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Publication numberUS3767081 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 23, 1973
Filing dateMar 24, 1972
Priority dateMar 24, 1972
Publication numberUS 3767081 A, US 3767081A, US-A-3767081, US3767081 A, US3767081A
InventorsWittern F
Original AssigneeWittern F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article storing and dispensing device
US 3767081 A
Abstract
An article storing and dispensing device having a plurality of hinge mounted shelves positioned one above another. The shelves are initially releaseably locked in the storing position, and then individually released to a dispensing position beginning with the lowermost shelf and working upwardly. The release mechanism includes a nudger bar carrying a plurality of trip fingers. The trip fingers are successively switched to the release position as their corresponding shelves are pivoted. The shelves include a rigid L-shaped retaining rod extending rearwardly of the main body portion of the shelf for engagement with a holding notch in a frame. The retaining rod is forced out of the notch by a trip finger moving upwardly, releasing the shelf to the dispensing position. A spring acts to bias the retaining rod in the storing position.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1 1111 3,767,081

Wittern 1 Oct. 23, 1973 ARTICLE STORING AND DISPENSING I i m v ALMMAWM" DEVICE An article storing and dispensing device having a plu- Inventor: Francis 1616 Casady rality of hinge mounted shelves positioned one above D65 Moifles, Iowa another. The shelves are initially releaseably locked in [22] Filed: Man 24, 1972 the storing position, and then individually released to a dispensing position beginning with the lowermost PP No; 2371779 shelf and working upwardly. The release mechanism includes a nudger bar carrying a plurality of trip fin- 521 US. Cl 221/90, 221/93, 248/240.4 gehs- The hip fingers are shccessivfly switched 51 1m. 01. G07f 11/06 "lease as their cmsPhdmg shelves are 58 Field of Search 221/90, 93, 89; The Shelves ihchlde a rigid Lshaped retaining 8, 2401 108/6 rod extending rearwardly of the main body portion of 1 the shelf for engagement with a holding notch in a 1 frame. The retaining rod is forced out of the notch by [56] References Cited f d 1 h h If UNITED STATES PATENTS a trip mger moving upwar y, re easing t e s e to the dispensing position. A spring acts to bias the re- 3,s22,970 8/1970 Francls 248 2404 mining rod in the Storing position 1,926,663 9/1933 Antoine 221/90 I 3,589,556 6/1971 Wittern 221/90 6 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-H. Grant Skaggs, Jr. Att0rneyH. Robert Henderson et al. a V

sutsnnrz PAIENIEB new 2 3 ms PATENIEB m 2 3 H15 SHEET 2 BF 2 H IUIIIIII a ARTICLE STORING AND DISPENSING DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an article storing and dispensing device of the type used in a vending machine. More specifically, the invention relates to a device of the type having a plurality of hingedly mounted shelves positioned one above another and adapted to store articles when in a first, generally horizontal, position, and to dispense the articles successively, beginning with the lowermost shelf, upon successive tripping of the shelves to a dispensing position. The shelves are tripped by movement of a nudger bar having a trip finger for each shelf, the trip fingers cooperating with the shelves so as to trip only one shelf upon each actuation of the nudger bar.

Vending machines of the type described above have been known for some time. One machine of this type that has proved to be very satisfactory for selected applications is described in my US. Pat. No. 3,589,556. The machine described therein utilizes shelves having latching arms that coact with latching lugs to maintain the shelves in the storing position. That type of latching means is very satisfactory for light duty, such as for cigarette and candy vending machines. However, the latching means of that device is not completely satisfactory for heavier duty, such as for vending machines dispensing larger and heavier articles. Heavy articles on shelves of the type described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,589,556 occasionally cause the shelves to trip out of turn, resulting in malfunction or double delivery.

Another vending machine of this type has been used in the past utilizing a U-shaped piece of spring wire to both latch the shelf in the storing position and to control the trip fingers on the nudger bar of the machine. This type of machine has also enjoyed considerable success, but is subject to jamming if an attempt is made to reset the shelves while the nudger bar is in the raised position.

Manufacturers and users of vending machines are constantly searching for machines of greater simplicity, both of construction and operation, and of improved reliability. This invention provides a machine of improved reliability and of simpler construction and operation as compared to the prior art devices. This invention also provides a machine which is better suited for handling of heavier articles compared to the prior art structures.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION According to this invention, an article storing and dispensing device of the type having a plurality of shelves disposed one above the other is provided. The device includes a supporting frame on which the shelves are hinged. The shelves are selectively positionable in either a generally horizontal storing position, or upon release of the latching means, to a downwardly disposed dispensing position. The shelves are successively released to the dispensing position beginning with the lowermost shelf, in response to successive actuation of a nudger bar upon which a series of trip fingers are mounted. Actuation of the nudger bar, either by a mechanical linkage or by a solenoid or the like, causes one shelf to be released to the dispensing position while the remaining shelves are maintained in the storing position.

Each of the shelves, according to the invention, includes a rigid retaining rod extending rearwardly of the main body portion of the shelf. The retaining rod is engageable in a slot formed in an opening on the back wall of the framework. The retaining rod of the shelf to be released is contacted by a trip finger upon actuation of the nudger bar and is urged out of the slot, thereby releasing the shelf such that it can fall to the dispensing position. The retaining rod is spring biased toward the storing position. Each of the shelves also includes an extension member extending rearwardly of the main body portion of the shelf. The extension member serves to maintain the trip finger in contact therewith away from the retaining rod of the next above shelf upon actuation of the nudger bar such that only the lowermost shelf in the storing position will be released upon actuation of the nudger bar.

The improved shelf in accordance with this invention includes a main body portion for storing articles, and includes means for hingedly connecting the shelves to a framework as is conventional. The shelves include a rigid retaining rod pivotally mounted thereon and spring biased toward an article storing position and yieldable to an article dispensing or released position. As mentioned above, the shelves also include an extension member adapted to maintain the trip fingers away from the retaining rod of the next above shelf.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an improved article storing and dispensing device including a plurality of shelves positioned one above the other and hinge mounted for movement from a storing position to a dispensing position upon successive actuation of a nudger bar having trip fingers associated therewith.

It is further an object of this invention to provide an improved shelf construction.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a vending machine utilizing the article storing and dispensing device of this invention.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side elevational view illustrating a device in accordance with the invention wherein part of the shelves are in the storing position and part are in the dispensing position.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged cross sectional view of the device taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the upper side of a DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The preferred embodiment of the invention will now be described by reference to the several views of the drawings. The following description is exemplary, and it will be apparent that in many instances modifications and variations from the exact structure described could be utilized.

A vending machine of the type in which the article storing and dispensing device of this invention is useable is illustrated generally at in FIG. 1. The vending machine 10 as illustrated represents a cigarette vending machine which is coin operated and which dispenses a brand of cigarette as selected by the purchaser upon pushing of one of the selection buttons 11 on the front of the machine. The machine as illustrated represents an electrically actuated device, although it will be understood that mechanically actuated linkages could be substituted. A series of devices 12 of this invention are shown in broken lines mounted side by side within the vending machine 10 in a customary manner.

An article storing and dispensing device in accordance with the invention is shown in more detail in FIG. 2. The device, indicated generally at 12, includes a framework 13 including a backwall 14. A plurality of shelves 15 are hinge mounted to the framework 13, and are selectively positionable from a horizontal article storing position as indicated in the upper portion of FIG. 2 and an article dispensing position illustrated in the lower portion of FIG. 2. A nudger bar 16 is mounted for vertical reciprocal movement along the backwall 14 upon actuation of the solenoid 17 shown in the top right portion of FIG. 2. The nudger bar 16 carries a plurality of trip fingers 18 along its length, and thearrangement of the trip fingers 18 on the nudger bar 16 is best illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8.

The preferred embodiment of the shelf in accordance with the invention is best seen in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5. As shown therein, the shelf 15 includes a main body portion 19. Downwardly extending tabs 20 and 21 are provided near the rear end of the shelf 15 and include openings 22 and 23 respectively for hinge mounting the shelves to the framework 13. A rigid retaining rod 24 (FIG. 5) is provided as a generally L-shaped member having a-first leg portion 25 extending beyond the rear of the main body portion 19 of the shelf 15, and a second leg portion 26 slightly bent at its outer end 27 so as to hold one end of coil spring 28. The retaining rod 24 is pivotally mounted to the shelf 15 such as by tab 29 formed in the shelf 15. One end of coil spring 28 is fixed to the shelf 15 by a tab 30, and the spring 28 serves to bias the retaining rod such that the far end of the first leg 25 is biased toward the outer edge 31 of the shelf 15. The tab 29 mounting the retaining rod preferably engages the retaining rod at the juncture of the first and second legs thereof. It can be seen from FIGS. 3 through 5 that pressure on the outer side of leg 25 of the retaining rod 24 will cause the leg 25 to move inwardly against the bias of spring 28. A slotted opening 32 in shelf 15 serves to guide the leg 25 for movement therein. An extension member 33 extends rearwardly of the main body portion 19 of the shelf 15, and as shown is a generally flat rectangular piece with the inside rear corner beveled as at 34. The inner rear corner is beveled to prevent it from engaging a trip finger in the event that an attempt is made to reset the shelves while the nudger bar is in the up position. Otherwise, jamming of the mechanism could result.

FIG. 6 illustrates a portion of the nudger bar 16 and one trip finger 18 associated therewith. The trip finger 18 is rotatably mounted to the nudger bar 16, and includes an upwardly extending element 35, a downwardly extending element 36, and a pair of hooks 37, 38 adapted to engage an end of trip finger springs 39 The relationship of the various parts of the device is best illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8. As shown therein, the upper two shelves are shown in the horizontal or storing position, and the lower shelf of the three is shown in the dispensing or released position. Hinge pins 40 (FIG. 2) connect the shelves to the framework 13in a known manner. In FIG. 7, the nudger bar 16 is shown in the down or lower position. Upon raising the nudger bar 16, such as by actuation of the solenoid 17 (FIG. 2) at the top thereof, the lowermost of the three trip fingers illustrated in FIG. 7 will rise in the position shown such that the upwardly extending element 35 thereof will conact the retaining rod of the lowermost horizontal shelf and force it out of the notch 41 for release thereof. Note that the extension member 33 of the lower of the three shelves shown in FIG. 7 is pivoted out of contact with the downwardly extending element 36 of the lower trip finger so that the trip finger will not be pivoted upon raising of the nudger bar 16. However, the next higher trip finger (the middle one of the three shown in FIG. 7), upon raisingof the nudger bar 16, will contact the extension member 33 of the center shelf and pivot the center trip finger so that the upwardly extending element 35 thereof is rotated counterclockwise before the upper element can contact the retaining rod of the uppermost shelf, and the upper shelf will not be released until the nudger bar is again actuated.

The under side of a shelf 15 is illustrated at the bottom of FIG. 7, and shows the retaining rod 24 pivotally mounted by the tab 29 to the main body portion of the shelf. Coil spring 28 biases the retaining rod toward the storing position, and a trip finger must overcome the force of the spring 28 to release the retaining rod 24 from the notch 41 formed in the backwall 14.

FIG. 8 illustrates the relationship of the trip fingers and the elements of the shelves when the nudger bar 16 is in the raised position. As shown therein, the trip finger 18 that is second from the bottom has contacted the retaining rod of the next above shelf to slide it out from the slot 41 into the release position. However, the trip finger 18 that is second from the top in FIG. 8 has been rotated counterclockwise due to the camming action of its downwardly extending element 36 against the extension member 33 such that its upwardly extending element 35 did not contact the retaining rod of the highest shelf shown in FIG. 8. In this regard, note the angular difference in orientation between the lower two trip fingers and the upper two trip fingers of FIG. 8. Successive actuation of the nudger bar 16 will result in a repeated sequence of operations such that the lowermost horizontal or retained shelf will be sequentially released.

The backwall 14 supports the nudger bar 16 and includes a pair of openings for each shelf mounted on the framework 13. A switch 42 located near the uppermost shelf 15 (FIG. 2) is closed, after the top shelf is released, by contact with the extension member 33 of the top shelf to activate a sold out light. This type of switch mechanism is not a part of the inventin, and it is understood invention, in a case of a mechanically actuated mechanism a mechanical lock could be utilized to indicate a sold out condition.

The operation of the device 12 will now be briefly described. Referring to FIG. 2, a number of articles 43 are shown stored on the upper shelves of the device 12. Upon actuation of the solenoid 17 to raise the nudger bar 16, the lowermost horizontal shelf is released and pivots downwardly, thereby releasing the article carried thereon as illustrated in FIG. 2. Upon again actuat- 5 ing the nudger bar 16, such as by depositing additional coins in a coin handling mechanism operatively connected to the solenoid 17, the next above horizontally positioned shelf will be released and the article carried thereby will be dispensed.

The foregoing detailed description of the invention is exemplary, and is not to be considered as limiting the same. The invention is defined by the appended claims.

I claim: 1. In an article storing and dispensing device of the type including a plurality of hinge mounted shelves disposed one above the other wherein the shelves are tripped one at a time, beginning with the lowermost shelf and working upwardly, from a generally horizontal article storing position to a downwardly disposed dispensing position in response to successive movements of a nudger bar carrying a plurality of trip fingers; a frame means for mounting the plurality of shelves, the frame means including a backwall movably mounting the nudger bar thereon, said backwall including a plurality of pairs of openings, one pair for each of the plurality of shelves, one opening of each of the pairs of openings including a horizontally disposed notch adapted to releaseably receive a retaining rod; and a plurality of trip fingers carried by the nudger bar and adapted to successively release the shelves from the storing position to the dispensing position upon repeated actuation of the nudger bar, the improvement wherein:

biased toward the storing position.

2. The improvement as claimed in claim 1 wherein the rigid retaining rod comprises an L-shaped member with a first leg extending rearwardly of the main body of the shelf and a second leg adapted to support a bias spring means, and wherein the L-shaped member is pivotally fastened to the shelf at the juncture of its said legs.

3. The improvement as claimed in claim 1 wherein the shelves each include an extension member extending .rearwardly of the main body of the shelf and adapted, when the shelf is in the storing position, to maintain a trip finger out of contact with the retaining rod of the next above shelf.

4. A shelf for use in an-article storing and dispensing device comprising:

a main body portion;

means adjacent the rear of the main body portion for hingedly connecting the shelf to an article storing and dispensing device;

a rigid L-shaped retaining rod having a first leg extending beyond the rear of the main body portion and a second leg adapted to hold an end of a bias spring means, the L-shaped member being pivotally connected to the main body portion of the shelf at the juncture of said first and second legs; bias spring means connected to the shelf and to said second leg of the L-shaped retaining rod; and

an extension member extending rearwardly of the main body of the shelf.

5. A shelf as defined in claim 4 wherein the bias spring is a coil spring with one end affixed to the main body portion of the shelf and the other end attached to the rigid retaining rod.

6. A shelf as defined in claim 4 wherein the extension member extending rearwardly of the main body portion of the shelf is a generally flat rectangular member having its inner rearward corner beveled.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1926663 *Oct 22, 1931Sep 12, 1933Advance Machine CoVending machine
US3522970 *Jun 21, 1968Aug 4, 1970Ltv Aerospace CorpLatch mechanism for folding seat
US3589556 *May 29, 1969Jun 29, 1971Wittern Francis AArticle dispensing module
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4284206 *Sep 6, 1979Aug 18, 1981Wittern Francis ACarousel dispensing apparatus
US4350120 *Apr 27, 1981Sep 21, 1982Bittle L GordonAutomatic feeder for animals
US5341954 *Mar 15, 1993Aug 30, 1994Smith Bruce AProduct dispenser for a vending machine
EP0755032A2 *Jul 10, 1996Jan 22, 1997Unilever PlcAutomatic vending machine, particularly for vending packages of ice cream or of deep-frozen products in general
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/90, 248/240.4, D20/4, 221/93
International ClassificationG07F11/04, G07F11/06
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/06
European ClassificationG07F11/06