Engineer Max Sielaff develops a range of inovative products – including the very first vending machine in 1886.
He was awarded the first patent certificate for an “Automated Vending Machine” from the Imperial Patent office on 9th June 1887. His patented vending machine met all the demands for practical use. It could be used to sell a variety of products and was fitted with a reliable coin validator.
This was the beginning of the success of vending machines in Germany as well as in the rest of Europe and overseas.
In conjunction with the Theodor Bergmann Metal Works in Gaggenau/Baden, Max Sielaff developed the first confectionery vending machines commissioned by Cologne chocolate maker Ludwig Stollwerk.
By the early 1890’s, Stollwerk’s chocolate bars were being sold from more than 10,000 machines throughout Germany.
In 1894, Stollwerk, together with Max Sielaff and Theodor Bergmann, founded the German Vending Machine Association [Deutsche Automatengesellschaft "DAG"], which soon achieved international acclaim.
The victory march of the vending machine took place in Germany, the rest of Europe, and overseas.
In 1895, the first liquids vending machine were built by Max Sielaff. This was followed by the "Buffet" and finally the "Restaurant".
All of the machines dispensed beverages including milk, cocoa, and mineral water.
The high point was the "Vending Machine Restaurant", as conceived by Max Sielaff, which allowed customers to obtain cold and warm dishes, as well as beverages, by inserting coins.
The DAG exhibits this new vending machine restaurant for the first time as part of the Berlin Commercial Exhibition of 1896. It was a sensation!
The war destroyed large parts of Sielaff’s vending machine plant.
In 1948, Edmund Sielaff, the nephew of company founder Max Sielaff, found not only suitable business partners in Herrieden but also the necessary space for implementing his innovative ideas. In 1949, Fritz Baumgärtner, then mayor of Herrieden and Vice District Administrator of the county of Ansbach, came together with Johannes Marohn, a Berlin machine tools engineer, and with Edmund Sielaff as shareholders and founders.
The three partners shared the task areas of development, production, and business.
The foundation of company activity was the repair of Stollwerk vending machines – the machines with which an unparalleled success story began more than 60 years before.
The economic miracle continues to flourish in Germany, and German engineering and high-quality products "Made in Germany" are again in demand. It was a perfect time for pioneers, creative minds, and visionary entrepreneurial personalities. A perfect time for Sielaff!
The most important milestones in product development included the first cigarette vending machine to hit the market in 1954.
By the beginning of the new century, over 400,000 vending machines went into operation in West Germany alone.
The following years are typified by exceptional growth.
The Herrieden site was expanded: In addition to the administration building, the first factory hall was built in 1958 and the second hall and the current administration building in 1960.
In 1961 the first universal vending machines (UNI) offering 5 selections were built as wall and floor-standing machines.
Sielaff succeeded in making the next technical leap with the manufacture of bottle vending machines with six selections – still without cooling in 1962 (F60) and with cooling one year later (FK60).
In 1966 this was followed by a bottle vending machine with 10 selections (FK150).
1967, Sielaff introduces its first hot drink vending machines onto the market with two (HG2) or five (HG5) selections.
A fully automated bottle vending machine with six selections was introduced in 1970 (FK260).
An additional innovation was the manufacture of money changing machines (GW2), which had two mechanically-operated drawers.
Due to the new machine developments, it was again necessary to expand the plant in Herrieden: An additional workshop and new storage facility were completed and in 1976 the current office building was extended.
In the same year, the first bottle acceptance machine (FRÜ 200) and a drum-design machine with 14 mechanical selection options were introduced.
The development in 1984 of a "Drinkbox" for Coca Cola aroused attention. The machines with three flaps for 0.33 litre cans were sold by Sielaff in the USA.
In 1986, the development of a completely new type of cigarette machine with electronic controller (PLC) began. This "fully electric" vending machine for outdoor areas represented a completely new phase.
Sielaff opened a number of branch offices in the years from 1987 to 1992.
The cooling systems for cold beverage and column vending machines have been produced in Oelsnitz, Saxony from that period to this day.
Although Sielaff has adapted to the demands of the market and has expanded wherever opportunities to improve delivery performance have arisen, the headquarters have remained in Franconia! The company headquarters have been continually expanded over the decades in keeping with modern technology.
In the early 90’s, Sielaff developed an electronic control system to replace mechanical systems in vending machines. The heavy and jerking operation of a cigarette machine gave way to an almost, silent, slick dispense mechanism.
Another revolutionary innovation was the introduction of environmentally-friendly solar technology for vending machine operations in 1995. At this time, Sielaff also introduced the first electronically controlled confectionery and snack vending machines.
The first branch offices in England and France were also opened.
The Millennium brought a real boost to the industry: The existing vending machines – from postage stamp vending machines for the post office to cigarette machines – had to be changed over to the new Euro currency.
A further innovation – a combined vending machine capable of offering bottles and sweets simultaneously (FS 2000) was launched.
In 2002 the first hot beverage standing vending machines were introduced, and in 2004, the line was expanded with a table-top version. The new feature: The device worked using a horizontal brewer, and the interior was of metal to improve the machine’s working life.
In 2003 Germany introduced a deposit on refillable and non-refillable drinks containers. Sielaff saw this as an opportunity to develop reverse vending machines for the most varied requirements of the various markets.
The subsidiary ISA GmbH & Co. KG in Ilmenau was founded in August of 2004 to support development activities for RVM products. This allowed Sielaff to expand its knowledge of electronic image processing – this was key to the construction of reverse vending machines.
In 2007, the Barista Uno, a coffee vending machine using fresh milk and whole beans, made entry into the high end hot beverage market possible. In 2009 this was followed with the development of the Piacere – a table-top machine for the hotel, restaurant, and catering industry.
In 2011, the earlier RVM series underwent a product relaunch with the i-core and i-core compact. The SiVario, SiCompact and SiOne reverse vending machines were also introduced.
In 2011 the Combimat entered the market as a combined vending machine. Designed to be compact, the Combimat offered spiral shelves and shelves of product pushers using an innovative lift system to deliver products.
The Piacere series was expanded in early 2014 with a touch variant. Its elegant design, easy to use, high-performance technology made it the right choice for any site.
The vending machine portfolio was expanded in the summer of 2012 with introduction of the Robimat XL, an innovative cold beverages vending machine with XL volume in the smallest space with a glass front. The same year the SiGusto, an innovative standing vending machine which serves real coffee and chocolate specialties in seconds to barista standards was also launched.
In keeping with the trend set by hot beverage machines, the BDS was developed and has been on the market since August 2013.
The summer of 2013 also saw the initial presentation of the SielCup in-cup hot beverages machine at the EuVend trade fair in Cologne. The special feature: delicious coffee specialties, aromatic teas, soups with croutons or noodles all available served in conventional in-cup cups.
The SiCompact Small was added to the RVM series in the same year. Contamination-free separation of packaging types, easy handling, quick start-up and a modular and service-friendly design characterize it.
In 2014 the SiVario Next complements the portfolio of reverse vending machines. In the range of hot drinks machines the SiGusto is replaced by SiGusto Next.
The first Siamonie machines, successor model to the Piacere, are sold in 2015. At EuVend, the new vending machine line SiLine is presented for the first time.