Coca-Cola coolers were the predecessors of upright Coca-Cola vending machines, used to keep bottles of the drink cold in stores from the end of the 19th century to the 1940s.
The first coin-operated coolers appeared in stores around 1910, when the Vend-all cooler which held 12 bottles was developed by George Cobb. Up until 1928 a wide range of manufacturers produced Coca-Cola-branded coolers for stores across the United States, including Freez a Bottle, Icy-O, Icebergdip and Walrus Cooler.
In 1928 the Coca-Cola Company decided to produce their own coolers, and hired the Glascock Bros sheet metal company to create a series of designs they could sell directly to retailers. In 1929 the company sold 32,000 to stores across the U.S for $12.50 each.
Electric coolers were first developed in 1930, but traditional ice-filled coolers continued to be popular due to the excessive cost of the new machines. During this period the company Westinghouse produced both styles of model, along with other manufacturers such as Cavalier. Many of these coolers had coin-operated tops, which were manufactured by the Vendo Corporation of Kansas City. But in 1937 Vendo launched their own line of automatic electric vending machines, and the company went on the dominate the Coca-Cola machine market.
Coca-Cola coolers are highly popular with Coca-Cola memorabilia collectors. The most sought-after coolers are the early Glascock Bros models, as there a variety of styles and sizes. These include the large Deco model built in the 1930s and the smaller 1929 Glascock Jr. Coke cooler. The Cavalier Junior "airline model" is another popular model.
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