Vending Machines Throughout Time
Since the first-ever vending machine that dispensed spiritually purified water, all vending machines have had one thing in common: quick access to the products we want and need. Only recently have vending machines taken an innovative turn towards a higher level of self-serve. Today’s custom vending machines, the IVM Smart Stations™, come pre-loaded with tracking capabilities and inventory control systems, ushering in a new era of productivity for businesses worldwide. The days of searching a supply closet and coming up empty are coming to an end. But let’s start at the beginning of vending and bring you up-to-speed.
The Early Days
Greek mathematician Hero from Alexandria created the first vending machine in the 1stcentury A.D. Hero’s invention dispensed spiritually purified water inside Egyptian temples. Around 1076 A.D., China introduced a coin-operated machine to vend pencils. The English got into the vending business in the 1700s, as a way to sell tobacco in British taverns. But a fellow named Percival Everitt invented the first commercial coin-operated vending machines that debuted in London in the 1880s. These machines—found at railways stations and post offices—provided a more modern style of vending to peddle postcards and envelopes and such.
It wasn’t long before vending machines offered everything under the sun, including cigars, sugary drinks, snacks—even electronics. The biggest vending machine? That’s in Singapore where you pull out your AmEx Black Card, swipe, and out rolls a shiny new Ferrari or Lamborghini.
Today’s Intelligent Vending
Fast-forward to 1991, when IVM entered the vending scene to handle food vending for companies with multiple locations. Two years later, Union Pacific Railroad asked IVM to envision and design something that would help control how the company distributed its safety products. That’s the day supply vending was officially born. Supply vending is transforming the way companies distribute and manage office supplies. When you automate something like office supplies, employees get what they need quickly, the whole process is faster and easier to manage and profits go up.
Today’s intelligent vending comes loaded with vending technology, systems and logistic software—a total solution that lets companies automate tracking, restocking and reconciliation. IVM customers include Facebook, Delta Air Lines, Microsoft, AIG, Dropbox, Mozilla, Salesforce, Intel and Twitter. But there’s no end to what a company could vend with IVM’s customizing capabilities. If a company can envision it, IVM can make it happen.
What’s the future of vending? Vending in space maybe? You never know.