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Publication numberUS3010608 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 28, 1961
Filing dateMar 25, 1959
Priority dateMar 25, 1959
Publication numberUS 3010608 A, US 3010608A, US-A-3010608, US3010608 A, US3010608A
InventorsLyons Donald H
Original AssigneeIdeal Dispenser Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article release mechanism for vending machine incorporating sliding gates
US 3010608 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 28, 1961 D. H-. LYONS 3,010,608

ARTICLE RELEASE MECHANISM FOR VENDING MACHINE INCORPORATING SLIDING GATES 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 25, 1959 FIG. 1

INVENTOR DONALD H. LYONS ATTORNEYS Nov. 28, 1961 D. H. LYONS 3,010,608 ARTICLE RELEASE MECHANISM FOR VENDING MACHINE INCORPORATING SLIDING GATES Filed March 25, 1959 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG. 2

"IINVEIW-OR. DONALD H. LYONS Maud:

' AT ORNEYS Nov. 28, 1961 D. H. LYONS 3,010,608

ARTICLE RELEASE MECHANISM FOR VENDING MACHINE INCORPORATING SLIDING GATES Filed March 25, 1959 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR. DONALD H. LYONS ATTORNEYS Nov. 28, 1961 D. H. LYONS 3,010,608

ARTICLE RELEASE MECHANISM FOR VENDING MACHINE INCORPORATING SLIDING GATES FIG. 5

INVENTOR D ONALD H. LYONS Nov. 28, 1961 D. H. LYONS 3,010,608

- ARTICLE RELEASE MECHANISM FOR VENDING MACHINE INCORPORATING SLIDING GATES Filed March 25, 1959 5 Sheects-Sheet 5 INVENTOR DONALD H. 'LYONS BY {WM 51 ATTORNEYS misses Patented Nov. 2%, liifil 3,010,608 ARTICLE RELEASE P/ECHANISM FOR VENDING MACHINE INCORFORATING SLIDWG GATES Donald H. Lyons, Columbus, Ohio, assignor to Ideal Dispenser (30., Coiumhus, Ohio, a corporation of Ohio Filed Mar. 25, 1959, Ser. No. 801,791 14 Claims. (Cl. 221125) This invention relates to vending machines and more particularly to an article release mechanism for a vending machine adapted to dispense a plurality of article types.

in general, the vending machine of the present invention includes a plurality of vertically spaced shelves each of which communicates with an article releasing station. A plurality of slidably mounted gates, one for each of the article releasing stations, are mounted on a track means in superimposed relationship.

The vending machine of the present invention further includes a novel article release mechanism and interlock comprising a plurality of interconnected latch elements each or" which is actuated by movement of a gate and arranged to move into obstructing relationship with a next adjacent gate. Hence, when a selected gate is moved, all the other gates in the plurality are positively locked against the release of articles.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a novel release mechanism comprising a plurality of slidable gates and novel interlock means for permitting movement of any one of the gates selected, while, at the same time, preventing movement of all the gates in the plurality other than the one selected.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a novel release mechanism comprising a plurality of slidable gate means and a novel locking means for obstructing all of said gate means against movement, said locking means being adapted to release all of said gate means for movement responsive to insertion of a coin in a coin acceptance mechanism.

Further objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description, reference being had to the accompanying drawings wherein a preferred form of embodiment of the invention is clearly shown.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a vending machine constructed according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of an article release mechanism constructed according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a second rear perspective View of the article release mechanism of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a rear perspective view of a locking means comprising a portion of the article release mechanism of the present invention, said locking means being illustrated in a locked position;

FIG. 5 is a second rear perspective view of the lock ing means of FIG. 4, said locking means being disposed in 21 released position; and I FIG. 6 is a partial view showing two of the article releasing stations comprising a portion of the mechanism of FIG. 1, the view being taken along the line 66 of FIG. 1.

Referring in detail to the drawing a vending machine constructed according to the present invention is indicated generally at 20, FIG. 1, and includes a storage compartment 21 provided with a plurality of superimposed inclined shelves 2226.

The lower end of each of the inclined shelves 2226 communicates with an article releasing station 28-32,.

The article release mechanism of the present invention includes a frame means indicated generally at 35 that carries a plurality of vertically superimposed slidable gates indicated generally at 364i With reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, a front panel 42 of frame means 35 and a vertically disposed member 43 form a track means for slidably mounting gates 364% in edge to edge relationship. A spacer plate 15 is disposed between front panel 42 and vertically disposed member 43.

The gates 3640 are generally L-shaped and include front flanges 44-48 and side flanges 5458. Gate 36 is sometimes referred to herein as the first gate or top end gate and gate 40 is sometimes referred to as the fourth gate or the bottom end gate.

A first or topmost gate 36 includes a shoulder 56 engageable with a shoulder 61 on a latch element indicated generally at 62, said latch element being pivotally monoed intermediate its ends to side panel 49 by means of a pivot pin 64.

The lower end of latch element 62 includes a shoulder 65 movable into obstructing relationship with a shoulder 66 on gate means 37 upon movement of the topmost gate means 36 upwardly from the normal position of FIG. 2 to the raised position of FIG. 3. In the event that both the topmost gate means 36 and the next lower gate means 37 are raised together, as is the case when an article is Withdrawn from said next lower gate means 37, the shoulder 65 moves into a recess 70 provided for clearance below shoulder 66.

When both the topmost gate means 36 and the next lower gate means 37 are raised together, as is the case when an article is being withdrawn at gate means 37, the gate 38, the third one down from top, is locked downwardly in a closed position by a latch element indicated generally at 74, said latch element being pivoted intermediate its ends to front panel 42 by means of a pivot pin 76.

When gate 37 is moved upwardly a shoulder 78 on the gate engages a shoulder 79 on the upper end of latch element 74 whereby a shoulder 81 on the lower end of latch element 74 is moved into obstructing relationship with a shoulder 8-2 on gate 38 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 3. It will be understood that when shoulder 81 on latch element 74 is in latched engagement with shoulder 82 on gate 38 then gate 38 and all of the gates below gate 38 will be locked downwardly in their closed positions.

With continued reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, a latch element 85 is pivoted intermediate its ends to side panel 49 and interconnected to latch element 62 by a connecting member 86. A pivot pin 87 connects latch member 62 with connecting member 86, and a pivot pin 88 connects latch member 85 to connecting member 86. Hence, when upper latch member 62 is actuated by topmost gate 36 lower latch element 85, and all other latch elements lying below, are driven positively into obstructing relationship with a shoulder on a respective gate. On the other hand, if gate 3-8 is moved upwardly a shoulder 92 engages a shoulder 93 on latch element 85 and moves latch element 85, and all latch elements lying above and below, into obstructing relationship with a shoulder on a respective gate. It should be pointed out that a clearance recess 2&1 is provided to receive shoulder 81 on latch element 74 when gate 38 is lifted upwardly. Similarly, a clearance slot 203 is provided for shoulder 95 on latch element 85 when gate 39 is lifted upwardly.

When gate 39 is lifted upwardly, shoulder 202 on the gate actuates a shoulder 206 on latch element 205 Whereby the latch element pivots about pin 268 and engages a shoulder, not illustrated, on the next lower gate or bottom end gate 40.

It should be pointed out that a certain amount of clearance is necessary between the shoulders 65 and 95, on the lower ends of the latch elements and the confronting shoulders 65 and 98, formed by the notches in the gates, in order to permit the entry of the lower ends of the latch elements into the notches. The magnitude of clearance necessary to permit entry and exit of the latches into and out of the notches on the slidable gates is of such order that if all of the gates are lifted above the bottommost gate and the top gate is held upwardly while letting all the other gates drop free, then the lowermost gate would become unlatched were it not for the presence of connecting member 86 winch serves to prevent the predetermined required clearance, between each latch element and gate, from becoming cumulative. Hence it will be understood that connecting member 86 restricts the free movement of all the latches so that the movement at each latch equals the movement of all the others such that the movement of the lowermost latch is insufficient to unlatch the lowermost gate which would permit the free withdrawal of an article from the lowermost article releasing station.

As shown in phantom in FIG. 2 and in solid delineation in FIGS. 4 and 5, latch elements 62 and 85 are provided with a cover plate 185 which lies between the latch elements and connecting member 86. As seen in FIG. 2, pins 87 and 83, connecting the upper ends of latch elements 62 and 85 with connecting member 86, pass through arcuate clearance slots 182 in cover plate 180. The upper ends 184 of arcuate slots 182 form stops for pins 87 and 88 which stops limit the upward movement of the slidably mounted gates. The upward travel of the gates is also limited by movement of the shoulders 65 on the lower ends of the latch elements 62 into obstructing relationship with the shoulders 70 formed by the notches in the gates.

With reference to FIG. 4, all of the gates are normally maintained in a closed position by a first locking means in the form of a member 103 mounted on topmost gate 36 and a second locking means in the form of a movable stop 161 that obstructs movement of all of the gates 364t). When a solenoid 185 is energized, by insertion of a coin in a coin acceptance mechanism, not illustrated, arm 166 is shifted to the left whereby U-shaped element 107 shifts movable stop 101 about pivot 108 to effect release of shoulder 102 on member 193.

Upon lifting of one of the gates 37-40, all the gates above, including topmost gate 36 and member 103 mounted thereon, also move upwardly. The only article that can be removed, however, is the article at the gate being lifted since the upper edges on the gates being lifted move into obstructing relationship with the article positioned in the article releasing station next above.

It should be pointed out that arm 106 is secured to U- shaped member 197 at a pivot pin 110.

As the gates are moved upwardly, connecting member 86, pivoted to the upper ends of the latch elements 62 and 85, swings rearwardly against an arm 112 and actuates switch 114, FIG. 3. solenoid 165 whereby movable stop 101 is moved to the right, FIG. 5, against the vertical edge 116 of member 162 since tension spring 117 constantly urges arm 106 to the right.

After an article has been removed through one of the gates and the gate is moved downwardly member 162 on the topmost gate 36 will drop to a position wherein spring 117 urges movable stop 101 to a position over lying a shoulder 120. This prevents the gate from again being lifted after a pivotally mounted gate, located be tween the inclined shelf and the article releasing station, has been unlocked to permit another article to move into the releasing station and also before latches 62 permit unlocking of gates 36-40.

When switch 114 is actuated by connecting member I 86, solenoid 105 is de-energized, as mentioned above, and

This breaks the circuit to in addition, switch 114 opens the circuit to a coin blockout release in the coin changer mechanism, not illustrated.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, all of the gates 36-49 are constantly urged downwardly by a spring pressed lever 176 pivoted to front panel 4-2 at a pin 171. A tension sprin 173, connected between pivoted lever 170 and front panel 42, constantly urges roller 175 against the upper edge of topmost gate 36. A spacer pin 177 rides along the inner surface of front panel 42 as lever 17E pivots on pin 171 and serves to keep roller 175 in position against the upper edge of topmost gate 36.

Reference is next made to FIGS. 1 and 6 which illustrate means for preventing articles stacked on shelves 22- 26 from moving into the article releasing stations 28-32 when a respective gate 36 :tl is in a raised article releasing position.

As seen in FIG. 6, a plurality of pivoted gates two of which are indicated generally at and 142 are mounted to the frame of the machine on pivot rods 145. Each of the slidable gates 3640, FIG. 6, includes an in-turned flange 148 that moves into the path of a flange on a respective pivoted gate. In FIG. 6, slidable gate 37 is in a raised position wherein flange 148 obstructs movement of flange 150 and pivoted gate 140. Gate 38, however, is in a closed configuration wherein flange 150 on pivoted gate 142 clears flange 148 on slidable gate 38 whereby an article can be moved from shelf 23 into article releasing station 30.

Reverse movement of pivotally mounted gates 140 and 142 is prevented by a flange .152 which is normally in close proximity to a reverse movement obstructing stop 154 formed by an under surface of the floor of the article releasing station next above.

Referring again to FIG. 6, gate 142 is shown. in a partially pivoted configuration wherein flange 150 has been pivoted beyond flange 148 and flange 152 is departing from reverse movement obstructing stop 154..

V In operation, FIGS. 1, 2, and 4 show the configuration of the article release mechanism'with all of the gates in a closed position. When a customer desires to make a purchase he inserts the appropriate amount of coin in a coin acceptance mechanism, not illustrated, which energizes solenoid 105 whereby movable stop 101 is shifted away from obstructing relationship with shoulder 102 as seen in FIG. 5. The customer next grasps the neck of a bottle and withdraws same which brings the tapered neck portion of the bottle into engagement with the upper edge of a gate. The wedging action of the bottle being withdrawn urges the gate upwardly and the bottle is released.

As seen in FIG. 3 gate 37 is shown in a raised configuration in which the next gate 36 above has been moved upwardly since the upper edge of gate 37 bears against the lower edge of gate 36. When gate 37 moves upwardly the upper edge thereof maintains the opening at gate 36 at its normal article restricting size so that an article cannot be withdrawn from the topmost article releasing station 28.

When gate 37 moves upwardly, inclined shoulder 60 on gate 36, next above, engages upper end 61 on latch element 62 and pivots the latch element about pin 64 whereby shoulder 65 moves into obstructing relationship with shoulder 70. As latch element 62 pivots connecting member 86 moves upwardly and moves the latch elements below, such as latch element 85, into obstructing relationship with shoulders 90.

Gate 38, next below gate 37 being lifted, is locked downwardly by pivoting of latch element 74 about pin 76. A shoulder 81 on the lower end of latch element 74 moves into obstructing relationship with shoulder 82 on gate 38.

In the event that gate 38 is lifted thelower shoulder 81 of latch element 74 will move into obstructing relationship with a shoulder 201 in gate 38. At the same time the lower edge of a shoulder 92 on gate 38 engages shoulder 93 on latch element 88 and pivots a lower shoulder 95 into obstructing relationship with a shoulder 90 on the right side of gate 39.

In the event that gate 39 is lifted shoulder 95 on the bottom of latch element 85 moves into obstructing relationship with lower recess 304 on gate 39. At the same time a shoulder 292 on the left side of gate 39 engages a shoulder 206 on a lowermost latch element 205 whereby said latch element is pivoted into obstructing relationship with the next lower gate.

it will now be understood that although only five gates are incorporated in the machine shown in the present drawings, any desired number of gates can be assembled in vertical abutting relationship with an appropriate numher of latch elements such as 62, 85, and 74 arranged in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3.

When any one of the gates is raised connecting member 86 will move towards the rear of the machine, from the position of FIG. 2 to the position of 1 16. 3, and depress blade 112 which actuates switch 114 to break the circuit that energized solenoid 105. This permits movable stop 161 to move over against vertical edge 116 of member 163, said movable stop 101 being urged against edge 116 by the tension in spring 117.

After a bottle has been withdrawn the gate at the article releasing station from which the bottle has been removed will move downwardly due to the action of gravityand, in case the gates should become slightly misaligned and stick, the gates will be pushed downwardly by spring pressed lever 170.

As the gates move downwardly connecting member 86 moves towards the front of the machine, from the position of FIG. 3 to the position of FIG. 2, and releases blade 112 to connect the circuit by which solenoid 105 is energized by insertion of coin into the coin acceptance mechanism during the next cycle of operation.

As the top most gate 36 moves downwardly alone, or in combination with other gates, movable stop 101 moves over shoulder 124 and after such engagement the gate cannot again be lifted. This prevents a purchaser from withdrawing an article and then lowering a gate to a position wherein a pivoted gate, such as 150 in FIG. 6, is released by its flange 148 to release another bottle from a storage shelf into the article releasing station. It will be understood that flange 148 on the back of the gate does not move out of obstructing relationship with flange 150 until movable stop 191 has moved into obstructing relationship with shoulder 120. Hence, the pivoted gate 140 remains obstructed until the slidable gate 37 has moved downwardly to a position wherein its movement cannot be reversed. When slidable gate 37 closes completely movable stop 191 moves into obstructing relationship with shoulder 102 on the top of member 163 whereby all of the gates are locked until solenoid 105 is again energized during the next vending cycle.

While the form of embodiment of the present invention as herein disclosed constitutes a preferred form, it is to be understood that other forms might be adopted, all coming within the scope of the claims which follow:

I claim:

1. An article release mechanism for a vending machine of the type that includes a plurality of vertically spaced shelves, for supporting articles to be vended, said mechanism comprising, in combination, frame means; track means carried by said frame means; a plurality of slidable gates carried by said track means, each of said gates being slideable between a closed and an open position at a respective shelf whereby articlescan be released therefrom; a first latch element movably mounted to said frame means and including a first shoulder for engagement by a first one of said gates and a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with a second one of said gates responsive to movement of said first gate, said first gate including a. first locking means; a second latch element movably mounted to said frame means and including a first shoulder for engagement by a third one of said gates and a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with a fourth one of said gates responsive to movement of said third gate; a member interconnecting said first and second latch elements whereby movement of one of said latch elements imparts movement to the other of said latch elements; a third latch element on said frame means and shifted by movement of said second gate into obstructing relationship with said third gate; a second locking means including a first position in the path of said first locking means for obstructing movement of all of said gate means in one direction and a second position clear of said path wherein said gate means are not obstructed by said second locking means; and means coacting with said second locking means for shifting said second locking means between said first and second positions,

2. An article release mechanism fora vending machine of the type that includes a plurality of vertically spaced shelves for supporting articles to be vended, said mechanism comprising, in combination, frame means; track means carried by said frame means; a plurality of slidable gates carried by said track means, each of said gates being slideable between a closed and an open position at a respective shelf whereby articles can be released therefrom; a first latch element movably mounted to said frame means and including a first shoulder for engagement by a first one of said gates and a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with a second one of said gates responsive to movement of said first gate; a second latch element movably mounted to said frame means and including a first shoulder for engagement by a third one of said gates and a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with a fourth one of said gates responsive to movement of said third gate; a member interconnecting said first and second latch elements whereby movement of one of said latch elements imparts movement to the other of said latch elements; a third latch element movably mounted to said frame means and including a first shoulder for engagement by said second one of said gatesand a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with said third one of said gates responsive to movement of said second gate; a movable stop including a first position for obstructing movement of all ofsaid gate means in one direction and a second position wherein said gate means are not obstructed by said stop means; and means coacting with said movable stop for shifting said movable stop between said first and second positions.

3. An article release mechanism for a vending machine of the type that includes a plurality of vertically spaced shelves for supporting articles to be vended, said mechanism comprising, in combination, frame means; track means carried by said frame means; a plurality of slidable gates carried by said track mean-s, each of said gates being slideable between a closed and an open position at a respective shelf whereby articles can be released therefrom; a-first latch element pivotally mounted intermediate its ends to said frame means and including a first shoulder for engagement by a first one of said gates and a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with a second one of said gates responsive to movement of said first gate; a second latch element pivotally mounted intermediate its ends to said frame means and including a first shoulder for engagement by a third one of said gates and a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with a fourth one of said gates responsive to movement of said third gate; a member interconnecting said first and second latch elements whereby movement of on of said latch elements imparts movement to the other of said latch elements; a third latch element pivotally mounted intermediate its ends to said frame means and including a first shoulder for engagement by said second one of said gates and a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with said third one of said gates responsive to movement of said second gate; a movable stop including a first position for obstructing movement of all of said gate means in one direction and a second position wherein said gate means are not obstructed by said stop means; and means coacting with said movable stop for shifting said movable stop between said first and second positions.

4. An article release mechanism for a vending machine of the type that includes a plurality of vertically spaced shelves for supporting articles to be vended, said mechanism comprising, in combination, frame means; track means carried by said frame means; a first gate means slidably carried by said track means, each of said gates being slideable between a closed and an open position at a respective shelf whereby articles can be released therefrom; a second gate means abutting said first gate means and including a first shoulder and a first recess; a latch element movably mounted to said frame, said latch element being engaged by said first gate whereby sliding of said first gate means in one direction or concurrent sliding of said first and second gate means in said one direction moves said latch element, said latch element including a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with said first shoulder of said second gate upon movement of said first gate means, said second shoulder being movable into said first recess in said second gate means responsive to concurrent sliding of said first and second gates; a third means abutting said second gate means; a fourth gate means abutting said third gate means and including a third shoulder and a second recess; a second latch element movably mounted to said frame, said second latch element being engaged by said third gate whereby sliding of said third gate means in one direction or concurrent sliding of said third and fourth gate means in said one direction moves said second latch element, said second latch element including a fourth shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with said third shoulder on said fourth gate upon movement of said third gate means, said fourth shoulder being movable into said second recess in said fourth gate means responsive to concurrent sliding of said third and fourth gatemeans; a third latch element movable by movement ofsaid second gate means said third latch element including a fifth shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with a sixth shoulder on said third gate means, said fifth shoulder being movable into a third recess in said third gate means; -a member interconnecting said first and second latch element; a movable stop including a first position for obstructing movement of all of said gate means in one direction and a second position wherein said gate means are not obstructed by' said stop means; and means coacting withsaid movable stop for shifting said movable stop between said first and second positions.

5. The apparatus defined in claim 4 wherein said third gate means includes a sixth shoulder and a third recess, said fifth shoulder on said third latch element being movable into obstructing engagement with said sixth shoulder by sliding of said second gate means away from said third gate means, said fifth shoulder being movable into said third recess by concurrent sliding of said second and third gate means in said one direction.

6. An article release mechanism for a vending machine of the type that includes a plurality of vertically spaced shelves for supporting articles to be vended, sm'd mechanism comprising, in combination, frame means; track means carried by said frame means; a first gate means slidably carried by said track means, each of said gates being slideable between a closed and an open position .at a respective shelf whereby articles can be released therefrom; a second gate means abutting said first gate means and including a first shoulder and a first recess; a latch element pivotally mounted intermediate its ends to said frame means, said latch element being engaged by said first gate whereby sliding of said first gate means in one direction or concurrent sliding of said first and second gate means in said one direction moves said latch element, said latch element including a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with said first shoulder of said second gate upon movement of said first gate means, said second shoulder being movable into said first recess in said second gate means responsive to concurrent sliding of said first and second gates; a third gate means abutting said second gate means; a fourth gate means abutting said third gate means and including a third shoulder and a second recess; a second latch element pivotally mounted intermediate its ends to said frame means, said second latch element being engaged bysaid third gate whereby sliding of said third gate means in one direction or by concurrent sliding of said third and fourth gate means in said one direction moves said second latch element, said second latch element including a fourth shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with said third shoulder on said fourth gate upon movement of said third gate means, said fourth shoulder being movable into said second recess in said fourth gate means responsive to concurrent sliding of third and fourth gate means; a third latch element mounted on said frame means and movable by movement of said second gate means, said third latch element including a fifth shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with a sixth shoulder on said third gate means, said fifth shoulder being movable into a third recess in said third gate means; a member interconnecting said first and second latch elements; a movable stop including a first position for obstructing movement of all of said gate means in one direct-ion and a second position wherein said gate means are not obstructed by said stop means; and means coacting with said movable stop for shifting said movable stop between said first and second positions.

7. An article release mechanism for a vending machine of the type that includes a plurality of vertically spaced shelves for supporting articles to be vended, said mechanism comprising, in combination, frame means; track means carried by said frame means; a plurality of slidable gates carried by said track means, each of said gates being slideable between a closed and an open position at a respective shelf whereby articles can be released therefrom; a first latch element movably mounted to said frame means and including a first shoulder for engagement by a first one of said gates and a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with a second one of said gates responsive to movement of said first gate; a second latch element movably mounted to said frame means and including a first shoulder for engagement by a third one of said gates and a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with a fourth one of said gates responsive to movement of said third gate; a member interconnecting said first and second latch elements whereby movement of one of said latch elements imparts move ment to the other of said latch elements; a third latch element on said frame means and shifted by movement Of said second gate into obstrucing relationship with said third gate; a first locking means operatively associated with said one gate and movable in one direction responsive to movement of any one of said gates; a second locking means movable from a first position wherein said second "locking means obstructs said first locking means and a second position wherein said first locking means is free to move in said one direction; and means for moving said second locking means between said first and second positions.

8. The apparatus defined in claim 7 wherein said first locking means includes a first shoulder for engagement by said second locking means and a second shoulder for engagement with said second locking means.

9. The apparatus defined in claim 7 wherein said second locking means is urged towards one of said positions by a spring means and wherein an electrically actuated means is connected to said second locking means for moving said second locking means to the other of said positions.

10. An article release mechanism for a vending machine of the type that includes a plurality of vertically spaced shelves for supporting articles to be vended, said mechanism comprising, in combination, frame means; track means carried by said frame means; first and second stop means; a plurality of gates including bottom and top end gates slidably carried by said track means, said bottom end gate abutting said first stop means and said top end gate being spaced from said second stop means so as to limit the available movement of said gates to sufiicient movement to permit the release of only one article from between the edge of a gate and a confronting portion of said frame means, said gates including a plurality of shoulders; a plurality of latch elements movably mounted to said frame means along one side of said plurality of gates, each of said latch elements being engaged by a shoulder on one of said gates and movable by sliding of said one gate into obstructing relationship with a shoulder on another of said gates; a second plurality of latch elements movably mounted to said frame means along the other side of said plurality of gates, each of said latch elements being engaged by a shoulder on one of said gates and movable by sliding of said one gate into obstructing relationship with a shoulder on another of said gates; means interconnecting said plurality of latch elements; locking means including a first position for obstructing movement of all of said gates whereby said available movement cannot be utilized and a second position wherein said gates are not obstructed from said available movement by said locking means; and means for moving said locking means between said first and second positions.

11. An article release mechanism for a vending machine of the type that includes a plurality of vertically spaced shelves communicating with a plurality of respective releasing stations, said mechanism comprising, in combination, frame means; track means carried by said frame means; a plurality of gate means slidably carried by said track means, each of said gates being disposed at one of said article releasing stations, each of said gate means including a first shoulder and a second shoulder; a first plurality of latch elements movably mounted on said frame means along one side of said plurality of gates, each of said latch elements including a third shoulder for engagement by one of said first shoulders of one of said gate means and a fourth shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with one of said second shoulders on another of said gate means; a member interconnecting said latch elements whereby movement of one of said first plurality of latch elements causes movement of the other of said latch elements; a second plurality of latch elements movably mounted to said frame means along the other side of said plurality of gates, each of said latch elements being engaged by a shoulder on one of said gates and movable by sliding of said one gate into obstructing relationship with a shoulder on another of said gates; a first locking means operatively associated with an end gate means of said plurality; a second locking means coacting with'said first locking means and including a first position for obstructing movement of all of said gate means in one direction and a second position wherein said gate means are not obstructed by said locking means; and means for moving said second locking means between said first and second positions.

12. An article release mechanism for a vending machine, said mechanism comprising, in combination, a frame; a plurality of gate means; a latch element pivotally mounted to said frame and including a first shoulder movably engaged by one of said gate means and a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with another of said gate means; a shiftable member including a pivotal connection with said latch element; a second latch element pivotally mounted to said frame on the other side of said plurality of gate means and including a third shoulder movably engaged by one of said gate means and a second shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with another of said gate means; a first locking means operatively associated with an end gate means of said plurality; a second locking means coacting with said first locking means and including a first position for obstructing movement of all of said gate means in one direction and a second position wherein said gate means are not obstructed by said locking means; and means for moving said second locking means between said first and second positions.

13. An article release mechanism for a vending machine of the type that includes a plurality of vertically spaced shelves, said mechanism comprising, in combination, frame means; track means carried by said frame means; a plurality of slidable gates carried by said track means and including a plurality of shoulders; a first plurality of latch elements pivotally mounted to said frame means on one side of said plurality of slidable gates, each of said latch elements being pivoted intermediate a first end for engagement by one of said shoulders on one of said slidable gates and a second end for movement into obstructing relationship with another of said shoulders on a next adjacent slidable gate, a predetermined clearance space being provided between each of second ends and a responsive confronting shoulder and a member connected to each of said plurality of latch elements at connections spaced from the pivotal mounts of said latch elements for maintaining said predetermined clearance between each of said second ends and its respective confronting shoulder; a member interconnecting said first plurality of latch elements whereby movement of one of said latch elements causes movement of the other of said latch elements; a second plurality of latch elements movably mounted to said frame means along the Other side of said plurality of gates, each of said latch elements including a first latch shoulder engaged by one of said shoulders on said gates and a second latch shoulder movable into obstructing relationship with another one of said shoulders on said gates; a first locking means operatively associated with an end gate of said plurality; a second locking means coacting with said first locking means and including a first position for obstructing movement of all of said gate means in one direction and a second position wherein said gate means are not obstructed by said locking means; and means for moving said second locking means between said first and second positions.

14. The apparatus defined in claim 13 wherein said plurality of latch elements are engaged by said slidable gates along the same sides thereof and wherein a second plurality of latch elements are engaged by said slidable gates along the sides thereof opposite said first mentioned sides.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,727,654 Childers et al Dec. 20, 1955 2,766,906 Bookout et a1 Oct. 16, 1956 2,819,815 Stumbaugh June 14, 1958 2,875,922 Hsu et al Mar. 3, 1959 2,898,001 Johnson Aug. 4, 1959

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5638985 *Jan 11, 1995Jun 17, 1997Design & Manufacturing Services, Inc.Vending apparatus and method
US6330856Jan 28, 1999Dec 18, 2001Innovative Product Achievements, Inc.Garment dispensing and receiving apparatus
US6502718Mar 19, 2001Jan 7, 2003Innovative Product Achievements, Inc.Garment dispensing and receiving apparatus having a removable cartridge body and a flexible dispensing door
US8123071Sep 28, 2007Feb 28, 2012Innovative Product Acheivements, LLCMethods and apparatus for increasing the speed of dispensing articles from vending machines
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Classifications
U.S. Classification221/125
International ClassificationG07F11/30, G07F11/02
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/30
European ClassificationG07F11/30