The first delivery system for cold drinks was the paper-cup, next came the little green glass-bottle that collectors now covet, next the aluminum can and now the plastic bottle. As soon as the paper-cup vending machine was invented, bottlers of that day started placing their new machines in all sorts of locations; baseball parks, amusement parks, factories, etc. Since then the price to buy a soda from a cold-drink vending machine has gone from five cents to two dollars.
Shortly thereafter bottlers began using small green glass bottles, their coin operated cold drink machine were greatly improved, instead of one selection dispensed into paper-cups, there were five selections to choose from. All the customer had to do was choose a selection, drop the coins into the slot and press down on the lever.
After the coin acceptor was invented the next step was to fix the problem that existed, this device could not tell when a metal slug or a brass token was being used instead of a silver coin. Coin-Co invented a coin mechanism that solved that problem; the only problem left was the buyer need the correct amount of coinage to purchase their cold beverages from this machine. A decade later Coin-Co again solved the problem by introducing a coin mechanism that gave change and bottlers vending route’s gross-sales quickly quadrupled. In the early 80′ the dollar bill acceptor was invented, this modern gizmo had the capability of accepting paper money, the only problem was this device needed to work in conjunction with the coin mechanism, Coin-co once again stepped up to the plate by improving their coin mechanism so it could communicate with the dollar bill acceptor, this device is the brains of the modern coin operated vending machine.
During the early 80’s Coke was still the king of the hill in both product production and coin-operated vending routes. Pepsi was on an all out push to takeover as many of Coke’s.S. market share, so when some well intentioned engineer at Pepsi convinced their boss to manufacturer and distributing a wall-mounted cold-drink machine that dispensed cans, it sounded like a good idea. This little vending machine created huge explosions every place it was placed. How? The machine was too small for a “pre-cooler”; you see when a cold drink machine looks like it is sold out, it still has a few cans being kept cold in every selection so after the machine is refilled the first buyers still receive a cold beverage. The pre-cooler then automatically turbo cool the new inventory very quickly and then turn its self off.
The Pepsi wall-mounted cold-drink vending machine was so small it could not retain cold beverages for the first buyers after the machine was refilled and it did not have a turbo-pre-cooler. Therefore when the machine was refilled the route drivers would turn the machine’s thermostat down as low as it would go, the machines inventory would freeze and then “explode” since the thermostat continued to freeze all of the inventory. When the cans would explode soda would shoot all over the walls and anyone that was within 20-feet of the machine. This would cause a panic in the work place, people would hit the deck thinking their was a gun shot, so it didn’t take long before Pepsi pulled all of those neat little wall-mounted vending machines off of the market as quickly as possible.
From the time the cold drink machine was invented, until the mid 1980’s, if you needed to multiple price the cold beverages you sold, you would have to install an extra machine. Not all cold drinks have the same wholesale cost; therefore vending providers ran an elevated food cost unless they spent a few thousand bucks installing an additional machine or two for products such as Gatorade and Juice.
A vending icon, Mr. Roy Steely started a brand new upscale cold drink vending machine manufacturing facility in West Virginia, after leaving his job as CEO of Dixie Narco. His new company, Royal Vendors unveiled his new-invention, the “Merlin”. This little gizmo made it possible for vending companies to multiple prices their cold-drinks by simply pushing a few buttons on the vending machine’s product-selection keypad when the machine’s door was open.
My business partner and I were so excited that we called Mr. Steely and enquired if we could purchase a whole-truckload of Royal vending machines for our route; shortly thereafter we began marketing Royal Vendors to our 3rd party vendor base and to our competitors in Virginia, Maryland and DC. After the new company’s first year in business, licensed distributors across America were pounding Royal Vendors door down to distribute this new cold drink vending machine.
Mr. Steely sold Royal Vendors to his silent partner, Coin-Co a decade and a half later; he then started building his new vending machine manufacturing company, Automated Merchandising System. Automated Merchandising System is now, in my-opinion the premier coin-operated-snack machine and glass-front cold-drink vending machine manufacturer in the U.S.
Mr. Steely’s latest contribution to the vending industry is his Laser Sensit Miss-Vend device. Our vending Management Company and our 3rd party vendors receives hundreds of complaints each year because of “miss-vend” problems. Because of this dreaded problem all of our 3rd party vendors are required to have the Sensit System installed on all of the equipment they place in our locations.
The Sensit Laser System shoots a laser beam across the bottom of the machine, when a product is purchased if it doesn’t deliver and break the beam of light, the machine will automatically cycle for a second time, if the product doesn’t drop and break the beam the Sensit-system automatically returns the buyer’s money.
In the early 1990’s Dixie Narco introduced the Beverage Max, a huge glass-front cold-drink vending machine that has nine- shelves and forty-five different selections. When I say huge, I truly-mean very big, it is so large it is almost impossible to install in a great deal of vending-locations that have narrow hallways, small elevators, narrow stairwells and a small footprints for their vending machine area. The Beverage Max vending machine is also very expensive, upward of $5,000. When this machine was introduced to the vending public a cold drink vending machine cost was in the neighborhood of $1,500. This machine, like so many new vending machines had a few miss-vend issues that have since been resolved. But back then it was just a pain, so our vending management company and other vending companies soon decided that the machine’s size, miss-vend issues and cost out weighed the benefits of the added benefits of having a machine with 45-selection.
Well Mr. Steely decided to capitalize from his old company’s problem, his idea was to design an easy to place, 39″ wide glass-front cold-drink machine, by using the same steel-cabinet that his company uses to build the AMS Sensit-39 snack-vendor, they called it the Sensit 39 AMS Glass-Front Cold Drink Machine. The cost is lower than the Beverage Max and because of its size it is relatively easy to fit into most locations.
We believe that AMS is the premier manufacturer of vending machines in the U.S., therefore we insist that our 3rd party vendors use AMS equipment when ever possible in our locations.