Along with the "sexual revolution" of the 1960's and the concern with AIDS in the 1980's, the word "condom" has become commonplace.
It wasn't too many years ago that the word "condom" was never mentioned out loud. Back then, you purchased your condoms from a vending machine in the restroom of the corner gas station.
Along with the new popularity of condoms and the willingness of people to use the word in public, people have now also started to collect antique condom machines. Even the Smithsonian admits that it collects condoms and condom machines. The museum tells us that condoms aren't really that new. They were first used in the 16th century to protect people from syphilis.
For coin op enthusiasts, however, the real collector was a collector/dealer from Wisconsin, who called himself Mr. Condom. By day he serviced condom machines that were still in gas stations and bars, but now also in more respectable places such as college dormitories. In his spare time, he collected and sold antique condom machines to collectors across the country.
One of the more attractive condom machines is the 1920's Masters Prophalactic Vendor made by the same company who made the Masters Gumball machine. This cast aluminum machine, with the instructions cast in the metal, gave you a condom for 1(.
In later years condom machines became more utilitarian. They were made out of sheet metal and were adorned with colorful, frequently X-rated, decals to attract attention. Many people now buy these decals and affix them to repainted vendors.
Copyright: 2009 Ken Durham, GameRoomAntiques
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