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Publication numberUS3486658 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 30, 1969
Filing dateMar 19, 1968
Priority dateMar 19, 1968
Publication numberUS 3486658 A, US 3486658A, US-A-3486658, US3486658 A, US3486658A
InventorsAppelbaum Paul, Cheslak Leonard W, Hanson Raymond H
Original AssigneePic A Pac Vending Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Vending machine with removable supply container
US 3486658 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)


Filed March 19 1968 Dec. 30, 1969 S W m W2. w W7 1 r I LPE VENDING MACHINE WITH REMOVABLE SUPPLY CONTAINER Filed March 19, 1968 Dec. 30, 1969 'L. w.'cHESLAK ETAL 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 United States Patent US. Cl. 221-197 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE ment unlocks the latch to free the door for uncovering,

the cartridge opening. Opening of the door holds the cartridge captive in the compartment and prevents its removal until the door is again closed.

The dispensing means preferably includes a plurality of slides forwardly and rearwardly reciprocable beneath a cartridge in said compartment, pivoted pushers on the slides having article-engaging portions for moving and dispensing articles out of the cartridge upon reciprocation of the slides. Each article-engaging portion is biased to maintain a force on the superjacent article during reciprocation of its slide so that even rapid reciproca tion of the slide is ineffective to dispense more than one article.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention The present invention relates generally to vending machines including replaceable article-holding cartridges.

Description of prior art Prior art vending machines utilizing replaceable cartridges generally include no practicable means for unlocking cartridges subsequent to their insertion into the machine. Also, the cartridges can be separated from the vending machines without locking the cartridges, so that the contents of the removed cartridges are undesirably accessible to vending personnel and others. That is, prior art machines do not require that cartridges be in a locked condition both when being installed in the vending machine and when being removed from the machine.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is characterized by a vending machine for receiving an article-holding cartridge which is normally locked to prevent access to such articles. The machine includes a cartridge compartment having a mechanism for unlocking the cartridge and cooperative with the cartridge to prevent its removal from such cabinet until the cartridge is re-locked. Thus, cartridges may be re-filled at central plants and locked'for distribution by vending machine service personnel. Not only does this remove the possibility of theft of the contents of the cartridges, but it assures an accurate accounting of the articles actually dispensed by any machine.

Other features and objects of the present invention will become apparent from a consideration of the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings.

3,486,658 Patented Dec. 30, 1969 DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 7 is an enlarged horizontal sectional view taken along the lines 7-7 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 8 is a vertical sectional view taken along the lines 8-8 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken along the lines 99 of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a partial vertical sectional view, on an enlarged scale, showing a cartridge installed in the vending machine of FIG. 1;

FIG. 11 is an enlarged vertical sectional view, taken along the lines 11-11 of FIG. 10; and

FIG. 12. is a partial perspective view, on an enlarged scale, of a portion of the dispensing apparatus of FIG. 10.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT door 25 is secured to a hinge tube 27 and is rotatable with the tube 27 to open or uncover the dispensing opening 23 to permit dispensing of the contained articles.

The rotatable tube 27 which mounts the door 25 telescopably receives a non-rotatable latching tube 31 which, as best viewed in FIG. 7, is fixed at one end to the stationary structure of the cartridge C. The opposite end of the tube 31 which lies within the tube 27 fixedly mounts the cylindrical plug of a conventional cylinder tumbler lock 33. As is well known, insertion of the appropriate key in the plug of the lock 33 aligns the lock tumblers so that the barrel thereof, in this case a sleeve 29, can rotate. As will be seen, the sleeve 29 is fixed to the tube 27 and therefore prevents rotation of the tube 27, and consequently the door 25, until the lock 33 is operated as aboveindicated to release the barrel for rotation. Moreover, the recessed position of the lock 33 within the extension portion or shroud 117 of the tube 27 renders access to the lock 33 difiicult without a special key.

For this purpose, a key 37 is secured to a mounting tube 39 which is attached to the wall of the cartridgereceiving compartment 21 for slidably fitting within the tube 27. The key 37 is thus automatically fitted within the lock 33 when the cartridge C is positioned in the compartment 21.

Referring to FIG. 1, the particular cabinet K illustrated is particularly suited for receiving cartridges filled with cigarette packages for dispensing through a delivery chute 51, and includes a plurality of display windows 43 on its face for displaying the various brands of cigarettes in the cartridge C. The description of the present apparatus in connection with the dispensing of cigarettes is, of course, merely exemplary since the apparatus is obviously equally well adapted for dispensing various other types of articles.

A plunger or slide 47 is provided for each of the various brands of cigarettes, and is released for movement upon insertion of the proper combination of coins in a coin slot 49. The coin acceptance mechanism does not form a part of the invention and a description of the mechanism will therefore be omitted for brevity. Various suitable mechanisms are commercially available.

As seen in FIG. 1, the cabinet K includes a door 54 hinged for pivotal movement about a vertical axis to open the cartridge compartment 21 and enable the cartridge C to be inserted. The cartridge C includes front, back and end walls 55, 57, 59 and 61, respectively, preferably integrally formed from one piece of apertured metal. Referring to FIGS. 2, 3, and 10, a plurality of vertical partitions 65 are affixed within the cartridge C and define vertical columns 67 to receive vertically stacked cigarette packages 69. The top of the cartridge C is closed by a removable flanged lid 73. At the bottom of the cartridge C a metal strip 77 is afiixed to the lower portion of the front wall 55.

As best viewed in FIG. 4, the strip 77 includes a plurality of rearwardly bent fingers 79 transversely spaced apart to define rearwardly extending parallel slots 81. The rear extremities of each finger 79 includes beveled portions 85 Whose purpose will subsequently be described.

A pair of strips 87 and 89 are secured to the bases of the end walls 59 and 61, respectively, the strip 87 mounting a bearing 91 within which one extremity of the hinge tube 27 is journalled. At the opposite end of the cartridge C, as best viewed in FIGS. 6 and 7, the strip 89 includes a rearwardly projecting mounting tab 95 which extends through a slot 97 which is formed in the wall of the hinge tube 27. This is the fixed cartridge structure to which the one end of the latching tube 31 is secured, the securement being provided by screws 99 extending through the tab 95 and through an annular flange 101 which surrounds and is secured to the end of the tube 31. The tube 27 projects beyond the tab 95 and mounts a perpendicular handle, or hand grip portion 102.

Referring to FIG. 11, the latching tube 31 is secured to the core, or tumbler portion of the lock 33 and the barrel of such lock has a tube 107 telescoped thereover and is attached thereto. The coupling tube 107 is stepped at 111 to form an increased diameter portion 113 which is afiixed to the hinge tube 27 by set screws 115. The difference in diameter between the reduced in diameter portion of tube 107 and the inner diameter of the hinge tube 27 forms an elongated guide annulus for slidably accommodating an elongated alignment sleeve 121 which is telescoped over the tube 39 and includes an annular mounting flange 123 which overlies a similar flange 119 of the tube 39, both the flanges 119 and 123 being secured to the adjacent wall of the cabinet K by screws 125 to fix the tube 39 and the sleeve 121 in position.

A cylindrical plug 129 is disposed in the end of the mounting tube 39 and is fixed to the tube 39 by a set screw 130. The plug 129 fixedly mounts the end of the key 37, the tumbler engaging shank thereof projecting axially for disposition within the lock 33 when the latching tube 31 is slidably telescoped within the alignment sleeve 121.

Referring to FIGS. 3, 8 and 9, the hinge tube 27 includes a latch lever 131 which projects through a slot 132 formed in the rear wall 57 of the cartridge C. The lever 131 is attached to the lower extremity of a latch cable 133 which extends upwardly through a tubular sheath 134 suitably fixed to the end wall 61 of the cartridge C. The upper end of the cable 133 is connected to a plunger 135 which is journalled through a pair of vertically aligned plunger housings 137. An L-shaped hinge member 138 is hingedly secured to the flanged rim of the cartridge cover 73 and projects inwardly through a slot 139 formed in the wall 61 of the cartridge C. The hinge member 138 includes a bore 140 through which the plunger 135 projects. In addition, the opposite end of the lid 73 includes a peg 141 which projects through a bore in the wall 59 of the cartridge C to prevent removal of the lid while the plunger is in the locking position illustrated. However, rotation of the tube 27 rotates the latch lever 131 to pull down upon the plunger 135. This makes it possible to pivot the member 138 outwardly to its unlocked position so that the cover 73 can be pivoted about its peg 141 to afford access to the cartridge interior through its top. Of course, such access could not have been obtained without first unlocking the lock 33 and rotating the tube 27.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 10, a pair of horizontal transversely extending angles 142 are welded to the front and rear walls 55 and 57 of the cartridge C and are slidable along a pair of complemental rails 143 and 144 which are fixed within the compartment 21. This supports the cartridge C in position within the compartment 21 of the cabinet K. A retainer 145 is secured to the rail 143 and is formed to overlie and retain the angle 137 in position on the rail.

Referring to FIGS. 10 and 12, the cabinet K includes a mounting flange 151 which projects rearwardly or inwardly from the lower portion of the front wall of the cabinet K, and the forward or outward extremity of a support plate 153 is mounted thereto. The support plate 153 includes a plurality of parallel, transversely spaced, and rearwardly extending slots 155 which underlie the respective slots 81 in the bottom wall of the cartridge C. Each slide 47 underlies one of these slots 155 and is aflixed at its rearward extremity to one of a plurality of brackets 159 by means of mounting fasteners 161.

Each bracket 159 includes transversely spaced and upstanding walls having aligned bores which receive the laterally projecting ears 167 of a pusher 171. The rearward extremity of each pusher 171 includes an up wardly bent article-engaging portion 173, and a compression spring 175 which biases the portion 173 upwardly. An oppositely located tab 177 projects downwardly from the forward extremity of each pusher 171 and is aligned with a hole 181 out in the support plate 153. The front edges of the hole 181 form a stop 183.

The rear extremity of each slide 47 includes a downwardly projecting retraction flange 185 engaged by a retraction rod 187 which is supported by a pair of arms 189 which are pivotally mounted at their lower extremities to the cabinet K by pivot pins 191. The rod 187 is biased rearwardly by tension springs 193 acting upon the arms 189. This normally maintains the slides 47 in the retracted positions shown in FIG. 10.

The retraction rod 187 is coupled to a conventional coin mechanism D of any suitable type, as previously indicated. A typical mechanism includes a bracket 195 slidable forwardly and rearwardly on a track 197 which is secured to the side wall of the cabinet K. Forward and rearward movement of the bracket 195 is controlled by a cam 199 which is engaged by a control arm 201 carried by such bracket 195.

In operation, the cartridge C is preferably filled with cigarette packages 69 at a central processing plant, and vendor personnel then deliver and insert the cartridge in a cabinet K located in a store, hotel, or the like. The cartridge C is installed by opening the door 55 and positioning the angles 147 of the cartridge C on the rails 143 and 144. The cartridge C can then he slid sideways into the compartment 21.

Since the springs 175 normally bias the article-engaging portions 173 of the pushers 171 upwardly into the hori- Zontal plane of the fingers 79, on insertion of the cartridge C the beveled portions 85 of such finger engage and push the portions 173 rearwardly and downwardly against the bias of the springs 175. In this manner the pushers 171 are rotated to their retracted positions, enabling the fingers 79 to consecutively pass over them.

During sliding of the cartridge C along the rails 143 and 144, the shroud 117 of the hinge tube 27 telescopes over the alignment sleeve 121. Upon full insertion, the slots 79 are aligned with the pushers 171, respectively, and the shank of the key 37 is fully inserted in the lock 33. This positions the lock tumblers such that the sleeve 29 is released for rotation. The handle 102 can then be grasped to rotate the door 25 to its open position, as shown in FIG. 10. A stop 202 is mounted on the wall of the compartment 21, adjacent the door 25, to limit opening rotation of such door.

In the open position of the door 25, the cartridge C cannot be removed from the cabinet K, and access cannot be had to the dispensing opening 23 of the cartridge C. Also, since the cartridge C closely fits the cabinet K, the lid 73 cannot be removed to gain access to the top of such cartridge. Locking of the door 55 of the cabinet K then closes and locks the vending machine so that it is ready for the dispensing of cigarettes.

When a smoker identifies his brand of cigarette in the viewing window 43 and inserts the appropriate combination of coins in the coin-slot 49 this frees the cam 199 of the coin device D for rotation. This enables the bracket 195 to slide forwardly on the track 197 when the selected slide 47 is pulled forwardly.

The forwardly or outwardly moving slide 47 causes the articleengaging portion 173 to slide beneath the bottom of the lowermost pack of cigarettes 69 until the pusher 171 passes beyond the forward end of such pack. The spring 175 will then rotate the portion 173 upwardly to its ejecting position, shown in broken lines in FIG. 10, so that upon release of such slide 47 the spring 193 Will pull the retraction bar 187 rearwardly and consequently pull the associated slide 47 rearwardly to thereby slide the bottom package 69 from underneath the other stacked packages.

When the control arm 201 reaches the end of its rearward travel, it will re-engage the coin device cam and again is locked in position, preventing forward movement of the bar 187 until another proper combination of coins is inserted.

It is important that the compression springs 175 bias the respective pushers 171 clockwise, as shown in FIG. 10, with sufficient force to prevent an operator from inserting the proper combination of coins in the slot 49 and then pulling the selected slide 47 partially forward andmoving it back and forth to work more than one cigarette package 69 out of the dispensing opening 23.

When an empty or partially empty cartridge C is to be removed from the cabinet K, the door 54 is unlocked and opened. Next, the hand-grip portion 102 of the hinge tube 27 is grasped and rotated to close the door 25. This frees the lock 33 for separation from the key 37, thereby locking the cylinder of the lock 33 relative to the sleeve 105 and preventing rotation of the hinge tube 27 relative to the latching tube 31. Since the latching mechanism for the lid 73 of the cartridge C is entirely enclosed, within a channel 210, the vending service man who is removing the cartridge C is unable to gain access to any of the packages 69 remaining in the cartridge C. Moreover, even if the individual servicing the present vending machine were able to obtain the proper key 37, he would have difiiculty reaching the lock 33 because of its recessed position within the shroud 117.

When the cartridge C is returned to the central facility for refilling, a key 37 is inserted in the lock 33 to free the sleeve 105 for rotation relative to the cylinder of the lock 33. This enables the hinge tube 27 to be rotated to rotate the latch lever 131 downwardly, thereby pulling the latch plunger 135 downwardly in the housings 137 to clear the hinge member 138. The hinge member 138 can then be raised to clear the slot 139 and the lid 73 can be removed for insertion of a fresh supply of cigarette' packages 69. When the cartridge C has been refilled and the lid 73 put back in place, the door 25 is rotated to its closed position to latch the lid 73 in covering relationship over the cartridge C, again making the cartridge inaccessible to unauthorized persons.

From the foregoing it will be clear that the vending machine of the present invention provides a means to prevent unauthorized removal of articles to be vended, and to prevent the dispensing of more than one article for a single actuation.

While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been herein illustrated and described, it is understood that such illustration and description are illustrative only, and that the invention is not to be limited thereby but includes all of the modifications and variations thereof which may be made by those skilled in the art within the scope of the invention.

We claim:

1. A vending machine for vending articles and comprising:

a cabinet formed with a cartridge compartment, said cabinet including dispensing means and a door release mechanism; and

a cartridge for containing said articles, said cartridge being disposable in housed position in said compartment and including a dispensing opening for removal of said articles, said cartridge further including a door for covering said opening to hold said articles captive in said cartridge, and latching apparatus for normally latching said door in covering relationship with said opening, said latching apparatus being normally inoperative to unlatch said door, and operative upon engagement with said release mechanism in said housed position of said cartridge to render said latching apparatus operative to open said door, whereby operation of said dispensing means dispenses articles out of said opening and whereby said cartridge is captive in said compartment when said door is open.

2. A vending machine as set forth in claim 1, wherein said latching apparatus includes:

a rotatable hinge tube mounted on said cartridge and supporting said door, a non-rotatable rod arranged telescopically with said tube and aflixed to said cartridge, and a lock including a cylinder and a sleeve, said cylinder being connected with said nonrotatable rod and said sleeve being connected with said rotatable hinge tube; and

said release mechanism includes a key supported from said cabinet for being inserted in said lock to release said sleeve for rotation relative to said rod to open said door.

3. A vending machine as set forth in claim 1, wherein said cartridge includes:

a loading opening;

a cover for covering said loading opening;

locking means for securing said cover to said cartridge,

said locking means being normally locked, and

coupling means for connecting said latching apparatus to said locking means, whereby unlatching of said latching apparatus will unlock said locking means.

4. A vending machine as set forth in claim 2, wherein said latching apparatus includes:

a shroud projecting beyond said lock and defining a passage for admission of said release mechanism, said passage being sufficiently small to restrict access of an operators hand to said lock.

5. A vending machine as set forth in claim 3, wherein said locking means includes:

a plunger receiving hole in said cover;

a plunger housing afiixed to said cartridge;

a plunger journalled in said housing for projection through said hole; and

said coupling means includes a cable connecting said plunger with said latching apparatus for projecting said plunger through said hole when said latching apparatus is latched to lock said cover in covering position and retracting said plunger from said hole A vending machine as set forth in claim 3, wherein said cartridge includes: channel in said locking means and said coupling their ejecting position, project upwardly through said the bottom side of a respective article as the respective slide is pulled forwardly, thus maintaining a respective pusher in its retracted position, said biasing means further having sufiicient resiliency to maintain said respective article-engaging portions engaged means is disposed in said channel to restrict access with an article overlying a respective slot whereby thereto. said article cannot be worked out said dispensing A vending machine comprising: opening by working a respective slide forwardly and cabinet including a compartment for storage of rearwardly without allowing said slide to move sufi'lvertically stacked articles to be dispensed, said cab- 10 ciently rearwardly to trip said coin device; inet being formed with a rearwardly facing disa cartridge for storage of said vertically stacked articles pensing opening and having a bottom wall formed disposable in said compartment through said carwith forwardly and rearwardly extending pusher-retridge-receiving opening, said cartridge forming said ceiving slots, said cabinet further including a support bottom wall and said pusher-receiving slots being plate spaced below said bottom wall and a cartridgeformed with outwardly and rearwardly beveled porreceiving opening in one side thereof; tions for engaging said article-engaging portions of a dispensing mechanism including forwardly and rearsaid pushers to rotate said article-engaging portions wardly sliding slides supported under said support rearwardly and downwardly as said cartridge is plate and a coin accumulating device which is tripped moved sideways in said compartment thereby preby full rearward movement of said slides after a venting said article-engaging portions from extendrespective slide has been actuated, said mechanism ing unyieldingly up through said slots and stopping further including pushers pivotally mounted intersideways movement of said cartridge in said commediate the ends on said slides and formed on their partment. rearward extremities with upwardly projecting article References Cited engaging portions which, when the pushers are in UNITED STATES PATENTS pusher-receiving slots to engage the front end of said 2,099,267 11/1937 Hackett 221-271 X articles, said mechanism still further including bias- 21413304 12/1946 Fry 22127O X ing means for biasing said pusher into said ejecting 3,262,603 7/1966 schendorf et X portion, said means being sufiiciently yieldable to enable the weight of a plurality of said articles to rotate said respective pushers to a retracted position whereby said article-engaging portions will ride along 30 SAMUEL F. COLEMAN, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 221-287

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Referenced by
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U.S. Classification221/197, 221/287
International ClassificationG07F11/04
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/04
European ClassificationG07F11/04