"automat" still in use?

I was wondering; In Holland we’ve got a lot of these
snacks automats

Do they still excist anywhere else?

I’ve seen them in Portugal, and once at a services spot on the M1 in the UK.

Wow, neat link. I didn’t even know what an automat was… How does this work exactly? I take it each “window” contains one meal. Is it re-stocked from the back room, or the front?

In England? ** Anthracite** ? Wow, I’ve never seen them there. :slight_smile:

We’ve got one in every major shopping street.

scr4 It’s not exactly ‘meals’, more like a snack. A hamburger, for instance. Or a sausage roll. etc.

You throw in the desired amount of money. [1 euro, 1.50, etc.]
you pull the handle and your snack is there. :slight_smile:

It’s re-stocked from the back.

Very handy when you’re in a hurry.

It’s not exactly the same, but there is something similar in parts of the US. It is a vending machine with very large compartments (some are refrigerated) that can hold things like frozen hamburgers, yogurt, fruit, frozen pizza, etc. The compartments each contain one item and the whole this is circular and rotates as you select which compartment you want to buy from. Most selections cost $1 - $2. We had one in graduate school and in the caferteria of my first job. Never saw anything like it on the street though except for some weird specialized vending machines at airports.

To echo shag , at least two local hospitals and the University here have those self-contained machines with sandwiches, etc.

I was lucky(?) enough to eat multiple times at a New York automat in the 1950’s. My dad used to take us there from Virgina on a whim. And eating at the automat was cheep. And fun for a kid. Thanks, Dad.

Horn and Hardart is out of the automat business, it seems; they look like they’re trying to position themselves as Stabucks. They have a handful of restaurants (and are looking for franchisees), but it’s just another coffee shop.

You can find their history at http://www.theautomat.com

I’ve seen at least on in ny metro area but don’t remember where

Whenever I’m in Amsterdam I’m always tempted to get something at a FEBO, but I always chicken out. Is it edible? I’ve never seen machines with complex cooked food in the states, but the machines here usually aren’t hooked up to a kitchen so they are only stocked once a day at best so fresh ("") food is unlikely.

ha ha ha. :slight_smile: **capybara ** So you never had aFEBO “kroket” ?

It’s edible allright.

Far from Haute Cuisine and far from healthy though.

  • The automat food is warm & fresh* ;j

I’ve seen small rotating automats in bowling alleys where there were enough customers to require a small kitchen, but not enough workers to handle a lunch rush. It contained things like sandwiches and hotdogs. I haven’t seen one in about 10 years.

Sorry, that was in New England in the US.

The last H&H automat I remember was at 42nd and 3rd tho the offerings were greatly reduced.

Remember one on 8th across from Penn St.that went to a cafeteria line.(or was that Bickford’s?)

The proliferation of Mcd’s and Burger King spelled their doom.

Best coffee IMO I’ve ever drunk in a commercial establishment.Their baked beans in little pots were among my fav’s.

Really miss the good and fast service (self) next to the fast?food concept.

I remember when that automat on 42nd and 3rd in manhattan was closed and destroyed. I remember thinking that was the biggest mistake of all time. I can’t believe someone didnt buy that up and turn into a retro-bar.

Ah, automats . . . As Lure and KidCharlemagne said, the last U.S. one was in New York, on 42nd Street, and was finally done in by the fast-food joints about 15 years ago. I embody in my little self the very history of automats, as I have eaten in the country’s first and last:

• My grandmother used to take me to the H&H automat in Philadelphia—I think on Market Street, though I might be wrong—which was the very first one in this country.

• I moved to NY in 1981, and used to eat at that last H&H automat on 42nd Street.

How I miss 'em!

I suspect that automats were also done in by postwar inflation resulting in the fact that it took an unwieldy handful of coins to buy anything. Dollar bill acceptors in vending machines work fairly well now, but I doubt if most vending equipment even had bill acceptors when the automats started to decline.

Maybe Americans who like automats should be pushing Congress hard for adoption and acceptance of one- and two-dollar coins, like we have in Canada. You’ll have to get rid of the paper versions at the same time, though (not a problem in the case of the $2, I suspect).

Vending machines with rotating displays aren’t uncommon. You can even see Homer using one in a Simpsons episode:

“Hey, I know you! You’re that first apple I didn’t want!”

there’s a real cool automat at the Smithsonian American History museum.

I’ve never heard of an automat. When I saw the thread title I thought it might be a drive through car wash or a coin-laundry or something.

Oh, Opal, you missed so much! They always made me feel like Ruby Keeler in “42nd Street” when I ate at them! Really good franks’n’ beans and apple pie, too . . .

You’d get your change, then go to the Wall o’ Windows, from which peeked out white plates of food. You’d put your change in, turn the ratchet, pop the door open and take what you wanted. Then you’d go to the lion’s-head faucets, out of which you’d get milk, hot water for tea, or coffee.

Then you plunk yourself down at the table next to Dick Powell or perhaps Flo Ziegfeld himself and eat, while scanning the auditions section in “Variety.” If you were really on the skids, you could make Automat Soup with the free hot water, ketchup and salt.

—“Peggy Sawyer”