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Publication numberUS3750829 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 7, 1973
Filing dateJul 24, 1972
Priority dateJul 24, 1972
Publication numberUS 3750829 A, US 3750829A, US-A-3750829, US3750829 A, US3750829A
InventorsJennings H
Original AssigneeJennings H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article vending machine having bonus dispensing means
US 3750829 A
Abstract
An article vending machine comprises several dispensing units each operable by a spring to dispense an article from a magazine, rotatable indicator wheels registrable at random in any one of several index positions, coin-freed drive means operable to energize the springs and rotate the indicator wheels, a dashpot arranged to delay operation of the dispensing units by the springs until after commencement of rotation of the indicator wheels, and a locking member movable into locking engagement with the wheels to lock them in random index position, at least one of the dispensing units being arranged to dispense an article in each operational cycle of the machine, and the operation of each remaining dispensing unit being blocked by an associated indicator wheel except when the wheel is registered in a selected index position.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 11 1 Jennings [4 Aug. 7, 1973 ARTICLE VENDING MACHINE HAVING BONUS DISPENSING MEANS [57] ABSTRACT [76] Inventor: Henry George Frederick Jennings, 3

Helena Close Hertfordshire, Hadey An art cle vending machme cornprlses several dispenswood England mg units each operable by a spring to dispense an armcle from a magazine, rotatable indicator wheels regis- 1 Filed: J y l972 trable at random in any one of several index positions, coin-freed drive means operable to energize the springs [2]] Appl' NO" 274,633 and rotate the indicator wheels, 21 dashpot arranged to delay operation of the dispensing units by the springs [52] US. Cl. 221/8 until after commencement 0f rotation of the indicator [5]] Int. Cl. 1 wheels, and a locking member movable into locking en- [58] Field of Search 221/8; 194/76, 81, gagement with the wheels to lock them in random 92 index position, at least one of the dispensing units being arranged to dispense an article in each operational 1 References Cited cycle of the machine, and the operation of each re- UNITED STATES PATENTS maining dispensing unit being blocked by an associated 1,354,479 4/1932 M1115 194/92 indicator wheel except when the wheel is registered Primary Examiner-Stanley H. Tollberg Attorney-Alvin Browdy et al.

a selected index position.

7 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures 1111 IIIIIIIII I r 1 I II SHEET 2 0F 2 Fla. 3.

PATENTED AUG 71975 ARTICLE VENDING MACHINE HAVING BONUS DISPENSING MEANS This invention relates to article vending machines, and has for its object to provide an improved construction of vending machines adapted to dispense one or more articles to the value of a coin in each operational cycle, and to provide an unpredictable possibility of ob taining at least one additional article as a bonus for payment of the coin.

According to the present invention there is provided an article vending machine comprising a plurality of dispensing units each operable by biasing means to dispense an article from a magazine, rotary index means registrable at random in any one of a plurality of index positions, coin-freed drive means operable to rotate the index means and energize the biasing means, means operable to delay operation of the dispensing units by said biasing means until after commencement of rotation of the index means, and a locking member or members movable into locking engagement with the index means to arrest their movement, at least one of the dispensing units being arranged to dispense an article in each operational cycle of the machine, and the operation of each remaining dispensing unit being blocked by its associated index means unless at least that index means is registered in a selected index position.

The article vending machine thus dispenses at least one article in payment for the coin used to free the drive means, and will dispense at least one additional article upon registration of the index means in the selected index position or positions. The machine may be used for vending confectionery, agricultural produce or any suitable manufactured article, and the additional article dispensed at random by the machine need not necessarily be the same as the article dispensed in each operation of the machine.

The index means may comprise one or more indicator wheels freely rotatable through index positions in response to operation of the drive means, each wheel having symbols corresponding to each of the index positions and visible outside the machine to indicate the index position of the wheel.

A machine according to the invention for vending spherical articles of confectionery will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of the machine with part of the outer casing cut away to show details of the construction,

FIG. 2 is a plan view with the hopper removed FIG. 3 is afront elevation view, and

FIG. 4 is an elevation view of part of the operating mechanism.

The vending machine shown in the drawings comprises a main frame 10, only parts of which are shown in the drawings, an upright casing 11 surrounding the frame, the casing being fitted with partitions which cooperate with the upper end of the casing to define a hopper 12 for storage of articles 13, a dispensing mech anism I4 co-operating with an outlet 15 in the lower end of the hopper, the dispensing mechanism being operable to dispense articles into a chute 16 leading to a receptacle l7 accessible from the front of the casing, drive means 18 for operating the dispensing mechanism, and rotary index means 19 adapted to be driven by the drive means and co -operating with the dispensing machanism to regulate the number of articles to be dispensed in each operational cycle.

The dispensing mechanism comprises a flat rectangular shutter block 20 (FIG. 2) which is fixed to the frame in a position such that its front edge portion extends across the hopper outlet 15, and four rectangular shutters 21 axially slidable forwards and rearwards in recesses in the top surface of the shutter block. The front edge of the shutter block is provided with rectangular cut-outs 22 in alignment with the recesses, the rear edge of each cut-out underlying the hopper outlet at a small distance to the rear of the centre line of the outlet. Each shutter 21 is provided adjacent its front end with a circular opening 23 of a size such that, upon movement of the shutter from a rear loading position into an intermediate position (shown in FIG. I) an article from the hopper outlet drops into the circular opening 23 and on to the rear edge of the cut-out 22 in the shutter block, and upon movement of the shutter from the intermediate position into a forward release position the article drops out of the opening 23 into the chute 16.

Each of the shutters is provided] at its rear end with a depending arm 26 (FIG. 1) arranged to co-operate with the drive means and with a spring 27 connected between the frame and the arm 26 and urging the shutters into their forward release positions. Three of the four shutters are eachprovided at the front end with an arm 28 fitted with a roller 29 arranged to co-operate with the index means 19.

The index mechanism comprises three indicator wheels 30 rotatably mounted on a shaft 31 which is itself rotatably mounted at its ends in the frame 10,- and three cam discs 32 secured one to each of the indicator wheels. Each cam disc is concentrically mounted on its associated wheel, and the shaft 31 lies in the horizontal plane containing the longitudinal axes of the shutters. Each indicator wheel comprises a :radial web 33 (FIG. 2) to which the associated cam disc is secured, and a peripheral flange 34 offset to the side of the web remote from the cam disc and provided on its outer-surface with numerals which are visible through an opening 35 in the front of the casing, as shown in FIG. 3. A pawl 36 is pivotally mounted on a pin 37 secured in the radial web 33 and a ratchet wheel 38 is rigidly secured to the shaft 31 and co-operates with the pawl to prevent rotation of the indicator wheel in a clockwise direction relative to the shaft 31 as shown in FIG. 1 but permit free wheel rotation of the indicator wheel in an anti clockwise direction relative to the shaft 31.

The three indicator wheels co-operate with the three shutters fitted with rollers 29, the cam discs on the wheels being opposite the shutter rollers 29. The web of each indicator wheel is provided with an angular series of studs 42 which co-operate with the shutter roller 29 to locate the' indicator wheel in indexed positions, in each of which a different numeral on the wheel is centrally located in the opening 35 in the front of the casing. Each cam disc comprises a circular plate provided on its periphery with a semi-circular recess 43 to receive the shutter roller 29 when the indicator wheel is in one of its indexed positions, for example an index position in which the numeral 3 is located centrally in the opening 35 in the casing. In this index position the associated shutter is free to move into its forward release position in which an article 13 in the opening 23 in the shutter can fall into the chute 16, while in the other index positions the shutter roller engages the periphery of the cam disc and holds the shutter in the intermediate position shown in FIG. 1.

The drive mechanism comprises an upright hand lever 44 pivotally mounted at its lower end on a part of the frame which extends through the front of the casing II, a horizontal plunger 45 slidably mounted in the main frame for forward and rearward movement, a spring 46 connected between the front of the frame and rear of the plunger and urging the plunger forwards, and cam means (not shown) operable to force the plunger rearwards upon forward movement of the hand lever. The cam means are arranged to release the plunger at the forward limit of travel of the hand lever, whereupon the plunger is forced forwards under the influence of the spring 46. Such cam means are well known in the art and have not therefore been illustrated in the drawings. A coin freed mechanism 47 of any suitable construction locks the hand lever in its rear position, that is to the right in FIG. 1, and releases the lever for forward movement only when a coin or token of a given size and weight is inserted in the coin freed mechanism.

The plunger 45 is provided with a toothed rack 48, and a pinion 49, which is rotatably mounted on the frame, meshes with both the rack 48 and a gear 50 secured on the shaft 31. Rearward movement of the plunger thus causes clockwise movement of the shaft 31, the indicator wheels and cam discs then remaining stationary with the ratchet wheels free-wheeling relative to the shaft. Forward movement of the plunger 45 causes anti-clockwise movement of the shaft 31 and of the indicator wheels and cam discs which are coupled to the shaft by the pawls and ratchet wheels 36, 38. When the plunger 45 reaches its fully forward position the angular movement of the shaft 31 is stopped since it is drivably connected to the plunger, but the indicator wheels and cam discs continue rotating in an anticlockwise direction under their own inertia with the pawls 36 free-wheeling around the ratchet wheels 38.

A transverse shaft 52 is pivotally mounted in the frame below the rear end of the plunger 45. The shaft 52 is provided with a radial arm 53 which bears against the rear of a pin 54 on the rear end of the plunger 45, four radial arms 55 provided with rollers 56 positioned to the front of the four shutter arms 26 respectively, and a radial arm 57 pivotally coupled to the connecting rod 58 of a piston in a vertical cylinder 59. A spring (not shown) is compressed between the piston and the upper end of the cylinder, and a one-way valve permits free discharge of air displaced by upward movement of the piston, but restricts entry of air upon downward movement of the piston. The piston and cylinder thus forms a dampening device which permits free angular movement of the shaft 52 in a clockwise direction but restricts the rate of angular movement in the opposite direction.

Four rocker arms 65 (FIGS. 1 and 4) are associated one with each other of the shutters 21. Each rocker arm is off-set to one side of its shutter and has its front end pivotally mounted on the shutter block 20. The rear end of each rocker arm has a transverse pin fitted with a roller 66 which projects into the path of movement of the shutter arm 26 during movement of the shutter between its rear and intermediate positions. Each rocker arm 65 is also provided with an upstanding lug 67, a spring 68 connected between the lug 67 and the frame and urging the rocker arm upwards, and a depending lug 69 projecting into the path of movement of a pin 70 on the associated radial arm 55.

The side of each arm 26 adjacent its associated rocker arm has a portion thereof partially severed from the arm and bent rearwards and upwards as shown in FIG. I to form a cam lug 71, the opening thus formed in the shutter arm permitting passage of the roller 66 upon forward and rearward movement of the shutter.

At the start of an operational cycle of the machine the mechanism is in the position shown in FIG. 1. The shutters 21 are then urged by their return springs 27 into either an intermediate position shown in FIG. 1. in which their rollers 29 are engaged against the peripheries of the associated cam discs, or in the event of the associated indicator wheel being in an index position in which the recess 43 in the cam disc is opposite the shutter, into a fully forward position in which the roller 29 is engaged in the recess 43. The rollers 66 on the rear ends of the rocker arms are positioned to the rear of the shutter arms 26, and the rocker arms are biased upwards by their springs 68 to engage the rollers 66 against the cam lugs 71. The plunger 45 is in its forward position, and the shaft 52 is in a position in which the arm 53 extends upwards and forwards in engagement with the rear of the pin 54 on the plunger, and the radial arm 57 projects downwards so that the piston is in the lower end of the cylinder 59.

When a coin is inserted in the coin freed mechanism 47 and the hand-lever 44 is pulled forwards, the plunger 45 is moved rearwards as hereinbefore described. The pin 54 on the plunger pivots the arm 53 rearwards and causes angular movement of the shaft 52 in the clockwise direction. The arm 57 forces the piston upwards in the cylinder compressing the spring therein, and the rollers 56 engage the shutter arms 26 and move the shutters rearwards. Upon rearward movement of each shutter, the cam lug 71 acts on roller 66 to turn the rocker arm downwards and align the roller 66 with the opening in the shutter arm 26, and when the shutter arm has passed to the rear of the roller 66 the spring 68 urges the rocker arm upwards into the position shown in FIG. 4 in which the roller 66 is to the front and above the opening in the shutter arm. The rollers 66 thus latch the shutters in the rear position in which the rollers 29 are withdrawn clear of the studs 42. During the rearward movement of the plunger, the rack rotates the shaft 31 in a clockwise direction (FIG. 1), the indicator wheels and cam discs remaining stationary with the ratchet wheels free-wheeling relative to the pawls.

During the final rearward movement of the plunger, the cam drive means becomes disengaged from the plunger as hereinbefore described, whereupon the plunger is forced quickly forwards under the influence of its return spring 46. Forward movement of the plunger causes rotation of the indicator wheels, and the indicator wheels continue to rotate after the plunger has reached its forward position. The shutters are, however, held in their rear positions by engagement of the rollers 66 against the front faces of the shutter arms.

The piston in the cylinder 59 is forced slowly downwards by its return spring, with the rate of descent of the piston depending upon the rate of ingress of air into the upper end of the cylinder. The shaft 52, which is connected by the arm 57 and rod 58 to the piston, is thus moved slowly in an anti-clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 1. When the pin 70 on each arm 55 en-- gages the depending lug 69 on the associated rocker arm, the rocker arm is pivoted downwards to a position in which its roller 66 is aligned with the opening in the shutter arm. The shutters are then moved forwards by the springs 27.

During the forward movement of the three shutters associated with the indicator wheels, their rollers 29 strike against the studs 42 on the rotating indicator wheels and pass between two adjacent studs, thereby registering each wheel in one of its index positions. if this index position is the one in which the recess 43 in the cam disc is opposite the rollers 29, the shutter moves into its forward position. in any of the other index positions the roller engages the periphery of the cam disc and prevents movement of the shutter beyond the intermediate position. The shutter not associated with an indicator wheel and cam disc moves into its forward position.

As hereinbefore explained, each shutter dispenses an article from the hopper only upon movement into its forward position. Thus in each operational cycle of the machine, an article will be dispensed by the shutter not associated with an indicator wheel, and an additional one, two or three articles will be dispensed by the other three shutters only if their indicator wheels are registeredin the index position in which the recesses 43 in their cam discs are opposite the rollers 29 of the associated shutters. The numerals on the wheels visible through the opening 35 in the casing denote when the machine is paying a bonus of additional articles and the number of such additional articles.

The three shutters associated with the indicator wheels may be replaced by a single shutter having three rollers 29 engageable one against each of the cam discs on the three indicator wheels. The shutter can then only move into its forward position to dispense an article when each indicator wheel is in the index position in which the recess 43 is opposite the associated roller. Also, the common hopper for the shutters may be replaced by separate magazines for each shutter.

I claim:

1. An article vending machine comprising a plurality of dispensing units each operable by biasing means to dispense an article from a magazine, rotary index means registrable at random in any one of a plurality of index positions, coin-freed drive means operable to rotate the index means and energize the biasing means, means operable to delay operation of the dispensing units by said biasing means until after commencement of rotation of the index means, and a locking member or members movable into locking engagement with the index means to arrest their movement, at least one of the dispensing units being arranged to dispense an article in each operational cycle of the machine, and the operation of each remaining dispensing unit being blocked by its associated index means unless at least that index means is registered in a selected index position.

2. An article vending machine as claimed in claim 1, wherein each dispensing unit comprises a shutter arranged to dispense an article upon movement from a loading position to a release position, and the biasing means urge the shutters towards their release positions, the drive means being operable to move the shutters into their loading positions and thereby energize the biasing means.

3. An article vending machine as claimed in claim 2, wherein the biasing means comprise springs.

4. An article vending machine as claimed in claim 2, wherein the locking members are connected to the shutters of said remaining units for movement therewith, the locking members co-operating with abutments on the index means to arrest the rotational movement and to block operation of their associated dispensing unit except when the index means are registered in said selected position or positions.

5. An article vending machine as claimed in claim 4, wherein the index means comprises one or more wheels freely rotatable upon operation of the drive means, the or each wheel having an annular series of studs spaced apart a distance to receive the associated locking member and thereby arrest rotational movement of the wheel, and the or each wheel having abutments adapted to engage the associated locking member to prevent movement of its shutter into the release position except when registered in said selected position or positions.

6. An article vending machine as claimed in claim 2 including latch means operable to hold the shutters in their loading positions, and trip means operable by said delay means to release the latch means.

7. An article vending machine as claimed in claim 1, wherein the index means comprises one or more indicator wheels freely rotatable through index positions in response to operations of the drive means, each wheel having symbols corresponding to each of the index positions and visible outside the machine to indicate the index position of the wheel.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1854479 *Mar 5, 1929Apr 19, 1932Mills Novelty CoCoin-operated machine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7493267 *Jun 30, 2000Feb 17, 2009Walker Digital, LlcMethod and apparatus for compensating participation in marketing research
WO1996024914A1 *Sep 28, 1995Aug 15, 1996Lopez Miguel Angel RuizDispensing machines
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/8
International ClassificationG07F11/00, G07F11/44, G07F11/02, G07F11/72
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/44, G07F11/72
European ClassificationG07F11/72, G07F11/44