US 3887106 A
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United States Patent Charlson et al.
[ 1 June 3, 1975 TICKET CARTRIDGE AND HOPPER AND STACKER THEREFOR  Inventors: Paul Marlin Charlson; Charles Donald Green; William John Harris, all of Rochester, Minn.; Keith Erwin Inman, Leander, Tex.
1731 Assignee: International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, NY.
 Filed: Nov. 7, 1973 ] Appl. No.: 413,749
 US. Cl. 221/197; 221/259; 271/118; 271/212; 312/42; 206/39  Int. Cl B65h 1/06  Field of Search 221/277, 259, 197, 198; 271/118, 123-126; 312/35, 42; 206/39, 40.5
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 6/1928 Olsen 312/42 X 11/1957 Jenkins 206/39 11/1964 Bua 221/197 2/1966 Rosenberg 312/42 5/1970 Ostwald 271/118 3,674,175 7/1972 Jaquish 312/42 Primary Examiner-A11en N. Knowles Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Keith '1. Bleuer 5 7 ABSTRACT A cartridge for merchandise tickets or the like having a slot in its bottom at a ticket entrance end of the cartridge into which the tickets may be fed individually and having a slot in an opposite ticket discharge end and adjacent the bottom through which individual tickets may be fed out of the cartridge. The cartridge may be placed into a hopper having a feed roll movable upwardly so as to frictionally engage the lowermost ticket in the cartridge for feeding the ticket out of the cartridge; and the cartridge may be placed into a stacker having feed rolls for. moving a ticket through the slot in the bottom of the cartridge, with a feed roll being frictionally engagable with the ticket for moving it completely into the cartridge. A single switch is closed by the cartridge in the stacker so as to condition an associated machine for operation, and this switch is also actuated by a block on the top of a stack of tickets in the cartridge so as to open the switch when the cartridge is full for disabling the machine.
6 Claims, 16 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJIJM 3 ms SHEET FlG. i3
SEZEEI FIG. 10
SHEET FIG. 15
CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATION The cartridge. hopper and stacker disclosed herein may be used as parts of the machine for processing merchandising tickets disclosed and claimed in the US patent application of L. L. Amunclson, W. E. Beuch. C. D. Green, and W. J. Harris, Ser. No. 371,3l9, filed June 18. 1973, now US. Pat. No. 3.851457 issued Dec. 17, 1974.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to merchandising tickets and particularly to a cartridge for receiving and for dispensing these tickets, together with a hopper and a stacker with which the cartridge may be used.
It has previously been customary for a cashier in a retail store to obtain price information from merchandising tickets attached to articles for sale by simply reading the price printed on the merchandising tickets and then keying the price information onto a cash register. This mode of operating is relatively slow and effort consuming, and it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved means whereby price and other information may be magnetically encoded on merchandising tickets and whereby these tickets may be expeditiously collected and stored.
More particularly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved cartridge for receiving such merchandising tickets either deposited therein manually of from a magnetic encoding or reading machine and for dispensing such tickets.
The improved cartridge of the invention has a ticket discharge end by means of which the machine may sequentially discharge tickets from the bottom of the cartridge into the machine for subsequent encoding or reading and has a ticket entrance end opposite the ticket discharge end whereby the tickets after having been read or encoded may be moved sequentially into the bottom of the cartridge. The tickets move into and out of the cartridge in the same direction; and, therefore, the cartridge may be used in either a hopper position in the machine or a stacker position in the machine.
It is also an object of the invention to provide improved switch means in the stacker position of the machine utilizing only a single switch for both sensing when the cartridge is in proper position in the stacker as well as for sensing when the cartridge is full at this position.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of a merchandising ticket used by the cartridge of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a strip of the merchandising tickets;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the cartridge of the invention, with a cover of the cartridge being shown in its lowermost position;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the cartridge, with the cover illustrated in raised position;
FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the cartridge, with the cover and other parts thereof being shown separated from the main casing of the cartridge;
FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the cartridge;
2 FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken on line 7-7 of FIG.
FIG. 8 is a perspective bottom view of the cartridge; FIG. 9 is an end elevational view of the bottom por- 5 tion of the cartridge, showing a merchandising ticket being pressed into the cartridge;
FIG. 10 is a front elevational view of stacker mechanism in which the cartridge of the invention may be used;
FIG. 11 is a fragmentary top view of a portion of the stacker mechanism;
FIG. 12 is a sectional view taken on line l2l2 of FIG. 10;
FIG. 13 is a perspective view of hopper mechanism with which the cartridge may be used;
FIG. 14 is a front elevational view of a portion of the hopper mechanism;
FIG. 15 is a top plan view of the hopper mechanism; and
FIG. 16 is an end elevational view of the hopper mechanism.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Tickets 30 of a type suitable for use with the cartridge of the present invention are illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. An individual such ticket 30 particularly used in the cartridge is illustrated in FIG. 1, and a plurality of such tickets 30 connected together in a continuous length in which such tickets may be received from a supplier and prior to being disassociated for use in the cartridge of the invention are illustrated in FIG. 2. The tickets 30 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, may, for example, be about 2 inches in length (or may be 1 inch or 3 inches long if corresponding changes to the dimen sions of the cartridge are made). The tickets 30 as illustrated in FIG. 2 are in the continuous trip 32, each being defined with respect to adjacent tickets in the strip 32 by means of perforation lines 34. A relatively short slot 36 and a relatively long slot 38 are disposed in each of the perforation lines 34. Each of the tickets 30 has a round hole 40 in one corner, and a slantwise extending perforation line 42 divides this corner of the ticket 30 with respect to the rest of the ticket. As will be noted, the perforation line 42 does not pass through the opening 40.
Each of the tickets 30 has a stripe 44 of magnetic material extending longitudinally of the ticket on the upper surface of the ticket. The stripe may be applied onto the ticket 30 and onto the strip 32 by any suitable means. It will be noted that the slots 38 are longer than the stripes 44 and divide the stripes 44 of adjacent tickets and the strip 32. The slots 36 are outside of the stripes 44. Print lines 46 and 48 may be applied onto the tickets 30, above and below the stripes 44.
The tickets 30 may, for example, be used in connection with articles for sale, such as garments; for example, men s suits or womens dresses. The tickets 30 are used individually (disassociated with respect to the strip 32 and in their individual detached forms as shown in FIG. I), and an individual ticket 30 is fastened onto a garment by means of a small plastic anchor (not shown) that extends through the opening 40 and through the garment. The magnetic stripe 44 of the ticket 30 has been encoded magnetically with size, type, and price information, for example; and some of this information is printed in the print lines 46 and 48 onto the ticket so that the information is in human readable form. When the article is sold, the ticket is broken into two parts by tearing along the perforation line 42; and the information carried by the stripe 44 is then decoded by any suitable means. The corner of the ticket 30, through which the opening 40 has been provided, remains attached to the garment by means of the anchor.
The cartridge 400 of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 3 to 9 and comprises an outer casing 402, a cover 404 and a block 406 slidably disposed in the casing 402. The casing 402 is formed by end walls 408 and 410 and side walls 412 and 414. An opening 416 is provided through the wall 414, and the opening 416 terminates at its bottom in a downwardly tapering opening position 416a. The end walls 408 and 410 are provided with a pair of inwardly extending ribs 418 and 420.
A pair of flanges 422 and 424 are formed integral with the side walls 412 and 414 respectively and provide the bottom of the cartridge 400. The flanges 422 and 424 terminate short of the end wall 408 so as to provide a transversely extending slot 426 in the bottom of the cartridge. The end wall 410 is provided with a slot 428 therein which extends for the complete internal width of the casing 402 and which is terminated on its bottom by the flanges 422 and 424. A vertically extending slot 430 is also provided in the end wall 410 and connects with the slot 428.
A pair of vertical grooves 432 and 434 are provided in the casing 402, partially defined by the side marginal portions of the wall 414. The cover 404 is rectangular and is slidably disposed in the slots 432 and 434. The cover 404 has a tapered bottom portion 436 that extends into the opening portion 416a when the cover 404 is moved downwardly in the casing 402 to the limit of its motion.
The cartridge 400 is closed at its top by a cap 438 which is fixed to the casing 402 by any suitable means. An opening 439 is provided in the side wall 412 which is bounded on its upper end by the cap 438.
The block 406 is provided with cored openings 440, 442 and 444 through it for lightening the block and is provided with an additional cored opening 446 therein for receiving the spring 448 and particularly the rolled up portion 450 of the spring. The spring 448 extends downwardly on the inner surface of the wall 412 and through an opening 452 to a pin 454 by means of which the spring 448 is attached to the casing 402. The spring 448 is preferably of the constant tension type such as is disclosed in US. Pat. No. 2,609,192, for example, and exerts a constant downward force on the block 406 by means of its rolled-up portion 450, regardless of the distance the block 406 is from the lower end of the casing 402.
The cartridge 400 may be utilized by both a hopper 74 and a stacker 76. The hopper 74 comprises a table 348 (see FIG. 13) and a backboard 350 on which a cartridge 400 rests A ticket pick roll 136 (see FIGS. 14 and 15) is positioned beneath the hopper 74 and is mounted on a movable swing arm 138 for moving through an opening 351 in the table 348. Any suitable electromagnet (not shown) may be utilized for swinging the arm 138 and pick roll 136. The pick roll 136 is driven from a pulley 126a by means of a belt 286 (see FIG. 15) extending around pulleys 288 and 290. The pulley 288 is fixed with respect to the pulley 126a, and the pulley 290 is fixed with respect to the pick roll 136.
A throat knife assembly is positioned at the exit end of the hopper 74 and comprises a swinging arm 294 pivoted at 296 and carrying a knife 298. The arm 294 also carries a roll 300 disposed in close proximity to the lower end of the knife 298 for assuring that only one ticket at a time may leave the hopper. A spring 302 is effective on the arm 294, attempting to move the arm 294 upwardly. A pair of nipped rolls 124 and 126 are positioned slightly beyond the throat knife assembly for moving a ticket 30 that has passed out of the hopper 74 and between the knife 298 and roll 300 completely out of the hopper 74. The roll 126 is driven from the pulley 126a for this purpose. A retainer spring 352 extends through the backboard 350 for snapping over the cartridge 400 and holding it in position on the table 348. The knife 298 extends into the slot 430 when the cartridge 400 is in the hopper 74.
The stacker 76 comprises a table 354 (having a raised portion 354a) and a backboard 356 on which a cartridge 400 rests (see FIGS. 10 and 12). A ticket 30 is driven into the stacker by means of a pair of rolls 172 and 174, located below the stacker, and movement of the ticket 30 into the stacker is completed by means of a stacker roll 176. The roll 176 extends through the table portion 354a, and roll 176 is disposed beneath the stacker 76 on the end of a swing arm 178 which may be actuated by any suitable electromagnet (not shown). The roll 176 is driven from the roll 174 by means of a belt 292 that extends over both rolls 174 and 176. The roll 174 may be driven from a pulley 174a that is in turn driven from any suitable power source.
A retainer spring 358 holds the cartridge 400 in position on the table 354 of the stacker 76. An electrical switch 360 (see FIG. 12) is positioned on the rear surface of the backboard 356, and the switch 360 includes an actuator 362 protruding from the switch and acted on by an internal compression spring 364 in the switch. An arm 366 pivoted on a pin 368 acts on the actuator 362 and extends through the backboard 356 and through the opening 439 in the cartridge 400 in the stacker position. A lever 370 also pivoted on pin 368 extends through the backboard 356 and has an arm portion 370a disposed over a portion of the arm 366 to have a lost motion connection 372 with respect to the arm 366. A grasshopper return spring 374 yieldably holds the lever 370 in its position in engagement with the arm 366.
The cartridge 400 is so designed that individual tickets 30 may be manually loaded into the cartridge 400 one at a time or many at a time, or the cartridge may be machine-loaded with tickets 30 while in the stacker 76. To manually load the tickets 30 one at a time into the cartridge 400, a ticket 30 is pressed or snapped past the two bottom retainer flanges 422 and 424 as shown in FIG. 9. Pressure is applied on the center of the ticket in the direction A to bow the ticket inwardly, and the ticket is moved into the cartridge and is snapped past the two flanges 422 and 424 against the action of the spring 448 which exerts a continuous force on the block 406 tending to move the block 406 toward the flanges 422 and 424. The cartridge 400 is preferably inverted for this operation so that the lips 422 and 424 are at the top as shown in FIG. 9. This mode of operation is particularly desirable when the cartridge 400 is used for collecting individual tickets, the magnetic stripes 44 of which have been previously read by any suitable reading device. Such an operation may occur particularly by a cashier who disassociates a ticket 30 from a garment for sale, for example. by tearing the ticket along the perforation line 42 prior to reading the data from the magnetic stripe 44 of the ticket. In all cases, the tickets 30 are put into the cartridge 400 with their magnetic stripes 44 facing the flanges 422 and 424 or the lower end of the cartridge 400. The block 406 and spring 448 hold the tickets so stacked into the cartridge 400 from the lower end of the cartridge in tight contact with the surfaces of the flanges 422 and 424.
In the event it is desired to load a stack of individual tickets 30 into the cartridge 400, the cartridge 400 is in its normal position with the flanges 422 and 424 at the bottom; and the cover 404 is slid upwardly in the grooves 432 and 434, as shown in FIG. 4. The block 406 is raised against the action of the spring 448, and the stack of individual tickets 30 is then moved through the opening 416 in the cartridge wall 414 into the cartridge 400 so that the tickets rest on the flanges 422 and 424. The block 406 is then released, and the spring 448 moves the block 406 on to the top of the stack of tickets 30 and holds the ticket stack firmly in contact with the flanges 422 and 424.
For machine loading the cartridge 400 with individual tickets 30, the cartridge 400 is positioned in the stacker 76 on the table 354. The cover 404 faces the front, and the cartridge back wall 412 is adjacent the backboard 356. The rolls 172 and 174 are disposed with respect to the slot 426 in the bottom of the cartridge 400 adjacent the end wall 408 (which may be considered the ticket entrance end of the cartridge) so that the rolls 172 and 174 move an individual ticket 30 upwardly and insert it into the cartridge through the slot 426. The ticket 30 moves in the direction B (see FIG. 1) with its front end 30a foremost and with its magnetic stripe 44 down or facing flanges 422 and 424. An individual ticket is thus moved beneath the block 406 and any previous tickets 30 positioned in the cartridge 400 and on top of the table portion 3540. The roll 176 raises and contacts the lowermost ticket in the cartridge to propel the new ticket 30 all the way into the cartridge 400 in the stacker 76. The stacker 76 is thus effective to machine load tickets 30 individually into the bottom of the casing 402 at the ticket entrance end of the cartridge 400 after the tickets have been magnetically encoded or have been read magnetically by an associated machine (not shown), and a series of the tickets 30 may thus be loaded consecutively into the cartridge to form a stack using the stacker 76. When the cartridge 400 is removed from the stacker, the tickets 30 move down onto the flanges 422 and 424 which form the bottom of the cartridge.
The cartridge 400 is held in position on the table 354 of the stacker 76 by means of the spring 358 which extends over the top 438 of the cartridge 400. When the cartridge 400 is moved into position on table 354 and adjacent the backboard 356, the cartridge wall 412 abuts against and rotates the lever 370 against the action of spring 374 so that internal spring 364 is effective to move actuator 364 outwardly of the switch 360 and open the switch 360. The arm 366 moves at this time through the opening 439 in the cartridge 400. The switch 360 may be connected with the machine (not shown) for processing the individual tickets 30, by means of which the tickets 30 are moved into the cartridge 400 in the stacker 76, in such a manner as to cause the machine to be operative when the switch 360 is thus opened.
As the tickets 30 move into the bottom of the cartridge 400 in the stacker 76, the stack of tickets within the cartridge 400 builds up; and. eventually the block 406 is moved upwardly sufficiently so as to contact and depress the actuator arm 366. The arm 366 thus closes the switch 360, acting against the internal spring 364 within the switch 360. The accompanying machine. upon this closing of the switch 360, then stops operation; since, at this time, no more tickets 30 should be fed into the cartridge 400 in the stacker 76.
The cartridge 400, whether having been filled with individual tickets 30 inserted manually therein one at a time or many at a time or stacked in the cartridge 400 by machine loading, may have its ticket contents dispensed from the hopper 74. For this action, the cartridge 400 is simply transferred from the stacker 76 to the hopper 74 to be in the same disposition in the hopper 74 as it was in the stacker 76, namely, with the cover 404 facing the front and with the back wall 412 being at the back, in this case adjacent the backboard 350. The hopper 400 is held in position on the table 348 by the retainer spring 352. Under these conditions, the end wall 410, which may be considered the ticket discharge end of the cartridge 400, together with the slot 428 in wall 410 are positioned adjacent the throat knife assembly including the knife 298 and the roll 300. An individual ticket 30 is then fed out through the slot 428 by moving the roll I36 upwardly through opening 351 so as to frictionally engage the lowermost ticket 30 in the cartridge 400. The ticket 30 moves out of the cartridge 400 in the direction B and with its front end 30a foremost. This ticket 30 then moves between the knife 298 and roll 300 which, due to their close spacing, assure that only one ticket 30 may move forwardly out of the cartridge 400 at a time. This ticket 30 then moves between the rolls 124 and 126 for subsequent processing.
It is thus apparent that the construction of the cartridge 400 allowing the tickets 30 to be fed into the bottom of the cartridge at the ticket entrance end of the cartridge (adjacent and below end wall 408) causes the leading edge 30a of each ticket 30 to be oriented properly (at the wall 410 of the cartridge 400) for machine feedout of the tickets when the cartridge is in the hopper 74. The individual tickets 30 move into and move out of the cartridge 400 to and from the bottom of a stack of tickets in the cartridge and in the same direction B and with the front ticket ends 300 foremost. Therefore, it is possible to simply transfer the cartridge 400, with its cover 404 always being disposed toward the front, from the stacker 76 after filling to the hopper 74 for ticket dispensing. The interchangeable cartridge assembly construction allowing the cartridge 400 to be used in either the hopper 74 or the stacker 76 saves the operator time and adds to the function of a machine having both hopper 74 and stacker 76. A machine utilizing the hopper 74 and stacker 76 may, for example, store only the tickets 30 that are not read properly by the machine; and, when the cartridge 400 is thereafter transferred from the stacker 76 to the hopper 74, the tickets 30 are in the cartridge 400 in proper orientation for re-feeding and re-reading them without the necessity for the operator handling the tickets. Therefore, any tickets 30 that are not read properly on a first pass out of the cartridge 400 may be re-read without handling. A facile feeding of the tickets 30 out of and into the cartridge 400 from and to the bottom of a stack of tickets in the cartridge is obtained by the slot 428 in the end wall 410 and by the slot 426 in the bottom of the cartridge which respectively provide a ticket outlet and a ticket inlet to the cartridge.
Due to the fact that the flanges 422 and 424 are spaced to such an extent, that the individual tickets 30 may be loaded into the cartridge 400 simply by pressing them between the flanges as seen in FIG. 9. allows the tickets 30 to be loaded into the cartridge 400 at a retail station for storage; and the tickets 30 may then be drawn out ofthe cartridge 400 in the hopper 74 for machine reading the tickets, for example. The ability to open cartridge 400 by moving the cover 404 upwardly in the slots 432 and 434 advantageously allows the operator to load and unload large numbers of the tickets 30 at a time, with the cartridge 400 being either in the hopper 74 or stacker 76 or disassociated with respect to both hopper and stacker.
The switch 360 is advantageously arranged with its actuating structure so that only the single switch 360 is required to indicate two conditions: (1) whether the cartridge 400 is in proper position in the stacker 76 and (2) whether the cartridge 400 in the stacker position is full. When the cartridge 400 is inserted in proper position in the stacker 76, the cartridge switch lever 370 is depressed to swing about the pin 368 so that the switch 360 is opened. The switch arm 366 is moved by the block 406 when the cartridge fills so that the switch 360 closes.
1. A cartridge for generally rectangular merchandising tickets comprising a casing which is rectangular in cross section and has a bottom for supporting a stack of the tickets and has first and second opposite end walls, said first end wall being provided with a slot adjacent said bottom through which individual ones of said tickets may be moved out of the cartridge, said bottom being provided with a slot therein adjacent said second end wall through which individual ones of said tickets may be moved into said cartridge for building up a stack of tickets in the cartridge, said bottom being formed by a pair of spaced flanges extending from said first end wall toward said second end wall whereby individual ones of said merchandising tickets may be pressed between said flanges and into the bottom of the cartridge.
2. A cartridge as set forth in claim 1 and including a cover slideably disposed in said casing and moveable upwardly in a direction away from said flanges so as to permit a plurality of the merchandising tickets to be moved into the cartridge in the form of a stack.
3. A cartridge as set forth in claim 1, said casing having a back wall which has said bottom slot on its right and has said end wall slot in its left, a block in said casing moveable vertically therein for acting as a weight on tickets that are moved into the cartridge from said bottom slot, said back wall having an opening therethrough for receiving a switch actuator which the block may contact as a stack of tickets in the cartridge increases in height in order to signal that the cartridge is filled with tickets.
4. A hopper station for dispensing merchandising tickets of generally rectangular form including a table having an opening therethrough, a pick roll supported to be moveable through said table opening, a cartridge of rectangular cross section for holding a stack of said tickets and having a bottom with an opening therethrough and having an end wall with a ticket discharging slot therein located at said bottom of the cartridge, means for detachably holding said cartridge on said table with its said bottom in contact with said table, means for drivingly rotating said pick roll, and means for moving said pick roll through said table opening and through said bottom opening of said cartridge and into contact with the lowermost ticket in said cartridge for moving the ticket out of said cartridge through said slot with the cartridge being on said table and said pick roll being rotating.
5. A stacker station for receiving generally rectangular merchandising tickets comprising a cartridge of rectangular cross section having a bottom, said bottom being defined by a pair of side flanges extending inwardly from side walls of the cartridge and being discontinuous to provide a ticket entrance slot in the bottom at a ticket entrance end of the cartridge, rolls positioned below said cartridge, means for drivingly rotating at least one of said rolls, said rolls being positioned in such position as to move a merchandising ticket through said slot in the bottom of the cartridge and thus into the cartridge.
6. A stacker station as set forth in claim 5 and including an additional roll disposed beneath said cartridge; means for moveably mounting said additional roll so that it may move upwardly between said flanges; and means for drivingly rotating said additional roll so that, when it is moved upwardly between said flanges, it moves a merchandising ticket all the way into said cartridge from said bottom slot.