History of Vintage Parking Meter

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Author : hqt
Update time : 2021-07-27

The Vintage Parking Meter and its History

The modern parking meters that we know today were not the same in old times. We can see the difference when we observe any vintage parking meter . The functionality somewhat remains the same but there are major differences in the design and working.

It is better to start from the start and talk about the vintage parking meter . A vintage parking meter , or for that matter any kind of parking meter, is a device that collects money for allowing a vehicle to park in its vicinity. All this is very calculated and timed, for the meter to charge the parking space user.

vintage parking meter

It parking meter helps the government in integrating road policies with proper road space management. In fact, it is a great way to incorporate rules for a smooth-running road system. It is even useful in handling traffic-related problems all the while yielding profits in terms of providing a service.

A Brief History of the Vintage Parking Meter

The revolution and modernization urged the people to take a step up from their traditional traveling ways like horses and carts and move towards engine-operated vehicles like cars. Over time, vehicles became part of a common man’s everyday life.

With the significant increase in the number of vehicles on the road, there was an impending need for a proper parking system. Due to the overpopulation of transportation vehicles, it became difficult for the passersby because of the haphazard parking system. It even posed a threat to the businesses of the shops around because of overcrowding. Even the vehicle owners felt the need for a proper parking system for the safety of their automobiles.

In the late 1920s, United States resident Rodger W. Babson filed a patent for parking meters. The vintage design for parking meters was way different than the parking meters we know today. The design incorporated the use of a connection that maintained a steady link between the parking meter and the vehicle parked in its vicinity. The idea was to run the parking meter using the energy from batteries in the parked vehicle.

The manufacturers felt the impracticality of such a design hence many engineers and professors started working to enhance the efficiency of a parking meter. After much contemplation and working the first fully functional parking meter came into existence in 1935, also known as the Black Maria. In 1935, Oklahoma was the first city in the world to have its very first functional parking meter. Later, it became a patented device in 1938.

The working of the Vintage Parking Meter

After the mass production of parking meters in 1936, they became a road necessity for effective parking systems. The earlier versions worked on collecting coins. They consisted of a dialing gauge and used these mechanics to point to the presence of a vehicle. It also indicated the time remaining for the vehicle to park in that spot till the money lasted.

This trend carried on for more than forty years. Apart from slight alterations in the external model the rest of the work remained the same. The vintage parking meter design consisted of a dual-head design for the purpose of serving two parking spaces at the same time. Later on, the modernization in design was credited towards better materials and functional results.

 In simple terms, using a parking meter required putting a coin in the parking meter. As a return, the parking meter detected the coin and approved its authenticity. Then the user had to press a key or pull a lever down that started the timer housed inside the meter. This was way back in time when coins were the only mode of currency.

Vintage Parking Meter vs. Modern Parking Meter

Nowadays modern parking meters have multiple options in the form of receiving payments. They can accept cards, cash tokens, and even QR scan through mobile apps. Earlier due to the absence of this facility, parking meters would only accept coins as payment. This was a great inconvenience because meters only accepted certain coins. Any coin different from the specified ones was rejected.

Moreover, due to the lack of intelligent detection systems, the meter would often fail to catalog coins even if they were on the list of acceptable coins. This caused problems for the users and was a great waste of time.

Thus, it urged the manufacturers to come up with detection systems that were modern and more sensitive towards currency recognition. Hence, the modern parking meters evolved over time to facilitate the users.

Now we have come way ahead in time and the amount of betterments reflects in the parking meters we know today. The currently installed parking meters exceed more than 5 million in number and are a source of revenue generation for the government. Plus, they help keep the traffic in check and streamlining the parking space systems.

Some companies like kinouwellparking  are manufacturing parking systems that are smart in their own right. They are catering to countries with dense populations and coming up with solutions to their parking-related problems. It is with diligence that they are providing worthy products that are flooding the market with their superior quality.

The traffic nowadays is overwhelming and needs smart solutions using smart equipment. Hence, it is feasible to invest in good quality parking meters that yield sufficient profits and last for a long time.


We have always been living in a progressive society whether it is related to our cultural norms or the equipment we use. The vintage parking meter design showed us its lacking qualities in many ways. Although it was a great invention at that time, it needed a lot of work and had the capacity to improve.

Over the period of several years, people came up with changes that took the vintage parking meters to another level. Hence, the modern parking meters we know today are a product of continuous improvements and a need for better design that catered to the people in the maximum ways possible.


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