A parking meter is a device used to collect money in exchange for the right to park an automobile etc. in a particular place for a limited amount of time. By inserting coins (or credit card, smart money, etc...) into a slot, and turning a handle (or pressing a key...), a timer is set within the meter. A dial or display on the meter indicates how much time is remaining.
Parking meters are usually relatively small boxes attached to the top of a sturdy metal pole. They are exposed to the elements and to vandalss so protection of the device and its cash contents is a priority.
Parking meters are usually seen along the curb of a street, but are sometimes used within parking garages as well. The world's first installed parking meter was in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on July 16, 1935.
An alternative system is the car park ticket machine.