US 3172713 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
vMmh 9, 1965 P. s. RUPERT 3,172,713
VENDING MACHINE APPARATUS Filed OCT.. 30. 1961 6 Sl'xeel'.S-Sheefl l INVENTOR.
PAUL S. RUPERT ATTORNEYS March 9, 1965 P. s. RUPERT 3,172,713
VENDING MACHINE APPARATUS Filed Oct. 30. 1961 6 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR.
PAU l. S. RUPERT gll rw ATTORNEYS March 9, 1965 P. s. RUPERT 3,172,713
VENDING Mmmm APPARATUS Filed ocr. zo. 1951 e sheets-snee; 5
, INVENTOR PAUL s. RUPERT f' ATmFfNEYs March 9, 1965 P. s. RUPERT VENDING MACHINE APPARATUS 6 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Oct. 30. 1961 INVENTOR.
PAUL S. RUPERT ATTORNEYS March 9, 1965 P. s. RUPERT 3,172,713
VENDING MACHINE APPARATUS Filed oct. zo. 1961 e sheets-sheet 5 INVENTOR.
PAUL S. RUPERT n3 l j l fm T'roRNEYs March 9, 1965 P. s. RUPERT VENDING MACHINE APPARATUS 6 Sheets-Sheet 6 Filed OC'b. 30. 1961 TI mR E WP WU R a L U A P ATQRNEYS nited States atent ln ce j 172,71? vENmNG MAernNE'APPAnATUs Paul S. Rupert, Palo Alto, Calif., assiglor to Empresai Nacional de inversiones, S.A., Panama, Panama, a corporation of Panama Filed Det. 30, 1961, Ser. No. 148,366 1 Claim. (Cl. `2112-235) The present invention relates to vending machine apparatus and more particularly to vending machines in conjunction with vehicle seat structure.
lThe vending machine has, in recent years, become an important means for retailing merchandise of all kinds. Cigarettes, candy, combs and hand lotion, to name but a few, are items familiarly found in, and often purchased from, vending machines. Now that the buying public has accepted this means of purchasing goods, new and more effective ways of making goods in vending machines conveniently available are being sought. From a buyers standpoint, it is desirable to have certain goods available at certain times without having to go out of the way for them. Thus, combs for example are a product popularly vended by a machine in rest rooms. The public appreciates the service made possible by these conveniently located machines.
From a sellers standpoint, it is desirable to place a product before the consumer at the exact place and the exact time that he is either in need of such a product or desires such a product. With a machine so placed, goods enjoy fast turnover, which means maximum return per machine for the seller and fresh products for the buyer.
The present invention provides a means for providing products to a consumer in a place where products are often desired or needed, and where they have heretofore not been made available. More particularly the present invention provides a vendingr machine in conjunction with a vehicle seat so as to make products available to passengers thereof. The invention is, of course, most advantageously placed in vehicles used for public transportation which includes, among others, buses, trains, planes and taxi cabs. It is this last mentioned transportation vehicle which the present invention is particularly aimed at, though it will be appreciated that the teachings herein are equally applicable to any transporting means wherein seat structure is available.
A taxi cab provides an ideal location for a vending machine since there the machine has a captive audience of many people each day, and at the same time, provides a service it alone is capable of rendering. The distance of the average -taxi fare is long enough to allow the passenger to decide what he wants, locate it in the vending machine and purchase it, without having to go out of his way. At the same time, the average taxi cab trip is generally short enough to allow numerous people to use the cabs services in a day and thereby expose the vending machine to numerous potential purchasers. Thus, both the seller and the consumer iind it beneficial to have products, such as cigarettes, candy, cosmetics, etc., vended in a taxi cab.
Because of the limited space available in automobiles which are generally used for taxi cabs, the proper placement and design of a vending machine to be so located is imperative. The problems involved are best appreciated when reference is made to the various requirements and limitations which exist when one desires to provide a taxi cab with a vending machine. To name a few, it is required or desiredz'that there be as much space in the cab with the vending machine in place as without it; that the vending machine presents no dangers or inconvenience to passengers entering or leaving the cab not present without the machine; that the machine be located to be easily seen and operated by the passenger; that the machine be 3,l72,7l3A Patented Mar. 9, i965 erations to be conducted in the limited quarters of a taxi cab; that the machine be adaptedto allow new products to be vended without requiring that the entire?.n iachine` bet removed for modiication; and that the' machine be rela tively easy to transfer from one vehicle to another' since' a vending machine generally has a mechanical life longer than that of a single cab.
To meet the above requirements and thereby overcome problems which have heretofore made it impractical, if not undesirable, to locate a vending machine in a taxi cab, the present invention provides a vending machine constructed in combination with the back of the front seat of the vehicle in which it is placed. The back of the front seat is designed to give its normal service to the driver and at the same time provide a space within its original limits into which a vending machine is placed The present invention also provides vending apparatus of novel design which includes a vending machine compartment which lits into the back of a vehicle seat. Into the compartment independent and separate vending capsules are inserted and locked in place by a common locking means. The novel design of the vending machine allows the capsules to be lled while in the compartment or by complete removal of the capsule and replacement with another, whichever is mose desirable under the circumstances.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a vending machine in passenger vehicles.
It is another object of this invention to provide a vending machine incorporated in the back of a vehicle seat.
Another object of this invention is to provide a vending machine in the back of a vehicle seat wherein the vending machine resides in a chamber within the structural boundaries of the vehicle seat and thereby enables a vehicle to be equipped with a vending machine with no loss of vehicle load space.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a vending machine for use in a vehicle wherein the machine resides in the vehicle seat back and allows the machine to be easily illed with merchandise.
Yet another object of this invention is to provide a vending machine in the back of a vehicle seat wherein the machine has a plurality of independently removable vending capsules.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a vending machine incorporated in an automobile seat wherein the machine is easily serviceable and merchandise easily changed or replaced.
Still anotherr object of this invention is to provide a vending machine within a vehicle seat wherein the machine can be removed for service without having to remove the vehicle seat.
Further and more specific objects and advantages of the invention are made apparent in the following specication wherein a preferred form of the invention is described by reference to the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a vending machine in conjunction with a vehicle seat in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an isometric view of a portion of FlG. l wherein a vending capsule of the invention is exploded from the vending compartment;
FIG. 3 is an isometric View of FIG. l with the components exploded to show the vending machine compartment cavity in the vehicle seat, the vending machine compartment, and a vending capsule;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the vehicle seat and vend- E, ing machine of the invention taken along the line 4 4 'of FIG. l;
FIG. is an isometric view of an alternate embodiment of the vending machine of the present invention vwherein a vending machine is shown exploded from its housing;
FIG. 6 is a sectional View taken along the line 6--6 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged isometric view showing in greater detail the manner in which a vending compartment of the embodiment as shown in FIG. 5 is supported within the seat housing;
FIG. 8 illustrates an alternate means for mounting the vehicle compartment of FlG. 5; and
FIG. 9 is a partial isometric view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 5 wherein-the manner of loading the machine with merchandise is illustrated. i
Referring now to FIG. l, a vehicle seat 11 houses a vending machine 12 which oifers a variety of merchandise to passengers located rearward of seat 11, as in a taxi cab. While seat 11 exemplifies seats in buses, trains, planes, automobiles and the like, the following description will be made ywith reference to. a taxi cab seat with the understanding that the invention applies equally to all other types of passenger'vehicles. A passenger desiring to purchase a product displayed in one of the plurality of vending capsules 13, inserts the required coin or coins in the vending slots 14 directly below the merchandise of his choice and rotates the corresponding actuatinghandle 16. The selected product is released from within the capsule 13 and falls into a delivery slot 17 directly below the ac tuatedhaandle 16. From slot 17 the passenger removes the product. By providing vending. capsules 13 with various coin mechanisms, merchandise costing varying amounts of money can be bought and sold. FIG. l showsY single coin, mechanisms 18, sideby-side double coinmechanisms 19 and stacked double coin 1nechanisms21 to illustrate the various mechanisms available. One of the capsules. 13, rather than vending merchandise could advantageously vend change to allow operation of a particular vending capsule when the customer was not possessedof the exact coins required.
The easiest manner of illustrating to the passenger what products are. available Vis to provide the capsule 13 withtransparent4 windows 22 through which the merchandise vended by a particular capsule can be seen. This also has the advantage of making it easily apparent to a customer as well as to the seller when the capsule is empty. If, however, the. merchandise is of the nature not best presented by visualization of the'product itself, a drawing 23 or the like illustrating the product can be placed between the merchandise and the customer rather than a window.
One of the outstanding features of the present invention is the individuality of capsules 13. When a product is not sellingwell, or a new product is to be sold or a capsule is empty and needs to be refilled, any of capsules 13 can be removed without having to remove -any of the other capsules. FIG. 2 illustrates a capsule 13v removed for one of the various possiblereasons mentioned above. To remove capsule 1.3 (as illustrated in FIG. 2) locks 24 securing the bottom iiap 26 of upper locking hinge 27 are conditioned to an unlocked position, as by a key, along with locks 28 securing upper flap 29 of lower locking hinge 31. When locks 2,4 and 28 have been unlocked, lower ap 26 is raised up and upper flap 29 is lowered to the positions shown in FIG. 2. With flaps 26 and 29 in their raised and lowered positions respectively, they no longer overlap the structure of capsules 13 as they do when in their locked positions, and thereby allow a selected capsule to be removed. Thus, the simple operaation of unlocking two pairs of locks (one lock on each hinge would actually be satisfactory) and positioning two hinge flaps, provides access to any and all of the plurality of vending capsules 13.
The independent capsule design of vending machine 12 is the first vending machine in the art adapted to meet the stringent demands made by the space limitations of automobiles of the compact variety which are popularly used by many taxi cab companies. ln such a vehicle, space is at a complete minimum and access to the machine for repairs, refilling or changing products is nearly impossible ifthe entire machine must be removed to perform these functions. Even in the smallest cabs, however, there is ample room to remove a capsule 13 of the present invention.
Referring to FIG. 2, capsules 13 have a pair of lower runners 32 which extend below the body portion 33 of the capsule. Extending above the body portion 33 is a runner 34. Each of runners 32;, 34 has a mating U. shaped track 3o, 371, respectively, aflixed to the vending machine compartment 38. The tracks and runners are of such relative size and such materials as to allow the runners to smoothly and effortlessly slide into the compartment while engaged in the tracks'. A rigidly secured fastening member 39 aflixed to compartment 3S is provided approximately midway between the edges of the' capsule opening and has a threaded hole 41 which aligns with a hole f1.2 in a downwardly extending member 43 secured tothe capsule body 33. if it is desired tomore' securely retain the capsule 13in the compartment 38 than is provided by locking hinges 27, 31, then a bolt securing member i3 to memberl 39 is supplied. Although runners 32 are shown on capsule 13 a single lower tr .36 is all that isV absolutely necessary in compartment 3S, since it is the primary purpose of the tracks to provide means for inserting and removing capsule 13 into compartment 38 without binding or sticking, and this purpose has been found to be achieved with a single track at'the top and bottom rather than the two track type shown in FIG. 3. Of course, the other runner 32 (the one not sliding in a track) is important toprovide a second support member for the capsule body 33.
Capsules 13 are designed with. front plates 22 (either of the transparent type or the. drawing type) which enable merchandise to be put into the capsules 13 without re moving the capsule from the compartrnentl 33, if this is desired. As best seen in FlG. 2, wheniiap 26 is in its upward position the top portion of the capsules. are exposed. By providing front plates 22 which do not extend to the very `top of the capsules but rather have lower mid portions 44, merchandise can be easily inJ troduced into the capsules without removing them. Thi-1s; a filling operation is possible by simply unlocking upper hinge 27 and lifting flap 26 to expose entrancesV 46 to the storage compartments of the vending capsules. Thus the vending capsules as combined. with locking hinges 27, 31 provide a vending means which is convenient and practical for use in the limited quarters of automobiles and the like. Flap 26 being relatively narrow presents no problem in being raised to its upward position as would be presented if the entire face of the vending machine had to be raised, as is the practice in some ma;-I chines known in the art.
Capsules 13 are of such configuration as to t within the original structural limits of the back 4"/ of seat 11 without materially alfecting the function of the seat back as a support member for a passenger or driver. Asseen in FIG. 4 seat back 47 -is constructed to give comfort and support by providing a steel spring member 51 stressed about an upper transverse member 52 and a lower transverse member 53 (or equivalent structural support means). Several layers of cushioning material 54are applied over spring 51 and covered by a decorativeexterior fabric 56. The layers of cushioningmaterial 54-` and fabric 56 extend over the top of the seat back. and thereby provide a paddedv surface 57 against which accidental contact or the like will be safe. To maintain the safe features of the automobile the vending capsules 13 are designed to fit within back i7' of seat 11. without.
requiring that the upper padded surface 57 be removed or replaced by a less safe structure. Another design feature important to the present invention is the maintenance of a particular width of capsules 13. Display surface 58 of capsules 13 does not extend further rearward of seat spring 51 than the original seat structure did. Thus, the vending machine is provided and effectively displayed, without the loss of any load space. To maintain this feature actuating handles 16 are recessed so as not to protrude. This also eliminates the handles from presenting dangerous obstacles tol persons entering or leaving a cab.
To tit within the space available in the seat back 47 i and maintain the features mentioned above, capsule 13 has a generally rectangular upper portion 59, where merchandise 61 is stored, and a narrower lower portion 62 containing the machine operating mechanism. It is necessary to make lower portion 62 narrower if it is to reside within the original structural limits of the seat because of the inclination of seat spring 51 as it reaches the lower portion of seat back 47. Capsules 13 reside Within compartment 38 and are separated therefrom by resilient cushioning pads 63.
Although vending capsules 13 are of particular shape and exterior design the interior vending mechanisms of capsules 13 are generally known in the art. Rotation of handle 16 after the proper coins have been fed into the machine, results in rotation of bevel gear 64 connected thereto by a shaft 66. Bevel gear 64 meshes with gear 67 which rotates shaft 68 which, in turn, activates the dispensing mechanism 69. Dog 71 is induced to move leftward and carry with it a package of merchandise 72. Spring loaded lever arm 73 prevents more than a single package of merchandise from being carried leftward. When dog '71 has travelled its full leftward excursion, package 72 carried along falls into shoot 74 which terminates at delivery slot 17. The coins drop through slot 76 into a change retainer (not shown).
Referring now to FlGS. 3 and 4, the overall construction and relative placement of components of the present invention can best be described. The mechanisms whie vend the products to the customer are a plurality of vending capsules 13. These individual capsules are housed in a compartment 3,8 which provides rails 36 for each capsule and which secures the individual capsules together to form a single vending unit. Compartment 33 when filled with vending capsules 13 is a complete vending machine unit and can be removed as such from seat 11. Compartment 38 lits into cavity 81 of seat back 47 and is secured thereto as by bolts or the like. Although it is generally true that the removal of compartment 38 from seat back 47 will be diiiicult in the space of an automobile, providing cartridge 38 independent of seat back 47 enables the valuable and important structure of compartment 38 to be removed to another vehicle on the various occasions when this would be advantageous. lf compartment 38 were built as part of seat back 47 and integral therewith, an auto wreck or worn out car could result in loss of this valuable equipment.
Thus, the preferred embodiment of this invention provides merchandise vending mechanism which is operable even in the limited space available in an automobile. By providing a compartment which secures into a seat back in a semi-permanent manner, and individual small vending capsules which can be easily and independently re.- moved from the compartment, the vending machine can be profitably operated in taxi cabs and the like. A simple operation, not even requiring capsule removal, enables the machine to be filled with merchandise. Replacement of one product for another is accomplished without major overhaul or even the necessity to perform mechanical adjustments; one capsule is merely replaced by another. No load space is taken from the vehicle, and driver comfort is not diminished.
Whereas the vending capsule embodiment of the present invention, as described above, provides a vending machine for a taxi cab or other vehicle with limited space, the present invention is drawn generally to vending machines in conjunction with vehicle seat structure and thus provides for the more favorable circumstance where space is not such a critical problem. This occurs in some automobiles of standard size (as opposed to compact cars), buses, planes, trains, etc. For these situations it may be more desirable to employ the conventional type of vending machine with several channels which are integrally connected.
Such embodiments of the present invention are shown in FIGS. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 to which the following description primarily pertains. With particular reference to FIG. 5, a seat 11 is provided with vending machine receiving cavities 91 which are similar to cavity 81 of FIG. 3. The cavity is within the original structural limits of the seat back 47 and does not materially affect the characteristics of the seat in supporting a person. The cavities 91 are below the upper portion 92 of seat back 47 (see also FIG. 6) to maintain the safety feature provided by the padding of this structure which passengers periodically contact by accident or design.
Standard vending units 93 lit into cavities 91 where they are supported on mounts 94 which receive vending machine studs 96. FIG. 7 is an enlarged View of the mounting mechanism with the vending machine 93 in the cavity 91. Cavity wall structure 97 has stud receiving;- fixtures 98 aiiixed thereto as by support members 99.. Receiving fixtures 98 are generally toroidal in shape with a radial cut 101, to allow entrance ofthe vending machine, studs 102. Studs 192 are generally rectangular in cross-v section and have a cross-sectional length which is approximately equal to the inside radius of fixture 98. Studs. 102 are mounted on machines 93 as by support members. 103 in a manner which allows them to be rotated as by a wrench or similar tool. Thus, when a vending machine 93 is to be disposed and maintained within a cavity 91, studs 102 are rotated to a position which enables them to pass through cuts 101 into fixtures 102. An appropriate; tool is then employed to rotate stud 192 within fixture. 98 to a position of misalignment with cut 101 and thereby' lock the machine securely in place.
When vending machine 93 is in place (FIG. 5), it is operated in the normal manner by inserting coins into slots 104 and pulling a handle 106 directly below the merchandise of choice as indicated by placards 107. The merchandise falls into slot 108 where it is removed by the customer. As shown in FG. 5, a pair of machines can be placed in a single seat since the most popular machines known in the art are of a width which allows them to be placed side by side in an auto vehicle seat. As seen in FIG. 6, the machines are maintained Within the original structural limits of the seat back 47 except possibly for handles 106. Thus, no serious encroachment on the load space is made. As before, the machine is maintained behind the resilient shell cushion member 109 which is covered with padding 111 and fabric 112. This enables the seat back to furnish the same general support and comfort as when machines 93 are not provided.
When machines 93 are used, seat 11 must be slightly modified to accommodate the enlarged lower portion 113 of machines 93. The majority of vending machines known in the art require enlarged lower portions for the discharge mechanism and therefore require more space at that location.
Besides mounting members 94 a plurality of bolts 114 securing machines 93 to cavity wall structure 97 can be employed when added support is desired. A locking mechanism 116 (FIG. 5) secures the machines within the seat to assure that merchandise is paid for and the enclosed coins are not taken by unauthorized persons. When the machine is to be filled, or the receipts removed, a number of possible means of access exist. Where space allows, face 117 of a machine 93 can be removed, or swung up or down about hinges, as shown in FIG. 9. Most machines allow for loading and coin removal once the face ofthe machine has been removed or displaced. There are machines, however, which are loaded from the rear and therefore require that access be made to the rear of the machine. FIG. 8 is an embodiment of the present invention wherein a machine requiring rear access is employed. Rather than employ support members 94, the machines are mounted on telescoping runners 118. When access to the rear of the machine is required, locking device 116 is unlocked by a key and machine 93 rolled out of cavity 91. The machine is lled, money removed, and then replaced back into the cavity.
Although mounting means composed of fixtures 98 and studs 102, and the telescoping runner type mounting means 118 have been described in conjunction with vending machines as known in the art, their application to compartment 38 is equally applicable where the circumstances so demand. Compartment 33 has been generally described as retained in its cavity` 81 in a semifpermanent fashion, which will generally be the most desirable way. When, however, it is more desirable to withdraw compartment 38 with capsules 13 housed therein without completely removing it, mounting means described in connection with known vending machines 93 could be advantageously utilized; It is also important to point out that mounting means 94 can be easily adapted, as by providing rotating bearings 121 (FIG. 7), to rotate about that point to achieve partial access to the interior of the machine mounted thereon.
Thus by utilizing the space between the support structure and most rearward boundary of a vehicle seat in particular manner and equipping it with particular structure, vending machines can be advantageously placed in passenger vehicles. As shown in FIGS. 3, 4, 5 and 6, `the vending machine cavity can be reinforced with wall structure 97 to form a strong, neat enclosure for the machines. These cavities are precisely shaped to thecontour of the particular Vending machine to be used, to make the most effective use of available space. When a vending machine, no matter of which variety, is secured within the cavity, a public service is performed and the sale ofnietchandise is promoted.
What is claimed is:
Merchandise vending apparatus for use in passenger vehicles comprising in combination:
vehicle seat structure including a cushioned` seatback having a recessed cavity in the rear portion thereof;
ReferencesV Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 275,991 4/83 Case 312-235 X 442,686 12/90 Patterson 194--59 471,768 3/92 Dwyer 190-4 490,099 1/93 Brower 312-216 Y 533,963 2/95 Northcutt 221-92 '1,293,434 2/19 Hines 312-45 1,331,990 2/20 Grover 221-282 X 1,336,389 4/20y Richardson 194-57 1,414,160 4/22 Taylor S12-234 X 1,459,504 6/23 Grover 22].-131 1,639,085 8/27 Fohey 297-191 1,646,266 10/27 Stoner 297-191 X 1,718,249- 6/ 29 Morin 248-203 X 1,852,733 4/32 Brown 3'12-35 1,926,436 9/33 Eldean S12-35 X 1,938,843 12/33 Leve B12-35 X 2,136,407' 11/38 Armour 312---235 X 2,234,424 3/41 Alley 312-45 2,381,095V 8/45 Worthley 312-311 X 2,504,515 4/50 Gamer 20s-19.5 X 2,913,296 11/5'9 Martinv 312-216 FOREIGN PATENTS 748,117 4/ 41 France.
FRANK B. SHERRY, Primary Examiner.
GEORGE L. BREHM, Examiner.