V is for vending machines.
Vending machines have been in use longer than you might imagine. Apparently Hero of Alexandria, a mathematician and engineer in the first century constructed the first one – a vending machine that for a coin dispensed a bit of holy water.
And strange and wonderful things have been dispensed from machines ever since. Trust me there’s more to fun to be had from them than just sodas and snacks.
I especially love the idea of re-purposing vintage vending machines and dispensing new types of wonders. I’m pretty sure I’d love to have one of my very own to dispense fabulousities from.
For example this year I discovered Easy, Tiger greeting cards. Amusing audacious cards served up in revamped vintage vending machines. Although straight from the slot is most fun, you can order the cards online too. Read more about them here.
Another awesome example of ingenuity is the Art-o-mat project, which dispenses small works of original art from refurbished cigarette vending machines. There are 100+ locations across the country, including one in my city. What fun!
No boring, stale and somewhat questionable snacks from this vending machine – instead you can get a delicious cupcake. While technically I haven’t actually had one, we do have a Sprinkles cupcake ATM in Chicago, so I imagine I’ll have one of these treats sometime in the foreseeable future.
Another not-personally-tested-but-delights-my-heart is Greenaid, a project from Commonstudio, which offers an opportunity for guerilla gardening by dispensing “seed bombs” of native wildflower seeds in a ball of clay and compost that can be “thrown and grown.” A world with more flowers is a better world in my opinion.
And finally, although alas these wonderful vending machines are no longer in operation, it would scandalous not to mention them, particularly during April which is National Poetry Month. Once upon a time there was such a thing as Gumball Poetry – poetry stuffed into little capsules and dispensed from gumball machines. The very idea makes me swoon. Jump on the way-back machine and visit this page for a peek at the magic.
And there you have it, a tour of vending machines courtesy of me and my fabulous friend Fool who approves of all things creative and magical and fun. What about you? Had any noteworthy vending machine experiences? What strange and wonderful thing would you like to see vended? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
Hi Deborah – I had not heard of cupcakes coming out of vending machines, or poetry gumballs … but the idea of seed balls via Greenaid – sounds a wonderful project … lots of imaginative projectiles! Cheers Hilary
Makes me smile every time I think about it, and I’m certainly keeping my eyes open now for fabulous finds.
Amazing! Also the holy oil from so long ago. This is such a great idea about seeds and cupcakes, works of art, a poem …It makes me think of many things that I’d like to pop a coin or three into the machine for something – a tarot card with it’s explanation sealed in a capsule. A greeting card …
Thank you ..
My mind was working overtime on fun possibilities as well.
Yeah, I just created an imaginary vending machine that pops out positive, motivating messages.
Nice. I’d put some coins in that one. 🙂
This one is for you: It’s Monday! I’m happy, I’m healthy, I am fabulous!
A cupcake vending machine? YES PLEASE!!
I’m right behind you in line Katie. 🙂
My mom told me stories about the AutoMat when she was younger–if ONLY there were vending machines like this still around (maybe there are, but not by me!): http://www.theautomat.com/
BTW, added your blog to my Places to Visit on my blog 🙂
Oh how fun your mom knew AutoMats. The photos I’ve seen make them seem wonderfully fun.