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A Tale of De-Nile and De-Coffee

Picture yourself in the first century in Alexandria, Egypt. You are on the run again this morning, and you need a boost to get you going. Oh! You spy a vending machine on the next block! As you get closer you can almost smell it. But what is this? It’s not a coffee vending machine at all; it’s a machine that dispenses holy water for the Egyptian temples! You further realize that coffee was not even introduced to Egypt until about the 16th century. But this first occurrence of a vending machine would eventually become associated in many peoples’ minds with coffee!


A Simple Machine

That first vending machine, invented by Hero of Alexandria, was very simple, but sounds very similar to what we use today. After a coin was inserted, it dropped onto a pan with a lever that triggered a valve to open. This valve opened to allow the holy water to flow out until a counterweight reversed the action and the valve turned off. Undoubtedly, vending services were needed even on this uncomplicated contraption!

It wouldn’t be until the Industrial Revolution mechanized many of life’s daily tasks that coffee drinkers moved closer to finding their coffee vending machines on those busy mornings. In the late 1800s, shoppers could purchase post cards in London, England, by plunking a coin in a slot. Around the same time in the United States, children were delighted when the Thomas Adams Gum Company began installing gum dispensers. These simple notions sparked many ideas for more creative ways to develop and expand on the machine that Hero of Alexandria invented to help early Egyptian worshipers.


A Handy Machine

Consumers have a desire to find and obtain the items they are looking for quickly and easily and most machines are located in areas that are convenient. Vending machines can be found where people catch a bus, train or plane. They are located on the streets and in office buildings and schools. They are placed in shopping areas and public restrooms. And vending services turn up all around the globe! Bicycle tubes in Germany, rice or instant noodles in Japan, fresh French fries and gemstones in Australia are all available with the deposit of the correct amount of money.

But what about that tired employee who needs a boost to get going? Things have come a long way since Chicagoan Satori Kato invented instant coffee in 1901. Thankfully, the first coffee vending machines were invented prompting the ubiquitous “coffee break” in 1946! Quench Beverage & Snack Company offers vending services for all your vending needs.