Photos submitted.

Pieces of the Past: Fond and Fun

April 26, 2023

There is nothing that says Pieces of the Past has to always be about plain old history! The other day I stumbled onto a site that focussed on “things” from the past. Records are making a comeback.

Being in broadcasting, 45s and 33s made up a huge part of my “job.” Why someone would want to go back to them is beyond me! I realize that some popular music from the 50’s and 60’s even 70’s is only available on “vinyl.” Therefore turntables suddenly became a requirement again. Records were simply inferior! Needles on tone arms would wear out causing the tracts to expand causing skips. Scratches distorted the sound, B U T people my age and older seem to miss those drawbacks.

There was a movie called: “Back to the Future” that detailed a specific experience most people in Warren under 40 have never had. Opening an ice-cold bottle of pop, soda, or “Coke” using a fixed bottle opener attached to a machine! Where was YOUR favorite pop machine? Mine sat on an elevated walkway in front of Louie Carlson’s car dealership! It later became Warren Tire Center.

Samuel Fahnehook was given a patent for the equipment that made up the first soda fountain over 200 years ago. About 160 years later my brother and I followed my sister to an old-fashioned drugstore where we each got a coke. I think I was 4 or 5. Even though pop machines were dotted all over the route I still remember that few minutes of my life. A dime into a pop machine wouldn’t have created that memory.

My dad was a wholesaler so going to grocery stores, and restaurants was a part of my life growing up. A cold bottle of pop was a regular treat. Back then pop machines were built in several styles but there were plenty of “floating” pop machines. Those were based completely on trust! Huge blocks of ice floated in frigid water along with the pop. There usually was a selection of Pepsi, Coke, 7-up, Grape, Cherry, Orange, and more. You’d simply pick out what you wanted and either go in the store with your bottle and a dime or leave a dime in a container. The honor system was fairly effective but not foolproof.

The first fully automatic vending machine in the U.S. came out in Minneapolis in 1884. When you deposited a coin, it dispensed mineral water. The pop machines went deeper than floaters by the time I was a kid but stores and soda makers needed to simplify to protect profits and reduce production expenses.

The personality of the pop machine has vanished. Levers, doors, and slides have gone by the wayside. When was the last time you turned in bottles for the deposit and got yourself a Milky Way?

Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Previous Story

Crary Art Gallery Invites Artists to Enter Juried Exhibition in Honor of ANF Centennial

Next Story

Maplewood Powers Past Eisenhower

Subscribe to our newsletter

White Cane Coffee presents Coffee & a Conversation

Don't Miss