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Publication numberUS3630410 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 28, 1971
Filing dateJun 6, 1969
Priority dateJun 6, 1969
Publication numberUS 3630410 A, US 3630410A, US-A-3630410, US3630410 A, US3630410A
InventorsHendrickson Robert E, Slattery William R
Original AssigneeHendrickson Robert E, Slattery William R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article dispenser with plural spring interlock
US 3630410 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventors Robert E. l-lendrieksou Carbondale, Colo. 8 1623; William R. Slattery, Route 1, Box 139, Glenwood Springs, Colo. 81601 {21] Appl. No. 831,026 [22] Filed June 6, 1969 [45] Patented Dec. 28, 1971 {54] ARTICLE DISPENSER WITH PLURAL SPRING INTERLOCK 3 Claims, 7 Drawing Figs.

[52] U.S.Cl.... 221/125 [51] Int. Cl 865g 59/06 [50] Field of Search 221/7, 152, 125, 256

[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,220,870 11/1940 Nitschman 221/7 X 2,872,009 2/1959 Ridingsetal.

Primary ExaminerStanley H. Tollberg Attorney-Sheridan, Ross & Burton ABSTRACT: Manually operated storage and dispensing cabinet for articles and packages characterized by a plurality of slidable drawers, each manually movable from a position beneath a stack or tier of articles or packages in the cabinet to a dispensing position outside of the cabinet, incorporating drawer interlock mechanism which permits only one drawer to be withdrawn at a time to its dispensing position during a manual operation, and a counter operated in response to movement of the withdrawn drawer; also incorporates a lock for each drawer which prevents its withdrawal after the last article or package resting on same has been dispensed, whereby the counter is precluded from recording in the event an attempt is made to withdraw an empty drawer which otherwise would effect an erroneous count of articles and packages actually moved to their dispensed positions.

Patented Deli.- 28, 1971 3,630,410

' 5 Sheets- Shoat 1 INVENTORS WILLIAM R. SLATTERY ROBERT E. HENDRICKSON ATTORNEYS Patented Dec. 28, 1971 3,630,410

3 shuts-shod z uml m 4o IN VE N TORS WILLIAM. R 5 LA T-TE RY ROBERT E. HENDRICK SON BY I I 6" M ATTORNEYS Patented Dec. 28, 1971 3,630,410

5 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVENTORS WILLIAM R'SLATTERY ROBERT E. HENDRICKSON BY T T 6 Y A ATTORNEYS ARTICLE DISPENSER WITH PLURAL SPRING INTERLOCK BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In the art of maintenance of inventories of merchandise which passes through a sales organization it is an old and wellknown practice to conduct periodic inventories of stock on hand or determine stock sold over a period which is the difference between a present inventory and a previous inventory. This'presents no difficulties where the merchandise is under the custodianship of a single person since the change .of inventory over a period may be attributed to his control over same. Where the merchandise is under the control of various custodians, however, it is apparent that the change of inventory cannot readily be attributed to a single person. This has, accordingly, invited petty pilfering and in some cases major theft of merchandise by custodians. The maintenance of inventories of some merchandise, such as bulk material, is difficult to maintain since it must be measured periodically by weight or volume. Many materials, however, have long been marketed in packages, which simplifies inventories since only a package count is required; thus, many types of merchandise, such as certain foods, motor oils, cigarettes and others are packaged in containers, rectangular containers usually being preferred since they may be stocked in a minimum space, although cylindrically shaped containers are also involved. It thus becomes apparent that if such packages could be disposed in a locked container and accurately counted when removed from same by a custodian, an accurate control over sales could be maintained since gross receipts of sales by a custodian would bear a relationship to the number of packages disposed in one or more containers and render it difficult for the custodian to divert monetary receipts to his own use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A pivoted locking plate having fingers on same, one for each drawer, and urged to inoperative position by a bar spring, is coupled to each drawer by a drawer spring which exerts a force on the bar insufficient to rotate it against the urge of the bar spring until after a drawer has been withdrawn beyond a position at which it may be locked, further movement then producing sufficient force by the drawer spring to rotate the bar and engage the fingers with abutments on the remaining drawers, locking same against withdrawal. Substantially simultaneously with the locking of the remaining drawers, movement of the locking plate operates a conventional oscillating arm type mechanical counter, thereby recording the number of packages actually dispensed. Movement of the locking plate may also be used to actuate a bell or the like to give an audible indication of drawers opening. To prevent a false total number from being recorded by the withdrawal of an empty drawer, each drawer is provided with a pivoted latch which remains in unlatched position so long as a package rests on the drawer in its closed position but which automatically moves to a latched position in the absence of a package resting on same, thus preventing withdrawal of an empty drawer. Another feature resides in the drawer floor construction of two levels which permits a succeeding package to be dispensed to fall, first to an upper level at which it blocks closing of an open drawer if the package resting on same is not removed, thus precluding return of the dispensed package into the cabinet, closing of the drawer permitting the upper level to slide beneath the partially dropped succeeding package until it returns to closed position at which point the succeeding package completely falls to the lower level and at which an abutment between the two levels engages the rear surface of the succeeding package for its subsequent withdrawal from the cabinet. A further feature resides in the relationship of the drawer spring and bar spring constants which effects movement of the bar to locked position in the event an attempt is made to simultaneously open two drawers, thereby locking both drawers against withdrawal. Removal of the withdrawing force on one drawer, however, permits the other drawer to operate in the mode first described. Thus, in the first mode an opening or withdrawal force on one drawer permits it to open, locking the remaining drawers and in the second mode an opening force on two drawers locks both against opening but permits one to be opened when the opening force is removed from the other. A still further but optional feature resides in the use of a spring for each drawer which automatically closes it after a package is removed from it when in its open position. It will thus be apparent that when a drawer is moved to open position with a package resting on same the succeeding package partially drops and blocks closing of the drawer. When the package is lifted from the open drawer, however, the blocking action is removed and the drawer closing spring may then return the drawer to its closed position.

Thus, a principal objective of the invention resides in the provision of apparatus which operates in accordance with the concepts embodied in the features above set forth. Further objects, advantages and salient features will become more apparent from the detailed description to follow, the appended claims, and the accompanying drawing to now be briefly described.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an isometric front and end view of a dispensing container or cabinet, forming the subject of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a like rear and end view with the rear closing panel and other parts omitted;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged rear elevation as viewed in the direction of arrow 3, FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a section taken at a vertical plane between and parallel to the front and rear faces of FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 5 is a section taken at a vertical plane perpendicular to the front and rear faces of FIGS. I and 2;

FIG. 6 is a section like FIG. 5 illustrating another position of parts, and

FIG. 7 is an enlarged detail of FIG. 5.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to the drawing, and first to FIGS. 1 to 4, cabinet or dispensing container 10 comprises, in general, a rectangular box-shaped structure closed at all sides, the front face as best shown in FIG. 1, having a door 12 hinged along its upper edge and secured in closed position by a lock 14 which when in open position, provides access to the cabinet for replenishing its packages. Its front face is also provided with windows 16 through which its contents may be viewed and a plurality of drawers 18 for removing its contents, one package at a time. One of the end walls is provided with a hinged door 20, locked by a lock 21, having a window 22 through which a counter 24, to subsequently be described, may be viewed. When open, the door provides access to the counter for resetting it to a desired reading such as zero. As best shown in FIG. 2, counter 24 is disposed on a shelf 26 adjacent window 22, lock 21 also being illustrated. FIG. 2 also illustrates the arrangement of drawers 18 to subsequently be described in more detail.

As best shown in FIG. 4, vertical partitions 30 are provided between the drawers 18 which are disposed between the front face of the cabinet and a parallel partition 32 (see FIG. 5) dividing the cabinet into parallel rectangular chutes 34 the cross-sectional shape of which is slightly larger than the rectangular packages 36 contained in stacked arrangement or tiers.

Drawers 18 are identical hence a description for one will serve for all. Referring first to FIGS. 3 and 4, each drawer is generally rectangular in cross section and is guided for slidable movement on a dovetail guide or runner 38, the runners being supported by a shelf 40. As best shown in FIG. 5, each drawer may be moved from the full line position to the dotted line position at which a package 36 may be removed. Any suitable knob, handle or finger recess (not shown) may be provided on its end wall 42 for manually withdrawing it from its closed position. It is preferably closed automatically, after removing the package, by a spring 44, the ends of which are attached in any suitable manner to the cabinet and the drawer. As illustrated, one end of spring 44 is secured to a pin 46 secured to the cabinet and the other end to a pin 48 secured to the drawer and slidable in a slot 50 in shelf 40.

Each drawer is provided with a flat lower floor 52 and an elevated floor 54, an abutment surface 56 joining the two floors, as best shown in FIG. 5. in the full line position of the drawer, lowermost package 36 is resting on floor 52 and is ready to be withdrawn from the tier, the package being captured between abutment 56 and drawer front end wall 42. When the drawer is withdrawn to the dotted position as shown in FIG. 5, the succeeding package falls onto elevated floor 54 and hence its lower surface is disposed in the plane of dotted line 58 which is between the upper and lower planes of the package resting on the withdrawn drawer. It thus becomes apparent that the drawer cannot be closed with the withdrawn package resting on it since the succeeding package now blocks return or closing movement of the drawer. When the package is removed, however, elevated floor 54 may slide beneath the succeeding package and when abutment 56 returns to the full line position the rear edge of the succeeding package drops across abutment 56 and off of elevated floor 54, assuming .a position on the floor the same as the former dispensed package. As will be further apparent an operator need not close the door after removing the package from its dispensed position since spring 44 will automatically serve this function. Spring 44, while desireable, is not essential and if omitted would require the manual closing of an open door before another package could be dispensed.

An important feature of the invention resides in the drawer interlock which permits only one package to be dispensed at a time thereby providing an accurate inventory count since the counter is operated in response to the opening of only a single drawer. The mechanism for performing this function comprises a locking bar 60 hinged to the cabinet by a piano hinge 62, the bar having spaced identical fingers 64, one for each drawer. Each drawer is connected to the bar by a spring 66 and the bar is urged to a normal inoperative position by a spring 68, best shown in FIGS. 2 and 7. The elevated floor 54, as best shown in FIG. 7, of each drawer is provided with a recess forming a first abutment 70 and a second abutment 72. In the operation of this mechanism it will first be assumed that an operator starts to withdraw a first drawer and subsequently attempts to withdraw a second drawer. During the initial travel of a drawer, the end of a finger 64 clears the surface of floor 54 since the tension in spring 66 is insufficient to pivot the locking bar against its spring 68. As tension in spring 66 increases, however, the ends of all of the remaining fingers 64 ride along surfaces 74 in the remaining drawers and upon continued tensioning of spring 66 on the drawer being opened, the remaining fingers are urged off of surfaces 74 and drop against abutments 72 in the remaining drawers locking them against withdrawal. Otherwise stated, one drawer may be partially withdrawn beyond a position at which it may be locked and upon slight further movement its withdrawal motion actuates the locking bar to lock all of the remaining drawers against withdrawal. In a slightly different mode of operation it will be assumed that the operator attempts to withdraw two drawers simultaneously. In this case, the tension in two springs 66 is twice the tension in the previous described mode and is sufficient to move the locking bar to a position locking all drawers against withdrawal with the fingers abutting abutments 70. As will be apparent, however, if the opening force on one drawer is released, thus applying the force of only one spring to the bar, the other drawer may be opened as described in the first mode.

The counter 24 employed may be of the conventional Veeder-Root type or its equivalent which is provided with a ratchet mechanism (not shown) and an oscillating arm 78 which registers one count for each cycle of movement of the arm. The arm is connected to the locking bar by a link 80, see

FIG. 3, and the final movement requisite to advance the counter one count takes place substantially at the same. time the remaining drawers are locked by the bar by abutments 72.

To prevent opening of a drawer when no packages remain above a drawer and thus effecting a false count, a latch 82 is pivotally carried by each drawer which is maintained in unlatched position by the weight of a package. When the last package is removed by a drawer the latch falls to a position, as best shown in FIG. 6, wherein its end 84 engages an abutment 86, preventing withdrawal of same. As will be apparent, the latch may be gravity operated or urged toward latching position by a light spring insufficient to move it to latched position until the.last package is dispensed.

The apparatus of this invention also includes means for preventing opening of any of the drawers. Said means includes a lock mounted on shelf 26. The lock 90 engages a rod 92 which extends through a pair of coaligned openings, one of which is formed in shelf 26 and the other which is formed in a flange 94 which is securely attached to a sidewall of the ap paratus. The rod 92 is biased in an upwardly direction by a spring 96 disposed intermediate a boss 98 formed on said rod 92 and a surface portion of the flange 94. In the unlocked condition, the rod 92 does not exert any appreciable downward force upon the locking bar 60; however, in the locked condition each of the fingers 64 engages the first abutment 70 of each of the drawers l8 and as a result none of the drawers 18 can be opened. Thus, by incorporating this particular means within the apparatus of this invention, it is possible to leave the apparatus completely unattended without incurring the risk of unauthorized removal of articles or packages therefrom.

While the counting device has been illustrated and described as a component within the cabinet and mechanically operated by movement of the locking bar it will be apparent that the counting device may be located elsewhere. For example, if a number of dispensing machines are employed and it is desired to maintain records of their dispensed numbers of packages at a central locus, the locking plate may operate a switch which operates a counter by a solenoid, a plurality of such counters being located at the central locus, whereby the inventory of all machines may be known at the central locus. It will be further apparent that such a switch may be selectively connected to any suitable alarm device which will indicate that a package has been removed from the cabinet. Thus, during nonattendance of a custodian of the machine unauthorized operation of same may signal such alarm to safeguard against theft or pilfering of the contents of one or more cabinets.

It is to be understood that this invention is not limited to the exact embodiment of the device shown, said embodiment being merely by way of illustration and not of limitation, as various other forms and modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

We claim:

1. Apparatus for dispensing articles disposed in a plurality of vertical stacked single tiers in a closed container, comprising:

a. a horizontally slidable drawer disposed beneath each tier having a main floor upon which a tier rests when the drawer is disposed in a normally closed position;

b. an abutment on the drawer for engaging the lowermost article for transporting it to a dispensing position when the drawer is moved to an open position;

c. an elevated floor on the drawer upon which a succeeding article may partially fall when the drawer is moved to open position and adapted to permit said succeeding article to fall completely to the main floor when the drawer is moved to closed position to permit said abutment to engage said succeeding article in like manner;

d. moveable drawer interlocking apparatus operatively associated with each drawer adapted to permit a single drawer to be opened and to prevent two drawers to be opened;

e. means operatively associated with the last article in a tier for preventing the opening of a drawer after the last article has been dispensed from same; and

f. a counting device operated by said interlocking device for recording the number of articles dispensed;

g. said interlocking apparatus comprising a moveable member having locking members on same for engaging locking abutments on each drawer, first spring means for urging the moveable member to an inoperative position, and second spring means connecting each drawer with the moveable member, the construction and arrangement being such that the force of the second spring means for a single drawer, when a single drawer is moved toward open position, is insufficient to overcome the first spring means until the drawer has been moved beyond a position at which it may be locked, further movement of the drawer thereafter providing sufficient force to move the locking members into engagement with the remaining locking abutments to prevent movement of the remaining drawers and to operate the counting device, the force of the second spring means fortwo drawers being sufficient to overcome the first spring means when two drawers are simultaneously moved toward open position and lock their movement.

2. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said locking abutments on each drawer comprise first and second spaced abutments, the first abutment on a pair of drawers being engageable with said locking members after a single drawer has been moved beyond a locking position, whereby a second drawer may not be moved after a first drawer has been moved beyond a position at which it may be locked.

3. Apparatus in accordance with claim 2 wherein said locking members comprise a plurality of fingers disposed on a pivoted locking bar.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2220870 *Sep 3, 1938Nov 5, 1940Nitschman George HDispensing display case
US2872009 *Apr 15, 1955Feb 3, 1959Nat Vendors IncCoin apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5632408 *Nov 21, 1995May 27, 1997Mitchell; Jerry B.Apparatus for securing and dispensing currency
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/125
International ClassificationG07F11/16, G07F11/18
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/18
European ClassificationG07F11/18