Machine from which various goods may be purchased, either with coin, paper currency, or electronic payment card. The first vending machines were introduced in 18th-century England to sell snuff and tobacco. From the late 19th century they have been widely used in many countries. Vending service is typically provided by a company that owns the machines and places them in businesses, schools, and the like. These operators provide the products and service either without cost to the owner of the premises on which a machine is located or in return for a servicing charge.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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