Monday, June 1, 2020

Soviet Soda Pop Machines

From Russia Beyond:
Vending machines will always remain one of the symbols of the Soviet era. They could be found in airports, train stations, hotels, movie theaters, shopping malls and often in the street. Many, to this day, remember the price, as well as the taste. Their popularity was phenomenal. But they had something that would look completely out of place today: they offered only one or two drinking glasses.

It’s believed that the first ‘vending machine’ in the Soviet Union was used in 1932: “A Leningrad-based ‘Vena’ factory worker, Agroshkin, has invented an interesting machine. Using it, every store can now carry out its own production of carbonated water,” read a story from ‘Vechernyaya Moskva’ (“Evening Moscow”). By the start of the 1960s, more than 10,000 of these had machines sprouted up all over Moscow.

The first machines gave out soda pop with syrup for 3 kopecks, or without for 1 kopeck. Your choice of syrup was ‘pear’, ‘barberry’, ‘tarkhun’ (tarragon), ‘cream-soda’, ‘kolokolchik’ (“bellflower”) and other flavors that either pointed to the original ingredient, or hid it behind a pretty name. In later years, Pepsi and Fanta joined the party, but were several times the price. (Read more.)

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