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54488.  Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:09 pm Reply with quote

Richard Carlile was banned from selling Thomas Paine’s “The Rights of Man” from his Fleet Street bookshop, but he found a rather neat loophole ... a charge could only be brought if a government agent could identify the salesman who sold the subversive pamphlet. So Carlile “rigged up a clockwork Automotive Blasphemy Machine in which customers put their money into one slot, and received their revolutionary text from another.”

Is there some sort of question here about early coin-in-the-slot vending machines, which would allow Stephen to utter the excellent phrase “Automotive Blasphemy Machine”?

Source: Sunday Telegraph 22 January 2006, review of “The trouble with Tom” by Paul Collins.

54515.  Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:03 pm Reply with quote

My long long term memory says something about the first vending machines being for holy water. I either had it in a quiz once or it may even have been on an earlier series.

54516.  Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:05 pm Reply with quote

Well at least I didn't make it up - wiki agrees with me:

A vending machine is a machine that dispenses merchandise when a customer deposits money, validated by a currency detector, sufficient to purchase the desired item (as opposed to a shop, where the presence of personnel is required for every purchase). It is believed to have been first invented by Hero of Alexandria, a 1st century inventor. His machine accepted a coin and then dispensed a fixed amount of "holy water".

54523.  Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:17 pm Reply with quote

Ancient Inventions has a bit on coin-in-the-slot machines invented by (IIRC) yer actual Greeks. And I recall it being temple-related (a water-dispenser slot-machine, to be precise), so that would fit the blasphemy requirement. Can dig it out if you so wish.

Britannica has it pegged down as invented c200-100BC.

54676.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:50 am Reply with quote

Sounds like there's some quinteresting stuff here, then. Would something as simple as "What did the first vending machines vend?" offer scope for both comic invention and goshy chairman's notes?

54733.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:37 am Reply with quote

Ancient Inventions, of which I happen to have a copy, states that the machine was indeed invented by Heron.

A five-drachma bronze coin was inserted into the slot and the machine dispensed a small amount of water for the ritual washing of the face and hands required before entering the temple.

54738.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:42 am Reply with quote

Adam Hart Davies (or someone similar) demonstrated a working model of this on TV a couple of weeks ago, I seem to remember. The heavy coin dropped onto a large, sloping plate on one end of a lever. Before the coin could slide off the plate, it had time to tip the lever slightly, the other end of which allowed some water to dribble from a hole it was blocking.

Simple design - only the correctly-shaped and correctly-weighted object would work.

54745.  Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:48 am Reply with quote

Modern vending machines can recognise what the coin is made of, so you can't use a washer or whatever. Speaking of which 'copper' coins in the UK are made of steel, and have been since .... er .... 1992, I think.

56294.  Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:26 am Reply with quote

“By 1873, the Kentish Town branch of Sainsbury’s had a coin-operated vending machine nicknamed the ‘mechanical cow’ that dispensed milk to after hours shoppers.”

Source: ‘Inventing the Victorians’ by Matthew Sweet (2001).

58007.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:30 am Reply with quote

Vending machines are deadlier than sharks, apparently:

Weren’t we discussing somewhere things that are more dangerous than dangerous things? I can’t find it, but obviously this ought to be linked to it.

58011.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:35 am Reply with quote

That was 'drupes': post 54045.

58014.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:45 am Reply with quote


58033.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:41 am Reply with quote

Jasper Maskelyne, who I'm looking at for deception and decoys invented a coin-operated toilet door. Possible link here.


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