Vending machines are amazing things – you put your dollar in and chocolate comes out. Magic! Robinson’s have been installing vending machines throughout South-East Queensland for decades, and now they are spreading throughout Australia. Here are five fun facts we bet you never knew about vending machines:

  • The world’s first vending machine was invented in Alexandria in the first century. Faced with the problem of church-goers stealing holy water, a man called Heron designed a machine that would dispense holy water when a coin or token was inserted. Amazingly, it would be another 1800 years before the idea was developed by Percival Everett to dispense notepaper and postcards.

 

  • If you’ve ever been to Japan or China, you’ll be used to seeing some pretty strange merchandise in a vending machine. I’ve seen beer and noodles in vending machines in Tokyo, but how about live crabs? In the subway station of Nanjing, China, customers can feed their Renminbi into the machine and head home with a live crab in their pocket (this option is not currently in development at Robinson’s)!

 

  • In 2016, Grenoble in France installed 8 vending machines to distribute short stories. A customer inserts his Euro and chooses 1, 3 or 5 – meaning stories that take 1, 3 or 5 minutes to read. The stories come from a database of over 5000 stories submitted by anonymous authors. The machines proved so successful in bibliophile France that the scheme is now spreading over the country, and internationally: A similar machine is already available in San Francisco.

 

  • In Houston, Texas, car manufacturer Carvana planned an ambitious 71 foot glass and steel vending machine – for cars! In the plans, customers could buy a token in store which they would then feed into the machine to retrieve the car of their choice. Plans were sadly shelved in December 2016 following problems securing a deal with the local planning commissions department.

 

  • In the past, vending machines had a bad reputation with environmentalists because of the impact of fluorinated gases. Thanks to recent developments in natural refrigerants and the use of recycled materials, vending machines are greener than ever. In 2010, Coca Cola introduced the ‘Green Roof’ vending machine. Green sheets made of moss and artificial turf are fitted to the top of a machine, helping to naturally lower the temperature. Robinson’s Vending are committed to sustainability. Remember to ask about Energy Star-rated machines when you order.