Vending machines waited for the Industrial Age before coming to prominence. The first modern coin-operated vending machines were introduced in London, England in the early 1880s, dispensing post cards. The first vending machine in the U.S. was built in 1888 by the Thomas Adams Gum Company, selling gum on New York City train platforms. Continue reading to see more.

7. Touchscreen

The first reference to a vending machine is in the work of Hero of Alexandria, a first-century engineer and mathematician. His machine accepted a coin and then dispensed holy water. When the coin was deposited, it fell upon a pan attached to a lever. The lever opened a valve which let some water flow out. The pan continued to tilt with the weight of the coin until it fell off, at which point a counterweight snapped the lever up and turned off the valve.

6. Rice

The idea of adding games to these machines as a further incentive to buy came in 1897 when the Pulver Manufacturing Company added small figures, which would move around whenever somebody bought some gum from their machines. This idea spawned a whole new type of mechanical device known as the “trade stimulators”. The birth of slot machines and pinball is ultimately rooted in these early devices.

5. Glass Coca-Cola Bottle

In December 1970, Ussery Industries of Dallas, Texas at its Dallas convention displayed its “talking” vending machine, the Venda Talker. With insertion of a coin, the machine said “thank you” and added a one-liner voiced by comic Henny Youngman.

4. Curry Rice

Starting with 1994, vending machines approached successfully the basic food commerce specialization and began to compete with the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods industry. Milk dispensers and egg vending machines networks spreading in European towns accelerated after 2000.

3. Hand Crank

Cashless payments will soon be on many vending machines in the near future. The majority of vending machine operators plan to add credit card swipers to their machines in 2011, according to a study by Apriva, wireless transaction services company. About 57 percent of companies surveyed by Apriva said they planned to expand the number of their machines outfitted with card swipers.

2. Hamburger

Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita, with about one machine for every twenty-three people. Japan’s high population density, relatively high cost of labor, limited space, preference for shopping on foot or by bicycle, and low rates of vandalism and petty crime, provide an accommodating environment for vending machines.

1. Dole Bananas

The first vending machine in Japan was made of wood and sold postage stamps and post cards. About 80 years ago, there were vending machines that sold sweets made by the “Glico Company”. In 1967, the 100-yen coin was distributed for the first time, and vending machine sales skyrocketed overnight, selling a variety of items everywhere.