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I used to drive through Warren, NJ every day, commuting from my apartment in Manhattan to work in New Jersey. Along the way, I drove past a little, tumble-down shack, just a couple of feet away from the road. After a couple of trips, I noticed the sign on the shack. It read:
EggOMat - Eggs of Distinction 24 Hours a Day
Eventually, I learned the EggOMat was, in fact, real, and was used by a local egg farmer to sell his product (eggs of distinction - remember?) from a vending machine. Since he worried about vandalism of his wonderful egg vending machine, he installed an intercom system that relayed sounds back to the farmhouse. Presumably sounds of happy egg buyers, eager to rush home and cook their newly bought Distinctive Eggs.
The EggOMat was the brainchild of the Epstein family, one of at Warren's poultry farmers. The family's patriarch, Camillo, wanted to keep his customers from ringing his doorbell late at night. I guess when you gotta have eggs, you gotta have eggs. Thus, the EggOMat was born.
The machine itself was a small wooden affair that housed four refrigerated carousels. Epstein stocked the carousels with fresh eggs every morning (Right from the chicken's ass to your table Yum!). He ran electricity out to the shed to keep the eggs cool and to light the "Eggs of Distinction" sign. Remembering that this little machine ran from the 50's to the 80's, it was for many years, the only place to buy eggs in the middle of the night, or on Sundays. Except maybe for Vegas, but that's not terribly convenient for most folks in New Jersey.
The EggOMat featured a selector dial, and after you inserted your coins -- a nickel for small, a dime for medium, a quarter for large and 35 cents for jumbo eggs -- you'd slide open one of the four doors and remove a brown cardboard carton containing a dozen sorta-farm-fresh eggs, depending on when Camillo stocked the carousels.
In 1987, the Epstein family sold the 24 acre poultry farm and moved to Florida (where else). When I drove by it '89, the farm was rented to a couple of college students, and the EggOMat was left to decay. The students did sell wooden Reindeer crafted (and I use the term loosely) from trees for a while, which I thought were rather quaint. Still more quaint was their practice of selling the reindeer "on the honor-system" - and keeping a small cashbox out next to the reindeer. To the best of my knowledge, nobody ever took money from the cashbox - or left with the box entirely.
Eggomat.com is maintained by Sam, aka Farfel, who has very strong feelings about eggs and poultry and egg farming and New Jersey Jewish history, but tries to keep his feeling bottled in and less likely to cause hospitalization. .
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Still working on this one..
But ... it defintely helps as we move forward to know ehere we're from. So there's that. And besides, when have we ever had too much information about eggs?.