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Vending Machines

Automatic vending machines dispense retail products mechanically after payment has been inserted in the form of coins, bills, or by payment cards. Soft drinks and snack foods account for 80% of the vending industry transactions. Coin-operated games and slot machines are offshoots of vending. Recent federal laws regulate the contents and restrict the use of vending machines in schools and universities. Controversies over cigarettes and tobacco products, highly processed foods, sodas, and birth control cause social and political polemics. This entry focuses on the evolution of vending, related controversies, and the challenges of vending.

Evolution of Vending Machines

The earliest records of vending machines are of Egyptian holy water dispensers used in temples. In 215 BCE, Hero Ctesibius created the prototype for the first vending machine, but ...

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