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History of Vending Machines

It is widely accepted that the vending machine was first developed way back in the 1st century AD, by a Greek mathematician known as: Hero, or Hero of Alexandria (and later Heron/Heron of…). This vending machine was created to distribute holy water from temples in Egypt. It is believed the mechanics of this vending machine involved a valve which opened and released holy water when a lever was activated by a coin.

However, this particular vending machine engineer was somewhat before his time. Subsequent records of vending machine manufacture appear to be non-existent until the early 18th century, when English colonies (and also later that century, British-American colonies) used simple coin-activated ‘honour boxes’ to sell tobacco and snuff (snuff: n. inhaled or ‘smokeless’ tobacco); though this first use of modern vending machines seems debatable.

Alternative sources credit an English publisher and bookshop owner named Richard Carlisle with the first commercial vending machine (which – unsurprisingly – was used to vend books); whereas it is also documented that coin-operated vending machines to dispense postcards were introduced into London, England around the same time (during the early 1880s).

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More from Intelligent Vending

Intelligent Vending Ltd is a UK based vending company, located on the edge of the Peak District in Derbyshire, within the East Midlands. We primarily supply vending machines, catering equipment, machine components, vending ingredients and consumables to a wide range of commercial and industrial clients, small, large, and multi-national. The company also has established trading relationships with the public sector, including the armed forces, and we often supply to domestic home users. In addition, we supply services to the vending, catering and hygiene trades and a number our customers are themselves vending machine or hygiene service providers.

Most of our business is conducted over the internet, but we pride ourselves on the high level of personal contact we have with our customers. We have found this to be the best way of understanding our customers’ particular needs, and ensuring that their individual and specialist vending machine requirements are fully met. Pricing is transparent, because we display this on our site – this avoids the need for unnecessary and protracted negotiations because everything we sell is already at a very competitive price. For large and significant orders, however, we are happy to offer even better value (if that is possible!).

Enjoy shopping at Intelligent Vending Ltd!

Vending machines, an overview

Vending machine technology has advanced dramatically over the past ten years. Traditionally, vending machines have been used to vend soft and hot drinks, snacks and food and are common in transport hubs (e.g. airports and railway stations), or anywhere that attracts large gatherings of people (e.g. shopping malls, or entertainment centres). Most washrooms in public places also have vending machines selling personal items such as sanitary products or condoms etc.

The use of change machines and ATMs to provide withdrawal facilities from personal bank accounts has also grown dramatically in recent years and now such machines are a common sight, even in relatively small retail outlets. Likewise, the growing demand for quality bean to cup or fresh brew coffee has led not only to rapid expansion of cafe outlets on every high street, but also the development of vending machines that produce comparable quality to that which is ‘hand-made’ by the Barista.
There is now a vast range of vending machines for sale to meet every need, from selling gold bars and jewellery, or perfumes in airports, to the vending of stationery products and ink cartridges in schools and universities, through to the controlled delivery of tools, personal protective equipment (PPE), or industrial goods e.g. adhesive tapes and engineering components, in factories and on construction sites.

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