US 3498497 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 3, 1970 J. w. BAXENDALE ETAL 3,498,497
DOUBLE-DEPTH SERPENTINE CAN VENDER Filed AApril l5, 1968 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 E! l -5 I 0 new INVENTORS y f/o/M H dxenda/e fie/mmv E Crm/en 7/,dw 'vf ATTO HYS March 3, 1970 J. w. ABAxla- BIDALE ETAL 3,498,497
DOUBLE-DEPTH SERPENTINE CAN VENDER Filed April 15, 1968 4 sheets-sheet 2 INV ENTORS A RNEY March 3, 1970 .1. w. BAIXENDALE ETAL 3,498,497
DOUBLE-'DEPTH SERPENTINE CAN VENDER Filed April 15 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 REFRGERATiON UNIT Herma/7 f?. C/wyef? March 3, 1970 .1.w. BAXENDALE ETAL 3,498,497
DOUBLE-DEPTH SERPENTINE CAN VENDER y Filed April 15,` :.968 4 sheets-sheet 4 -M .7i T
IIIIU" Mln lill
INVENTORS .Joh/7 M4 axenda/e Herma/7 E. Cmyen United States Patent O 3,498,497 DOUBLE-DEPTH SERPENTINE CAN VENDER John W. Baxendale, Kansas City, Mo., and Herman R. Craven, Prairie Village, Kans., assignors to The Vendo Company, Kansas City, M0., a corporation of Missouri Filed Apr. 15, 1968, Ser. No. 721,460 Int. Cl. B65h 3/44; G07l:` 11/10 U.S. Cl. 221-116 13 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A dispensing or vending machine for canned beverages or other cylindrical articles has double-depth serpentine columns in which the walls of the columns are provided with rails that support the opposed ends of the cans. The columns are open between the rails to facilitate the flow of refrigerated air. Any pair of side-by-side columns may be stocked with the same product, and dispensing from alternate columns is effected by a dispensing unit employing a pair of paddle wheel control devices at respective delivery stations of the two columns. The two paddle wheels rotate out of phase and are controlled by a single actuator, successive operation thereof effecting delivery f the articles from alternate columns. Shiftable stops are disposed in the paths of travel of respective paddle wheels to control the operation thereof, both stops being actuated each time an article is dispensed, but the out-ofphase relationship of the paddle wheels causes an article 'to be dispensed from only one column at a time. However, when one of the columns is depleted, a lock-out arm operates a latch that locks out the stop controlling the corresponding paddle wheel so that subsequent dispensing operation of the unit will effect successive delivery of articles from the remaining, undepleted column. A delivery unit for a single column is also provided for use in the dispensing of less popular products not requiring multiple columns to satisfy the expected demand.
The capacity of product dispensing or vending machines may obviously be increased by adding additional columns and increasing the width of the machine cabinet. However, the lwidth of the cabinet of a dispensing or vending machine is limited as a practical matter due to space considerations at the installation site and the desire on the part of the manufacturer of the machine to utilize existing cabinet structures for economy. Therefore, more eliicient use of cabinet depth is oftentimes the only practical way to increase the capacity of the machine and has led to the development of multiple depth vending machines.
With the increased capacity afforded by a greater number of columns, it is often desired that a given product be stored in more than one column and dispensed therefrom in response to consumer actuation by a single selector button representing that particular product. To this end, mechanism has heretofore been provided for dispensing an individual product from alternate columns so that each column is depleted equally during use of the machine. Equal depletion assumes that the columns are evenly loaded each time the machine is restocked. However, it has been found that very frequently there is in fact unequal loading of the columns. This likely occurs mainly since servicing personnel fill the machine from cases of the products which are sold on a base basis. Therefore, when a serviceman completes the loading of one case, if one of the columns is still not completely loaded it is unlikely that he will break a case in order to completely fill the partially loaded column. Additionally, in view of the difficulty of reaching into the machine and rearranging previously loaded products to even the loading, the
3,498,497 Patented Mar. 3, 1970 ice serviceman is not encouraged to take the time to carefully load the columns on an equal basis. The unequal loading has heretofore created a problem in that the machine goes on sold-out as soon as one of the columns is depleted, thereby effectively decreasing the overall capacity of the machine for dispensing that particular product.
It is, therefore, the broad objective of the instant invention to provide a dispensing or vending machine having greater product capacity and increased product selectivity in a given cabinet size.
More particularly, it is an important object of this invention to increase the capacity of a given selection of a dispensing or vending machine through the use of more than one column for the product and to also reduce the cost of the release mechanism required to effect dispensing of the product from the columns.
Another important object of the invention is to provide means for dispensing a particular product from alternate columns and for selling out both columns even though the latter are unequally loaded.
Still another important object of the instant invention is to provide article delivery apparatus for multiple column dispensing or vending machines having wide flexibility to meet changing marketing requirements, and capable of varying the selection capability of the machine as desired without major structural changes being required.`
Additionally, it is an important object of the invention to provide a column construction for multiple column vending machines which reduces obstruction tothe flow of refrigerated air through the columns. In this respect, it is a particular aim of the invention to provide an improved serpentine column for canned products or other cylindrical articles in which rails are employed to define the serpentine path rather than sheet metal chutes in order to facilitate airflow as aforesaid and decrease the cost of the column structure;
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of the cabinet of a vending machine embodying the concepts and improve ments of the instant invention;
FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the article-receiving columns and the article delivery units, the cabinet being removed from the illustration;
FIG. 3 is a vertical sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged, plan view of one of the double article delivery units;
FIG. 5- is an opposite plan view of the unit shown in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is an end view of the unit shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, illustrated oriented to control articles disposed beneath the unit;
FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is an enlarged, plan View of a single article delivery unit; i FIG. 9 is an end view of the unit shown in FIG. 8, illustrated oriented to control articles disposed beneath the unit;
FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view through one of the paddle wheel delivery devices;
FIG. Il is an enlarged, fragmentary, vertical sectional view taken along line 1p1-11 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 12 is an electrical schematic diagram of a simplified control circuit for the machine.
Referring initially to FIG. l, the front of a cabinet 20 of a vending machine is illustrated and is provided with a door 21 having a delivery opening 22 into which a canned beverage purchased by a customer gravitates. A coin slot is shown at 24 and a coin return opening is seen at 26. Six push buttons 28 are selectively depressed by a 3 customer to purchase a desired product. Note that the large outer surface of each push button 28 enables the name of the product to be prominently displayed directly on the button for ready identification by the customer.
As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, a number of article-receiving columns 30 and 32 of serpentine configuration are disposed within cabinet 20. The reference numeral 30 designates each of the columns along the front of the machine adjacent the front door 21, and the referencet numeral 32 designates the column behind each front column 30. Thus, a double-deyth serpentine dispenser is provided which, as is clear in FIG. 3, makes maximum utilization oft he space existing in cabinet between its rear wall and the front door 21. y A number of column-defining walls 34 are spaced between a pair of opposed end walls 36, each of the walls 34 being common to a pair of adjacent columns 30 and a pair of adjacent columns 32. Each wall 34 is provided with three continuous rails 38, 40 and 42 on each vertical surface thereof. As is clear in FIG. 3, the rails 38 and 40` define a serpentine path for the cylindrical articles A of the column 30, while the rails 40 and 42 define a serpentinet path for the cylindrical articles B in the column 32.
Each of the end walls 36 is common to the corresponding double-depth end column 30, 32 and is likewise provided on the inner surface thereof with a set of three rails 44, 46 and 48 of identical configuration to the rails 38, 40 and 42 illustrated for each common wall 34. As is evident in FIG. 2, the rails 38, 40 and 42 of adjacent pairs of common walls 34 support the ends of the cylindrical articles to define a serpentine track through each column 30 and 32 along which the articles may gravitate. The serpentine tracks overlap as shown in FIG. 3 for maximum utilization of the space within the cabinet 20.
The end columns 30 and 32 are similarly formed with serpentine tracks for supporting the articles therein since each end wall 36 has its rails 44, 46 and 48 disposed in opposed, aligned relationship to the rails 38, 40 and 42 of the adjacent common wall 34. Thus, each of the columns 30, 32 has an upwardly and downwardly extenting air passage 50 extending throughout its length by virtue of the open space between the article-engaging rails of the column. Furthermore, the columns are open to laterally communicate the air passages 50 as is illustrated in FIG. 3 by the arrows showing the flow of refrigerated air upwardly from a refrigeration unit 52 disposed at the bottom of cabinet 20. Therefore, the column construction is particularly adapted for the dispensing of canned beverages since the flow of refrigerated air for cooling the beverages is unimpeded by the can-supporting structure of the columns. Preferably, the various common walls 34 and the two `end walls 36 are die cast to integrally form the rails thereon.
The lowermost stretches of the rails 40, 46 and 42, 48
of the end columns 30, 32 and the rails 40 and 42 of the intermediate columns 30, 32 present delivery ramps for the articles A and B which terminate just above a chute 54 (FIG. 3) that empties into the delivery opening 22 in door 21. Thus, a pair of vertically spaced delivery stations 56 and S8 are provided at the bottoms of each pair of columns 30 and 32 respectively at which the dispensing of articles from respective columns is controlled as set forth below.
In FIG. 2 a pair of double article delivery units 60 are shown for controlling the dispensing of the articles A of the two left-hand front columns 30 and the articles B of the two left-hand rear columns 32. The four right-hand columns 30, 32 are individually controlled by four single delivery units 62. The mounting of the two double units 60 in relation to the columns 30 and 32 is best shown in FIG. 3. The upper unit 60 is inverted with respect to the lower unit 60 and is positioned at the delivery stations 56 of the twoV adjacent columns 30 in spaced relationship to the rails 40 and 46 supporting the articles A in the two columns. The lower double unit 60 is mounted beneath the lower stretches of the rails 42 and 48 at the delivery stations 58 of the two adjacent columns 32. The single units 62 are similarly disposed with respect to their associated columns, the only difference being that each unit 62 operates entirely independently of an adjacent unit 62 as will become clear hereinafter.
One of the double units 60 is shown in detail in FIGS. 4-7. A pair of article delivery structures for respective columns are employed, each structure including a paddle wheel delivery device 64 having four radially extending Ipaddle members 66. The configuration of the paddle wheel 64 and its article-controlling paddle members 66 is best illustrated in FIG. 10 where it may be seen that each pair of adjacent members 66 defines a right angle. A pivotal stop 68 (FIGS. 5 and 1l) controls each of the paddle wheels 64and is engageable with each of the paddle members 66 thereof as the paddle wheel rotates through each 90. The two paddle wheels 64 of the double unit 60 is rigid with and interconnected by a common shaft 70 for rotation in unison, but the two paddle wheels 64 are offset 45 with respect to each other and thus rotate out of phase to effect delivery of articles from alternate columns in a manner to be subsequently discussed. In this respect, note in FIG. ll that the paddle member 66 shown in full lines clearly reveals the 45 angular offset between the two paddle wheels 64 of the double delivery unit 60.
A mechanism broadly denoted 72 actuates both of the stops 6-8 to effect the mentioned delivery of articles from alternate columns. The mechanism 72 includes a vend solenoid 74 having a reciprocable armature 76 joined to a connecting rod 78 that extends across the front portion of the unit 60. Each stop y68 is pivotally mounted on a shaft 80 at the front o'f unit 60 that spans a pair of plates 82 between which the associated paddle wheel 64 is positioned. A rod 84 is carried -by each stop 68, each end of the rod 84 projecting from a corresponding plate 82 for engagement by a respective crank 86 secured to connecting rod 78 and rotatable about the axis of shaft 80. Each stop 68 is biased toward its normal position shown in FIGS. 5 and 11 by a coil spring 88 connected to the right end of the associated rod 84 as viewed in FIGS. 4 and 7.
A safety dog 92 spans each pair of cranks 86 respectively and thus swings inwardly toward the corresponding paddle wheel 64 as the cranks 86l rotate in a clockwise direction about the axis of the two shafts 80 as viewed in FIG. 6. When the cranks 86 are in their normal positions illustrated, the two safety dogs 92 are disposed out of the paths of travel of the paddle wheels 64.
A depletion responsive sensor in the form of a lockout arm 94 is provided for each of the two columns under the control of the double delivery unit 60. The two lockout arms 94, when articles are present in both columns, are held against opposed end flanges 96 of unit 60 by the lowermost articles in the two columns. Each lockout arm 94 operates independently and has one end thereof pivotally mounted on a cross rod 98 extending across the rear of unit 60. A spring 100 for each arm 94 is coiled about rod 98 and biases the arm 94 away from the proximal fiange 96 toward the sold-out position thereof illustrated in FIG. 6. It should be understood, however, that the springs 100 for the two lockout arms 94 may be omitted in the upper unit 60 controlling the pair of side-by-side, frontal columns 30 since each arm 94 will move by gravity to its sold-out position in the absence of an article A thereunder.
Each of the lockout arms 94 is employed to lock the stop 68 of the associated paddle wheel 64 out of its normal position and hold the stop 68 clear of the paddle members 66. This is accomplished in the same manner for each of the stops 68. An elongated link 102 extends from front to rear of the unit 60 and has its forward end joined to the end of the rod 84 projecting from the outer plate 82. The rear end of the link 102 is slotted and receives the connecting rod 78 for free, longitudinal reciprocal movement of' link 102 as the stop 68 pivots about shaft 80. The link 102 is provided with a latch projection 104 engageable with a latch component 106 carried by the lockout arm 94. Prior to repletion of the particular column, the projection 104 rides beneath the component 106 as viewed in FIG. 6 since the component 106 is held in clearing relationship to projection 104 by articles bearing against the arm 94.
A credit cancelling switch 108 is mounted on the righthand plate 82 of the right section of unit 60 as viewed in FIG. 4, the switch 108 having a double-lobe operating element 110 projecting into the path of travel of the paddle members 66 of the associated paddle wheel 64. A solenoid holding switch 107 is mounted on a bracket 109 and has an operating finger 111 engaging armature 76 and normally held in an actuated disposition thereby. A pair of sold-out switches 112 and 114 are simultaneously actuable by a bar 116 spanning a pair of sold-out arms 118 pivotally mounted on the central portion of cross rod 98. Being joined by the bar 116, the two arms 118 are not independently movable and are each biased away from central plate 120 of unit 60 by a pair of springs 122 or by gravity as the case may be.
The single delivery unit62 is shown in detail in FIGS. 8 and 9. The unit 62 is identical in construction in all essential respects to one of the sections or halves of the double delivery unit 60, with the exception that the lockout arm 94 and the link 102 are removed since the latching function is not required in the single unit version. The parts of the single unit 62 corresponding to previously shown and described parts of the double unit 60 are designated by the same reference numerals with the addition of the a notation. Note that the vend solenoid 74a is mounted on the left-hand end flange 96a and the soldout switches 112:1 and 114a are mounted on a right end ange 124 along with the credit cancelling switch 108a. In FIG. 9 it may be seen that each plate 82a has a clearance opening 126 therein through which the proximal end of the rod 84a extends. A clearance opening for each end of the two rods 84 of the double unit 60 also appears in each of the four plates 82 thereof but is hidden from view in FIG. 6 by the forward end of the link 102.
Exemplary control circuitry for the two double delivery units 60 shown in FIG. 2 is illustrated in FIG. 12. The two push buttons 28 and 28' for selectively operating these two units 60 are schematically illustrated and operate respective single-pole selector switches 128 and 128. The prime notation is utilized in the schematic diagram of FIG. l2 in order to distinguish between the control components of the two units. The other control components also illustrated in FIG. l2 include the four singlepole sold-out switches 112, 114 and 112', 114', the singlepole credit cancelling switches 108 and 108 and the single-pole solenoid holding switches 107 and 107', andv OPERATION In order to illustrate the operation of the machine, ity
is assumed that a customer desires to purchase one of the articles A contained in the two front, left-hand colnmns 30 as viewed in FIG. 2. The lowermost article A in the left end column 30 is somewhat further down the rails 46 and 40 of the column' than the lowermost article A in the adjacent column 30. This may also be seen in FIG. 3 where the article A illustrated in broken lines is the lowermost article in the end column 30. This difference in the positions of the two lowermost articles of the two columns 30 under consideration is clue to the vout of engagement with each other.
6 45 angular offset of the two paddle wheels 64 of the upper double delivery unit 60.
The two paddle wheels 64 are held against movement under the weight of the articles A retained thereby since the stop 68 (FIG. 1l) is in engagement with one of the paddle members 66 of the paddle wheel 64 associated with the next to the end column 30. It should be understood that the other stop 68 associated with the paddle wheel l64 of the end column 30 is in the same position as the stop 68 seen in FIG. 1l, but such end stop 68 at this time is not in engagement with any of the paddle members 66 of the associated paddle wheel 64 due to the 45 angular offset of the two paddle wheels 64. In other words, the relative position of the end stop 68 is halfway between two paddle members 66 of the associated paddle wheel 64.
The various switches in FIG. l2 are shown in normal positions corresponding to standby operation of the machine prior to deposit of coinage and vending of a selected article. The electromagnet 136 is normally energized since it is the functionof this device to return coins to the depositor upon de-energization, which will occur when the credit relay coil 138 is energized.
In the simplified circuitry of FIG. 12, deposit of a coin of appropriate denomination momentarily operates the credit switch 134 to energize the credit relay coil 138 via a lead 148. A holding circuit for coil 138 is immediately established by the operation of relay switch 140, such holding circuit extending from power terminal 130 along a lead 150, through the two credit cancelling switches 108 and 108' in series, and along a lead`152 to the coil 138 through the switch 140. The customer may then select an article by depressing one of the selector buttons; it is assumed that the button 28 in FIG. 12 is depressed and that this button controls the operation of the upper double delivery unit 60 illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3.
When the aforesaid selector button 28 is depressed, the associated selector switch 128 is operated to establish a circuit through its lower contact and sold-out switch 112 to the vend solenoid 74. This is an extension of a power circuit made available to the series connected selector switches 128 and 128 by the operation of relay switch 144. When the credit switch 134 returns to its standby position illustrated after momentary actuation thereof, the power circuit is established through the credit switch 134, relay switch 144, along a lead 154, through the series connected solenoid holding switches 107 and 107', and thence along a lead 156 to the selector switch 128 and to the vend'solenoid 74 as previously described.
Energization to vend solenoid 74 shifts .its armature 76 to the right as viewed in FIG. 6 to, in turn, pull connecting rod 78 rearwardly to swing the two pairs of cranks 86 about the axes of respective shafts 80 in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIGS. 6 and 1l. This forces the lower legs of the two pairs of cranks 86 into engagement with respective rods 84 to drive the latter forwardly, thereby swinging the two stops 68 in a clockwise direction about respective shafts l(FIG. ll). Thus, the stop 68 previouly engaging one of the paddle members` 66 of the paddle wheel 64 associated with the next to the end column 30 is withdrawn from the position thereof shown in FIG. 1l to release both of the paddle wheels 64 for rotation in a clockwise direction under the weight of the articles A bearing thereupon. It should be understood that, at this time, both of the columns 30 are loaded with articles and hence lockout arms 94 are held against respective flanges 96 to maintain each latch projection 104 and associated latch component 106 As the solenoid armature 76 is withdrawn by the energization of solenoid 74, the operating iinger 111 of holding switch 107 is released to operate switch 107 and establish a holding circuit through its lower contact for the vend solenoid 74. Thus, lead 154 is now directly connected to solenoid 74 so that continued energization of the latter is not dependent upon continued actuation of the selector switch 128 by the customer. It should also be noted that, since the credit relay coil 138 is now energized, the relay switch 142 has broken the power connection to the coin return electromagnet 136 to prevent credit registration of further deposits.
As the paddle wheels 64 commence rotation under the Weight of the articles A, the paddle member 66 previously held by the stop 68 seen in FIG. 11 moves into clearing relationship to such stop 68. During this initial movement the paddle member 66, 90 ahead of the just released paddle member 66 moves into engagement with the smaller of the two lobes of operating element 110 (FIG. 4). This actuates the credit cancelling switch- 108 to break the holding circuit to the credit relay coil 138, thereby de-energizing coil 138 and returning the credit relay to normal. This, in turn, breaks the power circuit to solenoid 74 previously existing through relay switch 144. Thus, the solenoid 74 is de-energized and armature 76 returns to the normal position thereof illustrated in the drawings. Therefore, the spring 90 is thus free to return the cranks 86 to their normal positions while the two springs 88 return the two stops 68 to normal. Hence, the paddle member 66 of the paddle wheel 64 associated with the end column 30 which lags the previously released paddle member 66 by 45 will now move into engagement with the associated stop 68 as rotation of paddle wheels 64 continues. It may be appreciated, therefore, that only 45 of rotation is permitted but this is sufficient to deliver the lowermost article A (Shown in broken lines in FIG. 3) from the end column 30. The machine is now in condition to accept another deposit and, if the article A under the control of the upper double delivery unit 60 is again selected, another 45- of rotation will effect delivery of the lowermost article of the next to the end column 30. One difference in the operation is that the larger lobe of the operating element 110 of credit cancelling switch 108 will be engaged by the paddle member 66 which engaged the smaller lobe during the previous dispensing operation discussed above. This is necessary for proper timing since the solenoid 74 should be de-energized well ahead of the completion of the 45 of rotation of the paddle wheels 64. Should solenoid 74 remain energized due to a malfunction, one of the two safety dogs 92 carried by the cranks 86 locks one or the other of the paddle Wheels to prevent jackpotting of the columns.
From the foregoing it may be seen that the articles are delivered from alternate columns as long as both columns are loaded. However, in the event that one column should become depleted prior to the other, the lockout arm 94 of the depleted column shifts to the position thereof illustrated in FIG. 6. Therefore, on the next operation of the double unit 60, the latch component 106 and the latch projection 104 become engaged and lock the associated stop 68 in a position clearing the adjacent paddle members 66. Thus, the stop corresponding to the depleted column is effectively disabled and is not actuated by the solenoid 74 on subsequent energizations thereof. This is because the rod 84 extending from the deactivated stop 68 is held in a forward position by the latched link 102 against the bias of the return spring 88. Therefore, the paddle wheel 64 of the undepleted column is now controlled exclusively by its associated stop 68 so that the paddle wheel is allowed to rotate 90 during each dispensing operation rather than only 45. This causes the paddle Wheel 64 of the undepleted column to deliver an article each time its stop 68 is actuated rather than upon alternate actuations as before. Ultimately, when both columns become depleted, the sold-out arms 118 operate to actuate the two sold-out switches 112 and 114. This positively precludes energization of solenoid 74 until the machine is restocked and energizes the sold-out lamp 146. If desired, the sold-out arms 118 may be shortened or repositioned to sell out the columns before the last article is vended, thereby assuring that one or more cold articles will remain in the machine in immediate condition for vending after the machine is restocked.
The lower double delivery unit 60 operates in the same fashion as described above and would be under the control of a second selector button such as the button 28 illustrated in FIG. 12. Furthermore, each of the single delivery units 62 also operates in the manner as described above for operation of the double unit when one column is de'pleted, i.e., the actuation and return movement of stop 68a releases the paddle wheel 64a for movement through of rotation. Since each of the units 60 or 62 operate from identical control circuitry and may be selectively mounted at either of the delivery stations 56 or 58, wide flexibility to meet changing marketing requirements is provided by the instant invention since many combinations of capacity and selection may be employed,
As an example of the flexibility in capacity and selectiOn, a five double-depth column machine (five columns 30 and five columns 32) could have as many as ten separate selections but normally would use one or more of the dual delivery units 60 to provide from six to ten selections. Manifestly, the more popular flavors would be under the control of the dual mechanisms 60 for increased capacity, and the flavors vended in lower volume would be under the control of the single units 62. Thus, theinstant invention by virtue of the double-depth serpentine columns not only greatly increases the capacity of a machine of given cabinet size but also permits a larger number of flavors to be vended from the cabinet without increasing its Width.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. In an article dispensing machine:
a pair of article-receiving columns each having an article delivery station;
structure at each station for normally controlling successive delivery of articles from alternate columns; mechanism coupled to said structures for actuating the same; and article sensing means for each column connected to said mechanism for causing the latter to actuate one of the structures successively to effect delivery of articles from the respective column upon successive operation of the mechanism when the level of articles in the other column is depleted to a predetermined extent. 2. In a machine as claimed in claim 1, each of said structures being provided with a shiftable delivery device having a plurality of article control members each shifting in succession from a standby position, preventing delivery of articles from the respective column, to an article delivery position upon every other actuation of said structures. 3. In a machine as claimed in claim 2, said devices being disposed for movement out of phase with each other to cause one member of alternate devices to shift to its delivery position each time said structures are actuated when said level of articles is not depleted to said extent. 4. In a machine as claimed in claim 3, each of Said members successively retaining the next article to be dispensed at the respective station,
said mechanism, upon operation thereof, effecting release of one of said devices for movement of the respective article-retaining member of the other device to its delivery position.
5. In a machine as claimed in claim 1,
each of said structures being provided with a shiftable delivery device having a plurality of article control members each shiftable in succession from an articleretaining position, preventing delivery of articles from the respective column, to an article delivery position,
said devices being disposed for movement out of phase with each other to cause articles to be delivered from alternate columns as the devices are operated,
each structure having a shiftable stop engageable with.
the device thereof for controlling movement of its members,
said mechanism, prior to depletion of said level of 10 articles to said extent, vactuating both of the stops each time the mechanism is operated to releasethe devices for movement of the article-retaining member of alternate devices to its delivery position.
6. In a machine as claimed in claim 1, each of said structures being operable to deliver an individual article from the respective column along a delivery path and simultaneously retain other articles of the column against movement along said path, 2o
said mechanism effecting article delivery operation of said structures alternately upon successive operatiOn of the mechanism prior to depletion of said level of articles to said extent, and being responsive to said sensing -means for effecting article delivery operation of said one structure each time the mechanism is operated when said level of articles is depleted to said extent.
7. In a machine as claimed in claim 6, each of said structures being provided with a shiftable delivery device having a plurality of article control members each shiftable in succession from an article-retaining position to an article delivery position,
there being means means interconnecting said devices for movement in unison but out of phase with each other to cause each member of each device to assume its article-delivery position while a member of the other device continues in an article delivery 4position.
8. In a machine as claimed in claim 7, said structure each having a shiftable stop alternately engaging the respective devices to prevent movement of more than one of the devices to the article delivery position,
said mechanism, prior to said depletion of said level of articles, momentarily shifting the stops away from the normal dispositions thereof to release the device which was previously engaged with a corresponding St0p 50 9. In a machine as claimed in claim 8, said sensing means being engageable with the stop of 10. In a machine as claimed in claim 9. said sensing means including latch means coupled with said stops and a depletion responsive article sensor for each column respectively coupled with said latch means for actuating the latter to lock a corresponding stop out of its normal disposition.
11. In an article dispensing machine: a column for receiving a stack of articles and having an open bottom provided with an article-supporting delivery ramp;
a rotary device adjacent said ramp for controlling successive delivery of articles from the column, and including a plurality of radially outwardly extending article control members each shiftable in succession from a position retaining the articles against move- I v ment down said ramp, to a delivery position permitting gravitation of the lowermost article from the ramp; e
a shiftable stop normally disposed in the path of travel of said members for engagement by each member in succession as it shiftsto its article delivery position;
power operated means coupled with said stop for shifting the latter away from its normal disposition to release the device for rotation under the Weight of the articles retained thereby;
control means coupled with said power operated means and disposed adjacent said device for engagement by the latter, after initial movement thereof upon said release of the device, to deactivate said power operated means; and
means responsive to deactivation of said power operated means and coupled with said stop for returning the latter to its normal disposition for engagement by the next member, whereby the latter shifts to its article delivery position to dispense said lowermost article and is held by said stop to prevent delivery of a succeeding article until subsequent reactivation of said power operated means.
12. In a machine as claimed in claim 11,
said power operated means including an electrically responsive actuator and a power circuit coupled with said actuator for energizing the latter to effect said release of the device,
said control means including electrical switching means coupled with said circuit and having an operating element extending into said path of travel of the members for actuating the switching means to interrupt said circuit upon engagement of one of said members with said element after said initial movement of the device, whereby to de-energize the actuator for return movement of the stop to said normal disposition thereof.
b 13. In an article vending machine:
a rst series and a second series of upright columns of serpentine configuration, each column being adapted to receive a stack of cylindrical articles and having an opening at the bottom thereof presenting a station for successive delivery of the articles from the column,
said first and second series being disposed one behind the other to present pairs of interleaved, overlapped columns,
the bottom openings of the columns of said second series being lbelow the bottom openings of the columns of said iirst series,
each of the columns of said first series having a bottom, article-receiving stretch, an adjacent, article-receiving stretch thereabove, and a bend communicating with said stretches remote from the bottom opening of the column,
the space between the bottom stretch of each column of said first series and the adjacent stretch thereabove being of generally V-shaped configuration and having a maximum vertical dimension not significantly greater than the vertical dimensions of said articles;
article delivery means at each of said stations respectively for controlling the successive delivery of articles from the respective column,
each article delivery means of the columns of said first series being located in the generally V-shaped space of the respective column and having article control members shiftable from a position preventing delivery of an article from the column to a position releasing the lowermost article thereof,
each article delivery means of the columns of said second series being located below the bottom of the respective column and having article control members shiftable from a position preventing delivery of 11 12 an article from the column toa position reelasing References Cited lthe lowermost article thereof, I UNITED STATES PATENTS said control members when 1n the del1very preventlng positions thereof projecting downwardly into the 2,100423 11/1937 Zelgler 221"114 3,085,712 4/1963 Skumawitz 221-150 bottoms of the rst series of columns and upwardly 5 rlllt) the bottoms of the second series of columns; STANLEY H. TOLLBERG, Primary Examiner money responsive means for actuating the article de- U s C1 XR livery means of a selected column to effect the 221 295 delivery of an individual article therefrom.