US 2808918 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 8, 1957 F. H. SHEPARD, JR.. mm. 2,8
LQCKER BATTERY MERCHANDISING'MACHINE 5 Shets-Sheet 1 Filed June 18, 1954 III IINVEN 13y CHE/5774M 6452/5550 r a. H f S H Oct. 8, 1957 F. H. SHEPARD, JR.. ETAL 8,
LOCKER BATTERY MERCHANDISING MACHINE 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed June 18, 1954 INVENTOR. SHEPHE EeA/vc/s 0, Ta
GHBE/EL sew CHE/5 T/FIN BY Oct. 8, 1957 F. H. SHEPARD, JR, EI'AL v2,303,918
LOCKER BATTERY MERCHANDISINGMACHINE Filed June 18. .1954 5 Sheets- Sheet 5 United LOCKER BATTERY MERCHANDISING MACHINE Application June 18, 1954, Serial No. 437,732
20 Claims. (Cl. 194-1) Our invention relates to a locker battery merchandising machine and more particularly to a battery or array of lockers controlled and operated in a predetermined order by a coin-controlled mechanism for dispensing, merchandising or vending articles to be placed in lockers.
Merchandising machines of the prior art are arranged to dispense articles adapted to be stacked or placed upon shelves. The stacked articles are pushed from the column by means of an ejector and thus delivered to a customer sequentially. Articles positioned on shelves are dropped to a customer by dumping the shelves in a predetermined order. This mode of dispensing articles can be employed only when the articles themselves are of such size, shape, and nature as to permit them to be dropped or fed to delivery chutes without injury.
There is a great variety of articles which cannot be stacked or cannot be delivered from shelves, however, because of their nature or consistency. For example, a carton of bottled drinks or carbonated beverages could not conveniently be dumped from a delivery shelf or stacked in a column. Such a carton of bottled carbonated beverages is too bulky and fragile to be dispensed from vending machines of the prior art.
Railway terminals, stations, and the like are currently provided with batteries of lockers for the deposit or check ing of parcels, packages, suitcases and the like. Such lockers are under the control 'of key-operated locks which are governed by a coin mechanism. There is a separate coin mechanism and key for each locker of the battery. Such locker batteries operate for a single coin and are quite expensive in that a separate coin control mechanism is necessary for each locker.
Merchandising machines require the use of slug ejectors for testing coins and ejecting checks, counters and spurious coins. The coin registers of merchandising machines must sense the presence of a correct sum in coins irrespective of whether the same is composed of one or a plurality of coins of different combinations. Furthermore, coin registers of the prior art must be arranged to give change in the event coins of larger denominations are deposited than are required by the price of the articles to be merchandised. Such coin registers and coin selector assemblies are expensive, complicated, and bulky. It is not practicable, therefore, to provide a locker battery, each locker of which is furnished with its own coin-controlled device.
One object of our invention is to provide a battery or array of lockers for merchandising cartons of beverages or the like. Each locker is provided with a normally latched door and adapted to contain merchandise, as for example, a carton of carbonated beverages. Such cartons of carbonated beverages are well known to the art and comprise a carrying assembly, made of cardboard or the like, adapted to contain six bottles of carbonated beverages. The doors are under the control of a central coin-controlled mechanism.
Another object of our invention is to provide a locker battery merchandising machine in which the doors of the tent lockers are sequentially opened from a central coin control location by manually operated means.
Another object of our invention is to provide a locker battery dispensing machine adapted to dispense articles of various sizes and shapes positioned in an array of lockers having a central coin-controlled, manually operable releasing means for opening the locker doors in sequence.
A further object of our invention is to provide a battery of merchandising dispensing lockers in which the number of lockers under the control of a single coin-controlled device may be varied within wide limits.
A further object of our invention is to provide an array of merchandising dispensing lockers in which the locker doors maybe opened from a central point by manually operable means in response to the deposit of coins.
Still another object of our invention is to provide a battery of article dispensing lockers in which the empty lockers can be rapidly, expeditiously and conveniently ascertained for purposes of refilling the same during servicing of the battery.
Still another object of our invention isto provide a pneumatically operated, coin-controlled release means for a battery of merchandising dispensing lockers.
A further object of our invention is to provide a battery of merchandising dispensing lockers in which a locker subassembly may be quickly erected and assembled from a plurality of subassemblies of bays of lockers.
Other and further objects of our invention will appear from the following description.
In general our invention contemplates the provision of a frame adapted to hold tiers of locker units. Each of the lockers is provided with a door adapted to be latched to closed position in order to house merchandise to be dispensed. The tiers of lockers are assembled to form a battery. Each of the latches is provided with a pneumatic unlatching mechanism adapted to release the locker door against the action of locking springs. A coin-controlled, manually operable air pump is adapted to generate pneumatic pressure. Each of .the latching mechanisms is connected to a fluid pressure distributor provided with an indexing mechanism. The pressure from the air pump is thus caused sequentially to unlatch the locker doors in a predetermined sequence. Each operation of the air pump and indexing mechanism is under the control of any appropriate coin control mechanism. Means are provided for ascertaining from a central point which of the lockers are empty of merchandise, so that the empty lockers can be rapidly reloaded when the battery is serviced.
The locker doors are so arranged and constructed that upon unlatching the doors will spring open automatically when merchandise is present in the locker. The removal of the merchandise will permit another spring to move the door to closed position. The arrangement is such that all of the locker doors will present a closed appearance whether empty or full. The operation of the device, however, will cause one door of a locker containing merchandise to spring open. After the merchandisc is removed, however, that door will again move to closed position.
In the accompanying drawings which form part of the instant specification and which are to be read in conjunction therewith and in which like reference numerals are used to indicate like parts in the various views:
Figure l is a perspective view of a locker battery merchandising machine showing one embodiment of our invention.
Figure 2 is a fragmentary front elevation of the central section of the locker battery merchandising machine shown in Figure 1, drawn on an enlarged scale, with a portion of the coin mechanism and indexing cabinet 'door broken away.
Figure 3 is a fragmentary sectional view, drawn on an enlarged scale, taken along the line 3--3 of Figure 2.
Figure 4 is a sectional view, drawn on an enlarged scale, taken along the line 4-4 of Figure 3.
Figure 5 is a fragmentary front elevation of the pneumatic distributor and indexing mechanism which is shown in Figure 2, drawn on an enlarged scale.
Figure 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 6-6 of Figure 5.
Figure 7 is a sectional view taken along the line 77 of Figure 2.
Figure 8 is a sectional view drawn on an enlarged scale taken along the line 8-8 of Figure 7 showing the construction of a single locker in detail.
Figure 9 is a side elevation taken along the line 9-9 of Figure 8 showing the pneumatic unlatching device.
Figure 10 is a perspective view drawn on an enlarged scale showing the details of a locker, its latching and releasing mechanisms.
Figure 11 is a diagrammatic view showing the provision of a central source or supply'of compressed air, together with a pneumatic servo-mechanism. This assembly is employed for a large battery of lockers where it is desired to provide ease in operation.
More particularly referring now to the drawings, a frame 10 may be formed of any appropriate construction and of any appropriate material, as for example, sheet steel. Our frame is formed generally of a base member 12 and a top member 14 and side members 16 and 18, as can readily be seen by reference to Figure 1. We will describe our invention with respect to a forty-locker battery which is illustrated in Figure l. The lockers are arranged in bays 20 of four lockers adapted to slide into the frame between the base member 12 and the top member 14. The central portion of the assembly is provided with a space 22, shown in Figure 2, adapted to be closed by a door 24. The door 24 is provided with a lock 26 normally adapted to secure the door in a position protecting the space 22 in which a coin mechanism 28 is adapted to be positioned. The door 24 is provided with a coin slot 30 and an opening 32 through which a pull knob 34 is adapted to project. The door is also provided with a coin return access opening 36. The coin slot 30 is adapted to deposit coins in the coin register 28, which is of any appropriate design or construction known to the art and will, therefore, not be shown in detail or described. A bracket 38 secured to the rear wall 40 of the frame is adapted to support the coin register 28. The function of the coin register, as will be readily understood by those skilled in the art, is to render the device inoperative or locked until coins aggregating a prede termined sum are deposited in the coin register through the coin insert 30. A coin return operating member 42 is also provided, projecting through the door 24, so that it may be operated if it be desired to return coins to a user in the event the device is empty or in the event a user changes his mind after having deposited a coin or coins. A coin box 44 is also provided for the acceptance of coins upon the operation of the device.
The central section is formed by a pair of vertical walls cooperating with the remainder of the frame member.
Bays 20, which in the form of the invention shown in this case comprise four lockers, are each formed by a pair of vertical side members 50 and horizontal floor members 52 as well as with back members 54. There are five bays to the left of the central section, as can readily be seen by reference to Figure 1, thus making forty lockers. The bays are held in the framework by means of latches 56 which can best be seen by reference to Figures 7 and 8. The latches 56 are secured to a shaft 58 which is mounted for rotation adjacent the front of the upper portion of the top member 14. As can be seen by reference to Figure 2, there are tWo shafts 58, one positioned to the left of the central section, and one positioned to the right of the central section. The shafts 58 are adapted to be rotated by shaft operating cranks 60. There are a pair of latches 56 for each bay of lockers. The cranks 60 are normally held in secured position by means of spring breast pins 62 adapted to seat in appropriate openings in the side walls 15, as can be seen by reference to Figure 2. The pins 62 hold the cranks 60 against stop brackets 63 carried by the side walls 15. The arrangement is such that when the cranks 60 are released, the shafts 58 can be rotated to move the latches 56 in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in Figure 7. The upper portion of each bay of lockers carries a plate 64 with which the latches 56 cooperate. The arrangement is such that when the latches 56 are clear of the plate 64, each bay of lockers may be pulled forwardly and removed from the framework in the event it is necessary to repair, replace, or adjust the latch or the latch operating mechanisms. It is to be understood, of course, that any appropriate assembly of lockers may be employed without departing from the spirit of the invention. The arrangement we have just described is one convenient mode of assembling a battery of lockers by means of a plurality of bays. The shaft 58 on the left of the central portion locks the bays of lockers disposed to the left, while the shaft 58 to the right of the central section controls the right-hand group of lockers.
Each of the lockers is provided with a door 79 formed with hinge members 72 formed with and carried by the door. The hinge members 72 coact with hinge members 74 which are formed with and carried by the left-hand side members 50 of the bays 20. The hinge members are pivotally connected to each other by means of a hinge pin 76, as can readily be seen by reference to Figures 8 and 10. Torsional springs 78 are assembled upon hinge pins 76 in a manner to urge the doors 76 to closed position. The torsional springs 78 are relatively weak. Each of the left-hand side members 50 is formed with an opening 80 adjacent the bottom of each locker. The lefthand side members 50 of each bay, furthermore, are provided with brackets 82 carried adjacent the respective lockers. The upper portion of each left-hand side member 50 carries an additional bracket 84, as can readily be seen by reference to Figure 7. A vertical shaft 86 is pivotally mounted in the brackets 82 and 84. The upper end of shaft 86 carries an arm 88. The arm 88 is adapted to be rocked by a lever 94, which is pivoted about a pivot pin 90 carried by the bracket 92, which is in turn secured to the frame top 14. It is to be understood, of course, that each of the bays 2% is thus provided with a vertical shaft 86 adapted to be rotated by its respective arm 88. Each arm 88 engages a pivoted lever 94. The upper ends of the pivoted levers 94 are interconnected by an operating link 96. The link 96 is in turn adapted to be rocked by an operating lever 98 which is pivotally mounted around a pin 1% carried by the frame, as can readily be seen by reference to Figure 2. The arrangement is such that when the operating lever 98 is rotated in the direction of the arrow in Figure 2, the link 96 will be moved to the right as viewed in Figure 2, thus moving the upper ends of levers 94 to the right as viewed in Figure 2. This moves the lower ends of levers 94 to the left as viewed in Figures 2 and 8, thus rotating the arms 88 in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in Figure 8. Since each arm 88 is secured to each shaft 86 for rotation therewith by a respective pin 87, each shaft 86 will rotate in a counterclockwise direction as viewed from above. It will be observed that the right-hand operating lever 98 is connectedto the left-hand operating lever 98 by an interconnectingmember 192. The arrangement is such that the operation of the left-hand operating lever 98 will move both the left-hand operating link 96 together with the right-hand operating link. If desired, the interconnecting member 102 may be a flexible member, such as a chain or the like. In such case the right-hand opcrating lever 98 canbe operated independently of the left-hand operating lever 98.
Positioned about each shaft 86 we provide a plurality of door opener springs 110, one for 'each locker. The rearward end of eachdoor opener spring 110 is provided with a bent portion 112 which projects through each opening 80 into each locker adjacent the bottom thereof. The forward end of each door opener spring is provided with a projection 114 which is adapted to abut against the end of the door 70 inboard of the door hinge pin 76, as can be seen by reference to Figure 8. The material of which the door opener spring 110 is made is much stouter than the material of which door hinge springs 78 aremade. For example, the opener springs may be conveniently made of five-thirty-seconds diameter oil tempered steel while the door closing springs may be made out of onethirty-second diameter steel spring wire. When a carton of bottled beverages is pushed into a locker, it will contact the bent portion 112 and rock the door opener spring 110 in a counterclockwise direction around the shaft 86. This moves the projection 114 against the edge of the door 70 and rotates the door around its hinge pin 76 in a clockwise direction, thus opening the door against the action of the lighter door springs 78. This arrangement will permit the door to spring open when the door latch is released if a carton of merchandise is present in the locker, as will be pointed out more fully hereinafter. When no merchandise is in the locker, the door springs rotate the door in a counterclockwise direction 'or toward closed position as viewed in Figure 8. When the lefthand edge of the door 70 encounters the projection 114, it will rotate the door opener spring 110 in -a clockwise direction around the shaft 86. The absence of merchandise in the locker permits the weaker door springs to move the door to closed position.
Adjacent each door spring and carried by the shaft 86 for rotation therewith, we provide a spring tensioning crank 116. The end of each spring tensioning crank '116 is provided with a downwardly extending portion 118 which is adapted to contact its respective door opener spring 110. The arrangement is such that the door opener spring tensioning cranks 116 will rotate with the shaft 86 so that upon counterclockwise rotation of the shaft 86, the after ends of the door opener springs will move to the left, as viewed in Figure 8, thus forcing the unlatched doors to open position against the action of the door springs.
Referring now to Figures 8 and 10, we secure a door latch 130 to each door in any suitable manner, such as by spot welding or the like. A pin 132 is mounted on the right-hand side wall 50 of each locker and secures a stop washer 134 to the outside of the locker. It will be observed that the locker side member 50 is formed with a channel construction, indicated generally by the reference numeral 51. The channel construction 51 provides a space, indicated by the reference numeral 49 in Figure 10, between adjacent lockers. This space affords room for the door opener springs and their operating assemblies to the left of each bay of lockers, and an area through which the latches and latch operating assemblies are positioned to the right of each bay of lockers. Each latch 130 extends into the space 49, as can readily be seen by reference to Figures 8 and 10. Pivotally mounted upon the pin 132, we mount a latch pawl 136 which is moved by a latch pawl operating rod 138. A bracket 140 is secured to the rear wall 54 of each locker in any appropriate manner, such as by spot welding or the like. Mounted upon each bracket 140 by means of mounting lug 142, we provide a fluid pressure operated diaphragm assembly 144. These diaphragm assemblies are well known in the art and, accordingly, will not be described in detail. Their construction may conveniently take the form of a symmetricalchamber which is separated into two parts by a flexible diaphragm. A tube 146 provides communication from a fluid pressure source to one side of the diaphragm. The other side of the diaphragm is open to the atmosphere and is connected to a movable member, such as a rod 148. It is to'be understood, of course, that instead of a diaphragm, a bellows or other appropriate fluid pressure responsive means may be employed. Pivotally mounted on the bracket 140 around pin 150, we provide a bell crank 152. One arm 151 of the bell crank is pivotally connected to the latch pawl operating rod 138 by means of a downwardly extending pin 154. The other arm 153 of the bell crank is pivotally connected to the end of the fluid pressure op erated rod 148. The bracket 140 carries a door latch spring 156, the end of which bears against the down wardly extending pin 154, which passes through the "end of arm 151 of the bell crank 152. A plunger'158 is secured to the spring 156 and extends into the locker with which the latch is associated. The arrangement is such that when no merchandise is in the locker, the spring .156 will not bias the bell crank to rotate in a counterclockwise direction to operate the latch 136. When, however, merchandise is in the locker, it will bear against the plunger158, pushing it outward and exerting bias against the pin 154. It will be readily observed that the leaf spring 156biases the bell crank 152 to rotate in a counterclockwise direction, thus urging the latch pawl operating rod 138 to the rear, as viewed in Figures 8 and 10, and moving the fluid pressure operated rod 148 to the left. The rearward motion of the latch pawl operating rod 138 rotates the latch pawl 136 in a clockwise direction, as viewed in Figure 10, bringing the pawl into engagement with the door latch 130. If the door is forcibly moved to closed position with merchandise in the locker, the inclined front end 131 of the door latch will cam the latch pawl downwardly against the action of door latch spring 156 until the notch in the latch moves to a position which allows the latch to spring into the notch, thus locking the door. When pneumatic pressure is applied to the pipe 146, the bell crank 152 will rotate in a clockwise direction and move the latch pawl operating rod 138 forwardly against the action of latch spring 156 and rotate the latch pawl in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in Figure 10, thus releasing the door latch and permitting the door opener spring .110 to open the door if there is merchandise within a locker which tensions door opener spring 110.
The stop washer 134 will prevent the door latch pawl from moving too far in a clockwise direction. After merchandise is removed, the camming surface 131 will engage the end of the latch pawl 136 to cam it downwardly. Since the plunger 158 is moved into the locker, the latch spring will not bias the latch, and the door is closed but not locked or latched.
It is to be understood, of course, that each individual locker is provided with its own door, its own door latch, and its own pneumatic operator for releasing or unla'tching the door latch. Each fluid pressure operator 144 is provided with its own tube 146. The tubes 146 may be made of copper, rubber, synthetic resins, or any other appropriate material. Referring now to Figures 5 and 6, a distributor 208 is provided with a plurality of openings 202, there being one opening for each of the lockers with which the distributor is associated. The distributor is mounted upon the back panel 40 of the center compart ment 22 by means of mounting brackets 204, as can be seen readily by reference to Figures 5 and 6. Each of the tubes 146 is lodged in a corresponding opening 202. The distributor 200 carries a central post 206 formed with an axially extending duct 208 which terminates in a transverse duct 210 communicating with an annular groove 212. Mounted adjacent the distributor base 200 and upon the distributor post 286 for relative rotation with respect thereto, we provide a distributor rotor 214. The distributor rotor is provided with a radially extending 4' bore 216 terminating with a transverse bore 218. The radial bore 216 communicates with the groove 212 with which the distributor rotor 214 forms an annular chamber. A plunger 220 is slidably mounted in the bore 218 and is urged to the right, as viewed in Figure 6, by means of a spring 222. The distributor base may be made of any appropriate material, such as brass, while the distributor plunger is preferably made of bronze. The distributor plunger is provided with an appropriate O-ring seal 224 and with a centrally positioned bore 226. The bore 226 is provided with an opening 228 which extends into a groove 230 formed in the plunger 220. The groove 230 forms an annular chamber with the distributor rotor, which annular chamber communicates with the radial bore 216. An elbow 232 is screwed into an adapter 233 which is seated against the distributor post 266 by means of nut 234. A pipe 236 is screwed to the elbow 232 by means of a tube connector 238. Thus, it will be seen that fluid pressure, as for example compressed air, in pipe 236 will pass through axial bore 208, transverse bore 210, into the annular chamber formed by the groove 212, through radial bore 216 in the distributor rotor 214, thence into the annular chamber formed by the groove 230 in the distributor plunger 220, through the opening 228, into the central bore 226 of the plunger, and thence into the opening 202 in the distributor body 200 with which a tube 146 connects. It will be understood, of course, that the abutting edges of the plunger 220 and the distributor base 200 are lapped so as to form a tight joint. This joint is maintained owing to the pressure of the spring 222 acting upon the plunger 220.
Rotatably mounted upon the distributor post 206 and secured to the rotor 214 for movement therewith by means of pins 240, we provide a distributor ratchet 242. A plu rality of washers 244 may be positioned between the nut 234 and the ratchet 242. A washer 246 may be positioned between the distributor body 200 and the distributor rotor 214, as can readily be seen by reference to Figure 6.
An indexing ring 250 is rotatably mounted in an annular groove 252 formed in the distributor body. The indexing ring 250 is formedwith a plurality of internally threaded openings 254, in any one of which a stop stud 256 may be readily threaded. The body member 200 is formed with a pair of slots 258 positioned 180 apart. Passing through the slots 258 and threadedly lodged in a pair of openings 254, we provide a pair of anchor studs 260 and 262. Anchor stud 260 carries a pair of washers 264 and a retainer ring 266. Anchor stud 262 carries an empty lock actuator arm 268 secured thereto by a retainer ring 270. The anchor studs and their retaining members secure the indexing ring 250 in the annular groove 252. The slots 258 permit alimited movement of the indexing ring from the position shown in Figure 5 counterclockwise through the arcuate distance subtended by the slots 258. It will be understood, for example, by reference to Figure 5 that if the indexing ring 250 were rotated in a counterclockwise direction, the actuating arm 268 would be carried along to the right as viewed in Fig ure 5. The actuating arm 268 is lodged in a bracket 272 carried by the bracket 38 which is secured to the rear wall 40 of the center compartment 22 in which the control mechanism is located. Attached to a flange 274 of the bracket 38 by means of a rivet or the like 276, we provide an empty lock spring member 278 which extends downwardly adjacent the empty lock actuating arm 26%. The lower end of the empty lock spring 278 carries an empty lock member 280 which is adapted to extend through an opening 282 formed in flange 274. When the empty lock actuating arm 268 moves to the right, it will engage the spring 278 and thrust the empty lock member 280 to the right through the opening 282.
Referring now to Figures 5 and 6, a distributor ratchet driver arm 300 is rotatably mounted around the distributor post 206 and carries a distributor ratchet driving pawl 302 by means of a pin 304. A spring 305 normally insures engagement of the pawl 302 with the teeth of the distributor ratchet wheel 242.
The distributor ratchet driver arm 300 is provided with an extension 306 which extends through an opening 308 formed in the flange 274 and engages a distributor actuator link 284. The distributor actuator link is mounted for reciprocatory movement adjacent the flange 274 by means of a pin 310 extending through a slot 312 formed in the distributor actuator link 284. The link 284 is urged downwardly by the spring 314 which extends from the flange 274 to the distributor ratchet driver arm extension 306, as can readily be seen by reference to Figure 5. The distributor actuator link 284 is formed with an opening 315 adjacent the empty lock member 280. The arrangement is such that when the empty lock actuator arm 268 moves to the right engaging the spring 278, it will urge the empty lock 280 to the right. When the opening 315 is in alignment with the empty lock 280, the empty lock will pass through the opening 315 and thus immobilize the distributor actuator link 284 to the flange 274 and thus prevent the link from being moved upwardly to drive the distributor driver arm 300.
It will be observed that when the distributor actuator link moves upwardly, it will rotate the distributor ratchet driver arm in a counterclockwise direction. The interengagement of the pawl 302 with the ratchet teeth and the ratchet 242 will rotate the distributor rotor 214 in a counterclockwise direction. The arrangement of parts, the number of ratchet teeth, and the amplitudes of motion are such that each reciprocation of the link 284 will move the distributor rotor from one opening 202 to its adjacent opening 202.
When the lockers are loaded, the stop stud 256 is removed and the rotor turned manually in a counterclockwise direction to an alignment with the opening 202 just before the opening 202 in communication with the first locker to be emptied. The stop stud 256 is then positioned in the indexing opening 254 corresponding to the last locker to be emptied. The indexing ring is then retated in a clockwise direction to bring the anchor studs against the walls of the arcuate slots 258. As the rotor is stepped around stepwise in successive movements, causing the locker doors to be opened in a manner to be described more fully hereinafter, the rotor will contact the stop stud 256 in moving into communication with the opening 202 corresponding to the last locker and drive the indexing ring 250 clockwise. This clockwise movement of the indexing ring will carry the empty lock actuator arm 268 to the right and move the empty lock member 280 to the right as described hereinabove.
Referring now to Figures 2, 3, and 4, an actuating knob 34 is secured to a rod 400 provided with a hook 402 which passes over the operating bar 404. The operating bar is formed with integral gear segments 406 which ride in racks 408. The arrangement is such that when the handle 34 is pulled, the operating bar 404 will move back and forth parallel to the racks 408.
One end 410 of the operating bar extends into the coin register 28 and is adapted to be immobilized by the memher 412 of the coin register in any appropriate manner known to the art and therefore not described in detail. When an appropriate sum in coins is deposited in the coin register, the immobilized member 412 is released. This permits the operating bar to move to the right, as viewed in Figures 3 and 4. This motion of the operating bar carries the end 410 thereof to the right, as viewed in Figure 3. The upper end of an arm 414 of a bell crank, indicated generally by the reference numeral 416, is moved to the rear. The bell crank is mounted in any suitable manner and is pivoted about a pivot pin 418 carried by the frame. The movement of the arm 414 of the bell crank to the right, as viewed in Figure 3, will move the left-hand end of the lower bell crank arm 420 upwardly. The distributor actuator link 284 is pivotally secured to the end of the arm 420 of'the. bell crank 416. In this manner, whenever the handle 34 is pulled and the operating bar 404 is released by the deposit of coins in the coin register 28, the distributor actuator link 284 will be moved upwardly.
The other end 430 of the operating bar 404 carries a ball bearing pulley .432. An arm 434 is pivotally mounted upon a bracket 435 carried by the wall 40 of the frame. This arm is formed with an inclined follower surface 436 which normally engages the pulley 432. The arrangefnent is such that whenever the operating bar 404 moves i'earwa'rldly under the action of a manual pull on the handle 34, the arm 434 will be rotated in a counterclockwise direction owing to the interaction between the pulley 432 and the inclined surface 436. A bracket 450 carried by the rear frame member 40 mounts a cylinder 452 by means of a fitting 454 carried by the cylinder 452. A spring 456 extends between the stationary cylinder 452 and the pivoted arm 434 and normally biases the arm to move downwardly to the position shown in Figure 4. The inclined surface 436, therefore, will cam the operating bar 404 to the left, as viewed in Figures 3 and 41.
The lower end of the cylinder 452 communicates with the p pe 2 6- hr ugh. a heck valve 458 lo g in a nipple 457 and normally held on its seat by spring 460. The arrangement is such that fluid will not flow from pipe 236 intozthe cylinder 452 but that fluid in the cylinder 452 can flow into the pipe 236. Within the cylinder 452 we mount a piston 462 which may be provided with a conventional annular leather or rubber-bicycle pump flexible washer valve 464 secured to the piston by means of a washer 466 and a nut 468. The arrangement is such that on the upward movement of the piston 462, the vacuum beneath the piston 462 is supplied with air drawn in through opening 470 and flowing past the valve 464. On the downward stroke of the piston 462, the valve 464 will compressthe air underneath the piston and discharge it past the check valve 458 into the'pipe 236.
The piston 462 is normally urged downwardly by means of a spring .472 which extends between the cylinder head 474' and the piston 462. A piston rod 476 is secured to the piston 462 by means of nut 4'68 and nut 478, as can readily be seen by reference to Figure 4. The piston rod 476 isv formed with an enlarged end 477 which is tel'escoped within asleeve 480. The sleeve 480 is pivotally secured t'o-the am 434 by means of a pin 482. The lower end of the sleeve 480 is formed with a plurality of openings in which We position coupling balls 484. The coupling balls are normally held in the position shown in Figure4 by means of a ball retainer 486. This ball retainer is normally urged upwardly by means of a spring 488; The halls 484- and the ball retainer 486 form a readily releasable coupling between the sleeve 480 and the piston rod 476. Upward movement of the sleeve 480, for example, occasioned by the-counterclockwise rotation of the arm 434 will be transmitted by the balls 484 to the enlarged portion 477 of the piston rod 476, moving the piston 462 upwardly against the action of spring 472 and compressing the-spring. At the same time, the spring 488, which is normally under compression, urges the'ball retainer 486 upwardly in a position maintaining the coupling between the sleeve 480 and the piston rod 476. A stationary release member 4% is carried by the frame member 40 a predetermined distance above the ball retainer' 486. After a predetermined upward movement of the sleeve 480, the ball retainer 486 and the piston rod 476, the ball retainer 486 will contact the release member 490 and move the ball retainer 486 relatively downwardly against the action of spring 488. After sufficient downward movement of the ball retainer 486, the tension between the sleeve 480 and the piston rod 476 will cause the balls 484' to move outwardly into the enlarged space 485 provided in the upper portion of the ball retainer 486.
a in When thisoccurs, the piston rod 476 will .beuncoupled from the sleeve 480 in a sudden manner. This will permit the spring 472, which has been compressed by the upward movement of the piston rod, :to move piston 462 downwardly and compress the airunderneath the piston 462, forcing it past the check valve 458 into the pipe236.
This sudden pulse of air will pass through the distributor post, the radial channel in the distributor rotor, through the distributor plunger opening 226, throughthe pipe 146 which is connected'to the opening 202 with which the plunger is in registry. The pulse of air passing through pipe. 146 will deflect the diaphragm in the fluid pressure member 144 and release the latch of the door of the locker with which the particular pipe 146 is associated.
Thus it will be seen that the rearward motion of the plunger first moves the distributor ratchet driver arm to step the distributor rotor from one opening 202 to the adjacent opening 202. At the same time, a piston is being moved upwardly against the action of a spring. After the stepping movement has been completed, the arrangement of parts is such that a readily releasable connection is operated to release the piston rod. This permits the energy stored in the spring to move the pump piston downwardly creating a pulse of air which communicates with a fluidpressure operated member to release the latch of a door with which the particular opening is associated. Referring now to Figure 11., we have just described and shown a cylinder 452 and a piston 462 and a spring 472 of suflflcient size to generate an air pressure which will operate the latch through the medium of a fluid pressure responsive device. If the battery of lockers be comparatively small, the size of the cylinder and piston need not be large, owing to the fact that the lengths of the tubes 146 are not so great that there is a sufficient pressure drop to make the operation of the fluid pressure de vice uncertain. In the case of a large battery, however, we have found that it is necessary to use a higher air pressure. This entails theuse of a stronger spring 472 and makes the operation of the device somewhat more difficult by requiring a harder pull on operating handle 34. In such cases, instead of generating sufficient air pressure to actuate the door openers manually, we provide a bottle 500 of compressed air adapted to communicate with the pipe 236 through a shutoff valve 502 and a quick-acting valve 504. The quick-acting valve is adapted to be operated with a valve operating lever 506. A pneumatic servo-cylinder 508 is provided with a servo-piston 510 connected to a piston rod 512. The piston rod 512is pivotally connected to the valve operating lever 506 and is normally urged to the right, as viewed in Figure 11, by a spring 514. The arrangement is such that when the readily releasable connection releases the piston rod 476,v the small puff of airpassing. through nipple 457 drives the piston 510 to the left, as viewed in Figure 11, against the. action of spring 514. This action moves the valve operating lever 506 in a counterclockwise direction and permits a pulse of. air pressure from the bottle 500 to pass through pipe 236 and operate the pneumatic unlatching device 144. A gauge 516 indicates the air pressure within the bottle 500. The capacity of a small bottle is such that all of the lockers may be opened many times with a; single compressed air charge;
In operation, the owner of our locker battery merchandising machine arrives at the location of the machine, which may be in a store, a parking lot, a bus terminal, a railroad station, or at a filling station or the like. He inserts a key in the lock 26 and opens the central door 24 giving access to the coinv mechanism, distributor mechanism and pump assembly. He removes the coins from the coin box 44. He then operates lever 98, moving it in the direction of the arrow, as viewed in Figure 2. This rotates all of the shafts. 86 in a manner to tension all of the door opener springs 110. This opens 11, A those doors which have been unlatched and from which merchandise has been removed. Owing to the fact that the latch spring is not tensioned since plunger 158 moves into the locker when merchandise is removed, empty lockers cannot be latched. Cartons of bottled beverages are then placed in those lockers which the operation of the lever 98 shows are empty. The placing of a carton of merchandise in a locker tensions the door opener springs 110 through their respective bent portions 112 which are pushed out of the interior of the locker spaces through the openings 80. This moves the doors to the position shown by door 70 in Figure 1. The operator then presses the door manually to closed position, camming the latch pawls 136 associated with each door latch 136 downwardly and permitting the latch springs 156 to move the latch pawls into latching position. Normally the operator will not disturb the position of the distributor rotor 214, since this is resting in communication with the opening 202 corresponding to the last locker emptied. It is usually desirable to vend the older merchandise first. The distributor rotor is left undisturbed, but the stop stud 256 is unscrewed and inserted in the opening 254 at the trailing edge of the distributor rotor 214. It is assumed that some merchandise is in the lockers and that the empty lock has not been operated. If the empty lock has been operated, then the indexing ring 250 is first rotated in a clockwise direction to bring the anchor studs 260 and 262 to the end of their respective slots 253 in order to permit the empty lock actuating system 268 to be moved to the left, as viewed in Figure 5. It is understood, of course, that change is placed in the change tube of the coin register (not shown) as is well understood in the art. It will be readily observed that the locker battery may be only partially loaded, in which case the position of the stop stud 256 corresponds to the number of lockers which contain merchandise.
In the event the servo release mechanism is employed, the operator glances at the gauge 516 to make certain that there is sufiicient air pressure in the compressed air bottle 50!).
The center door 24 is then locked and the device is ready for use. A user deposits coins in the coin slot 30 in the correct amount to pay for the carton of merchandisc in a locker. The coin register, as has been pointed out hereinabove, may be of any appropriate design and may be such as to take the correct sum in coins of any combination of coins. The arrangement of the coin register, as is well understood in the art, is such as to release a latch to permit the operation of the device when the correct sum has been deposited. If the correct sum has not been deposited, pulling the handle 34 will not operate the machine owing to the fact that the operating bar 494 is locked. If the correct sum is in the coin register, the operating bar is free and pulling the handle 34 will move the operating bar to the right, as viewed in Figures 3 and 4. This will rock the bell crank 416 and move the ratchet rotor operating link 284 upwardly, as viewed in Figure 5, thus rotating the ratchet rotor 300 in a counterclockwise direction through an amplitude sufficient to move the distributor rotor 214 to carry the bore 226 of the rotor plunger into alignment with the next opening 202 of the distributor base 209. At the same time, the arm 434 is rotated to raise the piston 462 against the action of the spring 472. After the indexing has been completed, the readily releasable connection between the sleeve 480 and the piston rod 476 is broken owing to the engagement of the ball retainer 436 with the stationary release bracket 490. The spring 472 then does its work and sends a pulse of compressed air past the check valve 458 through the pipe 236, through the axial bore 298, the radial bore 210, the annular chamber formed by the groove 212., the radial bore 216, the annular chamber formed by the groove 230 in the distributor plunger 220, through the opening 228, through the plunger bore 226, through the opening 202, thence through the tube 146 to one side of the diaphragm in the pneumatic device 144. This will move the rod 148 to the right, as viewed in Figure 8, and rotate the bell crank 152 in a clockwise direction, thus moving the latch pawl 136 to unlatching position by moving the rod 138 to the left, as viewed in Figure 10, and downwardly, as viewed in Figure 8. The presence of merchandise in the locker tensions the door opener spring so that the door 70, when thus unlatched, will move to the open position, as shown in Figure 1. This allows the user to remove the carton 71 of merchandise for which he has paid. As soon as the merchandise is removed from the locker, the door opener spring 110 and the latch spring 156 will be untensioned. This permits the door spring 78 to move the locker door 70 to a closed position and to remain unlatched. When the door closes, the inclined surface 131 of the door latch will abut the end of the latch pawl 136 and move it downwardly. The force of the door springs 78 is sufficient to cam the latch pawl 136 downwardly against the untensioned latch spring 156. The door, therefore, will be in closed position but not latched. This enables the operator to swing the door open by tensioning the door opener spring through the operation of lever 98, as described hereinabove. The above described operation continues successively following successive operations by difierent customers. The doors open in rotation as the distributor rotor is successively stepped around so that its plunger will be successively in registry with successive openings 202. Upon the operation of the last locker which would be controlled by the opening 201, shown in Figure 5, with the stop stud 256 in the position shown, the stop stud will be moved downwardly rotating the indexing ring 250 in a counterclockwise direction. This brings empty lock actuating memher 268 to the right against empty lock spring 278 defleeting this spring and tending to move the empty lock 28%} to the right. This motion of the empty lock is resisted, since it contacts the side of the link 284 when the link is in the upward position. When the link moves downwardly again as the operating handle is released, the empty lock 280 will now spring into the opening 314. This prevents further operation of the operating bar. If a user now deposits coins in the coin slot and pulls the handle 34, the operating bar will be unlocked by the coin register, but the handle cannot be pulled, since the arm 414 of the bell crank 416 is prevented from rotating owing to the interaction of the empty lock 280 and the link 284, the lower end of which is connected to the arm 420 of the bell crank. Since the handle 34 cannot be retracted, the user will then operate the coin return lever 42 and recover his coins in the coin return opening 36.
It will be seen that we have accomplished the objects of our invention. It will be readily appreciated that our merchandising machine can be installed in a number of locations in which there are no electrical outlets or electricity available. It is essentially a completely manually powered machine adapted to vend many different types of articles whose size, shape, and nature are such as to preclude them from being dumped from shelves or stacked. It will be seen that our invention can be employed to merchandise virtually any type of article owing to the fact that the size of the lockers can be varied to house merchandise of any size or shape. It will also be appeciated that we have provided an arrangement for merchandising cartons of beverages or the like which is under the control of a central, manually operated means and a single coin register assembly. It will be seen that we have provided an improved battery of merchandising dispensing lockers in which the number of lockers, under the control of a single coin release device, may be varied within wide limits. We have provided an array of merchandising dispensing lockers which may be opened at a central point by manually operable means in response to the deposit of coins in an appropriate coin register. Our
sensor improved battery of article dispensing lockers can be rapidly, conveniently, and XPeditiously refilled with merch m s owing t ou aovslazea s o d m in which lockers are empty. Our b tery of merchandising disr u n l e ma h aisk y e e t d and assembled from a plurality of conveniently handled subassemblies of bays of lockers.
It will be understood that featur es and subcombina tions are of u ility and n be employed without ef renc to t e eat-are and u somb T is contemplated by and is within the scope of our claims. It is further o vio s hat vari us chan e may e ma in details within the scope of our claims without departing from the spirit of our inyention. It is therefore to be understood that our inventionis not to be limited to e sp etail hown an de cr bed- H g s d scr bed our in ent on; wh t w la 1. In a merchandising machine, a locker for an article of merchandise to be dispensed, a door for said locker, a releasable latch associatedwith saiddoor normally'locking the door when the lo ker houses an art cle of merchandise, fluid pressure responsive means for releasing said latch, a sourceof fluid pressure, normally locked means operable by a user for providing communication between said source of fluid pressure and said fluid pressure responsive unlatching means, and coin-controlled means for unlocking said normally locked means.
2. In a merchandising machine as inclaim 1 in which said source of fluid pressure comprisesa pump.
3. In a merchandising machine as in claim 1 wherein said source of fluid pressure is a pump having a piston, resilient means normally urging said piston inone direction, said normally locked means including an operating member and a releasable connection between said operating member and said piston, said operating member when actuated moving said piston against the action of said resilient means, and means for' releasing said releasable connection after said operating member has moved said piston a predetermined distance against the action of said resilient means.
4. In a merchandising machine as in claim 1 wherein said source of fluid pressure is a bottle of compressed gas.
5. In a merchandising machine a locker for housing an article of merchandise to be dispensed, a door for said locker, a releasable latch associated with said door normally locking the door when the locker houses an article of merchandise, a spring normally urging said door to closed position, a second spring associated with said door, said second spring having a greater relative strength than said first spring, means responsive to the presence of an article of merchandise in said locker for biasing said second spring in a direction to open said door against the action of said first spring, normally locked means operable by a user for releasing said latch and coin-controlled means for unlocking said latch releasing means.
6. In a merchandising machine as in claim 5 wherein said means responsive to the presence of an article of merchandise in said locker for biasing the second spring is means carried by said second spring extending into said locker.
7. In a merchandising machine as in claim 5, manually operable means for tensioning said second spring to open said door against the action of said first spring whereby said door may be moved to open position in the absence of an article of merchandise from said locker.
8. In a merchandising machine a locker for housing an article of merchandise to be dispensed, a door for said locker, a releasable latch associated with said door normally locking the door when the locker houses an article of merchandise, resilient means for urging said latch into latching position, means responsive to the presence of an article in said locker for tensioning said resilient means to urge said latch into latching position, normally locked means operable by a user for actuating said latch against the action of said resilient means to release the latch and said source of fluid eoin-controlled means for unlocking said latch releasing mea s- -9-1I m c n mac ne a plur lity o locke s fo housing rt e o merchandise t be spensed, a plurality of doors. associated with the respective; lockers, a p u a t of rel asable late esve c s cci te 'w h one o said doo s, a d che no y ck g d doo s when the corresponding lockers housearticles of merchandise, a p u al ty o fl d Pr ure e p ns v means e ch as o e w n of a d latche o releasing said at hes, a so c o d P e sur n rmally lo ked means ott able by a user for successivelyproviding communication b n sai so c of f u d pressur an the respective fluid pressure responsive means npon successive spew tions, and coin-controlled means tor unlocking said nor= mally locked means. I v
10. In a merchandis ng machine. as in claim 9 a frame, said lockers being arranged-in bays,.;and releasable means for retaining said bays in said frame.
11. In a merchandising machine as in claim 9 respective means normally urging said doors to: closed. position, second means associatedrespectively with, said doors and responsive to the presence of articles of merchandise in said lockers for urging said doors to open position, and means common to all of said lockers for rendering the means for urging the doors to open position operative in the absence of articles of merchandise from the respective compartments;
12. Ina merchandising machine asin claim 9 wherein saidnormally locked'means includes a stationary elementand .a movable element, respective means connect ing said stationary element to said fluid pressure responsive means, and. means connecting said movable element to said source of fluidipressure 13. In a merchandising machine as in claim9- wherein said normally locked means includes a distributor havinga rotor, respective means connecting said distributor to said fluid. pressure responsive means, means connecting said rotor to said source of fluid pressure, and means for stepping said distributor rotor upon each operation of said normally locked means successively to connect pressure to said fluid pressure responsive means.
14. A merchandising machine including in combination a plurality of lockers for housing articles of merchandise,'a plurality of doors associated respectively with said lockers, a plurality of individually releasable latches associated respectively with said doors, a plurality of fluid pressure responsive latch releasing means for the respective latches, means for generating a pulse of fluid pressure, a distributor for successively feeding pulses of fluid pressure from said generating means to said fluid pressure responsive means, normally locked means operable by a user for actuating said pulse generator to generate a pulse of fluid pressure and for actuating said distributor to feed a pulse from said pulse generator successively to said fluid pressure responsive means on successive operations, and coin-controlled means for unlocking said normally locked means.
15. In a merchandising machine a plurality of lockers for housing articles of merchandise to be dispensed, a plurality of doors associated with the respective lockers, a plurality of releasable latches each associated with one of said doors for normally locking said doors when the corresponding lockers house articles of merchandise, a plurality of fluid pressure responsive latch releasing means associated respectively with said latches, a pump including a cylinder and a piston mounted for movement within said cylinder, resilient means for urging said piston in one direction Within said cylinder, a normally locked operating member, means actuated by said normally locked operating member for moving said piston within said housing against the action of said resilient means, a releasable coupling between said piston rod and said means actuated by the operating member, means for releasing said coupling after said piston has moved a certain distance under the action of said operating member to release said piston to generate fluid pressure suflicient to operate one of said fluid pressure responsive latch releasing means, a distributor for connecting said pump to one of said fluid pressure responsive latch releasing means, means for stepping said distributor successively to connect said pump with the respective fluid pressure responsive means, means responsive to the actuation of said operating member for actuating said stepping means, and coin-controlled means for unlocking said normally locked operating member.
16. In a merchandising machine as in claim 15 a frame, said means for moving the piston against the action of the resilient means comprising a pulley mounted for horizontal movement on said frame, a lever formed with a cam surface and pivoted on said frame, a pivotal connection between said lever and said piston rod, and a coupling between said pulley and said operating member, the arrangement being such that said pulley engages said cam surface to pivot said lever to move said piston against the action of said resilient means when said operating member is actuated.
17. In a merchandising machine as in claim 15 wherein said distributor stepping means includes a ratchet and a pawl and means operatively connecting said pawl with said operating member to actuate said pawl to advance said distributor upon actuation of said operating member.
18. In a merchandising machine a plurality of lockers for housing articles of merchandise to be dispensed, a plurality of doors for the respective compartments, a plurality of respective latch means for normally locking said doors when the corresponding lockers house articles of merchandise, means including a rotary arm for successively releasing said latches, normally locked means operable by a user for stepping said arm successively around upon successive operations of said normally locked means, coin-controlled means for unlocking said normally locked means to permit operation thereof, an empty lock for immobilizing said normally locked means when the locker corresponding to the latch next to be released is empty, and means responsive to a predetermined movement of said arm for operating said empty lock.
19. A merchandising machine as in claim 18 in which said empty lock operating means includes an indexing member, an abutment carried by the indexing member and means for movably mounting said indexing member in the path of travel of said arm.
20. In a merchandising machine a plurality of lockers for housing articles of merchandise to be dispensed,a plurality of doors for the respective compartments, a plurality of respective latch means for normally locking said doors when the corresponding lockers house articles of merchandise, means including a rotary arm for successively releasing said latches, normally locked means operable by a user for stepping said arm successively around upon successive operations of said normally locked means, coin-controlled means for unlocking said normally locked means to permit operation thereof, an empty lock for immobilizing said normally locked means when the locker corresponding to the latch next to be released is empty, an indexing member, means for movably mounting said indexing member in the path of travel of said arm, an abutment carried by said indexing memher and engageable by said arm after a predetermined movement of the arm to move said indexing member, means responsive to the movement of said indexing member'for operating said empty lock and means for adjusting the position of said abutment on said indexing member to regulate the operation of said empty lock.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,190,934 Mills July 11, 1916