Slot machines enabled everyone to buy themselves a bit of luxury for little money

Bazaar for fresh gum, 2017, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim
Vending Machines
The "Groschengräber" (penny grave) are often helpers in emergency situations, if they give out films, condoms, bicycle tubes, tights, cigarettes or beer after the shops closing time. They increase sales and can test the success of new flavors very directly. In addition to this accessibility for everyone, however, the machines also accelerate and anonymize the sales process and contribute to democratization, but not to social exchange.
Mechanisches Musikinstrument „Polyphon“, Original-Musikwerke Paul Lochmann GmbH, Wahren bei Leipzig, 1905/1905, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

Mechanical Jukebox

The principle of all mechanical jukeboxes is similar: the melody is stored on punch cards or discs and scanned by a mechanism. Perforated plate No. 3 of the polyphonic changer plays the "French national anthem", better known as the Marseillaise.

Geschicklichkeitsautomat Bajazzo, Max Jentsch & Meerz, Leipzig, 1906, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

Luck or skill?

That is the question posed by the so-called Bajazzo trials of 1927 and which the courts finally decided in favor of skill. Otherwise, this slot machine would have been banned as a game of chance.

The inserted coin must be caught by the Bajazzo clown figurine from the Italian theater for the win.

Electra - for shooting practice, Automates Electra GmbH, Köln, 1908, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

The apparatus intended to "practice the eye and hand for your fatherland". A 5-penny piece serves as ammunition for the pistol. A hit triggerd a dry battery and the "Ding" told the barman to pay the price of "wine, beer, cognac or 2 cigars" to the lucky shooter. The coin box held a Greek coin from 1964 as evidence of an attempted fraud!

machine for chocolate eggs, MUM-Automaten-Fabrik, Niedersedlitz bei Dresden, 1920/1925, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

In order to get to the hen's chocolate filled eggs, one had to insert ten pfennigs, turn the handle – and an egg would tumble out, accompanied by a cackling noise.

Inside the hen: the carousel for the chocolate eggs, MUM-Automaten-Fabrik, Niedersedlitz bei Dresden, 2017-11-14, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim
The horn for the signal, 2017, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim
chocolat machine "Kobold", 1903, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

This early form of vending machine was designed by the chocolate company Gartmann and registered as a utility model. The Altona-based company Kobold took over this type for sale throughout all of Germany.

Bohnenkaffee-Spender mit Mahlwerk, Telefonbau- und Normalzeit-GmbH, Frankfurt am Main, 1956, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

After inserting 10 pfennig, coffee beans fell into the grinder inside, which was ground by hand with the crank. The powder was filled into a thermos containing hot water. The automaton was attached to the outside wall of the canteen so that the railway staff of the marshalling yard in Mannheim could have a hot coffee during the night shift.

Dispenser for matchbooks, unknown, 1950/1960, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

The automaton for matchboxes was surely situated next to a cigarette vending machine.

Warenautomat "Frische Basar", unknown, 1990/1999, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

The chewing gum and candy dispenser was taken directly from active duty in Mannheim city and handed over to the museum.
The drawers make it possible to distribute the goods individually packed to the customers and keep them protected from light, which has advantages over the more open machines.

"Granny! There is a gumball machine!"
One of the open machines can be seen on a picture taken by Google Maps Street View, coincidentally just about to be put into use with the money requested by the grandmother.
Slot machine Rotamint Bingo Royal, unbekannt, 1975, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

After the time of the prohibition, slot machines no longer had to be masked and could show their true nature. The random process dispenses the time spent waiting with spinning discs until either the sound of falling coins announces a win or the rivet is displayed and the next coin is requested.

Vending machine for postcards, unknown, 1900/1910, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim
Postkartenautomat
Kurbel drehen für die Karte der Wahl
the inside of the postcard dispenser, unknown, 2017, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

"Postcards with a view of your choice" could be selected by cranking the handle. Inside is a box for "counterfeit money", an indication of a coin validator.

box for counterfeit money, unknown, 1900/1900, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

Extra slot for fake money

vending machine for postcards, unknown, 1900/1910, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

The Postcard Vending Machine (1900)

postcard dispenser, unknown, 1965, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

Postcard dispensing machine from the "Gasthaus Goldener Hirsch" in Neckarsteinach.

Briefmarkenautomat, Heinrich H. Klüssendorf,, 1960/1965, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

The stamp machine was, due to its moisture-sensitive content, intended only for an installation inside a building. According to a note found inside, this one was placed in the "Kaufhaus des Westens" in Berlin.

vending machine for beer, Sielaff Maschinenfabrik, Berlin, 1990, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim

Because of youth protection laws, such machines are disappearing everywhere. The slightly insulted tone of the inscription indicates that it was placed inside a canteen of a company: "According to management, no beer is to be sold since 1.2.92.".

the machine everyone has been waiting for!, 1930, From the collection of: Technoseum - State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim
Credits: Story

TECHNOSEUM – Landesmuseum für Technik und Arbeit in Mannheim

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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