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Publication numberUS3437235 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 8, 1969
Filing dateOct 13, 1967
Priority dateOct 13, 1967
Also published asDE1802970A1
Publication numberUS 3437235 A, US 3437235A, US-A-3437235, US3437235 A, US3437235A
InventorsGuerra Richard
Original AssigneeWestinghouse Electric Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pivot shelf vending machine
US 3437235 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 8, 1969 R. GUERRA PIVOT SHELF VENDING MACHINE Sheet Filed Oct. 13, 1967 INVENTOR Richard Guerra ATTORNEY April 8, 1969 R. GUERRA PIVOT SHELF VENDING MACHINE Sheet 2 of 4 Filed Oct. 15, 1967 "Iran April 8, 1969 R. GUERRA 3,437,235

PIVOT SHELF VENDING MACHINE Filed Oct. 15, 1967 Sheet 3 of 4 rlo April 1959 R. GUERRA 3,437,235

PIVOT SHELF VENDING MACHINE Filed Oct. 13, 1967 Sheet 4 of 4 United States Patent O 3,437,235 PIVOT SHELF VENDING MACHINE Richard Guerra, Littleton, Mass., assignor to Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed Oct. 13, 1967, Ser. No. 675,142 Int. Cl. G07f 11/06, 11/48 US. Cl. 22175 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to a vending machine vertical storage column structure having vertically spaced pivotally inclined article storage shelves together with vertically spaced pivotally inclined article transfer shelves with linkage interconnecting the shelves to pivot all shelves from a normal first inclined storage direction to a second inclined transfer direction and back to the normal first direction during a vending cycle so that an article on the lowest storage shelf is vended and the article from each storage shelf next above a lower storage shelf is transferred to the next lower storage shelf for subsequent vending from the lowest storage shelf.

CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS So far as is known, this application is not related to any copending patent applications.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is desirable that a vending machine for vending candy and other relatively perishable foods be arranged to assure that the merchandise that has been stored in the machine for the longest period of time be vended first in order to minimize the possibility of vending food that has become stale or spoiled over a long period of storage time in the machine. In other words, vending machines providing the feature of first in and first out for the merchandise are preferred over those machines in which there is a possibility of reloading the machine many times by simply refilling the empty compartments while certain filled compartments remain filled with unvended and possibly stale merchandise.

Such so-called first in and first out vending machines are well known but prior to this invention their mechanisms were either complicated in design or were ditficult to service and load or both.

PRIOR ART Reference may be made to the following United States patents that disclose vending machines of the so-called first in and first out arrangement although neither of these patents disclose the pivotal shelf arrangement of the present invention as will be described in more detail: Gebert et al., 2,223,515, Dec. 3, 1940; Winn, 2,743,820, May 1, 1956.

The above patents are classified by the US. patent classification in class 312 subclass 94 and class 211 subclass 49 respectively.

SUMMARY According to the invention, each vertical storage column is provided with a plurality of superposed pivotal shelves, there being a first series of article storage shelves and a second series of article transfer shelves. The shelves are arranged to be normally inclined in one direction which may be termed the storage direction but are pivotally moved during a vending operation to incline in a second direction, which may be termed a transfer direction and then moved back to the first storage direction 3,437,235 Patented Apr. 8, 1969 at the end of the vending operation. The particular locations of each shelf are preferably arranged such that the article storage shelves are forward of the column while the article transfer shelves are positioned behind the storage shelves with their pivotal axes staggered relative to the pivotal axes of the storage shelves so that when the shelves are in their normal positions the transfer shelf next above and behind an associated storage shelf is aligned therewith and the lowermost shelf is aligned with a delivery chute. When the shelves are all moved and pivoted to their second inclined direction at the beginning of a vending operation, each storage shelf is inclined to align with the next lowermost transfer shelf so that the article that had been stored on the lowest storage shelf is slid onto the lowest transfer shelf for sliding movement to the delivery chute when the shelves are again moved back to their normal inclined storage positions at the end of the vending operation. Obviously, articles stored on the upper storage shelves are transferred to the next lower storage shelf each time a vending operation is completed so that the first in and first out feature for vending is assured. All of the shelves in each vertical column are interconnected by a simple system of levers and bell crank so that a single revolution of the bell crank for each vending operation is effective to pivot all shelves of the column from the first normal inclined storage direction to the second inclined transfer direction and back to the normal storage inclined direction. It is desirable that a transparent window be provided in the front wall of the vending cabinet adjacent the lowermost storage shelf of each column so that the customer may view the particular article to be delivered by the vending operation and thus another advantage of the invention is attained in that each storage column may be filled with a variety of articles to be vended if desired and the customer will always receive the particular article that he had viewed on the lowermost storage shelf. Obviously, each of the storage and transfer shelves is provided with an article retaining flange, the flange for each storage shelf being in a position to retain the article in the normal first direction of inclination of the shelf and the flange on each transfer shelf being in a position to retain the article thereon during the second inclined transfer direction of the shelves. In order to minimize the possibility of thievery through the delivery chute, the lowermost storage shelf may be positioned forwardly of the other higher storage shelves and a permanently inclined bridging shelf may be positioned to extend in alignment with the next above transfer shelf and the lowermost storage shelf in their normal positions or first directions of inclination.

Further objects, features and the attendant advantages of the invention will be apparent with reference to the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIGURE 1 is a perspective elevation of a vending machine cabinet embodying the features of the invention and partly broken away at one side wall to show the plurality of storage and transfer shelves comprising the first vertical column of the machine;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary diagrammatic side view partly in section of the article storage and transfer shelves at the lower end of one column of the vending machine of the invention with the shelves shown in their normal first inclined or storage direction;

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but showing the pivotal shelves as moved to their second or transfer inclined directions during the first part of the vending cycle of operation; and

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but showing the shelves as they are moved back to their normal storage directions of inclination with an article vended and delivered to the delivery chute at the end of the vending operation.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT FIGURE 1 of the drawings is a perspective elevation of a form of vending machine of the invention as it may be provided with eight vertical storage columns for merchandise to be vended. The vending machine includes a cabinet having a lower window 11 opposite the lowermost ones of each of the storage shelves for the respective columns such as the shelf 30 for the left-hand column. This invention is not concerned with the details of the actuators for each vertical storage column which may be either mechanical or electrical as will be obvious to those skilled in the art. The invention also is not concerned with the details of the cabinet framework upon which the pivotal storage and transfer shelves are mounted since such framework may take many detailed forms obvious to those skilled in the art and no invention is required to ascertain any particular form of the frame structure. The side wall of the vending cabinet has been broken away in the drawing to show the plurality of superposed storage shelves such as the shelf 21 and transfer shelves such as the transfer shelf 22 of the extreme left-hand vertical column whose lowest storage shelf is shown at 30 through the transparent window 11. As shown by FIG. 1 of the drawings, it will be seen that, generally speaking, the storage shelves such as either one of the shelves 21 and 30', are positioned forwardly of the column while the transfer shelves such as either one of the transfer shelves 22, are positioned rearwardly of the column such that when the shelves are in their normal inclined storage directions as shown, the transfer shelf 22 which is next above and behind the storage shelf 21 is aligned therewith so that any article that had been deposited 011 the transfer shelf 22 would be slid forwardly onto the storage shelf 21 to be retained thereon by the retaining flange 23 across the end of the storage shelf 21. Similarly, each of the transfer shelves such as the shelf 25 is provided with a retaining flange such as the flange 26 to retain an article thereon when the respective transfer shelf 25 is pivoted to incline in the second direction during a vending cycle so that an article slid thereon from a storage shelf would be retained thereon at that time. In other words, assuming an article to be stored on the storage shelf 21 and retained thereon by the retaining flange 23, when all of the storage shelves and transfer shelves of the vertical column including the storage shelf 21 are simultaneously pivoted from the normal direction shown by FIG. 2 to the second inclined or transfer direction shown by FIG. 3, the article on the storage shelf 21 would slide onto the transfer shelf 25 to be retained by its retaining flange 26 during the vending cycle and at the end of a vending cycle when the shelves are again returned to their normal direction of inclination the article that had been transferred to the transfer shelf 25 would slide onto the storage shelf 27 to be retained thereon by its retaining flange 28.

Referring now in more detail to FIGS. 24 of the drawings, the lowermost article storage shelf is shown at 30 and next higher storage shelves are shown at 31, 32 and 33 to be pivotally mounted on transverse pivot axes 34-37, respectively. Transfer shelves -43 are shown to be pivotally mounted on transverse pivot axes 44-47 respectively and it will be noted that the pivot axis for the lowest transfer shelf 40 is located behind and below the pivot axis 34 for the lowest storage shelf 30' while the pivot axis for the transfer shelf 41 next above and behind the storage shelf 30 is spaced therefrom by a gap bridged by a fixed inclined bridging shelf 50.

The storage and transfer shelves as shown by FIG. 2 of the drawings are shown in their normal inclined storage directions with an article A to be first vended on the lowest storage shelf 30 and articles B, C and D on the next higher storage shelves 31, 32 and 33.

It may be considered for purposes of claiming this invention that the lowermost storage shelf 30 is a first article storage shelf while the article transfer shelf 40 may be considered as a second article transfer shelf pivotally mounted on a transverse axis 44 spaced below and behind the pivotal transverse axis 34 of the first storage shelf 30. A delivery chute 51 which is inclined toward the delivery opening 52 in the front wall 10 of the vending cabinet is provided in alignment with the lowermost transfer shelves of each column such as the transfer shelf 40 of the left-hand storage column being described. A bell crank 60 is arranged to be rotated for a single revolution during each vending cycle by either mechanical or electrical means not described and of any form well known to those skilled in the art. The bell crank is connected by the link lever 61 to the parallelogram linkage lever 62 pivotally connected to the ends of all of the transfer shelves above the lowermost storage shelves such as the transfer shelves 41, 42, 43 as shown. A secondary link lever 63 is pivotally connected from the transfer shelf 41 to the lowermost transfer shelf 40 and an additional link lever 64 is pivotally connected from the transfer shelf 41 to the crank arm '65 for the lowermost storage shelf 30. In addition, parallelogram link arms 66 and 67 are pivotally interconnected between the remaining ones of the article storage shelves 31-33 above the lowermost article storage shelf 30 and the parallelogram lever 62.

Referring now more particularly to FIG. 3 of the drawings, at the beginning of a vending cycle, the bell crank 60 is rotated in the direction of the arrow to pivot the article storage and transfer shelves from their normal storage direction of inclination to their transfer direction of inclination as shown so that the article A stored on the lowermost storage shelf 30 is slid by gravity onto the lowermost transfer shelf 40 while the articles B, C and D are slid by gravity onto the respective transfer shelves 41-43. At the end of the vending operation and one complete revolution of the bell crank 60, the storage and transfer shelves are again returned to their normal storage directions of inclination and the article A from the transfer shelf 40 is slid by gravity onto the delivery chute 51 to be obtained by the customer through the delivery opening 52. At the same time article B has moved from the transfer shelf 41 to the lowermost storage shelf 30 and article C has moved from the transfer shelf 42 to the storage shelf 31 while article D has moved from the transfer shelf 43 to the storage shelf 32. Since the lowermost storage shelf 30 is positioned forwardly of the other next above storage shelves 31-33, the article B in moving from the transfer shelf 41 to the storage shelf 30 passes over the inclined bridging shelf 50 which is stationarily positioned in the direction of inclination as shown.

It is believed that the features of the operation of the invention and its advantages are readily apparent considering the foregoing description. The invention is not limited to the particular arrangement in which the lowermost storage shelf 30 is positioned forwardly with a fixed bridging transfer shelf 50 provided as shown since it would be an obvious simplification of the invention to position the lowermost storage shelf 30 directly beneath the next above storage shelf 31 and extend the parallelogram link lever 67 down to connect with the end of the lowermost storage shelf 30 and eliminate necessity of the provision of the extra link lever 64. However, as previously mentioned it is believed preferable to have the lowermost storage shelf 30 positioned forwardly in order that the article to be next vended may be readily viewed by the customer through the display window 11 and further to minimize the possibility of thievery through the access opening 52.

Various modifications may be made within the skill of the art.

I claim as my invention:

1. An inclined shelf vending mechanism comprising, a frame, a first article storage shelf pivotally mounted on a transverse axis on said frame, a second article transfer shelf pivotally mounted on a transverse axis on said frame to be spaced below and behind the pivotal axis of said first shelf such that said shelves are positioned in spaced inclined planes generally parallel to each other when inclined in the same first normal direction before a vending cycle and are aligned with each other in the same inclined plane with their ends closely adjacent when they are both inclined in a second direction during a vending cycle, link levers interconnecting said shelves, means to reciprocate said link levers to simultaneously pivot said shelves from their normal positions inclined in the first direction to incline in the second direction and then back to incline in the first direction during a vending cycle, said first shelf having means to retain an article thereon when inclined in the first normal direction, said second shelf having means to retain an article thereon when inclined in the second direction during a vending cycle, and a delivery chute positioned to receive an article from said second shelf when the second shelf is inclined in the normal direction whereby an article stored on said first shelf during the normal inclined direction of said shelves will slide onto said second shelf when said shelves are pivoted to their second inclined directions during a vending cycle and will slide onto said delivery chute when said shelves are pivoted back to their normal inclined direction at the end of a vending cycle.

2. The invention of claim 1 in which said vending mechanism is enclosed within a cabinet having a front wall, and a display window is formed in said front wall in a position relative to said vending mechanism such that a particular article to be vended as stored on said first shelf is visible through said display window.

3. The invention of claim 2 in which said cabinet is provided with a delivery opening and said deliver chute is inclined towards said delivery opening in general alignment with said second shelf in its normal inclined direction.

4. The invention of claim 1 in which there are a plurality of said first storage shelves vertically spaced one above each other and a plurality of said second transfer shelves vertically spaced one above each other with all but the lowermost second shelf positioned to extend in alignment with respective ones above the other of all of said first shelves when the shelves are in their normal first inclined direction and with all of said second shelves positioned to extend in alignment with respective other ones above the other of all of said first shelves when the shelves are in their second inclined direction during a vend cycle, and said link levers interconnect all of said first and second shelves for simultaneous movement from their first inclined direction to their second inclined direction and back to their first inclined direction during a single vend cycle, said delivery chute being positioned to receive an article from the lowermost one of said second shelves in the first inclined direction thereof.

5. The invention of claim 4 in which said vending mechanism is enclosed within a cabinet having a front wall, and a display window is formed in said front wall in a position relative to said vending mechanism such that a particular article to be vended as stored on the lowermost one of said first storage shelves is visible through the display window.

6. The invention of claim 5 in which said cabinet is provided with a delivery opening and said delivery chute is inclined towards said opening in general alignment with the lowermost one of said second shelves in its normal inclined direction.

7. The invention of claim 5 in which the lowermost one of said first shelves is positioned forwardly towards the front wall of the cabinet relative to the positions of the remaining upper ones of said first shelves, and a stationary inclined bridging shelf is positioned in alignment with the direction of inclination of said lowermost first shelf and the first above the lowermost of said second inclined shelves in their normal direction of inclination to thereby bridge the gap between the opposing ends of the lowermost first shelf and the next lowermost second shelf when in their normal direction of inclination.

8. An inclined shelf vending mechanism comprising, a frame, first and second inclined article storage shelves pivotally mounted and vertically spaced one above the other on transverse axes on said frame to be normally maintained in a first inclined direction, a third inclined transfer shelf pivotally mounted on a transverse axis on said frame in a vertical position intermediate the vertical axis position of said first and second shelves such as to be aligned with said first shelf in the normally maintained first inclined direction and to be aligned with said second shelf when the shelves are in a second inclined direction, link levers interconnecting all of said shelves, means to reciprocate said link levers to simultaneously pivot said shelves about their axes from the first normal inclined direction to a second inclined direction and back to the first normal inclined direction during a vend cycle, the positions of said shelves when inclined in the second direction being such that said third shelf is aligned with said second shelf and said first shelf is inclined to deliver an article stored thereon while at the same said second shelf deposits an article previously stored thereon onto said third shelf, whereby when the shelves are returned to their normal position at the end of a vend cycle any article on said third shelf is moved to said first shelf for subsequent vending therefrom, each of said first and second shelves having means to retain an article thereon when inclined in the first normal direction, and said second shelf having means to retain an article thereon when moved to incline in the second direction.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 8/1952 Pearce 221-90 X 5/1956 Winn 221- X STANLEY H. TOLLBERG, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2608131 *Jan 17, 1945Aug 26, 1952Gen Motors CorpBomb release system
US2743820 *Jun 18, 1952May 1, 1956Wynnwopd CorpUnit dispensing devices
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5111963 *May 24, 1991May 12, 1992Frederick J. StingelContainer storage and dispensing apparatus
US5236104 *May 1, 1992Aug 17, 1993Frederick J. Stingel, Jr.Multiple pressure container storage and retrieval apparatus
US5285928 *May 12, 1992Feb 15, 1994Frederick J. Stingel, Jr.Fluid-operated container storage and dispensing system
US5779094 *Jan 22, 1996Jul 14, 1998Stingel, Jr.; Frederick J.Article reception system for storage and dispensing apparatus
US6557724Aug 30, 2000May 6, 2003Jervis B. Webb CompanyVertical conveyor
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/75, 221/90
International ClassificationA47F3/00, A47F3/026, G07F11/06, G07F11/04
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/06
European ClassificationG07F11/06