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Publication numberUS3163275 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 29, 1964
Filing dateDec 26, 1961
Priority dateDec 26, 1961
Publication numberUS 3163275 A, US 3163275A, US-A-3163275, US3163275 A, US3163275A
InventorsBoley A Andrews, Le Roy D Gore
Original AssigneeVendo Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Coin actuated merchandising apparatus
US 3163275 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 29, 1964 B. A. ANDREWS ETAL COIN ACTUATED MERCHANDISING APPARATUS Filed Dec. 26, 1961 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Rf BY ATTORNEYS.

4 Sheets-Sheet 2 1964 B. A. ANDREWS ETAL COIN ACTUATED MERCHANDISING APPARATUS Filed Dec. 26, 1961 1964 B. A. ANDREWS ETAL 3,163,275

COIN ACTUATED MERCHANDISING APPARATUS Filed Dec. 26, 1961 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENTORS. 50/qy A. find/2W5 BY Le/Qay D. Gare 1964 B. A. ANDREWS E'I 'AL 3,153,275

COIN ACTUATED MERCHANDISING APPARATUS 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Dec. 26, 1961- 5 w E E w w w mme W C m Mfl W n 9 A Ziliy. 10.

United States Patent This invention relates to coin-actuated merchandising apparatus, and particularly, to a vending machine adapted to vend a substantially unlimited variety of merchandise at any one of a number of prices within an appropriate price range and including structure permitting alteration of the preset prices as required when changes are made in the articles to be vended from the machine.

Specifically, the present invention provides novel means for accommodating the coin controlled vending of the substantially unlimited varieties of articles which are now, or can be blister packed under transparent plastic covers over cardboard support members and displayed and sold from boards or racks, a method of selling which has become commonly known as rack merchandising. Thus, the present invention accomplishes the controlled vending of a large number of articles without sacrificing the eyeappeal and buy impulse attraction of the rack merchandising manner of displaying the articles.

Vending machines thus far developed have, for the most part, involved provision of a hollow cabinet adapted to receive a number of articles to be vended and with such articles being carried by suitable release mechanism causing one article to be discharged from the cabinet in response to insertion of a proper deposit in the coin mechanism forming a part of the mach ne. Machines of this character have serious inherent design limitations with respect to the number of different products which may be dispensed from a particular machine with very complicated and quite expensive mechanism being necessary to control delivery of different articles from the machine. Notwithstanding the complicated release mechanism used in these machines, it has not been possible to merchandise a very large number of articles from the same mechanism, all at a selected price within a price range, and with the articles to be dispensed from the machine being alterable at will. 7

The continuing trend toward automation of merchandising has confirmed that the public is becoming more conscious of the convenience, manner of operation and advantages of vending machines, and retailers on all levels have become more aware that they can increase their profit margins by offering a greater number of products through vending machines without the necessity of employing additional personnel to receive the money directly from the customers at the time they make a purchase.

It has also become apparent that vending machines would be useful in many areas where the same have not heretofore been employed because of the high cost of the machines, the necessity of frequently servicing the same, and customer reluctance to attempt operation of complex, multi-product machines where they were not able to view the product being purchased. 7

It was determined that a relatively inexpensive and simple vending machine could be provided for vending a substantially unlimited variety of articles and with the purchaser being able to view all of the articles available for purchase by affixing the individual articles to planar mountings of cardboard or other suitable material, and then removably impaling the cardboard mountings on support posts carried by suitable framework having control mechanism therein operably associated with the posts for crediting the deposit by customer of coins or currency 3,163,275 Patented Dec. 29, 1964 ice in the machines and permitting any desired article to be removed from a respective post provided proper coin .deposit has been made in the machine while at the same time preventing access to more than one article during each vend cycle to obviate jackpotting of the mechanism. This type of machine was found to lend itself particularly well to what is termed in the trade-semi-attended areaswherein surreptitious and forcible attempts'to remove articles from the machine without payment of money thereinto would normally be observed by an attendant in the general area of the machine. 7 It is, therefore, the primary object of the present invention to provide coin-actuated merchandising apparatus especially useful in semi-attended areas, wherein the articles to be sold are each visually observable to the customer by virtue of being inaccessibly afi'ixed beneath transparent coverings to planar mounting boards, each positioned on one of a multiplicity of posts carried by the framework of the machine so that the customer may view all of the articles before purchasing any of the same, and with novel control mechanism being provided in association with the posts for permitting the customer to select any article which he desires to purchase, but precluding removal of more than one article from the machine and thereby from one of the posts during each vending cycle. It is a further significant object of the invention to provide coin-actuated merchandising apparatus as described wherein the control mechanism of the machine includes means for varying the price at which articles are to be vended from individual posts so that difierent articles at difierent prices may be vended from the same or diiferent posts at different times as required for a particular location of the machine or the sales performance of the products.

Also an important object of the invention is to provide retainer means thereon, so that once a customer hasdetermined which article he is going to purchase and has actuated the manually actuatable means, the retainer means on the particular post is unlocked and held unlocked until the outermost article has been removed from the post, thereby preventing the customer from losing his deposit without receiving an article from the machine.

The control mechanism of the machine associated with the merchandise post also includes novelmeans for preventing the customer from removing articles from other posts or losing his deposit once he has actuated the manually actuatable means associated with each post and the outermost article has been removed from the post.

Another important aim of the invention is to provide machines of the character described wherein the number.

of articles accommodated may be altered in different 'models as required by simply varying the number and/ or the length of posts projecting outwardly from framework of various areas, and also permitting variation of the dimensions of articles that may be accommodated on the machine by the expedient of using variations of 'post spacings. Thus, different machines may have several dif- If ferent spacings between adjacent posts, either horizontally, V

vertically or in both directions.

A still further important'object of the invention is to prior to or during a vend cycle, while at the same time insuring that the customer will not lose his deposit even though he inadvertently or intentionally operates the machine in an abnormal manner, as for example, when the purchaser attempts to pull more than one article from a ost.

p In view of the construction of the machine for utilization in semi-attended areas, it is another significant aim of the invention to achieve the maximum in effective display of merchandise and point of purchase appeal without the usual safeguard of containing the merchandise in a closed cabinet. 7

A further important object is the accommodation of saleable articles without regard to limitless variations in article configurations by making the manner of stocking and vending the articles relatively independent of shape or size.

Other important objects'and details of the present machine, and the novel support member for the articles to be vended, will become obvious or be explained in greater detail as the following specification progresses.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of coin-actuated merchandising apparatus embodying the preferred concepts of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged, fragmentary, sectional view through one of the upright walls of the housing forming a part of the vending apparatus, illustrating one of the post units in plan view and with certain portions thereof being broken away 'and'in section to'more clearly illustrate the details of construction of the same; 7

FIG. 3 is an enlarged, fragmentary, cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 2 but showing one of the post units in side elevation and with portions thereof also being broken away to show the details of the components thereof; a

FIG. 4 is an'enlarged, vertical, cross-sectional view taken substantially on line 4-4 of FIG. 2 and looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 5 is an end elevational View of a synthetic resin cam member removed from one of the post 'units;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged, fragmentary, vertical, cross-sec.- tional view taken substantially on line6'6 of FIG. 3

the details of elements therebehind;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged, fragmentary view similar to FIG. 2, but illustrating the latch member of the post unit .in the latched condition thereof;

FIG. 8 is a. perspective view of connector means forming a part of the post unit and shown removed therefrom;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged, fragmentary view of the overall apparatus and showing theway in which a number of support members carrying articles thereon, are impaled on and with parts thereof also-being broken away to show the support units in visually observable disposition; and

FIG. 10 is a simplified schematic wiringdiagram illustrating a representative circuit for controlling vending of articles from corresponding support posts forming a part of the merchandising. apparatus. 7

Coin-actuated merchandising apparatus embodying the preferredconcepts of the invention is broadly numerated 20, and although the article dispensing units of apparatus 20. may be used in various applications, a representative machine is illustrated in FIGURE 1 to'show one way in which the dispensing unitsmay be advantageously employed to vend a multiplicity of articles at selective prices.

. The housing 22 of apparatus includes a base 24 adapted to rest on a supporting surface su'ch'as the floor, and mounts a pair of, horizontally spaced, upright side walls 26 and 28, aswell as a hollow, upright, central sec tion 30 parallel with walls 26 and 28 and provided with an outer, upright, hingedly mounted door Btlzzswingable;

about a vertical axis to provide access tothe interior'of the section 30. i a

The generally horizontal, hollow top units 32 and 34 of the housing 22 cooperate with the base 24, side walls 26 and 28, section 30, and the upright, rear walls 36 and 38 of housing 22 to present a pair of rectangular, open front vending compartments 40 and 42 on opposite sides of section 30 as is best indicated in FIG. 1. The top units 32 and 34 may have glass panels over the front portions thereof to permit placement of advertising materials or the like on such glass panels or behind the same, to indicate the type of goods to be vended from the machine, or the name of the vending apparatus.

The section 30 receives a conventional coin-operated unit involving a coin-accepting and rejecting assembly, along with a coin value totalizer. and changing mechanism. These units are available from a number of sources and serve to accept valid coins and to reject spurious discs,

while also totaling the value of accepted coins inserted in the machine, regardless of the denomination thereon-and to return change to the customer if required, during the vending cycle. Thus, a panel 44 on door 30a of section 39 is provided with a coin slot 46 for insertion of coins into the coin mechanism referred to above, as well as a scavenger lever 48 operably coupled to the coin-accept and reject unit to scavenge spurious discs or bent coins and the like from the rejector. A coin return chute within section 30 has a coin return 50 mounted on door 30a below panel 44.

The compartments 40 and 42 have a number of subbe made clear hereinafter, anydesired number of the units:

52 may be mounted within the compartments 40 and 42, and such units may be constructed to accommodate a number of articles to be vended, but for purposes of simplicity and clarity, only one of the units 52 is illustrated in detail and will be described with particularity.

With reference to FIGS. 2 to 8 inclusive, it is to be noted that the unit 52 illustrated therein, includes an elongated article-support element in the nature of a cylindrical tube 54 telescoped into the tubular boss portion 56 of a mounting hub 58 provided with an annular flange portion 69 adapted to be disposed in abutting relationship to conveniently comprises a generally C-shaped mounting ring 68 located on the rear face of the wall 36 for example, and secured to hub 58 by a number of screws 70 passing through wall 36. A solenoid bracket 72, having a main rectangular planar portion 74, a depending side flange 76, and an end, upright mounting flange 78, is secured to and carried by mounting hub 58 by virtue of screws passing through flange 78 into the central rearmost area of face 62 of hub 58. A solenoid 82 carried'by the planar portion 74 of bracket 72 adjacent the rearmost end thereof,ris provided with a coil 84 and a reciprocable armature 86 projecting toward'mountinghub 58 and normally maintained in the outermost position thereof by a coil spring 88 surrounding armature 86 and bearing against a component to be described hereinafter.

. A generally L-shaped switch bracket '90 includes an upright leg 92 adjustably secured to flange 76 by a pair of screws 94, as well as an upper, normally horizontal leg 86 which carries a conventional microswitch 98 having an actuating button 100 located adjacent leg 92 of bracket 90. Means for shifting the button 100 of switch from FIG. 2 that arm 102' is of generally J-shaped configuration with the inner hook portion 106 thereof extending over the central area of planar portion 74 of mounting bracket 72. I

The tube 54 is adapted to carry a number of articles 108 thereon to be successively vended from the outer free end of tube 54 and, in order to permit removal of only one article 168 at a time, a retainer broadly designated 110, is pivotally mounted on tube 54 adjacent the end thereof remote from hub 58. As is best shown in FIGS. 3 and 6, the retainer 110 is of irregular, peripheral configuration and is mounted for rotation about a horizontal pin 112 carriedby tube 54.

The normally uppermost edge 114 of retainer 110 is provided with a downwardly directed notch 116 therein which receives a spring 118 having a leg 120 bearing against retainer 110 within notch 116, while a somewhat longer leg 122 of spring 118 contacts the inner surface of tube 54 to bias the retainer 110 in a clockwise direction about the axis of pin 112, viewing FiG. 3. It is also apparent from FIGS. 3 and 6 that the lower portion of tube 54 is provided with an elongated slot 124 for clearing the extension 126 of retainer 111 which projects downwardly through slot 124. A projection 128 on the forwardmost extremity of retainer 110 is normally disposed to engage the forwardmost portion of tube 54-, thereby restricting clockwise movement of retainer 110 under the action of spring 118, but not in any way interfering with counterclockwise swinging movement of retainer 110 during removal of an article 1438 as will be explained.

The extension 126 has an arcuate, forwardly facing, rearwardly extending, transversely arcuate edge 1% which terminates at the rearmost end thereof in a normally upright planar shoulder 132 extending toward spring 118 and defining a portion of a generally L-shaped notch 134 in retainer 110. Another downwardly directed, transversely arcuate edge 136 of retainer 116, extends rearwardly from notch 134 and terminates at the rear section 138 of retainer 111 which is provided with a rectangular notch 140 therein normally located within tube 54 as indicated in FIG. 3.

Combination connecting and latch means 142 (FIGSQ 3 and 8) is slidably mounted in tube 54 between retainer 110 and solenoid 82, and includes'blocking means in the nature of a latch casting 144 having a forwardly projecting section 144a terminating in a tongue 144b adapted to be received within notch 140 and retainer 110 as shown in FIG. 3. The lower surface of latch 144 is curved to complementally engage the inner face of tube 54 for sliding movement therealong and to maintain the axis of latch 144 in generally parallel relationship with the axis of tube 54. I

The connector casting 146 within tube 54 has a semicylindrical main body section 146:: provided with an outer arcuate surface complementally engaging the inner face of tube 54, and a partial, transversely extending end wall 1416b located adjacent armature 86 of solenoid 82. The forwardmost extremity 146a of connector 146 terminates in a relatively flat, upper surface in spaced relationship to the top portion of the inside surface of tube 54. As is apparent from FIGS. 2, 3 and 8, the section 146a of connector 146, and the rear section 144;- of latch 144, have transversely flat, parallel faces 144d and 146d respectively normally located in spaced relationship. I

An elongated connector rod 148 extends into the face 146d of section 1460 and is threaded into the latter as shown in FIG. 3, while the opposite extremity of the rod 148 extends into and is slidable relative to the section 1440 of latch 144. Spring 150 surrounding rod 148 between the faces 144d and 146d, has a J-shaped end sec tion 152 suitably secured to section 146a, and an opposed end section 154- similarly secured to section 144a of latch 144. As is apparent from FIGS. 2 and 3, the sections 1440 and 1460 have suitable normally vertically disposed passages 1S6 therethrough for clearing the end sections 152 and 154 respectively, so that the latter may be hooked around the rod 148, as shown in FIG. 2.

The rearmost extremity of connector 146 projects outwardly of tube 54- in overlying relationship to bracket 72 with the end wall section 1 16b thereof being provided with a normally upwardly extending U-shaped notch 146e therein, aligned with armature 86 and receiving a U- bracket 158 secured to and projecting outwardly from armature 86. Crosspin 16%), carried by the outer ends of the legs of bracket 158 and engaging the inner face of wall section 146b on opposite sides of notch 146e, serves to releasably couple connector 146 to the armature 86. It is now apparent that the spring 88 engages the housing of solenoid 82 and the wall section 146b of connector 146 i to normally maintain armature 86 in the outermost disposition of the same, as shown in FIG. 2.

Means for latching the connector 146 in the rearmost location thereof includes a latch broadly designated 162 rotatably mounted on bracket 72. As'shown in FIGS. 2, 4 and 7, the latch 162 includes a generally U-shaped segment 164 rotatably carried on the upper face of bracket 72 adjacent the armature 86 of solenoid 82, by upright pivot means 166 on the planar portion 74 of bracket 72, while an integral, generally J-shaped hook section 168 extends forwardly from the upper leg of segment 164. a

The semicylindrical side wall of section 146 of con nector 152 is provided with an elongated slot 146 therein (FIG. 8) for receiving the extension 168a of section 168 when connector 14-6 is at the rearmost end of its path of travel. A'pair of parallel, horizontally disposed guide members 146g integral with the outer surface of section 146a in general alignment with slot 146 on opposite upper and lower sides thereof, receive the section 168 therebetween and guide extension 168a into the slot 146].

Spring 1719, surrounding pivot means 166, is provided with a leg 172 hooked over the margin of bracket 72, and a longer, irregularly shaped leg 174 connected to section 168 adjacent the extension 168a thereof for biasing the latch 162 in a clockwise direction, as shown in FIG. 2.

Cam means for releasing the latch 162 from the connector 146 includes a nylon cam broadly designated 176, having a tubular main body 178 \cornplementally and slidably positioned within connector 146 adjacent the wall section 1 16b thereof, and also partially'telescoped into tube 54 as shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 6 and 7. The rearmost, generally cylindrical end section 181) of earn 176 is of somewhat smaller diameter than tubular body 178, with a frusto-conical segment 182 connecting end section 180 to body 178 and presenting an angularly disposed cam surface positioned to engage extension 168a of hook section 168 when the extension 1 68a'is in the slot 146 of connector 146. An integral, lateraily extending block section 184 of cam 176 projects outwardly from tubular body 178 rearwardly of ring 68, and serves to maintain the cam 17 6 in predetermined radial disposition relative to connector 146 by virtue of an elongated bore 186 in block 184- parallel with the axis of tube 54 and slidably 7 receiving a rearwardly extending pin 188 carried'by the rear face 62 of hub 58. i g

As is illustrated in FIG. 6, thetubular body 178 of cam 176, has an elongated bore 19% facing toward the connector 146, while a crosspin 192 mounted within body 178 extends transversely across bore 190 and is located adjacent end section 180. Means for coupling cam 176 to the retainer includes an elongated link'rod 194 connected to crosspin 192 within body 178, and to re-.

tainer 116 by an integral extension 1% pivotally received by one portion of the rear section 138 of retainer 110 1 The tubular body 178 of cam 176 is also provided with a longitudinally extending notch 198 in the upper surface thereof in parallel relationship to the axis of tube 54 and clearing an elongated push rod 200 which extends the full length of tube 54 and terminates within thepush button 202 of a switch actuator broadly designated 204, located at the outer extremity of tube 54. FIG. -6 shows that the actuator 204 includes a tubular body 206 slidably receiving the button 202 and telescoped over a tubular mounting member 208 which is in turn telescoped in the outer extremity of tube 54. Spring 210 within the body 206 and the mounting member 208, surrounding the push button 202 and bearing against the latter and an inwardly directed, annular section 212 of mounting member 208, normally biases the button toward the outer end of its path of travel which is restricted by the annular abutment 214 of body 206. The end ofrod 200 remote from push button 202, extends through the notch 198 in cam 176 and into an opening 216 in the outer tree portion of arm 102, as shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 6. The rod 200 is of a length to cause the arm 102 to move button 100 sufliciently to shiftthe contacts of switch 98 in response to inward movement of the push button 202 by a purchaser of one of the articles 108.

The articles 108 removably mounted on each of the tubes 54 each preferably includes a planar-member 218 of cardboard or the like, having a tapered end section 218a provided with an opening 220 therein of a size to clear each tube 54, and receiving a spacer element 222 mounted on section 218a in surrounding relationship to a respective opening 220. As shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 9, each of the spacer elements 222 includes an annular, generally U-shaped section 224 clamped onto member 218 in surrounding relationship to the opening 220 therein, aswell as an integral, outwardly projecting, annular flangesection 226 projecting outwardly from the periphery of one part of the section 224. It is, therefore, apparent in FIGS. 2 and 3 that the tapered sections 218a of member 218 are maintained in predetermined relationship by the spacers 222.

A representative schematic wiring diagram of control mechanism for apparatus 20, is shown in FIG. and includes a pair of power lines 228 and 230. Since each of the units 52 is provided with a switch 98, for purposes of simplicity and clarity, three switches 98' have been'shown and are designated 98a, 98b and 98c respectively. The power line 228 is coupled to the switch arm 232 of switch 98a, while the contact 234 of switch 98a is connected to the switch arm 236 of switch 98b by a line 235. In like manner, the contact 238 of switch 98b is coupled in series relationship to the switch arm 240 of switch 98c by a line represented schematically as 242. The contact 244 of switch 980 is joined by line 250 to the switch arm 246 of a unit that for purposes of simplicity in the present description shall be designated coin-controlled switch 248.

It is to be understood that the switch 248 forms a part of the coin-operated mechanism mounted within section 30 and previously described. Since a solenoid 82 is pro- .vided on each of the units 52, the solenoids have been of solenoid 820 is electrically connected to the contact 260 of switch 980 by line 262. V

Although various types of control mechanisms maybe provided for the units 52 and operable in response to deposit of coins in the slot 46, a simplified control circuit is illustrated in FIG. 10 for controlling the actuation of' solenoids such as 82a, 82b and 820. It is to be understood, however, that the control mechanism for the solenoids described above, is not restricted'to the circuit illustrated and hereinafter described, since many a different circuits may be used with equal facility to properly control operation of the machine.

' 276, a totalizer switch 284 having a shiftable band or The coil 84a of V contact element 279 controlled by solenoids 274 and 276,

and operably associated with price increment contacts, a reset, self-interrupted switch 280 controlled by solenoid coil 276, and a homing switch numerated 282. It is to be understood that the price switches 'for the individual units 52 have not been shown schematically to simplify the diagram. However, selectively adjustable price changing means is provided for each unit 52 to permit selective variation of the coindeposit which must be made in apparatus 20 in order to permit an article 108' to be removed from a corresponding tube 54.

The price changing means can be any one of several conventional designs such as patch boards or rotary switches to permit selective alteration of the selling prices of the articles on the, posts, as for example,vvariation of the prices from 5 to $1.00 in nickel increments. Since the individual price changing means have not been shown schematically in FIG. 10, coil 84a of solenoid 82 is shown for purposes of illustration only, as being directly con nected by line 288- to the, contact 286 of totalizer switch 284, and a solenoid 82b is joined to the contact 290 of switch 284 by line 292. To illustrate that a number of different posts may be preset to sell merchandise atthe same price if desired, the coil 84c of solenoid 820 is shown as also being connected to the contact 290 of switch 284, through aline 294 joined to contact 290.

Completing the connections of the circuit shown, the contact 296 of homing switch 282 is joined to power line 228 by line 298, while the switch arm 300 of homingable contact element 279 oftotalizer switch 284 by line 318, and the contact 320ofswitch 268 is connected to switch arm 322 of self-interrupted switch 280 by line 324. The coil 274 is connected to the contact 326 of coin switch 248 by line 328, while the opposite side of such.

coil is connected to power line 230 by line 330. The coil 276 is also coupled to power line 230 through line 332.

joined to line 330 in parallel relationship. The contact 334 of switch 280 is joined to the other side of coil 276 by line 336.

a For purposes of. the schematic illustration in FIG. 10,

coin mechanism designated 338 is shown as being operably' coupled to switch arm 246 of switch 248 for shift-.

ing arm 246 into engagement with contact 326. It is to 1 be. understood however, that in an actual coin controlled unit, a number of switches are provided within coin mechanism 338 to pulse the step-up solenoid 274 of the unit 272 corresponding to the value of coins inserted into themachine. For example, if a nickel is inserted in mechanism 338, one pulse will be sent to the solenoid 274, whereas if a quarter is deposited in apparatusZO, five successive pulses will be sent to the solenoid 274 to step the element 279 up to a value corresponding to 25..

Therefore, the element 278 will be stepped in nickel incre- As illustrated, the unit.

9 ments corresponding to the value of coins deposited in the mechanism.

It should be pointed out at this juncture that although the description thus far has been primarily directed to'a machine adapted to receive coins, it is equally apparent that the mechanism may be adapted to receive currency by employing currency testing equipment now commercially available from a number of sources. Also, the mechanism 333, whether adapted to receive coins or currency, should also preferably be of the nature returning change to the customer in excess of that corresponding to the value of an article purchased by the customer. It is desirable that the control mechanism of machine 20 be capable of determining the exact value of money inserted therein by the customer, and to return the required change to such customer if the article selected is below the total value of the coins or currency deposited in mechanism 338. Accordingly, and for schematic purposes of illustrating the invention, the element 279 is illustrated as contacting all of the contacts of totalizer 284 below the highest value contact engaged by element 279, thereby permitting the customer to select products below the value totaled by the totalizer 284, but it is to be recognized that the actual components for performing this function are complicated in nature and operation and form no part per se of the present invention.

Operation In loading the post units 52 of apparatus 20 with articles 1&8, suitable switch means not illustrated, and common to all of the posts 52, is actuated to either effect energization of all of the solenoids 32 respectively, or in some other manner permit free rotational movement of retainers 110 without interference by corresponding latch means 142. It is to be recognized however, that the articles 193 must be individually pushed over the free ends of tubes 54 so that the retainers 110 clear the spacer elements 222 one at a time. Thus, during sliding movement of one of the spacer elements 222 over the outer end of a corresponding tube 54, the section 224 of spacer element 222 engages the arcuate edge 130 of a corresponding retainer 110 to effect pivoting movement of the retainer 11-9 about the axis of pin 112. During such rotational movement of the retainer 119, the lowermost portion of the rear section 138 thereof moves downwardly through the respective slot 124 in tube 54- to thereby restrict further inward movement of the article 108. However, engagement of the section 224 with rear section 138 of the retainer 110 again swings the latter in a clockwise direction viewing FIG. 3, to permit the article 198 to completely clear the rear section 138 of retainer 110. In this manner, the article 108 may be successively placed over ndividual tubes 54 of post units 52 and with the number of articles received by each tube 54- being limited only by the distance between a corresponding retainer 119 and the hub 58 carrying one of the tubes 54-.

As previously mentioned, it is to be pointed out that one of the features of the present apparatus is the fact that the number of articles accommodated by the machine may be varied by altering the length of tubes 54 and for the number of tubes 54, depending upon the number of articles which it is desired to be vended from a respective unit 52.

Next, assuming that the compartments 40 and 42 of apparatus 20 have been loaded with articles 108 for vending, the loading switch or other means previously described is returned to the initial condition thereof, thereby placing apparatus 29 in readiness for vending with the customer being able to remove an article from any one of the post units 52 so long as coins have been deposited in coin mechanism 333 at least equivalent to the preselected value set up for the post unit 52 from which the customer attempts to remove an article 198.

As set forth previously, manually actuatable price switch means is provided in association with each of the post units 52 for varying the price at which articles may be vended from each post, and the three post's electrically illustrated in FIG. 10 have been arbitrarily set up to sell articles for 25 from one one post, and for 30 from the other two posts.

'In describing the operation ofiapparatus 20, it issinitially assumed that the customer desires to remove an article from the post unit 52 corresponding to the switch 98a, as shown in FIG. 10, and therefore, if such customer inserts five nickels successively into the slot 46, the coin mechanism 338 and the switch 248 associated therewith, will send five pulses to the solenoid coil 274 to shift the contact element 279 of totalizer switch 284, into electrical engagement with the contact 286. It may be further assumed for purposes of the present description, that the switch 248 will be closed and then re-opened five successive times in response to deposit of the five nickels in mechanism 338, with the first pulse to the solenoid coil 274 being effected through a circuit including power line 223, switch arm 232 of switch 98a, contact 234 of switch 98a, line 235, switch arm 236 and contact 233 of switch 93b, line 242 including the remaining switches 98 of the circuit and terminating with the switch arm 24% and contact 244 of switch 93c, line 259, switch arm 246 and contact 326 of pulsing switch 248, line 323, the coil 274 of unit 272, line 339, and power line 230. Energization of coil 274 mechanically eiiects immediate closing of the homing switch 282 with the switch arm 3% thereof moving into engagement with the contact 296. At the same time, the element 279 is stepped into engagement with the next successive contact of totalizer switch 234 from the zero contact thereof and corresponding to a nickel price.

Successive nickels passing into the coin mechanism 338 pulses the coil 274 in a manner to step the element 279 into engagement with successive contactsof switch 284 with the last nickel of the 25 deposit moving element 279 into engagement with contact 286. It is to be recognized that deposit of a quarter in the mechanism 338 through the slot 46, would also result in five pulses sent to the coil 274 from mechanism 338 to step the element 278 into engagement with the contact 286.

The customer may now select an article on one of the post units 52 corresponding to a 25 price of any price there below if mechanism 338 includes coin changing means means of the type that is well known in the art and the selection is'made by the customer pushing the button 262 inwardly against the action of spring 210 to cause the rod see connected thereto, to shift the arm 102 of a corresponding switch 98. Assuming that switch 93a is actuated, the button 2&2 associated therewith, is pushed inwardly by the customer whereby the corresponding actuator arm 102 engages button 16% to shift the switch.

arm 232 into engagement with contact 252 of switch 98a. The solenoid 825: corresponding to the switch 98a, is immediately energized through a circuit including power.

line 228, switch arm-232 and contact 252 of switch 98a, line 254, coil 84a line 288, contact 2%, element 279, line 318, the contact 316 and switch arm 312 of relay switch 278, line 314, the coil 266 of relay 264, and power line 234). In view of the series connection of coil 84a and coil 266 of relay 254, approximately one-half of the power line voltage will be dropped across each coil.

Energization of coil 266 of relay 264 immediately shifts the switch arm 312 and 3&2 of the relay switches 2'58 and 270 into engagement with their opposed contacts,

but it is to be remembered that the switch 270 is of the make-before-break type, thereby causing switch arm 312 to move intoengagement with contact 3% prior to breaking with contact 316. In this manner, a holding circuit'is set up for the coil26e of relay 264 through the homing switch 282 with the circuit being traced from power line 228, through line 2%, contact 296, and switch armfitiii of homing switch 282, line 368, the 55 volt dropping resistor 319, contact 3% and switch arm 312 of relay switch 7 travel.

relay'264 will thereby remain energized until the homing switch is again opened upon return of element 279 into the original position thereof in engagement with the zero contact of the switch 284.

When the switch arm 312 of relay switch 276 breaks with the contact 316, the circuit to coil 84a will be deenergized, but the armature thereof will not immediately return to the initial disposition of the same as will be described.

Returning to the mechanical operation of the post unit 52 corresponding to the actuated switch 98a, it is to be understood that upon energization of the coil 84a, the armature 86 of such solenoid is retracted against the action of coil spring 88 to cause the connecting and latching means 142 to be pulled rearwardly by virtue of its direct coupling to the armature 86 operable in response to energization of coil 84a. During movement of the connector 146 rearwardly, the blocking casting 144 is normally moved rearwardly therewith by virtue of the extensible means interconnecting such components and comprising the rod 148 slidable in casting 144, but fixed with respect to connector 146 and the spring 150 therearound. The blocking castingt144 is thus usually simultaneously moved out of the notch 149 in retainer 110 to permit the latter to be rotated about the axis of pin 112. Thus, when the customer grasps the outermost article 108 and pulls the same forwardly toward the free end of the corresponding tube 54, the spacer element 222 on such foremost article 168, engages the arcuate edge 136 of the corresponding retainer 119 and thereby commences pivoting movement of the latter in a counterclockwise direction viewing FIG. 3. Continued forward movement of the article 1&8 causes the spacer element 222 thereon to first engage the shoulder 132 to shift the retainer 110 through an additional arcuate path and causing the rear section 138 of retainer 110 to move downwardly through the slot 124 into disposition preventing the second article 168 also being removed from the post along with the outermost article 168. As the outermost article 108 clears the zone of juncture of the shoulder 132 of retainer 110 with thetarcuate edge 13% thereof, the article 108 is freed from the unit 52 and with the retainer 110 being returned to the initial disposition of the same under the action of spring 118. As previously emphasized, the spacer elements 222 on each of the arti cles 108 prevent the planar members 21% thereof from. being squeezed together sufiiciently so that two of the articles 108 could be removed simultaneously upon a single proper coin deposit as outlined.

Returning to the time of energization of the solenoid 82, it is to be noted that when the connecting and latching means 142 reachessubstantially the rearmost end of its path of travel, the connector 146 is shifted into disposition permitting the extension 168a of a corresponding hook section 168 to be shifted into the slot 146 of connector 146, thereby causing the armature 85' to be maintained in its retracted position and the connecting and latching means 142 retained at the rearmost end of its path of In this manner, once'the customer has made a selection by pushing a respective button 262 to energize the corresponding solenoid 82, the connecting means 146 associated therewith, is latched in a position permitting the customer to remove an article from the corresponding post and requiring him to remove thetarticle 168 from the particular post unit 52 which has been selected by manual actuation of the switch actuator 204.

During counterclockwise rotation of the retainer 110 of the post unit 52 from which an article is being removed' as shown in FIG. 3, the link rod 194 connected theretois moved rearwardly, causing the cam 176 to be shifted toward solenoid 82, whereby the outer surface of end secsion 168a of the corresponding latch 162, to shift exten- 12 actionof spring 88 around armature 86. Thus, even though the blocking means 144 may be released to return toward the original location of the same prior to return of the retainerllt) to the original position of the same, the tongue 1441) of blocking casting 144 simply rides along the arcuate rear edge of the retainer 119 until the latter is returned to the stand-by position thereof under the influence of spring 118. It should be pointed out at this juncture that the extensible connection means between each of the blocking castings 144 and the connectors 146 is of importance to permit lock-up of the connector 146 upon energization of the corresponding solenoid 82, even if the customer is pulling outwardly on the outermost article 108 simultaneously with manual actuation of switch actuator 2%, thereby causing the retainer 116 to be rotated through a sufficient arc to pinch the tongue 144bof blocking casting 144 against the upper edge of notch 140 in retainer 110 sufficiently to preclude rearward move ment of the casting 144 under the action of energization of coil 84 of the solenoid 82. As soon as the customer relaxes his pull on the article 108, and he will have to do so to obtain the article, the casting 144 will be instantly pulled rearwardly under the influence of spring 151).

sion 168a out of the respective slot 146i of connector 146 a and releasing blocking and latching means 142 for return movementto the original location of the same under th With reference again to the circuit diagram in FIG. 10, it can be appreciated that upon shifting of switch arm 302 of relay switch268 into engagement with contact 320, the reset coil 276 of unit 272 is energized through a circuit including power line 228, closed homing switch 282, line 30 4, switch arm 302 and contact 320 of relay switch 268, line 324, closed switch 280, line 336, line 336, and power line 230. Thus, as soon as the relay switch 268 closes, the element 279 commences returning toward the original location thereof in engagement only with the zero contact of the switch 284. The self-interrupting switch 280 is opened momentarily during each increment of stepback of the element 279 to permit reengagement of the ratchet operated by the armature of reset solenoid coil 276 for the next successive step-back. Opening of the homing switch 282 denergizes the coil 266 of relay 264 as soon as the element 279 engages the zero contact of switch 284.

The apparatus 20 is now in condition for another cycle of operation. The series arrangement of the switches 98 prevents more than one of the same being actuated simultaneously and precludes operation of more than one post unit 52 to vend during any one cycle of the machine. a

It is to be understood that the preferred embodiment of the present invention has been illustrated in the drawings and described with particularity in this specification, but such disclosure of the invention in detail is not intended to restrict the structure to that illustrated and described, but obvious equivalent components and mechanisms may be substituted for those actually disclosed without departing from the spirit of the invention and, therefore, it is intended that the invention be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.

Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:

1. A vending machine comprising:

(a) a frame; V

(b) a plurality of elongated article-receiving posts carried by the frame, each having an outer free end and each positioned to receive a number of articles arranged to be grasped and manually removed from 7 said free end thereof in successive order;

(a) releasable article-retainer means on said outer free end of each of the posts for preventing manual removal of an article from a corresponding post, until after release of a respective retainer means, each retainer means being separately releasable and permitting grasping and removal of a single article only from respective posts;

therein; and

(2) control means operably coupled to said coin-operable means and the releasable retainer means for permitting only one of the plurality of retainers means to be released at a time and only after deposit of proper coinage in the coin-operable means.

2. A vending machine as set forth in claim 1, wherein said frame is provided with an upright wall mounting said posts in locations projecting outwardly from the wall in generally parallel, horizontally disposed relationship.

3. A vending machine comprising:

(a) a plurality of supports each adapted to receive a number of articles positioned for manual removal in successive order from respective supports by purchasers thereof, each of said supports including an elongated element having a free end and located for receipt of the articles in impaled disposition thereon; Y

(b) coin-operable means for totaling the value of coins deposited therein;

() releasable article-retainer means operatively associated with each of the supports for controlling manual removal of articles therefrom and permitting only one article to be grasped and removed from a corresponding support upon release of a respective retainer means; a

(d) control means operably coupled to said coinoperable means and the releasable means for permitting only one of the plurality of retainer means to be released at a time, and only after coins of a predetermined minimum value have been totalled by the coin-operable means; and

(e) means operably associated with each of said retainer means for releasing-the latter and maintaining the same released until an article has been removed from a corresponding article support.

4. A vending machine as set forth in claim 3, wherein said control means includes means operably associated with each of the releasable means for permitting selective variation of the minimum value of coins which must be totaled by the coin-operable means before the releasable means associated with corresponding supports may be released. a

5. A vending machine comprising:

(a) aframe;

(b) a plurality of supports mounted on and projecting outwardly from the frame in exposed positions adapting the same for receiving a number of articles disposed in visually observable, purchaser accessible locations for manual removal from respective supports by said purchasers;

(c) coin-operable means for totaling the value of coins deposited therein;

(d) releasable article-retainer means operatively associated with each of the supports for controlling manuel removal of articles therefrom and permitting only one article to be graphed and removed from a corresponding support upon release of a respective retainer means; and

(2) control means operably coupled to said coinoperable means and the releasable means for permitting only one of the plurality of retainer means to be released at a time, and only after coins of a predetermined minimum value have been totalled by the coin-operable means and which are at least equal to the preset price of the article retained on the respective support by said one retainer means.

6. A vending machine as set forth in claim 5, wherein each of the supports is an elongated, generally horizontally disposed post secured to the housing and having an outer free end from the which the articles thereon must be successively removed.

7. A vending machine as set forth in claim 6, wherein 8. A vending assembly comprising:

(a) a frame;

(b) A plurality of elongated article supports carried by the frame and each having an outer free end; (c) a number of articles to be vended removably carried by each of thesupports in disposition permitting customers to grasp and manually remove the articles in successive order only from said free ends of the supports;

(d) coin-operable means adapted for receivingcoins therein;

(2) releasable article-retainer means mounted on said outer'freeend of each of the supports for preventing manual removal of any of the articles from a corresponding support until after release of a respective retainer means, each of the articles and said retainer means having mutually cooperable parts thereonfor preventing the purchaser from grasping and removing more than'one article from a support upon release of the retainer means thereon; and

(7) control means operably coupled to said coinoperable means for permitting only one of the plurality of retainer means to be released at a time, and only after proper coinage has been deposited in said coin-operable means.

1 9. A vending assembly as set forth in claim 8, wherein said parts on the articles include mounting means having spacing means for maintaining the mounting means on each support in predetermined spaced relationship and said parts of the releasable means include structure clearly only one of t e spacing means of said article mounting means at a time upon release thereof.

. l0.- A vending assembly as set forth in claim 8, wherein each of said articles is mounted on a generally planar member having means adapted for releasably engaging one of the supports.

11. A-vending assembly as set forth in claim 10, wherein said means on each of the members adapted to releasably engage one of the supports includes structure extending outwardly from at least one face of the corresponding member a sufficient distance and cooperable g with the retainer means on a respective support for preventing removal of more than one planar member having an article thereon. each time the retainer means is released.

12.'A vending machine comprising:

(a) a frame;

(b) a plurality of elongated article supports carried by the frame, each having an outer free end and each adapted to receive a number :of articles to be vended impaled thereon in disposition for grasping and manual removal only in successive order from the free end of a respective support;

(0) coin-operable means adapted to receive coins therein;

(d) a retainer swingably mounted on each of the supports adjacent said outer free end and each having an extension thereon normally positionedto block manual removal of any articles from a corresponding support when the retainer is in a first position, and clearing only one of the articles for removal from a respective support during swinging movement of the retainer to a second position thereof;

(e) releasable means operably connected to each of the retainers for normally maintaining the same in said first positions thereof; and

(f) control means operably connected to said releasable:means and the coin-operable means for permitting only one of the releasable means to be released at a time and only after deposit of proper coinage in the coin-operable means; p

13'. A vending machine as set forth in claim 12, wherein said releasable means each include a shiftable element normally disposed in a location blocking swinging move-' ment of a corresponding retainer from said first position to the second position of the same, and said control means 1 1 5 includes separate power means operably coupledto each of the shiftable elements for moving the latter to locations permitting respective retainers to be moved to said second positions of the same as an article is being removed from a corresponding support by the purchaser thereof.

' 14. A vending machine as set forth in claim 13, wherein said control means includes separate manually actuatable means operably coupled to corresponding power means for actuating the latter and anti-jackpot means operably associated with said manually actuatable means and the power means for preventing more than one power means being actuated at a time.

15. A vending machine as set forth in claim 14, wherein said control means includes selectively variable means operably coupled to each of said manually actuatable means, the coin-operable means and said power means for preventing actuation of a respective power-operated means until coins of a pre-selected, minimum total value have been deposited in the coin-operable means.

16. A vending machine as set forth in claim 13, wherein is provided latch means operably associated with each of the shiftable elements for maintaining each of the latter in a location clearing respective retainers after shifting of a corresponding element until after an article has been removed from the respective support.

' 17. A vending machine as set forth in claim 16, wherein is provided unlatching means operably associated with each of said latch means and operated by the retainer on a corresponding support for unlatching a respective element in 'fresponse to swinging of the corresponding retainer.

18. A vending machine as set forth in claim 17, wherein each of said unlatching means is connected to a corresponding retainer for movement therewith and wherein is provided means biasing each of said retainers toward said first positions thereof.

19. A vending unit comprising:

(a) a mounting member; s a

(b) an elongated support secured to the member, projecting outwardly therefrom, provided with an outer free end, and adapted to receive a number of articles arranged to be grasped and manually removed from said free end thereof in successive order;

- (0) a retainer swingably mounted on the support adjacent'said outer free end and having an extension thereon normally positioned to block manual removal of any articles from the support when the retainer is in a first position and clearing only one of the articles for removal from a respective support during swinging movement of the retainer to a second position thereof;

(d) shiftable blocking means adjacent said retainer and movable from a location blocking swinging movement of said retainer from the first position thereof to a location clearing said retainer; r

(e) power-operated means; i

(f) connector means operably coupling the shiftable element to said blocking means for shifting the latter in response to actuation of said power means; (g) coin-operable means adapted to receive coins therein; and V 7 (11) control means coupled to the coin-operable means and to the powergoperated means for V permitting actuation of the latter only after deposit of proper coinage in the coin-operable means, said connector means including parts movable relatively if the blocking means offers a resistance exceeding a predetermined value, to movementthereof by said'poweroperated means upon actuation of the latter to thereby preclude loss of deposit by the purchaser.

- 20. A vending unit as set forth in claim 19, wherein is provided latch means operably associated with the part of'said connector means coupled to said power-operated 7 15 means and until an article has been removed from said free end of the support.

21. A vending unit as set forth in claim 20, wherein is provided cam means operably coupled to said retainer for movement thereby and operably associated with said latch means for unlatching said part of the connector means to permit the blocking means to return to the initial position thereof from said shifted position of the same in response to swinging of said retainer from the second position thereof to said first position assumed by the latter as an article is removed from the support.

22. A vending unit as set forth in claim 21, wherein is provided a manually operable switch coupled to said power-operated means for actuating the latter and requiring manual actuation by a purchaser of an article on said support. 7

'23. A vending unit as set forth in claim 22, wherein said power-operated means includes an electromagnet having an armature coupled to said connector and electrical circuit means operably joined to said electromagnet, said manually operable means including switch means in series relationship in said electrical circuit, manually actuatable push button means carried by said outer free end of the support in a purchaser accessible position, and means operably coupling the push button means to said switch means to permit actuation of the. latter by said push button means.

24. An article carrier for vending machines having an elongated support element for the carriers comprising:

(a) a planar member adapted to carry the article thereon and provided with an opening therethrough for clearing the support element to permit removable placement of the member on the support element; and

(b) spacer means on the member disposed in surrounding relationship to said opening and projecting outwardly from at least one major face of the member to maintain the portions of adjacent members positioned on the support element proximal to said openings in predetermined spaced relationship, said spacer means extending through the member in clamping relationship thereto and having a dimension axial of the opening appreciably greater than the thickness of the planar member.

25. An article carrier as set forth in claim 24, wherein said member is of cardboard, the spacer means is of readily formable material, and a transparent synthetic resin film secures the article to the member in enclosing relationship thereto.

, 26. In an article carrier for use with a vending assembly including a frame, an elongated article support carried by the frame and having an outer free end, and a releasable retainer on the support adjacent said free end and having a movable first blocking segment normally extending outwardly from the surface of the support but movable into a recessed position and a second blocking segment located a fixed distance from said first segment between said frame and the first segment and movable,

in response to shifting of the first segment, from a rein said opening and having a central aperture therein' of dimensions to clear thesupport but insufficient to clear either the first or second segments of said retainer means when the segments are out of the recessed positions thereof, said spacer means having a dimension axial of' the aperture less than said fixed distance but greaterthan one-half of said fixed 17 distance whereby only one article carrier can be moved past said retainer means at a time.

27. For use with a vending assembly including a frame, an elongated article support carried by the frame and having anouter free end, and a releasable retainer on the support adjacent said free end and having a movable first blocking segment normally extending outwardly from the surface ofthe support but movable into a recessed position and a second blocking segment located at a fixed distance from said first segment between said frame and the first segment and movable, in response to shifting of the first segment, from a recessed position in the support to a location pnojecting outwardly from the surface of the support, the combination with said assembly of (a) a planar member adapted to carry an article thereon, removably positioned on the support in a purchaser accessible location and provided with an open- 7 ing therein clearing the support; and

(b) annular spacer means on the planar member within said opening and provided With a central aperture therein clearing the support, the annular portion of the spacer means defining said aperture being of configuration closely conforming to the cnoss-sectional configuration of the support and of dimensions in- V suflicient to clear the first or second blocking segments when the latter are out of the recessed positions thereof, said spacer means having an annular section extending axially of said annular portion, the

dimension of said spacer means axially of the annular I portion and said section being less than said fixed distance but greater than one-half of said fixed distance wherely only one article carrier can be moved past said retainer means at a time.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3380580 *Jun 24, 1966Apr 30, 1968Flex O Glass IncRolled sheet material
US3827569 *May 11, 1973Aug 6, 1974Canning GPegboard display rack
US4480755 *Sep 13, 1982Nov 6, 1984Wesco Manufacturing, Inc.Tool storage device
US6234346Jul 7, 1998May 22, 2001Newco Enterprises, Inc.Snack dispenser
US20090039101 *Jun 9, 2006Feb 12, 2009Nicholas AlcovBrowsing and vending system
EP0984405A1 *Mar 15, 1999Mar 8, 2000Van der stuyft, LievenApparatus for dispensing parts
Classifications
U.S. Classification194/215, 221/92, D20/4, 221/301, 221/312.00R
International ClassificationG07F5/18, G07F11/64, G07F11/58
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/002, G07F11/64, G07F5/18, G07F11/58
European ClassificationG07F11/00B, G07F11/58, G07F5/18, G07F11/64