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Dispensing with the past

Ryan Carter

David Satel’s business on San Fernando Road has become a shrine to

the vintage years of soda pop cans and bottles and the wonders of

modern vending machines.


On one side of Satel’s showroom are old red, shiny Coca-Cola and

Pepsi vending machines that Satel has collected and restored over the

years. On another side are state-of-the-art machines with modern

technical gadgetry, cash acceptors and change dispensers.


David’s Vending, at 800 S. San Fernando Blvd., turns 30 this

month, and Satel is still dispensing an encyclopedic knowledge of the

soda business and the machines that dispense them.

“You need to know who makes the machine to know what it is about,”

Satel said as he stood next to a dispenser he restored.

The knowledge of companies like Pepsi and Coke has allowed Satel

to grow his business from repairing machines in the backyard of his

Burbank home to restoring, renting and selling new and used vending


machines to celebrities and studios among other customers.

For example, an old shiny, blue Pepsi machine in Satel’s showroom

was sold to him by a man who simply wanted to get rid of it. At

first, Satel was going to salvage its parts. But after some producers

saw it and rented it for the “Back to the Future” movie set, Satel

realized the value of vintage items and machines that could be used

for show.

“In the movie ‘Terminator II,’ remember when the security guard


was getting a cup of coffee at a machine and The Terminator stuck his

finger through his forehead?” Satel asked. “That was my vending


But along with his antique and restored machines, Satel has a

healthy stock of new ones he distributes for manufacturers.

“I’m all about tomorrow’s technology while my dad is playing with

antique technology,” said Satel’s son, David Jr.

The elder Satel, though, said he is interested in new technology

and eagerly awaits the day when vending machines controlled with cell

phones, satellites and computer modems are commonplace.

But as long as there is a market, he’ll continue to restore

machines."It’s exciting and it’s different,” he said.