In AD 60 Hero of Alexandria invented a water vending machine to sell water to thirsty people with money.In 1840 the postage stamp was invented in Britain.
It was only a matter of time until these two inventions, racing towards each other through history, collided to form the stamp vending machine. When they did, it was a hero of New Zealand who brought them together.
It occurred to 15 year old Robert James Dickie (b. 1876, d. 1958) while working at the front desk in a Wellington Post Office in 1891 that a machine should be able to tear stamps off and hand them to people and save him from doing it. When Dickie saw his first moving picture images he reasoned that stamps should be able to be handled just like photographs strung together.
He began to plan, and over the next several years the idea gestated in his head.