SANTA BARBARA, CA -- Aaron Lieberman, a legendary figure in bulk vending, has died. According to family members, Lieberman died peacefully at his home here on June 21. He was 83.
Best known as the inventor of the U-Seal-It machines that vended laminating kits for pocket documents, Lieberman is widely credited with playing an instrumental role in the creation of the flat vending segment. First marketed in 1958, the ubiquitous U-Seal-It venders were still in the field as recently as 2000.
Many of the innovations Lieberman pioneered with his flat vending concept can still be seen in today's market. The U-Seal-It product folder size, for instance, became the industry's packaging standard for flat vend products. Lieberman also introduced an early version of the "wing," a secondary unit attached by wing nuts that sold stick-on monograms. And he is credited with offering the first 50¢ bulk vend.
"When I go to a tradeshow, people still ask about him and remember the company fondly," said his son, Andrew Lieberman, who today runs AcuCount, which markets money scales. "Working at U-Seal-It as a kid gave me a good perspective on the industry and dad's contribution to it."
While a philosophy major at Penn State University, Lieberman came up with the U-Seal-It concept through simple observation and recognition of a need. The company sold the machines and its laminate supplies to operators and locations across the country. At the company's height in the mid-1960s through 1970s, there were thousands of the machines on location from coast to coast in many of the nation's largest retail chains. Lieberman branched out from laminate, adding a line of stickers for his vending machines in the 1970s and baseball cards in the 1980s.
Lieberman is survived by his wife of 32 years, Carol Spungen; children Andrew Eban Lieberman and Jane Lieberman Lorin; grandchildren Abbie, Alex, Elliot and Eric Lieberman, and Jenna and Mara Lorin; sister Marilyn Gray; and numerous nieces, nephews and in-laws. His is preceded in death by a son, John Keith Lieberman.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Life Chronicles of Santa Barbara or Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care of Santa Barbara.