As soon as man grasped the concept of needing things, they strived to make the machinery to efficiently let them get said things. With this came our modern need for instant gratification. We need food, we need it right now. We need clothes, we need them right now. We have become a 'right now' culture. The corner post of our right now culture is the vending machine.
Vending machines are older than people would think. The Greek mathematician Hero seems to have got the ball rolling in 215BC, when he invented a machine to vend holy water in Egyptian temples. They did not become big until the industrial revolution near the end of the 1800's. However once they caught on, people found out how to use them in new and creative ways.
Ice Cold Whiskey Vending Machine
A whiskey (or whisky for you scots) vending machine is probably the best invention that man could have made. If it were still in circulation today, it would save bartenders a whole lot of precious time when I enter a bar. The vending machine fired out ice cold liquor mixed with either water or soda to booze-hungry brits. However this vending machine never made it into circulation. This prototype was only seen Second Automatic Vending Exhibition in London in 1960.
Such a shame, some one needs to get their hands on that and create a vending machine bar.
Adult Books Vending Machine
If you are unfamiliar with the wonders of the internet and need your fix of beautiful women posing provocatively, nothing is more awkward than going to a shady gas station or adult books store and staring that good stranger in the face as you ask for the latest issue of Busty Blonde Bimbos.
This vending machines takes away that awkwardness. Well, kind of. There is still the awkwardness of someone walking by while you are purchasing a nudey magazine from a vending machine. However, that is what fake moustaches are for, right?
Live Lobster Vending Machine
Prizes in the traditional claw machine getting you down? Those soft fuzzy plushes too hard to grab with the mechanical claw? Why not try your luck with lobsters? In Japan, home of a lot of crazy unique ideas, you can find Marine Catcher, the game with live prizes.
This game, surprisingly found in an arcade in Osaka, Japan and not a restaurant gives you the chance to win a live lobster. For a mere two dollars, you get the chance to fish out one of these terrified crustaceans. Though like with most claw machines, it's extremely difficult to win anything. However, once you do the lobster is dropped down a chute. You have to hunt down the arcade manager to get a bag for it though. If you can't find him, too bad. You have to carry the pinchy creature home the way it is and boil it alive. However, those are the risks. Like when you win an IPhone, you get the $80 dollar phone bill or have to pay insurance on the new car you won.
These machines are still found in Osaka, much to the dismay of organizations like PETA who have rallied for their removal.
Panty Vending Machine
For a few months in 1993, Japan made headlines for their now infamous vending machines. Undoubtedly, you have heard about the vending machines that sold used underwear of Japanese school girls. These vending machines were only around for a few months when Japan deemed selling second-hand items to be against the laws.
However, you can still buy clean panties from vending machines, just not on the street. You have to go into one of those shady adult book and video stores to find these odd treasures today.
Umbrella Vending Machine
These vending machines are not so much strange as they are awesomely convenient. To me, this is probably one of the best ideas for a vending machine ever. I mean what is worse than a late afternoon storm blowing in and being stuck walking home without an umbrella?
Unlike most of the other vending machines on this list, umbrella vending machines still are around today. The are ever increasingly found in malls, subways stations, and railways. At first these umbrella stations were really popular in Hong Kong, China, and Japan. However, today they have spread around the world. You can even buy one and place it in your home town.
Hot Food Vending Machine Resturaunts
Long before McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Burger King hungry people in a hurry had another way to get their food fast. They visited Automats, which were essentially restaurants composed of vending machines. Some of the food was as simple as a sandwich, but they branched out into more complex items. The food would be stocked each day or cooks behind the machines would make the food quickly and stock it from behind the machines.
The Automat started in Germany in the late 1800's and spread quickly around the world. However, fast food has nearly made these establishments extinct by the 1970's. Today you would be hard pressed to find one, but Automats still exist in the Netherlands.
Fried Food Vending Machine
A vending machine selling fried food including french fires, prawns, and some form of nugget is not exactly the most "out there" vending machine idea. However, what makes this vending machine uniquely strange is that it is not just a bunch of greasy previously made food sitting under a heat lamp. The fries, prawns, and nuggets are frozen in the machine and them freshly fried inside of said machine!
So you are getting freshly fried delicious food in a surprising 90 seconds. However, around 2007 the company that created these machines, Tasty Fries Inc., went out of business. Apparently their lovely machines were not something any other companies wanted to carry on with, sadly.
Lit Cigarette Vending Machine
Ah, the 1930's. An all-around glorious time for smokers. You could smoke in public places, you wouldn't constantly be berated with hilarious chides like "You know those things'll kill ya?"
The 1930's brought the convenience of cigarette machines. Not just any cigarette machines, you can still find those in bars today, but self-lighting cigarette vending machines!
These machines did not live long after World War 2. The party era of the 1920's was gone and war was on. Many cigarettes. including Black Cat and Golden Flake (the brands being sold) were withdrawn from the market to be redirected to Allied soldiers, so thus the machines fell into disuse. As it turned out, people found it easier to just light their own cigarettes instead of trying to burn their fingers fishing them out of a vending machine. Or perhaps it was the fire hazard that comes with pressing tobacco and paper against an electric coil to light them.