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Publication numberUS3217925 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 16, 1965
Filing dateMar 12, 1962
Priority dateMar 12, 1962
Publication numberUS 3217925 A, US 3217925A, US-A-3217925, US3217925 A, US3217925A
InventorsThomas William E
Original AssigneeMarcus Glaser
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Carton dispensing machine
US 3217925 A
Images(9)
Previous page
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

W. E. THOMAS CARTON DISPENSING MACHINE Nov. 16, 19 5 Filed March 12, 1962 9 Sheets$heet 1 INVENTOR. n lbL/flM f, Fro/v45 FIG-l W. E. THOMAS CARTON DISPENSING MACHINE Nov. 16, 1965 9 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 12, 1962 INVENTOR. MAL/4M i, 740M45 Nov. 16, 1965 w. E. THOMAS CARTON DISPENSING MACHINE 9 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed March 12, 1962 INVENTOR. IV/LA MM A", T e/145 Nov. 16, 1965 w. E. THOMAS 3,217,925

CARTON DISPENSING MACHINE Filed March 12, 1962 9 Sheets-Sheet 4 FIG 440 I N VE NTOR. ILL/M i. THO/WA! W. E. THOMAS CARTON DISPENSING MACHINE Nov. 16, 1965 9 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed March 12, 1962 QQN W s m 2 m7 w v. T 4 M M m m. M

Nov. 16, 1965 w. E. THOMAS 3,2 7,

CARTON DISPENSING MACHINE Filed March 12, 1962 9 Sheets-Sheet 6 INVENTOR. Wu; MM 5, Two/v45 Nov. 16, 1965 w. E. THOMAS CARTON DISPENSING MACHINE 9 Sheets-Sheet 7 Filed March 12, 1962 INVENTOR. W/LL/AM i. 720M145 Nov. 16, 1965 w. E. THOMAS 3,217,925

CARTON DISPENSING MACHINE Filed March 12, 1962 9 Sheets-Sheet 8 Z INVENTOR.

Z50 l V/u. MM 5. THO/145 Nov. 16, 1965 w. E. THOMAS 3,217,925

CARTON DISPENSING MACHINE Filed March 12, 1962 9 Sheets-Sheet 9 FIG INVENTOR. MAL/4M E, 720m 0 I ATTOEME'KS United States Patent C) This invention relates to dispensing machines and related apparatus. More particularly, the invention involves a machine for dispensing cartons or similar items from one of a plurality of vertical columns.

Although many kinds of dispensing machines have been developed, including machines for dispensing cigarettes and similar articles which may be packaged in a carton, it is believed that the present invention embodies unique structural features and an unobvious arrangement of parts. The machine herein described should be of particular value in connection with the display and storage of cigarette cartons, and it is especially intended for use in self-service stores such as grocery supermarkets.

Briefly, the present invention was conceived and has been developed for the specific purpose of dispensing a relatively large quantity of cigarette cartons including various brands. Bulky items of this kind are usually sold at checkout counters, although they have also been placed in stacks accessible to the customers. However, where cigarette cartons are left unprotected, there is an op portunity for pilfering. Experience has shown that retail merchants, particularly grocery supermarkets, suffer large financial losses because of such pilfering and by reason of damage through repeated handling. Furthermore, there is a definite loss of good will when an unwary customer picks up a cigarette carton from which one or more packages have been taken.

Inasmuch as no prior art dispensing machine could handle cartons of this kind in a rapid and effective manner, it has heretofore been necessary for stores to manually dispense them from a check-out counter. believed that this invention fills a definite need in providing a dispensing machine of compact size for storing relatively large quantities of bulky items.

It will be realized, of course, that the machine and various modifications thereof may be constructed for dispensing various sizes of cartons as well as different kinds of items.

A primary object of this invention is to provide a dispensing machine of compact size which is capable of storing and handling cigarette cartons and like items; a machine which will dispense these cartons or items from a row of vertical columns, placing one carton from each column at a convenient customer access position; a machine having a drive means including a clutching device for each column that will selectively advance any one of the columns in a vertical direction while moving the uppermost carton of the selected column into an upper dispensing position; a machine having a transfer means for horizontally moving any carton occupying an upper dispensing position into a customer access position; and a machine having a control means for operating the drive means including one of its clutching devices, said control means comprising trip members associated with respective carton columns, each trip member controlling the operation of said drive means and the clutching device for the column with which it is associated, said trip members being actuated by the removal of the carton from the customer access position of the respective columns.

Another object is to provide a dispensing machine of the kind above described and further having means for preventing persons from removing cartons and then reinserting those cartons into the machine.

Another object is to provide a dispensing machine of Thus, it is H Zi,2l7,9 25 Patented Nov. is, was

ice

the kind above described and further having means for keeping a count of all cartons dispensed from the machine as well as individual counting devices for each column of cartons.

A further object of the invention is to provide a dispensing machine of the kind described, wherein the means for advancing each vertical column of cartons comprises a cable, a cable drum that may be selectively clutched to a common drive shaft, and a latch device normally restraining reverse rotation of the cable drum while its associated clutching device is in a declutched condition.

It is another object to provide a dispensing machine of the kind described having cable drum connections and controls for selectively raising or lowering the support tray for each column of cartons.

Another object of the invention is to provide a dispensing machine of the kind described having control means for raising each column of cartons by means of a common motor-driven shaft, said control means comprising a slotted control disc for each of said columns mounted upon a control shaft, each control disc having a radial slot angularly displaced from the radial slots of other control discs, and a control arm for each of the columns, said control arms having a contact member engageable with the radial slot of respective control discs and operated by an associated trip member, whereby an engagement between the contact member of any control arm and the radial slot of its associated control disc will trip its respective clutching device connecting the motordriven shaft to an individual drive means for raising the associated column of cartons.

Another object is to provide a dispensing machine of the kind described having control means for selectively raising the support tray for one column of cartons at a time or lowering all carton support trays simultaneously, and further including a lockout device for preventing simultaneous actuation of a first control for raising one support tray and a second control for lowering all support trays.

A still further object of this invention is to provide a dispensing machine of the kind described having control means comprising trip members associated with the removal of a carton from respective columns for advancing a new carton into a customer access position, and further including means for inhibiting the operative control of those trip members associated with columns which have been emptied.

Another object is to provide a dispensing machine of the kind described having control means including trip members associated with respective columns for advancing a new carton into a customer access position after one has been removed, said trip members comprising a tiltable plate disposed above the customer access position of respective columns and supported by a. subjacent carton.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a dispensing machine of the kind described including a transfer means for horizontally moving any carton occupying an upper dispensing position into a customer access position, said transfer means comprising a comb-like member having teeth engagements, for contacting any carton occupying an upper dispensing position of the vertical columns.

Another object is to provide a dispensing machine of the kind described including a transfer means for horizontally moving any carton occupying an upper dispensing position into a customer access position, said transfer means being operated through a normally disengaged clutch by a motor which also supplies power for advancing any one of the columns of cartons.

A still further object of the invention is to provide a dispensing machine of the kind described having both front and rear rows of adjacent vertical columns and including means for selectively advancing the support tray for any one of said columns in a vertical direction.

Other objects of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art to which this invention relates, especially in view of the drawings and the following detailed description.

In the drawings forming a part of this application and in which like parts are designated by like reference numerals throughout the same,

FIG. 1 is a front elevation of portions of a carton dispensing machine having its front housing plate removed and being constructed in accordance with the teaching of this invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged section taken on lines 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged section taken on lines 33 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a section taken on lines 4-4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a section taken on lines 55 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a section taken on lines 66 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is an enlargement of details shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 8 is a section taken on lines 88 of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a side elevation of selected portions of the motor drive and operating transmission for operating the machine;

FIG. 10 is a section taken on lines 1tl1t3 of FIG. 9; FIG. 11 is an enlarged section taken on lines 1l11 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 12 is a section taken on lines 1212 of FIG. 11; FIG. 13 is a section taken on lines 13-13 of FIG. 5; FIG. 14 is an enlarged section taken on lines 14-14- of FIG. 1;

FIG. 15 is a section taken on line 1515 of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 16 is a schematic drawing of a wiring diagram for operating the drive motor.

General description of dispensing operation Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2 a preferred embodiment of this invention in dispensing machines provides a plurality of carton columns arranged in front and back rows. Cartons from the front row of columns are advanced forwardly into customer access positions as occupied by cartons A shown in FIG. 2. The cartons of columns in the back row are also moved forwardly but above the columns of the front row until placed in customer access positions as occupied by cartons B. If either a carton A or a carton B is removed from its customer access position, then the respective vertical column from which the removed carton was supplied is raised, thereby moving the uppermost carton in the column into an upper dispensing position.

The upper dispensing position of each column is horizontally aligned with the associated customer access position, and after being elevated into such an upper dispens. ing position, the uppermost carton is immediately advanced forwardly into the vacated customer access position. It is to be understood, therefore, that the upper dispensing positions are merely intermediate positions occupied by the cartons while moving from their respective columns to their respective customer access positions. The apparatus and mechanism for producing the controlled movement of the cartons is now to be described in detail.

Detailed description of dispensing machine The dispensing machine shown comprises a housing in cluding side plates 10 and 11, a front plate 12, a top cover plate 13, a bottom cover plate 14, and a rear plate 15. Front plate 12, as well as rear plate 115, are removable to permit replenishment of the cartons in their stacked columns. The front plate 12 is also provided with upper and lower rows of slotted openings through which the cartons A and B are moved into their customer access positions.

A supporting framework is provided interiorly of the housing, said framework comprising a pair of side mounting plates 16 and 17 interconnected by transfer channel members 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 2.4. The front row of carton columns is divided by a plurality of partition members supported on and secured to channel members 21 and 22 and interconnected by channel 18 and an angle bar 26 which also interconnects side plates 16 and 17. The rear row of vertical columns are divided by a plurality of partition members 27, each supported upon channel members 23 and 24 and interconnected by channel bar 259. The upper end of each partition member 27 extends forwardly above the front row of carton columns and rests upon a horizontal divider plate 28. The rear edge of plate 128 is provided with 21 depending flange 28a to which the abutting leading edge of each partition member 27 is welded. The front edge of plate 28 is supported on and secured to channel 1?.

Each of the front row of carton columns is supported upon a tray 29 having a trolley 29a reciprocally guided on a pair of vertical rails 34 each pair being secured to the rear edges of adjacent partition members 25. The rear row of carton columns are similarly mounted upon trays 33., the trolley 31a of each tray being guided by a pair of rails 32, said rails being secured to the forward edges of adjacent partition members 27.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 2 and 3, it Will be noted that trays 29 and 31 are supported by cables 3 3a and 33/), respectively, which extend upward and are entrained around a series of pulleys 34. Each of the pulleys 34 is rotatably mounted upon a common support shaft 35 extending longitudinally of the machine and disposed between the forward and rearward columns of cartons. Shaft 35 is mounted from a series of depending arms 36 secured to the bottom surface of horizontal divider plate 28. Cables 33a connected to support trays 29 extend downwardly from their respective pulleys 34, being entrained around guide pulleys 37 and Wound upon cable drums 38 which are rotatably supported on a common shaft 39. Cables 33!) supporting support trays 31 extend downwardly from their re spective pulleys 34, being entrained around guide pulleys 4th in addition to a pulley 37, and similarly connected to their respective cable drums 38. Each of the guide pulleys 4G is mounted to a mounting stud 41, and guide pulleys 37 are supported on a common mounting shaft 42. Shafts 39 and 42 are mounted upon a series of support plates 43 extending from the middle of the machine toward the rear cover plate 15. One plate 43 is provided for each pair of carton columns in front-to-back alignment, and the guide pulleys and cable drum for the respective carton columns of each pair are disposed on opposite sides of their respective plate 43 as shown in FIG. 1.

Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8 in particular, each cable drum 3% is connected to and driven by a gear 3-4 meshed with a pinion 45 on a shaft 46, pinions 45 being driven by gears 47 respectively meshed with second pinions 4-8 loosely mounted on a main drive shaft A clutching mechanism is provided for connecting each gear 4-8 to the drive shaft 49, gears 48 bein rigidly secured to a separate clutch plate 59 which is adapted to be driven by its own clutch dog 51 pivotally mounted thereto On a pivot stud 52. It will be further noted that each clutch dog 51 is normally urged into en agement with a ratchet Wheel 53, rigidly secured to shaft 49. For this purpose, a spring 54 interconnects a stud 55 on each clutch dog, and a spring stud 5'6 on respective clutch plates Ed.

The clutch dog 51 of each clutch mechanism is normally engaged by a live tip 5'7 having a offset lip 58, said live tip being pivotally mounted on a pivot stud 59 of a control arm one control arm being provided for each clutching mechanism. Control arms tl are pendently supported on studs 61 mounted from plate 43, said arms being urged in a counterclockwise direction as shown in FIG. 7 by a spring 62 resiliently tensioned between spring studs 63 and 64. Each arm es is normally held against a stop pin 65 by its respective spring 62 while live tips 57 are urged in a counterclockwise direction by a spring 66 stretched between a spring stud 67 and a spring stud 63 mounted on control arm 60.

A latch arm 16% having an otfset lip 161 is provided for each clutch plate 5%}, said latch arms 160 being biased clockwise by a spring member 1.62 connected to a spring stud 163 and a mounting stud 164 on support plates 43. Spring 162 holds lip 161i into engagement with the peripheral surface of clutch plate 59, said lip riding upon that surface when the plate rotates in a counterclockwise direction, but being placed into engagement with the shoulder 165 when and as the plate is moved with clockwise rotation.

Latch arms tail), it will be noted, function to prevent backward travel of clutch plate 50 which would otherwise be imparted thereto by reason of the weight of cartons disposed on the associated support tray. Moreover, if clutch plate 5% were allowed to rotate in clockwise direction, spring 54- would draw clutch dog 51 into engagement with the ratchet 53. Therefore, an engagement between the shoulder of clutch dog 51 and lip 58 of live tip 57 with a simultaneous engagement between lip 161 of latch arm 16d and shoulder 165 of clutch plate 5t) causes the associated clutch spring 54 to be stretched, thereby holding the clutch dog from engagement with its ratchet 53. Should either of the lips 58 or tel be removed from engagement with the shoulder of clutch dog 51 or the shoulder of clutch plate 54), respectively, then the dog would be allowed to pivot about stud 52 and to close down on its ratchet 53.

Whenever control arm 65 is in a position against stop 65 as shown, the car 58 of live tip 57 will ocupy a position for engaging the shoulder of clutch dog 51. Assuming that clutch dog Si. is engaged with ratchet 53 and that ratchet 53 is being rotated by shaft 49, then an engagement between dog 51 and lip 58 will cause live tip 57 to pivot about stud 59 in a clockwise direction, tensioning spring 66 until contact is made with the stop pin 69 mounted on control arm dtl. Although clutch dog 51 be held, pivot stud 52 is advanced until dog 51 is disengaged from ratchet 53. During such a movement spring 54 is stretched, while the shoulder 165 of clutch plate 50 moves in a counterclockwise direction behind the lip left of latch arm res.

Importantly, at the point of disengagement of clutch dog 51 from ratchet 53, the force potential in spring as is greater than the force stored in spring 54. Thus, upon final disengagement of the clutch dog from the ratchet, live tip 57 pulls dog 51 well out of its engagement with the ratchet and into the position shown in FIG. 7; and although spring 54 will tend to move clutch plate 50 in a clockwise direction, shoulder 165 will come into engagement with lip 16]. before there is a re-engagement between clutch dog 51 and ratchet 53. It will be noted that live tip 57 prevents the condition known as clutchrasping, a condition frequently found in mechanisms which have a constant back torque applied to a driven member.

Control arms 6% are operated by means of either an actuating lever 7th: or an actuating lever 7%, said levers being similarly formed with an arm portion 71 to which the spring stud 64 is mounted. Although spring 62 urges the control arm 60 in a counterclockwise direction and normally holds it against stop 65, nevertheless, movement of its related actuating arm in a clockwise direction will bring its arm portion 71 into engagement with the spring stud 63. Further clockwise movement of the actuating levers would cause the control arms 60 to be rocked clockwise, thereby tending to move live 6. tip 57 away from the clutch dog 51 so as to engage the controlled clutch mechanism.

A plurality of springs 7 each connected to a spring stud 75 on partition member 43 and attached to a spring stud 76 on arm 71 bias the actuating levers in a clockwise direction. Movement of the levers 70a and 7% are restrained, however, by a control cable 77a or 77b respectively. Cables 77a extend upwardly through a notched member 78 provided on a respective support tray 25 and are attached to a lip 79 of a tiltable trigger member 80 disposed directly above a carton column of the front row and supported by the carton A occupying the customer access position for that column. Tiltable trigger Inemhers 80 are pivotally mounted at either end on pivots 81 and 82 which are supported on stands 83 and S4, respectively, said stands extending from the upper edge of each partition member 25.

An engagement member 35 extends downwardly from the bottom surface of the tiltable plate 86). This engage ment, as will be seen, prevents reverse movement of a carton A from its customer access position backward into vertical alignment with the column from which it has been fed.

Cables 77b extend upwardly through an engagement member on support trays 31 and are secured to a lip 87 provided on a tiltable trigger member 88 normally supported by the carton B occupying the customer access position for that column. Trigger members 88, like members 80, are pivotally mounted at either end on pivots 89 and 90 supported on stands 91 and 92, respectively, said stands extending upwardly from the top edge of each partition plate 2'7.

A carton engagement 93 extends downwardly from the bottom surface of trigger member 88 to prevent rearward movement of a carton B from its customer access position.

As best shown in FIG. 13, a stop member 94a is secured to the upper portion of cable 77a. Similarly, a stop member 94!) is attached to cable 7717. Although the operation of stop members 94a and 94b will become more clearly apparent from the following detailed description of operation, at this time it may be noted that an engagement will be made between the stop members and their respective engagements 78 or 86 upon movement of the trays Z9 and 31, respectively, into their uppermost position.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 7, a series of control discs 95 are provided, each of which is secured to a shaft 96 extending longitudinally of the machine. The control discs are each formed with a slotted opening in their peripheral surfaces, and the discs are so arranged on the shaft 96 that their slotted openings are angularly displaced from each other. Control shaft 96 is adapted to be driven through a slip clutch 97 by a gear 98, best shown in FIGS. 9 and 10. Gear 93 is part of a gear reduction system driven from drive shaft 49. The gear reduction system includes a pinion 99 mounted on pin 1% and meshed with gear 98, and a gear 101 coaxially connected to pinion 95 and meshed with a pinion 1'92 secured to and rotatably driven by shaft 49.

A reversible motor M operatively drives a pulley 103 connected to a pulley 104 by means of a belt 105. Pulley 1 34 is mounted on a pin 1% and coaxially attached to a pinion 107 meshed with gears 103 and 1439. Gear 108, it will be noted, drives shaft 49, while gear is loosely mounted on a shaft liltl extending transversely of the machine. Shafts 49, 96 and 110 are supported in hearings on each of the support plates 43 and pins tilt) and 106 are mounted on endmost support plate 43a.

Each arm 71 is provided with a pin which is adapted to mate with the slot of a respective control disc 95. Assuming that all lever members 75a and 70!; are allowed to move clockwise (under the impetus of their respective springs 74 when cartons A and B of each column are removed), then the pins 115 of each arm 71 will move into engagement with the circular periphery of its respective control disc 95. In a manner to be described, shaft 96 will now be rotated, and as soon as the first alignment exists between one pin 115 and the slot of its associated control disc 95, that lever 71 which supports the. said one pin 115 can be moved further clockwise since the pin will move into the slot. This engagement between a pin and its control disc slot prevents further rotation of the shaft 96, slip clutch 97 allowing gear 98 to turn free of said shaft.

Ordinarily, the motor M is de-energized but may be activated by counterclockwise movement of a pivoted arm 116 as shown in FIGS. 3, 7, 11 and 14. Actually, two arms 110 are provided, one at each end of the machine, between which an angle bar 117 extends longitudinally through the machine being disposed in front of each of the arms 71. Arms 116 are biased clockwise by a spring member 118 tensioned between spring studs 119 and 119a. Spring 118 is of relatively light tension and is easily overpowered by the force of any one of the springs 74, which operate actuating levers 711a and 7017.

Upon the removal of any one of the cartons A or B, the associated actuating arm will be moved clockwise by the force of its spring 74. The pin member 115 mounted to the arm 71 of that actuating arm will then move toward the periphery of its associated control disc 95. This movement alone brings the arm 71 into engagement with channel 117, thereby moving arm 116 in a counterclockwise direction. Although pin 115 is not then aligned with the slot of its associated control disc, the arms 116 will be moved into the broken line position X, as shown in FIG. 7. Such a movement is suflicient to energize the motor M by means hereinafter described. When and as the pin 115 engages its slot, arm 116 is moved into a broken line position Y, arm 71 then being moved into a broken line position Z, also as illustrated in FIG. 7.

The movement of arm 71 into a position Z produces an engagement between its leading edge and pin 63 mounted on control arm 60. This causes that control arm 60 to be pivoted clockwise about stud 61 thereby moving live tip 57 and retracting the lip 58 from engagement with the shoulder of clutch dog 51. Spring 54 immediately closes the clutch dog 51 onto the ratchet 53, and since the ratchet is being turned with drive shaft 49 by motor M, its associated cable drum 38 is rotated, raising the support tray for the appropriate column until the actuating lever moves control arm 60 and live tip 57 back into a clutch engaging position.

Means is provided for each control mechanism to prevent opening of the clutch dog until the uppermost carton of the column from which a carton has been taken is fully lifted into an upper dispensing position. This means comprises a series of locking levers 120, each mounted to a stud 121 provided on support plates 43. A biasing spring 122, connected to a stud 123 on lever 120 and a spring stud 124 on plate 43 normally holds a roller member 125 against the surface of arm 71. It will be seen that as arm 71 is pivoted clockwise, arm 121) is allowed to move in a counterclockwise direction, thereby bringing a lip 126 into engagement with a surface 127 on the control arm 61 After arm 71 has been moved a sufiicient distance to release the engagement between live tip 57 and clutch dog 51, a further movement of arm 71 will produce clockwise rotation of control arm 60 until lip 126 moves upwardly into engagement with the shoulder 128 on arm 60. It will be seen that control arm 61) cannot be returned to a clutch engaging position until arm 71 engages the roller 125, and rocks lever 120 clockwise thereby causing lip 126 to be moved downward and beneath surface 127. Thus, locking lever 120 prevents the return of control arm 61 until arm 71 of actuating levers 7% or 71b is completely restored into the solid line position shown in FIG. 7.

Referring to FIGS. 2, 6 and 15, there is shown means for moving cartons from an upper dispensing position forwardly into customer access positions. An angle bar member 131) is normally disposed at the rear of a rear row of carton columns. Angle bar 1311 is comb-like in appearance, having depending finger members 131 arranged behind respective carton columns as shown in FIG. 6. A pair of lateral support plates 132 are secured to the angle bar at opposite ends, and a pair of roller members 133 and 134 are secured to each support plate 132. A horizontal slot 135 is formed in each of the side plates 16 and 17 and each pair of rollers 133 and 134 track in respective slots. A pair of driving chains 136 is secured to each of the lateral support plates 132, said chains being respectively entrained around pairs of sprockets 137 and 138 spaced hoizontally beneath each slot 135. Sprockets 137 and 138 are mounted as shown in FIG. 1, being supported on side plates 16 and 17. Chain 136 is adapted to be moved in a reciprocating manner by a chain 139 entrained around a sprocket 149 secured to sprocket 137 and a large bull gear 141.

Similarly, cartons of the front rows are adapted to be moved from their respective upper dispensing positions to their respective customer access positions by an angle bar member 145. This bar is also formed as a comb-like member, having dependent fingers 146 and lateral support plates 147. A pair of rollers 148 and 149 are provided for each support plate 147, said rollers tracking in respective grooves 150 formed in the side support plates 16 and 17. Angle bar 147 is moved transversely in the direction of elongate slots 15th by means of a continuous chain 151, said chain being entrained around sprockets 152 and 153 and a gear 154. Sprockets 152 and 153 are mounted in a line parallel with elongate slots 150.

Bull gear 141 is coaxially joined to gear 154 and together they are supported on an arbor 155 mounted to support plates 16 and 17. It will be seen that rotative movement of bull gear 141 will impart movement to chains 139, 136, and also chain 15 1, thereby moving angle bars 1311 and 145 simultaneously. However, in view of the gear reduction between bull gear 141 and sprocket 140, and further in view of the differences in diameter of gears 154 and 141, the linear movement of chain 136 is more than double that of chain 151. In fact, from the positions of bars 135 and 145 as shown in FIG. 1, means is provided for rotating bull gear 141 until bar 130 is vertically aligned with bar 145.

The bull gears 14-1 on either side of the machine are adapted to be oscillated by a pair of crank arms 156 and 157 pivotally joined by a pin 158 and pivoted to gears 141 by a pin 159. Crank arms 157 are keyed to shafts 170, each shaft being rotatably mounted from a side plate 16 or 17 and operatively driven by a gear 171 respectively meshed with pinions 172 secured at the ends of shaft 110. It is to be noted that gear 171 and pinions 172 are matched with an integral whole number ratio of teeth. Therefore, a fixed number of complete turns of pinions 172 will cause gears 171 and crank arms 157 to be rotated one full turn.

It will be seen that a complete 360 rotation of crank arm 157 will cause bull gear 141 to first rotate clockwise approximately about hub 155 and then return to the position shown in FIG. 15. Gear 154 being attached to gear will rock clockwise and then counterclockwise in a similar motion. Of course, a clockwise rotation of gear 141 causes sprockets 141i, 137 and 138 to rotate similarly and chain 136 will then be moved first toward the right and then toward the left, as shown. Bar is then moved in a reciprocated manner along the slot 135.

The oscillated movement of gear 15 is transmitted directly to chain 151, thereby moving bar first toward the right and then toward the left. Thus, it will be evident that any cartons occupying an upper dispensing position, whether they be in a forward or backward row, will be moved forwardly into customer access positions. In view of the following description of the control apparatus for initiating movement of bars 131) and 145, it will be seen that several cartons from different carton columns may be advanced simultaneously from respective upper dispensing positions into respective customer access positions.

Referring to FIGS. 11 and 12 in particular, there is shown a motor energizing mechanism and a clutching device for driving shaft 110. One arm 116 is pivoted upon a pivot shaft 180, and a motor control arm 181 is operatively rotated therewith. An operating link 182 is pivotally joined to arm 181 by a pin 183, and is also pivotally joined to a link 184 by a pin 185. Control link 184 is in turn pivoted to an arm 186 by a pivot pin 187, arm 186 being pivotally supported from side plate 17 upon a pin 188. A spring 189 secured to a spring stud 198 on link 182 and a pin stud 191 on side plate 17 urges the links 182 and 184 in an upward direction. In the relationship of the parts shown, FIG. 11, a lip 192 on link 182 is placed into engagement with the arcuate bottom surface of a keeper member 193, said keeper member being urged in a counterclockwise direction as shown in FIG. 11 by a spring 195 stretched between spring studs 196 and 197. Counterclockwise movement of keeper 193 is limited by a stop pin 198. A control plate 199 secured to side plate 17 provides a camming surface 200 upon which the lip 192 may ride when moved toward the right into the alternate broken line position shown.

Assuming the removal of but one carton from a carton position A or B, then an associated actuating arm with its arm portion 71 will be pivoted clockwise until its pin 115 rests against the peripheral surface of its respective control disc 95. This action will move arm 116 into the intermediate position x, thereby pivoting motor control arm 181, pushing control link 182 toward the right and moving lip 192 off the arcuate surface of keeper 193. Lip 192 is thus placed into engagement with the camming surface 280 of plate 199. In being so moved, link182 will pivot link 184 about pivot 187, causing a pin 291 mounted on link 184 to be moved toward the right and away from a lever 202 pivoted on a stud 283. Lever 282 is, however, biased in a clockwise direction by a spring 284 stretched between spring studs 295 and 186. Accordingly, spring 284 will move lever 282 until a switch S1 closes, thereby energizing a circuit for motor M, which immediately rotates drive shaft 49 through pulley 184, pinions 197 and gear 188. Control shaft 96 is also rotated through slip clutch 97 and gears 98, 99, 181 and 182.

As soon as a pin 115 engages the slot of its respective control disc 95, arm portion '71 will move into position Z and arm 116 will occupy position Y. The associated clutch mechanism will be actuated, thereby placing its respective cable drum in driven relationship to shaft 49. The cable for that drum will be wound thereon, raising its support plate and moving the uppermost carton in the column into an upper dispensing position. When and as the uppermost carton engages its trigger member (either tiltable plate 88 or tiltable plate 88), the respective actuating arm (78a or 79b) will be moved in a counterclockwise direction from position Z toward its starting position, and arms 116 and motor control arm 181 will move clockwise under the tension bias of spring 118.

If no other cartons A or B have been removed from their respective customer access positions so as to operate their actuating arms to place another pin 115 into engagement with the periphery of its slotted disc, then clockwise movement of motor control arm 181 will draw link 182 toward the left. Lip 192 on link 182 is moved correspondingly backward across surface 2811, coming into engagement with the lip 207 of keeper 1193, thereby pivoting keeper 193 in a clockwise direction against the tension imposed by spring 195. As motor control arm 116 approaches its original starting position, lip 192 slides off onto the shoulder 20 8 of mounting plate 199, forcing link 184 upward and moving pin 201 into a position above and away from lever 202.

Although motor control arm 181 has been returned to a starting position, it will be noted that motor M continues to operate since it remains energized through switch S1. The return of the actuated control arm 69, however, places its live tip 57 into engagement with its associated clutch dog 51, thereby preventing further advancement of its respective cable drum.

The upward movement of link 182 causes a slotted link 289 pivoted thereto by pin 210 to be moved against a pin 211 secured to a detent lever 212. Lever 212 is pivoted upon a fixed stud 213 and is biased in a clockwise direction by a spring 214 connected between spring studs 215 and 216. The upward movement of link. 20 9 causes detent lever 212 to pivot counterclockwise and retract a lip 217 from engagement with a clutch dog 218. This allows a spring 219 secured to a spring stud 22'!) on the clutch dog and a spring stud 221 on a clutch plate 222 to bring the clutch dog into engagement with a ratchet 223, said ratchet being keyed to motor driven shaft 110. Clutch plate 222 is rotatable on shaft and is driven when clutch dog 218 engages ratchet 223. Pinion 172, coaxially fixed to clutch plate 222, rotates with clutch plate 222 to drive gear 171.

Clutch dog 218 and pinions 172 rotate a predetermined number of complete revolutions and are then stopped when a pin 225 mounted on a gear 171 comes into engagement with the lip 226 of arm 186. Such an engagement forces arm 186 in a counterclockwise direction as shown in FIG. 11, forcing link 184 downward and moving link 182 downward also. Lip 192 of link 182 is thereby moved into a position beneath lip 287 of keeper 193 and spring 195 moves the keeper 193 in a counterclockwise direction until it abuts against the stop pin 198. All of the operating mechanism shown in FIG. 11 will thereby have been returned to its original starting position as shown, and in doing so, pin 281 on link 184 will be moved against the lever 282, causing switch S1 to open.

It is to be noted that offset lip 192 on link 182 will prevent a counterclockwise movement of motor control arm 1811 once it has been moved into engagement with the shoulder 208 of control plate 199. Consequently, upon release of the clutch dog 218, it becomes impossible for arms 116 to be moved counterclockwise from their start positions. Thus, if any cartons are removed during the horizontal dispensing cycle, none of the lifting clutch dogs 51 can be released. It is only at the end of the horizontal dispensing cycle when lip 192 is moved downwardly beneath the lip 287 of keeper 1% that arms 116 and motor control arm 181 can be moved in a counterclockwise direction.

If more than one carton A or caron B, or a mixture thereof, should be removed simultaneously (or before the commencement of a horizontal dispensing cycle) no horizontal dispensing cycle can begin until all the various columns which serve as sources for those removed cartons A and B have been vertically advanced, placing the uppermost carton of each column into an upper dispensing position. During the vertical lifting of the various carton columns, lip 192 of link 182 will rest upon the surface 288 of plate 199, said lip riding back and forth as arm 116 moves between its positions X and Y. Initially, of course, the first carton removed from its customer access position will cause arm 116 to be moved from its start position into the position X, and then into a position Y when there is a matching alignment between a pin and the slot of its disc 95.

When several pins (or any one of such pins) rest against the peripheral surface of their respective control discs 95, spring 118 cannot bring arm 116 into a start position because of the engagement between angle bar 117 and the arm portions 71 which support pins 115. Accordingly, motor M will continue to operate so long as arm 116 occupies either an X or Y position and control shaft 96 will be turned unless there is a matching engagement between the slot of one control disc 95 and its respective pin 115. It will be seen, therefore, that any pin 115 which rests against its control disc 95 will sooner or later be mated with its respective slot, thereby actuating it lifting clutch and causing the associated vertical carton column to be elevated. When there are no more pin members 115 resting against a control disc 95, then only arm 116 Will be moved in a clockwise rotation under the impetus of spring 118 and returned to a starting position; and lip 192 will be moved toward the left until it engages the lip 207, pivoting the keeper 193 clockwise until lip 192 drops onto the shoulder 208. A horizontal dispensing movement then commences in the manner previously described.

Referring to FIG. 14, there is shown a means for preventing counterclockwise movement of arms 116 while simultaneously operating the motor M in a reverse direction and allowing each of the clutch dogs 51 to close down upon their respective ratchets 53. The mechanism shown is adapted to be used when it becomes necessary to replenish the cartons of each of the columns, said mechanism comprising a manually operated rod 230 pivotally secured to one of a pair of levers 231, each of which is pivotally mounted to the side plates 16 and 17 by pins 232. A bar 233 extends longitudinally across the machine and is connected to each of the levers 231, said bar 233 being normally engaged by each of the control arms 160 whenever their lips 161 are in engagement with the shoulder 165 of clutch plate 50. The combined force of springs 162 which act upon control arms 16th will hold lever arms 231 and bar 233 in the position shown in FIG. 14.

A keeper lever 234 having a lip 235 is pivotally mounted to one of the side plates by a pin 236. Lever 234- is pivotally connected with lever 231 by a link 237 and pin connections 238 and 239. A second motor control switch S2 supported from side plate 16 is disposed in the actuated path of arm 234.

It will be seen that a movement of rod 230 toward the left would pivot lever 231 in a clockwise direction. All of the control arms 160 would then be engaged by bar 233 and simultaneously moved in a counterclockwise direction, thereby retracting their respective lips 151 from the shoulders 165 of their associated clutch plates Also, such a clockwise movement of lever 231 would cause lever 234 to be pivoted clockwise, moving lip 235 behind an arm 240 secured to the arm 116. If lip 235 is disposed in such a position, it then becomes impossible to rotate motor control arm 181 in a clockwise direction so as to independenly energize the motor M through switch S1. Angle bar 117 prevents the movement of any pins 115 into the slots of their respective clutching discs. Of course, in this position arm 234 also closes a motor circuit through switch S2.

Referring to FIG. 16, there is shown a diagrammatic motor control circuit for motor M. Switch S2, it will be noted, operates a relay 250 which actuates a gang of three switches 251, 252 and 253. Switches 251 and 252 represent a reversing switch for connecting an A.C. supply to the field coil of motor M. In the contact positions shown for switches 251 and 252, the field of motor M is connected to operate drive shaft 49 in a counterclockwise direction as shown in FIG. 2, thereby tending to rotate cable drums 38 in a direction for lifting any one of the support trays. However, closing switch S2 energizes relay 250, thereby moving the switches 251 and 252 to their opposite positions, reversing the connection of the A.C. supply to the field of the motor M. Simultaneously, switch 253 is operated closed, providing a by-pass line around switch S1 and completing a circuit to the armature of motor M. Accordingly, each time switch S2 is closed, motor M will be driven in an opposite direction; and since each of the clutch dogs 51 will be engaged with its ratchet 53, cables 33a and 3312 will be unwound from their respective cable drums 38. Support trays 29 and 31 will then descend by their own Weight, although limited by the speed of motor M, until each tray rests upon the channel 22 or 23. When the trays come to rest upon the channels there will be no counter torque applied to their respective clutch plates 51 and their clutch dogs 51 will then be cammed open as the ratchets 53 continue to rotate.

Referring to FIG. 3, it will be evident that means is provided for obtaining individual counts of cartons dispensed from respective columns, and also a total count of cartons dispensed from all columns. A plurality of conventional counter devices 391 are used for obtaining a count of cartons dispensed from individual columns, a pair of said counter devices being supported on opposite sides of support plates 43 and operatively connected to the arm 71 of an actuating control lever 70a or 7017 by an operating link 3112. Links 302 are pivoted to their respective arms 71 at one end and have an elongated slot 3413 at the other end. A pin 304 mounted to an arm 305 of each counter device is received in the slot 3113 of respective links 362. The length of each slot 3113 is such that a movement of that arm 71 to which the links are pivoted so as to place pin 115 into engagement with the peripheral surface of its slotted control disc will bring the end of the slot 303 into contact with the pin 304. Then, when the arm 71 is pivoted further clockwise, pin passing into the slot of its associated control disc, the counter arm 305 will be operated to advance the counter one number. A spring 506 may be provided for returning arm 3115 to its original position after link 3112 is retracted by counterclockwise movement of arm '71 into its original starting position. Thus, each counter device 301 is actuated and advanced one number for each time a new carton is dispensed into the customer access position for its associated column.

A totalizing counter 31d, identical in structure to countcrs 3111, is operated by the movement of arm 116, said counter having an actuating link 311 pivotally connected thereto. Link 311 also has a slot 312 that receives a pin 313 mounted to arm 314- of counter 310. A return spring 315 is further provided for the counter arm 314, said arm being contacted by the end of elongate slot 312 as the arm 116 is moved into its intermediate position X and pivotally moved as the arm 115 is brought to the position Y. inasmuch as arm 116 is operated once for each new carton dispensed into any one of the customer access positions, the counter 316 will record a total count of all cartons dispensed from the machine.

Summary of operation The removal of any cartons A or B from their respective customer access positions will cause associated actuating arms 71271 or 7111), respectively, to pivot about their mounting studs 61 under the biasing force of spring 74. Any actuating arm which is so moved will place a pin 115 into engagement with the peripheral surface of an associated control disc 95, and being so moved, an arm portion '71 of the actuating arm will engage channel bar 117 mounted on arms 115. Motor control arm 181 is thereby pivoted counterclockwise, moving a linkage mechanism for energizing the motor switch S1. Unless there is an immediate engagement between a pin 115 and the slot of its control disc 95, shaft 96 Will begin to rotate until a pin and slot engagement occurs, at which time an associated control arm 611 is moved clockwise, retracting its related live tip 67 from engagement with its associated clutch dog 51. The rotation of main drive shaft 49 is then transmitted from a ratche to the clutch dog 51 and a gear 43. An associated cable drum 38 is then rotated through reduction gearing comprising a gear 47 meshed with gear 48 and a pinion 46 meshed with gear The respective lifting cable is thereby wound on the drum, elevating its vertical column until the uppermost carton of that column engages its tiltable trigger plate and comes to occupv an upper dispensing position horizontally in line with its customer access position. At this time, the control cable ('77:! or 77b) will have been lifted, moving its actuating arm (76a or 71311) and pivoting it in a counterclockwise direction. Pin 115 of that actuating arm will, thereby, be removed from its associated control disc slot and arm portion 71 will be returned to a starting position. A keeper lever 120 prevents premature return of control arm 60 so that there will be no disengagement of the clutch dog 51 before the carton column has been fully lifted.

As arm portion 71 of the actuated control arm moves from a clutching position Z to its start position, angle bar 117 will follow, unless other actuating arms have been pivoted so as to place their pin members 115 into engagement with the periphery of their respective control discs. If that should be the case, then motor control arm 181 cannot be returned to its original position until respective carton columns have been lifted and all actuating arms 70a or 70b which have been released have been returned to cable supported positions.

When there are no pin members 115 resting against control disc 95, then angle bar 117 can be returned to a starting position, causing motor control arm 181 to be pivoted clockwise and moving link 182 toward the left as shown in FIG. 11. This action serves to bring lip 192 of link 182 into engagement with lip 207 of keeper 193, pivoting said keeper 193 in a clockwise direction until spring 189 moves the link 182 upwardly, placing lip 192 2 into engagement with shoulder surface 208. Accordingly, link 209 is brought into engagement with the pin 211 on detent 212, thereby retracting the lip 217 and releasing the clutch dog 218. Clutch plate 222, which is keyed to shaft 110, will then rotate with the ratchet 223. Pinions 172 on shaft 110 rotate respective gears 171 one full turn, bringing pin 225 on one of said gears 171 into engagement with the lip 226 of a control crank 186, moving links 184 and 182 downwardly and tripping lip 192 beneath the keeper lip 207. This completes one cycle of operation and all parts are now returned to their original or starting positions.

It will be noted, of course, that as gear 171 is making one complete revolution, horizontal dispensing bars 131 and 145 are being moved in one cycle of reciprocal movement and any cartons which occupy an upper dispensing position will be moved into their customer access positions A or B.

In the event that a carton column should be emptied of cartons, a contact between stop member 94a or 94b and their respective engagements 78 or 86 will produce lifting of their respective control cables when the last carton of that column is moved into an upper dispensing position. Then, although that last carton may be removed from its customer access position, allowing its trigger plate to tilt downwardly, the cable will be held, preventing further operation of its actuating arm.

Each time a pin 115 on an arm portion 71 is mated with the slot of its disc 95, a counter 301 will be advanced one number, giving an individual count of cartons dispensed from the related carton column. Simultaneous with the actuation of any counter 3411, totalizing counter 310 will be advanced by the oscillating movement of arm 116 from an intermediate position X to its extreme position Z.

To replenish the cartons in respective carton columns, front and back mounting plates 12 and 15 are removed. Each of the column support trays 2 9 and 31 is then simultaneously lowered by manual operation of rod 23%), cansing lever arm 231 to pivot clockwise relative to positions shown in FIG. 14. Such movement tends to bring bar 233 into engagement with the arms 16%), pivoting the detent lip 161 of each control arm from in back of the shoulder 165 of respective clutch plates 50. The counter torque applied to the clutch plates 50 through the weight of the respective Support trays allows each clutch dog 51 to back down into engagement with its respective ratchet 53. Shortly thereafter, the motor M will be energized through a switch 82, said switch being operated by the arm 234 which is simultaneously pivoted with the lever 231. As previously explained, switch S2 provides an energizing circuit for driving the motor in a reverse direction. Accordingly, each of the support trays will gradually descend until it comes to rest upon support channels 22 or 23.

'The above description relating to reverse operation of motor M and the lowering of the support trays 29 and 31 is conditioned, of course, upon the positioning of angle bar 117 in a starting position so that motor M is not enerized for lifting the carton columns or moving cartons from an upper dispensing position to positions of customer access. The cooperative relationship between lever 240 and the lip 235 of lever 234 provides an effective lockout for either the forward or the reverse operation of motor M depending upon which of the two control devices is the first to be actuated.

It is to be understood that the form of the invention herewith shown and described is to be taken as a preferred example thereof, and that various changes may be made in the shape, size and arrangement of certain parts and a substitution of equivalent structures without departing from the spirit of the invention, and each of such changes or substitutions is contemplated.

Having thus described my invention, what I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:

1. A dispensing machine comprising:

(a) means for supporting identical cartons in a row of adjacent vertical columns and including one support tray for each column, each vertical column having an upper dispensing position and carton supporting means at a forward customer access position;

(b) drive means for selectively advancing the support tray for any one of said columns in a vertical direction while moving the uppermost carton of that column into its upper dispensing position, said drive means comprising a motor and clutching devices for establishing a driving connection between said motor and respective support trays;

(c) transfer means for horizontally moving any carton occupying an upper dispensing position into a customer access position; and

((1) control means for operating said drive means including said clutching devices, said control means comprising trip members associated with respective carton columns, each trip member controlling the operation of said drive means and the clutching device for the column with which it is associated, each trip member being actuated by the removal of the carton from the carton supporting means at the customer access position of the respective column.

2. The dispensing machine of claim 1 and further including means for preventing reverse movement of cartons from said positions of customer access: toward respective dispensing positions.

3. The dispensing machine of claim 1 and further including a totalizing counter for counting the number of cartons taken from said machine, and means for operating said counter each time one of said trip members causes its clutching device to be engaged.

4. The dispensing machine of claim 1 and further including a counter for each of said vertical columns, and means for operating each counter, respectively, by actuation of the trip member for the column with which it is associated.

5. The dispensing machine of claim 1 wherein said drive means further comprises a drive shaft operably driven by said motor, a cable drum for each of said columns, a cable interconnecting the support tray of each column with its respective cable drum, each clutching device being operably associated with said drive shaft and the cable drum of one column; and a latch device for each column normally restraining reverse: rotation of its respective cable drum while its associated clutching device is in a declutched condition.

6. The dispensing machine of claim 1 wherein said motor is reversable and said drive means further comprises: a drive shaft operably driven by said motor; and each of said clutching devices includes a clutch driver mounted to said drive shaft, a driven clutch member having a clutch dog pivotally mounted thereto, a control arm selectively movable into engagement with said clutch dog to declutch said dog and prevent rotation of said driven clutch member, and a latch member normally biased into engagement With said driven clutch member to restrain reserve rotation of said driven clutch member; and means for transmitting the movement of each driven clutch memher to its respective carton support tray.

7. The dispensing machine of claim 6 and further including means for simultaneously moving each of said latch members out of engagement with said driven clutch member, thereby allowing said driven clutch member to move in a reverse direction of rotation and causing said clutch dogs to engage their respective clutch drivers; whereby reverse operation of said motor will allow said support trays to descend by gravity forces.

3. The dispensing machine of claim 1 wherein said control means further comprises means for inhibiting the operative control of those trip members associated with columns which have been emptied.

9. The dispensing machine of claim it wherein said control means further comprises means for operating said drive means in a reverse direction while engaging each of said clutching devices.

10. The dispensing machine of claim 1 wherein said control means further comprises a control shaft, a slotted control dis-c for each of said columns mounted upon said shaft, each of said control discs having a radial slot angularly displaced from the radial slots of other control discs; a slip clutch interconnecting said control shaft with said drive means; a control arm for each of said columns, each said control arm having a contact member thereon engageable with the radial slot of the respective control disc and each control arm being connected to one of said trip members, whereby an engagement between the contact member of any control arm and the radial slot of an associated control disc will trip the clutching device for its associated column.

11. The dispensing machine of claim 10 and further including a totalizing counter for counting the number of cartons taken from said machine, and means for operating said counter each time the contact member of one of said control arms engages the radial slot of its associate-d control disc.

12. The dispensing machine of claim 10 and further including a counter for each of said vertical columns, and means for actuating the counter for the respective column each time the contact member of the control arm for the respective column engages the radial slot of its associated control disc.

13. The dispensing machine of claim 10 and further wherein each of said control discs has a circular periphery, each of said control arms being movable from a normally held position adjacent its control disc to a motor starting position at which its contact member engages the circular periphery of its associated control disc, said control arms being then movable into a clutch actuating position when and as its contact member engages the radial slot of its associated control disc, and further including a switch control arm for activating said drive means when any one of said control arms moves into a motor starting position.

14. The dispensing machine of claim 13 wherein said control means further comprises a clutch control member for simultaneously releasing each of said clutching devices, a lockout device movable with said clutch control member and positionable relative to said switch control arm for preventing simultaneous operation of said clutch control member and said switch control arm, and switch means operatively associated with movement of said clutch control member for operating said drive means in a reverse direction.

15. The dispensing machine of claim 10 and further wherein each of said control arms is resiliently urged toward a clutch actuating position and in a direction tending to mate its contact member with the radial slot of its associated control disc, said control arms being interconnected with associated trip members by cables, said cables respectively holding said control arms in a normally held position.

16. The dispensing machine of claim 15 wherein said control means further comprises means for inhibiting the operative control of trip members associated with columns which have been emptied, said means including engagement members secured to respective cables, each engagement member being engaged by said support tray when the bottommost carton on said support tray is moved into the upper dispensing position for that column to thereby prevent tripping of said clutching devices.

17. The dispensing machine of claim 10 and further wherein each of said trip members comprises a tiltable plate disposed above the customer access position of the respective column, said plate being supported by a subjacent carton to hold its associated control arm in a normally held position.

13. The dispensing machine of claim 17 wherein each of said plates includes a depending obstruction positioned in back of a carton which occupies a respective customer access position, thereby preventing reverse movement of cartons from the customer access positions toward respective dispensing positions.

19. The dispensing machine of claim 1 wherein said transfer means comprises a comb-like member having teeth for contacting any carton occupying an upper dispensing position of the vertical columns, means for mounting said comb-like member for horizontal travel from a position rearwardly of said row of carton columns to a position where said teeth are directly in back of cartons occupying the customer access positions for those columns.

20. The dispensing machine of claim 19 and further comprising:

means including a clutch for transmitting movement of said drive means to said comb-like member, a detent member for said clutch normally holding said clutch in an unclutched condition, and

said control means further comprising a detent operating member for releasing said clutch after said clutching devices have been declutched and the uppermost carton being advanced occupies its upper dispensing position.

21. The dispensing machine of claim 20 and further comprising means for moving said detent into engagement with said clutch upon completion of a one-cycle movement of said comb-like member.

22. A dispensing machine comprising:

(a) means for supporting identical cartons in front and rear rows of adjacent vertical columns and including one support tray for each column, each vertical column having an upper dispensing position and carton supporting means at a forward customer access position;

(b) drive means for selectively advancing the support tray for any one of said columns in a vertical direction while moving the uppermost carton of that column into its upper dispensing position, said drive means comprising a motor and clutching devices for establishing a driving connection between said motor and respective trays;

(c) transfer means for horizontally moving any carton occupying an upper dispensing position into a customer access position; and

(d) control means for operating said drive means including said clutching devices, said control means comprising trip members associated with respective carton columns, each trip member controlling the operation of said drive means andthe clutching device for the column with which it is associated, each trip member being actuated by the removal of the carton from the carton supporting means at the customer access position of the respective column.

23. The dispensing machine of claim 22 wherein said transfer means comprises first and second comb-like members each having teeth for contacting cartons which occupy upper dispensing positions; means mounting said first comb-like member for horizontal travel from a position rearwardly of said front row of carton columns and forwardly of said rear row of carton columns to a position where said teeth thereof are directly in back of cartons occupying the customer access positions for the front row of columns; and means mounting said second comblike member for horizontal travel from a position rearwardly of said rear row of carton columns to a position where said teeth thereof are directly in back of cartons occupying the customer access positions, for the rear row of columns; the path of horizontal travel for said second comb-like member, including the upper dispensing position and customer access position for each column of said rear row, being above and non-obstructing of the path of horizontal travel for said first comb-like member.

24. The dispensing machine of claim 23 wherein said means mounting said first and second comb-like members comprise first and second pairs of horizontally spaced sprockets, the first pair of sprockets being disposed below the second pair, a first sprocket chain interconnecting said first pair of sprockets and connected to said first comblike member, a second sprocket chain interconnecting said second pair of sprockets and connected to said second comb-like member, and means for reciprocally and simultaneously driving said first and second sprocket chains from said drive means, said second sprocket chain being moved a greater distance than said first sprocket chain to move cartons from rear columns forwardly to customer access positions directly above the customer access positions of the front columns.

25. The dispensing machine of claim 22 wherein said transfer means comprises a comb-like member having teeth for contacting any carton occupying an upper dispensing position of the rear vertical columns, means for mounting said comb-like member for horizontal travel from a position rearwardly of said rear row of carton columns to a position where said teeth are directly in back of cartons occupying the customer access positions for those columns.

26. The dispensing machine of claim 22 wherein said transfer means comprises a comb-like member having teeth for contacting any carton occupying an upper dispensing position of the front vertical columns, means for mounting said comb-like member for horizontal travel from a position rearwardly of said front row of carton columns to a position where said teeth are directly in back of cartons occupying the customer access positions for those columns.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,801,793 4/1931 Chalmers 221-7 X 2,477,239 7/1949 Cease 221-11 2,571,450 10/1951 Hughes 22122 2,586,351 2/1952 Larirnore 221-129 X 2,599,913 6/1952 Hancock 2217 X 2,621,994 12/1952 Sadler 221114 X 2,840,265 6/1958 Noyes 221-13 X 2,870,895 1/1959 McDaniel 221-13 X 2,888,166 5/1959 Garbrielsen 221 X 3,056,530 10/1962 Krier 22122 3,152,721 10/1964 Golumbo et al 221-129 FOREIGN PATENTS 827,475 1/ 1952 Germany.

LOUIS J. DEMBO, Primary Examiner.

KENNETH N. LEIMER, EVERETT W. KIRBY,

Examiners.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5215213 *Dec 21, 1989Jun 1, 1993Richard F. Nestler & Associates, Inc.Item storage and dispensing apparatus
US6443451 *Sep 7, 2000Sep 3, 2002Richard C. CheeverApparatus for randomly dispensing objects, kit, and method of playing a game
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/7, 221/14, 221/227, 221/123, 221/253, 221/191, 221/22
International ClassificationB65G1/06, A47B1/00, B65G1/07, A47B1/06
Cooperative ClassificationB65G1/07, A47B1/06
European ClassificationA47B1/06, B65G1/07