Vendo was founded in 1937 in Kansas City, Missouri. Their initial product line consisted of chest coolers, but after WWII they became known for their upright vending machines, which were made exclusively for the Coca-Cola Company. This chest cooler is one of the earliest—if not one of the first chest coolers made by Vendo.
This cooler is embossed for Cleo Cola, a soft drink that was introduced in 1935 by the Whistle soda company. Cleo Cola was named after the cigar favored by the company’s owner (presumably Antonio y Cleopatra cigars, manufactured since 1879). Advertising for the soda featured Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, which may explain the use of what then was considered an “oriental” typeface.
In addition to the photo of the Cleo Cola chest cooler, there are also photos of artist renditions of the Vendo chest and an additional cooler embossed with the Coca-Cola logo, in what appears to be an office. Perhaps this gentleman is a Vendo Company executive. In this last picture, it is possible to see the top of the machine with the rotating vending mechanism. This chest cooler represents an early version of the soda vending machines that Vendo continued to develop and became famous for.
The Vendo Company
Kansas City, Missouri