US 3318478 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 9, 1967 w. R. HART 3,318,478
VENDING MACHINE Filed Oct. 19, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet l y 9, 6 w. R. HART 3,318,478
' VENDING MACHINE Filed Oct. 19, 1965 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 y 9, 1967 w. R. HART 3,318,478
VENDING MACHINE Filed Oct. 19, 1965 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 United States Patent 3,318,478 VENDING MACHINE Walter R. Hart, 33 th Ave., Port Washington, N.Y. 11050 Filed Oct. 19, 1965, Ser. No. 497,613 14 Claims. (Cl. 221227) The present invention relates to vending machines and in particular to machines for vending newspapers, periodicals, magazines, books, etc. For convenience, reference will hereinafter be made to vending newspapers without however, limiting the invention with respect to the articles which are being dispensed.
The vending of newspapers has, for many years, presented an increasing prdoblem. The sale of newspapers by personal vendors is not economically practical except at a few locations having a high volume of sales. There are many other locations such as entrances of apartment buildings, office buildings and subways where it is desirable to have newspapers available but the volume of sales is not sufiicient to justify a personal attendance. In some locations, newspapers have been sold by the honor system in accordance with which a customer drops money in a box or other coin receptacle when ta king paper. However, there are inevitably substantial losses with such a system because of persons taking papers without paying and because of theft or pilfering of the coin receptacle.
Machines have also been proposed for dispensing newspapers upon the deposit of proper coins or tokens. However, the machines heretofore available have tended to be complicated hence expensive and have not been sufiiciently dependable in their operation to be fully satisfactory.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved newspaper vending machine which is relatively simple and inexpensive and can be readily serviced so as to assure satisfactory operation over long periods of time. A further object of the invention is to provide a newspaper vendin machine having a sufficiently large capacity to make the delivery of papers to the machine economical. A further feature of the invention is that it will satisfactorily handle newspapers which vary in thickness from day to day.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will appear more fully from the following description and claims in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which,
FIG. 1 is a perspective View of a newspaper vending machine in accordance with the invention comprising dispensing mechanism housed in a cabinet,
FIG. 2 is a top view of dispensing mechanism in accordance with the invention removed from the cabinet,
FIG. 3 is a front view of the mechanism shown in FIG. 2,
- FIG. 4 is a view taken from the right hand end of the mechanism shown in FIG. 2,
FIGS. 5 and 6 are detail side views of paper-engaging mechanism,
FIG. 7 is a side view of modified coin-operated mechanism,
FIGS. 8 FIG. 7, 7
FIG. 10 is a schematic front view illustrating mechanism for indicating that the supply of newspapers is sold out,
FIG. 11 is a schematic front view illustrating means for use in reloading the machine, and
FIG. 12 is a side view of the mechanism shown in FIG. 11.
The vending machine in accordance with the present invention comprises coin-controlled vending mechanism which is assembled as a unit and removably housed in a suitable cabinet or other structure. The dispensing unit and 9 are details of the mechanism shown in 3,318,478 Patented May 9, 1967 comprises a horizontal platform adapted to receive a vertical stack of folded papers lying flat, mechanism for feeding individual papers from the top of the stack into position to be received by a customer and mechanism for raising the stack of papers as the papers are successively dispensed so as to maintain the top of the stack at a constant level. Mechanism is also preferably provided for indicating to a prospective customer that the supply of papers in the machine is exhausted and for retracting the platform to its lower position to receive a new supply of papers.
While the dispensing mechanism in accordance with the invention can be housed in any suitable enclosure, for example in a recess or cabinet built into the structure of a building, the machine is illustrated in FIG. 1 as being housed in a steel cabinet 1 having a hinged front panel 2 secured by a lock 3. In the upper portion of the front panel 2, there is provided a horizontal newspaper dispensing slot 4 having a length somewhat greater than the width of newspapers to be sold. Portions of the panel adjacent a central portion of the slot are curved inwardly with an inwardly depressed domelike shape 5 so as to permit a customer to grasp a newspaper which has been brought to the slot by the dispensing mechanism. The upper portion of the front panel 2 is also provided with a coin-receiving slot 6, an opening to accommodate an operating lever 7 and a window 8 in which a sold out or other indication can be displayed.
The dispensing unit which is received in the cabinet 1 comprises a suitable frame or chassis 10 on which the various operating parts of the mechanism are mounted. The chassis 10 is removably supported in the cabinet 1, for example by angle supports 70 on the inside of opposite side walls of the cabinet (FIG. 11) so that, when the hinged front panel of the cabinet is opened, the entire dispensing mechanism can be slid out of the cabinet as a unit for servicing, repair or replacement. A platform 11 adapted to receive a stack of papers which are to be dispensed, has a central raised portion 11a and is suspended by cords or cables 12 which pass over pulleys 13 rotatably mounted on the frame and are wound onto drums 14 which are fixed on opposite end portions of a shaft 15 which extends from side to side of the chassis and is rotatably supported by suitable bearings. The cables 12 are formed of nylon, wire or other suitable material. Intermediate the drums 14 and preferably midway between them, a friction wheel 16 is fixed on the shaft 15 so as to rotate therewith. One or more torsion springs are provided for rotating the shaft 15. As shown in the drawings two coil torsion springs 17 surround the shaft 15 on opposite sides of the friction wheel 16 and act between the friction wheel and fixed abutments or anchorages 18 so as to tend to turn the friction wheel 16 and hence the shaft 15 and drums 14 in a direction to wind up the cables 12 on the drums 14 and thereby raise the platform 11. The torsion springs 17 have the characteristics that the torsion they exert increases as the springs are wound more tightly by lowering the platform 11. The characteristics of the springs are selected so that at each position of the platform the springs have sufficient force to raise a stack of newspapers having a height equal to the distance between the platform and the lower portion of the periphery of the friction wheel 16. Hence, when a stack of newspapers has been placed on the platform 11, the stack is raised by the action of the torsion springs 17 until the uppermost paper of the stack engages the periphery of the friction wheel 16. This engagement acts as a brake on the friction wheel 16 so as to stop its rotation and hence, the rotation of the elevator drums 14. The wheel 16 is provided in each of its end faces with a series of angularly spaced holes 19 to receive end portion 3 of the springs 17 to provide adjustment of the degree to which the springs are wound with respect to any position of the platform and hence, the amount of force exerted by the springs on the shaft 15 and elevator drums 14. The position of the friction wheel 16 with respect to the casing 1 when the dispensing unit is received in the casing is such that the uppermost newspaper of the stack supported by the platform 11 is at approximately the level of the delivery slot 4 so that it can be fed by suitable dispensing mechanism into a position in which a portion of the paper extends into the depressed portions of the casing and can hence be grasped by a customer.
The mechanism for moving the uppermost newspaper horizontally into a position to be withdrawn through the slot 4 of the casing, can if desired, be operated by power, for example electrically or pneumatically but for the sake of simplicity and economy it is operated manually in the embodiment shown by way of example in the drawings. The feeding mechanism is illustrated as comprising a plate 21 floating on top of the stack of papers and having a width slightly greater than the width of the papers. At its side edges, the plate 21 is provided'with downwardly directed flanges 22 adapted to engage the side edges of'the papers and thereby keep the plate centered with respect to the stack. A central portion of the plate 21 is cut out as indicated at 2 3 so as to permit engagement of the friction wheel 1-6 with the uppermost paper of the stack. At the forward corners of the plate 21 adjacent the forward edge and lateral edges there are mounted feeders 24 adapted to engage the uppermost paper of the stack and slide it horizontally forwardly towards the delivery slot 4 of the casing 1. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the papers are placed on the platform 11 with the folds of the paper directed toward the front panel of the casing. The feeders 24 are adapted to engage in the folds of the papers and thereby provide positive engagement. As illustrated in FIG. 2, each of the feeders 24 is generally U-shaped and comprises a base position 24a which is pivotally connected to the plate 21 by a pivot pin 25 and extends laterally beyond the side edge of the plate. A finger position comprising an upper finger 26 and a lower finger 27 is connected to the base 24a by a hinge 29 so that it can swing upwardly or downwardly. The upper finger 26 is longer than the lower finger 27 and is adapted to rest on the upper surface of the uppermost paper of the stack and thereby act as a guide so that when the feeder is swung inwardly about the pivot 25, the
lower finger 27 engages in the fold of the uppermost paper. The vertical distance between the fingers is selected so as to be approximately equal to half the thickness of the newspaper at the fold. As this distance is not highly critical, the same feeders will work with papers having approximately the same overall thickness. To accommodate papers differing greatly in thickness, the vertical distance between the fingers may be adjusted by means of an adjustment screw 28 (FIG. 4) arranged so as to draw the fingers toward one another against their natural resiliency. Alternatively, the feeders can be made interchangeable with other feeders with fingers having different spacing.
The operating mechanism for actuating the delivery plate 21 and feeders 24 is illustrated as comprising a link or lever 7 which extends through an opening in the front panel of the cabinet and is provided at its forward end with tan operatnig handle shown in the form of a ring 7a to be pulled by a customer. The operating lever is movable in a lengthwise direction and is guided by suitable guide means, shown by way of example as rollers 30 in the embodiment of FIG. 7. At its rear end, the lever 7 is pivotally connected to a lever 31 which is fixed on a shaft 32 that extends from side-to-side of the machine and is rotatably supported by suitable bearings. A corresponding lever 31 is also provided near the opposite end of the shaft 32. A tension spring 33 acts on the lever 7 to hold it elascoins of the proper denomination have been deposited in 7 tically in the retracted position shown in FIG. 4. Each of the levers 31 is pivotally connected to one end of a link 34, the opposite end of which is pivotally connected by a pivot pin 35 to the base portion 24a of the corresponding feeder 24. When the handle 7a is pulled by a customer against the action of the spring 33, the levers 31 are swung in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 4 so that the links 34 move forwardly and swing the feeders 24 about their respective pivots 25 so as to move the upper guide fingers 26 and lower fingers 27 inwardly. The lower fin gers 27 are thereby engaged in the fold of the paper, being guided into engagement by'the guide fingers 26. When engagement has thus been effected, continued movement of the handle 7a and hence of lever link 7 and 34 causes the entire assembly comprising the floating plate 21 and feeders 24 to move forwardly toward the front panel of the cabinet and thereby position the top-most paper of the stack so that it can be gripped by a customer reaching into the depressed portions 5 of the front panel. The customer can thereupon draw the paper out through the delivery slot 4.
The direction of rotation ofthe friction wheel 16 is selected so that it turns in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 4 when the drums are winding up the cables 12 so as to raise the platform 11. Whenthe uppermost paper of the stack is being moved forwardly toward the delivery slot, to the left as viewed in FIG. 4, the frictional engagement of the paper with the periphery of friction wheel 16 tends to turn the friction wheel in a clockwise direction and hence lowers the platform 11 slightly so as to relieve the pressure of the uppermost paper on the friction wheel and thereby decrease the force required to move the paper and reduce the friction with the next paper below.
As a newspaper is slightly thicker where it is folded, the front portion of a stack of papers in the machine is somewhat higher than the rearward portion. As the floating plate 21 rests on the top of the stack and as the longer guide fingers of the feeders 24 engage the upper surface of the uppermost paper of the stack adjacent the fold, the shorter lower fingers 27, properly engage in the fold of the uppermost paper despite the fact that it may be somewhat higher. The fingers are permitted to swing upwardly by the hinge 29. In some instances, it may be desirable to lift the forward portion of the uppermost paper. slightly as it is moved toward the delivery slot in order to separate it from the underlying paper. For this purpose, each of the feeders 24 may be provided with a roller or slide 36 (FIG. 5) adapted to engage an inclined ramp 37 extending inwardly from the lower edge of the delivery slot 4, so that the feeders are raised as they move forwardly (FIG. 6). 7 portion of the ramp is engaged by the second paper-if it tends to move forwardly with the uppermost paper-so as to prevent two papers from being fed to the delivery slot simultaneously. a a
Suitable coin control mechanism is provided to permit actuation of the delivery mechanism only when a coin or the coin receiving slot 6. In FIG. 4, there is shown a coin receiving unit 40 having a control finger 41 engageable with a pin or shoulder (not shown) on the operating lever 7 to block actuation of the lever, except when proper coins have been deposited. The coin unit 40 includes suitable mechanism for sensing the coins deposited. Thecoin unit 7 40 includes suitable mechanism for sensing the coins deposited and for moving the control finger 41 from blocking to unblocking position when a customer has deposited the proper coin or coins. As such coin controlled units are well known and are available on the market, a further description of the unit is unnecessary.
In FIGS. 7 to 9, there is shown another form of coin controlled mechanism in which the coin provides a coupling for connecting the operating handle with the delivery mechanism. In this embodiment, the operating lever 7 is replaced by a forward slide member 43 on the forward A down-turned lip 38 on the inner edge of a central end of which the operating handle 7a is provided, and a rear slide member 44 which slidably overlaps the forward slide member 43 and a link 45 pivotally connected to the rear end of the rear slide member 44 and to the lower end of operating lever 31. The overlapping portions of the slide members 43 and 44 are provided respectively with abutments 43a and 44a disposed in alignment with one another so that when a coin C is positioned between the abuments as shown in FIG. 8, the coin provides a coupling to transmit a forward pull on handle 7a to the rear slide member 44 and hence through the link 45 to the actuating lever 31. As shown in FIG. 8, the side members 43, 44 are preferably tubular cross-section with one slide member disposed inside of the other to provide a telescopic sliding relationship.
The coin-engaging abutments 43a and 44a are provided by opposite edges of slots in the flattened tubular slide members 43 and 44. The slots are large enough to receive a coin of selected denomination, for example a dime or token, and are in register with one another when both slide members are in their rearward position.
A coin sensing unit 47 receives a coin deposited in the coin slot 6 and-after checking the coin to see that it is of proper denomination-deposits it in the position shown in FIG. 8 between the cooperating abutments of the slide members 43, 44. The coin sensing unit 47 may be of any desired construction, many of which are known. Upon discharge from the sensing unit 47, a coin is received in a trough 48 which retains it in a position to provide a coupling between the slide members 43 and 44 as described. As illustrated in FIG. 8, the trough 48 is parallel to the slide members 43 and 44, and is positioned below them a suitable distance to position the coin for engagement of the coin by the abutments 43a, 44a. When the operating handle 7 has been pulled forwardly to the end of its stroke, the coin C reaches the end of the trough 48 and drops into a coin-receiving box (not shown) thereby uncoupling the slide members 43 and 44. As further assurance that the coin will disengage the abutments 43a, 44a at the forward end of the stroke of slide members 43, 44, a curved leaf spring 4a is positioned to engage the coin and press it downwardly as soon as it clears the forward end of the trough 48.
Means is preferably'provided for assuring that the operating handle is pulled forwardly to complete its stroke before it can be returned inwardly. As illustrated in FIG. 9 the slide 43 is provided with a series of ratchet teeth 50 engageable by the lower arm 51a of an L-shaped pawl 51. The upper arm 51b of pawl 51 is engageable by one or another of spaced pins 52a, 52b provided on the slide of slide 43. The pawl 51 is movable between the position shown in solid lines in FIG. 9 in which arm 51a engages teeth 50 and a second position shown in dotted lines in which arm 51a of the pawl is out of engagement. A toggle spring 53 resiliently holds the pawl 51 in either position to which it is moved. During forward movement of the slide member 43 as described above, the pawl 51 engages the ratchet teeth 50 to prevent retrogressive movement of the slide. When the slide reaches the end of its forward stroke, pin 52:: engages arm 51b of the pawl to turn the pawl clockwise to dotted line position and thereby disengage it from the teeth 50 of the slide. The slide can then move rearwardly. When it reaches the end of its rearward stroke, pin 5211 on the slide, engages arm 51b of the pawl and returns the pawl to its operative position. The slide can be provided with a return spring (not shown) or can be returned manually as desired.
When the supply of papers in the machine has been exhausted, the platform 11-in its final upward movement-engages a slide 55 (FIGS. 4 and and moves it upwardly to a position in which a portion of the slide blocks the coin receiving opening 6 and the words Sold Out or other appropriate legend appears in the window 8. The raised portion 11a of the platform 11, has a width less than the distance between the downturn flanges 22 of the float 21 so that it can move up between the flanges in the final position of the platform. An opening or sump 116 is provided in the platform 11 to accommodate friction wheel 16. When the platform 11 is again lowered, the slide 55 is returned to its initial position by gravity or a suitable spring (not shown).
Suitable means is provided for returning the platform 11 to its initial lower position to receive a new stack of papers. This can be accomplished by rotating the shaft 15 in a reversed direction, for example, by means of the wheel 16 or by a suitable crank (not shown) which is inserted through a hole provided in the casing and removably coupled to an end of the shaft 15. Alternatively, as illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12, there may be provided a winch in the lower portion of the casing for pulling the platform 11 down to loading position. The winch is shown as comprising an elongated shaft or drum 60 rotatably supported by bearings 61 and provided at its forward end with a threaded or non-circular portion 62 for attachment of a suitable crank (not shown) for rotating the drum. Cables 63 are attached to the platform 11 and are wound up on the drum 60 when the latter is rotated so as to pull the platform 11 down to loading position. A suitable releasable catch or ratchet (not shown) is preferably provided for holding the drum 60 against reverse rotation and thereby holding the platform 11 in lower position until a supply of newspapers has been positioned on it. Suitable guides are provided in the casing to assure that the papers are placed on the platform 11 in proper position.
In order to prevent pilferage of papers by inserting wire hooks or other instruments through the slot 4, suitable means is provided for blocking the insertion of such instruments, and for preventing the withdrawal of a paper except when a proper coin has been inserted to release the operating mechanism. Such blocking means is shown by way of example as comprising a door 65 which is vertically movable between a lower position in which it blocks the slot 4, and an upper position in which the slot is open. Suitable guides (not shown) or other means are provided for guiding the door in its movement. The door is'preferably provided with inwardly projecting lips comprising an upper lip 65a and a lower lip 65b. Latches 66 are provided at opposite ends of the door and are pivoted on the chassis as indicated at 67 so as to be movable between a latching position in which they engage the upper lip 65a of the door to hold it in closed position and a released position. The latches 66 are biased towards latching position, for example by springs (not shown), or by gravity.
Suitable means is provided for releasing the latches 66 and raising the door 65, when the dispensing mechanism is operated by means of the operating lever 7. As illustrated in the drawings, levers 68 provided at opposite ends of the door are pivoted on the chassis to swing about pivots 69. The levers 68 are actuated by links 71, each of which is pivotally connected at one end to the corresponding lever 68 and at the other end to the corresponding flange 22 of plate 21. When the plate 21 is moved forwardly to feed the top most paper of the stack to the slot 4, the links 71 cause the levers 68 to swing about their pivots. A pin 74 on each of the levers 68 engages the corresponding latch 66 to move it to released position, and a pin 75 likewise carried by each lever thereafter engages the lower lip 65b of the door 65, so as to move the door to its raised position. When the plate 21 is moved rearwardly to return it to its original position, the door 65 is permitted to move downwardly so that the lower lip 65b rests on the paper which has been fed to the slot 4 during the preceeding for-ward movement of plate 21. When the paper is withdrawn by a customer, the door moves down to its closed position, where it is again held by the latches 66. In closed position the door 65 not only prevents pilferage of papers,
, but also excludes dirt, rain and snow from the interior of the housing. While springs (not shown) may be provided if desired for biasing the door to closed position, it has been found sufficient to use gravity.
While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been shown by way of example in the drawings, it will be understood that the invention is in no way limited to the details of construction of the embodiment illustrated and particularly described.
What I claim is:
1. A vending machine for folded papers comprising a housing having a horizontal opening, a vertically mov able platform in said housing for supporting a stack of folded papers, means for progressively raising said platform as papers are dispensed to maintain the top paper of said stack approximately in horizontal alignment with said opening, feeding means engaging the fold of the top paper to move it horizontally into said opening for withdrawal by a customer, and control means connected with said raising means and engaging the top paper of the stack to control said raising means to position the top paper of the stack substantially at the level of said opening, said control means being movable by said top paper as it is moved horizontally by said feeding means to lower said platform.
2. A vending machine according to claim 1, in which said raising means comprises a horizontal rotatable shaft extending across above said stack in a direction approximately parallel to said opening, cable drums on said shaft, cables wound on said drums and connected to said platform, guide means for said cables and torsion spring means acting between said shaft and a fixed support to turn said shaft in a direction to wind said cables on said drums and thereby raise said platform, and said control means comprises a friction wheel on said shaft having a periphery frictionally engaging the top paper of said stack, whereby horizontal movement of said top paper toward said opening tends to turn said wheel in a direction to lower said platform.
3. A vending machine according to claim 2, in which said torsion spring means comprises at least one spring helically wound on said shaft.
4. A vending machine according to claim 2, in which said wheel is located approximately centrally of the length of said shaft and is provided on opposite end faces with a circular series of abutments and in which said torsion spring means comprises two springs helically wound on said shaft on opposite sides of said wheel, each of said springs having an outer end anchored on a fixed support and having at its inner end a radially extending arm portion engaging one or another of said abutments on said wheel, said ends being manually shiftable from one of said abutments to another to adjust the tension of said springs.
5. A vending machine according to claim 4, further comprising manually operable means for rotating said shaft in a direction to wind up said springs and lower said platform, means engageable with said abutments on said wheel to retain said platform in lowered position to load said platform.
6. A vending machine for folded paper comprising a housing having a horizontal opening in one vertical side, a vertically movable platform in said housing for supporting a stack of folded papers disposed with their folds towards said vertical side of the housing, means for progressively raising said platform as papers are dispensed to maintain the top paper in the stack at approximately the level of said opening and feeding means for moving the top paper of the stack horizontally into said opening, said feeding means comprising a plate resting on the top of said stack and having end portions adjacent opposite sides of said stack, fingers pivoted on opposite end portions of said plate and swingable about their respective pivots from a retracted position outside said opposite sides of said stack to an operative position in which said fingers engage in the fold of the top paper of the stack, links pivotally connected to said fingers eccentrically of said pivots and actuating means for moving said links to swing said fingers from said retracted position to said operative position and for thereafter moving said plate together with said fingers toward said vertical wall to move said top paper into said opening for withdrawal by a customer.
7. A vending machine according to claim 6, in which a longer second finger afiixed to each'of said fingers is positioned to slide on top of said top paper and thereby position said first mentioned finger to engage in the fold of said top paper.
8. A vending machine according to claim 6, in which said fingers are hingedly mounted to swing up and down.
9. A vending machine according to claim 6, further comprising guide means for raising said fingers as they are moved toward said opening.
10. A vending machine according to claim 6, in which said actuating means comprises a shaft parallel to said vertical wall, bearing means supporting said shaft for rotation, two radially projecting arms on said shaft and connected with said links, and means for rotating said shaft to swing said arms toward said vertical side to move said links to swing said fingers about their pivots from retracted position to operative position.
11. A vending machine according to claim 10, in which said means for rotating said shaft comprises an operating rod connected to an arm on said shaft and extending out through an aperture in said vertical wall, and a hand grip on an end portion of said rod for manually pulling said rod and thereby rotating said shaft.
12. A vending machine according to claim 11, further comprising means for preventing retrogressive movement of said rod until said rod has been pulled out a selected distance.
13. A vending machine according to claim 1, further comprising means for blocking withdrawal of a paper through said opening when said feeding means is inactive.
14. A vending machine for folded papers comprising a housing having dispensing aperture and having at one side an opening closable by a removable panel, means for locking said panel in position to close said opening, a chassis receivable in said housing through saidopening, means for removably supporting said chassis in said housing, dispensing mechanism wholly supported by said chassis and comprising a vertically movable platform for supporting a stack of folded papers, means supporting said platform from said chassis, means supported by said chassis for progressively raising said platform including control means to position the upper paper of said stack at approximately the height of said dispensing aperture, and means supported by said chassis for feeding papers successively from the top of said stack to said dispensing aperture, said chassis together with said dispensing mechanism being readily removable from said housing through said opening as an assembled unit for servicing, repair or replacement.
References Cited by the Examiner ROBERT B. REEVES, Primary Examiner.
STANLEY H. TOLLBERG, Examiner.