Ah, vending machines. Since the late 1880s, we’ve subjected the basic technology of “put some money in, get something out” to the hedonistic rainbow of human gratifications. Warm sandwiches? Sure. Farm fresh eggs? Yes please. Cigarettes? Doctor recommended! Previously used undergarments? Er, well, okay!
Well into the 20th century, actually, vending machines were all the rage—leading the awkward forward march of early futuristic innovations we thought would be life-altering conveniences: TV dinner, cans of creamed chip beef, and tall metal cabinets to fill with anything from cigarettes to pantyhose to something called “stewed steak.” Seriously. If it could fit inside, it could be vended, which is how we got to the brief but glorious era of The Evva Whisky Vending Machine.
Looking as innocuously clunky as one of those modern-day automatic coffee dispensers, the Evva was exhibited at the Second Automatic Vending Exhibition in London in 1960 (that there was a First Automatic Vending Exhibition should hint at just how pumped people were about getting odd food items and intoxicants from large machines). And the concept, compared to say, the invasively interactive technology we engage with today, was pretty beautifully simple. Put money in, get whisky out. From the look of the machine, you could either get straight whisky, or a mixture of whisky and soda (notice the little buttons on the top right). A button instructs you to make your selection first and wait for the green light before removing your cup—though we don’t see a button recommending we not put our mouths directly under the spigot.
Before we judge, remember, the days of weird alcohol delivery systems are far from over. A quick check on e-Bay and you’ll find anything from a “Triple Beverage Dispenser Backpack Hiking Camping Party Beer Tower Drink Cooler” to something called a “Wine Gas Station Cocktail Dispenser.”