These days, vending machines are everywhere. By simply putting our money into the machines or swiping our credit cards, we can easily purchase things like snacks and drinks with ease. There are even machines that allow us to buy bigger items, such as electronic gadgets!
There’s no doubt that these vending machines can make life easier. Because of them, we can make simple purchases easily and without the need for going to the store. However, have you ever stopped to think about where these machines came from? Believe it or not, the first vending machine was invented over 2000 years ago in Ancient Greece! Here’s more information on how the first vending machine came to be:
Hero of Alexandria Invented the First Vending Machine
Hero of Alexandria was an inventor, scientist, and mathematician who was fascinated with the world around him. The vending machine was simply one of his many inventions. As part of his studies, he also took a keen interest in mechanics and used this interest to create various things, including the vending machine. He was born in Alexandria, an influential Greek colony that was named after Alexander the Great, in around 10 AD.
In addition to inventing and studying the mathematical and scientific world, he also wrote about his inventions. Evidence of the first vending machine can be found in his book, Pneumatics, which not only describes that particular invention, but some of his other works, as well.
The Purpose of the First Vending Machine
What’s especially interesting about this machine is that it was coin operated, which is how most of the vending machines that are around today work. These ancient machines, however, didn’t dispense candy and snacks like they do today. Rather, the first vending machine was used in a temple to dispense holy water. When the right amount of changed was entered into the slot, the mouth at the bottom would open and holy water would dispense for use in the temple.
How the First Vending Machine Worked
As mentioned above, the purpose of the machine was to dispense holy water. Here’s an overview of how it worked:
- The proper coin was entered into the slot.
- The coin hit a pan, which was attached by a lever.
- When the coin hit, the lever would move.
- Once the lever moved, it opened a valve.
- When the valve opened, water would dispense out.
- The water would stop dispensing after the coin fell from the pan.
- No longer weighted down, the pan would snap the valve closed.
This machine offered a way for the temple to get some money while also helping the people worship. Not only that, but this influential design showcased Hero’s true talent of understanding how mechanics works. He then applied this knowledge to create something that incredibly useful.
As you can see, without the Ancient Greeks, it’s possible that the modern vending machine wouldn’t exist!
Categorized in: What Greeks Invented?
This post was written by GreekBoston.com