Mold-A-Rama is a brand name for a type of vending machine that makes injection molded plastic figurines. Mold-A-Rama machines debuted in late 1962 [1][2] and grew in prominence at the 1964 New York World's Fair.[3] The machines can still be found operating in dozens of museums and zoos.[4][5]

A Mold-A-Rama machine at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle
A tractor from a Mold-A-Rama machine at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago


American inventor John H. "Tike" Miller is credited with conceiving a free-standing plastic-molding machine in the 1950s. He licensed his mold-making patent[6] and related technology to the Automatic Retailers Of America (Aramark), which operated Mold-A-Rama machines as a subsidiary company through 1969. Aramark divested all machines and service locations by 1972 because of the high cost of the equipment. As of 2010, two US companies own and operate Mold-A-Rama machines: the William A. Jones Company in Illinois[7][8][9][10] and Replication Devices in Florida.[11][12] As of November 2015, there are 124 machines in a total of eight different states.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Rossman, Martin (October 29, 1962). "Machine Molds Items While Customer Waits". Los Angeles Times. p. B8.
  2. ^ "Keilson Puts in Molding Units". Billboard. May 4, 1963. p. 53.
  3. ^ "Mold-Rama Draws 'Em". Billboard. December 12, 1964. p. 43.
  4. ^ Benderoff, Eric (September 4, 2006). "Old Technology Proves a Modern-Day Classic". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  5. ^ Johnson, Steve (August 17, 2016). "Smelly, Plastic and Nostalgic, Mold-A-Rama Celebrates 50th Birthday at Brookfield Zoo". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  6. ^ US patent 3068518, Miller, John H. & Helms, Millard O., "Apparatus for Molding Hollow Plastic Products", issued 1962-12-18, assigned to Mold-A-Rama, Inc. 
  7. ^ Mueller, Jim (July 23, 1993). "All-Star Casts: The Mold-A-Rama Tradition of Plastic Lincoln Heads and Zoo Animals Lives On". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  8. ^ Stach, Chris (August 9, 2005). "Mold-a-Rama Magic". Riverside–Brookfield Landmark. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  9. ^ Channick, Robert (January 24, 2019). "Mold-A-Rama Defends Its Retro Name and Vintage Vending Machines Against 'Modernized' Competitor". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  10. ^ Garcia, Evan (September 26, 2019). "The Story of Mold-A-Rama, Chicago's Very Own Souvenir Machine". WTTW. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  11. ^ Daly, Sean (July 2, 2009). "Waxing Nostalgic: In 30 Seconds, Mold-A-Rama Makes Memories, Toys to Last a Lifetime". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  12. ^ Flaherty, Joseph (April 21, 2009). "Mold-O-Rama: 50's Plastic Molding Vending Machine". Replicator. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  13. ^ Fecile, John (November 13, 2015). "Mold-A-Rama-Rama! The Secrets Behind Chicago's Plastic Souvenir Empire". WBEZ. Retrieved November 17, 2015.

External linksEdit

  • William A. Jones Company official website
  • Replication Devices official website
  • Mold-A-Rama Machines category on