Vendex Peanut

Vendex Co., Boston, MA, c. 1935, 12 1/2". This is one of the tall, small-footprint models that became popular in the 1930's. This and models such as the Grandbois, Tom Thumb, and Northwestern 33 Jr. were used on bar and store-counter tops where they provided the goods (and the profits) while taking up very little counter space.

The machines above are made of cast iron and are chrome- or nickel-plated (the left one) or painted (the right one). I've also seen examples that were painted aluminum or bare aluminum. I'm convinced that the aluminum version was later in this model's lifespan. I can't prove that, but it's the evolutionary path that machines travelled and I see no reason this would be different. The bottom of these machines is sometimes stamped "Vendex Co., Boston, Mass.," and sometimes it's blank.

Several variations of this model are depicted in Silent Salesmen Too. The great majority that I've seen have a round base like the one on the left. Some have a square base, of which there are 2 types. One type has a square base attached by 2 screws to a round base, like the one on the right, so the square is an addition to the round base rather than a different base altogether. The other type has the square base molded into the base to form one unit, so that one really is a different base.

This style of machine was also available as a gumball vendor, and I don't know how to tell the difference from the exterior. Silent Salesmen Too treats the gumball and peanut versions as separate models, but I'm not sure that's right. For example, both of the peanut versions pictured in the book have a square base, while the only gumball version pictured there has a round base. The coin inserts differ between the peanut and gumball versions pictured on this site, but I don't know if that's a difference between models, or just a variation that applies to both the peanut and gumball versions---one can't tell from just 3 examples. I'll keep my eyes open and will update this if I start to see this correlation across, say, a dozen machines, but until I do I remain skeptical. I suspect that the gumball and peanut versions differed only in the shape of the product opening in the vending wheel, and that the variations shown and described in Silent Salesmen Too apply to the peanut and gumball versions of the model. In the spirit of Mr. Enes's categorizations I've kept them separate in the listing on this website, but I think it's a distinction without merit.

Most Vendex machines don't have decals, but when found with a decal the most common one is the kind pictured above left. It's an elegant decal with a lot of colors and in my opinion is one of the prettiest decals around. In 2010 a friend of mine who lives in Europe bought one of these machines on ebay and had it shipped to me to hold until he could pick it up. It arrived safely and I unpacked it and tucked it away for him. Next time I talked to him he mentioned that the decal on his differed from the decal on mine. Huh? Both decals were of the mandolin player, but the colors differed and the text differed slightly, and I hadn't noticed until he told me.

The examples pictured above are 100% original.



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