>> Really good article on the history of vending machines! They were pretty innovative in the past, too.
Some really interesting things:
The first ever vending machine was invented by Hero of Alexandria in the first century. It dispensed holy water when you put in a coin which fell onto a pan attached to a lever. The lever opened a valve and water flowed out until the coin fell off – the counterweight snaps the lever up and closes the valve.
London was home to the world’s first modern coin-operated vending machine in the early 1880s. It sold postcards.