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Holy Water - Please insert Coin here.

Started by chrisild, April 10, 2009, 12:35:13 PM

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We tend to think of vending machines as something fairly modern - but did you know that the first one was invented or created about two thousand years ago? (If yes, please proceed to the next topic.)

In the first century (AD) the engineer and scientist Hero or Heron of Alexandria describes, in one of his works, a machine that - when a coin is inserted into a slot - dispenses a certain quantity of Holy Water. Why? Because at ancient temples some people apparently took quite a lot of Holy Water. How did it work? "When the coin was deposited, it fell upon a pan attached to a lever. The lever opened up a valve which let some water flow out. The pan continued to tilt with the weight of the coin until it fell off, at which point a counter-weight would snap the lever back up and turn off the valve.",1518,618229,00.html

So next time you buy a candy bar or a train ticket at a vending machine, think of Heron. ;)



the satellite broadcast channel 'History International' recently had a program on ancient engineering. they illustrated this particular machine and a few of his others. It was very interesting and informative.



Excellent "how about that" item, Christian! Thanks.So how did they deal with the smartbehinds who threw in a pebble? Holy wrath?

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


Quote from: Figleaf on April 10, 2009, 11:18:57 PM
So how did they deal with the smartbehinds who threw in a pebble? Holy wrath?
Either that, or they would be stoned. Nah, but ... pebbled maybe. ;D



Your title is perhaps more apt than you think.

Except now it's 'Coin, please insert holy water here',1479.msg15949.html#msg15949