• 1986
100th Anniversary of vending in U.S.

• 1991
Flavored coffees, espresso, and cappuccino introduced in machines.

• 1993
First remote wireless transmission of data from machines to warehouses.

• 1999
New dollar coin introduced by U.S. Mint.