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⚙️ Table Talk #108: Vending Machine Culture 🍫

We’ve got a soft spot for vending machines.

Stumble up to one a little bit tipsy, oh so hungry and your dinner of four Yorkies and two Twix will be served in the flashest of flashes. No judgement, great service, what more could you want?

What few realise however, is just how intriguing and culturally diverse their history is. Such Table Talky information we couldn’t resist sharing with you all.

Read on for a whistle stop tour of vending machine culture. 
You may, like us, imagine that vending machines are a relatively modern invention. Quite the opposite, it’s said that Hero of Alexandria, the Greek mathematician, was dealing holy water from a coin operating device back in the Roman era.
That said, it was the 1880’s that they really took off, and a penchant for purchasing postcards, papers and stamps gave vending machines their widespread popularity. A popularity that’s only grown as their bounty has broadened and everything from confectionary to cosmetics can be found in one.
If you think the UK vending machines have range however, you haven’t met their Japanese cousins. In the UK it’s said there is one vending machine for every 55 people, in Japan it’s one for every 23 - the highest ratio in the world.
Photo Credit: Eiji Ohashi
What’s especially striking about the vending machines in Japan is just how widely spread across the country they are. No destination is too remote. 
The photographer Eiji Ohashi has spent years capturing these trusty beacons of light in the dead of night. His book “Roadside Lights” gives Wes Anderson a run for his money. Carefully shot, with beautiful use of symmetry, his photos are as clever as they are beautiful.
No item is too peculiar to sell either. Umbrellas, canned cakes, fresh sashimi, fortune telling strips, whale meat - all fair game. They say that convenience is king and in Japanese vending machine culture, that really does seem to ring true.
Photo Credit: Eiji Ohashi

Once upon a time, one of our team got their arm stuck in a vending machine and the the fire brigade were called. We’re not naming names, but it does display serious commitment to excavating jammed Salt & Malt McCoys and for that we are proud of them.

This week, we've spent a lot of time distracted from our actual jobs, busy surfing the super slick new website of the branding maestros Kuba & Friends.

At Wednesday's Domaine, our bottles would be a shadow of themselves without the support of these guys.

We're both groupies and clients. 

Take a look,

Luke x 


More where that came from...