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Publication numberUS3900133 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 19, 1975
Filing dateMar 25, 1974
Priority dateMar 25, 1974
Publication numberUS 3900133 A, US 3900133A, US-A-3900133, US3900133 A, US3900133A
InventorsAlbanese James, Ianney George, Lisbin Arthur
Original AssigneeLevelator Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Plate separator for self-leveling plate dispensing
US 3900133 A
Abstract
A dispensing device for dispensing articles such as dishes, platters, saucers and the like includes a tube in which the articles to be dispensed are stacked in column form. A biasing spring urges the column in one longitudinal direction and a stop engages the longitudinal end or top of the column to establish the level of the top article to be dispensed. A bent rod is provided which includes at least a portion disposed at an acute angle relative to the longitudinal axis of the column whereby the top article is urged against the aforementioned portion of the bent rod to project the top article laterally to one side to faciliate dispensing.
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United States Patent 1191 1111 3,900,133

Lisbin et a1. Aug. 19, 1975 1541 PLATE SEPARATOR FOR SELF-LEVELING 3.161295 12/1964 Chesley .v 211/49 D PLATE DISPENSING 3,565,500 2/1971 Shelley 312/71 3.767.082 10/1973 House 221/279 [75] Inventors: Arthur Lisbin, Upper Saddle River;

Ianney Wayne Townshlp" Primary ExaminerRobert B. Reeves Passmc County both 0t James Assistant E.\'aminerFrancis J. Bartuska Albanese, Brookylnv Attorney, Agent, or FirmFrank .1. Jordan [73] Assignee: Levelator Corporation, Paterson,

NJ [5 7] ABSTRACT [22] Filed: 25,1974 A dispensing device for dispensing articles such as dishes, platters, saucers and the like includes a tube in 1 l PP Noi 454,280 which the articles to be dispensed are stacked in column form. A biasing spring urges the column in one 52 us. (:1 221/280; 211/49 D longitudinal direetien and Step engages the longitu- 51 Int. Cl. A47f 1 /06 dinal end or P the eelumn to establish the level of [58] Field of Search H 221/279 280, 232, 31 l, the top article to be dispensed. A bent rod is provided 221/312 220/33 5 21 1/49 D which includes at least a portion disposed at an acute angle relative to the longitudinal axis of the column [56] References Cited whereby the top article is urged against the aforementioned portion of the bent rod to project the top arti- UNITED STATES PATENTS cle laterally to one side to faciliate dispensing. 2,619253 11/1952 Fuchs 220/33 2,980,289 4/1961 Pick 221/279 7 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures E a 5O 84 26 N j 24 I PLATE SEPARATOR FOR SELF-LEVELING PLATE DISPENSING BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a dispenser and more particularly to a dispenser of the type in which the articles to be dispensed are biased so as to place the top article in a position where it may be easily reached. More particularly the invention relates to means for controlling the position of the top article of a column of articles to be dispensed to facilitate dispensing of the top article.

Dispensers are frequently used in restaurants, service counters, serving stations and other locations for dispensing various types of articles, wares and the like such as dishes, platters, saucers, and the like. It is desirable that such dispensers be arranged so that the article to be dispensed may be easily and readily reached by the user. Heretofore, dispensers have been known in which the articles are stacked, one upon the other, in column form and whereby the stacked column is dis posed within an elongated tube. A spring is disposed at the bottom of the tube and biases the articles in an up ward direction. The arrangement is such that the articles at the top of the stacked column are maintained generally at a fixed position or fixed elevation in which the top article is readily accessible to the user. As the user removes the top article, the spring expands a little bit more and raises the stacked column. Accordingly, as each top article is removed, the stacked column continues to rise to maintain the upper article in a generally predetermined elevation where it is readily accessible to the user.

In our copending US. patent application Ser. No. 350,501 filed Apr. 12, 1973, now US. Pat. No. 3,861,563, there is disclosed a dispenser which is able to maintain the top article in the stacked column to be dispensed at a constant level, independently of the weight of the articles being dispensed. The present invention relates to an improvement by providing that the top article is not only dispensed at a constant level, but further, that the top article is projected in a manner to be disposed to one side of the stacked column where it may be readily grasped to facilitate dispensing.

Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved dispenser which disposes the top article on a column of articles to be dispensed to one side of the column where it may be readily grasped to facilitate dispensing.

Another object of the present inventor is to provide a dispenser having a operable means for determining the dispensing level of the top article to be dispensed and in which the operable means is operable to project the top article laterally to one side.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a dispenser having an operable means which may be readily latched into an operating position and unlatched and swung to one side to provide access for fill ing the dispenser with the articles to be dispensed.

A further object of the present invention as to provide a dispenser which controls the position of the top article to be dispensed and which is relatively inexpensive to manufacture.

Other features which are considered characteristic of the invention are set forth in the appended claims.

Although the invention is illustrated and described in relationship to specific embodiments, it is nevertheless not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made therein without department from the spirit of the invention and within the scope and range of equivalents of the claims.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A dispensing device comprises a container means containing a column of articles to be dispensed. The container means has an opening through which the articles are dispensed and biasing means urge the column of articles in one longitudinal direction towards the opening. Operable means are associated with the opening and engage one longitudinal end of the column. The opening in the container means is surrounded by a flange and the operable means includes at least a first portion disposed at an acute angle relative to the general plane of the flange whereby the end article is urged against the aforementioned portion of the operable means and is projected laterally to one side to facilitate dispensing of the end article.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a vertical section view of a dispenser according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a top view of the dispenser shown in FIG. 1 but excluding the dishes.

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the operable means at the top of the dispenser for facilitating dispensing of the top plate.

FIG. 4 is a partial side view looking along the line 4-4 in FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a partial side view looking along the line 55 in FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is a partial sectional view of the pivotal support arrangement for the operable means taken along the line 66 in FIG. 2.

FIG. 7 is a partial sectional view of the releasable and detachable end portion of the operable means taken along the line 7-7 in FIG. 2.

FIG. 8 is a partial elevational view of the operable means looking from the left hand side of FIG. 2.

FIG. 9 is a view similar to FIG. 8 but with the latching means removed for the purposes of illustrating the disposition of the operable means in the unlatched condition.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE Referring to the drawings, and particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown a dispensing tube 20 having a cylindrical side wall 22 joined to a bottom 24 and having a flange 26 about the periphery of the opened end of the tube. The dispensing tube 20 may be mounted within an opening of a counter top or within an opening in a portable dispensing unit or similar location. The dispensing tube 20 may be constructed of sheet metal such as stainless steel or other materials such as plastic or the like.

Disposed within the tube 20 is a biasing means in the form of a coil spring 28. The spring 28 is located in the tube 20 with the longitudinal axis of the spring 28 generally aligned with the longitudinal axis of the tube 20. A disk element 30 is suitable secured to the upper longitudinal end of the spring 28. The disk element 30 has secured thereto 65' a threaded member 32, a plate 34 having a skirt 36. The plate 34 is adapted to receive the bottom article of a stacked column of articles to be dispensed. The lower, longitudinal end of the spring 28 bears against a disk element 38 disposed at the bottom of the dispensing tube 20.

A flexible means in the form of a chain 40 is secured to the longitudinal ends of the spring 28 or to the disks 30, 38, thereby limiting the longitudinal, maxium extension of the spring. Thus, in FIG. 1, the spring 28 is shown in its maximum extended position as indicated by the fact that the chain is pulled taut. Because the chain 40 is flexible the latter will not prevent the plate 34 from being displaced downwardly against the bias of the spring 40.

Suitably mounted on the flange 22 of the tube is an operable means in the form of a bent rod 42 which is disposed over the open top of the dispenser unit. One end of the bent rod 42 is pivotally secured or mounted on the dispenser tube 26 flange by the pivotally support lug 44 while the other end of the bent rod 42 is adapted to be releasable and resiliently latched onto a latch element 46 mounted on the dispenser flange 26. With the aforesaid mounting arrangement, the operable means or bent rod 42 may be readily released from the latch element 46 and pivoted about a generally vertical axis from an operable position disposed over the open top of the dispenser as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 to a position where the operable means 42 is located to one side of the open top of the dispenser tube 20 to thereby facilitate and make it possible to load the dishes into the dispenser tube 20.

Turning now to more of the details of construction, the bent rod 42 has a generally V-shaped configuration in plan view as can be seen in FIG. 2. Thus, the bent rod 22 includes a generally V-shaped portion made up of two rod sections 48, 50, a pair of converging connecting legs 52 and 54, a pair of axially aligned connecting legs 56, 58, a pair of upright legs 60, 62, and a pair of flanges 64, 66 at the lower end of the upright portions 60, 62 respectively.

The flange 64 at the lower end of the upright portion 60 is pivotally mounted on the flange 26 of the dispenser tube 20. This pivotal mounted mounting is effected by the pivotal support lug 44 which has a lower portion mating with the top of the dispenser tube flange 26 and which is secured to the dispenser tube flange 26 by a fastening element 68. The support lug 44 has an overhanging portion which cooperates with the upper face of the dispenser tube flange 26 to define a channel as can best be seen in FIG. 6. The flange 64 on the bent rod element 42 is disposed within this channel. A threaded thumb screw 70 threadedly engages an opening in the lug 44 and passes through an opening in the bent rod flange 64 to threadedly engage a nut 71 welded to the underside of the flange 26. As shown in FIG. 6 washers 72, 73 or the like may be provided within the channel. It will be seen that the fastening element 68 secures the support lug 44 to the dispenser tube flange 26, that the thumb screw 70 provides a pivotal axis for the bent rod 42, and that the thumb screw 70 may be readily unthreaded to facilitate removal and cleaning of the bent rod 42.

The latch element 46 is suitably secured to the dispenser flange 26 by a threaded element 74. The latch element 46 has an overhanging portion and a downwardly projecting lip 76 to define a generally inverted U-shaped channel 78 in which the flange 66 of the bent rod 42 is accommodated when the latter is in latched position. The lower face of the lip 76 is spaced from the top of the dispenser flange 26 a distance greater than the thickness of the flange 66 of the bent rod 42 in order to provide access of the bent rod flange 66 into and out of its latching position as will be further described.

In its latching position as shown in FIG. 7, the bent rod flange 66 is biasingly engaged against the upper surface of the U-shaped channel 78 in the latch element. Thus it will be seen that with the bent rod flange 66 biased as aforesaid, as shown in FIG. 7, the lip 76 on the latch element 46 precludes pivotal movement of the bent rod 42 away from its operable position (shown in FIGS. I and 2) unless the bent rod flange 66 is depressed against the biasing force so that it can be lowered below the lip 76 on the latch element and pivoted or moved out beyond the access channel.

The biasing force for retaining the bent rod 42 in its latched position shown in FIG. 7 is obtained from the bent rod 42 itself. Thus, by comparing FIGS. 8 and 9 it will be seen that the bent rod 42 is arranged and con- I struction so that in its normal and unbiased position, the flange 66 on the bent rod member is located a distance 80 above the top surface of the dispenser flange 26. This aforementioned distance 80 shown in FIG. 9 is greater than the distance 82 shown in FIG. 7. It will be seen therefore that since the distance 80 is greater than the distance 82, the bent rod flange 66 will be biased against the upper surface of the channel 78 in the latch member 46 as shown in FIG. 7 when the bent rod 42 is in the latched position. Accordingly, in order to unlatch the bent rod 42 from its latched position, it is first necessary to depress a portion (the lower portion as viewed in FIG. 2) of the bent rod 42 against the inherent bias in the bent rod 42 so that the bent rod flange 66 may be lowered below the level of the lip 76 of the latch member 46 and thereafter swung outwardly or counterclockwise, as viewed in FIG. 2, about the pivot axis 70.

The bent rod 42 may be made of various materials. By way of example, stainless steel may be used. The bent rod 42 is arranged so ,.that when the bent rod flange 64 is secured to the support lug 44 as shown in FIG. 6, the other bent rod flange 66 will be in the elevated position as shown in FIG. 9 when in the unlatched position. The arrangement and construction heretofore described may be obtained merely by bending and constructing the bent rod 42 to the configuration shown in the drawings. By way of example, the bent rod flange 64 may be disposed at an acute angle relative to the upright section 60 such that when the flang 64 is disposed in a level disposition parallel to the dispenser tube flange 26, the other bent rod flange 66 will be disposed in its elevated position shown in FIG. 9. Alternatively, the bend in the bent rod 42 to obtain the elevated position of the flange 66 shown in FIG. 9 may be included in or extend over various other sections of the bent rod 42.

With the arrangment as described above, it will be observed that it is a simple matter to grasp a portion (the lower portion as viewed in FIG. 2) of the bent rod 42 and pivot or swing it clockwise or counter clockwise about pivot pin 70. Thus, after the dispenser tube 20 has been filled, it is only necessary to hold the column of plates down with one hand and then use the other hand to swing the bent rod 42 clockwise (as viewed in FIG. 2) from its unlatched and inoperable position to a position shown in FIG. 2 merely by swinging the bent rod 42 and depressing it to guide it into its latched position shown in FIG. 7. Once it is disposed in the latched position, the bent rod 42 will remain secured in position suitable for operation.

The Vshaped portion of the bent rod element includes the two legs 48, 50. It will be observed that the two inner leg portions 52, 54 are generally horizontally disposed while the two outer leg portions 48, 50 extend at an angle relative to horizontal. The two outer leg portions 48, 50 disposed at an angle are operable to engage the upper plate in the dispenser and to project the upper plate to one side as shown in FIG. 1 to facilitate the dispensing operation. Thus, it will be seen that the top plate will bear against the bent rod 42 as the spring 28 biases the stacked column of plates in an upward direction. The plates are withdrawn from the dispenser merely by grasping the top plate and pulling it laterally (generally to the left as viewed in FIG. 2).

As the spring 28 biases the column of plates upwardly, the top plate engages the outer legs 48, 50, which are disposed at an acute angle relative to horizontal as set forth above, so that the top plate is slid to one side by the horizontal component of force resulting from the urging of the top plate against the outer bent leg portions 48, 50 by the spring 28. Thus, the spring 28 biases the top plate against the two outer legs 48, 50 to engage the latter and since the two outer legs 48, 50 are disposed at an acute angle relative to horizontal, the upward biasing force of the spring 28 is divided into a horizontal component of force and a vertical component of force by the angulary disposed outer leg portions 48, 50. The horizontal component, of course, therefore projects the top plate to the left as viewed in FIG. 1. It will be observed, particularly in FIG. 1, that when the top plate is projected to the left, its outer projecting edge extends beyond the remaining plates and therefore the top plate may be readily grasped whereby dispensing is facilitated.

It will be further observed that in addition to the top plate, one or more of the plates therebelow are also projected outwardly as the upper edges of such plates also engage the outer legs 48, 50 of the bent rod 42. However, it will be observed that the top plate is projected more than the other plates so that the edge of the top plate extends beyond the edge of the next lower plate.

It will be seen from FIG. 1 that the outer edge of the top plate may be readily grasped to withdraw the plate whereby after withdrawal, the spring 28 forces the column of plates upwardly so that the next plate in succession is moved upwardly and simultaneously projected outwardly to the position occupied by the former plate as the edge of the rising plate engages the outer leg portions 48, 50 of the bent rod 42. Accordingly, as each plate is removed from the dispensing unit, the top plate will always occupy the position shown in FIG. 1 whereby it may be easily and readily grasped for dispensing.

It will be observed that the top plate is raised to a position wherein the outer rim engages the horizontal sections 52 to 58 of the bent rod 42 to serve as a stop to retain the column of plates within the dispensing tube 20. Thus as the top plate is removed and the next plate rises to take its place, the edges of the plate ride up along the outer bent portions 48, 50 of the bent rod 42 to project the top plate to the left as viewed in FIG. 1 until the rising plate engages the horizontal portions 52 to 58 of the bent rod 42 to prevent it from rising any further.

It will be observed in FIG. 1 that the several upper plates are progressively projected to the left with the top plate being projected the furtherest. Thus in travel ing to a position of final dispensing, the plates are progessively advanced upwardly and to the left during the last several positions prior to dispensing. This arrangement facilitates gradual positioning of the top plate until it reaches its final position where it may be readily dispensed.

The outer leg portion 48, 50 of the bent rod 42 may be disposed at various angles depending on various conditions such as the configuration, size and weight of the plates being dispensed, the size of the dispensing unit, the extent of the biasing force of the spring and various other factors. Thus, this angle may vary as desired as required depending on the aforementioned design and operational considerations.

As pointed out hereinabove, the several upper plates are progressively disposed to project to one side. As may be desired, a retaining element 84 disposed at an angle corresponding to the angle of the progressively projecting plates may be located at the outer dispensing end of the dispensing unit. This retaining element 84 may comprise a rod or the like disposed at an angle relative to the longitudinal axis of the tube 22 as shown in FIG. 1. The angle of the retaining element 84 corresponds generally to the angle made by the edges of the plates at the top of the stack as caused by the outer legs 48, 50 of the bent rod 42. The retaining element 84 extends to a position below the top plate and thereby insures to retain the lower plates within the dispensing unit. The retaining element 84 may be suitably secured to the dispensing tube flange 26. Alternatively, several rods may be used as retaining rod elements. Also a curved plate may extend partially about the pheriphery of the dispensing tube flange 26 to serve as a retaining element. In this case the retaining element would consist of a portion of a surface defined by a cone.

The retaining element 84 would be used when desired but may not be required at all times. For example, certain plates may have a low coefficient of friction so that drawing out of the top plate may tend to pull out the plate below. However, with the retaining element 84 as described hereinabove, such drawing of the lower plates would be precluded.

From the above description, it will be seen that there has been disclosed an operable means operable to determine the position of the uppermost article of an array of stacked articles to be dispensed and wherein the top article is disposed to one side to expose a portion of its outer rim whereby it may be readily grasped to facilitate dispensing. Although the illustrated embodiments relate to dispensing plates, it will be understood that the principles of the present invention may be applied to dispensing other articles beside plates.

While the invention has been described by means of specific examples and in specific embodiments, it is not intended to be limited thereto, for obvious modifications will occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. A dispensing device comprising a container means containing a column of articles to be dispensed, said container means having an opening through which said articles are dispensed, biasing means urging said column in one longitudinal direction towards said opening, operable means associated with said opening and engaging one longitudinal end of said column, said operable means including a pair of upright portions each joined to a separate stop flange, said container means having a container flange about said opening, latch means detachably latching one of said stop flanges to said container flange, said latch means including a latch lug secured to said container flange, said latch lug having an overhanging portion spaced from said container flange, a lip projecting downwardly from said overhanging portion to thereby define an inverted, generally U-shaped channel in said latch lug, said one stop flange being accomodated in said channel in latching position, said operable means also including a first portion disposed at an acute angle relative to the longitudinal axis of said column and cooperable with said biasing means to partially project said end article laterally to one side of said column to facilitate dispensing of said end article.

2. A dispensing device according to claim 1 wherein said lip is spaced from said container means flange to define an access passage for said one stop flange.

3. A dispensing device according to claim 1 wherein said operable means includes means for biasing said one stop flange in said latched position in said channel.

4. A dispensing device according to claim 3 wherein said operable means is constructed and arranged to effeet a biasing action of said stop flange against a surface of said channel when said one stop flange is in said latched position.

5. A dispensing device comprising a container means containing a vertical column of articles to be dispensed, said container means having an opening through which said articles are dispensed, biasing means urging said column in one longitudinal direction towards said opening, operable means associated with said opening and engaging one longitudinal end of said column, said operable means including a first V-shaped portion disposed at an acute angle relative to the longitudinal axis of said column and cooperable with said biasing means to partially project said end article laterally to one side of said column to facilitate dispensing of said end article, said operable means including a second portion disposed generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of said column, said second portion having converging legs joined to respective legs of said V-shaped configuration of said first portion, said operable means further including a pair of upright portions each joined to a separate stop flange, said opening in said container means being surrounded by a flange, mounting means pivotally mounting one of said stop flanges to said container means flange, said mounting means includes a pivotal support lug, fastening means securing said support lug to said container means flange, pin means pivotally mounting said one stop flange between a part of said support lug and said container means flange, and latch means detachably latching the other of said stop flanges to said container means flange.

6. A dispenser according to claim 5 wherein said operable means including a pair of upright portions each joined to a separate stop flange, said stop flanges being disposed in different planes when said operable means is in its natural state, said operable means being constructed of a metal rod such that said rod may be flexed from its natural state to displace one of said stop flanges relative to the other to facilitate detachable, securement of said operable means to said container means.

7. A dispensing device according to claim 5 wherein said container means has a container flange about said opening, said V-shaped portion of said operable means being located above said container flange such that a plurality of articles are disposed above the level of said container flange between the latter and said V-shaped portion of said operable means, a retainer means extending generally upwardly from said container flange at an acute angle relative to the longitudinal axis of said column, said retaining means limiting the lateral projection of those articles disposed between said container flange and said end article.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2619253 *Jul 5, 1949Nov 25, 1952Fuchs Eugene AClosure for containers
US2980289 *Jul 7, 1958Apr 18, 1961Pacific Pulp Molding CompanyMolded pulp tray dispenser
US3161295 *Jan 24, 1963Dec 15, 1964Chesley Ind IncDisplay device for merchandise
US3565500 *May 27, 1968Feb 23, 1971Shelley George RHold down rod for dishes and the like
US3767082 *Feb 1, 1971Oct 23, 1973Shelley Mfg CoSelf-adjusting plate separator for self-leveling plate dispensers
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4799606 *Aug 3, 1987Jan 24, 1989Servolift/Eastern CorporationDish dispensing device
US9185997 *Apr 14, 2011Nov 17, 2015San Jamar, Inc.Container dispenser
US20080060559 *Sep 5, 2007Mar 13, 2008Holland-Hinrichs Susan MDisposable utensil rest
US20100187248 *Mar 9, 2006Jul 29, 2010The Colman Group, Inc.dispenser for lids
US20140034666 *Apr 14, 2011Feb 6, 2014Rick WoodsContainer Dispenser
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/280, 211/59.3
International ClassificationA47F1/06, A47F1/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47F1/06
European ClassificationA47F1/06