PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL -- Merrill Krakauer, a vending machine innovator and former chairman of the National Automatic Merchandising Association, died on May 21 here. He was 86.
An accomplished businessman and engineer, Krakauer was a 1951 graduate of Cooper Union (New York City) with a degree in engineering. Entering the vending industry on the operating side, he served as director of engineering and then as vice-president and general manager of regional full-line vending pioneer The Macke Co. (Cheverly, MD). Krakauer then joined Rowe International (Whippany, MJ) as chairman and chief executive officer. He also led Rowe affiliates Brandt Inc. (now Talaris), and AMI, leading manufacturers, respectively, of money processing equipment and of jukeboxes and other commercial entertainment systems.
He also was a noted inventor, holding 25 patents for vending equipment design, a number of which were foundation patents in the industry. One of Krakauer's most prominent inventions is the modern spiral dispensing system.
Long active in industry affairs, Krakauer served as chairman of the National Automatic Merchandising Association in 1987.
Krakauer is survived by children Bryan Krakauer, Elayne Krakauer and Amy Lefkowitz; brother Stewart Krakauer; and grandchildren David and Emily.
Donations in Krakauer's memory may be made to the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association.