Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Roadside Candy Machines: Kaiserslautern & Otterberg

I have this fascination with roadside candy vending machines, which are similar to the gumball machines one sees inside American supermarkets. I'm not sure that I have seen any that are just tacked to the walls outside in the US before, but I've seen them in Europe. I can remember them in Germany and Austria, for sure. They are usually on the side of buildings. Once in a while I've seen freestanding machines.

They strike me as slightly odd. Usually they look rather weather worn. I'm always curious who would buy and eat candy from them; they look so old and abandoned (and maybe full of dirt from the street!).

My friend and I were traveling in Wien (Vienna) and saw so many of them and were very curious, so we decided to throw hygienic caution to the wind and buy a piece of candy from the machine. We thought it might be chocolate because it was a foil-wrapped ball. We found that it was a gumball. We each ate half of it and did not die from weird roadside germs.

Below are some more machines that I've seen around.

Candy and toy vending machine, Mannheimer Strasse, Kaiserslautern

I love the sticky Fledermaus, which means bat. Hehe, they're calling it some sort of mouse.

See what I mean? Would you want to eat anything that came out of this machine in Kaiserslautern?
Otterberg machine.


  1. I am also fascinated by those machines! But I've never seen one being refilled...have you? Who owns them, I wonder?

  2. Oh no! Now you have given me more to wonder about! I'll have to see if I can find the answer to this. They always look so abandoned when I see them; they are faded and usually half-filled. Sometimes they have toys.

  3. Dream of my german childhood. They were great in the 1970s. You put your money in, what you get from your grandma and turn around the wonderful mechanics. Normally they were filled with chewing gum balls. Some had rings in them, for the girls. As a child you did not mention the dirt. And yes, they are so old as they look.

  4. How awesome! Thanks for sharing your experience, Mike. I bet some of them still have candy in them from when you were a kid ;)

  5. The people that own the homes get a portion of the sales from the machines. They were huge in the 70's. Homes even had cigarette machines and some even sold ice cream with huge signs on front indicating it.

  6. That is so awesome! Thanks for the info, Christine. It would make sense. I could never be safe with an ice cream vending machine on my house. No one else would get to buy any ;)