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Vendo V-81s and VMC-81 Soda Machines

July 14th, 2008 · 66 Comments

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Vendo 81D

The Vendo V-81’s and VMC-81 Soda Machines, Similarities & Differences

The Vendo Company eventually merged with its rival, the Vendorlator Manufacturing Company in 1956, but originally they were two separate entities building some very similar soda machines. In the mid 1950’s the Vendo Company was manufacturing the Vendo 81 exclusively for The Coca-Cola Company, and the Vendorlator Manufacturing Co. was making VMC-81’s for competing brands like Pepsi, 7-Up, Dr. Pepper and Royal Crown. Once the two companies merged, they continued to make machines under the two product names as before, making The Vendo Company the primary supplier to of the soft drink market.

VMC 81 Product Line

V-81 Soda Vending Machine

Coca-Cola Soda Machine

There were three V-81 models manufactured by the Vendo Company from the mid to the late 1950’s. There was the Vendo V-81A, V-81B and V-81D. Up until 1956, Coca-Cola machines were painted a solid red, like the Vendo V-81A. Beginning in 1956 with the V-81B, The Coca-Cola company painted their machines red and white to emphasize Coke’s “clean and refreshing” image. The “Coca-Cola” logo that had been smaller and positioned closer to the bottle door was repositioned to be centered on the space to the right of the bottle door and the logo was enlarged. The logo was also made more prominent by being embossed in red on a white background, instead of in white on a red background.

Coca-Cola Vendo 81B

VMC Vending Machines

The Vendorlator Manufacturing Company’s competing soda machine was the VMC 81. The Vendo 81 and the VMC-81 both held a total of 81 bottles for vending. Space inside the machine allowed for the pre-cooling of 17 additional bottles. Both machines had nine interior shelves, allowing them to vend up to nine different soda flavors. They used “slant shelves” that could be adjusted to accommodate different bottle sizes ranging from 6 ½ to 12 ounces. That flexibility makes these machines very popular today, since you are able to fill them with almost any soda, beer or wine coolers. These soda machines have the classic upright, “round-cornered” cabinet design of the 1950’s. Both the V-81A and V-81B are referred to as “small door” models, and the V-81D is called the “large door” model. This came about because the V-81D had a different coin mechanism that necessitated a larger door. The coin mechanism was redesigned to give change back, where previously the coin boxes only took nickels. The bottle doors in both the Vendo and VMC-81’s had lights placed within them to illuminate the bottles.

7Up Soda Vending Machine

Dr. Pepper Soda Vending Machine

1958 was the last year of production for round-cornered soda machines made by The Vendo Company, with the exception of the Vendo 44. All of the Coca-Cola Company Vendo 81’s and the various brands of VMC-81’s are very collectible today. The Vendo 81’s are the most desirable of all the different models of Coke machines manufactured throughout the 1950’s. Fewer VMC-81’s were produced than Vendo 81’s, and of all the brands embossed on the VMC-81’s, Royal Crown soda machines are the most rare and collectible with the 7-Up machines close behind. Any of these soda machines would be quite a statement in any gameroom, den or office.

Pepsi Soda Vending Machine

Royal Crown Soda Vending Machine

Dimensions: 53.75 in. high x 25 in. wide x 17.5 in. deep
Weight: 286 lbs.

Please blog in and tell us about your soda machine collection. We’d love to hear about your acquisition and restoration stories. If you have questions about your restoration, blog in and ask us as we’ve done many ourselves and would enjoy being of help to you.

Tags: Coca-Cola · Manufacturer Histories · Pepsi-Cola · Soda Coolers · Soda Vending Machines · The Vendo Company · Vendo

66 responses so far ↓

  • 1 TOBI BRASHER // Jul 21, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I HAVE A VENDORLATOR MODEL VMC 149, SERIAL # 149-13984. I AM LOOKING FOR ANY INFO YOU CAN GIVE OR DIRECT ME TO THE RIGHT PLACE TO GET IT. THANKS

  • 2 MISSY // Sep 4, 2008 at 3:21 am

    WHAT WOULD A 1941 WORKING MENT CONDITION COKE MACHINE WITH FULL COKE BOTTLES IN IT LOG OF MONEY TAKEN IN EACH YEAR KEYS ALL LIKE IT WAS MADE YESTERDAY BE WORTH

  • 3 Darren // Nov 21, 2008 at 11:26 am

    picking up a cola machine; vendo VT3, model F1100T. I am picking it up in the USA and bringing it back to Canada and need a value for the border people. Any sites I could track down such info?

    Thanks

  • 4 Boley Andrews // Nov 24, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    How did you get the color pictures of the
    production line in the No. 1 Vendo plant
    Kansas City, MO? Do you have any of the
    workers or engineers? I worked for Vendo.
    My dad was the guy who invented much
    of the Vendo systems and machines from
    1939 to 1988.

  • 5 Sally Meredith // Jan 1, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    We purchased a Vendorlator soda vending machine, model VF56F-H, for our son who collects anything coca cola . We would like to restore it, but haven’t been able to find this model to get any further information, such as a year. Can anyone give us any information, or point us in the right direction?

  • 6 Larry Turner // Jan 26, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Attn: Boley Andrews, I live about 6 blocks from the old KC plant. I worked there in 64, 65, dept 28. My dad also worked in the research dept. He had 25 years at Vendo. His name was Jim Turner.

  • 7 tommy // Mar 7, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    i got a old pepsi meachine looks like the vendo44 that works great would love to know the value of it thanks

  • 8 Dave Rogers // Apr 26, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Larry or Boley, what all brands of these machines were actually produced? Since you know people who actually made them, I would love hear directly what companies the 81’s were actually made for.

  • 9 Lori // May 2, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    I am wondering what the year would be on the picture you have posted, I have one of the VMC 81 Pepsi machines and just wondered what the year would be. It is still in working condition and will only take old silver dimes to dispense the bottles. The light is still working on the door as well. Just curious.
    Thanks

  • 10 vintagevending // May 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

    We aren’t able to give estimates on the value of an item. If you keep an eye on Ebay or maybe Craig’s List, your item is sure to be listed at some point. That may give you a rough idea of it’s value, and will provide more information on the specific model, and most likely the year it was produced. You can also contact fun-tronicsllc.com for more specific information on machines.

  • 11 vintagevending // May 5, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Lori,

    The picture we posted of the Pepsi machine is from a restoration we did. It is from the mid to late 1950s, and there really is no way of knowing exactly what year it was made.
    It sounds like you have a very nice machine!

  • 12 John Avary // Jun 3, 2009 at 12:03 am

    I just bought an Orange Crush VMC 81 completely restored. Is there any documentation that they did or did not build any of these? How can I tell if it is the real deal? Is there any documentation as to how many RC machines were built(VMC 81)? Thanks

  • 13 Keith // Jun 3, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    This Orange Crush soda machine and other alleged embossed VMC’s 81‘s made the rounds years ago at different collectors shows. They were always sold by the same dealer who claimed to have found a warehouse with all these never before seen embossed VMC machines. Now I suppose anything is possible but the dealer never would produce any evidence about the originality of these machine like unrestored photos. He also never produced photos of the insides of the doors when they had been taken apart which would have proved they were stamped from the factory.
    At the time the hard core collectors and soda machine junkies were very skeptical to say the least. But like I said anything is possible.
    The only way you will know if it is original is by taking the liner off the front door and removing all of the insulation. This will expose the back side of the embossing and if original you will see the reverse of what is stamped into the front of the machine. The area around the embossing should be nice and clean, you should also not see any indication that the embossing was added like welding lines, bondo or excessive sandblasting that might be trying to cover something up.
    As far as your question on the RC 81’s I know of no actual documentation on how many were produced but it is widely accepted that very few were.

  • 14 Dave Rogers // Jun 21, 2009 at 8:38 am

    John, just curious if you bought the machine thinking it was “real” or if you bought it knowing it probably wasn’t. How was it represented to you? The dealer Keith is referring to is still making the rounds, and I have seen numerous other brands he is selling. Vernors, Barqs, Grapettes, and a few others. Still always has Crush also. These machines always have hefty price tags for not being able to prove that they are real. Did you buy the machine from this dealer ? or from someone else who probably did once upon a time?

  • 15 Jake Kerr // Jul 13, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    I have a Coke Machine a Vendo 39 and I was wondering if anyone knew how to clean it up with out taking the paint off?

  • 16 Valerie // Jul 29, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    i have a vendo 81d–i’d like to find a restorer nearby–i’m on the maine/nh border..any ideas? thanks

  • 17 ron // Sep 3, 2009 at 11:32 am

    hi would like to have my vendo coke machine restored paid 100.00 for it i think its a vendo81 pleas if anyone knows where i can get mine restored pleas contack me my email is rlp0528@aol.com

  • 18 M // Sep 13, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Looking for coke vendo 216 pics of exterior and interior,also any other info.(this machine that I have can’t be used as a pop machine anymore(modified) so I don’t intend to pay for service manual if no service is required)It’s basically info.
    thanks

  • 19 Chill // Oct 4, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Growing up at my grandparents’ house in the 1950’s..there was a gas staion across the street with a coke machine like the one’s pictured on this page..my friends and I, all around 10-12 years old..would go after the staion closed late at night,, get a tin bucket,,two-three guys would tip the machine foward,,I would open the side
    door,,pop off the bottle cap, one at a time and pour the soda water into the bucket..
    I own a Coke machine similar like the ones on this page, but I think it is a newser model..takes dimes, has the side door and handles the small coke bottles only..

  • 20 Gary // Jan 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I have a Pepsi Vendo 81 for sale, in working order & condition is good to very good. Pictures available, contact me at: gary_mazzochi@yahoo.com

  • 21 Tom Tracy // Jan 10, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    I have a 1957 Vendo 81D Coke machine. The coin mechanism is missing, but you can still deliver the bottle by pressing the lever. I would like to replace the missing parts. Any Idea where I can obtain the Coin Mech?

  • 22 vintagevending // Jan 11, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Tom,

    Try sodajerkworks.com. They have coin mechs for sale, as well as parts for machines. Also good is fun-tronicsllc.com.

  • 23 Pat // Jan 20, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I got a coca cola glass bottle dispenser machine that cost of a soda was 20 cents. I’d like to know the year it was made. I have a model number c56-64fs and I’d like to know the value of this dispenser machine. It looks like your 10 cent machines but this one is all square.

  • 24 Larry D. Houdek // Jan 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I have a Vendo Coke machine in original condition. The number on the key slot is R509. Model H81A Serial Number H-506-5932 I need a key to open the machine as I do not want to drill out the existing lock. Can anybody help me?

  • 25 vintagevending // Jan 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Pat, do you have a photo you can send us? That might help us date it.
    questions@vintagevending.com

  • 26 bob // Jan 30, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I am new to this world just bought a soda machine model # VF567-J , it is missing coin mech. anyone know i should start looking?

    Bob

  • 27 vintagevending // Feb 1, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Bob,

    Try fun-tronicsllc.com. They have them for sale for different types of machines.

  • 28 Cokecolaman // Feb 5, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Larry,

    I think I have the key for you…email me at “cokecolaman@comcast.net”

  • 29 Dave Earlston // Mar 4, 2010 at 1:56 am

    I have a 7-hole coke machine and the model# is 56A 7827A56A and currently has a small water fountain on the side of this machine. I would like some info on this machine or who might be able to help me. Thank you very much.

  • 30 Sean // Mar 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I have a VMC 81 Dr. Pepper I would like to sell. My dad bought it for $35 in 1962. It was in his Barber Shop for most of its life. email me if you’re interested.
    gradtry@hotmail.com

  • 31 Marcela Puentes // Mar 19, 2010 at 11:09 am

    I have a refigeration V216 model manufactured by the Vendo Company, and i need a photografy about that, because my refigeration is older and i want to pain and decored, but i don´t know What was it?? please help me¡¡¡ it`s very important for me. Thanks

  • 32 vintagevending // Mar 22, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Marcela,

    There is parts and information at this link:
    http://www.fun-tronicsllc.com/store.php?crn=324

  • 33 Barry Jolin // Mar 29, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    I have a Vendo model # H81 D and serial # 705 23991 and it is not restored but in excellent condition with original motor and in working condition. I am looking to sell it please e-mail me with your offer’s etc.
    barry_jolin@hotmail.com

  • 34 lauren // Apr 20, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Hello!

    I have a WORKING, spotless Vendo model that I am looking to sell. If you’re interested shoot me an email. Thanks! lochobbs@gmail.com
    Here is the info on my machine:
    model: xh81b

    serial: xh60314030

  • 35 Dean // Apr 25, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Hi,
    I’m looking to purchase a Pepsi V-81 or VMC-81. Even if you have a Vendo 56 I would be interested. It must be the 1950 rounded top version. Please email me info including price, location and pictures.
    Thanks
    Dean
    magnum4469@yahoo.com

  • 36 Chance N // Jun 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Hey,

    I have a working Vendo 81B Coke machine that has been restored and was in a retail store for many years in perfect condition. As we were moving it out of the store, the dispensing lever will turn clockwise to dispense when coins are put in. The problem is the lever will now for some reason not turn counter-clockwise, and I am unable to open the outer panel to get to the release to open the machine.

    I do not have the key but the key mechanism was removed. I can move the outer panel until it hits the lever.
    Is there an easy way or something I can try to get that lever to turn counterclockwise so I can get into the machine?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!
    Chance

  • 37 Tere // Aug 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I am looking to purchase an old vendo 81 or any round corner machine you might have. My email is tereandjoey@yahoo.com

    Thank you

  • 38 Rockon // Aug 4, 2010 at 6:41 am

    I think I have the key for you…

  • 39 Michael Testa // Aug 11, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    I have a Pepsi-Cola VMC 81 that I purchased recently the bottle shelves that go across the inside are missing-help.Do you have any to sell me-let me know. Thank you

  • 40 Danny // Aug 17, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    just picked up a barn find.old vendo bottle type dispenser about five feet tall that has a water cooler on the side.dirty but in good shape.interested?

  • 41 pat // Sep 7, 2010 at 11:21 am

    how rare is a vmc-81 plain wrapper?

  • 42 Erik // Sep 13, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Michael Testa how recently did you purchase? Did it come with a key? I might have some shelves.

  • 43 Dean // Sep 23, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Pat,
    Not sure how rare it is but I would be interested in it. Email me at magnum4469@yahoo.com with details, pics and price. Please put VMC-81 in subject line so I know it’s not spam.
    Thanks
    Dean

  • 44 Gary schroeder // Oct 3, 2010 at 7:57 am

    I am having my V 81 refurbed. it is just about finished. What is the compressor capacity and what coolant should be used? I bought the machine in 1969 when I was a full service driver in Minneapolis. I payed $25. I had a cover made. The only problem is that the bottom has started to rust. I live in Juno beach, Fl. Thanks for any help.
    Gary

  • 45 Jeff // Oct 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I would be Interested in any vendo 81 or VMC 81 machine if anyone is Interested in selling theirs. We are looking to put an old machine in our Firehouse and thought I would ask here first. Can be restored but prefer all original. Thanks, Jeff… email me at jbonzii@sbcglobal.net

  • 46 Monica L // Oct 24, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    We have a five cent Vendo Coke Machine for sale in excellent condition. It is just like the Vendo 110 in the above website but it’s not coin operated but has the removable bottle opener where the coin mechanism is in the photo on the website. I can get you pictures and more info off the machine. I just need to know if there’s any interest out there.

  • 47 Jesus villarreal // Jan 12, 2011 at 4:57 am

    Looking to buy vmc 81 or vendo 81. Coke, pepsi dr pepper or royal crown. Also interested on any round corner soda machine. Email , call or text 325 370 4807. Thanks

  • 48 Bob B. // May 15, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I have a Vendo 81b Coke machine that works but needs a little restoring, does anybody know of somebody close to Davenport, Iowa that is in that business. Please e-mail me at breits6@mchsi.com Thank You

  • 49 Adam // Aug 16, 2011 at 7:58 am

    I have a Vendo V-81D coke machine. It is in rough shape, but only ond small dent in the door. All the parts are there. What is it worth? A range will do. If anyone is interested, let me know and I will get pictures for you.

  • 50 David B // Aug 24, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I have a 1955 Vendo H81A for sale which I bought from Slots of Fun in St Louis Mo back in 1990 which I want to sell. Great condition and used only to cool AB products and bottled Coke. Please email for pics and more info 1stchoice@caboprimerentals.com The price is only $2500 for this machine which is a bargain David B

  • 51 Julie Walker // Sep 24, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Hi.
    My dad has a pretty old pepsi machine. It says on the front :
    Place 6d in slot
    Cup will drop into position and commence to fill. When full lift window and slide cup forward.
    Its tall and curved at the top. Plate on side has been painted over and can’t be made out. I was wondering if anyone would be able to tell me how old this is and are cup vending pepsi machine rare.
    Thanks
    Julie

  • 52 M // Apr 6, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Hi
    Anyone out there with a Vendo 216 coke machine?Just need a few interior pictures to complete this once and for all.Pictures that’s all I’m asking!
    Thank you for those who did send me info.E-mail me

  • 53 Greg // Apr 15, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    I have an all orangish red with white lettering, what appears to be factory original paint on a Pepsi VMC 81. Ever hear of such a machine?

  • 54 gage // Apr 30, 2012 at 12:43 am

    my dad got my mom a vendo 63 coke machine and the money keeps coming out the channge return and we dont know how to switch it to keep the money can anybody tell me are point me in the right way please let me know on here and as soon as possible

  • 55 T Dale // Jun 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I just purchased an original Royal crown 81 would like to know the value, all original complete and working

  • 56 Megan // Jul 3, 2012 at 2:00 am

    I have an old pepsi vendorlator model #vf56bp it says to use dime or two nickels and it has a push handle to release the bottles and is also a square top, can not find anything like it online….would like some help figuring out anything about it really. Could this be a fake machine lol or how could i tell? thank you

  • 57 Dave's Collectibles // Jul 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Buying all Orignal Vendo VMC Rounded Corner Soda Machine. Any Condition! Vendo 56 81. VMC 81 These are the Machines With the Glass Bottle Door on the Left hand Side of the Machines Paying Good CASH for Some Machines. Cash paid on Pick up! East Coast. Please Email your Name and Phone Number if you can Send Photos Great plygtx71@msn.com

  • 58 duff // Nov 8, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    I have a Vendo 81a that’s a 7up machine. Has chrome trim and metal casters. Is this a rare one or just a painted coke machine?

  • 59 Mike Frashier // Feb 10, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    I have a Model H81 D RC machine. Manufactured in 1952. Number 90. This cooler works great and is in fine condition. Looking for a buyer.

  • 60 Ron // Feb 26, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Mike,

    I’m looking for any VMC 81’s, including the RC. How much are you asking and what’s the condition?

    I also have extra Vendo 81 parts for sale if you or anybody else needs them.

    You can reach me at cokecolaman@comcast.net

  • 61 Earl March // Jun 19, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I just bought a Vendo 81D, The tag on the side where the serial number is says model H81 D. Would you know why it’s a “H”

    Thank you
    Earl

  • 62 DAVE // Jul 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Wanted Cash Paid for Vendo 56, 81 also VMC 81 Rusty Machines and parts Machines. let me know what you have for sale

  • 63 Mark Davis // Aug 20, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I have a vendo model XH81B. I have not found this model mentioned anywhere. It does have a drinking fountain on it. Could that be the reason for the differant model number. Am I on the right track??

  • 64 Darren // Oct 16, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Hi,

    Do you have some pictures of the inside. I’m trying to figure out how to get mine to use coins again. The person I bought it from took out the parts so you could just freely pull out the bottles.

    I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks, Darren

  • 65 Chuck // Dec 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I have a nice coca cola v-81-B for sale. It just needs a key. Do i need to drill out the lock or are keys still available? My email is camcnett@adams.net Thanks

  • 66 Mikael // Jan 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I have an 81-D machine; I need to know how the coin mechanism looks. I don’t know if there is part missing. Any one has a spear part map?

    Thanks

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