A parking meter is a device used to collect money in exchange for the right to park a vehicle in a particular place for a set time.
A US patent was filed by Roger W. Babson, on 30 August, 1928. The meter was intended to operate on power from the battery of the parking ehicle and required a connection from the vehicle to the meter.
Holger George Thuesen and Gerald A. Hale designed the first working parking meter, the Black Maria, in 1935.
The world’s first installed parking meter was in Oklahoma City on 16 July, 1935.
Industrial production started in 1936 and expanded until the mid-1980s.
Parking meter in Adelaide, South Australia, probably 1980s or 1990s.
The first models were based on a coin acceptor, a dial to engage the mechanism and a visible pointer and flag to indicate expiration of paid period.
This configuration lasted for more than 40 years, with only a few changes in the exterior design, like the double-headed version and the incorporation of new materials and production techniques.
Upon insertion of coins into a currency detector slot or swiping a credit card or smartcard into a slot, and turning a handle (or pressing a key), a timer is set within the meter.
Some locations now allow payment by mobile phone (to remotely record payments for subsequent checking and enforcement).
In many cities, all parking meters are designed to use only one type of coin. Use of other coins will fail to register, and the meter may cease to function altogether. For example, in Hackensack, New Jersey all parking meters are designed for quarters only.
In 1960, New York City hired its first crew of “meter maids”; all were women. It was not until 1967 that the first man was hired.
Meter maids keeping up with technology on the Gold Coast, Queensland.
In the mid-1980s, a digital version was introduced, replacing the mechanical parts with electronic components: boards, keyboards and displays. This allowed more flexibility to the meter, as an EEPROM chip can be reconfigured more easily than corresponding mechanical components.
By the beginning of the 1990s, millions of parking meter units had been sold around the world.