Vendo Coke Machines

The most widely know soda machine manufacturer is Vendo.  Formed in 1937 in Kansas City, Missouri, the Vendo Company's product line was chest coolers.  After World War II Vendo Company  entered the upright machine market.  In 1950 Vendo was the dominant upright Coca-Cola machine maker.  The machines that Vendo made were exclusively for Coca-Cola.

It was the company's introduction of a new line of upright coin-operated machines which earned them the recognition among collectors today. Beginning with the V-83 in 1946 and followed closely by the V-39 in 1949, these two machines accounted for over 200,000 units on location between the years 1946 to 1957. Of these two, the Model V-39 ranks as the single most widely recognized Coke machine among collectors today. The crank handle and small bottle door are the two distinguishing features which people most remember about the Coke machine during the 1950's. And while there were other machines which embodied these same features, the V-39, through its sheer numbers and length of production (over 80,000 units in 9 years), ranks it as number one.

If the V-39 ranks as the most recognized machine today, its smaller cousin, the V-44, ranks as the single most highly collected of the upright coolers. To go along with its compact size, only 16" wide x 57½" high, the V-44 has the look, with its crank handle, that makes it desirable.

While not rare, a little over 8000 units were made between the years 1956-1959, it is certainly less common than, for example, the V-39. It should be noted that the Vendorlator Company made thousands of a virtually identical unit to the V-44, the only real difference being the absence of the chrome coin entry bezel found on the Vendo version. Both machines use two vertical chutes to vend 44 6 ounce bottles with room in the bottom to pre-cool another 9 bottles. The machines came priced originally as either 5 cent, 6 cent or 10 cent and with the optional changer, 5 cent, 6 cent, 7 cent or 10 cent. Another noteworthy feature of the 44 was its original color scheme of white over red. Beginning in 1955, the Coca-Cola Company was encouraging distributors to bring all red coolers in from location and undergo the new color scheme.  In the words of Dupont, manufacturer of much of the paint used on vintage machines, the top 12" or so of each machine was to be painted with multiple coats of "pure 'iceberg white that suggest the cooling natural goodness of a Coke."

Another desirable model from the company is the V-81. Often found as a white-top machine (it was introduced in 1955), the V-81 is physically the same size as the V-39 but radically different in its method of dispensing bottles. Departing from the usual drum mechanism, this machine holds 9 bottles on each of 9 shelves. The shelves are slanted towards a glass (actually Plexiglas) door on the left of the machine. The shelves are adjustable to accommodate 6, 10 or 12 ounce bottles giving this machine more versatility than most of the other models.

As an example of its dominance of Coke machines, 1956 saw the Vendo Company offering no less than 6 highly collectible models in the V-23, V-39, V-44, V-80, V-81 and V-110.


Coke Vendo 39
Vendo 39 (V39)

58" High
27" Wide
16" Deep
Vends 39 Bottles
Precools 20 Bottles
Manual Coin Mechanism
Vends 1 Selection of Beverage
This classic machine was produced from 1949 to Mid 50's in the all red version and into the late 50's in the white over red version. The "ice cold" embossing is not always present. The earlier machines often had an embossed rib running down the coin door and only vend the 6½oz bottles. Later models had a drum that allowed 12 oz bottles to be vended by loading them backwards in the machine.

   Coke Vendo 44

Vendo 44 (V-44)

57½" High
16" Wide
15½" Deep
Vends 44 Bottles
Precools 9
Manual Coin Mech
  Vends 1 Selection of Beverage 
Produced from 1956 to 1959, this is one of the most collected coke machines because of its compact size. 

    Coke Vendo 56
Vendo 56 (V-56)
52 " High
25" Wide
18¾" Deep
Vends 56 Bottles
Precools 14 Bottles
Manual or Electric Coin Mechanisms
No Light in Bottle Door
 Vends 7 Selections of Beverage
Produced from 1957 to1959.   This is a very collectable machine. It vends up to 7 varieties of beverage in 6½ to 12 oz bottles. The vending door was often solid metal so that you had to open it to see the selections. Some had the glass door pictured.

Coke Vendo 80
       Vendo 80 (V-80) 
58" High
27" Wide
16" Deep
Vends 80 Bottles
Pre-cools 17 Bottles
Electric Coin Mechanisms
   Vends 1 Selection of Beverage 
The same size as the V39 and V81, the Vendo 80 had an all red paint scheme with small embossing early, while later models had larger embossing and a two tone paint scheme. They also had a large band of stainless steel across the door in the later model.

Coke Vendo 81
       Vendo 81 (V-81)
58" High
27" Wide
16" Deep
Vends 81 Bottles
Pre-cools 17 Bottles
Manual or Electric Coin Mechanisms
Lighted Bottle Door
 Vends 9 Selections of Beverage 
One of the most popular home machines because of its round look, small size, and versatility. The earliest machines were red, with small coin doors, and a green Coke medallion in the bottle door. The logo was smaller, and off set to the left.  Later models were two toned, some with larger coin doors, and the medallion was clear. The logo was also larger and centered.

Coke Vendo 83 
Vendo 83 (V-83)
63" High
32½" Wide
18" Deep
Vends 83 Bottles
Pre-cools 75 Bottles
Manual or Electric Coin
  Vends 1 Selection of Beverage 
Most Vendo 83 coke machines were all red with mechanical coin mechanisms. Later models had the electric coin mechanisms.  These machines are often restored in a two tone - white over red scheme.

Coke Vendo 110
       Vendo 110 (V-110)
63" High
32½" Wide
18" Deep
Vends 110 Bottles
Pre-cools 34 Bottles
Manual Coin Mechanisms
Vends 6½-12oz Bottles
 Vends 10 Selections of Beverage 
An excellent machine for a large game room, as it will not get lost in the crowd.   The two tone paint scheme and the rounded look add to its appeal. The same machine without the coin mechanism can be found.  It was a "Serve Yourself" 6 case upright cooler.


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Vintage Soda Collectables and Machines
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Copyright © March 12,1997

Last updated on November 20, 2000