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Publication numberUS3276830 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 4, 1966
Filing dateJul 26, 1965
Priority dateJul 26, 1965
Publication numberUS 3276830 A, US 3276830A, US-A-3276830, US3276830 A, US3276830A
InventorsVorndran Gerald F
Original AssigneeVorndran Gerald F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for storing and dispensing stacked articles
US 3276830 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 4, 1966 e. F. VORNDRAN APPARATUS FOR STORING AND DISPENSING STACKED ARTICLES 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Original Filed Feb. 18, 1964 INVFNTOR. GERALD E VORNDRAN BY Zw, /nw

ATTORNEYS Oct. 4, 1966 F. VORNDRAN 3,276,830

7 APPARATUS FOR STORING AND DISPENSING STACKED ARTICLES Original Filed Feb. 18, 1964 4 Sheets-Shet 2 Fig.3

F i g. 5

F i g. 6

INVENTOR.

GERALD F VORNDRAN BY WM, 43/ dJM ATTORNEYS G. F. VORNDRAN Oct. 4, 1966 APPARATUS FOR STORING AND DISPENSING STACKED ARTICLES 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 Original Filed Feb. 18, 1964 Fig 8 INVENTOR. GERALD F VORNDRAN ATTORNEYS Oct. 4, 1966 G. F. VORNDRAN APPARATUS FORSTORING AND DISPENSING STACKED ARTICLES Original Filed Feb. 18, 1964 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR.

GERALD F VORNDRAN BY 7/4,/ Za/J,uw

ATTORNEYS United States Patent 19 Claims. (01. 312-71 This invention relates generally to apparatus for storing and dispensing stacked articles, and more particularly to dish dispensing apparatus of the type commonly employed in restaurant and cafeteria operations. This application is a continuation of application Serial No. 345,741, filed February 18, 1964, and now abandoned.

The most common form of dish dispensing apparatus is of the tube type, i.e., the apparatus is contained within a tubular enclosure extending downwardly through an opening in a counter top or the upper wall of a cabinet, the tubular enclosure having a rim by which the enclosure together with the dispensing apparatus contained therein and the dishes supported thereby are entirely suspended and supported by the counter or upper wall of the cabinet. Contained within the tubular enclosure of such conventional dish dispensing apparatus is a large coil spring bearing against the bottom of the enclosure and against a dispensing head upon which the dishes are stacked; the spring thus accommodates itself to the weight of the dishes stacked on the dispensing head so that the uppermost dish is automatically positioned above the counter top or the upper wall of the cabinet and thus readily accessible for use.

While such conventional tube type dish dispensers are self-contained, i.e., the entire apparatus may be dropped through an opening in a counter top or cabinet wall, they are extremely difiicult thoroughly to sanitize. In order to clean the dispenser, it is necessary to remove it from the counter or cabinet and then to remove the dispensing apparatus from the tubular enclosure. The tubular enclosure or housing of such dispensers is frequently elongated, i.e., two feet in length or longer, and is frequently of a small diameter, thus making it extremely ditficult thoroughly to clean the interior. Furthermore, the unitary tube-type design requires that the entire apparatus be suspended from a counter or cabinet top by a flange and thus necessitates that the counter or cabinet be so fabricated that the top will support the entire load, i.e., the weight of the apparatus itself and of the dishes stacked therein, The tubular enclosure of such prior dispensers, which is generally formed of stainless steel, is relatively costly to fabricate, and furthermore, due to the large number of dish sizes employed in restaurants and cafeterias, the tubular enclosures are not standard, each size of dish requiring a diflFerent diameter tube. Thus, if the user of. such a conventional tubular dispenser changes the size of dishes employed, the dispenser is rendered useless and a new dispenser of different size must be secured. Also, if, as is. frequently the case, it is desired .to heat the dishes while they are stored in the dispenser, the tubular enclosure must be perforated to provide the requisite heat distribution which in itself is costly.

In addition to the foregoing, in conventional tubulartype dish dispensing mechanisms powered by a single large diameter coil spring, the spring tends to tilt at the top when under load due to buckling of the spring; this buckling is caused by the size differential between the spring and the tube. While various arrangements for preventing such tilting have been employed, they .add to the overall cost of the apparatus. In the larger sizes,

case of assembly and disassembly,

3,276,830 Patented Oct.- 4, 1966 such coil springs are expensive due to their diameter and the requisite wire size.

Conventional tube-type dish dispensers commonly incorporate a circular pan-shaped dispensing head which rests upon the top of the coil spring with a chain extend ing from the lower side of the dispensing head through the spring to the base of the tubular enclosure in order to keep the dispensing head and the spring within the confines of the tube; as the spring is compressed and decompressed, the dispensing head rubs against the side of the tube, this metal-to-metal contact increasing friction and frequently being noisy. Adjustment of the height of the dispensing head and thus of the uppermost dish stacked thereonis commonly provided by a screw-type device located at the bottom of the, tubular housing which raises or lowers a platform at the base of the spring, increasing or decreasing the spring tension and in turn raising or lowering the height of the uppermost dish; the base platform upon which the spring rests must be of a different size for each different size of dispenser. More importantly, in order to adjust the height of the uppermost dish, the dishes must be removed from the dispenser and the entire dispensing apparatus removed from the tubular enclosure, and thus the proper height must be arrived at through a trial and error adjustment process.

It is therefore desirable to provide an improved dishdispensing apparatus which eliminates the objectionable features of prior tube-type dispensers, i.e., which can be readily cleaned without disassembly of the entire apparatus, in which the weight of the apparatus and the dishes supported thereon is not supported by the counter or cabinet top, in which adjustment of the height of the uppermost dish may be made without removing the dishes from the dispenser, in which mechanism for accommodating a wide range of dish sizes may be provided with a minimum number of standard componets, and finally which is simpler and less costly to fabricate and assemble than prior conventional dish dispensers.

It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide improved apparatus for storing and dispensing stacked articles.

Another object of the invention is to provide improved dish dispensing apparatus. A further object of the invention is to provide improved dish dispensing apparatus which may be more easily cleaned than prior mechanisms.

Another object of the invention is to provideimproved dish dispensing apparatus which is less susceptible to dirt accumulation than prior mechanisms.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide improved dish dispensing apparatus in which the weight of the apparatus and of the dishes supported thereon is not required to be supported by a counter or cabinet top.

A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved dish dispensing apparatus in which adjustment of the height of the uppermost dish may be accomplished without removing the dishes from the apparatus.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide improved dish dispensing apparatus in which tilting of the dispensing head is prevented.

Another object of the invention is the provision of improved dish dispensing apparatus for accommodating dishes in a wide range of sizes with maximum utilization of interchangeable components.

A final object of the invention is to provide improved dish dispensing apparatus characterized by its simplicity,

Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent by reference to the following description and the accompanying drawings, and the features of and relatively low cost.

. '3 novelty which characterize the invention will be pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this specification.

The invention in its broader aspects comprises a plurality of upstanding post members each having a side defining an elongated continuous surface, provided for securing the post members to an upper counter top or cabinet wall at spaced intervals around an opening formed therein with the post member sides respectively facing inwardly and extending upwardly so as to accommodate the articles therebetween. A plurality of elongated guide members are provided having upper and'lower ends and respectively extending downwardly from the, post members toward a lower Wall, the guide members having their upper ends respectively attached to the post members and having their inwardly facing surfaces respectively in alignment with the surfaces of the post member sides and forming continuations thereof so as to accommodate the articles therebetween. A horizontally extending dispensing member is provided for supporting the articles and is positioned within the guide members and guided for vertical movement thereby. Spring means is provided bearing against the lower side of the dispensing member for urging the same upwardly. In accordance with the invention, the guide members have their lower ends respectively attached to the lower wall and are supported thereon so that the apparatus and the articles stored therein are substantially supported by the lower wall. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the spring means comprises individual coil springs respectively surrounding the guide members having their upper ends hearing against the dispensing member, and selectively adjustable means are provided on the guide members and bearing against the lower ends of the coil springs thereby selectively to adjust the height of the dispensing member and in turn the height of the uppermost article stacked thereon.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of the preferred embodiment of the invention taken generally along the line 1-1 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 2 is a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken generally along the line 3-3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary exploded top view showing the assembly of the bearing members on the dispensing head;

FIG. 5 is a side view of the FIG. .6 is a top view of the spring seat members employed in theembodimentof FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is. a bottom view of the post members of the invention;

FIGS is a top view of the retaining members of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view showing a modification of the invention; and

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view showing another modification of the invention.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 through 8 of the drawing,- generally inthe preferred embodiment of the invention, dicated at 12 in FIG. 1, comprises verticallyspaced lower .and upper walls 14, 16 of a stationary counter or cabinet, or of a movable cabinet. As will be described more fully hereinafter, since the top wall 16 is not required to sup- .port any appreciable portion of the weight of the dispening apparatus and of the dishes stacked thereon, top wall 16 maybe fabricated from relatively thin sheet metal. Top wall 16 has a circular opening through which dishes are loaded onto the dispensing mechanism and dispensed thereby.

A plurality of post members 22 are provided respectively disposed at evenly spaced intervals around the opening 18 in top wall 16; while a minimum of three post members 22 are required, as shown in FIG. 2, it will be and means are readily understood that four or more 'post members ma gated continuous surface, preferably inclined slightly outwardly as best seen in FIG. 1 in order to facilitate load-1 ing the dishes 20 upon the dispensing mechanism and removing the dishes therefrom. Each of the post members 22 further; comprises an upper portion 26 defining-a horizontally extending mounting surface 28 and a lower: portion 30 depending from the upper portion .26, upperand lower portions 26, 30 mutually forming side 24.. Post members 22 are preferably formed from suitable molded plastic material.

bearing member of FIG. 4; 7

In order to mount post members 22 on the top wall16, an adapter ring 32 is provided preferably formed from relatively thin sheetmetal. Adapter ring 32 comprises an annular flat portion 34 having outer and innerflange portions 36, 38 respectively depending from the outer and inner perimeters of the annular portion 34; the inner annular flange 38 defines a circular opening 40. Adapter ring 32 is arranged with its outer annular flange 36 en gaging the upper surface of top wall 16 and with its inner flange portion 38 depending downwardly through opening 18 in the top wall 16. Post members 22 are arranged in equally spaced relationship, around opening 40 defined by annular flange 38 with their mounting surfaces 28 respectively engaging the annular portion 34. of adapter ring '32 and with their lower portions 30 extending downwardly in opening 40 and respectively engaging the inner .surface of the annular. flange portion 38; as best seen in FIG. 7, which is a bottom view of the post members 22, lower portions 30 of post members 22 have a surface 42 which engages the inner surface of the annular flange portion 38 of the .adapter ring 32.

Post members 22 and adapter ring 32 .are removably secured to the top wall 16 by suitable threaded fasteners 44 extending upwardly through suitable holes in top wall 16 and annular portion 34 of adapter ring 32 and threadingly engaging suitable tapped holes 46 extending upwardly in portions 26 of post members 22 from the mounting surface 28 thereof.

A plurality of guide rod members 48 are provided, equal in number to the post members 22, having upper and lower ends 50, 52 and respectively extending downwardly from the lower portions 30 of the post members 22 toward lower wall 14. Each of the quide rod members 48 comprises a main cylindrical portion 54 extending between ends 50, 52 and an axially extending blade portion 56 extending radially outwardly from the cylindrical portion 54 and terminating short, of ends 50, 52 of the cylindricalportion54. For reasons to be hereinafter more fully described, the lower extremities 58 of the blades 56-are spaced from the cylindrical portions 54 to define upwardly extending slots 60. Cylindrical portions 54 of the guide rod members 48 may be formed of conventional steel rod, and blade portions 56 may be welded thereto.

18 formed therein Referring now particularly to FIG. 7, the lower portion 30. of each .of the post members 22 has an opening 62 formed'therein communicating with side 24, and with the bottom surface of portion 30. Opening 62 isformed with a radius substantially identical to that of cylindrical portion 54 of the guide rod members48 so as to define portions 64 which resiliently receive and retain the upper ends '50 of the cylindrical portion 5410f guide rod members 48 in snap-in removable relationship.

It will be seen that with the arrangement thus far described, the, sides 24 of the post members22 face radially inwardly toward the center of the opening 40 and extend upwardly and that the inner surfaces of thecylindrical portions 54 of the guide rod members 48 are in alignment with the sides 24 of the post members 22- and form smooth extensions thereof.

coil springs 76 of the requisite size in the requisite weight-supporting and lifting capacty without requiring the use of guide rod members of propor- In order to support the stack of dishes 20 and to dispense the same, a flat horizontally extending circular dispensing plate is provided, preferably formed of suitable sheet metal. Dispensing plate 66 has a plurality of generally U-shaped radially outwardly facing notches 68 formed in its perimetral edge 70, as best seen in FIG. 4, notches 68 being equally spaced around the perimeter 40 and being equal in number to the guide rod members 48 and post members 22. Generally U-shaped guide bearing. members 72 are provided having an exterior groove 74 formed therein, as best seen in FIG. 5. Guide bearing members 72 are removably seated in the notches 68 in the dispensing plate member 66 by means of grooves 74, as seen in FIG. 4, so that the guide bearing members 72 face radially outwardly as best seen in FIG.

,3. Further reference to FIG. 3 will show that the guide bearing members 72 slidingly receive the cylindrical portions 54 of the guide rod members 48, thus guiding dispensing late member 66 for vertical movement. Guide bearing members 72 are preferably formedof suitable plastic material. Though not essential to proper operation, guide bearing members 72 eliminate metal-to-metal contact with the guide rod members 48. Dispensing plate member 66 preferably has a diameter greater than that of flange portion 38 of the adapter ring 32 and thus greater than that of the circle defined by portions 30 of the post members 22, and it will thus be seen that upward movement of the dispensing plate member 66 through the opening 40 is prevented.

In order to urge the dispensing plate member 66 upwardly thereby to dispense the stack of dishes supported thereon, coil springs 76 are provided respectively surrounding the guide rod members 48. The upper ends 78 of coil springs 76 preferably bear against suitable spring seat washers 80, as best seen in FIG. 6, which in turn bear against the guide bearing members 72 attached to the dispensing plate member 66 as above-described. The lower ends 82 of coil springs 76 likewise bear against spring seat washers 80. Selective adjustment of the height of the lower spring seat washers 80 above lower wall 14 and thus of the height of dispensing plate member 66 and of the uppermost plate 20 is provided by means of self-locking washers 84 slidably mounted upon the cylindrical portions 54 of the guide rod members 48 engaging the lower spring seat washers 80 and extendng through the notches 60, as best seen in FIG. 1. It will be readily understood that the self-locking washers 84 are provided with apertures therein slightly larger than the diameter of the cylindrical portions 54 of the guide rod members 48, thus permitting their ready adjustment upwardly and downwardly on the cylindrical portions 54. However, it will further be understood that the downward force exerted by coil springs 76 on the lower spring seat washers 80 and self-locking washers 84 slightly cocks the self locking washers 84, thereby to lock them in the selected position.

It will be readily seen that the provision of the blade portions 56 of the guide rod members 48 accommodates order to provide tionate diameter and thus weight and expense.

In order to support the weight of the dish-dispensing mechanism and the dishes 20 supported thereon, a plurality of retainingclip members 86 are provided preferably molded from suitable plastic material. Retaining-clip members 86 are provided with tapered and serrated lower ends 88 which may be driven into suitable openings 90 in the lower wall 14, thereby to secure the retaining-clip members 86 thereto. As best seen in FIG. 8, retaining clip members 86 have openings 92 formed therein communicating with their sides and tops, openings 92 having a radius substantially identical to the radius of the cylindrical portions 54 of the guide rod members 48 thereby defining spring portions 94 which resilien'tly receive and guide rod members 48 rest upon and are-supported by the bottom surfaces 96 of the openings 92 in the retaining-clip members 86 and it will thus be seen that substantially the entire weight of the. dispensing mechanism and of the stack of dishes 20 supported on the dispensing plate member 66 is supported on the lower wall 14. This construction therefore eliminates the previous need for providing sufficient structural material in the sides and top of the cabinet and in the flange of the dis pensing apparatus in order to support the weight of the apparatus and of the dishes stored therein.

It will readily be seen that in the preferred embodiment of theinvention described above and shown in FIGS. 1 through 8, the dispensing mechanism is powered by relatively small diameter coil springs 76 working over the guide rod members 48, the close clearance between the guide rod members and the coil springs preventing buckling of the springs so that the dispensing plate member 66 and the dishes thereon remain level; the springs 76, being of relatively small diameter and wire size, are considerably more economical than a single large-diameter spring of requisite wire size. It will be seen that the vertically mounted guide rod members 48, even when formed of stainless steel, are considerably-less expensive than a large-diameter tubular enclosure. It will also be readily apparent that each dispensing apparatus, regardless ofits size, employs the same post member and guide rod assembly, i.e., the post members 22, guide rod members 48, guide bearings 72, spring seat washers 80, adjustable locking washers 84, and retaining-clip members 86 are standard components employed regardless of the size of the dispensing apparatus. Thus, only the relatively inexpensive adapter rings 32, dispensing plate member 66 and springs ofproper rate are required to be provided in different sizes in order to provide the dispensing apparatus in the requisite different sizes. It will be seen further that no base spring platform is required and particularly that since the dispensing mechanism is open and readily accessible, i.e., it is not disposed entirely within a tubular enclosure, that adjustment of the height of the dispensing plate member 66 and thus of the stack of dishes 20 thereon may be accomplished without removing the stack of dishes from the apparatus and re moving the mechanism from the cabinet or counter. It will now be seen that the apparatus may be shipped in knocked-down form with assembly taking place at the time the cabinet is fabricated, or even at the point of utilization; no welding or .finishing is required for assembly since the parts are merely snapped together in a secure but removable manner. It will thus be seen that the entire apparatus can be assembled and disassembled within a relatively few minutes. It will also be readily understood that the apparatus, since it is readily accessible, can be quickly and easily cleaned and if need be all the component parts can be readily disassembled for complete sanitizing.

Referring briefly to FIG. 9, in which like elements are indicated by like reference numerals, it will be seen that adapter ring 32 may be eliminated and the post members 22 mounted directly on the upper surface of top wall 16' with the depending portions 30 thereof engaging annular flange 98 which depends from the top wall 16. It will further be seen that where the loading is relatively light,

spring 100 directly bears upon the lower surface of the dispensing plate member 66' while the lower end 104 bears against base plate member 106 which may be identicalto the dispensing'plate member 66, but which .does not necessarily require employment of the guide bearing members 72. Here, adjustment of the height of "the dispensing plate member 66' and of the stack of dishes 20 thereon (not shown in FIG. 10) may be accomplished by means of a suitable threaded stud 108 threadingly secured to the base plate member 106 and 'adjustably engaging the lower Wall 14. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 10, the post members 22' are again directly mounted on the top wall 16 and in this embodiment the depending flange 98 of the embodiment of FIG. 9 is eliminated entirely with the lower portions 30' of the post members 22' depending downwardly through the opening 18 in the top wall 16. Top wall 16, while shown as metal, may be any building material suitable for cabinet top construction.

It'will now be seen that the improved apparatus of the ments of this invention, further modifications and improvements will occur to those skilled in the art, and I desire, therefore, in the appended claims to cover all modifications which do not depart from the spirit and scope of this invention.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for storing and dispensing stacked articles comprising: vertically spaced upper and lower wa l] means, said upper wall means having an opening formed therein; guide means for guiding said articles onto a support surface therefor including a plurality of upstanding post members each having a horizontal mounting surface and a side defining an elongated continuous surface and means for removably securing said mounting surfaces of said post members to the upper side of said upper wall means at spaced intervals around said opening, said post members being positioned with said sides respectively spaced inwardly from the perimeter of said opening and with a portion of each of said post members overhanging said opening,'said sides respectively facing inwardly and extending upwardly thereby to accommodate said articles therebetween; a plurality of enlongated guide rod members respectively having upper and lower ends, said guide rod members respectively having their upper ends removably attached to said guide means and extending downwardly fromsaid post member overhanging portions toward said lower wallrmeans with their inwardly facing surfaces respectively in alignment with said surfaces of said post member sides and forming extensions thereof thereby to accommodate said articles therebetween; a

horizontallyextending dispensing .plate member for sup-. porting said articles positioned within said guide rod members and having spaced notches formed in its periphery,

said guide rod members respectively extending .through said notches thereby guiding said plate member for vertical movement, said plate member having at least one transverse dimension greater than the minimum transverse dimension between said post member overhanging portions whereby upward movement of said plate member through said opening is prevented; spring means bearing against the lower side of said plate member for urging the same upwardly; and means for removably attaching said lower ends of said guide rod members to said lower wall means.

2. The combination of claim 1 wherein said post meminvention for storing and dispensing articles, particularly ber overhanging, portions depend downwardly through said opening and said guide rod members are removably attached thereto.

3. The combination of claim 1 wherein saidupper wall means includes a downwardly extending flange bordering said opening, wherein said post member overhanging portions depend downwardly through said opening and respectively engage said flange, said guide rod members being removable attached to said post member portions, and wherein said securing means respectively engages said horizontal surface of each of said post members outwardly from said overhanging portion and said side thereof.

4. The combination of claim 1 further comprising bearing members removably seated in said plate member notches and respectively, slidingly engaging said guide rod members, each of said bearing members being generally U-shaped whereby said plate member is removably mounted on said guide rod members.

5. Apparatus for storing and dispensing stacked articles comprising: vertically spaced upper and lower wall means, said upper wall means having an opening formed therein; guide means for guiding said articles onto a support surface therefor including a pluralityof upstanding post members each having a horizontal mountingsurface and a side defining an elongated continuous surface and means for removably securing said mounting surfaces of said post members to the upper side of said upper wall means at spaced intervals around said opening, said post-members being positioned with said sides respectively spaced inwardly from the perimeter of said opening and with a portion of each of said post members overhanging said opening, said sides respectively facing inwardly and extending upwardly thereby to accommodate said articles therebetween; a plurality of elongated guide rod members respectively having upper and lower ends, said guide rod members respectively having their upper ends removably attached to said guide means and extending downwardly from said post member overhanging portions toward said lower wall means with their inwardly facing surfaces respectively in alignment with said surfaces of said post member sides and forming extensions thereof thereby to accommodate said articles therebetween; a horizontally extending dispensing plate member for supporting said articles positioned within said guide rod members and having spaced notches'formed in its periphery, said guide rod members respectively extending through said notches thereby guiding said plate member for vertical movement, said plate member having at least one transverse dimension greater than the minimum transverse dimension between said post member overhanging portions whereby upward movement of said plate member through said opening is prevented; a plurality of coil springs respectively surrounding said guide rod members and having upper ends urging said plate member upwardly; spring seat members movably mounted .on said guide rod members and respectively bearing against the lower ends of said coil springs, and self-locking members adjustably mounted on said guide rod members and respectively engaging said spring seat members for selectively adjusting the height of said plate member; and means for removably attaching the lower ends of said guide rod members to said lower. wall means. a I

6. The combination of claim 1 wherein each of said guide rod' members comprises a cylindrical portion defining said inwardly facing surface and an axially extending elongated blade portion extending radially outwardly from said cylindrical portion, and wherein said spring means comprises coil springs respectively surrounding said guide rod members.

7. The combination of claim -1 wherein said upper wall means comprises a relatively thin metal sheet having the circular opening formed therein, and an annular ring SUI-1' rounding said opening and engaging said sheet, said ring having an annular flange extending downwardly through 9 said circular opening and bordering said first-named upper wall means opening, wherein said post member overhanging portions depend downwardly through said opening and respectively engage said flange, said guide rod members being removably attached to said post member overhanging portions, and wherein said securing means secures both said ring and said post members to said sheet.

8. In combination with a cabinet having vertically spaced upper and lower walls, said upper wall having an opening formed therein, apparatus for storing and dispensing stacked articles comprising: a plurality of upstanding post members each having an upper portion and a lower portion depending from said upper portion, said upper and lower portions having a common side defining an elongated continuous surface; means for removably securing said post members to the upper side of said upper wall at spaced intervals around said opening with said upper portions engaging said upper wall and said lower portions depending downwardly through said opening and with said sides respectively facing inwardly and extending upwardly thereby to accommodate said articles therebetween; a plurality of elongated guide rod members respectively having upper and lower ends; each of said post member lower portions having an opening formed in said common side and the bottom thereof receiving and retaining the upper end of a respective guide rod member in snap-in removable relationship, said guide rod members extending downwardly from the respective post member lower portions with their inner surfaces in alignment with said post member surfaces and forming extensions thereof thereby to accommodate said articles therebetween; a horizontally disposed fiat dispensing plate member for supporting said articles having a plurality of notches formed at spaced intervals around its perimeter, said plate member extending across said guide rod members with said guide rod members being respectively slidably received in said notches thereby to guide said plate member for vertical movement, said plate member 7 having a maximum dimension greater than the minimum transverse distance between said lower post member portions whereby movement of said plate member upwardly through said opening is prevented; spring means bearing against the lower side of said plate member for urging the same upwardly; and a plurality of retaining members secured to the upper side of said lower wall, each of said retaining member comprising a post portion having an opening formed in the side and top thereof receiving and retaining the lower end of a respective guide rod member in snap-in removable relationship and supporting the same whereby said apparatus and the articles stored therein are substantially supported on said lower wall.

9. Apparatus for storing and dispensing stacked articles comprising: vertically spaced upper and lower wall means, said upper wall means having an opening formed therein; 'guide means for guiding said articles onto a support surface therefor including a plurality of upstanding post members each having a side defining an elongated continuous surface and means for securing said post members to the upper side of said upper wall means at spaced intervals around said opening with said sides respectively facing inwardly and extending upwardly thereby to accommodate said articles therebetween; a plurality of elongated guide members having upper and lower ends and respectively extending downwardly from said post members toward said lower wall, said guide members having their upper ends respectively attached to said guide means and having inwardly facing surfaces respectively in alignment with said surfaces of said post member sides and forming continuations thereof thereby to accommodate said articles therebetween; a horizontally extending dispensing member for supporting said articles positioned within said guide members and guided for vertical movement thereby, said dispensing member having at least one transverse dimension greater than the minimum transverse dimension of said opening whereby upward movement of said dispensing member through said opening is prevented; a plurality of coil springs respectively surrounding said guide members and having their upper ends urging said dispensing member upwardly; and selectively adjustable self-locking members respectively mounted on said guide members and respectively bearing against the lower ends of said spring for selectively adjusting the height of said dispensing member; said guide members having their lower ends respectively attached to said lower wall means.

10. In combination with a cabinet having vertically spaced upper and lower walls, said upper wall having an opening formed therein; apparatus for storing and dispensing stacked articles comprising: a plurality of upstanding post members each having a side defining an elongated continuous surface; means for securing said post members to said upper wall at spaced intervals around said opening with said sides respectively facing inwardly and extending upwardly thereby to accommodate said articles therebetween; a plurality of elongated guide members having upper and lower ends and respectively extending downwardly from said post members toward said lower wall, said guide members having inwardly facing surfaces respectively in alignment with said surfaces of said post member sides and forming continuations thereof thereby to accommodate said articles therebetween, said post members respectively having portions with means formed therein for receiving and retaining said upper ends of said guide members in snap-in removable relationship; a horizontally extending dispensing member for supporting said articles positioned within said guide members and guided for vertical movement thereby; spring means bearing against the lower side of said dispensing member for urging the same upwardly; and a plurality of retaining members attached to, said lower wall and respectively having portions with means formed thereon for receiving and retaining the lower end of said guide members in snap-in removable relationship whereby said apparatus and the articles stored therein are substantially supported by said lower wall. I

upstanding post members each having a horizontal mounting surface and a side defining an elongated continuous surface and an annular member for removably attaching said post members to a supporting element and having an annular flange portion depending from its inner periphery and defining the opening therein, said annular member engaging said mounting surfaces of said post members, said post members being evenly spaced apart on said annular member with said sides respectively spaced inwardly from the perimeter of said opening and with a portion of each of said post members overhanging said opening, said sides respectively facing radially inwardly and extending upwardly thereby to accommodate said guide rod members respectively having their upper ends extending into said opening and removably attached to said guide means, said guide rod members respectively extending downwardly from said post member overhanging portions with their inwardly facing surfaces respectively in alignment with said surfaces of said post member sides and forming extensions thereof for accommodating said articles therebetween; a horizontally disposed dispensing plate member for supporting said articles extending across said guide rod members and having means slidably engaging said guide .rod members whereby said plate member is guided for vertical movements; and spring means bearing against the lower side of said plate member for urging the same upwardly.

12. Apparatus for storing and dispensing stacked articles comprising: a plurality of upstanding post members each having an upper portion and a lower portion depending therefrom and a side defining an elongated continuous surface; means for removably attaching said post members to the upper side of a supporting element and engaging said upper portions of said post members, said post members being evenly spaced-apart on the perimeter of a circle with said sides respectively facing radially inwardly and extending upward-1y thereby to accommodate said articles therebetween; a plurality of elongated guide rod members respectively having upper and lower ends; each of said lower portions of said post members having an opening formed in said common side and the bottom thereof for receiving and retaining said upper end of the respective guide rod member in snap-in removable rela tionship,-said guide rod members extending downwardly from said post members with their inwardly facing surfaces respectively in alignment with said post member surfaces and forming extensions thereof for accommodating said articles therebetween; a horizontally disposed dispensing plate member for supporting said articlesextending across said guide rod members and having means slidably engaging said guide rod members whereby said plate member is guided for vertical movement; and spring means bearing against the lower side of said plate member for urging the same upwardly.

13. Apparatus for storing and dispensing stacked articles comprising: a plurality of upstanding post members each having a side defining an elongated continuous surface, said post members being evenly spaced apart on the perimeter of a circle with said sides respectively facing radially inwardly and extending upwardly thereby to accommodate said articles therebetween; a plurality of elongated guide rod members respectively having upper and lower ends, said guide rod members respectively having upper and lower ends, said 'guide rod members respectively having their upper ends removably attached to said post members and extending downwardly therefrom with their inwardly facing surfaces respectively in alignment with said post member surfaces and forming extensions thereof for accommodating said articles therebetween; a horizontally disposed dispensing plate member for supporting said articles extending across said guide rod members, said plate member having radially outwardly facing notches formed in its perimeter; radially outwardly facing generally U-shaped bearing members respectively seated in said notches and respectively slid-ably engaging said guide rod members whereby said plate member is guided for vertical movement and said plate member may be removed from said guide rod members; the diameter of saidv plate member being greater than that of said circle whereby said post members prevent upward movement of said plate member therebetween; spring means bearing against the lower side of said plate member for urging thesame upwardly; and means for removably attaching said post members to a supporting element.

14. Apparatus for storing and dispensing stacked articles comprising: .a plurality of upstanding post members each having a side defining an elongated continuous surface, said post members being evenly spaced-apart on the perimeter of a circle with said sides respectively facing radially inwardly and extending upwardly thereby to accommodate said articles therebetween; a. plurality of elongated guide rod members respectively having upper and lower ends, said guide rod members respectively having their upper ends removably attached to said post members and extending downwardly therefrom with their in-' wardly facing surfaces respectively in alignment with said post member surfaces and forming extensions thereof for accommodating said articles therebetween; a horiz-ontally disposed dispensing plate member for supporting said articles extending across said guide rod members and having means slidably engaging said guide rod members whereby said plate member is guided for vertical movement;-each of said guide rod members comprising a cylindrical portion respectively defining said interior surfaces and an axially extending and radially outwardly extending blade portion joined tosaid cylindrical portion; a plurality of coil springs respectively surrounding said guide rod members and having their upper ends hearing against said plate member for urging the same. upwardly; spring seat means respectively slidably mounted on said guide .rod members and bearing against the lower ends of said coil springs; selectively adjustable self-locking members respectively mounted on' said guide rod members and engaging said spring seat means: for selectively adjusting the height of said plate member, each of said blade portions having a part adjacent its lower end radially spaced from the respective cylindrical portion and defining an upwardly extending slot, saidllocking members respectively embracing said cylindrical portions and extending through said slots; and means for removably attaching said post members to a supporting element.

15. Apparatus for storing and dispensing stacked articles comprising: guide means for guiding said articles onto a support surface therefor including upwardly-ex tending loading elements having a horizontal mounting surface, an annular member underlying said mounting surface for removably attaching said loading elements to a supporting element, said annular member engaging and supporting said mounting surface of said loading elements, said loading elements being proportioned to accommodate said articles therein for passage through the opening in said annular member; a plurality of elongated guide rod members respectively having upper and lower ends; said guide means including means for respectively removably connecting said upper ends of said guide rod members thereto with said guide rod members extending downwardly therefrom for accommodating said articles therebetween; a horizontal plate member for supporting and dispensing said articles disposed within the confines of said guide rod members; said plate member having an operative slidableconnection with said guide rod members whereby said plate member is guided for vertical movement thereon; said plate member having a maximum transverse dimension greater than the maximum transverse dimension of the opening in said annular member whereby upper movement of said plate member through said opening is prevented; and ,a plurality of coil springs having upper and lower ends respectively surrounding said guide rod members, said springs extending downwardly from said plate member and respectively having their upper ends-acting against the lower sideof said plate member for urging the same upwardly.

1-6. The vapparatus of claim 15 further comprising spring seat members movably mounted on said guide rod members and respectively bearing against the lower ends of said coil springs, and self-locking members adjustably mounted on said guide rod members and respectively engaging said spring seat members for selectively adjusting the height of said plate member.

17.. The apparatus of claim 15 wherein said loading elements means comprises a plurality of spaced-apart upstanding post members respectively having radially inwardly facing sides; and wherein said guide rod members vhave radiallyinwardly facing surfaces respectively in alignment .with said post member sides and forming extensions thereof.

IS. The apparatus of claim 15 further comprising a bottom plate member and meansfor removably connecting said lower ends of said guide vrod members to said bottom plate member.

19. The apparatus of claim 1-5 wherein said. annular member has a depending flange portion thereon bordering the opening therein, said loading elements having a portion overhanging said opening, said upper ends of said guide rod members extending upwardly in said opening engaging said flange portion and being generally in alignment with said loading elements overhanging portion.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 8/1911 Bracher 248-403 X 8/1941 Gibbs 312-71 14 Larsen 312--71 Holloway 312-71 Weissert 211-49 Shelley 211-49 CLAUDE A. LE ROY, Primary Examiner.

JOHN PETO, Examiner.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3436136 *Jun 5, 1967Apr 1, 1969United Service Equipment Co InStoring and dispensing apparatus
US3988821 *Mar 24, 1975Nov 2, 1976Daniels George DAssembly stand for assembling crank shafts
US4161146 *Dec 2, 1977Jul 17, 1979Avedko B.V.Stacking device
US4529093 *Jun 22, 1983Jul 16, 1985Shelley Manufacturing Division Of Alco Food Service Equipment CompanySelf-leveling plate dispenser
US6035973 *Apr 21, 1997Mar 14, 2000Ergonomics SpecialistsDevice for and method of vertically adjusting parts in a bin
US6044932 *Jun 14, 1999Apr 4, 2000Ergonomics SpecialistsErgonomic parts bin elevator with integral springs
US6364330Feb 25, 2000Apr 2, 2002Problem Solvers Co.Ergonomic platform truck
US6899347Apr 1, 2002May 31, 2005Matthew Z. NealErgonomic merchandiser
US7481440Apr 19, 2005Jan 27, 2009Weber Dennis RBiasing means adjustment mechanism and method
Classifications
U.S. Classification312/71, 211/59.3
International ClassificationB65G1/07, B65G1/06
Cooperative ClassificationB65G1/07
European ClassificationB65G1/07