US 3790023 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Filipowicz [4 Feb. 5, 1974 1 1 CUP DISPENSER WITH RADIALLY ADJUSTABLE CUP SUPPORTING TABS 211 App1. No.: 216,612
 US. Cl. 221/304, 221/310  Int. Cl. A47f 1/08  Field of Search 221/304, 307-310  4 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,581,934 l/l972 Sciascia 221/304 2,315,827 4/1943 Tansley 221/304 1,940,067 12/1933 Wessman 221/310 3,203,587 8/1965 Mount 221/304 X Primary ExaminerRobert B. Reeves Assistant ExaminerThomas E. Kocovsky Attorney, Agent, or FirmAndrus, Sceales, Starke &
Sawall ABSTRACT A cup dispenser capable of dispensing cups of different diameter. The dispenser includes a tube to contain a stack of cups and the cups are individually dispensed through an open end of the tube. The cup located adjacent the open end of the tube is supported on a series of tabs or ledges which extend inwardly from adjustable support members. Each support member comprises a flexible spring-like strip which extends through an opening in the tube and the outer end of the strip is secured to a collar that surrounds the tube. A series of cams are integral with the inner surface of the tube and bear against the respective strips. As the collar and support members are rotated with respect to the tube, the strips ride against the respective cams to move the strips radially with respect to the tube to vary the location of the supporting tabs and thereby enable different diameter cups to be supported on the tabs.
16 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PATENTEDFEB SIM Y 3790 02s:
SHEEI 1 BF 2 CUP DISPENSER WITH RADIALLY ADJUSTABLE CUP SUPPORTING TABS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In commercial establishments paper cups are normally dispensed from dispensers that are either wall mounted or counter mounted. With a wall mounted unit, a stack of cups is contained within a vertically mounted tube and the cups are individually withdrawn from the lower open end of the tube. In a dispenser of this type the rim of the lowermost cup in the stack is supported on ledges or tabs within the tube. By pulling downwardly on the lowermost cup, the rim of the cup can be passed over the tabs and withdrawn from the tube.
With a counter mounted dispenser, the tube which contains thestack of cups is mounted beneath the counter with the open upper end of the tube being flush with the counter top. The stack of cups is urged upwardly within the tube by a spring and the rim of the uppermost cup is supported beneath ledges or tabs located adjacent the upper end of the tube. As one or more cups are withdrawn from the tube, the spring force urges the stack upwardly to a location where succeeding cups can be withdrawn.
Most dispensers are designed to dispense only a single size or diameter of cup. Therefore, if it is desired to change the cup size, it is also necessary to change the dispenser.
In the past some attempts have been made to provide a dispenser which would be capable of dispensing cups of different diameter. In one such dispenser the discharge opening is provided with a flexible rubber-like support having a central opening and radial slits. This type of construction can only accommodate minor variations in cup diameter and requires that the diameter of the tube be substantially larger than the diameter of the cups being dispensed.
Other attempts have been made to provide a dispenser for different diameter cups by utilizing a tube with an adjustable longitudinal joint in which the diameter of the tube is varied in order to utilize the dispenser for different diameter cups. Units of this type are difficult to adjust and provide an unattractive appearance in that the adjustable longitudinal joint detracts from the appearance of the unit.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to a cup dispenser capable of dispensing cups of substantially different diameters. The dispenser of the invention includes a tube to contain a stack of cups and the cups are individually withdrawn through an open end of the tube. The rim of the cup'located at the dispensing end of the tube is supported on a series of tabs or ledges which extend inwardly from flexible spring-like support members. Each support member comprises a flexible strip which extends generally circumferentially along the inner surface of the tube. The outer portion of each strip extends through an opening in the tube and is connected to a collar which is mounted for rotation with respect to the tube.
The support members are adapted to be moved radially inward with respect to the tube in accordance with rotation of the collar by a series of cam members which are integral with the tube and bear against the inner surfaces of the respective strips. As the collar is rotated in one direction with respect to the tube, the strips ride against the cam members to thereby force the strips radially inward to locate the supporting ledges closer to the center of the tube. By rotating the collar in the opposite direction, the spring force in the strips urges the strips radially outward, to thereby position the ledges at a greater distance away from the center of the tube. This action varies the radial postion of the supporting ledges and enables different size cups to be supported on the ledges. For example, with a three-inch diameter tube, an adjustment in cup size of one-half inch can be made and corresponding variations in cup size can be accomplished with larger diameter tubes.
The mechanism of the invention thereby enables a relatively small diameter tube to be utilized in dispensing cups having substantial differences in diameter. This reduces the material cost of the tube and correspondingly reduces the overall cost of the dispenser.
The dispensing mechanism of the invention is attractive in appearance and can be utilized as either a wall mounted unit, in which the cups are withdrawn donwardly from the tube, or as a counter-mounted unit, in which the cups are pulled upwardly from the tube.
Other objects and advantages will appear in the course of the following description.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The drawings illustrate the best mode presently contemplated of carrying out the invention.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a wall mounted cup dispenser incorporating the invention;
FIG. 2 is a transverse section taken along lines 2-2 and showing the adjusting support members in a position to support a small diameter cup;
FIG. 3 is a view similar tp FIG. 2 showing the support members in a position to support a large diameter cup.
FIG. 4 is a section taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a section taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 2 and showing a series of cups supported on one of the supporting members; I
FIG. 6 is a modified form of the invention as utilize with a counter mounted cup dispenser;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary elevation view showing a support member for the cups;
FIG. 8 is a section taken along-line 8-8 of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary side elevation showing the bayonet-type of connection of the collar of the unit shown in FIG. 2 to the counter-mounted ring;
FIG. 10 is an elevation view of a modified form of the support member utillzinga series'of supporting ledges; and
FIG. 11 is a section taken along line 10-10 of FIG.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT.
tending support'members 6 which are located adjacent the lower end of the tube, and are carried by an external collar 7 which is mounted for rotation with respect to tube 3.
As best illustrated in FIGS. 2, 4, and 5, each of the support members 6 includes a flexible, spring-like strip 8 having its outer end connected to an inwardly extending boss 9 formed on the collar 7 by rivets 10. The strip 8 extends through an opening or slot 11 formed in the lower end of the tube 3 and the inner end of each strip terminates in a head 12. As best illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 4, each head is composed of a series of beveled or inclined surfaces 13 which border a central vertical surface 14.
Located on the central surface 14 is an inwardly extending punched-out tab 15 which constitutes a ledge or shelf that supports the rim 16 of the lowermost cup 2 of the stack, as illustrated in FIG. 5. The beveled surface 13 located above the central surface 14 constitutes an inclined approach so that the stacked cups will be guided downwardly on the beveled surface toward the ledge or tab 15.
The bosses 9 on collar 7 project within the openings 11 in the tube and the inner surfaces of the bosses, to which the strips 8 are attached, are substantially flush with the inner surface of the tube. This position of attachment of the strips to the collar 7 along with the flexible or spring-like nature of the strips tends to bias or urge the strips outwardly against the inner surface of the tube 3 so that the strips, if unrestrained, would be located adjacent the inner surface of the tube.
To vary the location of the ledges 15 with respect to the axis of the tube, and thereby enable cups of-different diameters to be supported and dispensed, a cam mechanism is utilized to move the ledges or support members 15 radially inward with respect to the tube axis. The cam action is provided by a series of inwardly extending cams 17 or projections which are located adjacent the openings 11. As best illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the cams 17 ride against the inner surface of the strips 8 as the collar 7 is rotated with respect to the tube. If the collar 7 is rotated counter-clockwise with respect to the tube 3, as shown in FIG. 2, each cam 17 will ride against the respective strip 8, and toward the boss 9, and the reby wedge or cam the strip inwardly with respect to the axis of the tube. FIG. 2 illustrates the support members 6 in an inner position in which the tabs or ledges 15 are located in a position to support a small'diameter cup.
As the collar 7 is rotated clockwise, as shown in FIG. 2, the cams 17 ride outwardly along the strips 8 and into the interior of the heads 12. The resiliency of the strips 8 will thereby urge the strips radially outward, as
shown in FIG. 3, to thereby locate the supporting ledges 15 at a position where they will support a large diameter cup.
Thus, by rotating the collar 7 and the attached support members 6 with respect to the tube, the ledges 15 can be moved toward and away from the axis of the tube 3 to thereby accommodate cups of different diameter or size.
To lock the collar 7 with respect to the tube 3, a set screw 18 extends through a slot 19 in the collar and through an aligned hole in the tube and the inner end of the set screw receives a nut 20. By loosening the set screw 18, the collar 7 can be rotated with respect to the tube 3 and when the ledges 15 are located in the desired position, the set screw can be turned down to lock the collar and fix the position of the supporting ledges 15.
FIGS. 6-9 illustrate the invention as applied to a counter mounted dispenser. In this embodiment the dispenser 21 is adapted to contain a stack of cups 22 which are individually dispensed from the upper end of the dispenser. As shown in FIG. 6, the dispenser 21 includes a generally cylindrical tube 23 having its upper end located substantially flush with the top of the counter 24. The dispenser 21 is similar in construction to dispenser 1 and includes a collar 25 which is mounted for rotation with respect to theupper end of the tube 23. In this embodiment, a flanged ring 26 is secured to the collar 25 and extends radially outward to function as a trim strip when the unit is mounted in the counter. Ring 26 is attached by a bayonet type of connection, indicated generally by 27, to mounting ring 28 that is secured by screws to the counter. As shown in FIG. 9, the vertical flange of ring 26 is provided with a pair of outwardly extending tabs 26a, while the lower edge of the vertical flange of mounting ring 28 has a pair of inclined edges 2817 which terminate in notches 28c. The tabs 26a are initially placed in registry with notches 28c, and by rotating the tube 23 and attached ring 26, the tabs 26a ride on the inclined edges to provide a secure attachment of the dispenser to the counter.
To lock the collar 25 against rotation with respect to the tube 23, a set screw 29, similar in function to set screw 18 of the first embodiment, extends through a slot 30 in the collar and through an aligned hole in the tube, and the inner end of the set screw receives a nut 31. By releasing the connection 27 and withdrawing the tube from the counter, the set screw 29 can be loosened to permit the collar 25 to be rotated with respect to the tube 23.
The cups 22 are held or indexed within the tube 23 by a series of members 32 which are similar to the support members 6 of the first embodiment. Each of the members 32, as illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7, includes a flexible strip 33 having its outer end attached by rivets 34 "to an inwardly extendingboss 35 formed in the collar 25. Each strip 33 extends through an opening 36 in the tube 23 and the inner end of each strip is provided with a head 37, similar in configuration to the head 12 of the first embodiment. Formed on the central vertical surface of each head are a pair of projections 38, each of which has a relatively abrupt lower edge 39. As illustrated in FIG. 8, the rolled edge or rim 40 of the two uppermost cups 22 in the stack bear against the edges 39 of projections 38.
The stack of cups 22 is urged upwardly within the tube 23 by a spring-41. The lower end of the spring 41 bears against the bottom wall 42 of the tube, while the upper end of the spring 41 bears against a cone 43 which is received within the lowermost cup 22 of the stack. The spring construction is conventional and the spring is provided with an increasingly smaller diameter in an upward direction to thereby provide the necessary variable spring rate to urge the cups upwardly with a realtively constant spring force regardless of the vertical position of the cone 43.
As the uppermost cup 22 of the stack is withdrawn from the dispenser 21, the force of spring 41 will urge the stack upwardly so that the'rim 40 of the next succeeding uppermost cup will engage the edges 39 of the upper series of projections 38. The remaining portion of the stack of cups will be held against further upward movement by engagement with the ridges 39 of the lower series of projections 38.
To enable the dispenser 21 to accommodate cups of different diameter, the cup-holding memebers 32 can be moved inwardly and outwardly with respect to the axis of the tube 23 in the manner described with respect to the first embodiment. For example, by removing the trim ring 28 and the screws 27, the unit can be removed from the counter and after loosening the set screw 29, the collar 25 can then be rotated with respect to the tube to thereby change the relative position of the projections 38 with respect to the axis of the tube 23. Rotating the collar 25 in one direction will cause cam members 44 to wedge the strips 33 inwardly toward the tube axis to thereby position the projections 38 closer to the tube axis and enable the unit to accommodate cups of smaller diameter. Conversely, by rotating the collar 25 in the opposite direction, the cam members 44 will ride toward the heads 37 of strips 33 and the resiliencyor spring force in the strips 33 will urge the strips radially outward to thereby position the projections 38 along a circle having a greater radius and enable the unit to accommodate cups of larger diameter.
FIGS. and 11 illustrate a further modified form'of the invention in which the dispenser is utilized to dispense generally conical cups 45. The construction of the dispenser of FIGS. 10 and 11 is the same as that shown in FIGS. 1-5, with the exception that a series of tabs 46, corresponding to tabs of the first embodiment, are provided on the head 12 of the cup supporting members 6. The lowermost tab 46a has a greater length than the other tabs 46, and the beads or rim 47 of the cups 45 are supported on the'tab 46a.
The conical cups 45, as shown in FIGS. 10 and 11 are generally utilized with a plastic or metal cup holder having a mechanism to grasp the pointed lower end of the cup 45. When dispensing cups of this type, the holder is normally pushed inwardly against the lowermost'cup in the stack to engage the pointed end of the lowermost cup with the clamping mechanism. As the lowermost cup is pushed up, the rim 47 of the cup bears against'the next upper ledge or tab 46 in the series to restrain further upward movement and enable the lowermos t cup to be clamped to the cup holder.
The dispensing mechanism of the invention, by incorporating the adjustable cup holding members 6 and 32, enables the dispenser to be utilized with various sizes or diameters of cups. By merely rotating the collar 7 or 25 with respect to the tube, the position of the ledges or tabs 15 and 38 can be varied with respect to the tube axis to accommodate the different cup diameters.
The adjusting mechanism has a further advantage in that the position of the supporting tabs or ledges is not as critical as in conventional dispensers. This is due to the flexibility of the strips 8 which enables the strips to flex outwardly, if the positioning of the tabs is slightly inward of the optimum position, as the cups are withdrawn.
The mechanism can be utilized with a wall mounted dispenser, or a counter-mounted dispenser and is equally applicable to units in which the cups are pulled downwardly or withdrawn upwardly.
Various modes of carrying out the invention are contemplated as being within the scope of the following 6 claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which is regarded as the invention.
1. A cup dispenser, comprising a tubular member to contain a stack of cups and having a discharge opening in one end, a cup holding member disposed within the tubular member adjacent the discharge opening and having a projection extending inwardly toward the axis of the tube and disposed to be engaged by the rim of a cup, a collar mounted for rotation on the tubular member adjacent said end, said cup holding member including a flexible strip having one end connected to the collar, said tubular member being provided with an opening to receive said strip with the inner end of said strip being located on the interior of said tubular member, said projection being located on the inner end of said strip, and means 6perably connected to the cup collar is rotated in one direction.
holding member and responsive to rotation of the collar with respect to the tubular member for moving the projection radially with respect to the tube axis to thereby enable cups of different cross sectional size to be supported on said projection.
2. The'dispenser of claim 1, and including biasing means for urging the inner end of the strip radially outward toward the inner surface of the tubular member.
3. The dispenser of claim 1, wherein said projection comprises a downwardly and inwardly extending surface.
4. The dispenser of claim 1, wherein said means for moving the projection comprises an element connected to the tubular member and disposed in engagement with said strip, said element acting to cam'the strip inward toward the axis of the tubular member when the 5. A cup dispenser, comprising a tube to contain a stack of cups having a discharge opening in one end, a series of cup holding members circumferentially spaced within the tube and located adjacent said end, each cup holding member comprises a flexible strip extending generally circumferentially of said tube, said tube being provided with a series of openings adjacent said end with each cup holding member extending through an opening, a rotatable collar mounted for rotation on the tube adjacent said end, connecting means for connecting the outer end of each cup holding member to the collar whereby rotation of the collar will cause corresponding rotation of said member with respect to said tube, a ledge formed on the inner end of each cup holding member and extending inwardly toward the axis of the tube and disposed to be engaged by the rim of a cup, operating means interconnecting the tube and each cup holding member for moving the inner end of each cup holding member inwardly toward the axis of the tube in consequence of rotation of the collar in one direction with respect to the tube, said operating means being engaged with the respective cup holding member at a location between said ledge and said connecting means, and means for biasing the inner end of each cup holding member outwardly away from the axis of the tube.
6. The dispenser of claim 5, wherein said operating means comprises a series of cam members on the inner surface of the tube, each cam member disposed to ride against the outer surface of a cup holding member at lar in said direction will cause saidcup holding member to ride against the cam member to thereby move said cup holding member radially inward.
7. The dispenser of claim 5, wherein the discharge opening is in the lower end of the tube, and said dispenser includes mounting means for mounting the tube on a substantially vertical surface.
8. The dispenser of claim 5, wherein a plurality of vertically spaced ledges are disposed on the inner end of each cup holding member.
9. The dispenser of claim 5, wherein said discharge opening is in the upper end of said tube and said dispenser includes resilient means disposed within the tube and located beneath said cups holding members for urging the stack of cups upwardly toward said discharge opening.
10. The dispenser of claim 5, and including mounting means for mounting the upper end of said tube generally flush with a counter top.
11. The dispenser of claim 5, and including a series of inwardly extending bosses on said collar, each boss extending through one of said openings in the tube and the outer end of each strip being attached to the corresponding boss.
12. The dispenser of claim 11, wherein the inner extremity of said boss is substantially flush with the inner surface of the tube.
13. The dispenser of claim 5, wherein the inner end of each strip defines a head having a generally vertical surface disposed radially inward of said strip, said ledge being disposed on said vertical surface.
14. The dispenser of claim 13, wherein said head also includes a downwardly and inwardly extending inclined surface located above said vertical surface.
15. The dispenser of claim 13, wherein said ledge comprises a downwardly and inwardly extending surface.
16. The dispenser of claim 13, wherein the ledges on the cup holding members are disposed in a common horizontal plane.