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Publication numberUS2538238 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 16, 1951
Filing dateDec 15, 1943
Priority dateDec 15, 1943
Publication numberUS 2538238 A, US 2538238A, US-A-2538238, US2538238 A, US2538238A
InventorsTrevor E Evans
Original AssigneeTrevor E Evans
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Towel-dispensing apparatus
US 2538238 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 16, 1951 T. E. EVANS 2,538,238

TOWEL-DISPENSING APPARATUS Filed Dec. 15, 1943 5 Sheets-Sheet l Elmo/whom 72f VOR f. fm/vs Jan. 16, 1951 T. E. EVANS TOWEL-DISPENSING APPARATUS 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Dec. 15, 1943 3mm I J 6, 1951 T. E. EVANS 2,538,238

TOWEL-DISPENSING APPARATUS I Filed Dec. 15, 1945 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 firm n E. EVA/VJ ATT) Patented Jan. 16, 1951 UNITED STATES TENT OFFICE TOWEL-DISPEN SING APPARATUS Trevor E. Evans, Youngstown, Ohio Application December 15, 1943, Serial No. 514,397

11 Claims. 1

This invention relates to towel-dispensing apparatus, and, more particularly, .to apparatus 7 of this type adapted automatically to dischargea clean towel when a soiled towel is deposited therein.

Heretoforain machine shops and other manufacturing or servicingestablishments it has been the usual practice to employ rags for wiping machine parts, cleaning hands,and in other like operations. However, while at first blush this procedure .seems reasonably satisfactory and 'inexpensive, actually it is wasteful, inefficient, and expensive, because the rags are non-uniform as to size or quality,and they are wasted and thrown away or left around to become fire hazards.

It has been proposed .to employ towels supplied by service or factory-owned laundries, .and while this procedure has the advantage of providing high quality, uniform size wiping material, the average workman is often apt to misuse the towels or lose them, thereby largely defeating the advantages of and raising the costs on the towel deposited therein.

.Another object of my invention is to provide apparatus of the character described, including means for delivering a clean towel to a workman when he deposits a metal check therein, which check he is given when he hires in to work.

Another object of my invention is the provision of relatively inexpensive, long-wearing, substantially foolproof toweledispensing mechanism in cabinet form, which is easily serviced, to supply clean towels and remove soiled towels.

Another object of the invention is to provide towel-dispensing mechanism which is started into operation to deliver a clean towel when a dirty towel and substantially only a dirty towel isinserted into the mechanism in the proper way.

The foregoing objects of my invention, and other objects which will become apparent as the description proceeds, are achieved by the provision of suitable apparatus, one embodiment thereof being illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein Fig. 1 is a vertical cross-sectional view through the cabinet of the apparatus,

and taken substantially on line II of Fig. 2

Fig. '2 is a horizontal sectional view taken substantially on line I-I-II of Fig. 1; 'Fig. 3 is an enlarged side elevation of one of the towel pickup claws; Fig. 4 is aschematic wiring diagram of the apparatus; Fig. 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary detail of the stack elevator ratchet; Fig. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken on line VIVI of Fig. 2; Fig. '7 is a fragmentary front elevation of the soiled towel receiving opening; and Fig. 8 is .a view similar to Fig. 4 but illustrating a modification. of the apparatus wherein hand power is employed.

Having particular reference to Figs. '1 and 2 of the drawings, the numeral I0 indicates gen.- erally a cabinet which serves to house the apparatus, and, generally, but not necessarily functioning as a framework also. The cabinet to is adapted to receive a stack .of clean towels T lying flat, one on top of another and to raise the stack of towels the thickness of one towel each time a towel is discharged from the stack. To this end, a plurality of uprights 12, mounted on the base IA of the cabinet 'lil, are provided, whichslidably receive for yerticalimovement an .elevator platform It upon which the towels T are. placed.

In order to raise the platform 16 the thickness of one towel each time a clean towel is .dis-. charged, :means may be employedsuchas a chain 20, anchored at one end to a bracket .22 on the cabinet 10 and extending around idle pulleys 24' carried on the bottom of the platform 16. From the pulleys 24 the chain .extends over a driving pulley 25 mounted on a shaft 28 journaled in the cabinet, and the .end of the chain is connected to a weight 30 which counterbalances'part of the weight of the towels untilgthe weight strikes the base of the cabinet when about half of the towels are picked off the stack. T

The shaft 28 is adapted to be turned through a small are each time a towel is picked off the stack to thereby turn the drive pulley to tightenv the chain and raise the platform the thickness-of a towel. This is achieved by providing an electrio motor 3% on a bracket 38 which motor operates through a gear box 40 to turn a shaft 42 which carries a cam a l. As best seen in Fig.2, the cam '44 engages a follower 46 slidable in av bearing 48 and normally urged toward the cam by a compression spring '50 'The bottom'of the follower it pivotally supports at 52 a ratchetEi-t, see Fig. '5, adapted to engage with a toothed ratchet wheel 56 mounted on the shaft 28. A

compression spring 58 permits clockwise tilting movement of the ratchet 54 about the pivot '52, but the ratchet cannot tilt in a counter-clockwise direction about the pivot '52 from the position shown in Fig. 5. The result is that when the cam 44 moves the follower 46 down the ratchet 54 engaging with the ratchet wheel 56 causes the wheel to move the distance of one tooth to thereby raise the platform I6 the thickness of one towel. The spring acts to return the follower 46 to its uppermost position and this movement may be limited by a pin 60, and in the return movement of the follower the ratchet 54 tilts and slides over one tooth of the ratchet wheel 56 to be ready for the next movement of the cam 44. A ratchet mechanism 64, which may be mounted at the end of the shaft 28 remote from the ratchet wheel 56, is provided to prevent the return rotary movement of the shaft 28 under the weight of the stack of towels. See Fig. 6.

For the purpose of picking up the top towel from the stack of towels, a rectangular frame 10 is provided which is secured to the shaft 42, as best seen in Fig. 2, for oscillating movement with the shaft from the dotted line to the full line position shown and return. One end of the frame 10 is provided with a counterweight l2, and the opposite end of the frame extends out over the towel stack. The end of the frame over the towel stack pivotally supports a shaft 14- which carries two pairs of pickup fingers each comprising a channel-shaped base 16 of narrow width welded to the shaft 14 and supporting one or more magnets 18 which serve to pull a narrow clamp bar 80 spring-hinged to the base I6, from the open dotted line position to the clamping solid line position shown. The pivotal mounting of the shaft 74 allows the pickup fingers to hang vertically at all times and regardless of where the frame 10 is positioned, but to further insure the vertical position of the pickup fingers, offcenter weights 84 may be secured to the ends of the shaft I4.

The shaft 42 which controls the position of the pickup frame 10 is adapted to be oscillated, as before mentioned, to move the frame from the dotted-line position to the full-line position and return. The manner of achieving the required rotary movement can best be understood by having reference to the schematic wiring diagram of Fig. 4 wherein the numeral 90 indicates a plug to connect the apparatus to a source of electric power, with electric leads 92 running through a reversing switch 94 to the motor 36. Leads 96 extend through a tilting mercury switch 98 to a solenoid IUD which when energized reverses the switch 94 to reverse the motor 36. The operation of the solenoid I60 also functions to close a switch I02 positioned in leads I04 extending to the magnets 18.

The apparatus just described operates when the motor 36 is energized to move the pickup frame 10 from the dotted-line position of Fig. 1 to the full-line position. Just at the time the frame 10 reaches the full-line position the mercury switch 98, which is mounted on the shaft 42, closes to thereby energize the solenoid I00, which is of the time-delay type, and thus closes the circuit to the magnets 18 which operate the pickup fingers on the top towel (the ends of the pickup fingers may be formed with teeth to facilitate the pickup operation) and simultaneously the solenoid reverses the switch 94 and the motor 36 to start the frame on its return movement. The circuit to the motor 36 is broken to stop the motor and de-energize the magnets 18 of the pickup fingers to drop the towel. The dropped towel is received in a chute I I0 and is discharged from the front of the cabinet.

Turning now to the means for initiating the operation of the motor 36 and for stopping the motor, such means being actuated by depositing a soiled towel in the cabinet, a photoelectric cell H4 is secured in the cabinet in line with a light beam directed from a spot light I I6. The output of the photoelectric cell is connected, as illustrated in Fig. 4, to normally hold open a time delay relay I I8. However, when the light beam passing to the photoelectric cell is broken the relay I I8 releases to close the circuit to the motor and to the leads and I04. This initiates the operation of one complete cycle of the apparatus, in that the apparatus continues to function until the time delay relay operates to again open the circuit at the completion of the cycle. The solenoid I06 will be timed to open substantially simultaneously with the relay I I8.

One manner of breaking the light beam to initiate the operation of the apparatus is to provide a check or token slide I24 which is secured to the side of the cabinet I0 and extends to a point adjacent the light beam so that when a workman drops an appropriately shaped metal check (which he receives when he is hired) into the slide it passes down through the slide and breaks the light beam before dropping into a suitable receptacle (not shown).

The operation of the apparatus can also be initiated by depositing a soiled towel therein to break the light beam. To this end, a hooded opening I28 having a width slightly greater than the width of a towel and a vertical height slightly greater than the diameter of a rolled-up towel, is provided in the cabinet through which the towel can be introduced and from which the towel falls through the light beam into a container I30 for soiled towels. If desired, and to prevent any possibilities of spontaneous combustion, the container I30 may be partially filled with water. The container is readily removed from the cabinet I0 by access thereto through a normally locked door. Similarly, the clean towels can be introduced through the same or another door in the cabinet.

In order to prevent the operation of the apparatus by other means than soiled towels, I provide a bar I32 on the cabinet which extends out substantially vertically over the light beam and to one side of the center of the opening I 28. By positioning the bar I32 vertically above the light beam it is impossible to drop objects through the hooded opening I28 which will interrupt the light beam because such objects hit the bar and are deflected. However, when a soiled towel is rolled up to form a cylinder and is pushed through the opening I28 it drops down with its axis horizontal until it strikes the bar. The off-center position of the bar causes the longer, heavier end of the towel to swing in an arc around and under the bar to interrupt the light beam and initiate the operation of the apparatus before the shorter end of the towel which has dropped over the bar slips off the bar and the towel drops into the container.

Obviously, mechanism of the relatively simple type just described is not foolproof against someone deliberately setting out to fraudulently obtain a towel from the apparatus. However, it is surprising how difiicult it is to beat the apparatus by dropping other than a towel into it. For example, a stiff bar dropped horizontally through the opening I 28 merely bounces and slides off the bar I 32 without swinging down around under the bar as the limp towel does.

From the foregoing description, it is believed evident that the various objects .of my ginyention are" achieved by the provision .of apparatus :fOl'. automatically dispensing a clean towel when .a suitable check or soiled towel is employed to initiate the operation of the apparatus. The waste and inefficiency of known methods of handling wiping material are largely obviated. The apparatus is rugged and long-lived and is easily serviced to supply fresh towels and remove soiled towels. It has been found that the cost of the apparatus is quickly absorbed in the savings effected by its use, to say nothing ofthe improved factory appearance and safety, and the good morale effect on the workman who knows he can always get a nice clean towel'merely by turning in his old towel and withoutarguing with the store room clerk.

It will be recognized that many of the advantages of -my invention will be retained even though'the apparatus above described and illustrated in detail in the drawings is modified, as shown in Fig. -8, by eliminating the-motor 36, gear box 40, and the reversing motor control, and with this mechanism being replaced by a simple hand lever I52 which can be moved up and down to oscillate the frame it down to pickup position and back up to discharge position. In the hand lever machine of Fig. 8 like reference numerals.

but with the suffix a added have been used to indicate like parts. The relay l l8 acts to release a solenoid type electric lock 156 on the hand lever. Of course, the magnets 18*, switch I02, relay H and switch 93 would still be employed together with the photoelectric cell 4 and the light l w Therefore, while in accordance with the patent statutesl have specifically illustrated and described one embodiment of my invention, it should be particularly understood that I am not limited thereto or thereby, but that the scope of my invention is defined in the appended claims.

What I claim is:

1. Towel-dispensing apparatus comprising elevator means adapted to receive a stack of towels, a towel delivery chute, means for picking the top towel off of the stack and for dropping it in the delivery chute, motor means for operating the towel picking means and for raising the elevator means the thickness of one towel, a light beam, photoelectric cell means normally energized by the light beam and adapted to initiate the operation of the motor means when a soiled towel is returned to the apparatus, to thereby break the light beam, a cabinet surrounding the apparatus through which the delivery chute extends, said cabinet having an opening adjacent the light beam to receive the soiled towel, and a bar positioned parallel to the light beam and vertically above it, but off-center of the cabinet opening and below the opening, and about which the towel swings when rolled and pushed through the opening. Y

2. Towel-dispensing apparatus comprising -ele-' vator means adapted to receive a stack of towels, 'a towel delivery chute, means for picking the top towel off the stack and for dropping it in the delivery chute, motor means for operating the towel picking means and for raising the elevator means the thickness of one towel, a light beam, photoelectric cell means normally energized by the light beam and adapted to initiate the operation of the motor means when a soiled towel is returned to the apparatus, to thereby break the light beam, and a cabinet surrounding the apparatus through which the delivery chute extends,

6 said cabinet having .an opening adjacent the light beam to receive the soiled towel.

3. Towel-dispensing apparatus comprising elevator means adapted to receive a stack of towels, a towel delivery chute, means for picking the top towel off of the stack and for dropping it in the delivery chute, motor means for operating the towel picking means and for raising the elevator means the thickness of one towel, a light beam, and photoelectric cell means normally energized by the light beam and adapted to initiate the operation of the motor means when a soiled towel is returned to the apparatus, to thereby breakthe light beam.

4. Dispensing apparatus for towels and the like, including a platform supporting a stack of towels, means for picking the top towel off the stack, a motor for operating the picking means,

a photoelectric cell, a light beam directed into the photoelectric cell, a time delay relay in circuit with the photoelectric cell for closing the motor circuit but normally held open as long as the light beam is not interrupted, means for reversing the motor after it has been driven in one direction a selected distance, and means for receiving a soiled towel and for directing it to interrupt the, light beam.

5. Dispensing apparatus for towels and the like, including a platform supporting a stack of towels, means for picking the top towel off the stack, a motor for operating the picking means, a photoelectric cell, a light beam directed into the photoelectric cell, a time delay relay in circuit with the photoelectric cell for closing the motor circuit but normally held open as long as the light beam is not interrupted, and means for receiving a soiled towel and for directing it to interrupt the light beam.

7 6. Dispensing apparatus for towels and the like, including a stack of towels, means for picking the top towel off the stack, a motor for operating the picking means, electric means for closing the motor circuit, and means for receiving a soiled towel and for directing it to operate the electric means to close the motor circuit.

7. Dispensing apparatus for towels and the like, including a platform adapted to receive a stack of towels, means mounting the platform for vertical movement, an oscillating shaft, towel pickup means carried by the shaft and movable to and from a position above the stack, means opcrate-d by the shaft and adapted to move the platform Vertically the thickness of a towel upon each oscillating movement of the shaft, and counterweight means associated with the platform.

8. Dispensing apparatus for towels and the like, including a platform adapted to receive a stack of towels, means mounting the platform for vertical movement, an oscillating shaft, towel pickup means carried by the shaft and movable to and from a position above the stack, and means operated by the shaft and adapted to move the platform vertically the thickness of a towel upon each oscillating movement of the shaft.

9. Towel-dispensing apparatus including means for supporting a stack of towels, means for picking a towel off the stack, electric motor means for operating the picking means, a cabinet in which the apparatus is housed, and a control for the motor means comprising a light beam, a photoelectric cell against which the light beam is directed, said cabinet having an opening slightly wider than a towel and slightly higher than the diameter of a towel rolled from end to end, said opening being positioned above the light beam, a bar mounted parallel to the light beam and beneath the opening and off-center of the opening, whereby any solid objects dropped through the opening either miss the light beam or strike the bar and bounce off, but the rolledup towel dropped through the opening strikes the bar and the longer and heavier end of the bar swings down around and under the bar to interrupt the light beam, while the shorter and lighter end droops limply around the bar to allow a temporary pivoting swing of the longer end of the towel about and under the bar as described.

10. In combination, for operation on a towel or the like, a cabinet, motor means inside the cabinet, a control for the motor means comprising a light beam, a photoelectric cell against which the light beam is directed, said cabinet having an opening Slightly wider than a towel and slightly higher than the diameter of a towel rolled from end to end, said opening being positioned above the light beam, and a bar mounted parallel to the light beam above the beam and beneath the opening and off-center of the openmg.

11. Dispensing apparatus for towels including a cabinet, a stack of clean towels in the cabinet, means for removing a clean towel from the top of the stack, means to receive the clean towel from the removing means and to pass the clean towel to the outside of the cabinet, means to release the removing means for operation, and means in the cabinet for receiving a soiled towel and for directing it to actuate the release means.

TREVOR E. EVANS.

REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:

UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 766,441 Greenwood Aug. 6, 1904 1,657,364 Bartlett Jan. 24, 1928 1,853,926 Parfett Apr. 12, 1932 1,929,273 Crago Oct. 3, 1933 1,987,835 Love Jan. 15, 1935

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US766441 *Jan 25, 1904Aug 2, 1904Benjamin U RannellsPaper-vending machine.
US1657364 *Apr 3, 1926Jan 24, 1928Bar Trex Mfg Co IncStationery-vending machine
US1853926 *Feb 20, 1930Apr 12, 1932Myer ZangApparatus for delivering articles
US1929273 *Mar 18, 1931Oct 3, 1933Gen ElectricDoor operating apparatus
US1987835 *Sep 24, 1931Jan 15, 1935Love Sandy HVending machine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2832506 *Jan 14, 1953Apr 29, 1958Hatcher Creel WDispensing machine
US2929480 *Sep 12, 1955Mar 22, 1960Black Isadore EApparatus for dispensing cloth towels
US3042172 *Oct 28, 1958Jul 3, 1962Victor Bowlby SherryMachine for storing and exchanging used wiping cloths for fresh wiping cloths
US6102248 *Jul 22, 1998Aug 15, 2000Asahi Seiko Co., Ltd.Card type structures
Classifications
U.S. Classification194/211, 221/13, 221/66, 221/232, 271/24, 221/153, 194/212, 221/210, 194/241
International ClassificationA47K10/26
Cooperative ClassificationA47K10/26
European ClassificationA47K10/26