Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Automatic Canteen Co. of America
Automatic Canteen Co. of America

Automatic Canteen Co. of America

The company that would become the leading firm in the American vending-machine industry was founded in 1929 by Nathaniel Leverone, who had arrived in Chicago as a 24-year-old in 1908. Leverone's company, the Automatic Canteen Co. of America, sold machines that dispensed candy bars, nuts, and chewing gum. By 1940, when the company's annual sales stood at about $10 million, about 230,000 of these vending machines were in use. After World War II, Automatic Canteen stocked the machines with cigarettes, among other items. Annual sales reached $200 million in the mid-1960s, when Automatic Canteen became the Canteen Corp. During the mid-1970s, the Canteen Corp. employed about 1,000 people in the Chicago area. At the end of the 1970s, the Trans World Corp. purchased the company, and management of its operations left Chicago.