Vendolator Soda Machines

Not to be confused with the Vendo Company, the Vendorlator Manufacturing Company (VMC) was located in Fresno, California. They emerged from WWII as a strong competitor to companies such as Mills and Jacobs, with their upright Model 242. While advertising by the company, dated 1948, claimed that the Model 242 was "backed by 13 years of field testing" it is their post-war machines that are collectible today. Large models like the 242 were good sellers for the company, over 4,000 units sold in 1946 alone.

The year 1948 saw Vendorlator introduce one of the smallest Coke machines ever. The VMC 27 measured 23" x 27" x 19" high and weighed less than 100 pounds. It was advertised initially to sit on a counter or hang on the wall. A progression of stands was later made for the machine to sit on and offered as an option (a tube-type was available from Vendorlator for $12.50). Also optional was a coin changer kit for returning a nickel change when a dime was used. The immediate popularity of the 27 prompted Vendorlator to open a third plant in Piqua, Ohio in April, 1949, in addition to the two plants they already had in Fresno. Vending only 27 six ounce bottles arranged in a rotating drum, two bottles in each of fourteen compartments less one, this machine was best suited for low traffic areas. The fact that the cabinet of this machine was made of aluminum (although steel versions were also made) helps to explain why this model is often found with dents, particularly around the bottle chute.

It was right around January, 1950 that Vendorlator began selling the VMC Dual 27. This extremely small upright machine used the same vending mechanism as the countertop Model 27 but had a 27 bottle pre-cool capacity, hence, the designation "Dual 27". It also used a more conventional arrangement for the refrigeration unit with the condenser housed in the bottom of the machine. Its new found popularity led to the discontinuance of the 27 about a year later. Subsequently, the Dual 27 was dropped from Vendorlator's line by 1954 and replaced by the Model 33,with a slightly modified bottle drum allowing for six more bottle capacity. The physical size was the same as the Dual 27 with the only outside distinguishing feature being a one piece coin door, although two piece "split door" versions are also known.

1956 was the year of the white-top color scheme for coolers and Vendorlator was no exception. This was the year that was "out with the old and in with the new". All of the previously mentioned models had been dropped and replaced by, among others, the VMC 340, advertised as "the world's largest and fastest coin-cooler," and the VMC 44, certainly one of the smallest ever. The VMC 44 and the Vendo V-44 are virtually identical machines. The only real distinguishing feature is the absence of the chrome coin bezel which was part of the Vendo model. In fact, there are serial plates on some of the machines stating that they were being made under license to each other.

It is interesting to note that while the Vendo Company only made machines embossed (for the most part) with the Coca-Cola logo, Vendorlator did not follow such exclusiveness. Their machines are found with the 7 UP as well as Pepsi-Cola logo, among others, giving them broader collector appeal.

        Vendorlator 27 (VMC-27)

        Vendolator 27a (VMC-27a)

    Vendolator 44 (VMC-44) 

        Vendolator 88 (VMC-88)


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Vintage Soda Collectables and Machines
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Copyright © March 12,1997

Last updated on November 19, 2000