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Publication numberUS2735578 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 21, 1956
Filing dateJun 27, 1952
Publication numberUS 2735578 A, US 2735578A, US-A-2735578, US2735578 A, US2735578A
InventorsA. C. Woodruff
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Beverage vending machine
US 2735578 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 21, 1956 A. c. WOODRUFF BEVERAGE VENDING MACHINE 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed June 27, 1952 INVENTOR. 4L MON 6'. Woooew-r Jttorne J Feb. 21, 1956 A. c. WOODRUFF BEVERAGE VENDING MACHINE 3 SheetsSheet 2 Filed June 27, 1952 t 2 R A M I United States Patent BEVERAGE VENDING Almon C. Woodrull,- Van-Nuys, Calif.

Application .lune'27', 1952, Serial No. 295,895

My invention relates generally to vending machines, and more particularly, to a coin operated refrigerated beverage machine capable of dispensing's'everal diiferent kindsof b everag'es. I

embodiment of the invention is particularly advantageous for the handling of rectangular milk cartons or thelike, andwill be disclosedin connection'therewith. It is 'to' be understood; however, that tlie'use ofthe invention is not restricted to'a particular typeof'packaged'beverage, and'in fact, one of the important advantages of the device isits ability to-handle' different beverages within the same cabinet The device hereindisclosed is a fully automatic machine operable upon the insertion of a coin todeliver the purchasedbeverage to an accessible front position. With in the cabinet are several independent storage'and dispensing units that are operable in the aforesaid manner to-deliver a selected beverage. Thus the customer has a choice of beverages merely by inserting his coinwithin' the appropriate slot and the total salesvolume of the device is considerably greater than with a conventional machine.

Two important problems have heretofore prevented the construction of a device of the character described from a practical standpoint. The first of theseis that of 'stor ing the beverage containers insu'ch a manner that an adequate number can be contained within a-housingof-reasonable size. The secondandrela'ted problem isto dispense the stored-containers bya simple dispensing means which will cooperate with the storage means insuc'h" amanner as to make feasible,-eflicient storage andrapid loading.

In order to fully appreciate. these problems, it is desirable to first consider briefly the nature of the: beverage containers. Generally, these-containersare of'such a nature that they cannot be stacked vertically. In the case ofmilk cartons of individual. use size it is conventional to provide a peak or ridged roof thereon which'makesitim possible to accomplishvertical stacking. As'can alsobe understood, it is highly desirablev tostand the containers in an upright positionto minimize the chanceofleakage; Again in the case of milk cartonsthisbecomesa necessity because of the nature of the carton closure which would otherwise leak quite frequently.

Under these conditions the most efficient way'to-stack the containers is in side-to-side'relationship on.storage shelves. This eliminates dead space between the containers and makes maximum use of the available: storage space. However, dispensing cartons one at-a' time from such a storage arrangement by automaticmeans-hasheretofore involved the use of such-complicated mechanisms as-to be impractical. Consequently, the great-majority of prior automatic vending machines have used' storage'facilities having small relative capacity, andfa' method'of storage not at all suitable for the vending ofmilk'cartons;

With the foregoing in mind, it is a major object of my' invention to provide an automatic refrigerated beverage 2,735,578 Patented Feb. 21, 1956 2 vending machine having efiicient storage and dispensing means adapted'fo'r rapid loading and operation.-

An equally'impo'rta'nt object of my invention-is to provide an automatic refrigerated beverage vending machine capable ofs'torin'g' and dispensing several difierent' kinds of beverages.

It is another object of my invention to provide an automatic beverage vending" machine having dispensing conveyor' means" adapted for simple and' rapid reloading; and of positive loading actionto" avoid jamming andskipping.

A further object of my invention is to provide simple and positive dispensing ejection means adapted to" receive containers from different locations within the machine and move them to'a common accessible position;

It is a1s' an object of the ihven'ti'o'n to provide inclined gravity feed storage shelveshavinga'large relative capacity and cooperating with individual dispensing conveyor means to'formu'ni'tsfor handling different kinds" of bever'ages. v I

An additional object of the invention is to provide a double door housing construction permitting easy reloading of 'thestorage facilities and protecting the electrical components of the coin operating mechanisms from the cold andda'm'p oftheinterior'ofthe housing. 7

Still another object of the" invention is t'oprovide means for holdinge'aclrofth'e container-sin an upright position as they pass: through the e'jecti'n'g means-so that they will be deliveredbottom firs'ti still further object of tlie' invention isto p'r'ovide a. pivotally rnontit'ed' conv yor assembly adapted to' move" from an operating position in which thecorresponding storage shelf is bloeke'dto adepressed loading position'for receivingan entire' row ofcontainerssimultaneouslytherefrom:

Yet another object of the inventionis to provide apiv-' otally' mounted conveyor assembly having container a'c-' tuated flap means for controlling the movement of the assemblyfrom loadingto'operating-position's.

These and nunierousother objectsand advantagesof my invention will become-apparent from the following detailed descriptionof' a preferred form thereof andffro'rn an-in'spe'ctionof the accompanying drawings, in'which:

Fig; 1* is: a front perspective view" of the complete machine Fig. 2 is" a front elevation of the machineshowingthe outer cloor opened;

Fig; 3"is a front elevationof-the machine withbo'th outer and inner doors-opened;-

Fig. 4' is" a front elevationaldetail of the conveyor means and storage shelf units showing one" co'n've'yoras Fig. 1-1 is a cross section throughthe' accessdo'or taken along 'tlie line of Fig. 2'. 7

Referring now to thedrawings and particularly t'oFig. 1

thereof; the numeral 20 indicates'generally'a rectangular cabinet which houses'the machine. On'the front of cabinet 20 is a large hinged outer-door 21 supported by sidehinge means 2'2'andopenable into the interior ofthe-cabinet;

In a bottom portion 20a ofthe cabinetis a-refrigerationunit of conventional design to maintain the interior of the cabinet at a reduced temperature.

On the front upper portion of door 21 is a panel 23 which supports a plurality of coin slots 24, coin return buttons 25, and indicator lights 26 arranged in groups corresponding to interiorvending units. Preferably, one coin slot 24 is associated with coin changing means having a separate change return slot 27 mounted at one side of door 21. Adjacent to change return slot 27 is a coin return slot 28 for discharging coins rejected through the use of buttons 25, and at the opposite side of door 21 is a lock 29 which holds the door in closed position.

Near the bottom of door 21 is an upwardly swingable panel or gate 30 which opens into a receiving tray 31 supported on the inner side of the door, as is seen in Fig. 2. Gate 30 is freely openable and the purchaser is able to reach into tray 31 and withdraw the contents thereof. As can be understood, the containers of beverage which are to be found within tray 31 are placed there as the result of the operation of the machine through its vending cycle starting with a deposit of a coin within one of the coin slots 24 and ending with the ejection of the selected container into tray 31. It should be noted that there are several coin slots 24 for cooperation with separate vending units within cabinet 10. In the preferred embodiment herein described there are four such vending units adapted to be loaded with difierent beverages for providing a relatively great selection within a cabinet of convenient size. This is made possible by the use of eflicient storage shelves and cooperating dispensing means within the interior of the cabinet, as will later be discussed.

In order to actuate the machine for a vending cycle it is necessary to provide coin actuating means and electrical operating switches of conventional construction. Coin collecting, inspection, and rejecting means are also necessary and are well known in the art. It is desirable that such components of the machine be readily accessible for servicing and repair, and it is also advantageous to protect the same from the damp and relatively cold interior of the cabinet. To this end I provide cabinet 20 with double doors, the outer door 21 opening back as is seen in Fig. 2 to expose an inner door 34 which is supported by side hinge means 35. At the opposite side are hand dogs 36 which normally hold door 34 in a closed position. Door 34 is spaced slightly rearwardly of door 21 so as to define therebetween a space for receiving the coin mechanisms and the electrical operating switches. Since door 34 is normally closed, these components are not in direct contact with the damp interior atmosphere of the cabinet and electrical breakdowns, corrosion, and the like are avoided.

On the back upper portion of door 21 are mounted crank linkages 38 connected with each of the front coin return buttons 25, and spaced coin chutes 39 leading from slots 24. In a corresponding position on the outer side of inner door 34 are mounted a series of coin inspection and actuating boxes 40 having coin return plungers 41 projecting from the top thereof, and a common coin collecting chute 42 at the bottom leading into a coin box 43. One of coin actuating boxes 40 includes a coin changing mechanism 44 with the change returning therefrom through the lower end. Above coin actuating boxes 40 is an enclosed electrical panel box 45 containing various electrical switches, relays, and the like. Connectors 46 lead from panel box .45 to coin actuating boxes 40. When door 21 is closed, coin chutes 39 lead downwardly into actuating boxes 40, and crank linkages 38 are positioned to activate coin return plungers 41. Movement of plungers 41 causes the coin to be re jected from actuating boxes 40 and drop out of the bottom thereof through openings 47 which lie forwardly of coin collecting chute 42.

Also mounted on the back of outer door 21 are coin return chutes 48 and 49 which are adapted to lie in communication with the coin return openings 47 and 4, the change mechanism 44, respectively. These, of course, lead forwardly to the previously-mentioned change and coin return slots 27 and 28. Thus as can be seen, with door 21 closed all of the elements of the coin mechanism are moved into cooperating positions, and are separated for ease of servicing upon the opening of said door.

The receiving tray 31 is mounted on the lower back side of outer door 21 and has a horizontal bottom portion which projects rearwardly to lie in a position closely adjacent to inner door 34 when the outer door is closed. Tray 31 has substantial width and is adapted to act as a common receiving station for ejection means 50 mounted upon the outer face of door 34. Ejection means 50 com prise, briefly, a plurality of downwardly inclined ejection chutes 51 having their upper ends spaced at different vertical locations on door 34 corresponding to the interior position of individual vending units within cabinet 20. In the preferred form there are four ejection chutes 51 to take care of the individual vending units. Opening and closure means as will later be described are provided in door 34 so that the ejection chutes 51 are communicated to the interior of the cabinet space. As can be appreciated, if containers of beverage are delivered to ejection chutes 51 in response to the insertion of a coin they will be dumped into tray 31 and be available to the purchaser through gate 30.

The interior of cabinet 20 with door 34 opened 0utwardly is seen in Fig. 3. The walls of cabinet 20 define a large rectangular chamber 54 which has a substantial depth and extends from side to side of the cabinet. Within chamber 54 are four individual vending units, each comprising a storage shelf 55 and an associated conveyor means 56. Shelves 55 extend from the front to the back of chamber 54 and are arranged in vertically spaced relationship, inclining downwardly from one side of the chamber toward the opposite side. However, shelves 55 do not extend completely across chamber 54 but terminate at lower ends spaced a substantial distance away from v chamber 54 sothatit extends horizontally at any fore to aft section. The upper surface of the shelf thus pro vides a large rectangular area for the storage of beverage containers. I have herein illustrated the machine as dispensing generally rectangular milk cartons C of the rectangular type having a peaked top or roof. These cartons C are typically formed of cardboard or other disposable material holding an individual portion such as a half pint fiuid measure. Because of the shape of the top it is impossible to stack such cartons C vertically, and because. of their collapsible construction and the type of closures provided it is necessary that they be stored in an upright position. Therefore, it is to be understood that in illustrating my invention in connection with such cartons I am not limiting its use but merely point out the advantages thereof. It is also to be understood that other beverages besides ordinary milk are packaged in cartons C and that the shelves 55 are each adapted to store a different beverage.

The manner in which cartons C are arranged upon shelves 55 is best seen by a consideration of Figs. 3 and 10. The cartons O extend upwardly along the surface of each shelf 55 in a group of parallel columns, there being as illustrated approximately 8 cartons in each column when the shelf is fully loaded. At the same time, the c;:rtons extend fore to aft in rows which likewi e extend parallel to each other with a row consisting of a single carton from each column. As illustrated, there are 6 cartons in each row, and these numbers will, of course, vary in accordance with the dimensions of the storage chamber.

' Because of the inclined surface of shelves 55, the

enters ejection means 50.

ave- 78 cartons-C tendto slide toward the.'lower:edge-ofthe shelf under-the force-of gravity so that-as a-carton'is'removed from acolumn the remainder of the cartons in the column slide toward-the lower end until the column is completely exhausted. Since the lower carton in each column is always ready to slide off of the "lower end ofshelf 55, there isralways in effecta complete row of cartons ready to be removed. If the cartons are takenoff in such rows it can also be understood that all of the columns will be exhausted at the same time, since all'were initially loaded Withlthe' same number of cartons.

In? orderto facilitate the sliding movement of'cartonsC along ashelf '55, I form the lattef of a built-up construction as is seen in the detail of Fig. 8. Spaced horizontal channels 60 extend fore and aft beneath the surface of the shelf and are connected to spaced parallel fiat strips 61' which are arranged in-pairs extending side-by-side. Between'each pair of strips 61is a vertical riser 62 placed on edge to provide a side guide rail for a column of cartons; The spacing between rails 62' is equal to the width of cartons C so that the latter are constrained for downward sliding movement. I have found that most all cartons C will slide freely down strips 61, but that because of defective construction an occasional carton will not slide. Therefore I provide spaced pairs of rollers 63which lie along the edges of strips 61 so that the cartons C move downwardly, riding on the rollers with reduced friction. Each roller 63 is supported on an axle or shaft 64 which has its ends journaled by spaced bearing supports 65 provided on strips 61, as is best seen in Fig. 4.

The conveyor means 56 comprise individual assemblies which are mounted in the space between the lower edges of the shelves 55 and an adjacent inner side wall 70 of chamber 54, and are spaced vertically one over the other; Thefunction of conveyor assemblies 56 is to receive cartons C from shelves 55' and carry the same'forwardly t wall'34 in a step-by-step operation inresponse to tl1e'in-' sertion of coins. Arriving at wall 34'the carton selected passes therethrough, as will hereinafter be described, and In order to move cartons C forwardly the conveyor assembly 56 includes an endless belt 72 which travels forwardly in a generally horizontal path along the lower edge of shelf 55. Belt 72 is supported by a rear drive roller 73' and a front roller 74, as are bestseen in Fig. 9. The upper span of belt 72 travels across a supporting plate 75 which forms a part of the main framework of the assembly.

As is best seen in Figs. and 6, plate 75 is formed integrally with an upturned perpendicularly extending stop wall 76 which lies along the side thereof spaced opposite to the lower edge of shelf 55. On the other side of plate 75 is a downturned flange 77. A stop or buffer strip 78 is secured to the outside of flange 77 and projects slightly upwardly so as to lie flush with the upper surface of belt 72. On the outer side of the stop wall'76 a right-angle r drive motor 80 is mounted by means of brackets 81 with the drive shaft thereof extending downwardly into a gear reduction'box 82. The output shaft of gear'reduction box 82 is coupled to drive roller 73 to rotate the same in a clockwise direction as viewed in Fig. 9, thus causing belt 72 to travel forwardly.

As-can be appreciated, it is desired to energize drive motor 80 for step-by-step operation so that the cartons C will be traveled forwardly one at a time upon the insertion of a coin in the machine. To accomplish this end, thepreviously-mentioned electrical operating switch and relay panel 45 is connected to motor 80 so as to energize the same for a brief interval in response to the receipt of a coin into one of the coin actuating mechanisms44; This form of control circuit is well knownin the art and neednot be described herein. The-distance traveled by belt 72 upon each coin actuation of drive motor- 80 is equivalent tothe length of one'cartoniC so that the leadingcarton moves off of the belt and each succeeding carton advances one'station. In order to increase'the:tractionof. the:cartons C-on belt 72; I provide raised transversely"extendingzcleats: 83' spaced 'apartxalong the surface of the belt a'distance' equal tothe. length of one carton. These cleats 83 prevent slipping ofcartons C along belt 72 and also serve to spacethe' cartons slightly apart for the proper step-by-step operation.

In the detail of Fig. 4 a lower shelf 55 andassociate'd conveyor assembly'56 are shown in a loading position while an upper conveyor and shelf are shown in operating position. The belt 72 atthe lower conveyor assembly 56 is inclined at the same angle as the adjacent shelfiSS and constitutes'in effect-an extension thereof. This permits an entire-row of cartons C to slide downwardly from shelf 55 onto'the surface of belt 72, the row so loaded consisting of the leading carton from'each column as'is' seen in Fig. 10. Downward movement of the cartons C is, of course, limited'by the stopwall 76 so that they are firmly seated upon belt 72 and in a position to travel forwardly thereon upon the. energization of motor 80, as previously described.

It is important to note that the loading of conveyor belt 72 with a row of cartons C need occur only after there have been sufiicient step-by-step operations of the conveyor means soas to exhaust all of thecartonsfrom the previously loaded row. In the interim no loading of cartonsC onto belt72 occurs; and it should also be noted that the loading-of a row when it does occur takes no longer than would the loading of a single carton, since all of the cartons in the row-slide'simultaneously onto the surface of belt 72. Between loading times the conveyor assembly 56is moved to an operating position as shown in: the upper conveyor of Fig: 4 in which belt72 is elevatedabove shelfS'S: The stop member 78 is elevated'above the loweredge of shelf 55 and serves to prevent any cartons C from sliding downwardly oif of the shelf. Thus as can be understood, the loading and operatingcycl'es described are positive and neither can interfere with the other;

In order to move belt72 from the: loading position to the elevated operating position, the entire conveyor assembly 56 ispivotally: mounted within chamber 54. Vertical braces84are=secured to'the outer side of wall 76 near the ends thereof and support the assembly for pivota'l'movement. At the front of chamber 54- a bracket 85 projects outwardly from cabinet wall 70 and is con-' nected to the: front brace 84 by means of a pivotpin 86: A similar pivot pin 86 connects rear brace 84to aback wall of chamber 54', as isseen in Fig. 10. As thus far described; it canbe seen that the entire conveyor assembly 5'6-is freely pivotal withinchamber 54.

In order to limit the movement of the assembly-and control its movementbetween loading'andoperating positions, a'pair of actuating'arrns 90'are extended-outwardly from the belt framework. Arms 90 are-formed as heavy; channels secured firmly beneathithe surface ofplate 75 and projecting outwardly toward the sideof chamber: 542' In plan elevation (Fig. 10) arms 90 are convergent outwardly so as to form a Y shaped frame'havingrshort outer end portions '91 extended parallel to each. other and spaced slightly apart. A spring 92 is connected between the outer ends of arms 90 and cabinet wall. 70 so as to urge the inner ends of the armsiupwardly and move belt 72tothe elevated operating position. This'is thenorm'al position of the device as shown by the upper? conveyor assembly 56' in Fig. 4; 1

To pivot arms 90 in adirection' to depressbelt-72 to: the loading position, I-provide-a solenoidoperated' linkage which is connected to the outer arm portions? 91; Firmly secured to cabinet wall 70 in a vertical position is a solenoid 95 having a lower plunger 96 adapted to move up anddown upon the-energization and deenergiza.-- tion of 'the solenoid. The lower end of plunger 96"'is swingably connected to one endof'a linkmeinber 97 'by means ofa pivotpin 98. The other'end'of link member 97 extends between the-spaced arm portions.91 and is journaled therein by a pivot pin 99. Normally solenoid 95 is deenergized and plunger 96 is dropped downwardly so that arms 90 are urged downwardly by spring 92 and belt 72 is elevated to the operating position. When solenoid 95 is energized, plunger 96 is pulled upwardly, carrying arms 90 upwardly and depressing belt 72 to the loading position.

The solenoid 95 should be energized and belt 72 moved to the loading position when the complete row of cartons C on the belt has been traveled forwardly so that the belt is empty. At this time it is necessary to load another row of cartons C on belt 72 and then elevate the latter to the operating position for the step-by-step vending operations. To control the energization of solenoid 95 I provide switch means which are responsive to the presence of or absence of cartons C upon belt 72. As is best seen in Figs. and 6, a control flap 119 is pivotally supported at the top of stop wall 76 by an edge hinge 111 for movement toward and away from the inner side of the wall. Flap 110 extends along the entire length of wall 76 and is urged to swing away from the wall by an outwardly projecting arm 112 which carries a counterweight 113 at the outer end. Arm 112 is formed integrally with flap 110 and is positioned near the rear end thereof.

As can be understood, when flap 110 is moved away from wall 76 as is seen in Fig. 6, it overlies the surface of belt 72 and is in the path of the row of cartons C which is to be loaded thereon. As the row of cartons C slides onto the surface of belt 72 the weight of the cartons pressing against flap 110 forces the flap outwardly so that it lies flush against the surface of wall 76. The two positions of flap 110 are illustrated by the flaps of the upper and lower conveyor assemblies 56 in Fig. 4. The Weight 113 carried by arm 112 is selected so that it supplies only a small moment tending to urge flap 110 away from wall 76. Thus the flap is pressed against wall 76 by the pressure of even a single carton positioned on belt 72, and it will not swing away from the wall until the belt is completely emptied.

Mounted on the outside of the central portion of wall 76 is an electrical switch 115 which is supported by an enclosing bracket 116 in a position spaced slightly away from the surface of the wall. On the side of switch 115 facing wall 76 is a projecting switch operating plunger 117 which is adapted to move in and out of the switch to close and open internal electrical contacts. Switch 115 is connected into the circuit of solenoid 95 by a conductor 118 so as to control the energization and deenergization of the solenoid. With'plunger 117 extended outwardly from switch 115, the electrical contacts of the latter are closed and solenoid 95 is energized. When plunger 117 is pressed inwardly toward switch 115 the electrical contacts therein are opened and solenoid 95 is deenergized.

' Directly in front of plunger 117 is a control lever 120 pivotally supported on hinge 111 for free swinging movement. Near the lower end of lever 120 is mounted a coil spring 121 which projects through an opening 122 out in wall 76 and lies in the path of flap 110. When flap 110 is pressed downwardly against wall 76 it engages the end of spring 121 and forces lever 120 against operating plunger 117, driving the latter into switch 115 and to the left as seen in Fig. 6. This opens the electrical contacts within switch 115 and deenergizes solenoid 95. The use of flexible spring 121 as a connection between flap 110 and lever 120 permits the travel of the lever to be less than that of the flap while insuring that the lever exerts sufficient pressure on plunger 117 to cause operating movement thereof.

Initially, belt 72 is unloaded and flap 110 is swung awayfrom wall 76 under the action of weight 113. This permits switch plunger 117 to be extended from switch 115 so that the electrical contactsv therein are closed. Solenoid .95 is energized, pulling plunger 96 upwardly so that belt 72 is depressed into the loading position. The first row of cartons C from shelf 55 then slides onto belt 72, completely filling the same. The pressure exerted by the inclined cartons C upon flap causes the flap to be moved downwardly against Wall 76, driving lever against plunger 117 and opening the contacts of switch 115. Solenoid 95 is then deenergized, allowing plunger 96 to drop downwardly under the urging of spring 92. This elevates belt 72 to the operating position and places stop member 78 in a position to block any movement of cartons C off of the end of shelf 55.

The machine is now ready to vend cartons C by traveling them forwardly in steps in response to the insertion of coins. As each carton reaches the forward end of belt 72, it leaves the belt and enters dispensing means 50. After the complete row of cartons is emptied from belt 72, flap 110 swings away from wall 76 releasing switch plunger 117 so that solenoid 95 is energized and belt 72 again drops down to the loading position to receive another row of cartons thereon. As can be understood, these loading cycles are repeated as necessary until the entire supply of cartons on shelf 55 has been exhausted. At this time flap 110 again swings outwardly from wall 76, but it is not desired to energize solenoid 95 and drop belt 72 to the loading position, since there are no more cartons to be loaded.

To prevent the energization of solenoid 95 after all of the cartons have been removed from shelf 55, I provide a pendulum-operated switch means that breaks the circuit to solenoid 95. As is best seen in Figs. 4 and 7, a weighted pendulum 125 is rotatably supported on vertical brace 59 by means of a shaft 126. The lower end of pendulum 125 extends downwardly into the path of the leading carton C in the front column and is swung upwardly from the vertical by engagement with the top of the carton. So long as any cartons remain on shelf 55 there will always be a carton in contact with pendulum 125 holding the same upwardly. However, when the last row has been removed from shelf 55 the force of gravity causes pendulum 125 to drop into a vertical hanging position. An arm 127 extends laterally from the lower end of pendulum 125 and is connected by means of a spring 128 to the operating lever 129 of a microswitch 130 secured to frame 59. When pendulum 125 is swung upwardly from the vertical, sufiicient force is exerted on switch lever 129 through spring 128 to hold the electrical contacts of switch 130 in a closed position. After the last carton has passed under pendulum 125, the latter drops to a vertical position and the electrical contacts of switch 130 are opened. This breaks the circuit to solenoid 95 and prevents further energization thereof.

It will be remembered that as cartons C move forwardly from belt 72, they enter one of the dispensing chutes 51. In order to allow the cartons C to enter a chute 51, the inner cabinet door 34 is provided with a plurality of vertically spaced openings 132 as is seen in Fig. 9. Each of the openings 132 is shaped to allow the forward end of belt 72 to extend a short distance therein. As a carton C reaches the front end of belt 72, it drops off of the belt and onto a bottom wall 133 of chute 51. At this point it should be noted that cartons C have been maintained in an upright position both on shelf 55 and on belt 72. This is particularly important in the case of milk cartons to avoid leakage through their top closures. It is also necessary to hold cartons C in a generally upright position as they slide along dispensing chute 51 for the aforementioned reason.

To this end a lever 134 is pivotally mounted within opening 132 to hang downwardly in the path of the top portion of the carton passing through the opening into chute 51. The contact of lever 134 against carton C momentarily retards the progress of the top of the carton and insures that it will fall bottom-first onto chute bottom 133. Chute 51 is also provided with a closed forward wall 135 and top wall 136 formed integrally with bottom wall 133 as a sheet metal structure so that forward progress of the carton is stopped and it is constrained to. make a .right-angle turn and slide down the inclined surfaceof chute bottom 133.

Returning to Fig. 2,'it will be seen that all of the chutes .51 are formed similarly with bottom walls 133 which eachchute is-provided with an upwardly hinged door 138 which extends completely across the chute. 'I'heforward -chute wall.135 is terminated a short distance from the top .ofchute. 51 and forms a stop frame against which door ,138 seats. In order to hold door 138 in-the normally closedposition a weight 139 is mounted'thereon so asto swingthe door downwardly into a closing position inwhich the door is slightly inclined from the vertical.

In addition to closing offthe interior cabinet chamber 54 from the space ahead of door 34, the chute doors 138 also serve an .important purpose in maintaining cartons iC'in ancupright position. Because of weight 139 the .door 138.exerts .a considerable retarding influence upon the top of carton C and in effect tips the carton backon its side so that it continues down'chute bottom 133, slidingon its side as is indicated by the canon in phantom outline in Fig.2. Thus when the carton reaches theopen end of chute 51 itis in a position to fall bottomfirst into the perpendicularly disposed tray 31., The purchaser then withdraws the carton from' tray 31 through gate 35) and the operation of the machine is .completed.

While I have described a preferred embodiment of the inventionin considerable detail, it can-be understood that .modifications of designzand construction willbe apparent .to those skilledin .the art.

Therefore, I do not wish to be restricted except as defined in the appended-claims.

vI claim:

1. .In. a beverage vending machine the combination of .a plurality of vertically spaced inclined storage shelves, eachofsaid shelves being formed to support-a group;of individual containers arranged in a series of vparallel ingablocking member movable froma loading;position permitting .a row 'of containers, consistingof-one-container from each of said columns, to be loaded on said conveyor means, to an operating position blocking the feed. of containers from said shelf; and means for moving xsaid.blocking member from said operating position to said loading position when acomplete row of containers has beenadvanced to the-front of :said conveyor means andreturning said blocking member to the-operating position when a subsequent rowhas been loaded ontsaid conveyor .means.

.2. -In a beverage vendingmachine the combination of; aplurality-of vertically spaced inclined storage shelves, each of said shelves being formed to support a group of-individual containers-arrangedin a series'of parallel columns extending downwardly on the surface of said shelf-for gravity feed therefrom; conveyor means having belt meansextending along the lower edge of each of said shelves and driving means operable to advancesaid belt means step bytstep for advancing saidcontainerszto the forward end thereof, said conveyor means beingmovable from a loadingposition for receiving from said shelf, a row ofcontainers consisting of one container fromzeach of :saidcolumns, to an operating position blocking the feed of containers from said shelf; meansfor movingsaid conveyor -means from said operating position to said loadingposition when a complete row-.ot':containers-;has been advanced to thefront thereof, and returningzsaid conveyor means to theoperating position when a subse- .110 quenterow has been loaded; and ejecting-means including ejection ,chutesadisposed to receive said containersfrom said conveyor meansone at time upon the step advance thereof and carry said, containers to a position adjacent a common access opening.

3. In a beverage vending machine the combination of 12a plurality of vertically spaced inclinedstorage shelves, each of said shelves being formed to support a group of individual containers arranged in a series of parallel columns extending downwardly on the surface of said shelf for gravity feed therefrom; conveyor means having belt means extending along thelower edge of each of said shelves and driving means operable to advance said belt means step by step for advancing said containers to the forward end thereof,said conveyor means being pivotally movable from a depressed loadingposition for receiving from said shelf a row-of containers, consisting of one'container from each of said columns, to an operating position blocking the feed of containers from said shelf; means for moving said conveyor means from said operating position to said :loading position when a complete row of containers has been advanced to the front thereof, and returning saidconveyor means tothe operating position -when a subsequentrow has been loaded; and ejecting means includingejection chutes disposed to receivesaid containers from said conveyor-means one at a time upon the step advance thereof and carry said containers to a position adjacent a common access opening.

4. In :a beverage-vending machine the combination of: a plurality of vertically spaced inclined storage shelves, eachof said :shelves being formed to support a group of individual containers arranged in a series of parallel columns extending downwardly on the surface of saidshelf for gravity feed'therefrom; a conveyor assembly having ;a movable belt extending along and adjacent tothelower-edge of :each'of said shelves and driving means operable to advance said belt step bystep for advancing said containers to-the forward end thereof oneby one, said assembly having a pivotally mounted frame adapted for: limited movement about an axis parallel to said lower shelf edge from a depressed loading position in which said belt is located to receive a row of containers from-said shelf, consisting of one container from-each of said columns, to an operating position in which said belt iselevated and saidframe blocks the feed of containers from saidshelf; means for moving saidconveyor means from said operating position to said loading position when a complete row of containers has been advanced to the front thereof, and returning said conveyor means to the operating position whena subsequentrow-has been loaded; and ejecting means including ejection-chutes disposed -:to receive said containers from saidconveyor means one at a time upon the step advance thereof and-carrysaid containers to a positionadjacent a commonaccess opening.

5. In abeverage vending machine "the combination of: a;plurality;of vertically spaced :inclined storage shelves, each 'of :said shelves being formed to support a group of individual containers arranged in a series of parallel columns extending downwardly on the surface of said shelf for-gravityfeed therefrom; aconveyor assembly havinga movable belt extending along and adjacent to the lower edge .of each of said shelves and driving means operable rtoadvance said belt step bystep for advancing said containers -to:the" forward end thereof one ,by one, said -elevatediandtsaid frame blocks the feed of containers from 'said shelf; means includinga solenoid-operated linkage connected IOTSEIidTiOl'lVBYOYfIfiITIB and energized 'for'moving saidjrame-to loading position when-a complete row of containers has been advanced to the front thereof, said last-mentioned means being deenergized to return said frame to operating position when a subsequent row has been loaded on said conveyor belt; and ejecting means including ejection chutes disposed to receive said containers from said conveyor means one at a time upon the step advance thereof and carry said containers to a position adjacent a common access opening.

6. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: a plurality of vertically spaced inclined storage shelves, each of said shelves being formed to support a group of individual containers arranged in a series of parallel columns extending downwardly on the surface of said shelf for gravity feed therefrom; a conveyor assembly having a movable belt extending along and adjacent to the lower edge of each of said shelves and driving means operable to advance said belt step by step for advancing said containers to the forward end thereof one by one, said assembly having a pivotally mounted frame adapted for limited movement about an axis parallel to said lower shelf edge from a depressed loading position in which said belt is located to receive a row of containers from said shelf, consisting of one container from each of said columns, to an operating position in which said belt is elevated and said frame blocks the feed of containers from said shelf; means for moving said conveyor means from said operating position to said loading position when a complete row of containers has been advanced to the front thereof, and returning said conveyor means to the operating position when a subsequent row has been loaded; and ejecting means including a plurality of ejection chutes located one at the front of each of said conveyor assemblies to receive said containers one at a time upon the step advance thereof and carry said containers downwardly, together with a common access tray disposed to receive said containers from said chute and having an outer unlocked access gate.

7. In a beverage machine the combination of: an insulated refrigerated cabinet; a plurality of vertically spaced inclined storage shelves extending across said cabinet from an upper end at one side thereof to a lower end spaced from the opposite side wall, said shelves being formed to support a group of individual containers arranged in a series of parallel and rearwardly spaced columns extending downwardly on the surface of said shelf for slidable gravity feed therefrom; a conveyor assembly having a movable belt extending along and adjacent to the lower edge of each of said shelves and driving means operable to advance said belt step by step for advancing said containers to the forward end thereof one by one, said assembly having a pivotally mounted frame adapted for limited movement about an axis parallel to said lower shelf edge from a depressed loading position in which said belt is located to receive a row of containers from said shelf, consisting of one container from each of said columns, to an operating position in which said belt is elevated to block the feed of containers from said shelf; means for moving said conveyor means from 'said operating position to said loading position when a complete row of containers has been advanced to the front thereof, and returning said conveyor means to the operating position when a subsequent row has been loaded; ejecting means including ejection chutes disposed to receive said containers from said conveyor means one at a time upon the step advance thereof and carry said containers to a position adjacent a common access opening. 1 V

8. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: an insulated refrigerated cabinet; a plurality of vertically spaced inclined storage shelves extending across said cabinet from an upper end at one side thereof to a lower end spaced from the opposite side wall, said shelves being formed to support a group of individual containers arranged in a series of parallel and rearwardly spaced columns extending downwardly on the surface of said shelf for slidable gravity feed therefrom; a conveyor assembly having a movable belt extending along and adjacent to the lower edge of each of said shelves and driving means operable to advance said belt step by step for advancing said containers to the forward end thereof one by one, said assembly having a pivotally mounted frame adapted for limited movement about an axis parallel to said lower shelf edge from a depressed loading position in which said belt is located to receive a row of containers from said shelf, consisting of one container from each of said columns, to an operating position in which said belt is elevated and said frame blocks the feed of containers from said shelf; means for moving said conveyor means from said operating position to said loading position when a complete row of containers has been advanced to the front thereof, and returning said conveyor means to the operating position when a subsequent row has been loaded; an inner door on said cabinet; an outer door on said cabinet spaced from said inner door; and ejection means including a plurality of ejection chutes mounted on the outside of said inner door and extending in generally parallel relationship towards the bottom of said cabinet, the upper ends of said chutes being disposed adjacent openings formed in said inner door at the front end of each of said conveyor belts to receive containers therefrom, said ejecting means having a common access tray mounted to the inside of said outer door at the bottom thereof to receive said containers from said chutes and formed with an unlocked access gate through said outer door for removal of said containers.

9. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: an insulated refrigerated cabinet; a plurality of vertically spaced inclined storage shelves extending across said cabinet from an upper end at one side thereof to a lower end spaced from the opposite side wall, said shelves being formed to support a group of individual containers arranged in a series of parallel and'rearwardly spaced columns extending downwardly on the surface of said shelf for slidable gravity feed therefrom; a conveyor assembly having a movable belt extending along and adjacent to the lower edge of each of said shelves and driving means operable to advance said belt step by step for advancing said containers to the forward end thereof one by one, said assembly having a pivotally mounted frame adapted for limited movement about an axis parallel to said lower shelf edge from a depressed loading position in which said belt is located to receive a row of containers from said shelf, consisting of one container from each of said columns, to an operating position in which said belt is elevated and said frame blocks the feed of containers from said shelf; means normally holding said conveyor frame in the operating position; means including a solenoid-operated linkage connected to said conveyor frame and adapted to be energized for moving said frame to loading position when a complete row of containers has been advanced to the front thereof, said last-mentioned means being deenergized to return said frame to operating position when a subsequent row has been loaded on said conveyor belt; an inner door on said cabinet; an outer door on said cabinet spaced from said inner door; and ejection means including a plurality of ejection chutes mounted on the outside of said inner door and extending in inclined generally parallel relationship towards the bottom of said cabinet, the upper ends of said chutes being disposed adjacent openings formed in said inner door at the front end of each of said conveyor belts to receive containers therefrom, said ejecting means having a common access tray mounted to the inside of said outer door at the bottom! thereof to receive said containers from said chutes and formed with an unlocked access gate through said outer door for removal of said containers.

10, A conveyor assembly for a vending machine of the class having vertically spaced inclined storage shelves, which comprises, a frame pivotally mounted for limited movement about an axis parallel to the lower edge of one of the inclined. storage shelves, beltmeans supported on saidframe for movementalong said lower shelfiedge, driving means. operable to advance said belt means step by step, said frame being movable from a depressed loading position in which said belt means are located to receive a row of containers from said shelf to an operating position in whichsaid belt means are elevated and the belt thereof is inclined laterally while said frame blocks the feed of containers from said shelf, a stop member mounted on said frame and extending along the side of said belt means opposite to said shelf and adapted to limit the lateral movement of said row of containers, actuating means connected to said frame and operable for moving said frame from the operating to the loading position, and control means mounted on said stop member and responsive to the lateral pressure of said container row for controlling said actuating means, said control means normally holding said actuating means inoperable and causing said actuating means to operate to move said belt means to loading position when a complete row of containers has been advanced from said belt means.

11. A conveyor assembly for a vending machine of the class having vertically spaced inclined storage shelves, which includes, a frame pivotally mounted for limited movement about an axis parallel to the lower edge of one of the inclined storage shelves, belt means supported on said frame for movement along said lower shelfedge, driving means operable to advance said belt means step by step, said frame being movable from a depressed loading position in which said belt means are located to receive a row of containers from said shelf to an operating position in which said belt means are elevated and the belt thereof is inclined laterally While said frame blocks the feed of containers from said shelf, a wall mounted on said frame and extending perpendicular to said belt along the side thereof opposite tosaid shelf and adapted to limit the lateral movement of said row of containers, actuating means connected to said frame and operable for moving said frame from the operating to the loading position, and control means including. a flap pivotally mounted on said Wall and urged outwardly into the path of said row of containers, said flap being held against said wall by said containers to cause said actuating means to be held inoperable, and releasing when all of the containers have been advanced from said belt to cause said actuating means to operate and depress said frame to the loading position.

12. A conveyor assembly-for a vending machine of the class having vertically spaced inclined storage shelves, which comprises, a frame pivotally mounted for limited movement about an axis parallel to the lower edge of one of the inclined storage shelves, a belt rotatably supported on said frame for movement along said lower shelf edge, driving means operable to advance said belt step by step, said frame being movable from a depressed loading position in which said belt is substantially fiush With the edge of said shelf to slidably receive a row of containers therefrom to an operating position in which said belt is piovtally elevated and a stop member on said frame blocks the feed of containers from said shelf, a Wall mounted on said frame and extending perpendicular to said belt along the side thereof oppositeto said shelf and adapted to limit the lateral movement of said-row of containers, actuating means connected to said frame and operable for moving said frame from the operating to the loading position, and control means including a flap pivotally mounted on said wall and urged-outwardly into the path of said row of containers, said flap being held against said wall by said containers to cause said actuating means to be held inoperable, and releasing when all of the containers have been advanced from said belt to cause said actuating means to operate and depress said frame to the loading position.

13. A conveyor assembly for a vendingmachine of theclassehavingvertieally spaced inclined stora'gfe: shelves; which? comprises, a framepivotally-= mounted forlimited movement. about an axis: parallel tothe lower edge of one:of thezinclinedistorage shelves, abelt rotatablysuppiorted. onv said frame for movement: along said lower shelf edge, driving means operable tosadvanc'e' said belt step'by step,-.saidrframe being movable fromi a depressed loadingposition in-Which said' belt is substantially flush with-the edge of said shelf to slidably receive'a-row of containers therefrom to an'op'erating: position: in" which said belt ispivotally elevated. and-a stopmember on. said frameblocksthe feed'of' containers fromsaid-shelf; a Wall. mounted onrsaid frameand-extending perpendicular torsaid -belt along the side thereof opposite towsaid shelf and' adaptedto limit the lateral-movement of said row of containers, spring means normallyholding' said frame in the operating position,. a solenoid operated: linkage connected to said-frame'and-adapted to-beenergized to move said frame. tothe" loading: position, and control means" including 1a" flap: hinged-along the top of said- Wall and counterweighted tobe urged outwardly,- intothe path of said-row of containers, and a'switch connectedsto-said solenoid linkage and operable by said flap to. energize said linkage when' said: flap is in' the outward position, said flap;- beingheld against said Walli by said containers to cause" said linkage means: to: be deenergized, and" being released when. all? of said containers: have" been. advanced from said belt to:cause said'linkage means to be energized and-depress. saidframe to theloading position.

14 An conveyor assembly for avending machine of theclass?having-vertically spaced inclined storage shelves, which includes; a frame. pivotally; mounted for: limited movement: about an axisparallel to the lower edge of one:of therinclined storage shelves, .a. belt rotatably; supjportedv on said frame for: movement along said lower shelfedge,,driving; means operable-to adv'ance'said belt stepby; step; said frame'beingfmovable' fromfa1 depressed loadingtiposition in-Whicli said" belt is substantially flush with the: edge-of said shelf to slidably receive a row of containers: therefrom: to an operating position in which saidrbelt?isrpivotally'elevated'and a stop member. on:said

frame: blocks the: feed of containersfrom said shelf; a wall mountedron'saidframe' andextending perpendicular to saidbeltalong the" side thereof: opposite to said shelf and adapted to-limit' the lateralmovement of said row of containers;-spring means normally holdingsaid fi-ame in the? operating. position, a solenoid-operated linkage connected to said frame and adaptedto'be energizedto move: said frametothe loading position, controlmeans including a flap hinged" along thetop' of said wall' and counterweighted to. be urged outwardly into the path of said row ofcontainers, anda switch connected to said solenoid linkage and operable by said fiap'i'toi energize saidlinkage when said flap is in'the: outward position, said flap being, held against said wall:by said'contain'ers to cause said-.linkagemeans to be deenergized, and'being released=when all of said containers have been. advanced from said belt to cause said linkage means'to' been'ergized and. depress said frame to the loading position, and pendulum-operated switch meansmountedlabovelsaid shelf in. a: position to engage one of the containers in the-lower row thereon and beheld in an upward position to closethe circuit tosaid-solenoid-operated linkage, and movable downwardly, when all of. the containers have been: exhausted from said shelf to open said circuit and render said solenoid'linkage inoperable.

15. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: aplurality of vertically spaced inclined storage'shelv'es, each of said shelves being formed'to'supporta group of individual containers arranged in aseries of'parallelcolumns extending downwardlyon the surface of said shelf for gravity feed therefrom; a plurality of frames pivotally mountedfor limitedmovement" about axes-parallel to the. lower edges of:- said inclined storage shelves; belt means. supported on. each of said framesformovement along said lower shelf edge, driving means operable to advance said belt means step by step; each of said frames being movable from a depressed loading position in which said belt means are located to receive a row of containers from said shelf to an operating position in which said belt means are elevated and the belt thereof is inclined laterally while said frame blocks the feed of containers from said shelf; a wall mounted on said frame and extending along the side of said belt means opposite to said shelf and adapted to limit the lateral movement of said row of containers; actuating means connected to said frame and operable for moving said frame from the operating to the loading position; control means mounted on said stop member and responsive to the lateral pressure of said container row for controlling said actuating means, said control means normally holding said actuating means inoperable and causing said actuating means to operate when a complete row of containers has been advanced from said belt means; and ejection means including ejection chutes disposed to receive said containers from said belt means upon the step advance thereof and carry said containers to a position adjacent a common access opening.

16. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: a plurality of vertically spaced inclined storage shelves, each of said shelves being formed to support a group of individual containers arranged in a series of parallel columns extending downwardly on the surface of said shelf for gravity feed therefrom; a plurality of frames pivotally mounted for limited movement about axes parallel to the lower edges of said inclined storage shelves; a belt rotatably supported on each of said frames for movement along a lower shelf edge; driving means operable to advance said belt step by step; each of said frames being movable from a depressed loading position in which said belt is substantially flush with the edge of the adjacent shelf to slidably receive a row of containers therefrom to an operating position in which said belt is pivotally elevated and a stop member on said frame blocks the feed of containers from said shelf; a wall mounted on said frame and extending perpendicular to said belt along the side thereof opposite to said shelf and adapted to limit the lateral movement of said row of containerrs; actuating means connected to said frame and operable for moving said frame from the operating to the loading position; control means including a flap pivotally mounted on said wall and counterweighted to be urged outwardly into the path of said row of containers, said flap being held against said wall by said containers to cause said actuating means to be held inoperable, and releasing when all of the containers have been advanced from said belt to cause said actuating means to operate and depress said frame to the loading position; and ejection means including a plurality of ejection chutes located one at the front of each of said conveyor assemblies to receive said containers one at a time upon the step advance thereof and carry said containers downwardly, together with a common access tray disposed to receive said containerrs from said chutes and having an outer unlocked access gate.

17. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: an insulated refrigerated cabinet; a plurality of vertically inclined storage shelves extending across said cabinet from an upper end at one side thereof to a lower end spaced from the opposite side wall, said shelves being formed to support a group of individual containers arranged in a series of parallel and rearwardly spaced columns extending downwardly on the surface of said shelf for slidable gravity feed therefrom; conveyor means including belt means extending along the lower edge of each of said shelves and driving means operable to advance said belt means step by step for advancing said containers to the forward end thereof, said conveyor means being movable from a loading position for receiving from said shelf a row of containers consisting of one container from each of said columns, to an operating position blocking the feed of containers from said shelf; means for moving said conveyor means from said operating position to said loading position when a complete row of containers has been advanced to the front thereof and returning said conveyor means to the operating position when a subsequent row has been loaded; an outer door on said cabinet; an inner door on said cabinet spaced from said outer door; and ejection means including a plurality of ejection chutes mounted on the outside of said inner door and having upper ends opening through said inner door adjacent the front of said conveyor means to receive containers therefrom and having a pivotal lever depending therein to retard the movement of the top of said container and drop said container bottom-first into said chute, said chutes inclining downwardly in generally parallel relationship, and said ejection means having a common receiving tray mounted on the inside of said outer door to receive said containers from said chutes and formed with an unlocked access gate through said outer door for removal of said containers.

18. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: an insulated refrigerated cabinet; a plurality of vertically inclined storage shelves extending across said cabinet from an upper end at one side thereof to a lower end spaced from the opposite side wall, said shelves being formed to support a group of individual containers arranged in a series of parallel and rearwardly spaced columns extending downwardly on the surface of said shelf for slidable gravity feed therefrom; conveyor means including belt means extending along the lower edge of each of said shelves and driving means operable to advance said belt means step by step for advancing said containers to the forward end thereof, said conveyor means being movable from a loading position for receiving from said shelf a row of containers consisting of one container from each of said columns, to an operating position blocking the feed of containers from said shelf; means for moving said conveyor means from said operating position to said loading position when a complete row of containers has been advanced to the front thereof and returning said conveyor means to the operating position when a subsequent row has been loaded; an outer door on said cabinet; an inner door on said cabinet spaced from said outer door; and ejection means including a plurality of ejection chutes mounted on the outside of said inner door and having upper ends opening through said inner door adjacent the front of said conveyor means to receive containers therefrom and having a pivotal lever depending therein to retard the movement of the top of said eontainer and drop said container bottom-first into said chute, each of said chutes having a normally closed hinged door extending thereacross and adapted to close off the interior of said cabinet from the space forwardly of said inner door, said chute doors being adapted to retard the tops of a container passing therethrough and turn said container on its side, said chutes inclining downwardly and terminating in vertically extending end portions, and said ejection means having a common receiving tray mounted on the inside of said outer door perpendicular to the end of said chutes to receive said containers bottom-first from said chutes and formed with an unlocked access gate through said outer door for removal of said containers.

19. In a beverage vending machine cabinet having inner and outer doors spaced apart, ejection means ineluding a plurality of ejection chutes mounted on the outside of said inner door and having upper ends opening through said inner door to receive containers delivered forwardly from the interior of said cabinet and having a pivotal lever depending therein to retard the movement of the top of said container and drop said container bottom-first into said chute, each of said chutes having a normally closed hinged door extending thereacross and adapted to close off the interior of said cabinet from the space forwardly of said inner door, said chute doors being adapted to retard the top of a container passing therethrough and turn said container on its side, said chutes inclining downwardly and terminating in vertically extending end portions, and said ejection means having a common receiving tray mounted on the inside of said outer door perpendicular to the end of said chutes to receive said containers bottom-first from said chutes and formed with an unlocked access gate through said outer door for removal of said containers.

20. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: an inclined storage shelf arranged for gravity feed of containers therefrom; conveyor means mounted at the lower edge of said shelf and including a blocking member movable from a loading position permitting gravity feed of containers from said shelf to said conveyor means to an operating position blocking the feed of containers to said conveyor means; means for moving said blocking member from said operating position to said loading position when said conveyor means are unloaded and returning said blocking member to the operating position when said conveyor means has been reloaded; and means on said shelf interconnected with said last mentioned means to render said last mentioned means inactive to return said blocking member to said loading position when said shelf is empty.

21. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: an inclined storage shelf arranged for gravity feed of containers therefrom; conveyor means mounted at the lower edge of said shelf; a blocking member associated with said shelf and said conveyor means and movable from a loading position permitting gravity feed of containers from said shelf to said conveyor means, to an operating position blocking the feed of containers to said conveyor means; and means responsive to the load condition of said conveyor means for moving said blocking member from said operating position to said loading position when said conveyor means are unloaded, and returning said blocking member to the operating position when said conveyor means has been reloaded.

22. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: an inclined storage shelf arranged for gravity feed of containers therefrom; conveyor means mounted at the lower edge of said shelf; a blocking member associated with said shelf and said conveyor means and movable from a loading position permitting gravity feed of containers from said shelf to said conveyor means, to an operating position blocking the feed of containers to said conveyor means; means responsive to the load condition of said conveyor means for moving said blocking member from said operating position to said loading position when said conveyor means are unloaded, and returning said blocking member to the operating position when said conveyor means has been reloaded; and means on said shelf interconnected with said last mentioned means to render said means inactive to return said blocking member to said load position when said shelf is empty.

23. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: a plurality of vertically spaced inclined storage shelves arranged for gravity feed of containers therefrom; conveyor means mounted at the lower edge of each of said shelves; a blocking member associated with each of said conveyor means and movable from a loading position permitting gravity feed of containers from said shelf to said conveyor means, to an operating position blocking the feed of containers to said conveyor means; and means responsive to the load condition of each of said conveyor means for moving said blocking members from said operating position to said loading position when said conveyor means are unloaded, and returning said blocking member to the operating position when said conveyor means has been reloaded.

24. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: a plurality of vertically spaced inclined storage shelves arranged for gravity feed of containers therefrom; conveyor means mounted at the lower edge of each of said shelves; a blocking member associated with each of said conveyor means and movable from a loading position permitting gravity feed of containers from said shelf to said conveyor means, to an operating position blocking the feed of containers to said conveyor means; means responsive to the load condition of each of said conveyor means for moving said blocking members from said operating position to said loading position when said conveyor means are unloaded, and returning said blocking member to the operating position when said conveyor means has been reloaded; and means interconnected with each of said last mentioned means to render said means inactive to return said blocking member to said loading position when said shelf is empty.

25. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: a storage shelf; a conveyor assembly having a movable belt extending along and adjacent to an edge of said shelf, said assembly having a pivotally mounted frame adapted for limited movement about an axis parallel to said shelf edge from a depressed loading position in which said belt is in alignment with said shelf, to an operating position in which said belt is elevated and said frame blocks the feed of containers from said shelf; and means responsive to the load condition of said belt for moving said conveyor assembly from said operating position to said loading position when said belt is unloaded, and returning said conveyor assembly to the operating position when said belt has been reloaded.

26. In a beverage vending machine the combination of: a plurality of storage shelves; a conveyor assembly having a movable belt extending along and adjacent to an edge of each of said shelves, said assembly having a pivotally mounted frame adapted for limited movement about an axis parallel to said shelf edges from a depressed loading position in which said belt is in alignment with said shelf, to an operating position in which said belt is elevated and said frame blocks the feed of containers from said shelf; and means on each of said conveyor assemblies responsive to the load condition of said belt for moving said conveyor assembly from said operating position to said loading position when said belt is unloaded, and returning said conveyor assembly to the operating position when said belt has been reloaded.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,200,244 Sears Oct. 3, 1916 1,619,006 Vaughan Mar. 1, 1927 1,857,881 Scott et a1. May 10, 1932 1,931,403 Connor Oct. 17, 1933 2,272,859 Wilsey Feb. 10, 1942 2,304,455 Guerard Dec. 8, 1942 2,436,223 Newcomer Feb. 17, 1948 2,441,519 Terhune May 11, 1948 2,569,988 Grau Oct. 2, 1951

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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Classifications
U.S. Classification221/11, 221/129, 221/171, 221/253, D20/5, 221/133, 221/119
International ClassificationG07F11/46
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/46
European ClassificationG07F11/46