What became of America’s Drive-Thru Fotomat?

Remember these? Once upon a time, in an era when mankind had to wait an unimaginable 24 hours to see how holiday snaps and selfies had turned out, there was … the trusty Fotomat. A bright and compact little kiosk easily recognisable by its pyramid-shaped gold-coloured roof, usually positioned in a large parking lot outside a strip mall, at its peak in the early 80s, there were over 4,000 Fotomats throughout North America. They offered a “drive-thru” service for overnight film development, which soon became noncompetitive as soon as companies began offering one-hour photo development, and of course would later become entirely obsolete with the takeover of digital photography. But for a while there, it a was a nifty little addition to the suburban landscape…

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