The expanded applications of vending machines have grown far beyond soda and snacks to include consumer electronics at the airport and even MRO supplies on the plant floor.
But a recent addition to the vending machine family helped fans attending this year’s Super Bowl capture some of the host city’s true spirit.
Created by the marketing firm Space150, their vending machine offers hand-packed snowballs for $1. The thought was to provide those unfamiliar with the cold, white, wet stuff the chance to pelt their friends, family, or fan of the opposing team with this staple of every northern kid’s childhood.
Regardless of your thoughts about paying a buck for something literally laying on the ground next to you, the engineering behind the machine was challenging. First, it needed to be set at just the right temperature to ensure customers weren’t pelting people with huge ice cubes or getting a plastic container of water.
The machine also needed to be modified to accommodate the waterproof containers it was dispensing. And these containers actually rely on the use of modified canning equipment to get the right seal. The machine holds 500 snowballs that were hand-packed by a real-life Minnesotan. As any Vikings fan will tell you, this means the snowball should dispense perfectly, look great out of the package, but fall just short of your target when you attempt to use it.
All proceeds raised by The Real Minnesota Snowball Machine will go to Wilderness Inquiry, a local nonprofit organization that connects urban kids with opportunities to explore the great outdoors.