The History of Coffee Vending Machines

coffee vending machines

We all take coffee vending machines for granted these days, but vending had come a long way since its early form and is no less important now than when it was first invented.

While this is not about a coffee vending machine, it’s a good idea to get some history before you enter into a coffee machine rental agreement. It’s then you will see the enormity of what you’re doing for your business and employees.

According to, businesses in the UK proudly own of half a million machines. These machines vend everything from drinks to snacks, and some inventive soul even created the toothbrush and condom vending machine – not sure about the combination but whatever stops unwanted tooth decay has to be a good thing.

Some Vending Machine History
The earliest vending machine is said to be invented by a Roman-Egyptian mathematician and
engineer around the first-century. His machine dispensed holy water and was coin-operated. Insert the coin into a slot in a stone tablet, the weight of the cash on a plate attached to a lever caused the vessel to tip, allowing a small amount of water to dispense.

After that, the coin then slid off the plate, which then stopped the flow of water. Although easily be abused by using a stone rather than a coin, it’s unlikely the machine would not have been misused due to fear of reprisal by the gods, as was the Romans disposition when it comes to superstition.

In taverns and coffee in the UK in 1615 a brass black-box machine dispensed tobacco. These simple coffee vending machines or devices allowed the customer to insert a penny to unlock the box, and the smoker then filled his pipe, all under the watchful eye of the coffee shop or tavern owner.

Modern Coffee Vending Machines
Vending machines went from easy to cheat to difficult to miss-use or swindle in the 1880s with the introduction of postcard vending machines. These machines soon became widespread in UK railway stations as a form of entertainment as much as anything else.

The Sweetmeat Automatic Delivery Company, founded in 1887, was the first UK company to sell confectionery through vending machines. In 1888 just one year later in the U.S, gum vending machines became popular, and in 1893 Stollwerck the German manufacturer sold its chocolate through coin-operated vending machines, adding cigarettes and matches and then soap products to its vending machines.

In the UK, with the expansion of the railways meant the popularity of the vending machine increased and by the 1920’s stations around the world had some form of platform coin-operated vending machine.

Need a cold drink? The first refrigerated vending machines selling cold drinks and soda
appeared in the 1930s in U.S gas stations. In the early machines, cooled the bottles using ice. Still, later, modern refrigerated units boosted vending machine technology, making sure 24-hour operation was possible, and the Coca Cola company took this technology and ran with it. By doing so, championed sales for both the vending machine manufacturers and Coca Cola.

Meanwhile in Britain in 1946, the first hot beverage vending machines were about to take off, launched by Kwik Kafe, invented in the U.S by the Rudd-Melikian company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Kwik Kafe machine offered a paper cup and then filled it with hot coffee made from instant coffee and hot water. By franchising the operation, the company started to move vending into the workplace. By 1955, over 60,000 coffee vending machines existed in the U.S and 35,000 in
the UK – with figures rising every year from then.

Coffee Vending Machine Rental
Nowadays it’s real fresh bean-to-cup coffee or nothing. We are a nation of coffee drinkers, while we still love tea and increasingly hot chocolate there’s nothing like a great cup of coffee to get the day off to a good start.

Meet Vista Rental who in partnership with their sister company CAFÉLAVISTA offer competitive lease agreements that mean you can rent a sleek and stylish machine for as little as £2.15 a day

All Vista Rental coffee machines use the best tasting CAFÉLAVISTA bean to cup coffee, and condiments are all served in branded cups to ensure the selection appeals to your business’ brand and style.

Chances are, you’ve already seen our coffee machines in offices and hotels or gyms, and
hairdressers and even doctor’s offices, and sporting venues – all these venues have made the
most of the professional service to enhance the customer experience.

Imagine being able to rent a gourmet coffee machine for your office. What will your customers or employees think? Now you know the history, it’s time to make your version of history that works for you.

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