Vending machines are unlikely the first topic that comes to mind when someone mentions interesting historical facts. However, the history behind the development of vending machines as we know them today has been a fascinating journey. From invention to modern usage, there are a few facts throughout history that show how technology has advanced while putting the inventions of the past in the spotlight they deserve.
In a temple in Alexandria, the Hero of Alexandria, who was a known engineer and mathematician in first century Roman Egypt, created the earliest known rendition of the vending machine. This machine worked by using weight and levers. A coin would be inserted and would fall onto a pan, which was attached to a lever. That lever opened the valve that controlled water flow. The pan would tilt from the weight of the coin until it fell off the pan, where a counterweight would push the level backup, which would turn the water valve off.
Later, portable brass machines that dispensed tobacco were being coin-operated in various taverns in England around the year 1615. There was also a similar machine that distributed banned written work through a newspaper created by English bookseller Richard Carlile in 1822. However, it wasn’t until 1867 that a patent was awarded for a vending machine. Simeon Denham was given British Patent no. 706 for a stamp dispensing machine, which was the first machine that was fully automatic in design.
The first modern day vending machine was introduced in London in the 1880s, selling postcards to tourists. Since then, the technology has come a long way. Today, vending machines use a “zone cooling” method to save on energy consumption. This method uses technology to cool products that are likely to be sold at the time rather than cooling all products.
A computer determines which products and how many should be cooled based on time-specific sales data. There is also heat generated in the cooling process, a function known as “heat pump,” that recycles heat to hot products to save on energy.
A vending machine in the workplace can have a lot of benefits for productivity. Contact us today to find out how our machines can help employees perform while saving energy costs.