The Eggomat

eggomat

We live in an society where we can get food at any convenience store at any time of day. Long ago are the days when milk was delivered to your doorstep in glass bottles. This machine is a relic from those days. Instead of going to the market, you went to.. the Eggomat. You put in your coins, and out came eggs, like so much soda and candy bars. (did anyone ever shake one if they didn’t get their eggs is what I want to know…) The Eggomat sat on the roads of Warren County since the 1950’s, but eventually went into disuse and deteriorated.

The Eggomat was the invention of Epstein, whose farm sold “eggs of distinction”. Customers paid a nickel for a dozen small eggs, a dime for medium, quarter for large, and 35 cents for jumbos. Security was an issue so Epstein rigged up an intercom so he could hear if someone was stealing eggs. In 1980, Epstein sold his farm, and moved to Florida. The new owner turned the eggomat over to the historical society in 1998, this after a failed “save the eggomat” campaign (which included selling t-shirts) was organized. “It’s a piece of Americana that should be preserved,” said Alan A. Siegel, chairman of the Warren Township Historical Sites Committee. “It’s a part of the agricultural history of Somerset County. They fell in love with the whole kooky concept that one would put a quarter in a machine and get a dozen eggs, Only in America.”

Once (if) restored, where will it go? “It’s one of those things no one wants, but no one wants to get rid of,” Mark Krane, the town administrator, said. The New Jersey Museum of Agriculture in North Brunswick owns an Eggomatic, a mid-20th-century machine that graded eggs. When Andrew B. Jacobson, the museum’s curator and director of collections, recently learned of the Eggomat, he was interested. “It would be something we would definitely want,” Jacobson said. “It’s such a mechanical marvel.”

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