Friday, June 02, 2006

Let's go shopping for eggs

By Chip Power
eBay, the world’s largest yard sale, brims with curiosities.
Advertised were about 100 Capital Press photos taken and published for the Willamette Valley in the 1950s. I bought the lot of them for 20 bucks. They are all black and white, about four inches by three inches, marked for newspaper column inches on the back for the composing room. Other identifying marks on the Oregon artwork are few.
Children nuzzling with prized calves. Apple harvests. Park dedications. Hay piled high on trucks. Flood waters lapping at a back door. The group of photos has a postcard collection feel.
Some ideas shown in their pictures, however, were way ahead of the innovation curve.
A stand operated by Myers and Cooper is a novel new product vending machine for its day.
We’re talking eggs.
Vending machine eggs.
It appears you’d drive up to the self-service “Eggeteria,“ (presumably at the front of a chicken ranch), put 75 cents in a mechanism that looks like it was borrowed from a gumball machine, and you would get a dozen fresh eggs from a slot that opened.
The sign next to the business also allowed that CHANGE ATTACHED TO CARTON, in case you didn’t have the right coinage.
OK, today, even when you can buy soft drinks, milk, toys, health care products of all kinds and iPods from money-swallowing machines, eggs sold that way sounds kooky.
How did they always keep the eggs, which take some care even though they have those hard shells, at a manageable temperature?
Maybe someone knows. I was born in that decade; I don’t know the answer.
What is known: Right now, in Japan, you can buy eggs from a vending machine.

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