Historic artifact for a holiday weekend


This is the world's first frozen margarita machine, invented and built by Mariano Martinez in 1971 from parts of a soft-serve ice cream maker. His inspiration: A 7-11 Slurpee.

Today, it resides in the collection of the National Museum of American History, where a museum director once called it a, "classic example of the American entrepreneurial spirit."

Smithsonian: Top 10 Inventions from the Collections of the National Museum of American History


  1. And I am proud to see an outline of the great state of Texas at the top of the machine. Margaritas for the masses!

  2. Well someone should get it out of there and put it back to work. Am I wrong? Unless it’s sitting in the museum cafeteria that looks like a machine that could use a job (in my house).

  3. No need to get it back to work. Leave it as is. It’s rare to see 1970s/1980s technology put on a pedestal and respected for what it does outside of kitsch. Respect this machine!

  4. Saw the teaser and had to find out if it was the real thing or not. It is! Mariano Martinez owns and operates a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants in Dallas, TX and the surrounding area. They’re great restaurants, or at least they were 10 years ago or so, when I lived in Texas. Thanks for the story!

  5. A fine example of building on existing technology.

    I hope that was an open source ice cream maker, or he might have gotten his butt sued off =oD

  6. I consider Margarita Slurpee machines to be the height of technological decadence.

    Even more so than the Gin and Tonic pump pot I used at parties in the late 70’s.

  7. Mariano Martinez… what a fine upstanding example of American Entrepreneurial spirit.

    Him and Braun for the V-2, right? :P

  8. Real margheads know that homebuilt ‘rita machines have been around for a lot longer than this article suggests; they’ve just gotten smaller and, I daresay, they’ve lost a certain panache in the process. I still fire up Granddad’s 1935 Schlosser-Warner he brought over from Germany in the ’10s, on special family occasions. It only output 4MPM but for an early homebuilt electric MM kit, that was a luxury back then. We had a close call 8 years ago when one of the vacuum tubes failed, but a buddy of mine who builds & repairs guitar amps saved our butts when he showed me how to link 3 Soviet-built tubes in series to repair it; it had the unintended benefit of boosting output by 1.3 MPM without overheating. I’d been searching for a non-invasive way to increase output for years as our family grew, but anyone who’s ever tried can tell you that parts just don’t exist for these old Schlossers anymore. I heard about an S-W that popped up in a garage sale in a suburb of Atlanta, rumored to be one of the two experimental machines Coca-Cola discarded when they abandoned their plans to sell canned margaritas (a good thing, if you ask me; I’d hate to see a world full of flaccid mass-produced canned margaritas) but by the time I flew down to check it out, the trail had gone cold. Losing out on that baby still hurts when I think about it.

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