|Publication number||US3452899 A|
|Publication date||Jul 1, 1969|
|Filing date||Oct 24, 1967|
|Priority date||Oct 24, 1967|
|Publication number||US 3452899 A, US 3452899A, US-A-3452899, US3452899 A, US3452899A|
|Inventors||Libberton Albert C|
|Original Assignee||Libberton Albert C|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (10), Referenced by (105), Classifications (10)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
July 1, 1969 A. c. LIBBERTON 3,452,899
FOLLOWER ADVANCED COMMODITY DISPENSER Filed oct. 24', 1967 /13 m' y15. g4/35 I 11) zo? 55)l United States Patent "i 3,452,899 FOLLOWER ADVANCED COMMODITY DISPENSER Albert C. Libberton, 27 Morningside Drive, East Didsbury, Manchester 20, England Filed Oct. 24, 1967, Ser. No. 677,633 Int. Cl. B65l1 31/14, 31/20; G07f 11/16 U.S. Cl. 221-242 6 Claims ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE A commodity dispenser, particularly for cigarette packs, includes a separate unit which may be placed on a shelf or withdrawn for loading. The dispenser utilizes two spring-loaded plungers operating in grooves. The width of the dispenser is adjustable by means of dowels and clamping means. A removable central plate is removed to accommodate wider packs.
This invention relates to commodity dispensers for use in shops and the like to save labour on the part of assistants and also as a means of displaying the goods.
The device hereinafter described is suitable for the dispensing of any flat-faced articles of uniform size, but is particularly intended and advantageous for use in connection with cigarettes.
These latter are normally wrapped by the makers in packs of 200, each comprising packets of 20 or 2O packets of 10 which, -after removal of the outer wrapper, are usualy stored on open shelves either in view of customers or elsewhere.
The conventional method is to stack the packets vertically, so that the shelves used cannot conveniently be much wider than the depth of the average packet (say, 3 inches) and hence occupy a considerable area of wall or the equivalent relatively to the number of packets stored.
Vertical stacking of cigarette packets has the further drawback that only the ends of such packets are readily visible to the customer, and its value is negligible from the display and advertising standpoint.
With this in mind, there have recently been introduced so-called cigarette banks, in which the packets are stood on end and facing forwardly upon a series of shelves divided by partitions into compartments of appropriate width, the packets in each compartment being advanced by gravity or spring action into contact with a glass or other transparent wall which leaves their upper parts exposed.
Such banks, however, are at present usually made of wood and hence bulky, especially since it is necessary to allow a gap of some 1 inch between the packets in adjacent compartments to allow of their upper corners being readily grasped. An even more serious drawback, from the standpoint of the small shopkeeper, is that the various shelves are necessarily partitioned in an arbitrary manner (eg. to take packets and 10 alternately), so that in the event of his wishing to stock a greater number of brands or packet sizes than the bank will accommodate, he is forced to add a similar or smaller bank for the sake of uniformity.
Furthermore, the fixed compartment widths of the known banks result in storage space being wasted if they are used to accommodate the modern ilip-top packets which are taller, narrower and thicker than packets of the traditional slide type, and since new stock is necessarily introduced into each compartment from the front, the old stock -must be removed beforehand and replaced subsequently in its original position if a proper rotation of stock is to be maintained.
3,452,899 Patented July l, 1969 The object of the present invention is to provide an improved cigarette or other commodity dispenser which does not suffer from the above-mentioned drawbacks, can be applied to new or existing shelves of any width, is cheap to produce, and effects a considerable saving in both space and labour for a given storage capacity and rate of sale.
According to this invention, the improved dispenser consists of one or more units each comprising a channel structure of adjustable width adapted to be disposed transversely of the front edge of a storage shelf and to provide effective lateral location for a stack of articles stood edgewise across it, and a spring-loaded pusher adapted to urge said articles along said channel structure towards stops directed inwards from the front ends of its side walls, which latter extend sufficiently beyond the base thereof to permit upward or downward withdrawal of each successive article abutting said stops.
Resilient means may be provided for temporarily supporting each such article immediately prior to and during its abutment against the stops.
In a convenient arrangement, a plunger connected to the pusher and a compressed coil spring acting thereon are captive in at least one longitudinal groove formed in the base of the channel and closed at both ends.
When two parallel grooves are provided, two stacks of articles separated by a detachable rail may be urged forward by a common pusher or by separate pushers guided in the two grooves. Provision may be made for temporarily locating one or both pushers in a fully-retracted position during insertion of fresh stock into the dispenser.
An existing shelf may be used to support a stack of containers each open at the front and top and adapted to accommodate a plurality of the dispensers in side-byside relation, the front ends of such dispensers projecting from the container and being higher or lower than their rear ends.
In the accompanying drawings:
FIG. 1 is a part-sectional side elevation of one form of cigarette dispenser according to the present invention and mounted in a purpose-built container,
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the dispenser shown in FIG. 1,
FIG. 3 shows the dispenser sectioned on the line 3-3 of FIG. 1 and drawn to an enlarged scale,
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary underside plan view of the dispenser,
FIG. 5 is a side elevation of the pusher shown in FIGS.
`1 to 3, and
FIG. 6 is a schematic part-sectional side elevation showing a modied lform of dispenser and a method of mounting the same in FIGS. 1 to 5.
In the example illustrated, the channel str-ucture of the improved dispenser includes a plastics base strip 10 having undercut grooves 11 of part-circular section moulded in its upper face at opposite sides of its longitudinal centreline and parallel thereto.
Two plungers 12 are slidable in the grooves 11 under the influence of coil springs 13 located in the latter, s-uch springs being compressed between plates 14, 15 of plastics material which are secured across opposite ends of the base strip 10 by screws 16 so as to blank olf both grooves, the plungers 12 being formed integral with the underside of an angle-section plastics-moulded pusher 17 which is slidable upon the grooved face of the base strip. As shown in FIG. 5, each plunger 12 is formed with a shoulder against which the adjacent spring 13 acts.
Fixed across the underside of such strip at spaced positions are two metal channel members 18 each containing two dowels 19 separated by -two attachment screws 20 whereby such dowels can be clamped against the base strip 10 (FIG. 4).
Corresponding dowels 19 in the two members 18 are formed integrally with the lower parts of plastics-moulded side walls 21 which complete the channel structure and provide effective lateral guidance for a stack or stacks of cigarette packets 22 stood on end and transversely of the base strip 10. It will be noted that the dowels on each side wall 21 are arranged at different distances from its ends, so that the two mouldings are reversible side-forside with reference to the base strip 10.
Conveniently the width of the latter corresponds to that of a packet of or 10 cigarettes, but should it be desired to accommodate 20-cigarette packets (or tins of tobacco) in the dispenser it is merely necessary to slacken the attachment screws 20 for the members 18, Withdraw the two pairs of dowels 19 from the latter until the side walls 21 are the requisite distance apart (see FIG. 3) and then re-tighten the screws aforesaid.
It will be appreciated that, when the upstanding limb of the spring-loaded pusher 17 is allowed to bear against the endmost of the stack of packets 22 the latter are urged collectively along the base strip 10 until the leading packet abuts against inturned flanges 23 on the adjacent ends of the side walls 21.
These flanged ends project beyond the base strip 10 by an amount at least equal to the thickness of a packet 22, so that the leading packet of the stack can be pulled downwardly (as indicated by broken lines in FIG. l) or pushed upwardly, allowing the next packet 22 to abut the stop flanges 23.
In the construction illustrated, a detachable wire rail 24 disposed above the pusher 17, and with downwardlydirected ends pressed into sockets 25 on the longitudinal -centre-line of the base strip 10, is used to separate two stacks of IO-cigarette packets arranged side-by-side. If the cigarettes therein are of the same brand, packets may be extracted from the two stacks alternately, to allow their collective step-by-step advancement, but otherwise it is preferred to mount a relatively narrow pusher in each groove 11 so that either stack can be drawn from as required.
A plastics plate 26 fixed to the front end of the separator rail 24, in coplanar relation with the stop flanges 23, cooperates with the latter in locating opposite edges of packets 22 in the two stacks.
To obviate any risk of a packet dropping before it can engage the flanges 23 (or one such flange and the plate 26) after passing clear of the base strip 10, the adjacent end of the latter carries a resilient flap or flaps 27 which will readily yield to downward finger pressure on the packet 22 concerned and which is or are formed integrally with the front closure plate 14. The latter, of course,
forms a convenient carrier for a price ticket or a labelidentifying the packets normally stowed in the dispenser, to serve as a guide for an assistant refilling the same, or if the plastics material used is White the information aforesaid can be readily marked thereon.
Dispensers constructed as above described may be of any suitable length and are intended to be supported upon either a purpose-built or an existing shelf at right angles to the front edge thereof.
In the former case, the shelf is conveniently constituted by a glass panel 28 which forms the base of a container 29 open at lthe front and top, such container being trapezoidal in side elevation and having its front corners elevated by legs 30 so that its front and rear edges are vertical.
The container 29 is made long enough to accommodate a predetermined number of dispensers side-by-side, with no more space between their respective stacks of packets 22 than is accounted for by the combined thickness of their juxtaposed side walls 21 (say, 1A; inch or less), its height being greater than that of the packets 22, so that a plurality of containers may be stacked one upon another and located by dowels 31 upstanding therefrom.
Such containers are preferably constructed in different heights so that a selection can be made to suit the stock to be dispensed. There may, for example, be two heights of container for packets of standard and kingsize cigarettes and others for cigar packets, the height in each case being only sufliciently greater than that of the packets in question to allow effective operation of the dispenser.
The depth of each container is such that the dispensers therein project forwardly, the stacked arrangement shown leaving the exposed ends of the several sets of dispensers in echelon and thus allowing the foremost packet in any dispenser to be gripped between finger and thumb and pulled downwardly clear of the stop flanges 23. Each dispenser has the rear closure plate 15 of its base strip 10 engaged beneath a hook-section rail 32 fixed across the back of the container 29 so that it will not tend to tilt forwardly during this operation.
Conveniently each dispenser is designed to take a stack of l5 packets, which, although not more than 10 packets will normally be inserted at any given time, enables a shopkeeper or assistant to load a full pack of ten 20- packets or a half-pack of ten 1li-packets before the original charge is exhausted, the dispenser being preferably dismounted for the purpose. To make room for the fresh charge the (or either) pusher 17 is forced back against the springs 13 as far as it will go, leaving the residue of the first charge at the front of the dispenser and thereby ensuring a proper rotation of stock.
To facilitate such retraction of the (or either) pusher 17, the lower limb of the latter may be formed with an upturned lip 33, and a hole 34 for temporary engagement with a locating projection 35 near the rear end of the base strip 10.
Although the uptilted arrangement shown in FIG. l is generally convenient when the shelves are at or below eye-level, it may be preferred in some cases (as, for example, when the articles stored are dry batteries of flat form) to mount the shelves with a downward tilt as shown in FIG. 6 and to draw articles from the dispensers in an upwards direction. In this case, the resilient flaps 27 are omitted and the channel members 18 re-located on each dispenser so that the foremost article in the stack only partly overhangs the end of the base strip 10, the front closure plate 14 of 4the latter having a forwardly projecting limb 36 which is engaged beneath an angle-section rail 37 along the front edge of the shelf 38 to locate the dispenser upon the latter and to prevent its front end being lifted whenever an article is withdrawn. The amount by which such article must be raised before it can be drawn forwardly may be reduced by cutting away the upper parts of the stop iianges 23 as shown.
Obviously the respective widths of the dispensers on any given shelf can 'be adjusted to the particular way in which the shopkeeper wishes to lay out his stock.
What I claim is:
1. A commodity dispenser comprising a channel structure adjustable to the width of a stack of identical articles stood edgewise across it, pusher means for said articles guided for movement lengthwise of said channel structure, stop means directed inwards from the side walls of said channel structure at one end thereof, and spring means acting on said pusher means so as to maintain the endmost article of said stack in contact with said stop means, said side walls extending sufficiently beyond the base of said channel structure to permit manual withdrawal of any article abutting said stop means in a plane perpendicular to said base, said dispenser including inwardly extended dowels united to the said side Walls of said base structure and clamping means for adjustably securing dowels on one of said walls to the underside of the base of said channel structure alongside dowels on the other side of said walls, wherein said spring means comprises two coil springs accommodated in two parallel undercut grooves formed along the base of said channel structure and closed at both ends, and including plungers xed to said pusher means, each plunger being captively slidable in each of said grooves under the inluence of said springs said dispenser also including a rail disposed medially of said base to separate two stacks supported side-by-side upon the latter for respective engagement Vby said pusher means, and a removable plate xed to said rail in coplanar relation with said stop means for engagement by the inner edges of articles on the two stacks.
2. A commodity dispenser as claimed in claim 1 and including means for retaining said pusher means fully retracted against the action of said spring means during loading of a stack of articles into said channel structure.
3. A commodity dispenser as claimed in claim 1, and including resilient means for supporting the leading article of said stack prior to and during its abutment against said stop means under the influence of said pusher means.
4. A commodity dispenser as claimed in claim 1 and supported upon an inclined shelf with its stop means adjacent the upper edge of the latter, with means provided adjacent the opposite edge of said shelf to locate said dispenser during downward withdrawal of an article therefrom.
5. A commodity dispenser as claimed in claim 1 and supported upon an inclined shelf with its stop means adjacent the lower edge of the latter, with means provided adjacent said lower edge to retain said dispenser on said shelf and to locate it during upward withdrawal of an article therefrom.
6. In combination, a plurality of dispensers as claimed in claim 1 and a supporting structure comprising at least one inclined shelf on which said dispensers are arranged in side-by-side relation and projecting from one edge thereof.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 632,231 9/1899 Blades 221-198 X 808,067 12/1905 Briggs 221-242 X 847,863 3/ 1907 Watts. 1,964,597 6/1934 Rapellin 221-198 X 2,129,122 9/1938 Follett 221-280 X 2,499,088 2/1950 Brill et al 221-307 X 2,775,365 12/1956 Mestman et al. 221--44 2,893,596 7/1959 Gabrielsen 221-227 X FOREIGN PATENTS 969,003 4/ 1958 Germany. 881,700 11/1961 Great Britain.
SAMUEL F. COLEMAN, Primary Examiner.
U.S. Cl. X.Rv 22l-279, 285, 307
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|U.S. Classification||221/242, 221/307, 221/285, 221/279|
|International Classification||A47F3/026, A47F1/12, A47F1/00, A47F3/00|