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Author Topic: Dining at the Automat -- 1902  (Read 20522 times)
RJBowman
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« on: February 14, 2013, 05:49:48 pm »

This from Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automat

I always associated automat restaurants with New York in the decades surrounding World War II, but the article says that they dated to the turn of the century, and originated in Europe:

http://restaurant-ingthroughhistory.com/2010/05/03/before-horn-hardart-european-automats/

The earliest American establishments of this type took nickles.

The president says he wants to raise the minimum wage; economics might bring back the automat, with emphasis on the automation:
http://econfuture.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/fast-food-robotics-an-update/
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Captain
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2013, 06:35:15 pm »



Very perceptive.  The potential rise of minimum wage could certainly bring back more automats.  They are not uncommon in smaller communities here since they cannot afford to pay someone to just sit in a shop when customers might or might not wander in during any of the 20-ish hours of summer daylight. 

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RJBowman
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2013, 06:46:31 pm »

I've never seen that many vending machines in a row.

The old automats were not much different from vending machines. The food was in a niche covered by a glass door; after you inserted a coin, you could open the door and take the plate of food, then the kitchen staff on the other side of the wall would replenish the dishes that had been taken.

Circa 1979, my father ate at a Burger King in New York that was a remodeled automat; you could buy Whoppers from the old machines. But now there are machines in development that will make the hamburger without human intervention; the entire transaction might be done through a touch screen and card swiper.
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Captain
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2013, 07:46:59 pm »

Thinking back a ways, I was stationed at a very small airfield in Germany that basically had an automat.  There was a hamburger grill open just for lunch.  What they did was remove the backs of about ten vending machines and brick them right into one wall with a locked hallway behind them for restocking.  This allowed it to remain "open" no matter what our flight schedules were. 

It is so easy to get stuck in remote communities here with either no place to stay overnight or only outrageously overpriced lodges.  I have thought about VERY basic automatic motel units where you just swipe your credit card.  That would unlock it, turn on the heat, water, lights, and notify a caretaker to check in and clean up after they leave.  Use virtually throw away bedding and make the units so they can be pressure washed in worst case situations.  A local police officer pointed out that sadly five minutes after opening it would be a meth lab.  In the meantime I'll keep carrying my arctic sleeping bag and MREs when I travel to small communities in Alaska.   Maybe an MRE vending machine?   Wink

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Drew P
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2013, 01:59:49 am »

I'll have some of that pizza if it's being shared.
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Captain
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2013, 02:17:20 am »

I'll have some of that pizza if it's being shared.




The one ad brags 2 1/2 minutes for hot pizza.  I wonder how much money one of these would pull in set up in a college dorm? 

This company sells super organic "steak in a bag" sort of like suped up MREs: http://www.alaskameat.com/  This could be another automat winning selection.  These are really tasty steaks if you do not mind them being pot-roast tender.  These exotic jerkies were popular in my old store and would be vending machine friendly:

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RJBowman
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2013, 03:06:57 am »

We should all eat more kangaroo.
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Captain
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2013, 06:54:15 pm »

We should all eat more kangaroo.


Absolutely!  http://buyexoticmeats.com/exmeclmome.html  I hear that they still have a large food trailer and do fairs. 

'Gator seemed to be the most popular.  We used to have a really good alligator restaurant up the street in NC: http://www.boonerestaurants.com/archives/56  "Savory" was the best way to describe their food.  Their gator tail black bean burrito with sweet potato fries and fried green tomatoes on the side was excellent.  Some eateries will just never turn into automats.    Now just across the street was a hot dog restaurant (Trolley Stop?) that could have easily been replaced with:

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Arabella Periscope
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2013, 03:01:13 am »

Catholics are now allowed to eat alligator on Fridays.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2013, 03:28:22 am »

In the Detroit Archdiocese, muskrat is considered a fish during Lent.
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Zeppelin Kapitan Fritz
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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2013, 02:44:23 am »

     Post deleted.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 02:47:20 am by Zeppelin Kapitan Fritz » Logged
RJBowman
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« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2013, 05:40:40 am »

     Post deleted.

So be that way.
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Prof Samuel.H.F.Foreman
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2013, 05:48:22 pm »

In the Detroit Archdiocese, muskrat is considered a fish during Lent.
The Catholics consider puffins fish and eat them in lent.
I pride myself in strange facts.
(QI is my favourite television programme)
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Arabella Periscope
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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2013, 09:00:45 pm »

Gentlemen,

Re the still fascinating and very Retro-futuristic idea of the Automat, which is mechanical in a very Steampunk, little man-behind-the-curtain sort of way, consider French stations, which used to, and may still have machines which dispensed jeans.  Not the French waiters, as in Jeans, but denims, in different sizes, should you need a change of clothing on your travels as well as have dinner.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2013, 12:13:04 am »

Gentlemen,

Re the still fascinating and very Retro-futuristic idea of the Automat, which is mechanical in a very Steampunk, little man-behind-the-curtain sort of way, consider French stations, which used to, and may still have machines which dispensed jeans.  Not the French waiters, as in Jeans, but denims, in different sizes, should you need a change of clothing on your travels as well as have dinner.

I picture a "suiting up" scene in a video game, in which the player's character purchases new clothing and equipment from vending machines, using money earned in the game.

The automat seems to have hung on in New York and Philadelphia up until about 1990; I've never seen one. Attempts at revivals have not been successful, so the idea may belong to the past, not the future.
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Gregor
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« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2013, 09:16:56 pm »

I have always loved the idea of Automats, but in a past and future tense. The present ones always seem to either lack the elegance or 'presence' of the older style (I am in awe of the images at top), or the way-cool vibe of the Jettsons.  When I was in college (1983), I did a microprocessor interfacing project that was generally an automated hamburger joint, with my hands-on portion being place burger-cook burger-flip burger-cook burger more, and dump on half of a bun. I was WAY into this concept and ready to populate the world with these auto-food joints. My guidance guy heavily suggested that I take a sociology class and make it a project on what the socio-economic ramifications of the proliferation of such places would be. While I liked both classes, and I learned much, the sociology project I think ushered in such a feeling of Future Malaise (as opposed to Future Shock) that I still experience to this day.

On a lighter note,

Automats are great for: Most Foods, Most Drinks, Movies and music DVDs, Books, Most sundry items, health care products, flower bouquets, hardware, banking lite, and the list goes on.

Still need some work in: prescription drug dispensing, most medical diagnostics, clothes (the fit is tricky until there is made-to-order technology improvements), and others

Stay Away From: Hair-cut, child day care, dating (a la Logan's Run), live animal pet-shops, and morgue services

Should-be-outlawed for too-cute use of technology: Build-a-bear auto assembly lines. These bears are invading my house!

Cheers - g
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frances
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« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2013, 10:11:51 pm »

The last automatic machine I used ate up my money!!  Grrrr.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2013, 03:57:42 am »

Just found this:
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akumabito
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2013, 10:20:02 pm »

The concept is still alive over here:

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Will Howard
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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2013, 10:30:18 pm »

We should all eat more kangaroo.

My cousin used to live in Switzerland, & told me that a lot of their meat is kangaroo imported from Australia.
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akumabito
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« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2013, 11:04:39 pm »

I though all meat, everywhere, was horse these days?
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von Corax
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« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2013, 04:32:08 am »

I though all meat, everywhere, was horse these days?

Nay — only the filly mignon and the colt cuts.
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MWBailey
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« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2013, 05:26:30 am »

I though all meat, everywhere, was horse these days?

Nay — only the filly mignon and the colt cuts.



You Galloping Gourmet, you...
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« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2013, 01:38:14 am »

From Ephemeral New York:
When the City dined at the Times Square Automat.
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Will Howard
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« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2013, 04:50:03 pm »

We should all eat more kangaroo.

My cousin used to live in Switzerland.  She said that they raise very little meat locally, & import meat- kangaroo meat- from Australia.
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