US 2826003 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
6 Sheets-Sheet 1 Mamh 1958 R. K. OKl ET AL MACHINE FOR DEPOSITING AND SHAPING SOIL IN A TRANSPLANTING CONTAINER Filed Nov. 28, 1955 EWIII M... s w v w N e an E a m M K4 wM v f; .wwlw E5 March 11, 1958 R. K. OKI EIAL 2,826,003
MACHINE FOR DEPOSITING AND SHAPING son. m A TRANSPLANTING CONTAINER Filed Nov. 28, 1955 s Sheets-Sheet 2 l I i x x I x v v in 8: [If luliiluli a 1% g:
. R INVENTORS Ext/bard K Okz' Pd monciMBZakea'Zee 'g ATTYS.
Mam}! 1958 R. K. OKI ET AL 2,82 03 MACHINE FOR DEPOSITING AND SHAPING SOIL v IN A TRANSPLANTING CONTAINER Filed Nov. .28, 1955 6 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENTORS Rickard K 0k! Pd mend Mfiiakeslee ATT VS MACHINE FOR DEPOSITING AND SHAPING SOIL March 11, 1958 R. K. OKII ET AL 2,826,003
IN A TRANSPLANTING CONTAINER Filed Nov. 28, 1955 6 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTORS kid/25122 .76 0k! Ea mend Mfildkeslee Jo :2 6T Chi 02220212 BY 608M)? ATTVS.
I 6 Sheets-Sheet 6 ATTYS.
March 11, 1958 R. K. OKI ET AL MACHINE FOR DEPOSITING AND SHAPING SOIL IN A TRANSPLAN'IING CONTAINER Filed Nov. 28, 1955 7 e 1 2 w M 4. 7 0 7 T e a w 7 F 5 a m m 1 N k 3 Z 2 .5. r f I. fli m M. 6 5 6 m w/w m Mk3 x m. m \\||8 o m 7 a f a m m 2 4. Z d 2 5 z fiw m ice WMACHINE FOR nnrosirnuo AND SHAPHNG son. IN A rnmssrranrrno conransnn Richard K. Oki, Sacramento, and Raymond M. Blake.
lee and John G. Chapman, North SfiClit-lllifilitt,
Application November '28, 1955, denial No. 54?,263
Claims. (Cl. 47-11.)
This invention relates generally to a power actuated machine adapted for use in a commercial nursery where in plants are grown in containers; the plants-during the course of their growth-being transplanted from one container to another, asfor example-from a small tapered pot to a larger tapered can. The soil and roots of the plant, when shaken out of the small container, remain together in a tapered ball or pack, but before transplanting into the larger container it is necessary that a-quantity of soil first be deposited therein, and a cavity then formed in such soil for the reception of the soil and root pack of the plantbeing transplanted.
If the depositing otthe quantity of soil in each larger container, and the forming of the cavity in such soil, is done manually, an undue amount of time is consumed and the cost becomes excessive.
It: is. therefore the major object of this invention to provide a machine which mechanically accomplishes such operations; to-wit, to deposit a quantity of soil in each larger container, and to thereafter form a cavity in such soil for the purpose described.
Another important object of this invention is to provide' a machine, as above, which is adapted to support and intermittently advance a row of such larger containers, with the individual ones thereof remaining stationary for a predetermined time at successive stations; themachine-when said containers are stationary-being operative at a first station to deposit such quantity of soil in the adjacent container, and at a second station to form a cavity in such soil in said container, with the cavity-shapedto receive the soil and root packof the plant being transplanted-in substantially matching relation.
An additional object of theinvention is to provide a machine, for the purpose described, which is wheelsupported for movement from point to point as work ing conditions may require.
It is also an-object of the invention to provide a m achine, for the purpose described, which functions smoothly and positively; the machinebeing wholly automatic in its operation, and requiring a minimum of servicing and maintenance;
Still another objectof the 'inventionis to provide a practical, reliable, and durable machine, forthe purpose" described, and one which will be exceedingly effective for the purpose for which it is designed.
These objects are accomplished by inea'nsof su'ch" structure and relative arrangement of parts as will fully a perusal ofthe followingspecification and drive mechanism for the working parts of the machine;
Fig. 3 is anenlarged fragmentaryside elevation of the soil feeding assembly, and the soilshaping' unit; the
view being partly broken away, and the container clamp ing-'deviee being*omitted: w
2 Fig. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view taken on line 4-4 of Fig. 1.
Fig. 5 is a fragmentary transverse sectional elevation taken'on line 5--5 of Fig. 4.
Fig. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary transverse sectional elevation taken on line 66 of Fig. 4; the view being 7 the soil shaping unit in its raised or starting position.
Fig. 7 is a similar view, but shows the soil shaping unit in its lowered or working position.
Fig. 8 is an enlarged fragmentary elevation of the downwardly tapered, soil shaping bit and its mount, the view being partly broken away.
Fig. 9 is a sectional plan view on line 9-9 of Fig. 8.
Fig. 10 is an enlarged longitudinal sectional elevation taken on line 10-10 of Fig. 2, the view showing one of the ratchet wheel and pawl units.
Fig. 11 is an enlarged longitudinal sectional elevation taken on line 11-11 of Fig. 2, the view showing the other or opposed ratchet wheel and pawl unit.
Fig. 12 is an outline elevation, partly broken away, of one of the containers showing the soil as initially deposited therein.
Fig. 13 is a similar view, but shows the soil after i formation of the cavity therein.
Fig. 14 is likewise a similar view, but shows the transplanted plant in the container, with the soil and root pack of such plant disposed in the pre-formed cavity shown in Fig. 13.
Referring now more particularly to the characters of reference on the drawings, the machine comprises an elongated main frame, indicated generally at 1 and which is more or less of skeleton construction; such frame being supported by rear wheels 2 and front wheels 3. The front wheels 3 are included in a conventional steerable truck (not shown) from which a draft tongue 4 projects forwardly.
With reference to Fig. 1 the main frame 1 includeson the near side a longitudinal top beam 5 and a longitudinal bottom beam 6; such main frame 1--laterally inwardly of the beams and 6-supporting an elongated enclosure or housing 7 which encases a substantial portion of the drive mechanism for the various parts of the on which a row of containers 11 may be supported and advanced. The containers i1, 'which are the ones into which the plants are to be transplanted, are here illustrated as metallic cans having a tapered configuration, except at the immediate top portion. j
Anendless conveyor chain 12 extends lengthwise within the main frame It, with the upper run 13 of such chain disposed between certain of the rails 3; said endless conveyor chain 12 being fitted, at equally spaced points in the length thereof, with outwardly projecting pusher lugs 14. The endless conveyor chain 32 is carried .ona rear sprocket 15 and a forwardsprocket 16, the latter being a driven, in the manner as will hereinafter appear, so that the upper run 13 travels in a forward direction. v
The containers Hare fed in timed relation onto the rails 8, and between the guides 1t -at the rear end'of the machine-a nd sothateach container is sofed irnn'rediately aheadbf one drum pusher lugs ia'b a container Patented Mar. 11, 1958 stripper, indicated generally at 17. Such container stripper 17 is mounted in connection with, and upstands from, the main frame 1, at the rear and directly above the corresponding portion of the rails 8; such stripper supporting a stack 18 of nested containers and being operative to strip them one at a time from the lower end of said stack and to deposit such one container onto the rails 8 in the manner described above. The container stripper 17 is not here described in detail, as its particular structure forms no part of the present invention. It suffices to state that said stripper includes a reciprocable part 19 worked by transversely spaced connecting rods 20 reciprocated by the drive mechanism hereinafter described.
At its forward end the conveyor chain 12 and the pusher lugs 14 deliver the containers 11 successively onto an endless belt type, carry-01f conveyor 21 which extends lengthwise on the main frame 1 ahead of said chain 12; the rails 8 terminating short of the inception of conveyor 21, but the guides 10 continuing forwardly above and alongside said conveyor 21 to the front end of the machine.
The conveyor chain 12 and conveyor 21 are actuated intermittently to advance the row of containers 11 a like distance with each such movement, with a predetermined time lag between said movements. As a consequence each container 11, in the row, moves forward step by step, remaining stationary between each such step; all bcing accomplished by the hereinafter described drive mechanism.
The main frame 1 supports, intermediate the ends of the conveyor chain 12, a soil feeding assembly, indicated generally at 22, and a soil shaping unit, indicated generally at 23; the unit 23 being disposed slightly beyond said assembly 22 in the direction of travel of the row of containers 11.
The soil feeding assembly 22 comprises a horizontal, lower platform 24 supported from, and disposed above, the housing 7, by means of an upstanding case 25 to which said platform is secured in concentric relation. A portion of the circular platform 24 extends in overhanging relation to the rails 8, and is formed with a circular opening 26 (see Fig. adapted to register with each container 11 as it advances, with such step by step movement of the row, and comes to rest for a predetermined time at what may be termed a first station. At such station the related container 11 is not only disposed in register with the opening 26, but the top edge of such container is very close to the bottom of said platform 24.
A vertical spindle 27 is journaled centrally in the case 25, extending at the lower end downwardly into the housing 7 and projecting at the upper end above said case 25. At its upper end the spindle 27 is fixed in connection with, and supports, a horizontal turntable 28 disposed a distance above the platform 24; such turntable 28 being formed at equally circumferentially spaced points with 5 depending soil receiving pockets 29 open top and bottom. The pockets 29 are disposed, and spaced, so that with predetermined step by step, part-circle rotation of the turntable 28, said pockets 29 successively register with the opening 26, remaining stationary for a certain length of time in such position.
The soil receiving pockets 29 run, at their lower end very close to the top of the platform 24, and such pockets are filled with soil, when they occupy a position at the back side-i. e. generally opposite the circular opening 26from a soil hopper 30 having a part-circle bottom opening 31 therein with which said soil receiving pockets 29 successively register as the turntable 28 is rotated step by step in the direction indicatedfor example-- by the arrow in Fig. 4.
The soil hopper 30 is supported from the main frame 1 by means which includes end posts 32; there being a paddle-type soil agitator 33 journaled in the hopper 30 lengthwise thereof and driven from one end by an endless chain and sprocket unit 34. The agitator 33 assures that soil from within the hopper 30 feeds freely into the pockets 29 as they pass beneath the bottom opening 31.
As the soil filled pockets 29 and containers 11 successively and simultaneously come into register with the circular opening 26, standing stationary in such position for a certain time, the soil from each pocket 29 tends to gravitate through the opening 26 into the alined container 11. In order to assure that all of the soil delivers from each such pocket 29 into the related container 11, a plunger 35-which is normally disposed in alinement with, but above, the pocket 29 which registers with the opening 26is vertically reciprocated so as to pass downwardly in and to then retract from said pocket.
The plunger 35 is carried on an upwardly projecting spindle 36 adjustably secured to the free end of a somewhat diagonal arm 37 which projects generally laterally inwardly from a vertically reciprocable slide 38 carried in guides 39 fixed in connection with and upstanding from the top side beam 5. The slide 38 is reciprocated by means of a connecting rod 40 which extends from a crank 41 on the outer end of a shaft 42 which projects laterally outwardly from within the housing 7; such shaft including a suitable outboard support.
The shaft 42 is intermittently operated from within the housing 7 by the drive mechanism to be hereinafter described; the timing being such that the shaft 42 operates to actuate the crank 41 and reciprocate the slide 38 at the proper time to cause motion of the plunger 35 and out of the adjacent pocket 29.
Each cycle of operation of the slide 38 starts with the latter in a fully raised position, and to prevent the crank 41 from then being run backwards to any extent, and by reason of the weight of said slide 38 and connected partsand which might ocur due to slack in the driving arrangementa spring-urged dog 43 is pivotally mounted, at its lower end, in connection with the longitudinal bottom beam 6 and engaged at its upper end in a notch 44 in said crank 41 (see Fig. 3). As the notch 44 faces contra to the direction of powered rotation of the crank 41, such rotation may freely occur; the dog 43 returning to holding position at the end of each crank rotation.
With the next step motion of the row of containers 11, the container into which the soil 45 has been deposited at said first station moves to the next or what may be termed the second station, and again becomes stationary.
At such second station the soil shaping unit 23 operates; the purpose of said unit being to form, in the soil 45 in the related container 11, a tapered, upwardly opening cavity 46 (see Fig. 13), which is of a predetermined size and configuration. Said soil shaping unit 23 works simultaneously with the plunger 35 of the soil feeding assembly 22, being likewise actuated from the slide 38 through the medium of another laterally inwardly projecting arm 47 slightly d-iagonaled in a horizontal plane opposite the arm 37 (see Fig. 4).
As shown in Figs. 6 and 7, at its free end the arm 47 is formed with a substantially semi-circular, forwardly opening mount or carrier 48 whose bottom 49 is formed with a semi-circular notch 50 which receives a grooved collar 51; the flanges of the collar riding above and below the bottom 49, as shown. A spindle 52 extends through, and is fixed in connection with, the grooved collar 51, projecting a relatively short distance therebelow, and a relatively greater distance thereabove.
Above the grooved collar 51 the spindle 52 extends in slidably spl-ined relation through a bearing sleeve 53, and above said sleeve in similar relation through a driven pulley 54. The bearing sleeve 53 is supported, in a fixed position, which is slightly above the bottom 49, when the arm 47 is in its normal raised position, by means of brackets 55 which project from a fixed transverse plate 56 supported by posts 57.
The pulley 54 is driven by an endless belt 58 from another pulley 59 on the upper end of a vertical shaft 60 which extends upwardlyin a suitable mount 61 from within the housing 7. r
A hold-down spring 62 ofsuit'able type surrounds the upper portion of the spindlebe'tween the pulley 54 and a fixed collar 63 on the upper end of said spindle, there being a protective sleeve 64 about said upper portion of the spindle 52 betweenitsupper' end and said pulley 54.
At the lower end thereof the spindle 52 carries a downwardly tapered "bit 65 "which includes 'an enlarged top flange 66 and a hub 67 fixed to the spindle 52 (see Fig. 8). The tapered bit 65 is formed with helical grooves 68 to enhance its action, while the under side of the enlarged top flange 66 is formed with a downwardly opening, circumferential channel 69. p
Upon the downward stroke of the arm 47 with the slide 33, the tapered bit enters while rotating- Abe soil in the container 11, which is standing stationary at said 'second' station; the bit then forming the cavity 46 in said soil. The soil which the bit 65 displaces is in part fed upwardly by the helical grooves 68, filling the circumferential channel 69 whereby to form or shape a circular upstanding ridge 70 in the soilabout the upper end of said cavity 46, as shown in Fig. 13.
Upon the up-stroke ofthe arm 47 with the slide 38,
the. driven bit 65 is retracted upwardly to its starting position and clear of the adjacent container 11, whereby to permit the subsequent step motion thereof in an advancing direction. I
In order to assure that the container 11 at the second station does not rotate as the bit, 65 penetrates the soil 45, the following clamping device is employed:
Stand-off sleeves'7l project rearwardly from the plate 56 on opposite sides, and below the mount or carrier 48, and at their rear ends such sleeves 71 pivotally support swing arms 72 intermediate the ends thereof for motion in a transverse vertical plane. The swing arms 72 are fitted at their lower ends with container clamping jaws 73; such swing arms 72 initially diverging in a downward direction so that jaws 73 are disposed to the sides and clear of each container 11 as itcomes to rest at said second station.
However, when the arm 47 strokes downwardly to cause the bit 65 to work into the soil 45 of the adjacent stationary containerll, opposed cams 74 on the carrier 48 ride down cam faces 75 on the upper portions of the swing arms 72, forcing said arms apart at the top and toward each other at thebottom. As a result the jaws 73 engage the container 11 at said second station from opposite sides, gripping the container so that it cannot rotate as the bit 65 enters the soil 45 for the purpose of forming the cavity 46. I
A tension spring 76 connected between the swing arms 72 returns them to their normal or initial starting position upon the arm 47 stroking upwardly and returning to its starting point.
After the soil shaping unit23 has been actuated through its cycle, and with the swing arms '72 and jaws 73 then clear of the container 11 at said second stage, the follow ing step motion occurs; i. e., the row of containers ill advances one step.
When the containers 1ft reach the end of the upper run of the conveyor chain 12, and which containers then have the soil 45 therein formed with a cavity 4-6, said containers transfer onto the carry-off conveyor 21. While on such conveyor 21 a plant 77 is transplanted into each such container, and the soil and root pack 78 of the plant 77, which was formed in the smaller tapered container in which the plant was initially grown, and which remains intact, is deposited-and received in matching relationin each cavity 46 (see Fig. 14).
Thereafter, a quantity of water is placed in each container, which results in the ridge 7i beingflushed into a thin top layer 79 of soil which completely covers the top of the transplanted soil and root pack 78. With a plant '77 thus transplanted into each container 11 on the conveyor 21, said containers aretransferred from the forward end of said conveyor to any selected point.
The conveyor chain 12, the conveyor 21, the container stripper 17, the soil feeding assembly 22, and the soil shaping unit 23 are all actuated in the desired timed relation by means of the drive mechanism shown primarily in Fig. 2, and which to a great extent is enclosed Within the housing '7; such mechanism comprising the following:
A relatively small internal combustion engine 80 is mounted on the main frame 1 to one side of the conveyor 21, and through the medium of an endless belt and pulley unit 31 drives a transverse input shaft 32 which extends into the forward portion of the housing 7; such shaft 82 actuating a reduction gear train 83.
In turn, the reduction gear train 83 drives a cross shaft 34 fitted on one end with a crank 85 to which a rearwardly extending connecting rod 86 is attached. The connecting rod 86 is forked at its rear end; one leg 87 actuating a ratchet wheel and pawl unit 88, while the other leg 89 actuates a ratchet wheel and pawl unit 96. The ratchet wheel and pawl units 88 and 90 are opposed; i. e., on one stroke of the connecting rod 36 the unit 325 is operative, with the unit 96 over-runningywhile on the other stroke of the connecting rod 36 the unit 90 is operative while the unit 88 over-runs.
The relation of the parts is such that when the unit 88 or $9 is operative it is rotated a quarter-turn with each revolution of the crank 85; the ratchet wheel and pawl units 88 and 99 including drive hubs 91 and '92, respectively.
The hub 91 of the ratchet wheel and pawl unit 88 is connected by an endless chain and sprocket unit 93 to a cross shaft 94 adjacent the rear of the housing 7, and in turn such cross shaft 94 drives the shaft 42, to actuate the crank 41, by means of an endless chain and sprocket unit 95.
Similarly, the cross shaft 9% is the power source for the container stripper 17; an endless chain and sprocket unit 96 driving a countershaft 97 from said shaft 94-; the countershaft 97 carrying a crank 98 from which a connecting rod 99v actuates the connecting rods 20 in unison, the latter being interconnected, as shown.
The hub 92 of the ratchet wheel and pawl unit 90 (said hub 92 and hub a l being independently turnable on a cross shaft lltltl) actuates a rearwardly extending chain and sprocket unit 101 which drives a cross shaft 1432; the latterthrough the medium of a bevel gear and pinion assembly Mfr-being operatively connected to the vertical spindle 27.
Another endless chain and sprocket unit 104 extends forwardly from the hub 92 to operate the front end shaft 105 of the endless conveyor chain 12, which shaft 1435 is coupled to the rear end shaft 1% of the belt type, carryoff conveyor 21 by an endless chain and sprocket unit 107.
An endless chain and sprocket unit 108 drives a cross shaft 109 from the reduction gear train 83; the endless chain and sprocket unit 34 which drives the agitator 33 in the hopper 39 being actuated from cross shaft 169 by a driving assembly which includes bevel gears 11%). Further, the cross shaft we, through the medium of a bevel gear and pinion assembly 111, rotates the vertical shaft 60, which in turn powers the spindle 52. The endless chain and sprocket unit 108 is thus operativeconstantly -to maintain rotation of the agitator 33, as well as the spindle 52.
However, by virtue of the employment of the opposed or alternately operative ratchet wheel and pawl units 88 and @0, together with the use of predetermined gear ratios etc., there is produced the desired timed operation of the remaining parts of the machine.
Operation of the ratchet wheel and pawl unit 88 by the crank 85 upon a stroke of the connecting rod 86 in one direction causes operation-Simultaneouslyof the container stripper 17, the plunger 35 of the soil feeding assembly 22, and the soil shaping unit 23, for the purpose 7 of depositing one container 11 on the guideway which includes the rails 8, to force all soil from the related pocket 29 into the container 11 at the first station, and to form a cavity 46 in such soil in the container 11 at the second station, respectively.
While these operations are occurring simultaneously and as described, the ratchet wheel and pawl unit 90 is overrunning and ineffective. However, upon the reverse stroke of the connecting rod 86 the ratchet wheel and pawl unit 88 over-runs and is ineffective, so that the above mentioned parts stand idle, and the ratchet wheel and pawl unit 90 comes into play.
With each operation of the ratchet wheel and pawl unit 90 the conveyor chain 12 and the carry-off conveyor 21 are simultaneously moved ahead one step, and at the same time the turntable 28 is part-circle rotated so as to bring the next soil filled pocket 29 in position above the circular opening 26; one of the containers 11 moving at the same time to position at the first station below said opening for the reception of the coil.
It will thus be recognized that with the alternate operation of the ratchet wheel and pawl units 88 and 90, the timed cyclic operation of the various parts of the machine is accomplished positively and with a nicety of control, all to the end that the machine functions effectively to accomplish step by step advance of the row of containers 11, with such containers having a quantity of soil 45 deposited therein at the first station, and a cavity 46 formed in such a soil at the second station; the containers of course standing stationary at each such station.
With the described machine, plants from smaller containers can be easily and readily transplanted to the larger containers 11 relatively fast, and without the necessity-as heretoforeof the larger containers having to be manually filled with soil and formed with a cavity.
From the foregoing description it will be readily seen that there has been produced such a machine as will substantially fulfill the objects of the invention, as set forth herein.
While this specification sets forth in detail the present and preferred construction of the machine, still in practice such deviations therefrom may be resorted to as do not form a departure from the spirit of the invention, as defined by the appended claims.
Having thus described the invention, the following is claimed as new and useful, and upon which Letters Patent are desired:
1. A machine, for depositing and shaping soil in containers for plants, comprising a frame, means on the frame to support and move such containers to a first station and then to a second station, means on the frame arranged to deposit a quantity of soil in each container at the first station, and means on the frame arranged to form a cavity in the soil in each container at the second station; said soil depositing means including a platform disposed adjacent but above each container at the first station, said platform having an opening therethrough which registers with said container, a soil hopper above the platform and offset from said opening, and a mechanism operative to deliver soil from the hopper over the platform to said opening, such mechanism being timed to the movement of each container to said first station.
2. A machine, as in claim 1, in which said mechanism incaudes a driven turntable having vertical, soil receiving, open-ended pockets therein, the turntable being above but adjacent the platform and the latter normally closing the pockets at the bottom, said pockets successively re istering with the opening in the platform upon rotation of said turntable, the hopper being above the turntable and having a bottom opening registering with the pockets when the same are out of register with such opening, and the turntable being intermittently driven to successively opening, and means operative to then reciprocate the plunger whereby the latter enters said registering pocket to discharge all soil therefrom and then retracts from said pocket.
4. A machine, for depositing and shaping soil in containers for plants, comprising a frame, means on the frame to support and move such containers to a first station and then to a second station, means on the frame arranged to deposit a quantity of soil in each container at the first station, and means on the frame arranged to form a cavity in the soil in each container at the second station; said last named means including a driven vertically reciprocable cavity-forming bit initially disposed above each container at said second station, mechanism operative to reciprocate the bit to cause the same to lower and form a cavity in the soil in said container and then raise to said initial position, such mechanism being timed to movement of each container to said second station, and means associated with the bit operative to form an upstanding ridge of soil about the cavity at the top.
5. In a machine for shaping soil in containers for plants, a conveyor on which to removably support soilfilled containers and to move each container in turn to a predetermined station, a driven vertically reciprocable cavity-forming bit initially disposed above each container at said station, mechanism operative to reciprocate the bit to lower the same to form a cavity in said container and to then raise the bit to its initial position, and a normally released clamping device associated with said bit operative to engage and clamp each container against rotation at said station; said device being operative in response to lowering of the bit, and released in response to raising thereof.
6. A machine, as in claim 5 ,in which said device comprises opposed swing arms mounted on the machine for swinging movement toward the opposite sides of such container from a normal position clear of the same, jaws on the arms to engage the container when the arms are so moved, cams engaging one edge of the arms and arranged to thus move the arms upon downward movement of the cams, and means operatively connecting the cams and bit for vertical movement as a unit.
7. A machine, to deposit soil in containers for plants, comprising a frame, a conveyor on the frame to support a plurality of containers in a row and arranged to dispose and retain each container in turn at a predetermined station for a given length of time, and means on the frame arranged to deposit a quantity of soil in each container at said station; said last named means comprising a fixed platform having a portion closely overlying the container at said station, the platform having an opening in register with such container, a turntable above and journaled for rotation relative to the platform, a circumferential row of open-ended pockets on the turntable each of a size to contain a quantity of soil a predetermined amount less than the capacity of a container, the pockets being disposed to successively register with said opening upon rotation of the turntable, the platform otherwise forming a closure for the pockets at the bottom, a hopper disposed above the turntable in offset relation to said platform opening, the hopper having a bottom opening with which the pockets register when out of register with said opening, and means to recurringly partrotate the turntable to successively register the pockets with said opening, said last named means being timed to the successive disposition of the containers at said station.
8. A machine, to form a cavity in soil in containers, comprising a frame, means on the frame adapted to suecessively dispose and support the containers at a predetermined station, the containers each remaining at said station for a given length of time, and means on the frame arranged to form a cavity in soil in each container at said station; said last named means comprising a driven vertical spindle initially disposed in a raised position above and centrally alined with a container at said station, means rotatably and vertically slidably mounting the spindle in connection with the frame for reciprocation which includes a downward stroke from said raised position, a bit on the lower end of the spindle adapted to enter and form a cavity in the soil in said container upon a downward stroke of the spindle, and driven mechanism operative to reciprocate the spindle; said spindle reciproeating means including a vertical slide, power means to reciprocate the slide, a mounting arm projecting outwardly from the slide, and the driven spindle being rotatably mounted on said arm; the spindle mounting means including a sleeve through which the spindle extends in slidably splined relation, and a rigid member on the frame providing a fixed support for said sleeve; and a normally released clamping device operative to engage and prevent rotation of the container at said station upon and in response to the down-stroke of said spindle; the clamping device comprising opposed swing arms pivoted in connection with said rigid member for swinging motion toward opposite sides of said container from a normal position outwardly thereof, jaws on the arms adapted to engage said container when said arms are so moved, and a cam arrangement operative to efiect such motion of the swing arms upon lowering of said mounting arm; said cam arrangement being in part on the mounting arm and in part on the swing arms.
9. A machine, for depositing and shaping soil in containers for plants, comprising a frame, a conveyor on the frame to support and intermittently advance such container to a first station and then to a second station, the
individual containers remaining stationary for a given time at said stations, movable means on the frame operative to deposit a quantity of soil in each container at the first station, movable means on the frame to form a cavity in the soil in each container at the second station, and mechanism operative to actuate the conveyor and to move said means in predetermined timed relation; said mechanism including opposed ratchet wheel and pawl units, and a driven reciprocable member connected to said units to alternately actuate the same as said member reciprocates.
l0. A machine, to deposit soil in containers for plants, comprising a frame, means on the frame adapted to suecessively disposed and support the containers at a predetermined station, the containers each remaining at said station for a given length of time, and means on the frame arranged to deposit a quantity of soil in each container at said station; said last named means including an open-bottomed pocket initially spaced from a container at said station, means to fill the pocket when so spaced, means to move the pocket when filled to a position over the container at said station, and means to then expose the open bottom of the pocket to the container whereby the contents of the pocket will discharge into the container.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,831,176 Helm-Hansen Nov. 10, 1931 1,893,831 Weber Ian. 10, 1933 2,771,709 Ritter Nov. 27, 1956 FOREIGN PATENTS 571,084 Germany Feb. 25, 1933 599,962 Great Britain Mar. 24, 1948 712,782 Great Britain July 28, 1954