About the VMC 81

The VMC-81 was, in 1955, the vending machine of the future. They were among the first upright vending machines made. They also had a different vending mechanism that allowed them to hold more bottles, vend more efficiently, and also made for a simpler production process because they had fewer moving parts. The VMC 81 has an interesting story because Vendorlator Manufacturing Corporation was acquired by Vendo, a competing company. Then the VMC-81 kept being produced by Vendo under the Vendo 81 name in 1956. Later, it became one of the top-selling vending machines of the era, and today, a highly collectible piece of memorabilia.

You can buy parts for the VMC 81 here



  • The VMC-81 was a machine introduced and produced in their first years for Pepsi – they were produced for only 3 years. The Pepsi version is rare and often difficult to find. The exact model is VMC-H81D. Still, the company produced VMC-81 for different brands, including one without embossing for smaller, more local drink brands.
  • This upright machine was among the first to feature a slant-shelf vending mechanism, which allowed it to vend up to 12 oz bottles. They were also multiple-selection machines – the VMC-H81D allowed for 9 different drinks.
  • It also has a highly sought-after glass bottle door with a light-up mechanism.
  • The machine originally came with a coin mechanism that could accept 5 or 10-cent coins. Later machines featured a coin mechanism that could accept quarters and give change in nickels, which made the coin door larger.
  • This is a mechanically operated machine. Once you inserted a coin, you had to crank the chrome handle, open the bottle door, and make your selection.
  • This machine is usually available in two different paint schemes – a single paint scheme of a lighter Pepsi blue, and a two-paint scheme with the top 12” of the machine painted white and with a blue Pepsi logo.
  • After Vendo acquired VMC, the VMC-81 kept being produced under the Vendo 81 name, and in later years it was updated to a more modern square-top model.
  • Most VMC machines from this year have three metal ID tags, one in the cabinet, one in the compressor, and one on the base plate of the compressor. Cross-referencing each ID tag can help figure out the date of manufacture.
  • The VMC H81D was the predecessor of the highly-popular Vendo 81. If you happen to run into this historic piece, you might not notice its immense value. A properly-dated VMC-H81D is highly worth the investment

VMC 81 Specs:

  • Vends: 81 bottles of 6 and ½oz, and fewer bottles of sizes of up to 12oz.
    Pre-cools:17 6 and ½ oz.
    Size: 58” tall, 27” wide, 16” deep.

Various Sources were used in compiling this information,
a list of sources is located at the bottom of this page.   

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