The Retro Coca-Cola Refrigerated Chest: A Product Review

Retro Coca Cola Machine

Retro Coca Cola Machine from Hammacher Schlemmer

First Thoughts

Function: Yes, of course you want function. It’s something one you gotta think a lot about when decorating a room or picking out the perfect gift. Function is a major factor in the design process. However, appearance is just as important for many of you, because you want something that stands out. You care about how the looks and the style complement your personal room.

You want the perfect gift, not something that will be returned, stuffed in some box, or lost in the attic. You want something iconic. Your office, den, man-cave, or home theater room is chasing that retro look. You like to entertain and nothing quenches the thirst in the same iconic nature as an ice cold, glass bottled Coca-Cola.

Maybe you have that special man in your life and you want to offer him something special. American Retro, LLC has replicated the classic retro Coca-Cola machine made popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s by the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company for $999.95, and this retro Coca-Cola machine is sold by an even older company, the 164 year old Hammacher Schlemmer. This is the father of vending machines.

“I’d like to buy the world a Coke”

Coca-Cola is recognizable across the entire United States, internationally, and it’s known as the most valuable brand in the world according to Interbrand’s best global brand of 2011. (Houpt, Simon – October 4, 2011 “Apple cracks Interbrand’s best global brands top 10 list”. Globe and Mail, Canada) Ernest Woodruff, the man who was primarily responsible for taking over Coca-Cola in 1919, stated that one of his major goals was to “ensure that everyone on Earth drank Coca-Cola as their preferred beverage.” (Wikipedia, Coca-Cola)

Long before Coca-cola was an international powerhouse, it was merely a light bulb atop the head of one John Pemberton, who was mixing up drinkable concoctions at the Eagle Drug and Chemical Company. He was likely inspired by popular european coca wine of the time, an alcoholic beverage made of primarily coca plants, kola nuts, and other herbs. (like Vin Mariani.) He established Pemberton’s French Wine Coca and eventually, due to Atlanta prohibition legislation passed in 1886, his non-alcoholic version he named Coca-Cola.

Pemberton sold the rights to sell the product to multiple businessmen resulting in a mess of lawsuit. After the dust cleared, Asa Griggs Candler was the one left standing, as he brought about the incorporation of the Coca-Cola Company as we know it today in 1892. He then set out on a mission to bring the product to the entire world. He was ready to unleash an aggressive marketing campaign that would continue to mark the company to this day. One of the most notable marketing signatures of the Coca-Cola company, the “contour bottle” designed by Earl R. Dean in 1915, was found through a contest Candler presented the companies bottle suppliers. He told them he wanted something “which a person could recognize even if they felt it in the dark, and so shaped that, even if broken, a person could tell at a glance what it was.” (“Inventory: Earl R. Dean Collection”. Vigo County Public Library. Retrieved 2008-12-14.) The classic glass bottle of Coca-Cola defines, with its contoured structure, the mastery of marketing within the leading ranks of the Coca-Cola company.

The Classic Coca-Cola Refrigerated Chest from Hammacher Shlemmer showcases the marketing appeal and epic history of the Coca-Cola Company.

The Positive

This retro Coke vending machine is a replica of the prestigious Westinghouse Electric Co cooler that was popular in the 1930’s and 1940. Products back then were made to last. High quality materials. The tough stuff. They weren’t built to break apart or become outdated in a couple years time like a lot of products being made now. This replica retro Coca-Cola machine is made with the same long-lasting, durable materials.

The chest is made of stainless steel. Attached to its side, a bottle opener and cap-catcher assist you. The classic Coca-Cola logo decorates all four sides and the lid, embossed just like the coolers of old. The case is finished with a chip and rust resistant coating of high gloss paint. As explained on the Hammacher Schlemmer website, the “interior holds up to 80 12-oz. cans or 60 8-oz. bottles of your preferred beverage. Built to the exact dimensions of the original, the soda chest has the same footprint as a standard television stand. Not available for shipment to Canada. 34″ H x 26″ W x 18″ D. (90 lbs.)”

Don’t worry though, they retrofitted everything but the refrigeration unit. This is made with today’s better technology. Beyond that, this retro Coke vending machine is just like the ones of old. If you’re looking for a quality product for your home, or as a gift, this product meant to last for many years to come. Not only that, but it’s backed by the most bad to the bone lifetime warranty I’ve come across.

Hammacher Schlemmer backs this well-made product for life. No matter what your problem is. Hammacher Schlemmer have an established name. 164 years to be exact. They’ve been around since 1848, when they first established themselves as a hardware store in the Bowery district of New York City, 13 years before the civil war. They insure the quality of all their products, including this Crosley Digital iTunes Jukebox, with their unbeatable lifetime guarantee. Here is a direct quote from this offer.

“The Hammacher Schlemmer Lifetime Guarantee : We make an unconditional and unwavering promise: Our merchandise is guaranteed for life. Shopping with Hammacher Schlemmer means that you have access to one of the most unique and innovative collections of products available anywhere in the world. Our Guarantee is an assurance that the item you receive is of the highest quality.If any of our products ever disappoints you, for any reason, you may return it for exchange, credit, or refund. Even if you received the item as a gift, Hammacher Schlemmer will exchange it for another item or gift certificate of equal value.

We know you had a choice, thank you for choosing Hammacher Schlemmer.”

What a huge relief when searching for an expensive gift or item for your home and I’ve never read a policy like this. I stress out a lot when making big purchases and this is a huge reason I keep coming back to the people at Hammacher Schlemmer. There is no better place to purchase your retro Coca-Cola vending machine. If there are any issues of any kind, any complaints what-so-ever, they fix the problem for you by offering you a full exchange for any of their other products or your money back. I have a feeling this kind of service is why Hammacher Schlemmer have been able to stay in business for so many years.

The Negative

The choices that present themselves when searching for refrigerators are abundant and for many, there will be a lot of other options to mull over. We advise our readers think long and hard about what their looking for when decorating. For the shopper searching for a retro look, someone who collects retro Coca-Cola memorabilia, or one who enjoys the long history of the Coca-Cola company, many of the standard options won’t cut it. When searching for the perfect gift, many of these options won’t reach with such mass appeal.

With many people struggling during the recession, the price could be a little steep with some at $999.95. The lifetime guarantee and craftsmanship may not be enough to woo everyone.

The Verdict

The result for this retro Coke machine here at is in, and we give it our sincere recomendation. This is not only a product of superior manufacturing, it’s a product with a stylistic flare that transports you back in time. We think the $999.95 price is a fair one, as it’s backed with a lifetime guarantee that is unmatched and made of durable, long-lasting materials.

The retro Coca-Cola machine from Hammacher Schlemmer lives up to the reputation of its inspiration, the Westinghouse Coca-cola vending machines of the 1930’s and 1940’s. It packs nearly a hundred years of prestigious marketing power and iconic imagery and brings the package from the barber shops and parlors of yore, and into your man-cave.

It’s the kind of piece that gets your neighbors talking. It gives you a reputation as a gift-giver of class, or perhaps the neighbor with “all of that really cool stuff.” This retro vending machine is something we can recommend to our readers without hesitation.

We think this is the kind of stuff guys really want!