How It's Made - Gumball Machines

for a century there have been gumball

machines to give us something to chew on

vending machines that dispense gumballs

were introduced in 1907 on a New York

City subway platform

today's gumball machines are more modern

versions of the originals but too young

and old they still represent Treat time


the gumball machine is all about instant

gratification insert a coin turn a

handle and out comes the merchandise to

make a gumball machine a designer first

sketches out the exact proportions then

a worker ladles molten zinc into a

holding furnace where a steel plunger

pushes the metal through a dye that

forms a gumball machine base a

mechanical claw removes the newly shaped

base from the dye and places it on a

conveyor belt to cool a similar dye

shapes the coin mechanism handle and

drive gears


a worker places a braided hose with a

natural gas flame under a mold that will

shape the gumball dispensing chute He

pours piping hot liquid aluminum into

the mold the flame below warms the mold

enough to prevent condensation which

would ruin the shape but the mold is

still cooler than the aluminum and that

allows it to solidify into a chute shape

in seconds

now using a punch press a worker trims

the waste away from the lid for the

gumball machine they also trim the front

plate of the coin mechanism using a

similar press a computerized cutter

Mills out a hole in the top of the globe

that will hold the gumballs the globe is

made of shatterproof plastic

at another station they press the base

of the gumball machine against a cloth

covered buffing wheel to give it a shine

a worker now assembles the coin

mechanism layering the front plate the

coin carrier the back plate and ending

with a cam the part that ensures the

coin mechanism moves clockwise she

screws it tightly together then inserts

the handle on the front plate the handle

will turn the coins that pay for the

gumballs she places a little spacer in

drive gear on the handle stem that

protrudes through the back of the

assembly and then screws the drive gear

onto the handle stem now it's time to

put the money up front they insert a

coin in the slot and turn the handle to

make sure the system works people in

many countries like gumballs

so these coin mechanisms can be made to

accept currencies from around the world

they can also be used in other types of

vending machines

now they spray powder paint onto the

lids giving them a three millimeter

thick coating they bake the paint onto

the lids at 204 degrees Celsius for 25

minutes now it's time to pull all the

pieces together they place the

dispensing wheels in hoppers then cover

them with a part that stops free gum

balls from spilling out the next part is

the adapter ring and the plastic Globes

fit on top of them they place aluminum

rings on top of the globe's then they

slide to side rods through the top rings

down into the bottom of the globe's they

screw them down very tightly and then

set the assembly aside now they place

plastic bodies on bases and install the

chute doors on the front


they place the chute covers in the

plastic body and mount the coin

mechanisms just above the chute

next they slide the globe assemblies

over Center rods and onto the plastic

foundations they put a lid on every

globe and then lock them on and now

we're at the vending part of the story

gumball anyone