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Publication numberUS3838619 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 1, 1974
Filing dateAug 11, 1972
Priority dateAug 11, 1972
Publication numberUS 3838619 A, US 3838619A, US-A-3838619, US3838619 A, US3838619A
InventorsBrotman M, High C
Original AssigneeMorley Studios
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Key chain dispensing apparatus
US 3838619 A
Abstract
A key chain dispensing apparatus for dispensing key chains of the type having a plurality of ball and pin links and an interconnecting link. A plurality of such key chains are serially interconnected and wound onto a supply spool. The spool is rotatably mounted in a support structure. A metering wheel engages the free end of the interconnected chains from the supply spool. The metering wheel has peripheral teeth which correspond at least in part to the connecting links in the interconnected chains. Each of the key chains are of equal length, i.e., they contain the same number of ball and pin links. A hand-actuated lever operates a pawl which rotates a rachet wheel connected to the metering wheel. The metering wheel is rotatably mounted on the support structure. The interconnected chains pass over the metering wheel and gravitate therefrom into a tapered, funnel-like guide. The guide has a movable door mounted on its bottom. The handoperated lever will partially close this door as a length of key chain is metered out such that ball and pin links will pass through an aperture in the door, but the connecting link will be retained above the door. A knife blade, sequentially actuated after the door closes, severs the pin between the ball and pin links adjacent a connecting link to dispense a single key chain from the apparatus. The knife blade is also actuated by the handoperated lever. An idler wheel, also rotatably mounted in the support structure, has a resilient peripheral surface which engages the metering wheel and the interconnected chains adjacent and above the point where they gravitate from the metering wheel to insure that the chain remains in engagement with the metering wheel.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Brotman et al.

1 Oct. 1, 1974 1 1 KEY CHAIN DISPENSING APPARATUS [75] Inventors: Morley Brotman, Tacoma; Cliff R.

High, Seattle, both of Wash.

Primary Examiner-J. M. Meister Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Christensen, OConnor, Garrison & l-lavelka 57 ABSTRACT A key chain dispensing apparatus for dispensing key chains of the type having a plurality of ball and pin links and an interconnecting link. A plurality of such key chains are serially interconnected and wound onto a supply spool. The spool is rotatably mounted in a support structure. A metering wheel engages the free end of the interconnected chains from the supply spool. The metering wheel has peripheral teeth which correspond at least in part to the connecting links in the interconnected chains. Each of the key chains are of equal length, i.e., they contain the same number of ball and pin links. A hand-actuated lever operates a pawl which rotates a rachet wheel connected to the metering wheel. The metering wheel is rotatably I mounted on the support structure. The interconnected chains pass over the metering wheel and gravitate therefrom into a tapered, funnel-like guide. The guide has a movable door mounted on its bottom. The handoperated lever will partially close this door as a length of key chain is metered out such that ball and pin links will pass through an aperture in the door, but the connecting link will be retained above the door. A knife blade, sequentially actuated after the door closes, severs the pin between the ball and pin links adjacent a connecting link to dispense a single key chain from the apparatus. The knife blade is also actuated by the handoperated lever. An idler wheel, also rotatably mounted in the support structure, has a resilient peripheral surface which engages the metering wheel and the interconnected chains adjacent and above the point where they gravitate from the metering wheel to insure that the chain remains in engagement with the metering wheel.

9 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PAIENIED on 11914 O o I 1 KEY CHAIN DISPENSING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a chain dispensing apparatus and more particularly to an apparatus which meters a predetermined length of chain from a supply roll of a plurality of serially interconnected chains.

Objects of the present invention are to provide an apparatus which will consistently and efficiently dispense lengths of chain from a supply container; an apparatus that is manually operated without external source of power; an apparatus when once threaded will operate without jamming or other operational defect; an apparatus which will dispense a predetermined length of chain corresponding to a single key chain from a supply roll of serially interconnected key chains; a device which will automatically sever a single key chain from the serially interconnected chains after the apparatus has metered out a predetermined length of such chains; and an apparatus in which a predetermined length of chain is dispensed, is stopped at a predetermined location, and is severed at a predetermined location by a single stroke of a hand-actuated lever.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides an apparatus for dispensing key chains from a supply container holding a plurality of serially interconnected key chains. Each of the key chains includes a length of ball and pin links and a releasable coupling link, the latterof which has a width slightly greater than the diameter of the ball links. The apparatus comprises a support structure, including means for holding the supply container. A metering means on the structure engages the serially interconnected chains from the container and pays out a predetermined length of the'chains past a dispensing location. A severing means located adjacent the dispensing location severs at least one chain from the interconnected chains after the predetermined length of chain is payed past the dispensing location. Both the metering means and the severing are manually operated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A better understanding of the present invention can be acquired by reading and ensuing specification in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a pictorial elevation view in partial crosssection of the key chain dispensing apparatus of the present invention,

FIG. 2 is an enlarged pictorial elevation view in partial cross-section of the chain stop means and the severing means employed in a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is across-sectional view taken along section 3-3 of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along section line 4-4 of FIG. 2.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to FIG. 1, the key chain dispensing apparatus generally designated 10 includes a base plate 12 and supporting framework 14. A trough 16 is mounted on the framework 14 and supports a standard 18. A spool 20 is removably androtatably mounted by shaft 17 on the standard 18. The spool 20 contains a length of serially interconnected key chains 22 of the conventional type. Such conventional key chains comprise a plurality of ball and pin links 24 which are of a predetermined length. Each of these predetermined lengths is interconnected by a connecting link 26.

A metering gear wheel 28 is rotatably mounted by shaft 30 on a standard 32 in turn mounted on the framework 14. The metering wheel 28 has a plurality of ball engaging teeth spaced around its periphery. The number of teeth 34 correspond to the number of balls 24 (minus the two in connecting links at each end) in,

the key chains 22. Spaced a predetermined distance apart on the periphery of the wheel 28 are teeth 36 which are sized for engagement with the connecting links 26. In the preferred embodiment the metering wheel 28 is sized so that the periphery thereof will accommodate five such connecting link engaging teeth 36. As can be seen, the serially interconnected chains 22 engage the right hand portion of the metering wheel 28 and are drawn over the top of 28 and gravitate from the wheel 28 at the location designated 38.

An idler wheel 40 is rotatably mounted on a shaft 42 on a standard 44 in turn mounted on the framework 14. The idler wheel 40 has a periphery 46 composed of a resilient material, such as a natural or synthetic rubber. The periphery 46 of the idler wheel 40 engages the interconnected links at or slightly above the location 38 where the chain 22 gravitates from the metering wheel 28. The idler wheel 40 insures that the seriallyinterconnected chains 22 remain in engagement at all times with the metering wheel 28.

From the metering wheel 28 the serially interconnected chains 22 gravitate into a tapered guide 48, which can be in the shape of a funnel. The tapered guide 48 directs the serially interconnected chain 22 toward a dispensing location generally designated 50. The bottom of the tapered guide 48 contains a door 52 which can be opened and closed to engage or retain a connecting link 26 adjacent the dispensing location. An opening is provided in the door 52 between the bottom of the door 52 and the bottom of the guide 48. This opening is sized such that when the door 52 is in a closed position the ball and pin links 24 can pass through the opening while movement of the connecting link through the opening is impeded or stopped.

A rachet wheel 54 is affixed to the metering wheel 28. A rachet 56 also mounted on standard 32 and spring biased by coil springs 58 engages the teeth of the rachet wheel 54 to insure that the rachet wheel 54 will rotate only in the direction of arrow 60. A pawl 62 engages the teeth of rachet wheel 54. The pawl 62 is connected to linkage arm 63 which is in turn pivotally connected by pin 64 to a hand-actuated lever arm 66. Lever arm 66 is pivotally attached by pin '65 to a standard 68 in turn mounted on the base 12 of the apparatus 10. v

The apparatus is shown in solid outline in an operational position immediately after a single key chain 22' has been dispensed, i.e., severed from the serially interconnected chains in the machine. In operation the lever arm 66 is pushed in the direction of arrow 70 to the location 72 shown in dotted outline. This movement of lever arm 66 will move the pawl 62 to location 74 shown in dotted outline. Thereafter the lever arm 66 is The stroke of the pawl 62 is fixed such that the metering wheel 28 will rotate through a predetermined arc corresponding to the length of one of the key chains 22 in the serially interconnected length of chains. Thus a single key chain, including the ball and pin links 24 and a single connecting link 26 passes past the dispensing location as the lever arm 66 is moved to the position shown in solid lines. As this occurs, the closing mechanism actuates the door 52 to retain a connecting link 26. At the same time a third linkage arm 82 engages a knife blade 84 and moves it from the position shown in dotted outline to that shown in solid lines. The knife blade 84 is translated in the direction indicated by arrow 86 such that it passes under the connecting link 26 and severs the single key chain 22 from the connecting link 26. Severing occurs through the pin connecting the uppermost ball of the single chain 22' to another ball retained in the connecting link 26. Thus the single key chain 22' gravitates and is dispensed through a dispensing chute 88 for use by a consumer.

FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 will be referred to collectively. These figures illustrate a door closing and opening mechanism as well as a cutting mechanism utilized in a preferred embodiment of the invention. As shown, a two-piece door mechanism 52 is attached to the bottom of the tapered guide 48. The door mechanism 52 includes a left-hand door 90 and a right-hand door 92. Each of these doors is connected by a hinge 94 to the tapered guide 48. Each door 90 and 92 contains an inwardly tapered portion 96 and 98, respectively, each of which has an aperture and 102. Apertures 100 and 102 cooperate to form a substantially circular opening. The inwardly tapering portions 96 and 98 are also contoured such that a length of chain entering the region between the doors 90 and 92 will be directed toward the opening formed by apertures 100 and 102. The distance D between the edges of the opening formed by apertures 100 and 102 is such that it is slightly larger than the diameter D" of a ball link in the chains and is sized such that it is slightly smaller than the diameter D of a connecting link in one of the chains.

As the linkage arm 76, pivotally connected by pin 78 to arm 66, is advanced in the direction of arrow 104, a first arm 1016 affixed to linkage arm 76 engages the left-hand door 90. An extension 108 of arm 76 engages a pivoting am 110, pivotally connected by a pin 111 to the framework 14, to pivot in the direction of arrows 112 to engage door 92. Thus the doors 90 and 92 will be closed upon each other leaving the opening formed by apertures 100 and 102. Thus, ball and pin links from gravitating chains 22 can pass through the aperture, but will only pass as far as the next connecting link 26 since it will be retained by the doors 90 and 92. As this occurs the linkage arm 82 will be advanced in the direction of arrow 114 to drive a knife blade 116 in the same direction. An extension 118 of arm 82 engages a pivoting arm 120 pivotally connected to the base 12 by pin 122. As the arm 118 engages the arm 120, it will be rotated in the direction of arrow 124. As it so rotates it will engage a second knife blade 126 which will advance in the direction opposite to knife blade 116. As the cutting surfaces of the two blades intersect, they will sever the pin 126 linking the uppermost ball of chain 22' with the ball 22" held by the connecting link 26. Thus a single length of key chain 22 will be dispensed as described in conjunction with FIG. 1.

As the lever 66 (FIG. 1) is returned to location 72 (shown in dotted outline) the linkage arms 76 and 82 will be retracted in a direction opposite from arrows 104 and 114 (FIG. 2). As this occurs, coil springs 130 and 132 connected in tension between doors 90 and 92 and framework 14 will open the doors 90 and 92 so that the link 26 can pass through so that the next length of key chain can be dispensed. Likewise, coil springs 134 and 136 (FIG. 4) will retract the knife blades in a direction opposite to arrows l 14 and 124. Thus the machine is ready to dispense a second key chain from the continuous length of serially interconnected chains.

The present invention has been described in relation to a preferred embodiment. It is to be understood that one of ordinary skill in the art, after reading the foregoing specification, will be able to effect various changes,

alterations and substitutions of equivalents without departing from the original concept of the invention. It is therefore intended that the present invention be limited only by the definition contained in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for dispensing key chains from a supply container holding a plurality of serially interconnected key chains, each of the key chains including a predetermined length of interconnected ball and pin links and a releasable coupling link, said coupling link having a width slightly greater than the diameter of a ball link, said apparatus comprising:

a support structure including means for holding a supply container,

a metering wheel mounted for rotation on said support structure having a plurality of spaced, coupling link engaging teeth being at a predetermined spacing corresponding to the spacing of said coupling links in said interconnected chains, the distance between said coupling link engaging teeth prescribing a predetermined arc, said wheel positioned to receive a length of chain from supply container, to positively engage said interconnected chains over a portion of said periphery, and to allow said chains to gravitate therefrom, lever movably mounted on said support structure,

rachet wheel connected to said metering wheel, first link movably connected to said lever,

pawl affixed to said first link and engaging said rachet wheel, the stroke of said pawl being proportional to the length of at least one of said key an idler wheel having a resilient periphery thereon mounted for rotation on said support structure, said periphery of said idler wheel engaging the periphery of said metering wheel above the point where said interconnected chains gravitate from said metering wheel to hold said chains in said teeth on said metering wheel.

2. An apparatus for dispensing key chains from a supply container holding a plurality of serially interconnected key chains, each of said key chains including a predetermined length of ball and pin links and a releasable coupling link, said coupling link having a width 5 slightly greater than the diameter of said ball links, said apparatus comprising:

a support structure including means for holding said supply container,

metering means on said structure engaging said serially interconnected chains from said supply container for paying out a predetermined length of said interconnected chains past a dispensing location, said metering means including a metering wheel mounted for rotation on said support structure and having a plurality of teeth on the periphery thereof for engaging said serially interconnected key chains, advancing said key chains from said supply container, and allowing said key chains to gravitate therefrom to a dispensing location, said wheel being capable of being advanced through a predetermined arc corresponding to the length of at least one of said key chains,

severing means on said structure located adjacent said dispensing location for severing at least one of said chains from said interconnected chains,

manually actuated means on said structure for sequentially actuating said metering means and said severing means, and

movable stop means mounted on said structure adjacent to said dispensing location defining a variable size aperture therein, said stop means so constructed to open said aperture as at least one of said coupling links is advanced therethrough by said wheel and thereafter to close said aperture to impede gravitation of a predetermined coupling link while allowing the ball and pin links gravitating from said predetennined coupling link to pass through said aperture, said stop means being sequentially actuated by said manually actuated means.

I 3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said supply container is a spool capable of having rolled thereon a plurality of said interconnected chains.

4. The apparatus of claim 2 further comprising:

a chain guide means positioned below the portion of said wheel from which said interconnected chains gravitate for directing said chain toward said dispensing location.

5. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said severing means comprises a translatable cutting blade and cooperating cutting surface positioned on said structure below said stop means, said blade being mounted for translational movement across the path of gravitation of said interconnected chains.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the translational movement of said cutting blade is actuated by said manually actuated means for sequential operation subsequent to the closing of said aperture on said stop means.

7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein said manually actuated means comprises a lever pivotally mounted on said support structure, a first link pivotally mounted on said lever and operatively connected to actuate said stop means, and a second link operatively connecting said lever to actuate said cutting blade.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein said metering means and said manually actuated means further comprise:

a ratchet wheel connected to said metering wheel,

a pawl affixed to said first link and engaging said ratchet wheel at the other end, the stroke of said pawl being proportional to said predetermined arc.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said metering means further comprises:

an idler wheel having a resilient periphery thereon and mounted for rotation on said support structure, said resilient periphery engaging the periphery of said metering wheel above the point where said 'interconnected chains gravitate from said metering wheel to hold said chains in said teeth on said metering wheel.

1 (Juli l [1' [LA I. I. (H! LUIHULL l. JUN

Patent No. 3,838,619 Dated October 1-. 1974 Invent0r( Br-Qtman efa] It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent -and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Line 3 ,of the cover page, after "Seattle", delete "both of Wash." and insert therefor -and Wesley R. Wagner, Seattle, all of Wash.--'

Clai m2, line 16, delete "a plurality of teeth", and insert, --means--; line 28, delete "actuating", and

insert --o perating--; line 40, delete the first occurrence of "actuated", and insert --operated- Claim 9 lines 1 and 2, after the word "said" and before the word "metering", insert ---means on the periphery of said metering wheel comprises:

a plurality of teeth for engaging said serially interconnected key chains; and wherein said-.; line 4,

after the word "and" and before the word "mounted", insert --being-. I

Signed and sealed this 141;] giay of January 1975.

"(sum Attest:

McCOY M. mason JR.., c. MARSHALL 1mm Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US661130 *Dec 23, 1899Nov 6, 1900Harry W PapeVending-machine.
US724187 *Apr 19, 1902Mar 31, 1903James A JoyceVending-machine.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4009627 *Nov 3, 1975Mar 1, 1977Morley BrotmanDevice for dispensing portions of a chain
US4041814 *Sep 16, 1976Aug 16, 1977Morley BrotmanMethod and device for dispensing portions of a chain
US4270424 *Sep 4, 1979Jun 2, 1981Western Electric Company, Inc.Method and apparatus for cutting and racking lead frame strips of boxed capacitors
US4619165 *Jan 3, 1985Oct 28, 1986Peter RenzApparatus for cutting off pieces from wire comb binding material
US5411445 *Mar 24, 1993May 2, 1995Yoshida Kogyo K.K.Ball chain and splicing means therefor
US5699709 *Oct 14, 1994Dec 23, 1997Robert Bosch GmbhDevice for severing packing strips having blisters from a continuous film
US5893310 *Oct 9, 1996Apr 13, 1999Mitsuboshi Belting Ltd.Method and apparatus for cutting a rubber sheet material used to form power transmission belts
EP0565379A1 *Apr 8, 1993Oct 13, 1993Ykk CorporationBall chain and splicing means therefor
Classifications
U.S. Classification83/205, 83/391, 83/268, 83/423, 83/278
International ClassificationB21L11/00, B26D5/40, B26D5/38, B21L11/12, B21L19/00
Cooperative ClassificationB26D5/40, B21L19/00, B21L11/12
European ClassificationB21L11/12, B26D5/40, B21L19/00