We are an obsessed culture, and there are few things we tend to fixate on more than finding love. Over 41 million people in the United States have attempted to find a partner through online dating — a billion-dollar industry that banks on our desire for a connection. But services like OkCupid, Tinder, and Match.com weren’t the first computer-based dating platforms — or the first matchmakers. We spotted eight vintage matchmaking devices and services that demonstrate how dating was done before the age of the Internet.
In 1955, a small German town was blinded by science when they experimented with a mechanical matchmaking device, dubbed a “slot machine for sweethearts.” Due to a shortage of men (gasp), the machine promised to simplify dating with a few gears and the help of a “love-agent.” The automat contained photos of potential male suitors, accompanied by a detailed description of his life and likes. The women would take that to a company liaison who revealed more information and helped arrange a date. The whole process cost 50 cents. We’re tickled that the below photo of the “love-agent” resembles a James Bond supervillain.