Once a common sight on British streets and in public buildings, late Victorian and Edwardian cast-iron vending machines were scrapped for their metal content as they became obsolete or necessary for the war effort.
Today there are relatively few survivors. This
6ft 2in (1.87m) high 'column and drawer' machine is particularly
elaborate, with eight vertical dispensers to include Chocolate
Cream, Peppermints, Throat Pastilles, Palm Toffee, Matches and
It was made by Sweetmeat Automatic Delivery
Company of Southwark Street, London in the 1890s. The firm closed
Now professionally restored and repainted in a
pillar box red with white detail, it proved the more desirable of
two late Victorian machines offered for sale at
Chiswick Auctions in West London on March 5.
Both had come from a storage facility.
Estimated £800-1500, bidding for this machine reached £7500
before it sold to a collector who told the auctioneers it was
The other machine at the sale was a Nestle's One-Penny chocolate
bar machine with twin column dispensers for Nestles Milk Chocolate
at 1d each, and Smokers Chocolate at 2d each. It sold at £2500.
The buyer's premium was 20%.