Vintage Coca-Cola Machine History

Old Coca-Cola machines are prized by lots of Coca-Cola enthusiasts, and quite a few want a Vintage Coca-Cola machine that really works and vends a Coke bottle when they drop their nickel or dime inside. Lucky for them, a good number of these machines have survived and are readily available by specialists who refurbish them as well as provide parts for an enthusiast to do their own restoration if they wish.

Often, some of the most antique Coca-Cola machines are not much more than a metal box with the recognizable Coca-Cola script logo emblazoned across it. Essentially these were ice boxes designed specifically to be stocked with bottles of Coke and ice. Glascock was one manufacturer of such early vending units.

After these early vintage Coca-Cola machines that weren’t much more than a glorified ice-box, came a refrigerated unit that didn’t need ice. While it did have some advantages over its predecessor, such as a cleaner operation without the ice, it did have to be near an eletric outlet and could require costly fixes.

A major breakthrough came when vending machines became coin-operared. One example displayed Coke bottles through a glass door and, after you deposited your coin, you would pull on the bottle and it would release. One problem with this machine, however, was that if you didn’t pull correctly, you just might lose the bottle and your coin!

The next era of coin-operated Coke vending came when companies like Vendorlator and rival Vendo produced machines that would vend the bottles individually without the mechanical malfunctions prevalent in earlier machines.

The majority of early coin-operated Coke vending machines required nickels and exact change. In time, with more refinements, came the ability to give change back as needed. The price of the Coke bottles themselves was always a constant in this era.

Bottle vending machines were supplanted when canned soft drinks became available in the 1960′s. Cans were less likely to break than bottles, chilled faster and needed no bottle openers or cap receptacles. By the end of the 20th century, most glass bottle machines had disappeared except as curiosities and collectibles, but newer machine dispense 20 ounce plastic bottles instead of cans in many machines.

Check out our fabulous selection of vintage Coca-Cola machines at target=”_blank”> You won’t believe your eyes!

- Daniel Wright

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