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Railway station

Who invented the modern vending machine?

Posted on 03/09/2021 by Evan Church
Estimated reading time: 2 min read
Categories: Business and Industry, Vending

In a growing digital world, we’re seeing technology becoming an essential factor in the day-to-day running of businesses across the UK.

We regularly see a range of new technological programmes, software and developments being released onto the market to help bring businesses into the future and we have seen how advancements in technology can improve vending machines.

Before the days of telemetry and contactless payments, it was down to us having loose change in our pockets to purchase our favourite snacks and drinks. But who invented the modern vending machine?

The Percival Everitt era

During the 1800s, the idea of a fully coin-operated vending machine came to fruition by a man called Percival Everitt an engineer from Norfolk. This was the first-ever commercial vending machine. The idea of the modern vending machine was to dispense postcards and it was used by post offices and railway stations. This machine would see improvements over the years and it would eventually become capable of dispensing envelopes and notepapers.

Railway station

The first chocolate vending machine

In 1887, a company called “Sweetmeat Automatic Delivery Company” was founded in Birmingham, England and was the first company to facilitate installation as well as maintenance of commercial vending machines.

Later in 1893, a German chocolate manufacturer company called Stollwerck started using the vending machines from Sweetmeat, to dispense their chocolate throughout 15,000 vending machines across the UK.

The continuing evolution of vending machines

This is the evolution of vending machines. 

215 BC – The first vending machine that dispensed ‘holy water’.

1880 – The first modern vending machine that dispensed postcards. 

1890 – The first vending machine for dispensing drinks.

1893 – The first chocolate vending machine.

1926 – The first vending machine for dispensing cigarettes.

1950 – The first vending machine for schools.

1965 – The first vending machine to accept paper bills.

1972 – The first vending machine with a glass front.

2021 – The first telemetry powered vending machines from RSL.

RSL’s vending machines

Refreshment Systems are a company that continues to find innovative ways of providing a complete range of future proof vending solutions. Since implementing telemetry into our machines, we have not only improved the customer experience, we have changed the way we go about our operations. This has left a huge benefit on the planet by reducing our Carbon Footprint.

Our machines come in all different shapes and sizes. There are free-standing vending machines like the Bevmax’s, The Merchants and the NEO and there are the tabletop coffee machines like the Vitro’s, SEGO and Flavia.

From past to present

Vending machines have come a long way, from using coins to using facial recognition. It has been that cliché saying “they have been on a journey”, but it’s true. They are truly the future of business refreshments.

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