US 3804294 A
The machine comprises a housing which is provided with a cover and which contains a removable cash box. A merchandise storage member is supported by the housing and is arranged to latch the cover closed. Locking structure locks the lid in place and also prevents removal of the storage member. Unlocking the locking structure enables removal of the lid to gain access to the storage member and/or enables the storage member to be shifted to unlatch the cover and thereby gain access to the cash box.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 [111 3,804,294
Householder Apr. 16, 1974  BULK MERCHANDISE VENDING MACHINE 1,795,1 17 3/1931 Green 194/85 WITH REMOVABLE CASH BOX AND 2,627,362 2/1953 Balaz 221/154 X SINGLE LOCK Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves  Inventor: Roy M. Householder, Morris, 111. Assistant Examiner Thomas E. Kocovsky  Assignee: The Northwestern Corporation, Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Prangley, Dithmar, Vogel,
Morris, 111. Sandler & Stotland  Filed: Apr. 6, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 348,523  ABSTRACT The machine comprises a housing which is provided with a cover and which contains a removable cash box. A merchandise storage member is supported by the housing and is arranged to latch the cover closed. Locking structure locks the lid in place and also prevents removal of the storage member. Unlocking the locking structure enables removal of the lid to gain ac-  U.S. C1 221/154, 221/265, 221/282  Int. Cl. G07f 11/44  Field of Search 194/1 B, 63, 85; 221/154,
 References Cited cess to the storage member and/or enables the storage UNITED STATES PATENTS member to be shifted to unlatch the cover and thereby 2,696,324 12/1954 Jones 221/282 gain access to the cash box, 1,643,068 9/1927 Grandbois 194/63 1,765,259 6/1930 Cadwell 194/85 Claims, Drawing Figures I l 1 58 i 64 65 I 3 66 l /24 l 4. 1 i
| 94 I 9/ 67 69 w m 1 x 840 so I 3 1 ,1 5 84 752 a/ 93 i 90 I i I 92 I05 I00 3 5 I23 07 i PAIENTED 6W4 3.804.294
sum 3 or 4 BULK MERCHANDISE VENDING MACHINE WITH REMOVABLE CASH BOX AND SINGLE LOCK BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Bulk merchandise vending machines have a housing which supports a merchandise storage member. A wheel is situated in the bottom of the storage member and it receives items of merchandise from the storage member. A mechanism mounted on the housing is actuated in response to a coin of the proper denomination, to rotate the wheel and cause an item or items of merchandise to be dispensed by way of a merchandise chute to the purchaser.
Such machines are of two basic types. In one type, the lid for the merchandise storage member is provided with a lock to prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to the merchandise. A second lock is provided to prevent unauthorized entry to a removable cash box which is located in the housing. The use of two locks is very expensive and also makes day-to-day servicing of the machine moredifficult, that is, filling the merchandise storage member and collecting the cash receipts. A second type of bulk merchandise vending machine utilizes a single lock for the lid to the merchandise storage member. However, such a machine does not have a removable cash box; rather, the housing itself functions as the cash box. Thus, when it is desired to collect the cash receipts, the lid is first unlocked, and then the storage member is taken off the housing. The housing is turned upside down to empty the cash contained therein. This construction has been found to be unsatisfactory as it undesirably requires that the housing be turned upside down to obtain the cash receipts. Normally the housing is semipermanently attached, render-ing difficult collection of cash receipts from this type of machine.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is, therefore, an important object of the present invention to provide a bulk merchandise vending machine having amerchandise storage member and a removable cash box, in which a single lock prevents access both to the merchandise and to the cash box.
Another object is to reduce the cost of making bulk merchandise vending machines by providing same with a single lock to prevent unauthorized entry to both the merchandise and the cash.
Still another object is to provide a bulk merchandis vending machine in which the entire front of the housing is displaceable to accommodate ready access to the housing interior where the cash box is kept.
Yet another object is to provide a bulk merchandise vending machine in which the coin-operated actuating mechanism is readily removable in order to facilitate servicing thereof.
A further object is to provide a bulk merchandise vending machine in which the merchandise storage member need need be removed to gain access to the cash box.
In summary there is provided a bulk merchandise vending machine comprising a housing having an access opening to the interior thereof, a cover movable between opened and closed positions with respect to the access opening, a merchandise storage member having an access opening to the interior thereof and having bottom wall structure seatable on the housing,
a lid movable between opened and closed positions with respect to the access opening of the storage member, said bottom wall structure having means for releasably engaging the cover when the bottom wall structure is seated on the housing, whereby the cover is latched in the closed position thereof when the bottom wall structure is seated on the housing, the bottom wall structure and the storage member carried thereby being shiftable to unlatch the cover to enable it to be moved to the opened position thereof, a removable cash box in the housing for receiving money deposited in the vending machine to dispense merchandise therefrom, and locking structure operatively associated with the lid and the housing and having a locked condition to prevent removal of the lid and to prevent the storage member from being shifted, the locking structure being unlockable to permit removal of the lid and/or to permit the storage member to be shifted to unlatch the cover.
With the foregoing and other objects in view which will appear as the description proceeds, the invention consists of certain novel steps and certain features of construction, and a combination of parts hereinafter fully described, illustrated in the accompanying drawings, and particularly pointed out in the appended claims, it being understood that various changes in the form, proportion, size, and minor details of the structure may be made without departing from the spirit or sacrificing any of the advantages of the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an elevation view of a bulk merchandise vending machine incorporating therein the features of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged view in vertical cross section taken along the line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged view in vertical cross section taken'along the line 33 of FIG. I and specifically illustrating the manner in which the hopper is seated on the front cover;
FIG. 4 is a view in horizontal cross section taken along the line 44 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a view in horizontal cross section taken along the line 55 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is an exploded view of the bulk merchandise vending machine of FIGS. 1 to 5;
FIG.- 7 is a partially schematic, side elevation view of the bulk merchandise vending machine, broken away to expose the lock and the manner in which it is rotated to unlock the same;
FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 7, but with the lock having been removed;
FIG. 9 is a view similar to FIG. 8, but with the storage member having been shifted or pivoted slightly to unlatch the front cover of the housing. enabling such cover to be pivoted as indicated; and
FIG. 10 is a view similar to FIG. 9, but with the front cover in a horizontal position, enabling ready access to the interior of the housing and specifically enabling the cash box contained therein to be withdrawn as indicated, the lid of the storage member having been elevated to indicate that it can be removed to enable the operator to gain access to the merchandise in the storage member.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Turning now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIGS. 1 to 6 thereof, there is illustrated a bulk merchandise vending machine which incorporates the features of the present invention, such machine having been designated generally by the numeral 20. The vending machine comprises a housing which is made up of two elements in the embodiment illustrated. First, the housing 30 comprises a base 31 which has a bottom wall 33 that is generally square in outline and has along each edge thereof an upstanding flange 32. The base 31 may be constructed of sheet metal. As a second element of the housing 30, there is provided a piece of sheet metal bent to form a back wall 34 and a pair of forwardly directed side walls 35, the front of each side wall 35 terminating in an inwardly offset portion 35a. The bottoms of the walls 34- and 35 are secured, as by welding. to the corresponding flanges 32 of the base 31. Thus the housing 30 is open at the fron thereof to permit access to its interior.
To close the front opening in the housing 30, there is provided a front cover 40 which includes a front wall 41 generally matching in size the front opening in the housing 30. Along each side of the front wall 41 is a pair of diverging flanges defining a V-shaped channel 42 therebetween. As is best seen in FIG. 2, a pair of hinges 43 is mounted on the inside bottom of the front wall 41, respectively adjacent the corners thereof. Each hinge 43 has a hook 44 which has the appearance of an inverted 7 terminating in an attachment flange 45. The attachment flange 45 is secured, by means of screws 45a, to the adjacent portion of the front wall 41 at a suitably formed shoulder thereon. The front wall 41 has an opening extending downwardly from its top edge 47, defined by a pair of sides or rails 46 (FIG. 6), such opening being laterally centered. The opening has a width approximately one-third of the overall width of the front wall41. The top edge 47 of the front wall 41 has a pair of keepers 48 each provided with a V-shaped channel 49.
A mechandise chute 50 is secured to the front wall 41 in an open area immediately beneath the opening defined by the rails 46. In the form shown. the chute 50 is integral with the wall 41, although that is not necessary and it can be a separate member which is secured in a suitable fashion. The chute 50 has an upwardly curved bottom wall 51 which merges at its rear into downwardly curved top edges 52. The top edges 53 at the front of the chute 50 is offset, as indicated. to receive an L-shaped chute cover 54 secured to the chute 50 by means of attachment flanges 55. Formed in the top edges 52 in general alignment with the rails 46 are slots 56. A chute door 57 has a rod extending along its top. the end of the rod defining pinions 58 which are journaled into the slots 56 enabling the door 57 to be pivoted between opened and closed positions.
The vending machine 20 also comprises a container or storage member 60 which includes a set of four posts 61, each of which posts has a laterally-rounded outer 4 surface and a pair of longitudinally arranged channels 62 which are perpendicular to each other. A hole 63 extends longitudinally into each end of each post 61. Two transparent side panels 64 have lengths slightly greater than the lengths of the posts 61 and have a thickness to frictionally engage in the channels 62. One panel 64 is secured between two posts 61, as indicated, and the second side panel 64 is secured between the remaining posts 61. A front panel 65, which is also transparent and similar in construction to the panels 64, frictionally engages in the remaining channels 62 in the two front posts 61. A back panel similar to the front panel 65 may be provided and mounted in the remaining channels 62 in the rear posts 61. However, in the specific embodiment illustrated, an enlarger member 66 is provided to enlarge the volume of the storage member 60. The enlarger member 66 is constructed of a transparent material similar to the material used in constructing the panels 64 and 65. The member 66 has a generally rectangular rear wall 68 which carries four diverging side walls 67, such side walls terminating in coplanar flanges 69. The flanges 69 along the sides of the member 66 frictionally engage in the remaining channels 62 in the two rear posts 61.
The storage member also includes an upper frame member 70 which is generally rectangular in configuration and has at each corner a laterally extending lip through which is a hole 71. A rectangular channel is formed in the bottom of the upper frame member 70, as is best seen in FIG. 2, to receive the upper edges of the side panels 64, the front panel and the enlarger member 66. The holes 71 are aligned respectively with the holes 63 in the tops of the four posts 61, through which aligned holes a fastener is passes to secure the upper frame member to the posts 61.
The vending machine 20 further comprises a lid 75 for the storage member 60, which lid includes an inclined, long main wall 76 (FIG. 2), and a short front wall 77 also inclined. A skirt 78 depends from the walls 76 and 77, around the entire lid 75. When it is desired to close the storage member 60, the lid 75 is positioned, so that the skirt 78 is disposed against the sides of the upper frame members 70 to conceal the same. A hole 79 is provided approximately centrally in the main wall 76, the main all 76 being recessed in the region of the hole 79.
The storage member 60 is provide with a hopper or bottom wall structure 80, which includes a cylindrical side wall 81 terminating in a bottom wall 82. On the outer end of the cylindrical side wall 81 there is provided a rectangular mounting frame 83. A channel 84, with diverging side walls, is formed in the bottom of the mounting frame 83, along all four sides thereof, except for an area in the front in which a slot 840 is provided. In the top of the mounting frame 83 there is provided four channels 85 which respectively frictionally receive the bottom edges of the panels 64 and 65 and the member 66. Four holes 85a are respectively provided in the corners of the frame 83 and are respectively aligned with the corresponding holes in the bottoms of the posts 61, through which aligned holes pass fasteners to secure the bottom wall structure to the rest of the storage member 60. Depending from the bottom wall 82, at the center thereof, is a projection 86, a bore extending through the projection 86 and through the bottom wall 82. Depending from the bottom wall 82, between the projection 86 and the slot 84a, is a chute 87 which is generally rectangular in transverse cross section. The curvature of the bottom of the chute 87 substantially matches the curvature of the top of the chute 50, as is best seen in FIGS. 2 and 6. The bottom of the cylindrical wall 81 has formed in the front thereof a slot 88, for reasons to be explained shortly.
The bottom wall structure 80 is supported by the housing 30. Specifically, the channel 84 at the rear of the mounting frame 83 loosely receives the top edge of the back wall 34, as is best seen in FIG. 2. The channels 84 in the sides of the mounting frame 83 loosely receive the top edges respectively of the side walls 35. The channel 84, in the portion of the mounting frame 83 at the front of the vending machine 20, interengages with the channels 49 formed in the keepers 48 on the top of the front cover 40, as is best seen in FIG. 3. Thus, when the mounting frame 83 is seated on the housing 30, the front cover 40 is not movable. However, if the storage member 60 is shifted or pivoted about the top edge of the back wall 34 of the housing 30 until the front of the mounting frame 83 disengages the keepers 48 on the front cover 40, the front cover 40 becomes unlatched and may be pivoted clockwise, as viewed in FIG. 2. While the cover 40 is being so opened, the hooks 44 provide a loose connection to the base 31. The flange 32 at the front of the base 31 is encompassed by the hook 44, as the cover 40 is being pivoted downwardly. However, if desired, after being pivoted downwardly, the cover 40 may be removed by simply raising it straight up to disengage the hooks 44 from the associated flange 32. Thus, the loose interconnection between the hooks 44 and the base 31 insures that the cover 40 will not become separated from the housing 30 unintentionally, but can be removed quite easily, if desired.
A cylindrical merchandise wheel 90 is sized to fit into the cavity defined by the cylindrical side wall 81 and the bottom wall 82 of the bottom wall structure 80. A set of four equiangularly spaced pockets 91 is provided in the wheel 90. A multiplicity of slots 92 is provided around the bottom of the merchandise wheel 90. In the central core 93 of the merchandise wheel 90, there is provided a bore extending longitudinally therethrough, in which bore there is mounted a bearing 94. The bore in the bearing 94 is aligned with the bore in the projection 86 on the bottom wall 82 of the bottom wall structure 80.
Merchandise in the storage member 60 gravitates into the pockets 91 of the merchandise wheel 90. As the wheel 90 is rotated, one of the pockets 91 registers with the chute 87, whereupon the item or items of merchandise in that pocket 91 will drop through the chute 87 and through the chute 50 to the door 57. The door 57 can be opened, as previously explained. to withdraw the item or items of merchandise.
The vending machine further comprises a coinoperated actuating mechanism 100 which has a front plate 101 and a back plate 102. The back plate 102 is notched, as is illustrated in FIG. 5, to define a pair of parallel channels 102a on the sides of the actuating mechanism 100. Formed centralPy in the front plate 101 adjacent to the top thereof is a coin slot 103 which is constructed to receive a coin of specific denomination. A forwardly protruding boss 104 in the approximate center of the front plate 101 has a bore extending therethrough, through which is journaled a shaft 106 carrying a handle 105 at the forward end thereof. A
gear 107 is secured to the rear of the shaft by means of a screw 108. When a coin of the correct denomination is deposited in the slot 103, the handle 105 will be rotatable to rotate the gear 107. Without such coin, the handle 105 cannot be rotated. Further details as to the construction of the coin-operated actuating mechanism 100 are not believed to be necessary to an understanding of the instant invention and, therefore, further details will not be furnished. It is to be understood, however, that there is substantial additional structure to accomplish the basic mode of operation described, and, in addition, some slug rejection capability is usually furnished. For an exemplary such actuating mechanism, reference may be had to US. Pat. No. 3,604,547 which is assigned to the assignee of the instant application.
The coin-operated actuating mechanism is removably mounted on the front cover 40. This is accomplished by aligning the channels 100a respectively with the tops of the rails 46, and then sliding the mechanism 100 down toward the chute 50. When the actuating mechanism 100 abuts the edges 53, the thumbscrew 109 is tightened to lock the actuating mechanism 100 in place. The slots 92 on the merchandise wheel receive the teeth of the gear 107 through the slot 88 in the bottom wall structure 80. Insertion of a coin of the proper denomination into the coin-operated actuating mechanism enables the handle to be turned, usually one revolution, to rotate the gear 107 a corresponding amount, thereby rotating the merchandise wheel 90, as previously described, to dispense an item or items of merchandise. Y
The coin will be ejected from the actuating mechanism 100 into a cash box 110. The cash box 110 occupies substantially the entire bottom of the housing 30 and conforms substantially to the shape thereof. An elongated depression 111 is formed in the bottom front of the cash box 110 in order to clear the hinges 43. The cash box 110 is provided with an insert 112 which conforms substantially to' the shape of the chute 50. The insert 112 has a pair of side walls 1 13 and a curved connecting wall 114 which matches the curvature of the bottom wall 51 of the chute 50. The insert 112 is connected to the front wall of the cash box 110 by means of rivets 115 (see FIG. 2). When the cash box 110 is in position in the housing 30, as is illustrated in FIG. 2, and the front cover 40 is closed, the bottom wall 51 of the chute 50 is disposed adjacent to and slightly spaced from the curved connecting wall 114 of the insert 112. The insert 112 insures a continuous side wall for the cash box 1 10 so that it can be filled with cash which will not spill out when the cash box is removed.
Finally, the merchandise vending machine 20 comprises a locking structure 120, which includes a bracket 121 having flanges 122 respectively at the ends thereof which are secured, as by welding, to the side walls 35 of the housing 30. An interiorly threaded member 123 is mounted on the bracket 121. A rod 124 is threaded at its ends, one end being threadably engaged in the threaded member 123, the other end of the rod 124 being disposed adjacent to the top of the storage member 60. A cylindrical lock 125 passes through the hole 79 in the lid 75 and is threaded onto the adjacent end of the rod 124. A key 126 (FIG. 7) is insertable in the lock 125 to enable it to be rotated clockwise or counterclockwise respectively to lock and unlock the locking structure 120. When the locking structure is locked, the lid 75 cannot be removed from the storage member 60, nor can the storage member 60 be shifted. The latter feature prevents the front cover 40 from being opened and thereby prevents unauthorized entry into the interior of the housing 30 and the cash box 110 contained therein.
Turning now to FIGS. 7 to 10, the details of the manner of use of the bulk merchandise vending machine will be described. First, FIG. 7 shows the locking structure 120 in the locked condition thereof, so that the lid 75 is locked onto the storage member 60 to prevent entry into the interior of the storage member 60. Also, the locking structure 120, in the locked condition thereof, prevents moving or shifting of the storage member 60, so that the cover 40 cannot be opened. Thus, a single lock 125 is used to prevent entry into the storage member 60 and entry to the cash box 110. To unlock the locking structure 120, the key 126 is inserted into the lock 125, whereupon the lock 125 can be rotated, as illustrated in FIG. 8. Now the storage member 60 can be moved or shifted. Specifically, as illustrated in FIG. 9, the storage member 60 is pivoted counterclockwise about the top edge of the back wall 34 of the housing 30, as illustrated by the arrow. This causes the bottom wall structure 8010 disengage from the front cover 40, thereby unlatching it. The front cover 40 is then pivoted clockwise as illustrated in FIG. 9. The storage member 60 may then be released so as again to seat on the housing 30, as illustrated in FIG. 10. The front cover 40 is then pivoted to a horizontal position whereupon the entire interior of the housing 30 is accessable, and the cash box 110 can be removed to collect the cash receipts.
The cash box 110 is then reinserted in the housing 30 to rest on the base 31. The cover 40 is the pivoted counterclockwise to bring it to the position illustrated in FIG. 9. The storage member 60 is pivoted counterclockwise about the top edge of the back wall 34 to enable the cover 40 to be closed. The storage member 60 is released, whereupon the bottom wall structure 80 will latch the cover 40 closed. When the lock 125 is thereafter applied, the storage member 60 will be locked in position to prevent opening of the cover 40.
When the lock 125 has been removed, the lid 75 may be taken off to expose the interior of the storage member 60 for filling the same. Thus, the lock 125 can be removed to enable the operator independently to gain access to the storage member 60 or to the cash box 1 10.
If desired, the entire storage member 60 may be taken off by simply unlocking the locking structure 120, as previously described, and then lifting the storage member 60 completely off the housing 30.
The instant construction facilitates servicing of the coin-operated actuating mechanism 100. The locking structure 120 is unlocked. and the storage member 60 is tilted rearwardly to enable the cover 40 to be pivoted to its opened position. The thumbscrew 109 is rotated to disengage it from the front cover 40, to enable the mechanism 100 to be slid off the front cover 40 along the rails 46. After the mechanism 100 has been serviced, the above steps can be reversed to remount the mechanism 100.
The particular construction described above enables full use of the interior of the housing 30. Because the rod 124 extends only part way down into the housing 30, the entire bottom half thereof is available for a cash box of comparable size.
It is believed that the invention, its mode of construction and assembly, and many of its advantages should be readily understood from the foregoing without further description, and it should also be manifest that, while a preferred embodiment of the invention has been shown and described for illustrative purposes, the structural details are, nevertheless, capable of wide variation within the purview of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
l. A bulk merchandise vending machine comprising a housing having a base and two upstanding side walls on said base and an upstanding rear wall on said base, the front of said housing being open and defining an access opening to the interior thereof, a cover arranged for pivotal movement with respect to said base between opened and closed positions with respect to said access opening, a merchandise chute on said cover and extending upwardly and rearwardly therefrom, a merchandise storage member having an access opening to the interior thereof and having bottom wall structure, a lid movable between opened and closed positions with respect to the access opening of said storage member, said bottom wall structure including a substantially rectangular frame seatable on the walls of said housing and means on the inside of said frame defining a cylindrical cavity, said cavity defining means having an opening therein which communicates with the inner end of said merchandise chute, said frame having means for releasably engaging the outer end of said cover when said frame is seated on the walls of said housing, whereby said cover is latched in the closed position thereof when said frame is seated on the walls of said housing, said bottom wall structure and the storage member carried thereby being shiftable to unlatch said cover to enable it to be pivoted to the opened position thereof, a merchandise wheel in said cavity and being rotatable therein to dispense merchandise from said storage member and through the opening in said cavity defining means and out of said vending machine by way of said chute, a money-operated actuating mechanism mounted on said cover and operatively connected to said merchandise wheel for rotation thereof when a money of predetermined denomination is deposited in said mechanism, a removable cash box in said housing for receiving money that passes through said moneyoperated actuating mechanism, and locking structure operatively associated with said lid and said housing and having a locked condition to prevent removal of said lid and to prevent said storage member from being shifted, said locking structure being unlockable to permit removal of said lid and to permit said storage member to be shifted to unlatch said cover.
2. The bulk merchandise vending machine set forth in claim 1, and further comprising a further merchandise chute depending from said cavity defining means and communicating with said opening therein, said further merchandise chute communicating with the merchandise chute on said cover in the closed position thereof.
3. The bulk merchandise vending machine set forth in claim I, wherein said money-operated actuating mechanism is slidably movable into said front cover through the outer end thereof, whereby said bottom wall structure prevents removal of said coin-operated cover is in the closed position thereof.
5. The bulk merchandise vending machine set forth in claim 1, wherein said merchandise chute is integral with said front cover.