Vending machines didn't always just sling soda and smokes. Did you know the automated peddlers have been around for about two thousand years? In fact, the very first vending machine was invented by first-century mathematician Hero of Alexandria to dispense holy water using a series of valves, pulleys, and weights. And they've been stuffed with just about anything you can imagine since.
It wasn't until after the Industrial Revolution that vending machines became a normal sight. The first ones, which sold postcards, appeared in London in the 1880s. Then in 1888, they traveled across the Atlantic to New York City, where machines built by Thomas Adams Gum Company peddled chewing gum on subway platforms.
We've been buying all kinds of things from machines ever since, from whiskey to hot meals to fruits, and all kinds of foods and oddities in between. Here are some of our favorites.