New-Fangled Automatic Ordering Windows Amaze and Amuse Blue Moon Clientele

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Photo by Berenice Abbott, 1936, WPA

Accessibility has always been one of our cornerstone business concepts.  We have always wished to preserve our customers’ ability to purchase the products that they need, when they need them, at a competitive price.  We’re pleased to have recently introduced the latest step in our execution of this ideal – our shiny new Automat.

For those not familiar with the concept, the Automat was an early vending machine, but on a very large scale.  The precursor to fast food, the machines gained popularity in urban areas starting around the turn of the last century.  Simply put, you walked up to a bank of windows, popped in your nickel, and received back a piece of pie, or a half a sandwich, or a cup of coffee.  No muss, no fuss.  While this idea still has some amount of traction in other countries, the American automat is all but gone, swiftly replaced by drive-through windows and pizza delivery guys.

Well, we love the idea, and personally, I think the name works on several levels.  First and foremost, it’s the same illusion of the machine.  With the food-related automats, you were faced with a bank of windows – you put your money in and received your snack.  No waitress, no cashier, only you and the machine. But stop and think about it – that piece of pie did not make itself, nor was it made by the vending machine (thankfully). There were people behind the scenes, rolling the dough and cutting the wedges.

It’s the same for us – the Blue Moon Camera Automat allows you to deal only with your internet browser, but remember: we are back here, working away.  Behind the pretty pictures and the payment screen, our staff is busy – checking the orders, wrapping the packages, making sure that all is in order.

Horn & Hardart Advertisement, c. 1930s

Our Automat is currently small, and growing.  As those of you who have been in our store know, we manage an enormous inventory which is not only constantly changing, but is made up of largely unique  items.  A comprehensive index of this merchandise is cataloged on our main site’s inventory page, and always available in person, or by phone.  With the Automat, we wish to provide a small sampling, carefully curated by our staff, of particularly intriguing items.  These are the devices, apparatus and equipment that spark our interest – a small selection of what we think you need to know about right now.  Basically, the stuff that we think is cool.

Lastly, the Automat as the great equalizer.  Just like in New York or Philadelphia in the teens, you may visit our Automat at whatever time is most convenient.  No matter who you are, no matter where you are, no matter what time it is, the Automat awaits.

The Automat.



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