A Brief History of Vending

In the past decade we’ve been in business alone, vending has come a long way! Gone are the days of brown sludge served in a tiny cup, our customers have more choice than ever before with great tasting coffee being delivered at the touch of a button. Ever wondered where vending started? Our team have done some digging and delving into the past!

The Beginning

It is believed that the earliest known sort of vending machine was developed by Hero of Alexandria, he was an engineer and mathematician in first century Roman Egypt. The machine invented by him dispensed holy water when a coin was inserted. Moving on to 1615 and coin operated machines sprung up across England in taverns that dispensed tobacco.

The 1880’s

The first modern coin operated vending machines are thought to have first sprung up in the 1880’s. A machine invented by Percival Everitt dispensed postcards and soon spread across the UK also dispensing notepaper and envelopes.

In 1887 The Sweetmeat Automatic Delivery Company founded in England was the first company to be involved primarily with the installation and delivery of vending machines. Later in 1893 a German company called Stollwerck who were a chocolate manufacturer started selling their chocolate in 15,000 vending machines . Chocolate machines gradually started springing up across the UK but these were few and far between.

Hot Drinks Vending Is Born


Cold soda machines started to spring up across the United States. Fast forward to 1946 and still over in the United States a company called Rudd-Melikian launched the Kwik Kafe , the first coffee vending machine. It is said that whilst serving in the US Army Air Force Cyrus Melikian wanted a cup of coffee, only to be told that coffee wasn’t being served between meals. He thought to himself wouldn’t it be great if he could get a coffee from a vending machine just like he could get a cold soda. When Melikian and his friend Rudd left the military after World War II they raised the funds to start their company and after 9 months had developed their machine. By 1947 they were manufacturing 40 machines a week and the rest as they say is history.

Back In The UK


During World War II the rise of the tea lady was common across the UK, they entered the main stream when they were used in an experiment to boost efficiency in workplaces for the war effort. These tea ladies would push their trolleys up and down workplaces across the UK, dishing out the hot drinks and boosting morale. It wasn’t until the late 70s and early 80s that vending machines started taking over from tea ladies. Vending back then dispensed basic tea and coffee of dubious quality and vending gained a bad reputation for offering poor quality.

The Industry Fights Back

These days vending machines can provide quality and consistent hot drinks time after time. Our range of hot drinks vending machines can provide drinks that rival the high street chains at a great price. Provide your workforce with only the very best, our touchscreen vending machines have rapidly become a best seller. They allow your staff and customers to customise their hot drink to their exact specification, selecting strength, sugar, extra milk and more.

Get In Touch

Looking for a forward thinking, modern vending supplier? Get in touch with us today on 01455 230 133 to discuss your requirements.