|Publication number||US3556344 A|
|Publication date||Jan 19, 1971|
|Filing date||May 22, 1969|
|Priority date||May 22, 1969|
|Publication number||US 3556344 A, US 3556344A, US-A-3556344, US3556344 A, US3556344A|
|Inventors||Greenstein Leon, Lane Curtis|
|Original Assignee||Lanex Importing Co|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (15), Classifications (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent Primary Examiner-William T. Dixson, Jr.
Attorney-Steinberg and Blake ABSTRACT: A straw dispenser wherein a plurality of straws are situated within a housing to be dispensed one by one out of the latter. The housing has a bottom wall which is movable with respect to the remainder of the housing and a sidewall engaged by the bottom wall when the latter is in a closed position. The bottom wall when in its open position is situated from the bottom edge of the sidewall by a distance sufficiently great to permit a-straw to roll along the bottom wall out of the housing. This bottom wall terminates beyond the bottom edge of the sidewall in a trough-shaped portion which extends along but is spaced from the bottom edge of the sidewall of the housing to receive a straw which rolls out of the housing. The bottom wall is urged by a spring to its closed position. A pusher extends into the trough-shaped part of the bottom wall to push a straw therein to a location where the straw extends out beyond the bottom wall to an extent sufficient for convenient removal of the straw. A moving assembly coacts with the bottom wall and with the pusher for moving the bottom wall first Y to its open position and then for releasing the bottom wall to, be closed by the spring, while this moving assembly also coacts with the pusher to retract the latter away from the path of movement of the straw into the trough-shaped part of the bottom wall and for then advancing the pusher along a stroke which will displace a straw sufficiently beyond the bottom wall -to be conveniently removed therefrom. A control structure controls the return of the bottom wall to its closed position in such a way that an impact of predetermined degree is transmitted to the housing to prevent bridging of the straws therein.
PATENIEU /mmwn 344 sum 1 0F 2 INVI'JN'IURS CURTIS LANE LEON GREENSTEIN F/G.4A
INVI'JN'I'UHS CURTIS LANE LEON GREENSTEIN l STRAWDISI'ENSER BACKGROUND or THE INVENTION The present invention relates to straw dispensers.
Thus, the present invention relates to that type of dispenser which will dispense a straw which maybe used for sucking a beverage out of a container, for example.
While straw dispensers of this general type are known, these known straw dispensers suffer from several drawbacksqThus. the known straw dispensers are exceedingly complex and costly. In addition, they do riot operate reliably to achieve the desired resultsLThus, not only do the known straw dispensers require complex expensive mechanisms to bring about the operation of the dispenser, but in addition it does not infrequently happen that bridging of the straws, within 'the dispenser prevents dispensingof the straws. In 'otherwords,
the straws'within the dispenser will form a bridge which will maintain all of the straws in the dispenser at an elevated position beyond the outlet of the dispenser, so. that successive strawscannot be dispensed therefrom.
In addition, sanitary handling of the straws is essential, and
this latter requirement also createsgr eat difficulties with the conventional dispensers. Thus, in this latter connection it is necessary to displace straws from a container in which they are purchased into the'dispenser and during thistransferof the straws into the dispenser it is exceedin'gly difficult to maintain the required sanitary conditions. a
SUMMARY or THE INVENTION It is accordingly a primary object of the present invention to provide a straw dispenser which will avoid the above'drawbacks; I I
In particular, it" is an object of the invention to provide a. straw dispenser composed of simple, relatively inexpensive re- 1 the manner in which an operating cycle is initiated. In this way the strawdispenser of the invention can be adapted to many different types of installations. 1 Also, it is an object of the invention to provide a dispenser with a means for transferringstraws from a container into the dispenser while reliably avoiding contact at any time between the straws and the hands of the attendant, so that the strictest sanitary conditions are reliablymaintained with the structure of the invention.
The dispenser of the inventionhas a housing within which the straws are situated to be dispensed one by one from this housing. The housing has a movable bottom wall which moves from a closed to an open position to dispense a straw and them from the open position back to the closed position. A sidewall of the housing has a bottom edge engaged by the bottom wall when the latter is in its closed position, and this bottom wall has beyond the bottom edge of the sidewall a trough-shaped portion for receiving a straw which rolls out of the housing when the bottom wall is in its openposition. A pusher ismovable along the trough-shaped portion of the bottom wall to push a straw at least partly beyond the'bottom wall to be conveniently removed therefrom. A moving means coacts with the bottom wall to displace the latter from its closed to its open position in opposition to a spring means which then returns the bottom wall to its closed position. This moving means also coacts with the pusher means to retract the latter away from the path of movement of the straw into the troughshaped portion of the bottom wall and to then advance 'the pusher means along a pushing stroke where it will displace a straw longitudinally beyond the bottom wall to an extent sufficient to provide for convenient removal of the straw. A con- .trol means coacts with the bottom .wall during the return .thereof by the spring means to the closed position for providing an impact of predetermined degree. This impact is transmitted to the housing to act upon the straws therein torreliably preventing any possible bridging of the straws within the housing. r
) BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF onAwiNos The invention is illustrated by way of example in the accom- 1 panying drawings which form part of this application and in .which:
of FIG. I as seen from showing the details of the moving means;
. Fro, 4A'is an electrical wiring diagram of-the embodiment ofFlG. 1; 1 J
FIG. 4Bis an electrical wiring diagram of another e'mbodiment;
FIG. 5 is a perspective illustration of a cover of the inverttion which closes the filling opening of the housin'g of the dispenser; I i i FIG. 6 schematically represents the manner in which the cover .of FIG. 5 is used during transfer of straw s into the dispenser,
7 FIG 7 shows another embodiment'of acontrol means for determining the extent of impact which is transmitted to the straws within the housing and .bular straws 12 made of paper or plastic and used in connection with sucking of a beverage or other edible product from a cup or other container. 1.
. The dispenser 10 includes a housing 14 which may be made of metal, for example. This housing 14 has four vertical walls and a top wall defining the hollow interior of the housing 14.
'The housing 14 has apair of opposed relatively wide'parallel vertical sidewalls 16 one of which is visible in FIG. I, and between these sidewalls 16 the housing 14 has a pair of opposed relatively narrow end walls 18, one of which is visible-in FIG. 2.
The bottom open end of the housing 14 is closed by a movable bottom wall 20 which extends across the interior of the housing and which is supported for swinging movement by an elongated rod 22 carried by the opposed narrow end walls of the housing and extending parallel to the opposed wider sidewalls thereof. As ,is apparent from FIG. 2 the bottom wall 20 has an upper surface which is inclined downwardly toward the left, as viewed in FIG. 2, so that when the bottom wall 20 is displaced to an open position a straw can roll downwardly to the left along the upwardly directed surface of the bottom wall 20. At its ends the bottom wall 20 is provided with downwardly directed flanges through which the rod 22 extends for supporting the bottom wall 20 for swinging movement between its closed and open positions.
The sidewall 16 which is-visible in FIG. 1 has a bottom edg 24. engaged by the bottom wall 20 when this bottom wall 20 is in its closed position. Just above its bottom edge 24 the sidewall 16 has an elongated horizontal portion which first curves inwardly to provide an exterior groove 26 and then curves outwardly to terminate at the bottom edge 24. This curvature of the sidewall 16 at the region of its bottom edge provides for proper coaction between the sidewall 16 and bottom wall 20 to achieve more efficient rolling of the straws one by one out of the housing 14 when the bottom wall 20 is displaced downwardly about the rod 22 to an open position where the top surface of the bottom wall is spaced downwardly below the bottom edge 24 ofsidewall 16 to an extent sufficient to permit only one straw to roll out of the housing.
just beyond the bottom edge 24 of wall 16 the bottom wall 20 has an elongated trough-shaped portion 28 which receives the single straw which is dispensed out of the housing 14 during one operating cycle. It will be noted that the extent to which the trough-shaped portion 28 extends beyond the wall 16 is only sufficiently great to receive one straw so that when the bottom wall returns to its closed position only a single straw 12 will be located within the trough-shaped portion 28 of the bottom wall 20.
A spring means is provided for urging the bottom wall 20 to its closed position. In the illustrated example this spring means takes the form of an elongated coil spring 30 connected at its bottom end to a cam member 32 described in greater detail below and at its top end to a frame member 34 which is also described in greater detail below, so that the spring 30 will become tensioned beyond that initial pretension therein during downward swinging movement of the bottom wall to its open position and thus the spring 30 will be capable of returning the bottom wall to its closed position. The cam 32 is directly carried by the bottom wall so that the spring 30 in in fact connected to the bottom wall through the cam 32. However, it is also possible to provide one or more springs which in fact are connected directly to the bottom wall and to sidewall 16 for urging the bottom wall to its closed position.
A pusher means 36 is provided for pushing the straw 12 which is received in the trough-shaped portion 28 to the right, as viewed in FIG. I. out beyond the bottom wall 20 to an extent sufficient to provide for convenient removal of the straw. Thus, the lower right portion of FIG. 1 shows fragmentarily and in section a wall 38 of a vending machine, for example. This wall 38 is formed with an opening 40 which is aligned with the trough-shaped portion 28 of the bottom wall 20. When the pusher means 36 moves to the right, at its bottom end, along a pushing stroke, the straw 12 in the trough-shaped portion 28 will be displaced out of the latter to an extent such as that shown in FIG. I where a free end of the straw extends beyond the opening 40 sufficiently to enable an individual to conveniently grasp and remove the straw.
A moving means is provided for moving the bottom wall 20 from its closed to its open position in opposition to the spring means 30 before releasing the bottom wall to the spring means 30 to be returned thereby to the closed position. This moving means is also operatively connected with the pusher means 36 for first retracting the latter, to the left as viewed in FIG. 1, away from the path of movement of a straw into the troughshaped portion 28 of the bottom wall and for then advancing the pusher means 36 along a pushing stroke to displace a straw to the position indicated in FIG. 1.
This moving means includes the cam 32 in the form of an elongated rigid member having a bottom end fixed in any suitable way to the bottom wall 20 at the exterior thereof. For example. the member 32 may be in the form of an elongated bar which is suitably angled to have an elongated bottom portion extending along and fixed to the downwardly directed surface of the bottom wall 20 between the end flanges thereof. This angled bar 32 has a vertical portion extending upwardly beyond the trough-shaped portion 28 and terminating at its top end in an inclined camming edge 42 as shown most clearly in FIG. 3. This camming edge 42 terminates in a top crest 44 in the example of FIG. 3.
The frame 34 may be made of any fairly rigid sheet metal, for example, and has tongues 46 fixed in any suitable way, as by rivets, for example, to the exterior surface of the wall 16 which is visible in FIG. I. The tongues 46 extend from inner edges of top and bottom walls 48 and 50, respectively, of the substantially channel-shaped frame 34, and the top and bottom walls 48 and 50 ofthe frame are horizontal extensions ofa vertical outer wall 52 of the frame. The bottom wall 50 is formed with an elongated cutout through which the cam 32 extends freely into the space between the wall I6 and the wall 52. This wall 52 also serves to support for rotary movement a drive shaft 54 driven through a suitable transmission 56 from an electric motor 58, the housing for the transmission 56 carrying the motor 58 and itselfbeing fixed in any suitable way to the wall 52.
As is most clearly apparent from FIG. 3, the drive shaft 54 is fixed to a bell crank 60 which thus rotates with the drive shaft 54 around the axis of the latter. This bell crank 60 fixedly carries at the outer end region of one arm 62 thereofa camming pin 64 which, during rotation ofthe bell crank 60 in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 3, rides along the edge 42 and cams the cam member 32 downwardly in opposition to the spring means 30 for displacing the bottom wall to its open position.
The pusher means 36 is in the form of an elongated lever 66 swingably supported in the region of its top end by a pin 68 which is directly carried by the wall 16. An elongated return spring 70 is connected at one end to the lever 66 below the pin 68 and at its opposite end to the sidewall 16 of the housing 14 for urging the lever 66 to the rest position apparent from FIG. 1. In this rest position, the lever 66 engages the operating member 72 of a normally closed mlcroswitch 74, so as to hold the switch 74 in an open position as long as the lever 66 is held by the spring 70 in the rest position shown in FIG. I. At its bottom end the lever 66 has a widened portion 76 inclined into the trough-shaped portion 28 for engaging and pushing a straw I2 therein.
The moving means further includes an elongated link 78 ivotally connected, by a pin 80, directly to the lever 66 and being formed a distant from the pin 80 with an elongated slot 82 which receives a motion-transmitting pin 84 fixed to the other arm 86 ofthe bell crank 60 and extending freely into the slot 82.
Referring to FIG. 4A, the motor 58 is connected between the lines 88 in series with a starting switch 90. This starting switch is momentarily closed in any suitable way as by introduction of a coin into the vending machine to initiate the operation thereof. The momentary closing of the circuit of the motor 58 by momentary closing of the switch 90 will result in swinging movement of the lever 66 in a clockwise direction about the pin 68, as viewed in FIG. 1, to an extent sufficient to permit the switch 74 to assume its normally closed position. In this way the switch 74 maintains the motor 58 energized until the lever 66 again opens the switch 74 at the end ofa complete revolution of the shaft 54.
During the single revolution of the shaft 54 camming pin 64 will coact with the cam 32 for displacing the bottom wall to its open position, and at the same time the pin 84 will engage the left end of the slot 82, as viewed in FIG. 3, to retract the lever 66 out of the path of movement of a straw into the troughshaped portion 28 of the bottom wall 20.
As is apparent particularly from FIG. 2, the housing 14 is formed at its end wall 18 which is visible in FIG. 2 with a rectangular filling opening 89 through which the straws 12 are introduced into the housing I4. These straws fill the housing 14 at least at its lower region over the bottom wall 20 and the straws frictionally press with their own weight against the inner surfaces of opposed wider sidewalls of the housing. As a result it becomes possible after some of the straws have been dispensed out of the housing for the remaining straws to form a bridge therein with all of the straws being frictionally retained between the sidewalls of the housing pressing against each other and all spaced upwardly beyond the bottom wall so that straws cannot be dispensed because of this bridging action of the straws.
The structure of the invention reliably prevents such bridging by a control means which will provide an impact on any possible b'r'idging." 4
. vThe structure of-theinventionlendsiitself tomany types of controls so that his exceedingly flexible and-can be adapted to use with manydifterenttypes of machines. Thus,'as' shown in FIG, ,4B and FIG, 8. instead of initiating the operationsby 'wayof an'impul'sedelivered to the motor- 58; it1is possible to locatejthe motor 58 in an electrical circuit which I includes a normally'clo'se d' microswitch 96, As is schematically indicatedin FIG, 8 the microswitch 96 is mounted onthe thestraws to vibrate-or shake the latter sitfficiently toreliably maintain dispen'sing of the straws. one after the jother'witho'ut 'l'he control means of-the invention is formed by that part of the cam 32 whichcoa'cts withthe'camrning' pin 64 at an instant I just subsequent to engagementof thecrest with the pin 64 when the bottorn'wallis in its fu'lly'open position, In the catample shownin FIG, 3. itwill be noted that just beyond thecrest '44 the cam. 32 has a perfectlyivertical "surface dropping sharply down fromt the crest 44. so'thatthrough this control 1 I means the entire bottom, wall is'exposed to the-returnforce of the spring mea'ns30. T he result is that with thisarrangement.
.the spring means 30 will c ause the bottom wall to strike forcefully against the; bottornredge 24 so as to achieve a substantial v impact which wilt-vibrate and shake the straws? withinfithe' 4 housing to prevent bridging-thereof; I I
However, it is lso possible to provideanarrange'ment as -openend of the container 108, and. while holdingthis wall 106 against the outer ends of the straws in the container 1 08. this container 108'is'advanced outwardly beyond the housing l4 while .-the wall 106 may be gradually, advanced inwardly to' wardthe interior of the housing or may simply be maintained. stationary while the "container [08 isldisplac'ed beyond.
the straws.' In this waythe container l08is moved with respect to'the straws therein to a'p'osition locating the straws out of the container 108 and within the housing. Because the walll06 is never engaged by the hands of the operator andismaim rained very strictly in a clean hygienic conditiomwhile-at the same-time the operator engages onlythee tterior of'the corttainer 108 without touching anyof the straws therein. it is' possible'with' thisconstruction' to provide, for filling of the housing 14 with straws without any engagementof the straws.
' by the. operator. Thus, the highest hygienic standards are shown in? FlG.- g7"according to whichiihecam 3Z'J'has a camming edge. gtl' iidentical withth'e cammingedge 42 and terminating also in=a crest 44b, However, in this case the. crest 44' rorm ttieto end are step 92, which at, its bottom end forms a junction with a downwardly sloping camming edge 94 which providesforga gradu'alreturn of the bottom wall to-its closed position in engagementwith the, edge -24 withou t any way by. suitable choice'of the-configuration oi the control means itis possible to achiev'eia predetermined degree of impactwhichwillreliablypreventbridgingofthestraws;
housing 14 in such a way thatthe operating member' Q8 of the portion 280i the bottomwall 20 in alposition opening the switch 96, Thus,= with this arrangement assoon as a-straw 2 is removed, the switch 96 will automatically. assume-itstclosed intpact against thellatte'r. With this, arrangement it'isthevertica] dimension of the step, 92 which' will determine; the degree ofimpact, so that with thecamJTof} l -lG.:7v amuch smaller impact will be achieved then withthe cam 3: arm. s.- lit this I different I microswit'chis maintained-by a straw '12 in the-trough-shaped' I maintained with this arrangement.
It is thusapparent that with ,t'hestructure of theinvention an exceedingly simple andireliably operating straw dispenser is providedi The arrangement is I exceedingly compact partly because almost all of the structure, is carried directly by the one sidewall l6 whichis visible in FIG; l Moreover, notonly is the structure simple, inexpensive; and reliable in operation,
but in addition i t1 will,prev ent any, possible bridgingof the sitraws'with a control means capabls ofachieving a predeter- I degree of impact, Further'more, by wayfof thecover fioo i ispossible 1 fill the housing 14 whenever required I 'while maintaining the strictest hygienic standards. 1 a I i Wec'la m; I I
i 1 n a straw'dis housing includinga. bottom wall Imovably connected'tolthe' movementpast said bottom edge of said wan, intosaid trough- I sh p d r tf aid, bm' ti l. sp n mea co i s.
position. ln this 'waythecircuit or. the motor 58 will be auto ma'tically closed and will be maintained closed until the next straw is displaced to the position-of FlG 8'to automatically open the switch 96 and thus terminateythe cycle of oper'ationsi I As vidsindicated above; the stricte'st sanitary standards are provided with thestructure of the invention, particularly in I connection with filling of straws into the housing 14. For this purpose a cover 100 is provided. This cover 100 may be made :of any suitable substantially rigid sheet metal which has a wall 102 provided with outwardly directed flanges 104 along all of its edges, and these'flanges will frictionally engage the edges of y the wall 18 which define the filling opening 89 so as to close.
the opening 89 when the cover l00-is in a closed position.
it will be noted particularly from FIG. 5 that the cover 100 has at its top end a walll06 which extends perpendicularly with respect to the wall 102 into the hollow interior of the housing overfthe straws'therein when the cover 100 is in its position closing the opening 89.
As is schematically illustrated in FIG. 6, the straws 12 are initially in a paper container [08 which can be freely introduced into the opening 89. The configuration of. the wall 106 is such that it matches the interior cross section of the container-108. Thus, when it is desired to introduce straws into the housing 14, the cover 100 is removed and the end flaps of the container 108 are displaced to a position opening both ends of the container. One of these open ends of the container is situated in the interior of the housing with the container extending through the filling opening 89. Thewall I06 of the cover 100 is now placed against the straws at the other .straws in said housing. I
(with, said rbottomwall' for yieldably maintaining the'latter in said closed position, pusher means; extending "into said trough' shapedportion of said bottomwall for longitudinally pushing a I straw received therein to'a position where a free end ot' the straw extends sufficiently beyond saidtrough-shaped portion otsaid bottom wall tobe removed therefrom. moving means operatively connected to said bottom wall and said pusher means for moving said bottom wall in opposition to said spring means from said closed to said open position and for then- I releasing said bottom wall to said spring means to be returned thereby to said closed position, said moving means coacting with said pusher means for retracting the latter away from the path of movement of a straw into said trough-shaped portion of said bottom wall and for then advancing said pusher means to displace the straw in the trough-shaped portion of said bottom wall sufficiently beyond thelatter to be conveniently V removed, and control means controlling the return of said bottom wall by said spring. means from said open to said closed position to provide through said bottom wall and remainder of said ihousing'an impact sufficientlygreat to prevent bridging or" 2. The combination of claim 1 and wherein moving means includes a rotary camming pin which rotates about a given axis, and a cam engaged by said pin during movement of the latter for displacing said bottom wall in opposition to said spring means from said closed to said open position, said con trol means being formed by that portion of said cam which engages said pin when said bottom wall is in said open position thereof, the latter portion of said cam determining the degree of impact which prevents bridging.
Fa t ha .f r l vl in's m's? :straws which/are to be dispensed onefaft'er'the other; said" 3. The combination of claim 2 and wherein said cam has a substantially pointed crest engaging said pin when said bottom wall is in said open position thereof.
4. The combination of claim 3 and wherein said crest forms the last part of said cam which is engaged by said pin so that said control means provides the impact by striking of said bottom wall with the force of said spring means against said bottom edge of said sidewall.
5. The combination of claim 3 and wherein said cam in cludes a step terminating at one end in said crest and having a sloping camming edge starting at the other end of said step, so that the length of said step determines said impact while said sloping camming edge provides for gradual, impact-free movement of said bottom wall up to said bottom edge of said sidewall.
6. The combination of claim 3 and wherein said moving means includes a rotary bell crank having one arm which carries said camming pin, said pusher means including an elongated lever swingably supported distant from said bottom wall,
and said moving means further including an elongated link pivoted to said lever and formed distant from the latter with an elongated slot, the other arm of said bell crank carrying a pin which is received in the latter slot for transmitting rotary movement of said bell crank through said link to said lever to actuate said pusher means.
7. The combination of claim 1 and wherein an electrical switch means detects the absence of a straw from said troughshaped portion of said bottom wall to initiate the operation of said moving means.
8. The combination of claim 6 and wherein an electric motor is operatively connected with said bell crank for rotating the latter, so that when a starting impulse is received by said motor a cycle of operations will be initiated to provide at the trough-shaped portion of said bottom wall a straw which is to be removed from said bottom wall, and a switch located in the circuit of said motor and situated in the path of movement of said lever to be opened thereby when said pusher means has displaced a straw in said trough-shaped portion of said bottom wall out beyond the latter, so that said switch terminates the operation of said motor, the position of said switch with respect to said lever terminating the operating cycle when said bell crank has turned through a complete revolution and said lever has swung back and forth through a complete retraction and pushing cycle. I
9. The combination of claim I and wherein said moving means and pusher means are both mounted on said sidewall at the exterior of said housing 10. The combination of claim 1 and wherein said housing has a filling wall formed with an opening through which straws are supplied into said housing, a cover removably carried by said housing for covering said opening thereof, said cover having a closed position covering said opening, and said cover in its closed position having a top wall extending freely into the interior of said housing over the straws therein, said top wall of said cover having a configuration corresponding to the cross section of a box in which the straws are located to be displaced out of the box into the housing, so that said wall of said cover can be utilized to push the straws out of said box into said housing.
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