What did the earliest vending machines sell?
Today vending machines are everywhere and sell virtually everything from food and drink to women’s underwear and even one in Japan that sells puppies, but what did the first coin operated vending machines sell? The first vending machines appeared in England in the early 1880s having been invented by Percival Everitt in 1883. They soon started appearing at railway stations and post offices selling postcards, envelopes and notepaper.
At around the same time across the North Atlantic the first vending machine in the United States was built in 1888 by the Thomas Adams Gum Company, selling gum on New York City train platforms. The idea of adding games to these machines as a further incentive to buy came in 1897 when the Pulver Manufacturing Company added small figures, which would move around whenever somebody bought some gum from their machines.