Vending Machines: An American Social History

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McFarland, Jul 12, 2002 - Social Science - 290 pages
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Although the 1880s are considered the beginning of the vending machine era, these devices have existed for a couple of thousand years. The earliest reference to a vending machine was made by Hero--a Greek mathematician, physicist and engineer who probably lived in Alexandria during the first century a.d.--who described and illustrated a coin-operated device to be used for vending sacrificial water in Egyptian temples. Completely automatic, the device was set in operation by the insertion of a five-drachma coin. This work traces the history of the vending machine from its inception to its current place in popular American culture, with the eight chapters covering significant eras. Successes and failures of the machines, economic factors influencing the popularity (or lack thereof) of vending machines, and the struggle of industry to become a dominant, large-scale method of retailing products are discussed. This text is richly illustrated and includes appendices on vending dollar value, vending sales by location type and vending statistics.
 

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Contents

2 Robots Can Sell Anything Robots Will Sell Everything 19181931
21
3 Cigarettes Blaze the Way 19321939
47
4 The War on Slugs Goes Federal 19401944
108
5 Optimism Returns 19451949
119
Cigarettes Coffee Cola Candy 1950s
141
7 Dreams Placed on Hold 19601985
169
8 VMs Cut Down on Smoking Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle 19862001
191
Vended Dollar Volume
233
Vending Sales by Location Type
234
Vending Sales by Type of Product
235
Notes
239
Bibliography
261
Index
277
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About the author (2002)

Cultural historian Kerry Segrave is the author of dozens of books on such diverse topics as drive-in theaters, lie detectors, jukeboxes, smoking, shoplifting and ticket-scalping. He lives in British Columbia.

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