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Publication numberUS2771836 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 27, 1956
Filing dateMar 31, 1951
Priority dateMar 31, 1951
Publication numberUS 2771836 A, US 2771836A, US-A-2771836, US2771836 A, US2771836A
InventorsDenehie Lawrence C, Shafer John F
Original AssigneeDenehie Lawrence C, Shafer John F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Corn popping machine
US 2771836 A
Abstract  available in
Images(14)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 27, 1956 c. DENEHIE ETAL 2,771,836

CORN POPPING MACHINE Filed March 31, 1951 14 Sheets-Sheet l ATTORNEY Nov. 27, 1956 L. c. DENEHIE ETAL' CORN POPPING MACHINE Filed March 31, 1951 14 Sheets-Sheet 2 1 I46 Q i I;

202 I50 3 4 I59 '23 as INVENTORS I5 2 LAWRENCE c. DENEH/E JOHN F. SHAFER BY V Arroklvsr Nov. 27, 1956 L. c. DENEHIE ETAL CORN FOPPING MACHINE l4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed March 51 1951 INVENTORS LAWRENCE G DENEH/E F.. SHAFER JOHN BY ATTORNEY Nov. 27, 1956 L. c. DENEHIE ETAL 2,771,836

CORN POPPING MACHINE Filed March 31, 1951 14 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTORS LAWRENCE QUE NEH:- gyOHN F. SHA FER ATTORNEY Nov. 27, 1956 L. C. DENEHIE ET AL CORN POPPING MACHINE Filed March 31, 1951 14 Sheets-Sheet 6 INVENTORS LAWRENCE 0. DENEHIE J OHN F. SHA FER 4 ATTORNEY Nov. 27, 1956 L. c. DENEHIE EI'AL 2,771,836

CORN POPPING MACHINE Filed March 31, 1951 14 Sheets-Sheet 7 INVENTORS LAWRENCE C. DENEH/E JOHgY F. SHAFER A T TORNEY Nov. 27, 1956 L. c. DENEHIE ETAL 2,771,836

CORN POPPING MACHINE Filed March 31,, 1951 14 Sheets-Sheet 8 INVENTO LAWRENCE QUEN IE J gHN F. vSHAFE/i ATTORNEY Nov. 27, 1956 1.. c. DENEHIE ETAL 2,771,836

CORN POPPING MACHINE Filed March 31, 1951 14 Sheets-Sheet l0 11v NT R LAWRENCE c. JE NE HfiE Jgg/V F. SHA FER ATTORNEY Nov. 27, 1956 L. c. DENEHlE ET AL 2,771,836

CORN POPPING MACHINE Filed March 51, 1951 14 Shets-Sheet 11 ATTORNEY Nov. 27, 1956 L. c. DENEHlE ET AL CORN POFPING MACHINE l4 Sheets-Sheet 13 Filed March 31, 19,51

I mm L WE U mm r U 0 9 MMR M U n 3 w v55 R M 4 V Q 0/0 W M m 1 F 4 w a n s w. w Fm 3 M M MM 2W 4 z z m w w \\L QJ 7,0 m; rr 7 2 A a W Z 7 F 3 i||L|| a M V 7 3 M w z L 3 f n Nov. 27, 1956 L. c. DENEHlE ETAL CORN POPPING MACHINE l4 Sheets-Sheet 14 Filed March 31, 1951 3a INVENTORS LAWRENCE 0. DENEH/E .QHN F. SHA FER ATTORNEY United States Patent O CORN POPPING MACHINE Lawrence C. Denehie, Hayward, and John F. Shafer, San Francisco, Calif.

Application March 31, 1951, Serial No. 220,090

27 Claims. (Cl. 99--238.4)

This invention relates to a corn popping machine. The primary object of this invention is to provide a machine wherein the corn, the seasoning and the salt are fed into a popping chamber in measured quantities automatically and in a recurring selectively predetermined and accurately controlled cycle so as to pop the corn uniformly irrespective of the quality or moisture content of the corn; said machine operating entirely automatically according to its initial setting or adjustment. Another object of the invention is to provide a corn popping machine in which the corn is fed in predetermined quantity into a tiltable closed popping chamber, and seasoning and salt in accurately measured quantities are introduced together with the corn into said chamber, and wherein the period of popping is predetermined according to the quality of the corn for fully popping all the corn in said chamber, and wherein the said chamber is automatically tilted to eject the popped corn into a separator for discharge of the popped corn unto a heated platform for dispensing, and for separately discharging the unpopped kernels into a separate collector.

Another object of the invention is to provide a synchronizing control device for a corn popping machine of the character described in combination with a heated popping chamber so that the cycle of popping operation is prevented from starting until and unless the popping chamber is at a predetermined suitable heat for eflicient popping; said control device operating the various mechanisms of the machine in coordinated sequence for conveying the corn in predetermined quantity to the chamber and introducing salt and seasoning into the chamber simultaneously with the corn, and for tilting said chamber after a predetermined popping period for discharging the popped corn therefrom, and then returning the popping chamber to its initial position and then repeating. the cycle of operation again.

Another object of this invention is to provide a corn popping machine in a compact unit, wherein beneath a heated dispensing table are provided separate containers for the corn, for the discarded unpopped kernels, for seasoning and storage, and above said dispensing table are provided a tiltable closed popping chamber with a rotatable agitator, a rotating screen to receive the popped corn from the tilted popping chamber and deliver it unto said table, a measured corn feeder into said chamber, a seasoning injector on said chamber, a measured salt dumper coacting with said corn feeder; means being provided to elevate and convey the corn from the corn container to said corn feeder, and to pump the seasoning to said ejector in accurately measured quantities, and to return unpopped kernels from said screen to the discard container, and finally all the mechanisms being coordinated by a selective electric control device into a predetermined cycle of operation for measuring and introducing the corn, seasoning and salt into said chamber, to pop the corn in said chamber uniformly for a predetermined period, and then tilt the chamber for dumping the popped corn into said screen, and then to repeat said 2,771,836 PatentedNov. 27, 1956 cycle each time automatically, and for preventing said devices from operating whenever the chamber temperature is below the optimum popping heat, and upon stopping the machine, to complete the last cycle before all the devices cease operation,

Another object of this invention is to provide a closed corn popping chamber and means to tilt the chamber after a predetermined popping period so as to uncover an outlet thereon for discharging the popped corn toward a dispensing surface, agitating means in said chamber being selectively rotated in opposite directions, a device actuated by the tilting of said chamber reversing the rotation of the agitator and imparting intermittent vibration for the emptying of the chamber, means being provided for introducing measured quantities of corn, seasoning and salt into the chamber everytime the chamber is returned from its tilted position to its initial position, which means are rendered inoperative by the tilting of the chamber.

Another object of the invention is to provide a corn popping chamber substantially in the form of a dome, the bottom of which contains electric heating elements so arranged as to heat the entire bottom uniformly, and a device being actuated according to the temperature of said bottom to keep open the operating circuit of the corn popping machine at all times when said temperature is below the selected optimum heat for corn popping, thereby to accomplish full and complete popping of each batch of corn to its maximum volume and with minimum waste; control means being provided to com plete a current cycle irrespective of the temperature variation so as to allow the emptying of the chamber each time before the machine is stopped.

Another object of the invention is to provide a corn feed and conveying device to convey the corn in separate batches to a measuring unit adapted to cause the stopping of the corn conveyor after a predetermined quantity of corn is deposited therein, and then to actuate a device for dumping the measured quantity of corn into a popping chamber, and also to actuate devices for introducing into the chamber seasoning and salt in synchronism with the corn; the said device measuring another batch of corn and salt while the previous quantity is popped within said chamber; said corn dumping device and said seasoning injector and salt feeder being actuated in preadjusted synchronism and automatically upon the return of the chamber from. the discharged position into the popping position.

Another object of the invention is to provide an adjustable, selective, seasoning supply device for a cornpopping machine which injects an accurately determined amount of seasoning into said chamber every time a measured quantity of corn is introduced in said chamber.

Another object of this invention is to provide a salt supply device operated in synchronism with the corn measuring and feeding device to introduce a measured quantity of salt into the corn with the corn.

Another object of the invention is to provide an electric circuit control unit for the corn popping machine which can be preset for a selected cycle of operation for determining the cycle as well as the period of corn popping, quickly and easily. and which is operative'only while the corn popping chamber is at optimum heat for popping, and which, before any stopping of the operation of the corn popping machine allows the completion of the immediate cycle for popping and discharging the corn then in the popping chamber.

Another object of the invention is to provide a separating screen rotating with the agitator of the corn popping chamber and receiving the popped corn when said chamber is tilted so as to discharge the popped corn onto popping chamber together Another object of the invention is to provide a fume filter for conducting vaporized seasoning from the corn popping machine and circulating the vaporized seasoning and steam in cooled passages so as to precipitate steam and condense the vaporized seasoning in the trap, and thereby to purify the exhaust from the corn popping machine, and to obviate the damaging effects of the exhaust waste.

We are aware that some changes may be made in the general arrangements and combinations of the several devices and parts, as well as in the details of the construction thereof without departing from the scope of the present invention as set forth in the following specification, and as defined in the following claims; hence we do not limit our invention to the exact arrangements and combinations of the said device and parts as described in the said specification nor do we confine ourselves to the exact details of the construction of the said parts as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

With the foregoing and other objects in view, which will be made manifest in the following detailed description reference is had to the accompanying drawings for the illustrative embodiment of the invention, wherein:

Fig. 1 is a sectional front view of our corn popping machine.

Fig. 2 is a sectional side view of the lower portion of our machine.

Fig. 3 is a partly sectional view of the upper portion of our machine showing the popping chamber in upright position.

Fig. 4 is a partly sectional view of the upper part of our machine showing the popping chamber tilted.

Fig. 5 is a fragmental, sectional plan view of the popping chamber showing the relative location of the chamber agitator.

Fig. 6 is a fragmental sectional view of the driving, tilting and agitating mechanism of the popping chamber.

Fig. 7 is a sectional view taken through the lines 77 of Fig. 6.

'Fig. 8 is a cross-sectional detail view through the travelling sleeve and its connection to the tilting arms.

Fig. 9 is a longitudinal sectional view through the travelling sleeve of the chamber tilting mechanism.

Fig. 10 is a cross-sectional detail view of the chamber agitator head taken through the lines l0--10 of Fig. 6.

Fig. 11 is a fragmental partly sectional detail view showing the driving connection to the chamber agitator head.

Fig. 12 is a partly sectional, fragmental view of the selective transmission mechanism to the agitator driving and tilting mechanism.

Fig. 13 is a partly sectional side view of said selective transmission mechanism.

Fig. 14 is a fragmental sectional detail view of the slip drive connection between the selective transmission and the sprocket and chain of the conveyor drive clutch mechanism.

Fig. 15 is a fragmental, sectional detail view of the vertical corn conveyor in its tube.

Fig. 16 is a bottom plan view of the separator and the popping chamber and its support.

Fig. 17 is a sectional view of the salt conveying and the salt measuring and corn measuring devices.

Fig. 18 is a top plan view of the salt measuring and corn measuring devices.

Fig. 19 is a detail view of the solenoid. controlled hoist device for opening the dumping gate of the corn measuring device and of the chamber hopper.

Fig. 20 is a partly sectional view of the solenoid controlled clutch device for the corn conveyor drive mechanism.

Fig. 21 is a partly sectional view of the seasoning pump and its controls.

Fig. 22 is a partly sectional detail view of the micro switch adjusting device for the pump control mechanism.

Fig. 23 is a sectional side view of the pump control mechanism showing the solenoid, the section being taken approximately through the lines 23-23 of Fig. 25.

Fig. 24 is a sectional side view of the pump control mechanism, the section being taken on the lines 24-24 of Fig. 25.

Fig. 25 is a top plan view, partly'in section of the pump control mechanism.

Fig. 26 is a perspective detail view of the salt contaiuer and its closure.

Fig. 27 is a sectional view of the vertical corn conveyor.

Fig. 28 is a perspective view of the electrical control device and panel.

Fig. 29 is a top plan view of the salt container and conveyor.

Fig. 30 is a plan view of the electric presetting and? vice.

Fig. 37 is a longitudinal sectional plan view of the air filter device, and

Fig. 38 is a longitudinal sectional side view of the air filter device.

In the illustrative embodiment of our com popping machine we make use of a casing 1 divided by a heated dispensing table 2 into a lower compartment 3 and an upper compartment 4, which latter is preferably made in part or whole transparent. The rear of the upper compartment is formed into suitable doors.

In the upper compartment 4 is tiltably supported a closed heated popping chamber 6 in which works an agitator 7. A driving and tilting mechanism 8 extends at an incline forwardly and upwardly with respect to the back of the upper compartment 4. A rotating separator 9 is supported on and is rotated by said driving mechanism 8 in such relation to said chamber 6 as to receive the popped corn when said chamber 6 is tilted.

Above the chamber 6 are a corn measuring and feeding device 11 and a salt measuring and feeding device 12. A seasoning injector 13 is held in a hood' 14 and above the dome-like chamber 6 so as to inject seasoning into said chamber 6 when the chamber 6 is in its initial popping position.

Below the heated table 2, in the lower compartment 3,

are a corn bin 16, a discarded kernel bin 17, a seasoning" container 18 with a pump device 19 therein, a prime driv ing device 20 and an air circulating device 21.

A heated conduit 22 conducts seasoning from the pump device 19 to the seasoning injector 13. A vertical conveyor device 23 carries corn from the corn bin 16, in individual, separate quantities, to a horizontal conveyor 24 which latter transfers the corn to the corn measuring and feeding device 11.

On the center of the top of the upper compartment 3 is a salt container 26. In front of the salt container 26 is the electric presetting and control mechanism 27. On said top alongside the salt container 26' is an air filter and trap 28 and along the other side of the salt container 26 is a suitable storage space 29. Suitable lights 30 in said top illuminate the top of said casing 1.

The popping chamber 6 includes a base 31 which is;'

Fig. 36 is a cross sectional view of the air filter degenerally circular and is pivoted on an axle 32 supported on opposite trunnions 33 extending from the'skeleton frame 34. The popping chamber 6 is thus tiltable downwardly. toward the separator 9. On this base 31 is a chamber bottom 35 suitably heated to maintain uniform popping temperature throughout the entire surface of the bottom 35. In the present illustration a pair of separate heating coils 36 and 37 are imbedded in the bottom 35 in spaced generally concentric arrangement. The amperages of the heating coils-36 and 37 differ in proportion to the respective areas to be heated by the respective coils. For instance in the herein illustration the outer coil 36 heating a relatively larger area is designed for 1750W, while the inner coil 37 is for 1000 W, thus preventing overheating or underheating at any part of the popping surface of the chamber bottom 35. Suitable thermostatic circuit breakers in each heater coil circuit maintain the coils at said constant optimum temperature thus preventing burning of oil or corn although corn is left in the chamber until completely popped.

A generally semi-spherical dome 38 is suitably mounted on the outer periphery of the bottom 35 and defines the popping chamber 6 above said bottom 35. A portion of said dorne 38 under the hood 14 is cut away to form an elongated and downwardly widening opening 39 which serves both as intake and outlet for the popping chamber 6 in its upright and tilted positions respectively.

In the center of the base 31 is a vertical bearing hub 41 in which is a suitable ball thrust bearing 42 on a tubular stem 43, driven by the driving device 8. The top of the stem 53 extends through a hub 44 of the heater bottom 35. On the top of the stem 43 is held a head 46 supporting the agitator 7, which includes agitator arms 47 extending from said head 4-6. Each agitator arm 47 follows the contour of the bottom surface and is slightly curved. The outer portion of the bottom 35 is inclined upwardly and the outer ends of the agitator arms 47 are correspondingly inclined to urge the corn back toward the middle of the chamber 6. A hollow cap 48 covers the agitator head 46, so that said head and agitator arms rotate together with the tubular stem 43. The head 46 is drivingly interlocked with the stem 43 for instance by the cars 45 shown in Fig. ll, extended into loose keepers 4-0 in a collar 50 pressed or otherwise fixed on to the stem 43.

A shaft 4-9 extends through the tubular stem 43. The lower end of the shaft 69 has a slotted head 51, and the upper end of the shaft 49 has a spring washer 52 held by a suitable cotter pin 53 under said hollow cap 48 to hold the agitator head in place on the tubular stem. The upper end 54 of the shaft 69 is squared or of polygonal cross section. The agitator head 46 has four radial holes 56 extending from the periphery to the center. In each hole 56 is a ball 57 pressed by a coil spring 58 against the adjacent side of the square end 54 of the shaft 49. Normally the shaft 4'2 rotates together with the agitator unit 7. In the tilted position of the chamber 6 the slot of the head 51 of the shaft 49 is engaged by a suitable pawl 58 and the shaft 49 is held against rotation, causing the balls 57 to ride around the square end 54 of the shaft 49, thereby causing a forceful intermittent vibration or 'erk of the agitator every time the balls 57 are snapped back from the corners to the fiat sides of the square end 54. Thus the agitator 7 also shakes the corn in the tilted chamber 6 to shake the popped corn from the bottom and out of the chamber 6.

The driving and tilting mechanism 8 is supported on an inclined substantially U-shaped bracket 61 beneath the chamber 6. A drive shaft 62 is journalled in said bracket 61. A bevel gear 63 on the upper and inner end of the drive shaft 62 is in mesh with a transmission gear 64 which fatter in turn is journalled on the axle 32 and is in mesh with a driven bevel gear 66 on the lower end of thetubular agitator stem 43. The lower outer end of the drive shaft 62 is connected through a removable separator shaft 67 and suitablecoupling to a selective transmission 68 for rotation selectively in either direction.

The portion of the drive shaft 62 between the bearings 69 of the bracket 61 has worm threads 71 thereon. A threaded traveling sleeve 72 is on the threaded portion of the drive shaft 62. On the sleeve 72 is a suitable yoke band 73 on opposite pins 74 of which are journalled thelower ends of a pair of links 76. The upper ends of the links 76 are pivoted on a transverse bar 77 fixed on the underside of the base 31 of the chamber 6. When the drive shaft 62 is rotated in contra clockwise direction viewing Fig. 6 then the sleeve 72 is shifted up against the upper end of the bracket 61 and thus holds the links 76 and the chamber 6 in upright position. When the rotation of the drive shaft 62 is reversed to clockwise direction viewing Fig. 6, then the sleeve 72 is shifted to the lower end of the bracket 61 and pulls the links 76 downwardly and tilts the chamber 6 around said axle 32 toward the separator 9. The bracket 61 is held stationary on suitable supports extended from the skeleton frame of the machine.

The pawl 58 is pivoted in a collar 59 on the underside of the base 31 of the chamber 6. The axis of the pawl pivot is parallel with the axle 32. The pawl 58 has a downward arm 6%). A coil spring 65 between the collar 59 and the pawl arm 60 normally urges the pawl arm 60 against the adjacent upper edge of the bracket 61 so as to urge the pawl 58 upwardly toward the notched shaft head 51. Thus as the chamber 6 is tilted downwardly the arm 64) and the pawl 58 are allowed to turn under the force of the spring 65 so as to engage the pawl 58 with the notch in the shaft head 51 for holding the shaft 49 against rotation, resulting in the jerking intermittent vibration of the agitator to assist in the ejection of the popped corn from the tilted chamber 6.

At each end of the bearing bracket 61 and on the drive shaft 62 is a stop plate 78 engageable by an interlocking lug 79 on the adjacent end of the travelling sleeve 72. The respective lugs 72 and stop plates 73 are arranged directionally so as to engage at the upper end of the bracket 61 when the drive shaft 62 rotates tin contra clockwise direction viewing Fig. 6 to resist upward travel of the sleeve 72 and thus maintain the popping chamber 6 at its initial level popping position, and to engage at the lower end when the drive shaft 62 rotates in clockwise direction viewing Fig. 6, to resist downward travel of the sleeve 72 maintaining the popping chamber 6 at its tilted discharge position. The yoke band 73 is on a reduced portion of the travelling sleeve 72 and is spaced therefrom between fixed shoulders. A suitable brake band 75 is between the yoke band 73 and the sleeve 72 and is held by spring pressed bolt 76 on its parallel spaced ears with such friction that the brake band 75 prevents rotation of the sleeve 72 while the sleeve 72 travels on the worm threads 71, but allows the sleeve 72 to rotate with the worm threads 71 and with the drive shaft 62 as a unit when engaged with either of the rotatable stop plates 78. A slot 80 in the bottom of the yoke band 73 accommodates the ears of the brake band and stops its turning.

The separator shaft 67 is a tubular shaft with a passage of rectangular cross-section in its upper end for engagement with the correspondingly squared end of the drive shaft 62. On this tubular shaft 67 is mounted the hub sleeve 81 of the conical screen basket like separator 9. The orifices through the sides of the separator 9 retain popped corn but the unpopped kernels, chaff or hull drop through them. The open end of the basket separator 9 faces at an angle upwardly toward the'popping chamber 6 so that when the chamber 6 is tilted the popped corn drops from its opening 39 into the separator 9. The separator 9 rotates with the tubular shaft 67 and the popped corn works its way over the edge of the separator 9 and then drops down onto the dispensing table 2. A hopper 82 and chute 83 receive and conduct 7 the separated unpopped kernels and chaff or hull into the discard bin 17 below the table 2.

Into the lower end of the separator shaft 67 telescopes a coupling shaft 84 suitably connected to the driven gear 85 of the selective transmission 68. A cross pin 84 extends through the hub sleeve 81 and through an elongated slot 84" in the coupling shaft 84 to allow the driving and shifting of the sleeve 81. A coil spring 36 in the tubular separator shaft 67 bears against said coupling shaft 84 and against a fixed plug or shoulder in said tubular shaft 67 to hold the latter in engagement with the drive shaft 62. The separator 9 is removable by telescoping the tubular shaft 67 down on the coupling shaft 84 until the top clears the drive shaft 62.

The selective transmission 68 as shown in Figs. 12 and 13 includes a pair of opposite bevel gears 87 journalled in a gear housing 88 and floating on a transmission shaft 89, which latter is connected by a sprocket and chain transmission 90 to a suitable drive mechanism of the de vice. A two way slide clutch 91 is slidably keyed on the transmission shaft 39 between the floating gears 87, each of which latter has an engagement hub 92 thereon to be interlocked with the clutch 91 when the latter is shifted against it. The clutch 91 has a groove 93 about its middle portion engaged by a yoke 94 on the end of a shift lever 96. This lever 96 is pivoted on the gear housing 88 intermediate its ends. The outer end of the shift lever 96 is engaged in a cross head 97 which latter is connected to the opposite armatures 98 of electromagnets or solenoids S3 and S4. According to the energization of one or the other electromagnet the transmission shaft 89 is coupled to the respective floating gear 87, to impart rotation to the drive gear 85 in the selected direction for tilting the popping chamber 6 or for returning said chamher 6 to its initial upright position respectively.

The hood 14 is in the form of a spherical segment snugly fitting over the curvature of the popping dome 38 so that the dome 38 may he slid under the hood 14 to its tilted position and back to its initial position. In said initial upright position of the chamber 6 the opening 39 is completely covered by the hood 14. The opening 39 extends from about the center of the top of the dome 38 to one side of the rim of the chamber bottom 34 in the direction of the separator 9. The hood 14, therefore, extends somewhat beyond the center of the dome top and then down to the rim of the chamber bottom in the initial position of the chamber 6. The hood 14 is slidably guided on pins 100 extended from an overhead bracket 101 which latter is supported on side bars 102 of the machine frame. Coil springs 103 around the guide pins 100 press the hood 14 onto the top of the chamber dome 38.

The injector or spray nozzle 13 for the seasoning is mounted on the hood 14 about opposite the top center of the dome 38 and opposite the adjacent or top end of the opening 39. The hood 14 has formed on its top a hopper 106 also above the opening 39. A sliding plate 107 normally covers the top of the hopper 166, but it is slidable to uncover the hopper 106 for the introduction of corn and salt from the corn and salt measuring and feeding devices 11 and 12, under which latter the hopper 106 is located.

The hopper 106 has a fume conduit 108 leading from its end to the filter device 28 to conduct the fumes from the popping chamber 6 to said air filter 28 for purifying the exhaust.

The corn measuring device 11 and the salt measuring device 12 are working together for the simultaneous introduction of corn and salt into the hopper 106.

The salt container 26 has downwardly inclined side walls 109, which converge into a conveyor trough 111. The trough 111 has an outlet 112 spaced above the hopper 106. Under the outlet 112 is a salt hopper 110, the lower opening of which conforms to the upper circumference of a salt measuring spool 114 on a shaft 113.

A conveyor shaft 116 is journalled longitudinally in the trough 111 and has thereon oppositely working conveyor screws 117 and 118 respectively to convey salt from the opposite ends of the salt container 26 to said outlet 112. An arcuate closure plate is held by slidable slots 99 on screws on the outside of the salt container 26 so as to be slidable over and off the outlet 112. In order to automatically cover and uncover the salt outlet 112 when the container 26 is respectively removed from or inserted into the frame of the machine, a locking lever 120 is pivoted at one end of the frame and has a catch thereof extended over the adjacent end of the salt container 26 to prevent removal. A bar is slidable on the machine frame along the same side of the salt container 26 on which the sliding slots 99 and screws 105 of the closure plate 95 are located. This bar 125 extends upwardly at its outer end and is pivoted to the free end of the locking lever 120. The inner end of this bar 125 is formed into a hook facing toward and receiving a projection from the adjacent end of the closure plate 95 as shown in Figs. 26 and 29. The locking lever 120 is pulled away from the end of the container 26 to release the container 26 for removal, and it pulls the side bar 125, and the closure plate 95 therewith into outlet covering position. Thus whenever the container 26 is lifted out of the frame, its outlet 112 is covered. After the container 26 is replaced in the frame and the locking lever 120 is pushed over the container 26, it pushes the side bar 125 inwardly and thus pushes the closure plate 95 beyond the outlet 112, leaving said outlet 112 open. The cylindrical spool 114 has a measuring pocket 119 in its periphery which is filled with salt when it is in its position facing upwardly toward the salt trough 111 and into the salt filled hopper 110. This pocket 119 dumps the measured quantity of salt when turned downwar-dly opposite said intake hopper 106.

A corn measuring chamber 121 is suitably supported. on the frame of the machine and the transverse spool shaft 113 is journalled in said corn measuring chamber. The bottom of this corn measuring chamber 121 is arcuate and is generally concentric with said spool 114. On the transverse spool shaft 113 is journalled freely swingably an actuator plate 122 arranged in a plane generally radial to the axis of said transverse spool shaft 113. The horizontal corn conveyor 24 feeds the corn into said corn measuring chamber 121 and against said pendulous plate 122, so that as the corn measuring chamber is being filled the corn lifts the plate 122. When the plate 122 reaches a position corresponding to the desired measured quantity of corn kernels, it pushes up the end of a switch lever 123 of a normally open microswitch 124 so as to close said micro-switch 124 and thereby actuate a solenoid S2 to disconnect the conveyor drive clutch mechanism 126 and stop the corn feed conveyors 23 and 24. The measured amount of corn is preadjusted by means of a set screw 115 in the outer end of the switch lever 123 so that the setting of the setscrew 115 determines the degree of downward travel of the outer end of the switch lever 123 for closing the micro-switch 124. The inner end of the switch lever 123 is bent downwardly into the path of the plate 122 to be engaged by the plate 122 considerably below the top of the measuring chamber 121.

On the salt spool shaft 113 is also fixed a U-shaped gate support 127, which straddles the outside of the corn measuring chamber 121 and extends across the bottom thereof. The support 127 holds a gate 128 over an outlet opening 129 in the bottom of the corn measuring chamber 121. The spool shaft 113 is turned by a sector 131 fixed on an end of the spool shaft 113. A suitable line such as acable 132 is secured to said sector 131 and is wound on a suitable drum 133, as shown in Fig. 19. When a solenoid S6 is energized by the control mechanism 27 it turns a clutch lever 134 to shift a clutch 136 on a main drive shaft 137 into'engagemc'nt with the drum 133 for winding the cable 132 and pulling it so that the sector 131 is pulled and turned for turning the spool shaft 113 in contra clockwise direction viewing Fig. 4. This turns the salt spool 114 so that its pocket 119 dumps the salt downwardly, and also moves the gate 128 away from the outlet 129. The gate 128 is connetced by a link 138 to the outer end 139 of the sliding plate 107 on the hopper 106, so that as the gate 128 is swung open it pushes the sliding plate 107 to uncover the hopper 106 substantially simultaneously, preferably slightly in advance of the uncovering of the outlet 129 so as to allow the dropping of the corn and salt from the measuring chamber 121 through the hopper 186 into the popping chamber 6. The swinging plate 122 assists in emptying the measuring chamber 121.

As the lowering of the acuator plate 122 releases the switch lever 123, the resilient micro-switch 124 returns to circuit opening position. In order to prevent the resuming of the operation of the corn conveyors 23 and 24 until after the measuring chamber 121 is completely emptied and all the moving parts are returned to the initial measuring position, another normally closed micro-switch 141 is provided above the spool shaft 113. A finger 142 on the gate support 127 presses against and holds open this second micro-switch 141 whenever the measuring gate 128 is closed. But whenever the gate 128 is opened, the finger 142 is removed from said second micro-switch 141 and permits it to close. This second micro-switch 141 is interconnected in the circuit of the solenoid S2 so as to close that circuit and hold the conveyor-drive clutch mechanism 126 inoperative, even after the actuator plate 122 begins its downward movement, and at all times while the gate 128 is open. Therefore, the corn feeding conveyors 23 and 24 remain inoperative until after the gate 128 is closed, and the hopper plate 107 is pulled back to cover the hopper. An ear 143 on the top of the gate support 127 is engaged by a plunger 144 slidably held in a boss 146 on the machine frame. A coil spring 147 anchored on said boss 146 pulls the plunger 144 to turn the gate support 127 in a clockwise direction viewing Fig. 4, thereby turning the spool shaft 113 for returning the salt spool 114 and sector 131, and the gate 128, and slide plate 107 into said initial position. Thus the second micro-switch 141 is opened and the clutch solenoid S2 is de-energized and the conveyor drive clutch mechanism 126 is again engaged for driving said vertical and horizontal corn conveyors 23 and 24 to feed corn into said corn measuring chamber 121.

The vertical conveyor mechanism 23 is in a pair of parallel vertical tubes 148 which are connected to form a journal casing 149 at the upper end for accommodating a sprocket wheel 151 and also for forming a chamber above the intake end of the horizontal conveyor. The lower ends of the tubes 148 are connected by a curved tube 152. Around the sprocket wheel 151 and through the tubes 148 and 151 extends a flexible conveyor which is formed by an articulated line such as a chain 153 formed of balls connected by pivoted links, and a series of equally spaced flexible discs 154, supported on suitably spaced balls by securing discs 156 held on the opposite sides of the flexible discs 154 by suitable rivets 157. The diameter of the securing disc 156 is smaller than the flexible disc 154 so as to leave a circumferential margin sufficiently flexible to pass over kernels of corn that may wedge between the disc periphery and the tubes.

The flexible conveyor moves upwardly in one tube and downwardly in the other tube. The tube guiding the conveyor upward passes by the bottom outlet 158 of the corn bin and has an inlet opening 159 along its side facing within said bin outlet 158. The kernels of corn thus flow into the pockets formed between the discs 154 and are carried upwardly thereby in separate comparatively small batches. These pockets above the bin outlet 158 are confined by the tube 148. A sleeve 150 is slidable on the upward tube and over the inlet opening 159 so as to adjust the length of the tube inlet opening 159, which in turn determines the amount of kernels entering into the spaces between the discs of the conveyor. A clamp screw clamps the sleeve 150 in any adjusted position.

The corn in the upper chamber drops down into a horizontal tube 162 which latter contains the horizontal screw conveyor 24 and leads into the inlet 163 of the measuring chamber 121 between the salt spool 114 and measuring chamber outlet 129. The bottom of this top conveyor chamber 149 is dished toward and into said horizontal conveyor tube 162.

The conveyors 23 and 24 are driven in synchronism. The sprocket wheel 151 has its shaft 164 extended to the outside of the casing 149. A suitable sprocket and chain transmission 166 connects this shaft 164 to the conveyor drive clutch mechanism 126. The shaft 167 of the horizontal screw conveyor 24 is extended through the wall of the chamber 149 and is connected by a suitable sprocket and chain transmission 168 also to said drive clutch mechanism 126. An extension on the end of the sprocket shaft 164 has a bent drive pin which abuts against a driven pin 161 on the projecting end of the salt conveyor shaft 116 to drive the latter together with the corn conveyors.

This conveyor clutch mechanism as shown in Fig. 3 and Fig. 20 includes a casing 169 in which is journalled a shaft 171 which has a gear 172 thereon and to the opposite ends of which are connected the sprocket and chain transmissions 166 and 168 respectively of the vertical and horizontal conveyors 23 and 24. The gear 172 is in mesh with a drive gear 173 on a drive tube 174 which latter is supported in journals 176 transversely below the first shaft 171. On the drive tube 174 is fixed a clutch plate 177. A clutch collar 178 is slidable on a drive shaft 1'79 which latter rotates within the drive tube 174. A coil spring 181 normally urges the clutch collar 178 into engagement with the clutch plate 1'77 so as to transmit rotation from the drive shaft 179 to the drive tube 174 and to the conveyors 23 and 24. The drive shaft 179 is rotated by a suitable chain and sprocket transmission 182 which latter is connected by a one way slip sprocket 183 to the transmission shaft 89 of the agitator and separator drive mechanism so that when the separator drive is reversed for tilting the popping chamber no rotation is transmitted through said slip sprocket 183 to the conveyor drives.

The clutch collar 178 has a groove 184 around it to accommodate a suitable shift yoke 186 of a shift lever 187 which is pivoted on the casing 169. The outer end of the shift lever 187 is connected by a link 188 to the armature of the solenoid S2 which latter when energized shifts the clutch collar to disengaged position as shown in Fig. 20, thus rendering the conveyors 23 and 24 inoperative.

The drive shaft 179 of the conveyor drive clutch mechanism 126 is driven by the sprocket and chain transmission 182, which latter is driven by the transmission shaft 89 of the agitator drive transmission shown in Fig. 12. On the end of the transmission shaft 89 adjacent the chain and sprocket transmission 90 is a sleeve 191 fixed on the hub of the adjacent reversing gear 87. 'On this sleeve 191 is a one way slip sprocket 192 which forms the lower end of the sprocket and chain transmission 182 leading to the conveyor drive clutch mechanism 126. The slip sprocket 192 has three passages 193 which extend generally tangentially to the sleeve 191, and terminate in a curved tapered end 194. In each passage 193 is a ball 196 pressed by a coil spring 197 against said sleeve 191. A plug 198 in the outer end of each passage 193 bears against the coil spring 197. When the sleeve 191 is rotated in clockwise direction viewing Fig. 14, the agitator is operating in the upright popping position of the chamber 6, and the sleeve 191 wedges the balls 196 into the inner tapering ends of the passages 193 and thus rotates the sprocket 192 and transmits rotation to the conveyor drive clutch mechanism 126. When the shift lever 96 is shifted by the solenoid S4 to couple the shaft 89 to the bevel gear 87 of the sleeve 191 for reversing the rotation of the gear 84 and of the agitator mechanism and for tilting the chamber 6 into ejecting position, then the rotation of the sleeve 191 is reversed with that of the adjacent gear 87 to clockwise direction viewing Fig. 14, thus pushing the clutch balls 196 away so that the sleeve 191 slips within the sprocket 192 without transmitting rotation thereto. Conseqeuntly the operation of both conveyors 23 and 24 is stopped every time the chamber 6 is tilted.

'On the free end of the shaft 89 is an eccentric crank 199 from which extends an agitator rod 201 along the adjacent conveyor tube 148. The rod 20?. is bent and offset so that its helically bent lower end 202 is in the outlet 158 of the corn bin 16 and opposite and alongside the conveyor inlet opening 159. As the shaft 89 rotates, through the eccentric crank 199, it reciprocates the agitator rod 201 the lower end of which stirs the kernels of the corn in the bin 16 at the conveyor inlet opening 159 and facilitates flow of corn into the vertical conveyor.

The seasoning pump and control 19 are located in the lower compartment 3. A container 206 is removably supported on frame flanges 207 and contains so called seasoning, usually coconut oil or the like. Within this container 206 is supported a tube 208. On the lower end of this tube 208 is a suitable gear pump 211, not

shown in detail, and driven by a vertical pump shaft 212, shown on Fig. 21. An outlet conduit 213 conducts the pumped seasoning to an intake port 214 of a valve body 216. The bottom casing of the pump has an inlet port 209 as shown in broken lines in said Fig. 21, provided with a suitable strainer not shown. port 214 of the valve body leads into a valve chamber 217.

An outlet port 218 of said chamber 217 is connected to the suitably heated seasoning conduit 22 which conducts the seasoning to the injector 13 in the hood 14.

The valve chamber 217 is closed at its bottom by a bypass valve 219 which when open bypasses the seasoning from the valve chamber 217 into a bypass chamber 221 and out through a return conduit 222' into the container 206. Normally the bypass valve 219 is open so that the pumped oil is bypassed and recirculated. The bypass valve 219 is closed for a predetermined period once during each cycle of popping operation of the machine to allow a predetermined amount of seasoning to be pumped to the injector 13 and into the popping chamber 6. For the purpose of controlling the valve 219, its valve stem 222 extends through the valve body 216 vertically to an overhead frame 223. The valve 219 is below its valve seat 224 so that it is closed when it is pulled up.

On the overhead frame 223 is journalled an oscillating shaft 226 on which is a crank arm 227, the outer end of which latter is pivoted on a collar 228 slidable on the valve stem 222. A coil spring 229 around the upper end of the valve stem 222 above said collar 228 and bearing against stop nuts 231 normally urges the collar 228 downwardly. The valve 219 remains open by action of a coil spring 220 bearing against the valve 219 downwardly. When the oscillating shaft 226 is rocked so as to swing the crank arm 227 upwardly, the valve stem 222 is pulled up to close the valve 219 and allow seasoning to pass to the injector 13.

The amount of seasoning injected depends on the period for which the valve 219 is held closed. This is determined by the mechanism shown in Figs. 22 to 25 inclusive.

On the overhead frame 223 is journalled a drive shaft 232 made, in this illustration, in a pair of sections suitably coupled together. The shaft section 233 adjacent the pump shaft 212 has worm threads thereon for driving aIgear 234 fastened on the pump shaft 212. On the outer end of the other section of the shaft 232 is a suitable The intake pulley 236 for transmission connection with the prime motor of the machine.

Between the oscillating shaft 226 and thedrive shaft 232 and parallel therewith is journalled a screw shaft 237 driven by transmission gearing 238 from the drive shaft 232. Between the screw shaft 237 and the drive shaft 232 and parallel therewith is a fixed guide rod 239 mounted on the overhead frame 223. On the guide rod 239 is guided a traveler circuit breaker 241. On the overhead frame 223 and along said shafts are arranged a solenoid S5 and a normally resiliently closed microswitch 242 along one side of the drive shaft 232, and a microswitch 243 adjacent the oscillating shaft 226 normally held open in the initial position of said oscillating shaft 226. The solenoid S5 has on its armature a yoke lever 244 which extends across and above said shafts and is pivotally connected to an arm 246 on the oscillating shaft 226 so as to rock said oscillating shaft 226 in a clockwise direction viewing Fig. 21, when the solenoid S5 is energized. Another arm 247 on said oscillating shaft 226 is normally or initially held spaced from the adjacent microswitch 243 so as to leave the latter open, but it closes the switch 243 when the oscillating shaft 226 is rocked by the energized solenoid S5 for closing the bypass valve 219.

A guide bar 248 is mounted on a lever arm 249 on the oscillating shaft 226. On this guide bar 248 is slidably supported an end of the base 251 of the travelling circuit breaker 241. A block 250 on middle of said base 251 has a hole 252 therein slidable on the central guide rod 239. A coil spring 253 around said guide rod 239 normally urges the traveler circuit breaker to an initial position away from the first microswitch 242. In the top of the base 251 is a semicircular threaded recess 254 which fits over the lower half of the screw shaft 237 so that when the oscillating shaft 226 is oscillated in contra clockwise direction viewing Fig. 24 to pull up the bypass valve 219, the lever arm 249 also pulls up the adjacent end of the base 251 and engages said threaded recess 254 with the rotating screw shaft 237, which latter advances the traveler circuit breaker 241 toward the first microswitch 242. A flange 256 on the end of the base 251 adjacent said first microswitch 242 is arranged to converge in the direction of said microswitch 242 and toward the drive shaft 232, so that it abuts the button 257 of the microswitch 242 at a preadjusted lateral spacing from the path of said traveling circuit breaker 241.

As it is shown in the wiring diagram in Fig. 34, the solenoid S5 is momentarily energized by the presetting and control device 27 at a predetermined moment of the cycle of popping operation. The opposite microswitch 243 is shunted across the solenoid control circuit so as to hold the solenoid circuit closed and energized after the solenoid rocked the oscillating shaft 226. The bypass valve 219 is held closed and seasoning is pumped to the injector 13 until said solenoid circuit is broken again. The first microswitch 242 is connected in series with said opposite microswitch 243 in said circuit and is normally closed, but when the flange 256 of the traveler circuit breaker 241 pushes the button 257, the microswitch 243 is opened breaking said solenoid circuit. The solenoid S5 is thus de-energized, the valve spring 220 pushes the valve and crank 227 down and rocks the oscillating shaft 226 back to its initial position. This moves the base 251 away from the screw shaft 237 and allows the coil spring 253 to return the traveler circuit breaker 241 to its initial position. The period of time elapsed during the travel of said circuit breaker 241 from said initial position to said microswitch button 257 determines accurately the quantity of seasoning pumped to the injector 13.

For adjusting this quantity the timing microswitch 242 is adjustable laterally at right angles to the path of movement of said traveling circuit breaker 241. .This adjustment is accomplished by supporting the frame 258 of

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Classifications
U.S. Classification99/323.7, 198/582, 99/348, 222/64, 99/493, 99/323.8, 198/601
International ClassificationA23L1/18
Cooperative ClassificationA23L1/1815
European ClassificationA23L1/18C6B