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Publication numberUS3310198 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 21, 1967
Filing dateAug 9, 1965
Priority dateAug 9, 1965
Also published asDE1554656B1
Publication numberUS 3310198 A, US 3310198A, US-A-3310198, US3310198 A, US3310198A
InventorsRegan Dean, Brocq Robert F Le
Original AssigneeServade Mfg Corp Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Room service apparatus for dispensing articles and registering charges therefor
US 3310198 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 21, 1967 D. REGAN ETAL 3,310,198

ROOM SERVICE APPARATUS FOR DISPENSING ARTICLES AND REGISTERING CHARGES THEREFOR Filed Aug. 9, 1965 4 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTORS DEAN REGAN ROBERT E LE BROCQ arch 21, 1967 D. REGAN ETAL. 3,310,198

ROOM SERVICE APPARATUS FOR DISPENSING ARTICLES AND REGISTERING CHARGES THEREFOR 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Aug. 9, 1965 mvzm-ons DEAN REGAN RQBERT F. LE BROCQ ATORNEYS March 21, 1967 D. REGAN ETAL 3,310,198

ROOM SERVICE APPARATUS FOR DISPENSING ARTICLES AND REGISTERING CHARGES THEREFOR 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Aug. 9, 1965 NVENT RS 35AM REGAN BERT F LE BROCQ D. REGAN ETAL.

March 21, 1967 3,310,198 ROOM SERVICE APPARATUS FOR DISPENSING ARTICLES AND REGISTERING CHARGES THEREFOR 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Aug. 9, 1965 9833389333 HHHHH wow SNN A ONNQ b s 8m m w N MB f EE RRL m Q MN m T m %R n United States Patent RGOM SERVICE APPARATUS FOR DISPENS- ING ARTICLES AND REGISTERING CHARGES THEREFOR Dean Regan, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Robert F. Le Brocq, Oakville, Ontario, Canada, assignors to Servade Manufacturing Corporation Limited, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Filed Aug. 9, 1965, Ser. No. 478,278 4 Claims. Cl. 221-7) This invention relates to room service apparatus for use in hotels and like establishments.

Hotels, motels and similar establishments, for the convenience of the guests, usually employ a valet service to provide drinks and other articles, such as tooth paste, razor blades, etc. These services have necessitated the employment of sufiicient personal room service personnel, a feature of hotel managements which is most costly and inetlicient. In most hotels and in some motels, a lobby store is usually available to guests, however, this is most inconvenient to guests as the stores do not stay open all night.

According to the present invention, a room dispensing machine is to be provided in each room of a hotel, motel or like establishment, the operation of which dispenses the items most frequently called for and which therefore eliminates in great part the need for personal valet service when the guest requires the small personal items as noted above.

These room service vending machines are to be conveniently located in a cabinet which may be designed to resemble a piece of furniture rather than a vending machine and which may be devised to hold a TV set or refrigerator, together with the personal items to be vended.

This cabinet may be provided with a plurality of selector switches which, when depressed by a guest, act-uates an electrically operated mechanism to dispense the articles selected, said selector switches being marked for each particular item required and which are so arranged, relative the operating mechanism, that when the article selected is dispensed, the price thereof will appear on a price indicator. This price indicator may be of an accumulator type which indicates the total amount spent by the guest on the services and items dispensed during his stay at the establishment.

In order that the guest may be properly charged for the items he has received and in order that there may be no delay in ascertaining the total of his purchases when he appears at the desk to check out, this price indicator may be located at a central location, such as the front desk of the hotel, so as to be conveniently at hand for the desk clerk to read. This enables the desk clerk to enter the total amount spent by each guest on his hotel bill when he checks out. The advantage of a vending machine operated as hereinbefore described are self evident. There is no need for a guest to telephone and wait for the articles he requires and furthermore, as no coins are required for the operation of the vending machine, the guest need not be troubled with lack of coins of correct denomination to obtain the articles he wishes.

In order to protect the guest from use of the vending machine by those unauthorized to do so, certain operating switches controlled by the operation of the guests room key may be provided so that only the guest or one to whom he has given the key may operate the machine.

In the drawings which illustrate the invention,

FIGURE 1 is a side elevation of the apparatus,

FIGURE 2 is a selection of the apparatus taken along line 22 of FIGURE 1,

3,310,198 Patented Mar. 21, 1967 ICC FIGURE 3 is a section taken along line 33 of FIG- URE 1,

FIGURE 4 is a view of the selector switches of the apparatus illustrating switch mechanism associated therewith,.

FIGURE 5 is an enlarged sectional view taken along line 5-5 of FIGURE 4,

FIGURE 6 is an enlarged sectional view taken along line 66 of FIGURE 4, and

FIGURE 7 is a schematic diagram of the electrical circuitry of the apparatus.

Referring to the drawings, the apparatus according to the present invention includes a vertically elongated cabinet 10 having an eye pleasing exterior appearance and supported on legs 11. The cabinet is designed to support and hold varied articles, such as tooth paste, razor blades, etc., and heavier bodies, such as cans or bottles of carbonated beverages. For this purpose, a rack indicated generally by the numeral 14, is provided.

This rack 14, which forms part of the dispensing mechanism to be described, is formed having a plurality of vertically extending partition walls 15 which are suitably fixed to internal frame members 17 so as to provide a plurality of vertically extending passages. In the present invention, the rack is so partitioned that ten passages are provided for articles, such as tooth paste, razor blades, and the like, and four passages for cans of carbonated beverages. The two types of passages are accorded the numerals 19 and 20 respectively and, as indicated in FIGURE 3 of the drawings, the passages 19 are arranged in right and left spaced groups of five. In each of the article passages 19 are pivotally arranged a vertically spaced series or tier of shevles or platforms 22. These platforms are each supported on angularly shaped elongated rods 23, the latter being suitably journalled for rotation in suitable brackets 24 formed in each of the partitions. One end 25 of the supporting rods 23 extends outwardly of its bracket and is bent at right angles to form an arm 27, the latter being arranged to extend vertically downwardly when the shelves or platforms 22 are arranged in a horizontal or article supporting position. It is to be noted that the arms 27 of each of the supporting rods 23 of each of the tier or shelves 22 are in vertical alignment with each other.

The movement of the shelves between a horizontal supporting position and a vertical non-supporting position, is effected by the operation of elongated supporting bars 29, one of each of which is arranged adjacent and in slidable arrangement with each of the vertical series of arms 27 in a tier so arranged, that when said arms are slidably engaged therewith, the shelves carried by the arms are arranged in their horizontal position. These arms are fixed for vertical sliding movement in suitable ways, not shown, carried by the frames 17.

FIGURE 2 illustrates one of the supporting bars 29, its relationship to its associated shelf arms 27 and the means for operating the bar. As all supporting bars and means for operating them are identical, only one, with reference to FIGURE 2, will be described.

Referring to FIGURE 2, the supporting bar 29 is of rectangular cross sectional configuration and is vertically elongated extending both above and below the upper and lower shelves 22, respectively, of the tier of shelves with which said bar is associated. For purpose of description only, three shelves of a tier are shown in FIGURE 2. It will be appreciated, however, that as many shelves as desired may be employed. The supporting bar is arranged relative to the arms 27 so that a flat side 30 is slidably engaged therewith when the arms are in their vertically extended position. The bar is provided with vertically spaced elongated slots 32 which, when the sup porting bar is moved from its lowest or shelf supporting position, a position as shown in FIGURE 2, each of the arms 27 may be brought consecutively and in ascending order into registry with one of the slots. Each arm, therefore, as one of the slots is brought into registry therewith, will swing into the slot, thereby permitting the shelf or platform 22 with which it is associated to swing from its horizontal supporting position to its vertical non-supporting position, permitting any articles which may be resting thereon to fall downwardly through the passageway.

The supporting bar 29 has formed at one edge 34 adjacent its upper end 35, a ratchet rack 37 having downwardly extending teeth 38. These teeth are engageable by an L-shaped ratchet 40, the latter being pivotally mounted at one end 41 of a rocker arm 42 which itself is pivotally mounted at a point intermediate its end on a brace 43. The other end 45 of the rocker arm is connected to a plunger 49 reciprocally operated by a solenoid 51 which, when energized, will draw the plunger 49 downwardly resulting in an upward movement of the ratchet 40. This ratchet has a lever arm 53 fixedly secured thereto to which one end 54 of a tension spring is secured, the other end of the tension spring being engaged with a bracket 56. This tension spring serves two purposes. It pivots the ratchet around its pivotal connection with the rocker arm against the ratchet teeth and, at the same time, acts as a return spring to pivot the rocker arm and draw the plunger 49 upwardly within the solenoid.

Suitable stops are arranged, although not shown in the drawings, to limit vertical movement of the ratchet to correspond to the pitch of the ratchet teeth. There is also provided a spring-urged pawl 58 slidably extending through the bracket 56, and an adjacent spaced bracket 61 normally urged into engagement with the ratchet rack to prevent movement of the supporting bar 29 during that period when the ratchet is being moved by the tension spring 55 after one operation of the solenoid 51.

Both the ratchet 40 and the pawl 58 have projecting portions 62 extending beyond the plane of the fiat side which may be engaged by the elongated arm 63 of a lever 64 pivotally swingable on a pin 65 extending from said fiat surface 30 near the upper end of the supporting bar. This lever is provided with an operating handle 66 and is arranged to be swung against both projections 62 to thereby move both the pawl and the ratchet out of engagement with the ratchet rack and permit the supporting bar to thereby slidably move downwardly to a lower position. A compression spring 67 is secured between the operating handle 66 and a stop 69, the latter being secured to an appropriate frame member which normally rotates the lever 64 in a direction whereby the arm 63 normally is out of engagement with said pawl and said ratchet. The pitch of the teeth 38 of the ratchet are correlated to the spaces between and the length of each of the slots 32 in the supporting bar 29' such that when the supporting bar is positioned, as shown in FIG- URE 2 at the lower limit of its vertical travel, the arms 27 of the supporting rods 23 are all engaged and thereby supported in a vertical extended position. In this position, the ratchet 40 is engaged with the uppermost of the teeth 38 whereby, upon movement of the bar upwardly as affected by one operation of its associated solenoid, the lowermost one of the arms 27 will slidably enter the lowermost of the slots 32 so as to permit the shelf associated therewith to fall from its horizontal to its vertical position. It is to be understood that for each movement thereafter of the ratchet as affected by one operation of the solenoid, the arms in consecutive ascending order enter their associated slots. This operation, therefore, ensures that only one article at a time may be discharged down its associated passage for one operation of the solenoid. It is also be appreciated that each of the supporting bars 29 are provided with individual solenoid operated plungers and ratchets corresponding to plunger 49 and ratchet 40.

Below each of the cam holding passages 20, each of which is arranged to hold a column of cans, are cradles 75, each of the latter being pivotally mounted on brackets 76 secured to the walls of the cabinet and each having an arcuately shaped seat portion 78, which serves as a platform, and an upwardly extending back portion 79. Each of the cradles are normally maintained in a position with its seat portions directly under its associated passageway by means of a tension spring secured between the bracket 76 and said back portion 79. In this position, a can herein numbered 81, may rest within the seat portion 78 and serve as a support to retain the remainder of the cans thereabove in the associated passageway. In this position too, the back portion 79 of the seat lies to one side of said passageway. Each of the cradles 75 is pivotally operated against each of their tension springs by means of individual solenoid operated plungers 82, the solenoids thereof being accorded the numeral 83, the operation being such as to discharge a can then supported on the seat portion 78 of the cradle and, at the same time, swing the back portion 79 beneath the cans remaining in the column so as to prevent their discharge from the passage. One of the cradles 75 is shown in this latter position, as indicated with dotted lines in FIG- URE 1. Upon the de-energizing of the solenoids 83 controlling the plungers 82, the cradles will, of course, be returned to a position by their springs 80 to receive the lowermost can in the stack. Electrical switches 84 having operating levers 85 are arranged in front of each of the cradles 75 to be operated by each of the cans as they are ejected from the cradles.

Arranged in the lower portion 87 of the cabinet, is a sloped ramp 88. This ramp is located centrally of the cabinet so as to receive on its sloped surfaces all the articles or cans ejected as hereinbefore described. This ramp is hingedly mounted at its upper end 90 on a horizontal shaft 91, the latter being supported in a suitable manner between the walls of the cabinet and, at its lower end 92, is a projecting flange 93. The ramp is formed having a transverse slot 94 near its lower end and, extending through the slot from the underside of the ramp, is a pivoted operating arm 95 of an electrical switch 96, the latter being secured at the undersurface of the ramp. This operating arm 95 is arranged to be operated by any item sliding or rolling down the ramp and in the feather touch wire actuator type having a very low motive inertia about its pivotal axis. The function of this switch will be described hereinafter.

The wall 98 of the cabinet in front of the ramp is provided with an opening and, in this opening, is pivotally mounted a door 100 having an inwardly projecting tray 101, the edge of the latter extending beneath the flange 93 of the ramp 88 so that operation of the door from its closed position, as shown by solid lines in FIGURE 1 to its open position as shown by dotted lines in the same figure, will raise and lower the ramp between lower and upper positions, as shown in solid and dotted lines, re spectively. The apparatus is also provided with a horizontal bar 103 which extends transversely across thelower end of the ramp 88 when the ramp is in its upper position, as shown by dotted lines in FIGURE 1, the purpose of the bar being to prevent insertion of the arm within the cabinet when the door 100 is moved to its open position and thereby prevent theft of any dispensed item. Below the ramp is a bracket 105 to which electrical switches 106 and 107 are mounted being arranged to move between operative positions as the ramp is lifted and lowered. The function and operation of these switches will also be described hereinafter.

As has been indicated previously, the selection and ejection of any article or can desired is effected by the operation of individual selector switches 108. These switches 108 are mounted on a pivotally mounted console 109 hingedly secured at the top of the cabinet, the consolebeing movable from a position as shown in solid lines in FIGURE 1 wherein the selector switches are hidden from view within the cabinet, to an outward position, as shown in dotted lines, in which the selector switches are exposed for operation. This console is provided with a lock, not shown, whereby the individual intending to operate the dispenser must use a key, preferably his door key if he is staying in a motel or hotel, to open the console and thus expose the selector switches.

These selector switches are each labelled with the type of product which the actuation of each will eject and are therefore individually connected in a suitable manner to chosen individual solenoids 51 and 83, whereby an article or can corresponding to the selector switch chosen, may be ejected. The selector switches 108 are also interlocked through a latch pawl mechanism 110, as shown in FIGURES 4, 5 and 6, whereby only one selector switch may be pressed at one time and which locks the selected key in a depressed position until the vending cycle, as hereinafter to be described, is completed.

Referring now to FIGURES 4, 5 and 6, it will be seen that the selector switches 108 comprise buttons 111 which are mounted on the upper ends 112, or vertically elongated push rods 113, the latter being mounted for vertical slidable movement in a frame structure 115. Adjacent the lower ends 114 of the push rods 113, is mounted a horizontal linear race 116 having upwardly opening slots 117 formed therein, each of the slots 117 being in registry with, so as to slidably accept, said lower end 114 of one of the rods. The race has a plurality of circular washers arranged edge to edge between stops 119 in the race, the diameter of the washers being such that any adjacent ones may only be spread far enough apart to permit the insertion of the lower end 114 of only one of the rods 113 therebetween at one time. This, therefore, ensures that only one of the push buttons 111 may be depressed at one time. Springs 120 mounted over each of the push rods 113 and operating against a shoulder 121 formed on each of the rods and the frame 115 normally urge the push buttons upwardly.

Each of the rods 113 is provided with a vertically elongated internal or actuating slot 122, thereby providing upper 123 and lower 124 internal shoulders. These slots 122 are normally in registry with each other when the buttons 111 are aligned horizontally.

An elongated latch bar 125 slidably extends through the slots 122 and is provided along its upper edge 126 with a plurality of longitudinally spaced downwardly inclined elongated notches 138. A latch bar return spring 141 engages one end 143 of the latch bar normally urging the latter in the direction, as indicated by the arrow 145. The movement in this direction is limited by engagement of said end 143 with a portion of the frame structure 115. At the other end 143 of said latch bar, there is formed a latch hole 150 and, pivotally mounted adjacent said other end 148 on a portion of the frame structure 115, is a latch lever 152 having a projecting pawl 154. The latch lever 152 is normally urged towards the latch bar 125 by a tension spring 156 connected thereto so as to bring the pawl 154 to sliding engagement with the side of the bar. Movement of one of the push rods downwardly, will result in its shoulder 123 slidably engaging a side of its associated notch 138, thereby moving the latch bar to the left against the action of the return spring 141. The latch hole 159 is so located relative to the pawl 154 that, upon the said push rod being fully depressed, the pawl will slidably enter the hole, preventing further movement of the latch bar 125. The pivotal movement of the latch lever 152 as said pawl 154 enters the hole 151), is transmitted via an elongated arm 160 to the actuator 165 of a single pole double throw snap action bail switch 167. The purpose of this bail switch and its function will be described hereinafter.

Secured to each of the push rods 113 for vertical movement therewith, are a pair of vertically spaced elongated slides 169 and 171 formed of an electro-conductive material, electrically insulated from the frame or any grounded part. These slides are each arranged when the push rods 113 to which they are secured are moved to its fully depressed position to bridge and thereby connect two pairs of spaced contact clips 175 and 176, respectively, the latter being mounted on a sheet 180 of dielectric material suitably secured to the frame structure 115. It will be seen that when one of the push rods 113 has been depressed to its full extent, the engagement of the pawl 154 in the latch hole will lock the latch bar and likewise the push rod in its fully depressed position. In order to release the latch bar and allow both the latter and the pushrod to be returned to the normal position by their springs 141 and 121 respectively, the arm is operatively connected to a reset solenoid 131), shown schematically in FIGURE 5, the energizing of which in a manner to be described hereinafter, causes counterrotation of the arm 160 against the tension spring 156 to rotate latch lever 152 and thereby extract the pawl 154 from the hole 150, thereby releasing the latch bar 125. Upon release, the latch bar 125 will of course be drawn by its spring 141 to the right when viewed in FIGURE 4, and at the same time permit the spring 1211 to urge the push rod 113 upwardly to a non-depressed position.

The apparatus is provided with indicating mechanism herein accorded the numeral 212 which, when actuated by electrically actuated control means generally indicated by the numeral 214, indicates and accumulates the price of each article selected upon the operation of the selector switches. The control and indicating mechanisms are not mechanically illustrated, but appear functionally in the schematic diagram of FIGURE 7. The indicating mecha nism or means includes a miniature magnetic digit counter 216 which may be located in the lobby of the hotel or motel and which records and accumulates the total value of the articles purchased.

Referring now to FIGURE 7, there is shown schematically the electrical circuitry of the dispensing, indicating and control mechanism referred to in the claims as the first, second and third circuits, respectively. In this figure, the operation of the components of the apparatus pre viously referred to with reference to FIGURES l to 6, are accorded the same numerals.

The electrical circuitry is connected to any suitable source of 115 volt power and is shown in a position of readiness to operate, the circuitry illustrated being closed by a switch 217 installed in the cabinet and movable between an open to a closed position as the console is swung outwardly from a closed to an open position. In FIG- URE 4 only two of the selector switches relative to the articles and two relative to the cans are shown. In this position also, the bail switch 167 is so positioned that it closes a circuit to a light 217a mounted on the console which indicates, when lit, that the apparatus is ready for operation.

Upon the operation of one of the selector switches 103 and, in this case We will choose one of the selector switches for an article which closes a selected pair of contact clips 175, setting up a circuit to the appropriate solenoid 51 which operates appropriate supporting bar 29. This circuit is completed by the bail switch 167, extinguishing the ready light 217a, and energizing the solenoid 51, thereby moving the supporting bar 29 to permit one of the shelves 22 to drop, and at the same time connecting the control means 214 to the source of power. The delivery door 1% is of course in its closed position and switch 107 Which is a single pole double throw normally closed snap-action switch (only one throw, the NC. being used) is open when the ramp is closed and is free to assume an open position when the ramp is lifted by the opening of the door, thereby energizing the delivery door relay21S, the latter having two poles 218a and 21817, both of which are normally open. Delivery door switch 106 is of the same type as switch 107 and is normally closed, being movable to an open position when the ramp is raised. Switch 96, hereinafter called the ramp switch, is normally open and is moved to a closed position by any article sliding down the ramp. The operation of switch 96 energizes its relay 220 which is a three pole relay having poles 220a, 22012 and 220C, the various functions of which may be deduced from the electrical diagram.

The closing of the control circuit 114 sets into operation a rotary solenoid stepping switch generally indicated by the numeral 225. This stepping switch consists of a solenoid 226 to charge the advance mechanism thereof, an interrupter switch 227 to de-energize the solenoid at the end of its charging stroke, and four circuit wafer switches 22%, 229, 230 and 231 which rotate one position for each discharge stroke (advance). The control circuit also includes a resistor 232 to delay the charge stroke of the stepping switch and thus provide sufiicient on time to the counter, a capacitor 233 to delay discharge (advance) stroke of stepping switch and thus provide sufficient off time to the counter, and a diode 235 which in conjunction with the resistor 234 and capacitor 233 provide direct current voltage to operate the stepping switch 125.

The wafers 228 and 231 of the stepping switch are shown in the electrical diagram in the home position. All the wafers are on a common shaft rotated in steps by a spring from a circular ratchet, the degree of rotation governed by a ball index and the width of the ratchet tooth, This shaft, ratchet, spring and ball index are not shown as the construction of stepping switches of this nature are well known. This spring is charged by the action of the rotary solenoid 226 in the opposite direction to its direction of rotation. After solenoid 226 has charged this spring far enough to pick the next ratchet tooth, further rotation causes the interrupter switch 227 to open, thus deenergizing the solenoid 226 and allowing the shaft to rotate another step. The electrical impulses produced by the action of the interrupter switch 227 are relayed via contacts 220C, closed only by the action of a product sliding down the ramp, actuating the ramp switch 96 and energizing relay 220, thence via a 115 v.: 24 v. transformer 234 through a bridge rectifier 235, emerging as 24 v. D.C. pulses through a chosen pair of the contact clips 176, closed by the initial operation of the chosen push-button 111 (the other pair of contacts 175 operated by the same push-button 111 having selected the product column to be actuated), thence via the vendors connection to a price level on a price board 236 to a corresponding clip on wafer 231 and to the counter 216 via a common clip on wafer 231 and interlock switch 246. Wafer 231 is so constructed and connected that the clip (third from bottom FIGURE 7) nearest the common clip (fourth from bottom FIGURE 7) will be in circuit via the wafer rotor for the greatest duration and thus allow the maximum quantity of pulses (ten) to reach the counter 216. This is indicated in the diagram and shown by the direction of the rotor. Each clip on the wafer 231 other than the common is connected to a price level on the price board so that the clip (third from bottom FIGURE 7) is connected to the $1.00 level (if 10 increments are chosen by the vendor) and the clip furthest clockwise (rotor moving clockwise) from the common clip, i.e. fifth from the bottom FIGURE 7 allows the least pulses and is connected to the lowest, 10, level. Several items may be connected to one or more price levels and the pulses relayed to the counter corresponds to the price of the item vended. This counter will register the total number of impulses corresponding to the total of all items purchased by the occupant from this machine, and this total can then be translated into money, for example, at 10 per impulse and then charged to the occupant of the room.

It will be seen that only closure of ramp switch 96 and its relay 220C will permit the relaying of theseimpulses generated by the interrupter to the counter. Therefore, only when an article ejected operates ramp switch 96, will the price of the article be tabulated on the counter.

The stepping switch 225 is therefore so arranged that its first six operational steps are non-counting steps, the time lapse of its operation from its home position through said first six steps being sufiicient for an article if ejected, to pass down the ramp and over the ramp switch 96 so as to operate the latter. If an article is not delivered, the switch 96 and its relay 220C will of course remain open. The operation of the stepping switch will therefore not result in the relaying of impulses to the lobby counter. Relay 22% will of course remain closed, resulting in the activating of a light 239 marked empty, and which may also be located on the console. Upon the stepping switch completing the cycle, the vending machine will return to a position of readiness for operating, as hereinafter described.

If an article is ejected on to the ramp so as to close switch 96 and its relay 220C, the stepping switch will operate through its first six non-counting steps, the impulses of which are not recorded. However, as the stepping switch proceeds through its cycle, the pulses picked off the remainder of its steps by a selected one of the selector switches, will be recorded on the counter. The control mechanism is so devised that with the delivery door 100 closed, the stepping switch will stop two steps before the end of its cycle and will only proceed to the end of its cycle when switch 107 is closed by the opening of the door. When the stepping switch has reached the end of its cycle, a circuit is made via wafer 228 to the reset solenoid 180, releasing the selector switch and tie-energizing the circuit and again putting the ready light in operation. The stepping switch is operated one more step to home position when the open circuit notch of wafer 228 appears opposite the clip on position 19.

In the operation of the apparatus to eject cans, the lockout switches 84 with which each of the can selector switches are associated, normally operate so that -a normally closed contact supplies power to the solenoid 83 which, when energized, tilts the cradle 75 to operate the lockout switch 84-, opening the N.C. contact, de-energizing said solenoid (very near end of travel), and closing the NC. contact energizing the lockout relay 240 to prevent any further power tothis solenoid until next cycle is started. The lockout switch may also be arranged for actuation by a can as it rolls out.

The circuitry is provided with a safety interlock switch 245, normally open and closed only when the vending module is locked in operating position and open when the vending module is open for loading. Thus no electrical hazard is present during loading. The switch is operable for test purposes, however, but is of no value unless the console 109 is in operating position (open). The counter interlock switch 246 is a single hole double throw switch which ope-rates to disconnect the lobby or desk counter 216 and connect in a test counter 147, if used, for test purposes in conjunction with test operation of switch 246 provided console 109 is in operating position when the vending module is open. As stated above, console 109 can only be opened to operating position by the room occupants key and therefore testing may only be performed in the presence of the occupant or alone by persons authorized so to do by the occupant. It should be noted that if a push-button were depressed with console 109 in the closed position and the module open for loading that no action would take place as described above and that when the module is closed and the occupant opens the console, a circuit is momentarily made by switch 217 to the reset solenoid to release that push-button before a circuit is made by switch 217 to the vending circuits.

What we claim as our invention is:

1. Room service apparatus for providing a plurality of dispensable articles comprising a supporting rack, a plurality of vertically extending passages formed in the rack, each passage being associated with one type of article to be dispensed, a plurality of vertically spaced article supporting swingable platforms arranged in each passage for movement between a horizontal article-supporting position and a vertical non-supporting position, an arm extending from each platform, a vertically elongated supporting bar arranged for longitudinal slidable movement adjacent each passage normally engageable with the arms of the platform therei nyto maintain the latter in their horizontal position, said bar having vertically spaced openings formed therein arranged when the bar is moved in one direction to receive the arms and thereby release the platforms, thereby permitting the latter to swing to their vertical position, said openings being arranged at predetermined longitudinally spaced intervals and correlated to the vertical spacing of the platforms whereby the latter are released in consecutive order from the bottom to the top, a selector switch for each type of artcle to be dispensed, electrically actuated operating means connected to each supporting bar responsive to the operation of a selected one of the switches to move its associated sup porting bar in said one direction a predetermined distance for each operation of said one selected switch, said predetermined distance being correlated to the spacing of the openings whereby one platform may be released for each of the consecutive movement of said supporting bar so as to permit the article carried by each platform when released to drop through the passageway, indicating means arranged when actuated to indicate and accumulate the price of each article selected, and means operated by each article when ejected to actuate the indicating means.

2. Room service apparatus for providing a plurality of dispensable articles comprising a supporting rack, a plurality of vertically extending passages formed in the rack, each passage being associated with one type of article to be dispensed, -a plurality of vertically spaced article-supporting swingable platforms arranged in each passage for movement between a horizontal article supporting position and a vertical non-supporting position, an arm extending from one edge of each platform, a vertically elongated supporting bar arranged for longitudinal slidable movement adjacent each passage normally engageable with the arms of the platforms therein to maintain the latter in their horizontal position, said supporting bar having vertically spaced openings formed therein arranged when the supporting bar is moved in one direction to receive the arms and thereby release the platforms, thereby permitting the latter to swing to their vertical position, said openings being arranged at predetermined longitudinally spaced intervals and correlated to the vertical spacing of the platforms whereby the latter are released in consecutive order from the lowermost to the uppermost one thereof, a selector switch for each type of article to be dispensed, operating means in a first electrical circuit responsive to the operation of one of any of said switches to move its associated supporting bar a predetermined distance for each operation of said one selected switch, said predetermined distance being correlated to the spacing of the openings whereby one platform may be released for each movement of said supporting bar so as to permit the article carried by each platform to drop through the passage, indicating mechanism in a second electrical circuit adapted when actuated to indicate and accumulate the price of each article selected, control means in a third circuit responsive to the operation of each switch for counting the price of each article dispensed and adapted when connected in circuit to the indicating mechanism to actuate the latte-r, switch means in said second circuit operable by each article when ejected to connect the indicating mechanism and the control means.

3. Room service apparatus for providing a plurality of dispensable articles comprising a vertically elongated cabinet having an upper and a lower portion and having an opening in said lower portion, a door at the opening, a

1o supporting rack having a plurality of vertically extending passages formed therein secured in the upper portion of the cabinet, a plurality of vertically spaced article supporting platforms, arranged in at least one of the passages for carrying identical first type articles, each platform being mounted for swingable movement between a normal horizontal article-supporting position and a vertical nonsupporting position, a swingable cradle at the lower end of at least one other of the passages for supporting a column of second type articles, said cradle being swingable between a normal article-supporting position and a nonsupporting position, a selector switch for each type of article to be dispensed, first electrically operated operating mechanism at the platforms, responsive to the selector switch for the type of article carried on said platforms, said first operating mechanism being adapted, upon each operation of the switch, to move said platform, one at a time and in turn from the lowermost to the uppermost thereof, from their supporting to their non-supporting position so as to permit each article in its turn to drop through said one passage, second electrically operated operating mechanism at each cradle responsive to the selector switch for the type of article in said column, for moving said cradle to its non-supporting position and thereby causing the latter to eject the article at the time carried thereon, a normally inclined movable ramp extending below the passages to receive the articles and slidably direct the latter toward the opening in the cabinet, an electrical impulse counter, a stepping switch responsive to the operation of the selector switches for producing, for each article dispensed, a predetermined number of electrical impulses in relation to the cost of each article, and being connected in a normally open circuit to the counter, a switch operated by each article as it slides over the ramp for closing said circuit so as to permit the counter to record the pulses, and means operatively connecting the door and the ramp, when the door is opened to remove the dispensed article from the cabinet, to move the ramp into a position above the opening so as to prevent access to the article supporting rack via the opening.

4. Room service apparatus for providing a plurality of dispensable articles comprising a vertically elongated cab-- inet having an upper and a lower portion and having an opening in said lower portion, a door at the opening, a supporting rack having a plurality of vertically extending passages formed therein secured in the upper portion of the cabinet, a plurality of vertically spaced article supporting platforms arranged in at least one of the passages for carrying identical first type articles, each platform being mounted for swingable movement between a normal horizontal article-supporting position and a vertical non-supporting position, a swingable cradle at the lower end of at least one other of the passages for supporting a column of second type articles, said cradle being swingable between a normal article-supporting position and a nonsupporting position, a selector switch for each type of article to be dispensed, first electrically operated operating mechanism at the platform responsive to the selector switch for the type of article carried on said platforms, said first operating mechanism being adapted, upon each operation of the switch, to move said platform, one at a time and in turn from the lowermost to the uppermost thereof, from their supporting to their non-supporting position so as to permit each article in its turn to drop through said one passage, second electrically operated operating mechanism at each cradle responsive to the selector switch for the type of article in said column for moving said cradle to its non-supporting position and thereby causing the latter to eject the article at the time carried thereon, an inclined ramp extending below the passages to receive the articles and slidably direct the latter toward the opening in the cabinet, an electrical impulse counter, a stepping switch responsive to the operation of the selector switches for producing for each article dispensed a predetermined number of electrical im- 1 1- 1 2 pulses in relation to the cost of each article and being 2,304,455 12/1942 Guerard 2217 X connected in a normally open circuit to the counter, and 2 500 437 3/1950 dl et 1, a switch operated by each article as it slides over the 2 565 766 8/1951 Gabrielsen eta} 221 9O ramp for closin said circuit so as to permit the counter to record the P131565 5 2,905,926 9/1959 Aid 186-1 X 2,970,877 2/1961 Parsons et a1 186-1 X References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS SAMUEL F. COLEMAN, Primary Examiner.

2,001,110 5/1935 Rabkin 221247 X

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3447720 *Aug 17, 1967Jun 3, 1969Continental Room Service IncDispensing system and dispenser assembly therefor
US3749279 *Jan 21, 1972Jul 31, 1973Captain Int Ind LtdApparatus for dispensing articles and registering charges therefor
US3884386 *Jul 27, 1973May 20, 1975Francisco Arin UrcolaDevice for automatically supplying drinks and foodstuff
US3979017 *Jun 11, 1975Sep 7, 1976Captain International Industries, Inc.Article dispensing apparatus
US4075463 *Mar 1, 1977Feb 21, 1978Yurramendi Eguizabal Jose MiguDevice for automatically supplying drinks and foodstuffs
US4411351 *Oct 3, 1980Oct 25, 1983Marlene LowderBottle dispensing and control system
US4629090 *Jan 24, 1984Dec 16, 1986Robobar LimitedHotel room bar with optical sensing system
US8761924 *May 11, 2009Jun 24, 2014Gilbarco, Inc.Internet capable browser dispenser architecture
US20090222131 *May 11, 2009Sep 3, 2009Leatherman Russel DInternet capable browser dispenser architecture
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/7
International ClassificationG07F11/00, G07F11/02, G07F11/06, G07F5/18, A47F3/026
Cooperative ClassificationG07F5/18, G07F11/002, G07F11/02, G07F11/00, G07F11/06
European ClassificationG07F11/00B, G07F11/00, G07F11/02, G07F5/18, G07F11/06