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Share These Suds: The Low-Waste Soviet Soda Machine

Could we learn from knock-off soda machines once made in Russia?

In his book Made in Russia: Unsung Soviet Design, Michael Idov looks into how Russia tried to transform tank and rocket factories to churn out consumer goods, like boom boxes and soda machines, mostly by reverse engineering these products from Western imports. As Julia Barton reports on the always incredible 99 Percent Invisible, the results were unmistakably Soviet:


Take your Soviet soda machine. In those, carbonated drinks came not in bottles, but straight into a communal drinking glass, something chained to the machine.

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Give the glass a rinse before using, insert one kopeck for plain soda water, three for a squirt of syrup, and then, ahh. With all the plastic floating around and the nagging debate about any bottle's carbon footprint, you have to wonder: Are machines like this, with some public health updates, perhaps, an idea worth stealing back?

Photo: ITAR-TASS Photo Agency courtesy of Made in Russia.

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