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Publication numberUS3901366 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 26, 1975
Filing dateOct 9, 1973
Priority dateOct 9, 1973
Publication numberUS 3901366 A, US 3901366A, US-A-3901366, US3901366 A, US3901366A
InventorsPaul N Albrecht, William W Hendrickson, James T Schuller
Original AssigneeUmc Ind
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Vendor particularly for cartons of cigarettes or like packages
US 3901366 A
Images(10)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Schuller et a1.

[451 Aug. 26, 1975 1 1 VENDOR PARTICULARLY FOR CARTONS OF CIGARETTES OR LIKE PACKAGES [73] Assignee: UMC Industries, Inc., New York,

22 Filed: Oct.9, 1973 21 App1.No.:404,327

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,289,807 7/1942 Schaevitz et a1 221/126 2,607,463 8/1952 Saigh, Jr. 194/D1G. 15 2,853,292 9/1958 Panariti 49/32 2,949,993 8/1960 Adler 221/12 X 3,001,669 9/1961 Tandler et a1. 221/12 3,051,988 9/1962 Baermann 335/303 3,159,307 12/1964 Stephenson et a1 221/197 X 3,482,670 12/1969 Yamashita 194/10 3,493,274 2/1970 Emslie et a1. 308/10 3,549,045 12/1970 Rosenhagen 221/12 3,557,707 l/1971 Joy 105/157 3,659,745 5/1972 Striegl et a1.. 3,752,287 8/1973 Cullum 194/10 Primary Examiner-Stan1ey H. Tollberg Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Koenig, Senniger, Powers and Leavitt 1 5 7 1 ABSTRACT A vendor comprising a bank of dispensing modules and a single control module for the dispensing modules, the control module containing the credit system and selector system for all the dispensing modules. Each of the latter comprises a cabinet having a plurality of article dispensers therein one above another adapted to feed articles formed to drop down to a delivery station at the lower front of the cabinet, which has a window in its front door for viewing the articles. Unauthorized access to the dispensers is prevented by a gate which normally blocks off the dispensers from the delivery station, but which opens on initiation of a vend to allow an article to drop down to the delivery station, and which closes in response to dropping of an article. Provision is made for operation of a dispenser for an interval generally sufficient for dispensing of an article, and for terminating operation either in response to a drop, or lapse of time if there is no drop.

34 Claims, 19 Drawing Figures PATENTEDAUBZSISTS SHEET @EIEFIEIEEHEE! PATENTEU MJBZSIHYS FIG.3

PATENTEDAUGZBIQYS b/ g /l SHEET PATENTED AUG 26 I975 VENDOR PARTICULARLY FOR CARTONS OF CIGARETTES OR LIKE PACKAGES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to vendors, and more particularly to a vendor for vending cartons of cigarettes or like packages.

The invention is generally in the same field as the vending machine disclosed in the co-assigned US. Pat. No. 3,128,0l3, issued April 7, 1964, and reference may also be made to US. Pat. Nos. 2,289,807, 2,590,736, 2,637,61 1, 2,923,392 and 3,00 l ,669 as prior art known to applicants.

Shoplifting of cartons of cigarettes from the open shelves of supermarkets has come to be a substantial source of loss to the supermarkets, and this invention is particularly directed toward a solution of the problem involving replacement of the open-shelf marketing of cartons by a carton vendor. It will be understood, however, that the principles of the invention are applicable to vendors for a wide variety of articles other than cigarette cartons, e.g., any cartoned merchandise.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Among the several objects of the invention may be noted the provision of an improved vendor for articles such as cartons of cigarettes, which assures maximum security against pilferage, and which provides for effective display of the articles stocked in the vendor; the provision of such a vendor which, for a minimum of floor space, has a relatively high capacity as regards both selection of items to be vended (e.g., different brands of cigarettes) and number of items in each selection (e.g., number of cartons of each brand of cigarettes); the provision of such a vendor of modular construction enabling installation of a merchandising bank with a number of dispensing modules as may be needed for a particular location, and including a single control module for all the dispensing modules in the bank; the provision of such a vendor which may be controlled by means of validation cards to be purchased by customers, the control module having means for validating inserted cards; the provision of such a vendor which is operable on the first-in first-out principle and as to which the customer receives the article he sees and selects; the provision of such a vendor which may be quickly and easily loaded; and the provision of such a vendor which is reliable and efficient in operation.

In general, a vendor of this invention comprises a cabinet having a front door, with a plurality of article dispensers in the cabinet, one above another, each adapted to hold a row of articles to be vended extending in rear-to-front direction. The forward ends of the dispensers are spaced rearward from the front of the cabinet so that there is a passage between the closed front door of the cabinet and the forward ends of the dispensers. Each dispenser comprises means for feeding the articles forward and discharging the forward article off the forward end of the dispenser to drop down through said passage. The front door has a window for viewing the articles held by the dispensers. At the lower end of the passage below the level of the lowermost dispenser is a delivery chamber for receiving an article dropping from the passage, the front door having a delivery opening for access to this chamber. A gate is movable between a closed position closing off the passage from the delivery chamber below the level of the lowermost dispenser and an open position enabling an article to drop down into said delivery chamber, this gate normally occupying its closed position. Purchaseroperable means is provided for initiating operation of any one of said dispensers to effect discharge of the forward article off the forward end of said dispenser. Means is provided for sensing dropping of an article in the passage, located at a level between the level of the lowermost dispenser and the gate. Means operable independently of the sensing means in response to initiation of operation of any one of said dispensers by said purchaser-operable means is provided for moving the gate from its closed to its open position to enable the article dropping down in said passage to drop into said delivery chamber, and means operable by said sensing means in response to dropping of an article following operation of a dispenser is provided for terminating the operation of the dispenser and returning the gate to its closed position and in response to dropping of an article without operation of a dispenser onto the closed gate for precluding operation of any of the dispensers.

Other objects and features will be in part apparent and in part pointed out hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a perspective of a vendor of this invention, particularly for cartons of cigarettes, comprising four dispenser modules and a control module;

FIGS. 2 and 2A are enlarged fragments of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front elevation of one of the dispenser modules;

FIG. 4 is a front elevation of the module shown in FIG. 3 with its front door open and broken away;

FIG. 5 is a side elevation of the module shown in FIG. 3 showing a rack of the module pulled out for loading;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged vertical section on line 6-6 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged section generally on line 7-7 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a plan of a vend flap of one of the dispenser modules;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged fragment of FIG. 6;

FIG. 10A is a vertical section showing details of a gate-operating mechanism of a dispenser module with the gate in closed position;

FIG. 10B is a view similar to FIG. 10A showing the gate in open position;

FIG. 10C is a rear view of FIG. 10A;

FIG. 11 is a front elevation of a delivery door mechanism of a dispenser module;

FIG. 12 is a section on line 12-42 of FIG. 11; and

FIGS. 13-16 together constitute a diagram of the electrical circuitry of the vendor.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings, first more particularly to FIG. 1, there is generally indicated at 1 a bank of four dispensing modules each generally designated D and each having a plurality of article dispensers 3, and a control module CM common to all the dispenser modules making up a complete vendor of this invention. The four dispenser modules are individually designated Dl-D4 and while four of these are shown in a bank, it

is contemplated that different numbers of dispenser modules may be provided under control of the single control module CM; generally there may be from one to four dispenser modules in the bank, and perhaps more. As shown, for the four-dispenser-module installation, it is preferred that two dispenser modules D1 and D2 be provided on one side and two (D3 and D4) on the other side of the control module. The latter contains a credit system for setting up credit via insertion of a validation card (purchased by the customer) for controlling the dispensing of an article from any of the four dispenser modules, selector means 5 interconnected with the dispensers 3 of all the dispenser modules and operable by a customer to select for operation any one of the dispenser modules, and means constituted by a socalled delivery push button 7 operable by a customer upon establishment of credit via the credit system and selection of the desired article via said se lector means for initiating a vend cycle of the selected dispenser.

The dispenser modules Dl-D4 are generally identical, each comprising a cabinet generally designated 9 having a front door II, and a plurality of article dispensers 3, one above another, in the cabinet. Each dispenser 3 is adapted to hold a row of cigarette cartons C to be vended extending in rear-to-front direction. The forward ends of the dispensers 3 are spaced rearward from the front of the cabinet so that there is a vertical passage 13 (see FIG. 6) between the closed front door 11 of the cabinet and the forward ends of the dispensers. Each dispenser comprises means 15 for feed ing the cartons forward and discharging the forward carton off the forward end of the dispenser to drop down through the passage 13. The front door 11 is windowed as indicated at 17 for viewing the cartons held by the dispensers, i.e., for viewing the front of the for ward carton of each row. At the lower end of passage 13 is a delivery chamber 19 for receiving a carton dropping from the passage. The front door 11 of the cabinet has a delivery opening 21 for access to this chamber, a delivery door 23 being provided for closing this delivery opening. At 25 is indicated a gate movable between a closed position closing off passage 13 from the delivery chamber 19 below the level of the lowermost dis penser and an open position enabling a carton to drop down into the delivery chamber, this gate normally oc cupying its closed position. Operation by a purchaser of the delivery button 7 (after establishment of credit and making a selection) initiates operation of the se lected dispenser 3 as will appear to effect discharge of the forward carton off the forward end of the dispenser. In accordance with this invention, means indicated generally at 27 in FIG. 6 is provided responsive to initiation of operation of any one of the dispensers by button 7 for moving the gate from its closed to its open position to enable the carton dropping down in passage 13 to drop into the delivery chamber 19. And sensing means indicated generally at 29, which may also be referred to as the vend flap means, is provided, operable in response to dropping of a carton for terminating the operation of the dispenser and returning the gate to its closed position.

More particularly, the cabinet 9, which stands on legs such as indicated at 31, has a bottom 33, left and right side walls and 37, a top 39, and the front door 11. The latter is hinged as indicated at 41 at the left of the front of the cabinet to swing between a closed position,

wherein it may be locked by a suitable conventional vendor door lock, and an open position fully opening the front of the cabinet. The door 11 has a lower panel 43 which extends up to a level somewhat below midheight of the door. In this panel is the delivery opening 21., which is rectangular. Above the panel 43 the door has the glass window 17 extending from the top of the panel substantially to the top of the door and spanning substantially the full width of the door.

The dispensers 3 of each of the dispenser modules Dl-D4 are carried one above another in a dispenser assembly or rack indicated in its entirety at 45 (see FIGS. 4 and 5) mounted for movement between an op erative position within the cabinet 9 and a forward loading (and servicing) position (see FIG. 5) in front of the cabinet. The rack 45 comprises a bottom plate or pan 47 on a pair of rear wheels each designated 49 and a single central front wheel 51 on a wheel mount 53 which is received in a slot 55 in the bottom 33 of the cabinet when the rack is pushed into the cabinet to its operative position. The rack further comprises a pair of rear posts each designated 57 extending up from the rack bottom 47 at its rear corners and a pair of front posts each designated 59 extending up from the rack bottom at its front corners for supporting the dispensers. These posts extend up substantially to the top of the cabinet and are braced at their upper ends by a front brace 61, side braces 63 and a rear brace (not shown).

The delivery chamber 19 (see FIG. 6) has a sheet metal back wall 67 extending across the rack between the front posts 59, extending up generally from just above the level of the bottom of the delivery opening 21 to an elevation somewhat above the level of the top of opening 21. A pair ofintermediate side braces 69 ex tend between the rear posts 57 and the front posts 59 with these braces being slightly inclined upwardly from rear to front and with their forward ends somewhat above the top of wall 67. The rear-to-front dimension of the bottom 47 of the rack is somewhat less than the rear-to-front dimension of the cabinet 9, whereby, when the rack is pushed all the way to its operative po' sition in the cabinet, the front posts 59 of the rack are spaced a predetermined distance rearward of the closed door 11 of the cabinet (see FIG. 6), this distance being sufficient to establish vertical passage 13 between the front of the dispensers 3 carried by the rack and the window 17 for the drop of an item pushed off the front end of any of the dispensers.

The dispensers 3 comprise shelves 71 mounted one above another on the posts 57 and S9 in the rack. As herein illustrated, there may be nine such shelves in the rack (see FIG. 5), each shelf extending from the rear to the front of the rack and from one side to the other of the rack, and being slightly inclined upwardly from the rear to front. Each shelf constitutes a support for two dispensers 3 located side-by-side, with each of the two dispensers adapted to hold a row of cartons extending in rear-to-front direction, and having the means indicated generally at 15 for feeding the row forward to dispense the forward carton C by pushing it forward off the front end of the shelf. Each shelf comprises a flat base plate 75 with upturned integral side flanges 77 and with a central reanto-front divider 79 dividing it into a left-hand dispenser 3 and a right hand dispenser 3 for a left hand and a right-hand row of cartons C. As to each dispenser 3 (i.e., on opposite sides of the divider),

the shelf 71 has a pair of laterally spaced parallel tracks 81 extending from rear to front for supporting the cartons above the base plate 75 and permitting relative free forward sliding of the cartons toward the front of the shelf. Extending from rear to front of the shelf within the channel 83 between each pair of tracks 81 is a feed screw 85 driven via gearing 87 from an electric motor denoted by the reference character M (e.g., a gearmotor) at the rear of the shelf. The two motors for the two feed screws 85 of each shelf are mounted on a rear flange 89 of the shelf. Each feed screw is journalled at its rear end in a bearing 91 on this flange and at its front end in a rail 93 at the front of the shelf which is flush with the tracks 81.

The row of canons C in each dispenser 3 is adapted to be pushed forward to push the forward carton off the rail 93 at the front of the shelf 71 by a pusher 95 adapted to be fed forward by the respective feed screw 85. Referring to FIGS. 6, 7 and 9, the pusher is shown to comprise a plate secured to a block 97 having a bore 99 receiving the feed screw with a sliding fit. A wire bail 101 carried by a lever 103 pivoted at 105 on the block has its crossarm 107 movable in a cutout 109 in the block into and out of interengagement with the thread of the feed screw, and is biased by a leaf spring 111 acting on the lever 103 into operative position in interengagement with the thread of the screw. The arrangement is such that, with the bail 101 in its operative position with its crossarm 107 in interengagement with the thread of the feed screw, rotation of the latter in appropriate direction effects forward feed of the pusher 95 to push the row of cartons C forward. However, the pusher may be released from the feed screw to move it rearwardly independently of the screw for loading by holding down the lever 103.

The delivery chamber 19 includes a vertical front panel 113 spaced in front of its back panel 67 (and spaced forwardly of the plane of the front ends of the shelves), this front panel being mounted on side panels 115 extending forwardly from the front posts 59 of the rack. In the panel 113 is an access or delivery opening 117 which is directly behind and in register with the opening 21 in the front door 11 of the cabinet 9 when said front door is closed. The aforesaid delivery door 23 is vertically slidable on the front of panel 113 between a raised closed position closing the delivery opening 117 and a lowered open position clear of the delivery opening 117, having its side edges slidable in vertical guides 119 at opposite sides of the delivery opening 1 17. The delivery door is adapted to be locked in its closed position by control means indicated gener ally at 121, being biased to its closed position against a stop 123 on the panel 113. It has a handle 125 for pushing it down when it is unlocked.

The side panels 115 and the front panel 113 in conjunction with a panel 127 extending down from the top of panel 67 and curving forward to the bottom of the delivery opening 117 define the delivery chamber 19. The gate 25 is movable between a forward closed position blocking the top of the delivery chamber 19 and a rearward open position allowing a carton C to drop down through passage 13 to the delivery chamber. Panel 127 is preferably made ofa relatively flexible material such as rubber sheeting for cushioning the drop of the carton. The gate 25 is constituted by a sheet metal plate mounted on the upper ends of a pair of arms 129 secured on a horizontal rock shaft 131 ex tending transversely of the rack 45 just above the bottom 47 of the rack and rearward of the panel 67. The arms 129 extend upward from the rock shaft behind the panel 67, and the gate 25 extends forward from the upper ends of the arms over the top of the panel 67. The rock shaft 131 is joumalled at its ends in bearings 133 on the rack bottom 47. The gate is biased to swing to its closed position by a spring 135 connected to one of the arms 129, and swings open in rearward direction against the return bias of this spring.

The means 27 for operating the gate 25 comprises a motor 137 (e.g., a gearmotor) for driving the gate to its open position, and permitting it to return to its closed position under the bias of the spring 135. It further comprises a gate-actuating lever 139 pivoted at its lower end as indicated at 141 on a mechanism plate 143, this lever having a pin and slot connection with the gate 25, this connection comprising a slot 145 in the upper end of the lever 139 receiving a pin 147 carried by a bracket 149 extending down from the gate. The lever 139 is operable by a cam 151, the latter comprising a circular disk eccentrically mounted on a camshaft 153 and having a peripheral flange 155 formed with the internal cam surface indicated at 157 in FIG. 10A. The lever 139 has a cam follower roller 159 interengageable with this cam surface, and normally engaging said surface under the biasing action of spring 135. The cam normally occupies the home position in which it is shown in FIGS. 6 and 10A in which the lever 139 occupies a forward position (under the bias of spring 135) and the gate 25 is closed. The cam is rotated clockwise from said home position positively to cause the lever 139 to swing rearward to swing the gate 25 rearward to its open position. As will appear, the cam rotates generally through half a revolution from its home position to open the gate, then stops with the gate open until the aforesaid vend flap means 29 has been actuated by a falling carton C. Then the cam returns through the remainder of the revolution to its home position and allows the gate 25 to be returned to its closed position by the spring 135.

At 161 is indicated means for holding the gate 25 from being opened other than by the cam 151 (to prevent it from being manually opened) comprising a ratchet arm 163 pivoted at 165 on the mechanism plate 143 biased to swing downward by a spring 167 and engageable by a pin 169 on the bracket 149 to prevent the gate from being opened. At 171 is indicated means for retracting the ratchet 163 (i.e., raising it) clear of the pin 169 when the cam 151 is in operation to enable the gate 25 to open. This means comprises a cam follower lever 173 pivoted at 175 on the mechanism plate 143 having a roller 177 engageable with a ratchet control earn 179 on the camshaft 153 in front of cam 151 and connected by a link 181 to the ratchet 163. The cam 179 has a notch 183 receiving roller 177 on lever 173 in the home position of the cams 151 and 179 establishing a lowered operative position of the ratchet 163 in which its teeth are engageable by the pin 169. As cam 179 rotates around from its home position, follower lever 173 is swung up to lift the ratchet 163 to its raised retracted position wherein its teeth are clear of the pin 169 to enable the gate 25 to open.

The camshaft 153 is driven by electric motor 137, which is mounted on the back of the mechanism plate 143. This motor is under control of a pair of switches 187 and 189 controlled by a cam 191 on shaft 153 in front of cam 179. Cam 191 has a notch 193 for receiving the follower rollers 195 and 197 at the ends of operating arms 199 and 201 of switches 187 and 189, these rollers being located l80 apart around the cam periphery so that one switch is deactuated when the other is actuated. As shown in FIG. 6, switch 187 has its cam follower roller 195 in notch 193 of cam 191 in the home position of the cam, and switch 189 has its cam follower roller 197 around from the home position 180. Switch 187 may be referred to as the gate full cycle switch, and switch 189 may be referred to as the gate cycle switch.

n the back of the mechanism plate is a switch 203 controlled as indicated at 205 in FIG. 10C by the lever 139 so that when the latter is forward to the extent that pin 169 would lie at the rearward tooth of the ratchet 163, the switch is deactuated. When the lever is rearward of this position, the switch is actuated by a spring arm 206 on a lever 208 of the means 205, lever 208 being actuated by lever 139. Lever 208 has a pin 210 extending through an arcuate slot 212 in the mechanism plate engageable by the front edge of lever 139, and is biased to swing rearward by a spring 214.

Extending between the intermediate side braces 69 adjacent the front of the rack 45 and at an elevation slightly above the elevation of the gate 25 is a bridge piece 215. The vend flap means 29 comprises a switchactuating rocker bar 217 extending laterally of the rack at the front of this bridge piece, this rocker bar having a series of fingers 219 extending forward therefrom above the top of the delivery chamber 19 (and above the gate 25). The rocker bar 217 is swingable on an axis parallel to its length extending horizontally cross wise of the rack 45 immediately in front of the bridge piece 215, having pivot pins 221 at its ends joumalled in bearings 223 carried by the bridge piece. Spring means 225 biases the rocker bar 217 to swing the fingers 219 upward to the raised retracted and generally horizontal position in which they appear in FIG. 6. This retracted position of the rocker bar and fingers is determined by engagement of the bar with parts of the bearings 223. At 227 and 229 are indicated two switches controlled by the flap constituted by bar 217 and fingers 219, both these switches being actuated when the vend flap swings downward via mechanism such as indicated at 231, including a bar 232 for actuating the buttons of the two switches.

The delivery door control means 121 includes means for biasing the delivery door to slide upward in its guides to its raised closed position, this means comprising a lever 233 pivoted at 235 on a mechanism plate 237 mounted behind the front panel 113, and biased to swing upwardly clockwise as viewed from the front of the vendor and as viewed in FIG. 11) by a tension spring 239 connected between the plate 237 and one end of the lever 233. The lever has a pin 241 at its other end extending forward through an arcuate slot 243 in panel 113, this slot being on an are centered in the pivot 235 for the lever. The pin 241 carries a roller 245 on its outer end in front of the panel 113 engaging the bottom edge of the delivery door 23. The arrangement is such that the spring 239 acts via the lever 233 and the roller 245 on the end of the lever to bias the delivery door 23 to slide upwardly to its closed position against the door stop 123. And when the door is pushed down to open it, the lever is swung down against the return closing bias of the spring.

The lever 233 has a finger 247 which is engageable when the lever is in its raised door-closed position with a solenoid-operated latch 249 for locking the lever in this position and hence locking the delivery door 23 in its closed position. The latch is pivoted at 251 on the back of the plate 237, being biased to swing to its latching position through a slot 253 in the plate by a spring 255. The solenoid 257 for operating the latch is also mounted on the back of the plate 237, acting when energized to swing the latch to a retracted position clear of the finger 247 so that the lever may swing down.

The delivery door control means 121 further comprises means for latching the lever 233 down in its door-open position for a predetermined time interval and then releasing it for controlled relatively slow rise slowly to slide the door up to its closed position. This means comprises a latch 259 for the lever 233 pivoted at 261 on the front of the plate 237 having a series of ratchet teeth 263 engageable with the finger 247 on the lever to latch the lever down. The latch 259 is adapted to be held in a retracted position clear of the lever 233 by a detent 265 pivoted at 267 on the front of the plate 237 having a notch 269 receiving a finger 271 on the latch for holding the latch in retracted position. The detent 265 is biased to swing upwardly (clockwise as viewed in FIG. 11) to its operative position when it catches the finger 271 by a tension spring 273 connected between the latch and detent, and is adapted to be swung downwardly to a retracted position clearing the finger 271 for release of the latch by engagement of the finger 247 on the lever 233 with a trip 275 pivoted at 277 on the detent 265 and biased by a spring 279 to swing down against a stop flange 281 at the lower end of the detent. The detent 265 normally holds the latch 259 in its retracted position, as illustrated in FIG. 1 1. When lever 233 is swung down on opening the delivery door 23 far enough for finger 247 to engage the trip 275, the detent 265 is swung counterclockwise on its pivot 267 to release the latch finger 271 from the notch 269 of the detent, and latch 259 is thereupon swung clockwise on its pivot 261 by spring 273 for engagement of the lever 233 coming in under the fourth tooth 263 from the lower end of the latch.

On the front of the plate 237 is a door-open signal switch 283 having an operating arm 285 engaged by the finger 247 on the lever 233 when the latter is raised. As the lever 233 is swung down on opening the delivery door 23, the finger 247 moves down away from the operating arm 285 and the latter swings down to deactuate the switch. Also mounted on the front of the plate 237 is another switch 287 having a button 289 controlled by a switch control lever 291 pivoted at 293 on the front of the plate. Lever 291 has an arm 295 at one end engageable with the button 289 and is biased to swing clockwise for engagement of arm 295 with the button by a spring 297. Lever 291 is controlled by latch 259 via a pin 297 at the upper end of the latch and an edge portion 299 of lever 291, the arrangement being such that when the latch 259 is retracted, lever 291 swings clockwise to actuate the switch 287 and when the latch is released by the detent 265 to swing to its latching position, pin 297 acting on the edge portion 299 of the lever 291 swings it counterclockwise to deactuate the switch.

The rise of lever 233 is controlled by a cam 301 on a camshaft 303 driven by a timer motor 305 mounted on the back of the plate 237, and the lever 291 is con trolled by another cam 307 on this camshaft, the cam 307 having a notch 309. Lever 291 has a cam follower finger 311 at its end opposite its arm 295 biased by the spring 297 toward engagement with the cam 307. Finger 311 is received in the notch 309 in the home position of the cam 307, enabling lever 291 to swing to its switch-actuating position of FIG. 11. Cum 301 has a rise and a fall 317 so developed and phased that. as the cam rotates through a single revolution cycle clockwise from its home position of FIG. 11, the rise 315 first engages a cam follower roller 319 on the lever 233 to swing this lever farther downward to a fully lowered position wherein finger 247 on the lever underlies the lowermost ratchet tooth 263. Shortly after this occurs the rise 315 of the cam 301 engages the pin 297 on the latch 259 and retracts the latch (i.e., swings it counterclockwise as viewed in FIG. 11) to release the lever 233 so that it may rise and close the door 23. It also recocks the latch 259. Shortly thereafter, the fall 317 of the cam 30] comes around to the follower 319 and, as the cam completes its single revolution cycle, the lever 233 undergoes its controlled rise at a relatively slow rate via engagement of the follower 319 with the fall of the cam 301 relatively slowly to raise the door 23. Motor 305 for the delivery door 23 is energized to start the stated single-revolution cycle by the deactuation of switch 287 on the initial downward swing of arm 295 oflever 29] resulting from the downward swing of lever 233. The cycle is completed when follower finger 311 of lever 291 drops into the notch 309 of cam 307, resulting in actuation of switch 287 to deenergize the door motor 305.

As herein illustrated, each of the four dispensing modules D1-D4 comprises l8 (nine pairs) of the dis pensers 3 for a total of 72 dispensers in all so that up to 72 different brands may be vended. It will be under stood, of course, that a higher-selling brand may be stocked in two or more dispensers. As to some of the dispensers 3, the cartons C may be placed therein standing on one of their narrow sides with the front face of the forward carton visible through the window 17, and as to other dispensers the cartons may be placed therein flat so that a narrow side of the forward carton is visible through the window. While the latter reduces the capacity of the dispenser (i.e., reduces the number of cartons which may be stocked in the dispenser), it may be used for slower-selling brands and enables closer spacing of the shelves.

Each of the dispensers 3 is alphanumerically coded in relation to the selector means 5, which comprises an alphanumeric selector having a first set of push buttons AB bearing a first code and a second set of push buttons NB bearing a second code, As herein illustrated, the push buttons AB of the first set are alphabetic buttons bearing an alphabetic code, nine such buttons being provided, eight of which are used bearing the letters A-H. The push buttons NB of the second set are numeric buttons bearing a numeric code, nine such buttons being shown bearing the numerals 1-9. Each dispenser is assigned a letter and number combination; in the four-module installation with nine shelves 71 and hence l8 dispensers 3 in each of modules D1-D4, the dispensers in the left-hand column of module D1 are assigned the designations A1-A9, and the dispensers in its right-hand column are assigned the designations 81-89. In module D2, the dispensers are assigned the designations C1-C9 (left) and D1-D9 (right); in module D3 they are assigned the designations 51-59 (left) and F1-F9 (right); and in module D4, they are assigned the designations (El-G8 (left) and H1-H9 (right). Suitable labels L (such as illustrated in FIG. 2A) are applied to the rails 93 at the front of the shelves 71 hearing these designations for the respective dispensers (72 in all). Thus, the customer may select a particular carton by observing it through the window 17, observing its code designation on the respective label, and pushing in the respective alphabetic push button AB and numerical push button NB. For example, for selection of the forward carton in dispenser B3, the customer pushes in the button denoted B and the button denoted 3.

Each alphabetic push button AB actuates a pair of normally open switches, these pairs being designated 1A and 2A, 1B and 28, etc., the last pair being 1H and 2H (see FIG. 14). Thus the push button lettered A when pushed in closes switches 1A and 2A, the push button lettered B when pushed in closes switches 18 and 28, etc. Each button when pushed in is adapted to be latched in with the respective pair of switches closed by suitable latch means including a latch solenoid LS1 if this solenoid is energized. If it is deenergized, the button will simply snap out. Solenoid LS1 when energized also closes a latch switch LS 1a (assuming a button has been pushed in). The numeric push buttons NB operate switches Sl-S9, of which S1, S2, S4 and S8 are normally open single-pole switches; S3, S5, S6 and S9 have first and second sets of normally open contacts denoted by a and b; and S7 has three sets of normally open contacts a, b and c. Each of these closes when the respective NB push button is pushed in, and is adapted to be latched closed when the push button is pushed in by suitable latch means including a second latch solenoid LS2 if the latter is energized. Solenoid LS2 when energized also closes a second latch switch LS2a (assuming a button has been pushed in).

In FIG. 15 the delivery motors are charted A1-A9, B1-B9, C1-C9, Dl-D9, E1-E9, Fl-F9, (ll-G9 and H1-H9, Al-A9 and 81-89 being the delivery motors in dispensing module D1, C1-C9 and Dl-D9 being those in the second module D2, E1-E9 and F1-F9 being those in the third module D3 and (ll-G9 and H1-H9 being those in the fourth module D4. As shown in FIG. 15, the motors are grouped in eight groups A-H of nine motors each. At MC is indicated a control systom for the delivery motors, shown as comprising eight clusters or relay trees of relay contacts CA-CH, cluster CA controlling the nine motors of motor group A, cluster CB controlling the nine motors of motor group B, etc. These have a, b, c and d contacts as illustrated in FIG. 15 actuated by four relay actuators designated RA, RB, RC and RD. RA actuates the (1 contacts of each tree, RB actuates the 1) contacts of each tree; RC actuates the I. contacts of each tree; and RD actuates the (1 contacts of each tree.

The control module CM includes four socalled mod ule relays, one for each of the four dispensing modules Dl-D4, these relays being designated MR1-MR4. Ei ther of selector switches 1A or 1B when closed complets a circuit 331 for the module relay MR1 of module D1. Either of selector switches 1C or 1D when closed completes a circuit 333 for module relay MR2 of mod ule D2. Either of selector switches 113 or IE when closed completes a circuit 335 for module relay ME3 of module D3, and either of selector switches 16 or 1H when closed completes a circuit 337 for module relay MR4 of module D4. Selector switches 2A-2H when closed complete respective circuits CCA-CCH to the a contacts of the relay trees CA-CH. At 339 is indicated a circuit for relay RA which is completed when any of switches S1, S3, S5, S7 or S9 are closed. At 341 is indicated a circuit for relay RE which is completed when any of switches 52, S3, S6 or $7 is closed. At 343 is indicated a circuit for relay RC which is completed when any of switches S4, S5, S6 or S7 is closed, and at 345 is indicated a circuit for relay RD which is completed when either of switches 88 or S9 is closed.

Each of the delivery motors (Al-A9, Bl-B9, etc.) is connected in a line such as indicated at 347 in H6. for motor H3 between its respective tree and a terminal of a price board 348. This board has a matrix for setting up any one of five prices for any one of the motors so as to vend cartons C at any one of five prices, the price board end of the line 347 being plugged into the matrix according to the price at which the respective dispenser 3 is to vend into contact with one of five price conductors PC1-PC5 in the board. At 349 is indicated the validator of the control module CM, this validator being of a known type such as sold by National Rejectors of Hot Springs, Ark., adapted for insertion of a card bearing a magnetic code. Cards of five different price levels are provided for insertion in the validator via a slot 350 in the front of the control module to obtain a vend, these cards, in the use of the vendor in a supermarket, being sold to customers at the supermarket checkout counters. The validator 349 comprises means for reading the magnetic code of an inserted card to determine whether or not it is a valid card. If it is a valid card, the reader validates it, resulting in energization of one of a set of five price relays PRl-PRS according to the amount of credit represented by the card. These relays are interconnected with the validator in the circuit indicated at 351 in FIG. 16, power lines L1 and L2 being shown connected to the validator to supply power for the operation of the validator and the relays. The validator includes a card collection system for deliverying validated cards to a collection re ceptacle in the control module C, and a card return system for returning an inserted card to the customer as, for example, if a customer should desire return of his card before a purchase. Collection is under control of a collection relay 353. Card return is under control of a return relay 355 energized by a card return switch 357 operable by a card return button 359 on the front of the control module.

Each of the validator-controlled price relays PR1 PR5 has a lower set of contacts a, an intermediate set of contacts 17 and an upper set of contacts c. The lower contacts, which are normally open, are connected to power line L2 in a line 361 including a so-called motor sense relay 363 and connected to the five price conductors PCl-PCS of the price board 348 via the five price lines indicated at PL1PL5. The intermediate contacts b of the price relays are connected via a line 365 with the upper contact of a set of contacts b of a so-called vend flap relay 367, and via five lines such as indicated at 369, each including a counter 371 to power line L2 for counting the number of vends at each of the five different prices. The upper sets of contacts 0 are doublethrow contacts, having their movable contactors normally closed upwardly as shown in a circuit 373 from line Ll through the entire set of contacts including normally open upper contacts b of the collect relay 353 and the coil of the vend flap relay 367 to line L2. When the movable contactor of the upper set 0 of any one of relays PRl-PRS is pulled down, it directs power from line L] via a line 375 to the movable contactor of contacts b of the vend flap relay 367.

Referring to FIG. 13, there is shown for dispensing module D4 are respective gate motor 137, gateactuated switch 203, gate control cam switches 187 and 189 and vend flap switches 227 and 229; also the delivery door motor 305 and locking solenoid 257 and the delivery door switch 283. For purposes of simplifying the illustration, the gate control cam 191 is represented as two separate cams driven by the gate motor 137. Each of the module relays MRI-MR4 for the modules Dl-D4 includes four sets of contacts a, b, c and d. Relay MRI is energized via line 331 whenever either of push button switches 1A or 1B is closed. Relay MR2 if energized via line 333 whenever either of push button switches 1C or 1D is closed. Relay MR3 is energized via line 335 whenever either of push button switches IE or 1F is closed, and relay MR4 is energized via line 337 whenever either of push button switches 16 or 1H is closed.

The motor sense relay 363 has two sets of contacts a and b. Set a is connected in a gate signal line 377 off power line L1 for signalling the gate motors of the four dispensing modules Dl-D4 to start. As to each module, its gate motor 137 is connected in a branch line 379 off the gate signal line 377 including the module relay contacts 0, and the gate cycle switch 189 to a connection at 381 with power line L2. Thus, with the gate cycle switch 189 closed, when a module relay, e.g., MR4, is energized and the motor sense relay 363 is energized, the respective gate motor 137 is energized. It remains in operation for a half revolution of the camshaft 153, at which point switch 189 opens. The switch 187 (which may be referred to as a full cycle switch) is a double-throw switch having its movable contactor normally closed on its lower contact, as shown.

Contacts d of each module relay MR, which are normally closed, are connected in a line 383 between line L1 and the movable contactor of switch 187. A line 385 connects the upper contact of switch 187 to line 379 between the switch 189 and the motor 137, and a line 387 including the delivery door-locking solenoid 257 connects the lower contact of switch 187 and the lower contact of gate switch 203 (which is a doublethrow switch). The movable contactor of switch 203 is connected to line L2, and its upper contact is connected via a line 389 to a so-called inhibit circuit 391 which includes a line 393 common to the four modules Dl-D4 having branch lines 395 for the respective modules, each branch line being connected to power line L2 and including the respective delivery door switch 283 and contacts b of the respective module relay. The delivery door motor 305 of each of modules D1-D4, is connected between lines L1 and L2 in a motor circuit 397 including the switch 287 (which is closed when the delivery door is opened).

At 399 is indicated a so-called operation relay having lower and upper contacts a and b, this relay being connected between lines L1 and L2 in a circuit 401 including the normally closed upper set of contacts c of a socalled delivery relay 403. The inhibit circuit includes a line 404 including the upper contacts b of the operation relay 399 connected between the common inhibit line 393 and circuit 401 on the L2 side of the operation relay.

The delivery relay 403 has three sets of contacts indicated at a, b and c. it is connected off line 375 via the lower contact of set [1 of the vend flap relay 367 in a circuit 405 including a delivery switch 407 which is operated by the delivery push button 7, and latch switches LSla and LSZa, and leading to line L2. The latch solenoids LS1 and LS2 are connected in parallel with one another for simultaneous operation in a circuit 409 taken off circuit 405 on the L1 side of the delivery switch and including a normally closed reset switch 411 operable by a reset push button 413 on the front of the control module CM to deenergize the latch solenoids to enable a change in selection. The movable contactor and lower contact of the set of contacts a of the delivery relay 403 are in a holding circuit 415 for the delivery relay connected via circuit 405 between the lower contact of the set of contacts b of the vend flap relay 367 and the L1 side of the delivery relay. The movable contactors of the letter switches 1A1H and the numeric switches S1-S9 are connected to branch lines 417 and 419 from a line 421 interconnected with circuit 405 on the L1 side of the delivery relay.

At 423 is indicated a time-delay relay which functions to provide a timed interval for delivery ofa carton and return of a card if a carton should not be delivered within that time interval, which may be, for example, some 40 to 45 seconds. This allows time for forward feed of a carton from the rear to the front of any one of the shelves 71, in accordance with the rate of forward movement of the pusher 95 by the feed screw, so as to provide for delivery in a situation where a service man may have left one carton in a dispenser 3 with the respective pusher 95 at the rear of the dispenser. This relay has a set of normally open contacts a and a set of normally closed contacts b. It is connected in a circuit 425 between lines L1 and L2 including the normally closed upper contacts c of the vend flap relay 367, and the normally open lower contacts a of the operation relay 399 to start its time-delay function on closure of contacts a of the operation relay. The latter is a timedelay relay with a time-delay interval, with a delay on opening of the order of I milliseconds, for example. It is normally energized, its lower contacts a being open and its upper contacts b being closed when it is energized (as illustrated in FIG. 14). The movable contactors of switches 2A-2H of the selector are connected to a line 429 including the upper contacts b of the timedelay relay 423 taken off line 425. The lower contacts a of the time-delay relay 423 are connected in a line 431 taken offline 405. The card return switch 357 is connected as shown in FIG. 16 in a line 433 between line 431 and the upper contact of the set of contacts b of the delivery relay 403, with a line 435 connecting the movable contactor of this set to line 415, and a line 437 connecting the lower contact of this set to line 409. The card return relay 355 is connected in a line 437 between line 431 and line L2. Normally open contacts a of the card return relay 355 are connected in a line 439 between a low-voltage power source 441 (associated with the validator) and the card return means (not shown) of the validator for effecting actuation of the latter to return an inserted card. The card collection relay 353, which is a time-delay relay having a delay interval of the order of 100 milliseconds, for example, is connected between L1 and L2 in a line 443 taken off line 425, the circuit being such that the collection relay is deenergized with a time delay when the vend flap relay 367 is deenergized. On deenergization of the collection relay (after its time-delay interval), its lower contacts a close and complete a circuit 445 from the power source 441 to effect collection of an inserted card. Also, its upper contacts b close to complete circuit 373 to reenergize the vend flap relay 367 (assuming price relays PRl-PRS are deenergized).

Means is provided for utilizing the time-delay relay 423 to provide for return of an inserted card after a relatively short time-delay interval (e.g., one second) in the event the customer makes a selection of a brand selling at a price other than that represented by the inserted card. This means comprises a resistor 447 connected as indicated at 449 with the relay, and adapted to be shorted via a shorting circuit 451 including the upper contacts b of the motor sense relay 363 in the normally closed condition of these contacts when the relay 363 is deenergized. When resistor 447 is shorted (relay 363 deenergized), the delay interval of relay 363 is short (e.g., one second); when the resistor shorting circuit 451 is open (relay 363 energized) and its contacts 12 open, the delay interval of relay 423 is long (e.g., 40-45 seconds).

The normally closed contacts a of the four module relays MRI-MR4 are connected in series with the normally closed lower contacts a of the vend flap relay 367 and the vend flap relay 367 itself in a so-called vend flap line 453 between lines L1 and L2. The vend flap relay is normally energized and FIG. 14 shows its contacts a, b and c in thier condition with this relay energized. As to each of the modules Dl-D4, the two vend flap switches 227 and 229 are connected in a shunt circuit 455 around the contacts a of the respective module relay. When any module relay is energized, meaning that its contacts a are open, circuit 455 functions as a holding circuit to maintain the vend flap line 453 and the vend flap relay energized until the circuit 455 is broken.

Operation is as follows:

The customer purchases a validation card to establish credit in the credit system of the control module CM in the amount corresponding to the price of the carton C to be purchased, and, in accordance with directions on the front of the control module, inserts the card in the slot 350 of the validator 349 in the control module. The card (being a valid card) effects energization of the price relay PR corresponding to the card value, and for purposes of illustration it will be assumed that the inserted card effects energization of the first price relay PR1 with resultant closure of its lower contacts a to complete a circuit via price line PLl to the first price terminal conductor PC] of the price board 348. This sets up the control module CM for the vending of any carton C selling at the first price. The intermediate set of contacts b of relay PR1 close to set up the control module for actuation of the counter 371 for cartons of the first price. The movable contactor of the upper set of contacts c of relay PR1 closes on the lower contact of the set to complete a circuit from line L1 via line 375, the movable contactor and lower contact of the intermediate set of contacts b of the vend flap relay 367, part of line 405, and line 409 via the reset switch 411 (normally closed) and the parallel circuits for the latch solenoids LS1 and LS2 to line L2, thereby energizing the two latch solenoids. This conditions the alphanumeric selector 5 for holding in any one of its alphabetic push buttons AB and any one of its numeric push buttons NB that may be pushed in. With the buttons pushed in, it also closes latch switches LSla and LS2a.

In accordance with the directions on the front of the control module, the customer then pushes in the alphabetic button AB and the numeric button NB of the selector 5 corresponding to the code he has observed through the window 17 on the label L for the carton C he wishes to purchase, this carton being one selling at the price represented by the inserted card (and established by energization of relay PR1, as herein described). For purposes of illustration, it may be assumed that the customer selects the H3 carton, which is herein illustrated as in dispensing module D4, this carton being one selling at the price represented by the inserted card. He therefore pushes in buttons H and 3 of the selector, the buttons being latched in due to the latch solenoids LS1 and LS2 being energized, This closes selector switches 1H, 2H and S3, and they are latched closed by the latch solenoids.

Further in accordance with the directions on the front of the control module, the customer then pushes in the delivery push button 7 to close the delivery switch 407. This completes a circuit via line 405 (powered from L1 via contacts PRlc and line 375) through the two closed switches LSla and LS2a and via line 421 to the selector 5, and via line 405 through the delivery relay 403 to close contacts a of this relay, close the movable contactor of its set of contacts b on the lower contact of the set, and open its contacts c'. Closure of the lower contacts a establishes the holding circuit 415 for the delivery relay 403 to hold it energized. Closure of the movable contactor of the set of contacts b on its lower contact establishes circuit 435, 437 by-passing the reset switch 411 so that the latter is taken out of action (i.e., the selector 5 cannot be reset after the delivery button 7 has been pressed). Closure of the set of contacts b on its lower contact also cuts off power from the card return switch 357 to take the latter out of action to preclude return of the card after operation of the delivery button. Opening of the upper contacts 6 opens the circuit 401 of the operation relay 399 so that after its time-delay interval (e.g., 100 milliseconds) it opens. Power is directed from line 405 via line 421 to line 417 of the selector, and thence via the closed switch 1H and line 337 through module relay MR4 to line L2 to energize this relay and set up module D4 for operation. If. however, the delivery door 23 of dispensing module D4 should be open, meaning that the switch 283 controlled by this door is closed, a circuit remains closed for the operation relay via lines 404, 393 and line 395 for D4 (contacts b of module relay MR4 being closed) to preclude operation of module D4. Also, if the gate 25 of module D4 should be open, a circuit remains closed for the operation relay via 404, 393, line 395 for D4, and line 389 to 381 to preclude operation of module D4. Assuming that the delivery door 23 and gate 25 of D4 are closed, however, the operation relay will be deenergized, closing its contacts a and opening its contacts 12, for operation of module D4.

On closure of contacts a of the operation relay 399, a circuit is completed from line L1 via the upper contacts c of the vend flap relay 367, and line 425 to the time-delay relay 423. and via line 429 to the movable contactors of switches 2A-2H of the selector 5.

With alphabetic switch 2H closed (as herein assumed), power is directed via this switch and line CCH to the relay tree Cl-l (for the H group of delivery motors). With numeric switch S3 closed (as herein assumed), power will have been directed from line 419 (supplied from line Ll via contacts b of the vend flap relay 367 and lines 405 and 421) through lines 339 and 341 to energize relays RA and RB so that the a and b contacts of all the relay trees are closed. With the a and [7 contacts of tree CH closed, power is directed through line 347 including the delivery motor H3, the price board conductor PCI to which line 347 is connected, the price line PL], closed contacts a of the price relay PR1, and line 361 including the motor sense relay 363 to line L2.

The delivery motor H3, thus set into operation, drives the feed screw of the dispenser 3 for the H3 cartons, and the screw drives the respective pusher forward to push the entire row of H3 cartons forward. immediately upon energization of the motor sense relay 363 and closure of its lower contacts (i.e., in response to starting the delivery motor), a gate signal is transmitted from line L] via closed contacts a of the motor sense relay, line 377, and line 379 for the module D4, through the closed contacts c of module relay MR4, the closed gate cycle switch 189 and the gate motor 137 to line L2 at 381. The gate motor 137 of D4 thereupon starts up and rotates the camshaft 153 and cam 151 to effect opening of the gate 25 of D4. Switch 189 remains closed for half a revolution of the camshaft, noting that after half a revolution, the roller 197 at the end of operating arm 201 of this switch drops into the notch 193 in cam 191 on the camshaft to open the switch. This stops the gate motor 137 with the gate 25 in its open position. When the gate opens, switch 203 is deactuated, i.e., its movable contactor opens off its lower contact and closes on its upper contact.

In the usual course of events, the delivery motor H3 in module D4 continues in operation to push the H3 cartons forward until the forward H3 carton is pushed over the rail 93 at the front of the H3 shelf 71 and drops down in the passage 13, falling into the delivery chamber 19 of D4. As the carton falls in passage 13, it strikes the fingers 219 of the vend flap 29 of D4 and swings this flap down, spring means 225 being light enough to permit the carton readily to swing the flap down, and functioning to swing the flap back up after the carton has passed by the flap. On this actuation of the vend flap of D4 by the falling carton, the vend flap switches 227 and 229 of D4 open, breaking the circuit 453 for the vend flap relay 367 so that its contacts a and 0 open, and the movable contactor of its set b opens off the lower and closes on the upper contact of set b. Opening of said contacts c opens the circuit 425 to cut off power to the delivery motor H3 and the latter stops before the next carton is pushed off. The opening of the movable contactor off the lower contact of set b opens the circuit 405 to deenergize the latch solenoids LS1 and LS2 for reset of the selector (i.e., for return of its buttons H and 3 to their outward position), and to deenergize the delivery relay 403 and the module relay MR4. Closing of the movable contactor on the upper contact of set b closes the counter circuit 365 to actuate the counter 371 for cartons of the H3 price. Opening of contacts 0 also opens circuit 443 for the collect relay 353 and. after its time-delay interval, its lower contacts close to signal the validator 349 via line 445 to collect the inserted card, upon which the validator deenergizes the price relay PR1. On deenergization of relay PR1, and resultant return of the movable contactor of its set of contacts to the upper contact, circuit 373 is completed via the upper contacts b (now closed) of the collect relay 353 to reenergize the vend flap relay 367, which closes its lower contacts a to remain energized and closes its upper contacts a to reenergize the collect relay 353.

On deenergization of the module relay MR4, its contacts d re-close. At this point, with cam 191 half way around from its home position of F168, 6 and 13, switch 187 is closed on its upper contact. Accordingly. a circuit is completed for the gate motor 137 of module D4 from line Ll via 383, 385 and 379 to 381 and L2. The motor 137 remains in operation for a half revolution of the camshaft 153 and cam 151 to return the gate of module D4 to its closed position, stopping when cam 191 reaches its home position and switch 187 opens off its upper contact via roller 195 on its arm 199 dropping into the notch 193. When the gate is closed, the gate switch 203 is closed back on its lower contact to energize the door lock solenoid 257 for the delivery door 23 of module D4, thereby retracting the door latch 259 to unlock the delivery door.

With the delivery door 23 unlocked, the customer may now push it down to open it via the handle 125, and reach in to obtain the vended H3 carton from the chamber 19. As he pushes the door down, the lever 233 is swung down against the return bias of spring 239, and latched down by the latch 259. As it swings down. switch 287 is deactuated to start the door motor 305 operating through a single revolution cycle of the cam 301, which first drives the door 23 down to its fully open position, where it remains for a sufficient length of time for the customer to obtain the carton, and then is driven back upward by its closed position with the controlled rise by the cam via the lever 233.

Operation for cards of other prices and other selections is believed apparent from the above and hence is not described in detail.

as previously noted, on closure of contacts a of the operation relay 399, which occurs after insertion of a card, making a selection and pushing the delivery button 7, a circuit is completed via line 425 to the timedelay relay 423. if the customer should have selected a carton selling for a price different from the price represented by the inserted card, the relay 423 will operate to close its lower contacts a and open its upper contacts b after its short (e.g., one second) time-delay interval, and effect return of the card (without a vend). Assume, for example, the customer inserts a PR2 card for the H3 carton selling at the PR1 price. Since this will energize the PR2 relay instead of the PR1 relay, the circuit through motor H3 (which requires price line PL1) cannot be completed, and the motor sense relay 363 remains deenergized. Accordingly, the resistor 447 remains shorted out, and the relay 423 times out its one second delay interval, and then its lower contacts a close to complete a circuit for the card return relay 355 via line 437 to return the inserted card to the customer, and its contacts b open to break line 429.

Assuming, however, that the customer has selected a dispenser 3 for cartons selling at the price represented by the inserted card. but that this dispenser is empty, on his operating the delivery button 7, the delivery motor for that dispenser will operate and the motor sense relay 361 will be energized in response to operation of the delivery motor to break the short circuit 451 for resistor 447, with the result that the relay 423 proceeds to time out its long delay interval (e.g., 40 to 45 seconds). When this interval expires, without delivery of a carton and hence without operation of the vend flap 29 and the vend flap relay 367, contacts a of relay 423 close for return of the inserted card and contacts h open to cut out line 429. As previously noted, the long delay interval of relay 423 is somewhat longer than the interval of time required for a pusher 95 to push a carton standing on one of its narrow sides from the rear to the front of a shelf, to allow enough time for vending the last remaining carton from a shelf in a situation where the pusher 95 for some reason is at the rear of its stroke.

From the above, it will be observed that prior to a vend, the gate 25 of each of the four dispensing modules Dl-D4 is closed and locked in closed position by the interaction of lever 139 and cam 151. The delivery door 23 of each of the modules Dl-D4 is unlocked and can be opened, but the gate, being closed, prevents access to the shelves 71 via the delivery opening 21. lf a module should be shaken or tilted to cause a carton (or more than one carton) to fall off the forward end of a shelf and down through the passage 11, the carton is interrupted by the closed gate to keep it from falling into the delivery chamber, and swings the vend flap 29 down far enough to open switches 227 and 229, with the result that that module is deactivated. This precludes shaking off one or more cartons and obtaining them by buying one carton. The other modules, how ever, remain operable, When the gate opens on a vend, the delivery door 23 is locked.

lt is remotely possible for a carton dropping into the chamber 19 to stand on end, in which case the gate 25 in returning to its closed position, will jam against the upper end of the standing carton generally midway of its return stroke. This occurs at a point following the unlocking of the delivery door 23. The latter may then be opened, and the carton tugged out, enabling the gate to close, But opening of the gate is precluded by the ratchet 163.

The cartons in each of the dispensing modules D1-D4 are unobstructedly displayed through the window l7, and the carton seen is the carton delivered, as is desirable. At the same time, each dispensing module is easy to load by opening the front door 11 of the cabinet 9 and rolling out the rack 45 for quick easy loading of the shelves 71 from the sides of the rack. Loading of each dispenser 3 is effected by releasing the pusher 95 from the feed screw and sliding the pusher back to the rear of the dispenser, then inserting cartons from the side behind those left in the dispenser for first-in, first-out dispensing. Utilization of the single control module CM (which contains the credit system and se lection system for all the dispensing modules) is advantageous not only to simplify the dispensing modules and reduce their cost, but also to reduce their width to a minimum.

As herein illustrated, operation of the vendor is controlled by insertion of a validation card in the validator 349 of the control module CM. It will be understood that the principles of the invention are applicable to a vendor as to which operation is controlled by a payment item other than a card, currency, a check or token, or piece of scrip. The term payment item" is

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Classifications
U.S. Classification194/210, 221/12
International ClassificationG07F11/42, G07F7/00, G07F5/18, G07F7/02
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/42, G06Q20/3433, G07F7/02, G07F5/18, G07F11/002, G07F7/00
European ClassificationG07F11/00B, G06Q20/3433, G07F7/00, G07F11/42, G07F5/18, G07F7/02