US 2397403 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 26, 1946. R, H BlsHOP 2,397,403l
FOOD DI SPENSER CABINET Filed May 25. 1945 3 Sheeto-Sh'eet 1 f 4 f /f// 2 9 g y ff@ l E f, w l/ Z Fmi. "f
Fla FIG. 4
FOOD DISPENSER CABINET INVENTOR. @055er H /wop TTOBNE Y@ March 26, 1946. R, BlsHOp FooD DISPENSER` CABINET Filed May 25, 1945 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Patented Mar.y 26, 1.7946
i UNITED 2,397,403 1 r FOOD DISPENSER CAABINET Robert H. Bishop, Champaign, Ill., assigner to R. mishop Company, Champaign, Ill., a cor-I poration of Illinois Application May`25, 194,5, Serial No. 595,789 5 Claims. (CL 3123) This invention relates to a food dispensercabinet and is particularly directed to a storage display case adapted to store, freeze, or maintain, frozeny foods.
It is an object of this invention to provide a storage and display case for foods which includes storage and display cabinets which may be kept at relatively low temperatures whereby foods may be maintained in the storage cabinet under freezing conditions. L
It is a further object of the invention to provide a storage locker for maintaining foods in the frozen condition whereby each customer has a separate section or cabinet and the food so stored by the customers is readily accessible for inspection and removal. y
It is also an object of the invention to provide a frozen food storage cabinet for home use whereby different frozen foods may be segregated and stored and are readily accessible for removal and use.
Another object of the invention is to provide a frozen food storage cabinet whereby the storage and display compartments are combined in the same unit avoiding the more expensive construction involving separate storage and display com- Dartments.
It is a further object of the invention to provide `inspection and package-removing doors which when opened for removal of individual pmkages does not affect the temperature conditions in the cabinet due to an inrush of warm air into the cabinet and yet does not sacrifice easy removal and ready inspection of the packages.
It is also an object of the invention to provide separate and individual vertical conveyors for storage and for automatically causing another food package to come into position for removal and inspection when a package is removed from the conveyor. Y
Still another object of the invention is the .provision of a novel positive action means for actuating the conveyor whereby the fewer packages stored inthe conveyor the less the force exerted and conversely the greater the packages stored in each conveyor section the greater the force exerted which insures uniformity in the automatic action for maintaining packages in display and removal position,
A further object of the invention is to provide a novel means for lighting the display section of the cabinet and for indicating the items in each conveyor section.
An important object of this invention is to arrange the construction of the storage cabinet in such a manner that it can be arranged in units whereby additional capacity for stores is readily attained by installing additional units.
It is an object of this invention to provide a storage and display'cabinet for use in grocery stores and the like which is compact in size and is attractive to the public and is particularly adapted for self-service in grocery stores and the like. v
It is a further object of this invention toproy vide a food display cabinet in which a large variety of food products may be separately stored and displayed.
In order to preserve the quality of quickly frozen foods it is necessary to keep the food packages at a temperature preferably below 10 F. above zero. If the temperature of the food.
product is permitted to rise substantially above this temperature the quality and flavor of the food is greatly impaired. Little difilculty is experienced in maintaining the proper temperature where the door of the cabinet is infrequently opened but where the doors are frequently opened for inspection and removal of packages, as is done in storage display cabinets, much dimcultyr` is experienced in properly maintaining the temperature within the cabinet. Various methods and apparatus have been designed in the past for overcoming these diiiiculties but none of them have proved satisfactory. The most. common means presently used for offsetting frequent openings of therefrigerator cabinet doors is to maintain a temperature lower than normally required' for preservation of the food, and therefore even with frequent openings the temperature would never rise above a certain maximum. It is obvious that such a method is highly ineiiicient and is not absolutely sure of maintaining the proper temperature required.
The present storage refrigeration cabinets provide for no satisfactory means for removal of unit packages from the cabinet without increasing the temperature within. In one such cabinet the top of the cabinet is entirely open but this is an expensive and uneconomical operation since the compressor for the refrigeration coil must work at all times. In other cabinets the package removal doors are so large and located so close to the bottom of the cabinet that every time they are opened. the cold airvwill rush out and the warm air will rush in due to the difference in the densities and this also results in an uneconomical operation. In my cabinet, by positioning the package inspection and removal doors near the top of one of the side walls and by keeping the size to a minimum substantially no temperature change occurs below the bottom of the doors, when they are opened, although a slight temperature increase will occur in the zone directly opposite the doors. By this arrangement the temperature loss on frequent openings f the package removal doors is kept to a minimum and this is accomplished without sacricing the provision of readily available openings for removal of packages of ready inspection since the design and construction of my storage cabinets make all these things a reality.
\ Furthermore much eiort and expense has been applied to developing suitable automatic means for maintaining a package in display position when a package'has been removed vby the customer from the cabinet. Most of-the devices involved complicated apparatus which were diiicult and expensive to construct and involved the use of complicated Amechanism driven by a motor or other prime mover. In my device I provide a vertical conveyor comprising a platform positioned in a guiding frame and the platform is urged upwardly when a package is removed by a positive means such as a spring positioned under the platform to urge it upward. Also a conveyor belt, chain, rope or flexible wire may be attached to a spring under tension for urging the platform upward.
In another embodiment the positive means not involving a prime mover comprises a series of weights properly balanced against the packages positioned in vertical layers on the platform such that when one package is removed the weights will pull the platform upward causing another package to come into inspection position.
However all of the above arrangements have one feature in common which is particularly advantageous and that is the fewer number of packages on the platform the less force is required to raise the platform and I accomplish this automatically for example by relieving the tension Vor compression on the spring as more packages are removed from the platform.
In still another embodiment the platform may be urged upwardly by a ratchet arrangement which upon closing of the door will turn the ratchet and, by use of a suitable pulley arrangement, will force the platform upward.
Another important object of the invention is to provide means which places unit packages in a position that they can be readily removed by the customer. In other words each .package in inspection and removal position is placed such that it can 'be readily pulled out by the hands of the customer and I provide this means automatically by having the guide frame shaped in y such a manner that the upper package as it is urged into inspection and removal position is forced not only upward but forward so that it extends over the package directly underneath allowing a finger hold for ready removal of the package.
In general my invention comprises a food display and dispenser cabinet consisting of an insulated box, a vertical food dispensing means in said box comprising a. platform positioned in a vertical guiding frame and a positive means for urging the platform upward when a package is removed. The top of thebox is open and is closed by a lid for permitting easy access to the refrigeration coil contained in the box and for easy access to replace or repair any of the vertical guiding frames or the positive control means. The inspection openings or ports through which unit packages are removed by the customers are provided in at least one wall of the cabinet and preferably in the opposite walls of the longitudinal dimension ofthe cabinet, and are positioned near the top edges of the walls, adjacentthe iid for closing of the top opening, which minimizes the amount of heat loss through the doors when unit packages are removed therethrough. It is. preferable to have these doors equipped with transparent sections in'order that the packages may be inspected without opening of the doors. This transparent material is usually glass although other suitable material may be used. s f
Other objectaadvantages and uses of my storage and display cabinet will become readily apparent by referring to the drawings in which Figure 1 shows in perspective the exterior of the display cabinet illustrating particularly the position of the doors for closing the inspection and package removal ports through which unit packages may be removed. y
Figure 2 is similar' to Figure 1 showing in general the internal construction of the cabinet and the position of the lighting means for illuminat-l ing the packages for inspection.
Figures 3 and 4 illustrate one deslgnfor urging of the platform upwardly when a package is removed from the cabinet involving the uset of weights attached to a belt.
. Figures 5 and 6 'show the use of a large compression spring directly underneath the platform for urging the platform upwardly when a package is removed from the cabinet.
' Figure 7 is a sectional plane view, Figure 8 a perspectiye view and Figure 9 a side elevation of another means involving use of compression springs for urging of the platformv upward.
Figures 10 and 11 illustrate the use of a springl under tension for pulling the platform upward cabinet.
when the top package is removed from the platform. Figures 12 and iillustrate a ratchet ar-` rangement wherein alever is lowered permitting removal of a package and the closing of the inspection door actuates the ratchet bringing another package into inspection and removal position. e
Referring -to Figures 1 and 2 a box-like structure i0 suitably insulated as shown by A in Figure 2, is provided with an opening in the top thereof which is closed and sealed by the lid ii. The lid-H may be hinged or fastened in any suitable manner as long as when it is closed leakage of cold air from the cabinet is prevented. The primary purpose of the lid Il is for gaining ready access to the internal parts of the box for repair and replacements. It is not used for removing of packages from the cabinet nor for the adding additional packages of food to the on a base i2. It is preferable to have the base I2 separate from the box since one of the advantages of l my cabinet is that a plurality can be placed end to end in unit arrangement for use in grocery stores and the like, and it may not always be desirable or feasible to have the same type of base in all cases.
Package removal ports or ropenings I3 are provided and are preferably positioned in the longitudinal vertical walls of the box adjacent the lid H for the purpose as herebefore explained. Although only two such ports are shown. it is within the scope of the invention to provide only Ifdesired the cabinet may be placed one port or opening along the front wall of the cabinet but it is usually preferable to haveva large number of ports accommodating a small section of the cabinet in order tofurther minimize heat loss when doors closing the ports are opened. In some cases it may be desirable to have a port and door for each unit package containing section of the box.
Although it is within the scope of the invention to 4,have inspection ports and doors only in front wall of the box facing the customer with the back against a wall, inwhich case there would be only one row of guiding sections containing platforms for arrangement of the food packages,
it is preferable to divide the box in the longitudinal direction with package storage sections along each side of a dividing partition. This permits arrangement of the cabinets in the center of the store and access to the cabinet may be had from both sides which makes-a more compact arrangement and provides for larger customer capacity. Furthermore the low height of my cabinet permits the positioning of the cabinets in the center of the store allowing the customer to see .over the cabinet to the goods displayed by the grocer along the walls of the room.
The important thing is to have the inspection and package removal ports near the top of the cabinet to obtain an efficient refrigerator as taught by me.
The various modifications described and illustrated herein are not to be considered as exact equivalents and are given to indicate several types of construction within the-broad scope of my invention.
Although not shown in Figures 1 and 2 similar ports I3 and doors I4 are provided on the opposite wall of the cabinet, Inspection doors I4 having transparent inspection sections I5 preferably made of glass are provided for closing the ports I3. Suitable hinges I6 as well as suitable lock or handles I1 are provided.
A novel lighting arrangement is provided by positioning illuminating tubes I8 under the lid so as to light ports I3 and may be of the or- I dinary incandescent type or may be of the fluorescent type. These two lighting elements are positioned and attached underneath the lid Il'so as to illuminate the packages adjacent the inspection and package removal ports I3. Provision is also made above each package storage section or compartment to indicate the type of food in that compartment and the price. This may be done in any suitable manner but it is preferable to have the portions I9 in the lid made of glass recessed slightly in the top of the lid Il and on which glass may be placed lettering on transparent material which would also be illuminated by the illumination elements I8.
To obtain more uniform distribution for refrigeration, the refrigeration coil 2|] is positioned in the panel 52 in the center of the cabinet and preferably such as to divide the cabinet in a longitudinal direction. The panel 52 may be of metal. bre board and the like with cut outs corresponding to the coil 20 and coil 20 inserted in the cut outs. It is also understood that the entire panel and coil may be of metal formed of a casting such that a sinuous path for the refrigerating gases will be formed directly in the panel and the sinuous path serving as the coil. The refrigeration coil then also serves as a. partition separating the two parallel row package compartments or package storage units 2|. The manner oi' refrigeration is not important to this invention but the usual refrigeration methods and apparatus such as a compressor, refrigeration medium, coil, thermostat and other accessory equipment may be used.
If it is desired to use my frozen food storage cabinets in homes or in small stores. the entire compressor, coil and associated parts for refrigeration may be located within the cabinet or in 'a separate compartment. However since my storage cabinet is especially adaptable for use in units, for providing large capacities, the coil and thermostat only are positioned in each cabinet and a central compressor is used for all the cabinets which results in an arrangement veconomical in construction and operation. The cabinets in such a service maybe placed end to end andthe two exposed ends may each have a plate advertising the goods sold or may be provided with any suitable additional decorative feature.
Furthermore while I. have illustrated and described a rectangular cabinet for usev in stores and the like, round, square, or other shaped cabinets may be used within the scope of my invention depending on the type of service required.
' A number of vertical package' storing units 2| are provided and are illustrated generally in Figures 1 and 2. The particular construction of these package storing units will be more fully described in connection with the remaining illustrations.
Although the package storage sections or units 2| which are vertical and placed side by side in alignment are shown as being the same size, it is within the scope of this invention to have them of different sizes in order to accommodate different sized packages of food. This is particularly advantageous in the use of my cabinet foristorlng and displayingpackaged frozen meat which is preferably packaged in different sizes according to weigh/t. Furthermore different cuts of meat necessarily require different sized packages in order for the various cuts to be sold economically and to meet the requirements oi different customers. This type of cabinet is also suitable for the use of dispensing ice cream, frozen foods and vegetables and similar items since items of this kind also involve different sized packages.
The inspection ports 3 are not only used for removing unit packages of food but the compartments or units 2| may be replenished through the same ports thereby preventing any substantial increase in temperature during the filling or replenishing operation. Although not as convenient, the compartments 2| may be replenished by raising the lid II. .lin either event I use a top opening for replenishing which has many -advantages over those presently sold and marketed having side openings near the'bottom of cabinets.
Figures 3 and 4 illustrate one specic method and means for raising the platform supporting a plurality of packages of food, suitable for use in connection with the cabinet shown in Figures 1 and 2. f
Throughout the specication the numeral 2| is used to refer to the food storage compartments or units or magazines as a whole and the'numeral 2| does not refer to any particular part of 'such units. The numeral 23 is used to refer to the frame of the compartment and does not apply to the unit as a Whole.
A platform 22 is positioned in guiding frame 23 such as to permit guiding of the platform in its vertical movement in the frame. A conveyor belt 24 which may be of leather, webbing, or other like, is provided and is attached` to the platform by suitable means such as adhesive. rivets. eyesary force to vraise the platfonn and push the next package into position for removal when the previous package has been removed. In order to have smooth operation, this embodiment is designed like the remaining embodiments shown in Figures 5 to 13 inclusive so that as fewer packages remain on the shelf or platform 22 the less positive force is exerted and required to raise the platform to bring the next package into position.
Although not essential, the platform 22 is an inverted U-shaped type of platform so that the legs of the U act as a buffer when the platform is loaded with packages and provides a rest on the floor of the cabinet. In other words, the legs rest on the floor of the cabinet itself.
An important feature of the guide frame 23 is that it causes the top package to be placed in removal and inspection position to be forced toward the port opening I3 while being moved upward so as to extend partially over the immediate package underneath providing a finger hold for the customer making the package readily removable. This is done by shaping the back side of the guide frame 23, which is the side opposite the port opening I3, in the form of a circle or angle so that the upward movement of the platform forces the package forward. In Figure 4 the package 28 has been forced forward so that it extends slightly over the package 29 directly underneath. In addition the top covering of the guide frame 23 is angled at the front, upward and away from the package 28 so that finger space is provided on both the top and bottom of package 28 in order that it isA readily removable. Other methods and apparatus may be used within the scope of this invention to accomplish the same results.
Referring to Figures 5 and 6 a similar platform 22 is positioned in guide frame 23 and this embodiment diifers primarily in the manner of exerting the upward pressure on the platform 22. In this case a large compression spring r3i is placed underneath the platform 22 sothat when beyond its limit. In Figure 9 the flanges on the platform 22 are on the two sides of the platform while in Figure 6 they are attached to the front .through the openings 35i in the frame 23 and then pass down the back side of frame 23 where they are attached to the opposite ends of the bar 36. -Springs 35' arranged in a V-shape are attached to the opposite ends of the cross bar 36 and are also attached to the upper end of the spring 35. In other words in Figures 10 and 1l a tension type spring is 'used as the positive l means for urging the platform upward rather 44 and rod 31. l l
dropping down of the handle 38 if the door il is the platform is completelyv loaded with packages i stead of having one spring Adirectly underneath the platform as shown in Figures 5 and 6, four smaller springs 32 positioned in the corners of the guiding frame 23 are provided. In Figure 9 the pins 53 are inserted through holes in platform 22 and the pins 58 are welded to the platform 22. The lower portion of the pins 58 merely serve as a guide 'for the springs 32 when the platform 22 rests on the bottom of the cabinet. In both the illustrations of Figures 6 and 9 the platform is U-shaped in design so as to forma buffer when the platform is fully loaded providing protection for the spring so that it cannot be compressed' than the compression type spring as shown in Figures 6 and 9.
Figures 12 and 13 illustrate a ratchet arrangement for raising the platform 22 positioned in guiding frame 23 after a package is' removed by a customer. While this arrangement is not completely automatic, it is positive in its action since the closing of the door I1 will cause another package to come vinto inspection and removal position. An axis rod 31 having handle 38 xedly attached thereto is provided. The right hand pulley 39 is i-lxedly attached to the shaft 31. The left hand pulley 39 is ixedly attached to the ratchet 40 and is journalled on rod 31 and a bearing such as the-roller bearing 4i may be provided.
A spring 42 is coiled around the end of the rod 31 at 43 and fastened to the guide frame 23 at This spring is to prevent the opened merely for looking at a package in one of the compartments. Otherwise it serves no function. v
A ratchet lever 45 is fastened on to the rod 31 at 46 and is adapted and arranged that when the handle 38 is pulled downwardly in order to remove package 28 from the compartment, the ratchet is placed in operating and force-exerting position. The head55 of the ratchet` lever 45 has a piston 56 slidable therein which is urged outwardly by a spring and the set screw 51 -an'd has the tooth member 54. The turning of the handle 38 rotates the ratchet lever 45 and tooth member 5d 'twill slide over the ratchet sil 'and when the handle 38 is again raised, the tooth member 5d will raise the next package into position. A raising of the handle 38 into the position shown which may be done by hand or by the closing of the door i1. raises the shelf 22 and brings another package into position for inspection and removal therefrom. The above operation of the ratchet is accomplished by the apparatus in the following manner. The pulling downwardly towards the front of the cabinet of the handle 33 pulls the ratchet 45 from the position shown in Figure 13 to a point directly abovethe numeral 53 where the tooth54 engages the adjacent tooth of the sprocket 43. The customer now removes package 28 which is the upper-most package positioned on the platform 22. The customer, either by raising up on the handle or by closing the door i4 shown in Figure 1 will turn the rod 51 and force the right hand pulley 39 counter-clockwise until the ratchet 45 again reaches position as shown in Figure 13. 'Ihis last mentioned turning of the ratchet operates the left hand pulley 33 which raises the next package into inspection and removal position. Pulley belt 41 passes over the pulley 38 and around the guide pulley 48 mounted in the frame and is attached to the platform 22 at I9 and provides the conveying means for raising and lowering shelf 22 as actuated by the ratchet 40. The guide flange means of the platform extends above and below the platform at the front to provide means for attaching the belt. To hold the platform -in position a means 50, attached to the frame at l, is provided. Means 50 may compriseastii spring or it' may be hinged metal stop permitting turning of the ratchet 40 in a counter-clockwise direction but preventing the turning of the ratchet in a clockwise direction. Rod 31 is journaled in walls of frame 23.
The above illustrations and descriptions relating thereto are not intended to limit my invention which is only limited by the following claims. I claim as my invention:
l. An apparatus for storing, displaying and dispensing packaged frozen foods, comprising an insulated cabinet having a service lid for gaining access to the interior of the cabinet, a package-v removal opening adjacent the top of a vertical sidewall of the cabinet, a door therein, said door and opening being of sufficient width measured vertically to permit ready removal of one package only at a time, a package receiving magazine located inside the cabinet adjacent but spaced from the walls thereof lsaid receiving magazine comprising vertical pierced walls forming a package-receiving space of the size and shape of a package, the upper end of the`front wall of saidV magazine terminating below the other walls, and the rear wall formed with a forwardly curved top, thus forming an opening of size and shape to permit ready removal of one package at a time therethrough, a platform to support a stack of said packages mounted for vertical travel -between said pierced walls, said vertical walls serving as guide means to guide said platform in its vertical travel, means limiting the downward travel of said platform thereby providing a space between said platform and the floor of said cabinet, means for urging said platform upward thereby automatically carrying a stack of packages resting thereon upward until the top package is thrust against saidI forwardly curving top and urged forward into said opening in themagazine to permit its being readily grasped when the door is opened, refrigerating means extending vertically in said cabinet from a point near the bottom to a point near the top thereof, said refrigerating means being located adjacent and spaced fromthe rear wall of said magazine, the walls of the cabinet, the walls of the magazine and the refrigerating mean's -forming a passageway for circulatingl air downwardly between the magazine and the refrigerating means, across the bottom of the cabinet, and then upwardly in the package receiving magazine and between the walls of the cabinet and magazine 2. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized in that the refrigerating means comprises a cooling coil.
3. 'I'he apparatus of claim 1 wherein the means for urging the platform Vupward comprises a spring means acting between the casing and the l platform.