Saturday, September 9, 2023

Your future partner, as "determined" by a 1940s vending machine

This is one type of misogynistic card you might have gotten out of a "Vacuumatic Card Vender" made by Exhibit Supply Co. in the middle of the 20th century. You could drop a nickel in the "FOR MEN ONLY" side or the "FOR WOMEN ONLY" side and "Get a photograph of your future partner and family with a fortune of your married life." (Heterosexual relationships only, sorry.)

You can get a nice look at some of these vending machines on this webpage. The machines were in service primarily from the late 1920s through late 1950s and, in addition to "Future Partner" cards, they could dispense cards with famous athletes, hot rods, "bathing beauties," and cartoons. There were also many other relationship-themed cards, including "marriage prescriptions," romantic "advice" for women, and love letters.

The cards are the same size as postcards. It's easy to find them floating around on eBay and Etsy, including sets and uncut sheets. At a nickel apiece they must have been quite the novelty moneymaker back in the day. If my math is right, a nickel back then is about 80 cents today. I guess you could keep plugging in nickels until you got a partner you liked, and toss the other cards in the trash.

1 comment:

  1. This post has inspired me to look for these cards on eBay. I plan to shuffle them and let people pick a random card to tell their romantic fortunes.