The first stick gum machines were introduced in 1888, followed by the first gumball vending machines in 1907. Shortly after that, Ford Mason, a roofing salesman, was looking for a business to get involved in during the winter months, when sales were at a lull. He started by leasing about 100 gumball machines and placing them in stores throughout western New York. He found the gum business profitable enough that he considered leaving roofing sales altogether. But Ford realized he would never do as well as he could because most gum sales were from one-time customers. This was because the gum in vending machines was of poor quality and the machines were unreliable. So Ford set out fulltime to make a better gum. Shortly after Ford’s father, a Baptist minister, advised him to start making his own gum vending machines. The success of Ford’s machines lead to a nationwide business with over 500,000 gum vendors across the country.
This is a vintage Ford gum vending machine from the 1950s. This model was set up to vend gum for 1 penny. The glass globe has a flat top, because originally there was a metal frame positioned on the top of these gumball vendors that displayed the name of whatever local charity the vendor was collecting for. These machines had the capacity to fit 4 lbs. of gumballs. We restored this chrome gum vendor back when we were still in the restoration business.
Dimensions: 12”H x 8”W
Weight: 13 lbs.
Ford Gum and Machine Co., Inc.
18 Newton Ave.
Akron, New York
This item is not for sale. We show restored items in this blog to encourage discussion, prompt questions and further the hobby of collecting and restoration. We also enjoy sharing the photos of the many items we have restored over the years.