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The first modern coin-operated vending machines were born in London in the early 1880s, dispensing postcards. Thanks to their inventor Percival Everitt, vending machines became a quintessential feature of post offices and railway stations. But some believe that vending machines date back to ancient Greece, when the engineer Hero Of Alexandria made an invention that took coins and dispensed holy water.

The rest is history and today the world is full of vending machines, each one ingenious and crazier than the last. From very on-demand face covering gumball dispensers and a colorful cake vending machine for your late-night sweet tooth cravings to a salmon ATM that dispenses… you guessed it, a piece of salmon, to a biblio-mat that hands out a totally random book for $2, it seems like everything on this planet deserves its very own vending machine.

So get your coins ready, ‘cause Bored Panda compiled this collection of the coolest and most unusual vending machines ready to dispense… you name it!

#1

I Found A Vending Machine In Japan That Puts Your Face On Figurines. I Always Wanted To Be A Ninja

I Found A Vending Machine In Japan That Puts Your Face On Figurines. I Always Wanted To Be A Ninja

Oldface Report

#2

Refillable Detergent In Prague, Czech

Refillable Detergent In Prague, Czech

starlightexpress3005 Report

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Lytha
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

We have this too ! (in France ;) ) It's (almost) bio / organic refill !

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#3

This Vending Machine Dispenses A Random Book For $2.00

This Vending Machine Dispenses A Random Book For $2.00

JiveMonkey Report

Lisa Yaszek, a professor of science fiction studies in the school of literature, media, and communication at Georgia Tech, told Bored Panda about the history and cultural significance of vending machines that we have grown so accustomed to, we rarely give them a second thought.

“Vending machines often feel like symbols of modernity—after all, they embody the efficiency, convenience, affordability, and novelty that consumers crave and merchants want to provide,” Lisa said and added that they are actually as old as civilization itself, “popping up in some form or another whenever large groups of people gather in urban spaces.”

#4

My School Just Installed A CVS Vending Machine Full Of Medicine And Hygiene Products

My School Just Installed A CVS Vending Machine Full Of Medicine And Hygiene Products

CommandLionInterface Report

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Lytha
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

THIS ! should be everywhere. When you need drugs (pain head, periods, back injuries or something) in the middle of the night, and have to wait for a pharmacy to open, you feel like hell.

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#5

Train Station In Paris Had A Machine That Printed Out Short Stories To Read While You Wait

Train Station In Paris Had A Machine That Printed Out Short Stories To Read While You Wait

jonnyking20 Report

#6

My College Has A Vending Machine For Violin Strings And Woodwind Reeds

My College Has A Vending Machine For Violin Strings And Woodwind Reeds

Future2050 Report

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“People often credit Hero of Alexandria with inventing the first vending machine (for holy water!) in first-century Roman Egypt, and by the 1600s, English tavern patrons could expect to find portable, coin-operated tobacco dispensers at their local watering hole.”

But automated vending machines like the ones we use today really took off in the 1800s with the rise of industrial cities that were crowded with young people eager to spend some of the money they were earning in factories and department stores, Lisa explained. “While inventors tinkered with everything from machines that sold banned books to machines that offered stamps, the modern vending craze really took off when Englishman Percival Everitt introduced a machine for selling postcards in 1883—and when the Sweetmeat Automatic Delivery Company was founded just 4 years later to install and maintain such machines!”

And they weren’t popular just in England. Lisa said that vending machines were a global phenomenon: “the first American and Japanese vending machines (for gum and tobacco, respectively) were introduced in 1888, the first French machines (for beer, wine, and liquor) appeared in 1890, and the first German vending machine (for chocolate) debuted in 1893.”

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#9

Here In Switzerland, We Have Vending Machines Just For Selling Cheese

Here In Switzerland, We Have Vending Machines Just For Selling Cheese

UrbexerZurich Report

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Turns out, “Business people loved vending machines because they could sell bulk goods efficiently, without having to train and depend on another human, and consumers enjoyed the ability to purchase everyday necessities and small, trendy luxuries at their convenience and often at a reasonable price point.”

According to Lisa, twentieth-century vending machines sold all the same things as their nineteenth-century predecessors while adding new offerings that included newspapers, “mailing supplies, photographs, and even condoms and other forms of birth control! I think the strangest vending machines were those that sold life insurance in airports from the 1950s to the 1970s—it really takes the glamour out of flying to worry about your possible death while doing so! But maybe that felt glamorous in its own strange way….”

#10

Cat Hat Vending Machines In Japan

Cat Hat Vending Machines In Japan

examinexistence Report

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Beverly
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There's a notice below the pictures that says "These products do not include a cat."

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#11

The Hotel I Am Staying At Has A Vending Machine Strictly For Champagne

The Hotel I Am Staying At Has A Vending Machine Strictly For Champagne

BBBxWest Report

#12

Found This Yarn / Crochet Hook Vending Machine At The Mall Today. Because You Never Know When You Might Need An Emergency Ball Of Yarn

Found This Yarn / Crochet Hook Vending Machine At The Mall Today. Because You Never Know When You Might Need An Emergency Ball Of Yarn

madamegazelles Report

These specialized vending machines that dispense all these particular and sometimes odd items emerged sometime about the turn of the millennium. They started selling “very specific products to niche markets (dog toys for pet owners, marijuana for recreational drug enthusiasts, bait supplies for fishing aficionados, original art and stories for culture buffs).”

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The way they interacted with consumers was also way more specialized: “digital vending machines can track purchases across machines and offer consumers targeted goods based on past purchases, and they gamify consumption by tapping into buyers’ social networks.”

#13

35-Cent Surprise Soda Machine

35-Cent Surprise Soda Machine

Korbett89 Report

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Mazer
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

A guy used to work with had one of these in his office in every single person in the building learned about it and he said it had to be refilled every day as a result

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#15

There Is A Cigarette Vending Machine In Las Vegas That Now Sells Art Instead Of Cigarettes. For $5, You Can Have One Of Several Original Pocket-Sized Pieces Of Art

There Is A Cigarette Vending Machine In Las Vegas That Now Sells Art Instead Of Cigarettes. For $5, You Can Have One Of Several Original Pocket-Sized Pieces Of Art

bufadad Report

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Lilian
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

these aren't only in Vegas, I've seen them a few times traveling to different art museums

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“And of course, vending machines can be a tool for public health and creativity as well! Vending machines in schools, public bathrooms, and outside pharmacies empower customers to acquire food and medicine when they need it, even if shops are not open, and they enable people to anonymously purchase items that they might be too embarrassed to buy from another human being.”

Lisa also explained that they “allow groups of people who have often been the targets of uncomfortable and unfair economic practices to exert greater authority as consumers. For example, as a woman, I hate being talked down to by men at car dealerships (I know this happens to men too—it’s really a people problem). But recently Carvana opened the first full-service car vending machine here in Atlanta, Georgia, where I live and I am already dreaming about how much fun it will be to go pick out a car without salesmen hovering over my shoulder!”

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The professor concluded that it really does feel like the future that vending machines have always promised us.

#16

A Book Vending Machine I Found In Romania

A Book Vending Machine I Found In Romania

thelostdutchman Report

#17

Vending Machine At Work Made An Error And Distributed Everything All At Once

Vending Machine At Work Made An Error And Distributed Everything All At Once

rbards Report

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Apachebathmat
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It’s like the machine had a “no, it’s fine, take them all” moment

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#18

I'm From The Netherlands And We Have Vending Machines For Eggs

I'm From The Netherlands And We Have Vending Machines For Eggs

thatredgirl19 Report

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Vicky Zar
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Fun fact for those who don't know: European eggs are not refrigerated. In the US they are washed before being sold. This removes the natural protective layer and thats why US eggs have to be refrigerated and European eggs might have feathers sticking to them. Lol

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#19

Walking Japanese Robot Vending Machine

Walking Japanese Robot Vending Machine

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#22

This Marijuana Vending Machine In Vancouver BC

This Marijuana Vending Machine In Vancouver BC

BrokenArmsFrigidMom Report

#23

Skittles Vending Machine That Lets You Mix Your Own Ratio

Skittles Vending Machine That Lets You Mix Your Own Ratio

NeedMoneyForVagina Report

#24

This Rest Stop Has A Vending Machine For Dogs

This Rest Stop Has A Vending Machine For Dogs

homeskilet92 Report

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Arthur Waite
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

As I'm scrolling down through this article, I saw the title of this item before the picture, and I honestly thought I was going to see a machine with a lot of dogs for sale...

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#25

Orlando International Airport Has LEGO Set Vending Machines

Orlando International Airport Has LEGO Set Vending Machines

TRHess Report

#26

So, My College Has A Pizza Vending Machine Now

So, My College Has A Pizza Vending Machine Now

CheesyAbortedFetus Report

#27

A Vegetable Vending Machine Near My Hometown In The Netherlands

A Vegetable Vending Machine Near My Hometown In The Netherlands

rutgersmit Report

#28

Japan Has Vending Machines For Nearly Everything

Japan Has Vending Machines For Nearly Everything

all-nationz.com Report

#29

My University Has A Vending Machine That Gives Free Coke If You Hug It

My University Has A Vending Machine That Gives Free Coke If You Hug It

mbryanne Report

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Pink Floydian Panda
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And what do I get if I am willing to take our relationship to the next level? You do not want to know what I would do for free Coke.

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#30

A Meat Vending Machine Near My Hometown In Germany

A Meat Vending Machine Near My Hometown In Germany

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Natalie Bohrteller
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In the meantime you can find them all over the place. And I don't get why some people think it's eww. It's just normal, packaged meat. Probably better than what you can buy in supermarkets.

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#31

A Vending Machine In Japan That Sells Solder And Resistors, For Your Late-Night Circuitry Cravings

A Vending Machine In Japan That Sells Solder And Resistors, For Your Late-Night Circuitry Cravings

9999monkeys Report

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Sara Rodrigues
Community Member
3 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think that this is a machine selling stuff that you might need in case of an earthquake (or a tsunami). I've seen them all over Japan

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#32

Plant Vending Machine, Seen At Clampham Station In London

Plant Vending Machine, Seen At Clampham Station In London

wooligano Report

#33

My Doctor's Office Has A Salad Vending Machine

My Doctor's Office Has A Salad Vending Machine

The_key_button Report

#34

Need This In Our Lives Asap

Need This In Our Lives Asap

thatfoodcray.com Report

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Beeps
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Vegas, baby! (I think they removed it a couple of years ago though.)

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#35

Just Saw This Giant Vending Machine In An Apartment Complex. It Has Everything

Just Saw This Giant Vending Machine In An Apartment Complex. It Has Everything

LeeJWiley Report

#36

This Vending Machine Squeezes You Fresh Orange Juice

This Vending Machine Squeezes You Fresh Orange Juice

PalNigManBro Report

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tiari
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

These are really common in supermarkets, at least in Germany and the Netherlands.

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#37

This Vending Machine In Greece Filled With Seeds For Growing Herbs, Vegetables And Flowers

This Vending Machine In Greece Filled With Seeds For Growing Herbs, Vegetables And Flowers

JeremyMcFake Report

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Vicky Z
Community Member
3 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Where the hell is that? I'm Greek and never seen it! Would be useful to know

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#38

A Mask Gumball Machine At The Dollar Store

A Mask Gumball Machine At The Dollar Store

Tedt78 Report

#41

This Flower Vending Machine In Seoul, South Korea

This Flower Vending Machine In Seoul, South Korea

snoof123 Report

#43

This Driverless Roving Sales Vehicle In China

This Driverless Roving Sales Vehicle In China

shanghaineko Report

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Apachebathmat
Community Member
3 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If this was in Britain, within 15 minutes the windows would be out, chicken stolen and hitched up on bricks, after 20 minutes it would be in flames and on Instagram and the daily Mail

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#44

My IT Department Has A Vending Machine For Computer Parts Which Charges The Cost To The Correct Department

My IT Department Has A Vending Machine For Computer Parts Which Charges The Cost To The Correct Department

buckeyespud Report

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#45

This Machine That Dispenses Short Stories

This Machine That Dispenses Short Stories

DerekWhipple Report

#46

This Vending Machine Outside A Guitar Store Sells Strings And Picks

This Vending Machine Outside A Guitar Store Sells Strings And Picks

tasty_rogue Report

#48

The Vending Machine In The Engineering Department Of My School Offers Fuses

The Vending Machine In The Engineering Department Of My School Offers Fuses

lzharsh Report

#49

This At The Mall: Cassette Tape Vending Machine

This At The Mall: Cassette Tape Vending Machine

AngPisa Report

#50

A Tasty Piece Of Salmon From This Salmon ATM In Singapore

A Tasty Piece Of Salmon From This Salmon ATM In Singapore

beatboxpoems Report

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Daniel (ShadowDrakken)
Community Member
3 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"ATM"? That suggests that you must have an account full of salmon, and that you can deposit salmon into your account as well...

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Note: this post originally had 110 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.