CORPORATIONS: Keeper of the Coins

Standing on a Chicago el platform one day in 1928, a lean, mild-mannered New Englander named Nathaniel Leverone idly started feeding coins into the vending machines and got madder by the minute. "I weighed myself on a penny machine and found I weighed 205," recalls Leverone. "Another machine said 98. A chocolate machine gave me nothing, not even my penny back. Out of a peanut machine I got six moldy objects I wouldn't feed to a goat." Businessman Leverone got sore enough to go to work to teach the vending-machine business a lesson in honesty—and see if it would...

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