US 3797701 A
A merchandising machine gum and mint dispenser in which an adjustable member on the machine frame provides a bottom for the compartment of a rotary display and delivery wheel located below a column of articles of merchandise and provides a curved guide portion for an article carried from the bottom of the column to a display location and in which a freely suspended transparent guide flap guides the article in the course of its movement from the curved guide portion to the display location and supports the article at the display location in a position in which it can be viewed by a customer through a window in the cabinet door.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[ Mar. 19, 1974 GUM AND MINT DISPENSER FOR MERCHANDISING MACHINE 976,089 11/1910 McAneny..................1.... 221/277 X 3,114,473 12/1963 221/155  inventors: Joseph P. Aliocco, Mendham; Bruce P E a b B R I B. Landis, Long Valley, both ofN..I. eaves Assistant Examiner-Thomas E. Kocovsky Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Shenier & OConnor  Assignee:
 ABSTRACT A merchandising machine gum and mint dispenser in 22 Filed: Jan. 17, 1972 211 Appl. No.: 218,070
which an adjustable member on the machine frame provides a bottom for the compartment of a rotary display and delivery wheel located below a column of  Int Cl n 607i 11/52 arttcles of merchandise and provides a curved guide 5 w f Search 221/155, 207, 241 265, portion for an article carried from the bottom of the 266 column to a display location and in which a freely suspended transparent guide flap guides the article in the course of its movement from the curved guide portion to the display location and supports the article at the References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS display location in a position in which it can be viewed 10/1907 Jacobs.7.........................
221/241 X by a customer through a window in the cabinet door. 221/265 X 221/277 X 7 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures 869 635 1.072.758 Miller 2 077 896 4/1937 Quick minimums m4 3797701 sum 1 or 2 Hl-Hi-llllllllih lllllllllll v H"? i HIHIImHA GUM AND MINT DISPENSER FOR MERCHANDISING MACHINE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION There are known in the prior art merchandising machines of the type in which a delivery mechanism is adapted first to move the lowermost article in a column to a display location at which it can be viewed in the course of one operation of the machine and then to move the article from the display location to a delivery chute on the next operation of the machine. The copending application of Joseph P. Allocco, Ser. No. 40,262 filed May 25, .1970, now abandoned, for a Gum and Mint Dispenser for a Merchandising Machine discloses an arrangement of the general type described above in which one of a plurality of pockets in a display and delivery wheel associated with a section of the machine receives the lowermost article in a supply column and supports all of the articles in the column. Respective spring clutches are selectively actuated to drive the associated wheel to move the lowermost article in the column to a position at which it can be viewed through a window in the cabinet door. In the course of this movement of the wheel the article which had been at the display location is delivered to the customer.
While the machine illustrated in the copending application successfully achieves its object of first moving an article to a display location on one operation of the machine and then delivering the article on the next operation of the machine, it is not readily adapted to deliver articles of different thicknesses or heights. In addition, movement of an article from the lowermost position in a column to the display location has, in some instances, caused difficulty. That is, the article may tumble or become cocked as it moves to the display location with the result that it is not properly oriented for the best view by the customer.
We have invented an improved gum and mint dispenser which overcomes the disadvantages of gum and mint dispensers of the prior art. Our dispenser is adjustable so as easily to accommodate articles of different heights. We so construct our dispenser as to minimize the possibility of an article moving to the display position with an undesirable orientation thereof. Our dispenser is simple in construction and in operation for the result achieved thereby.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION One object of our invention is to provide an improved gum and mint dispenser for merchandising ma chines which overcomes the disadvantages of gum and mint dispensers of the prior art.
Another object of our invention is to provide an improved gum and mint dispenser which is readily adjustable to accommodate articles of different heights.
A further object of our invention is to provide an improved gum and mint dispenser which minimizes the possibility of an article becoming misaligned or cocked as it moves from the supply column to the display location.
Other and further objects of our invention will appear from the following description.
In general, our invention contemplates the provision of an improved gum and mint dispenser in which an adjustably positioned member on the frame provides an adjustable bottom for the compartment or recess of a wheel adapted to move the lowermost article in a column to a display position and provides a curved guide portion for directing the article toward the display location and which, together with a freely suspended transparent guide flap, controls the movement of the article toward the display location so as to inhibit any tendency of the article to tumble or become cocked.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawings which form part of the instant specification and which are to be read in conjunction therewith and in which like reference numerals are used to indicate like parts in the various views:
FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a merchandising machine equipped with our improved gum and mint dispenser with a part broken away.
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary sectional view of the machine illustrated in FIG. 1 taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1 and drawn on an enlarged scale.
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the mechanism illustrated in FIG. 2, with parts broken away.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings, a merchandising machine, indicated generally by the reference character 10, with which our dispenser is used, includes a cabinet 12 provided with a door 14 having a coin slot 16 therein. The door 14 is provided with a first plurality of windows 18 through which the customer can view articles of merchandise such as bars of candy, bags of chips and the like. These articles are adapted to be dispensed upon the deposit in slot 16 of a sum in coins aggregating the purchase price of the article and upon operation of the appropriate push button 20. Since the mechanism for delivering these articles does not per se form a part of our invention, it will not be described in detail.
The door 14 also is provided with a plurality of windows 28 disposed across the machine above the windows 18 and through which other articles such as packs of gum and rolls of mints or the like can be viewed. These articles are adapted to be delivered to a customer in response to operation of respective dispensing units indicated generally by the reference character 26. In order to achieve that result, after deposit of coins aggregating the purchase price and operation of a selecting button 30, a corresponding clutch mechanism, indicated generally by the reference character 32, operates to deliver an article to a chute 34 which guides it to a location at which it is accessible to the customer. The manner in which the clutch mechanisms 32 operate to deliver an article is more fully pointed out in the copending Allocco application referred to hereinabove.
Each of the units 26 includes a merchandise compartment 36 formed by a back panel 38 carried by the door frame and respective sides 40 and 42 formed with lips 44 along the front edges. Each container is adapted to receive a stack of articles such as packs of gum or rolls of mints.
A delivery wheel disposed below the compartment 36 has side plates 46 each of which is formed with spaced recesses 48, 50 and 52. Each pair of recesses, such as the recesses 48, forms a pocket for receiving the lowermost article of merchandise. The plates 46 are carried by a shaft 54 adapted to be driven through a third of a revolution by its associated clutch mechanism 32 in the manner described in the Allocco application.
We provide our mechanism with a pair of articlelifting arms 56 and 58 formed on a plate 60, the edge of which, remote from the arms 56 and 58, is formed with notched lugs 62 and 64 received in openings 66 and 68 in a bracket 70 on the door frame swingably to mount the plate on the frame. We secure a projecting element 73 to the underside of each of the arms 56 and 58 so as to be engaged by an actuating element 72 carried by the hub 74 of the delivery wheel in the course of a step of revolution thereof. As will be explained more fully hereinafter, as the hub 74 rotates and as the lowermost package is moved out of the container 36, elements 72 engage elements 73 to swing plate 60 upwardly to lift all articles above the lowermost article to a position beyond the peripheries of the plates 46.
A member 76 provides a bottom for the pocket or compartment formed by a pair of aligned recesses such as recesses 48 to support the column of articles in compartment 36. Member 76 has a curved portion 78 forming a guide which assists in controlling the movement of the article as it travels toward the position occupied by recesses 50 in FIG. 3.
We provide our assembly with a bolt 82 having a head 84 located at the underside of member 76. A knurled nut 86 rotatably supported in a hole 88 on a bracket flange 90 threadably receives the shank of bolt 82 to permit the vertical position of member 76 to be adjusted. A locking screw 94 passes through a slot 96 in bracket 70 and is threaded into a flange 80 on member 76 to lock the member 76 in that position to which it has been adjusted.
A guide flap 98 formed from a suitable transparent plastic material is provided with pivots 100 and 102 at its upper edge which are received in holes in brackets 104 and 106 carried by lips 44 thus to support the flap 98 for free swinging movement. We form the flap 98 with a generally vertically extending portion 108 adjacent to the upper portion of the corresponding window 28 with an inwardly directed portion 110 for receiving the article and with a flange 112 at the lower edge thereof adapted to rest on a frame portion 114 when an article is in viewing position.
In operation of our gum and mint dispensing mechanism, the articles in container 36 are supported by member 76. After coins have been deposited and a button 30 is operated to energize a clutch 42, shaft 54 is driven through one third of a revolution in the manner described in the Allocco application. As the wheel turns, the lowermost article is carried out of the container so as to ride along curved guide portion 78. At the same time, the article which had been in the display position is moved toward the delivery chute 34. When it leaves the flange 112, flap 98 swings under the influence of gravity toward the broken line position illustrated in FIG. 3 to receive the article and control its movement toward the display location. Finally, the weight of the article acting on the portion 110 restores flap 98 to the position at which its flange engages frame portion 114 and the article is properly positioned for display. It will be seen that movement of the article from the container to the display location is controlled over the entire time of travel. This control minimizes the possibility of the article becoming cocked or tumbling so that it is not displayed with the proper desired orientation.
Further as the wheel rotates, the element 72 engages elements 73 to swing plate 60 to a position at which the arms 56 and 58 move the articles upwardly and out of contact with the wheel periphery. As the wheel completes a third of a revolution, elements 72 and 73 disengage to permit what is now the lowermost article in the column to move downwardly onto the bottom provided by member 76 without tumbling.
If a particular unit 26 is to deliver a relatively higher or thicker article, screw 94 is loosened and nut 86 is turned to lower member 76. If a relatively shorter or thinner article is to be delivered, member 76 is raised. We have illustrated these lowered and raised positions in broken lines in FIG. 3.
It will be seen that we have accomplished the objects of our invention. We have provided an improved gum and mint dispenser for a merchandising machine which overcomes the defects of gum and mint dispensers of the prior art. Our dispenser is readily adjustable to accommodate articles of different size. The arrangement is such that the possibility of articles becoming misaligned or tumbling as they move to the display location is minimized. The construction and arrangement of our mechanism is extremely simple for the result achieved thereby.
It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of our claims. It is further obvious that various changes may be made in details within the scope of our claims without departing from the spirit of our invention. It is, therefore, to be understood that our invention is not to be limited to the specific details shown and described.
Having thus described our invention, what we claim is:
1. In a merchandising machine, apparatus including a frame, a container for housing a stack of articles to be dispensed. means mounting said container on said frame, a dispensing member formed with a pocket adapted to receive an article of merchandise, means mounting said member on said frame below said container for movement from a first position at which said pocket receives the lowermost article in said column to a second position at which an article received in said pocket is dispensed, a pocket bottom forming element, means mounting said element on said frame at a loca tion adjacent to the first position of said member with said element extending across said pocket in said first position of said member to form the bottom of the pocket, said element mounting means including means for adjusting the position of said bottom forming element on said frame to adjust the effective depth of said pocket in the first position of said member, said mounting means mounting said member for movement to a display position intermediate said first and second positions, said element comprising a curved guide portion extending from said first position toward said second position, a guide flap cooperating with said curved guide portion to control the movement of an article in said pocket as said member moves from said first position to said intermediate position, and means mounting said guide flap for swinging movement toward and away from said member, said flap being biased toward said member.
2. Apparatus as in claim 1 in which said flap is formed from transparent material.
3. Apparatus as in claim 2 in which said flap is formed with a portion adapted to support said article in said display position.
4. In a merchandising machine having a door provided with a window, apparatus including a supporting frame behind said door, a container for holding a column of articles to be'dispensed, means mounting said container on said supporting frame, a dispenser formed with a pocket adapted to receive an article of merchandise, means mounting said dispenser on said frame below said container for movement from a first position at which said pocket receives the lowermost article in said column to a second position at which said article is displayed behind said window and to a third position at which said article is dispensed, a pocket bottom forming element, means mounting said element on said frame at a location adjacent to the first position of said dispenser with said element extending across said pocket in the first position of said dispenser to form the bottom of the pocket, said element mounting means including means for adjusting the position of said bottom forming element on said frame to adjust the effective depth of said pocket in the first position of said dispenser, said element comprising a curved guide portion extending from said first position toward said second position, a transparent flap, and means mounting said flap for swinging movement toward and away from said dispenser between said first and second positions to cooperate with said curved guide portion to control the movement of said article from said first position to said second position.
5. Apparatus as in claim 4 in which said dispenser comprises a hub and spaced plates on said hub, said plates formed with aligned recesses defining said pocket, said element extending across the central part of said hub between said plates, lifting fingers disposed between said element and the respective plates and means responsive to movement of said dispenser for actuating said fingers to lift articles above the lowermost in said column.
6. Apparatus as in claim 4 in which said flap comprises a portion for supporting said article in said second position.
7. Apparatus as in claim 6 in which said flap is biased toward said dispenser and means for limiting the movement of said flap away from said dispenser.