Vending machines have been around for literally hundreds of years in some shape or form, with the first modern coin operated ones in the United Kingdom being introduced in the late 1880s. Those particular vending machines dispensed post cards, while in the United States of America vending machines were first found on train platforms with chewing gum being the item that was dispensed.
Today vending machines can be found in numerous locations around the world. In schools there are vending machines that dispense sweets, crisps and other snacks, and machines that dispense hot, cold or fizzy drinks. These types of machines are easy to operate. All you have to do is place your money in the slot and press the code for the item you want.
Hospitals, factories, large offices, police stations, shops and supermarkets all have vending machines of some sort on the premises. Again there are the ones that dispense all different types of drinks, with others offering all different types of sweets and snacks. In some shops you may even find vending machines that dispense items like umbrellas or light rain coats.
As well as food and drink vending machines there are other types of machines as well. Visit any pub or club and they will more than likely have a cigarette vending machine situated on the premises. Also in the toilets there are vending machines that dispense birth control and sanitary products as well.
Post Offices around the world have stamp vending machines that dispense books of stamps, with some of the larger offices having machines that allow you to buy just one or as many stamps as you need. These are great innovations as it saves you from going inside to buy a single stamp and joining the busy queues.
In places like Japan, and other countries in the Far East, there are vending machines that dispense cooked rice, noodles and ice cream, though not all at the same time! Other countries have their own food vending machines as well. In Australia for instance there are vending machines that dispense French Fries while in Holland there are machines that dispense potato croquettes and hamburgers.
There are vending machines that dispense bicycle inner tubes in Germany, fishing bait in Spain, DVDs in Japan and books in London to name but a few. In the United States of America there are still vending machines on the streets that sell the daily newspapers.
Photo booths are another popular variety of vending machines that can be found throughout the world. There are ones that produce passport style photographs that can be used not only for your passport, but for other things like a driving licence, bus pass or other type of identification card. You can even take your cameras memory card into a shop and produce your own photographs as well, rather than waiting for films to be produced and developed like they were years ago.
Depending on where you live you may even find vending machines that change your change for you. Simply add all of your loose change to the basket and you will be presented with a voucher for the same amount to spend in store! There are vending machines for virtually anything it seems these days!