US 3908859 A
Apparatus for dispensing articles including at least a pair of elongate, parallel, laterally spaced trays in which the articles may rest in rows extending longitudinally of the trays. One set of ends of the trays are open, permitting articles to be pushed therefrom. Pusher elements mounted on an elongate screw are shiftable longitudinally of the trays for forcing articles therefrom. The distance between one pusher and the open end of its associated tray differs from the distance between the other pusher and the open end of its associated tray by such an amount that on movement of the pusher elements simultaneously along the trays an article is dispensed first from one row and them from the other row. The pushers are detachably connected to a support member, which is movable along the screw, to facilitate loading of the trays. A coin-operated control assembly is operable to permit movement of the pusher elements only a preselected distance, for dispensing only a preselected quantity of articles from the trays.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Hohmann [451 Sept. 30, 1975 1 1 ARTICLE DISPENSING APPARATUS  Inventor: Robert C. Hohmann, Grants Pass,
 Filed: Jan. 31, 1974 1211 Appl. No.: 438,375
521 U.S.Cl. 221/118; 221/133; 221/279; 403/320 511 lm. cl. B6511 3/00  Field of Search 221/93, 95 123, 124, 131, 221/133, 279, 280, 226-232, 151-154, 112, 114,116, 118; 271/9; 403/320, 118; 194/75,
Primary liraminer-Robcrt B, Reeves Assistant E.\'amil1erH. Grant Skaggs, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-l(o1isch, Hartwell, Dickinson & Stuart 5 7 1 ABSTRACT Apparatus for dispensing articles including at least a pair of elongate, parallel, laterally spaced trays in which the articles may rest in rows extending longitudinally of the trays. One set of ends of the trays are open, permitting articles to be pushed therefrom. Pusher elements mounted-on an elongate screw are shiftable longitudinally of the trays for forcing articles therefrom. The distance between one pusher and the open end of its associated tray differs from the distance between the other pusher and the open end of its associated tray by such an amount that on movement of the pusher elements simultaneously along the trays an article is dispensed first from one row and them from the other row. The pushers are dctachably connected to a support member, which is movable along the screw, to facilitate loading of the trays. A coin-operated control assembly is operable to permit movement of the pusher elements only a preselected distance, for dispensing only a preselected quantity of articles from the trays.
11 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures US. Patent Sept. 30,1975 Sheet 10f2 3,908,859
ARTICLE DISPENSING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates toapparatus for dispensing articles, and more particularly to apparatus for dispensing articles supported in rows in adjacent trays, with articles dispensed alternately from one, and then the other, of said trays.
Various types of article dispensing apparatus have been devised in the past. However, there is an ever increasing need for more reliable dispensing devices which are more easily loaded with additional articles.
'A particular need for such a device has been found in the'dispensing of prepackaged pressed wood fuel logs in remote areas, such as campgrounds.-
A general object of the present invention'is' to provide novel article dispensing apparatus which is relatively inexpensive and simple to construct and maintain, yet which is sturdy and serviceable, permitting unattended remote location of the devices.
Yet another object is to provide novel dispensing apparatus which includes quickly removable pusher elements to facilitate ease in loading of articles for resupply of the device.
More specifically, an object is to provide novel dispensing apparatus which includes a pair of elongate, substantially parallel trays, open at one set of their ends, and a pair of pusher elements, each of which is associated with one of said trays, in such a manner that movement of a pusher element toward the open end of its associated tray forces an article off its associated support tray for falling into a dispensing outlet. In the apparatus of the invention, the pusher elements are so positioned that first one and then the other will force an article off its associated tray. With such apparatus the pusher elements need be moved only a distance equal to one half of the thickness of an article to accomplish pushing of an article off of the open end of a tray. Successive movements of the pusher element the distance of one half the thickness of an article serves to dispense articles from alternate trays.
Yet another object is to provide a novel pusher element mounting which permits ease of removal of the pusher elements to facilitate loading of the device.
Stillanother object is to provide novel control and operating means for operating the pusher elements.
DRAWINGS These and other objects and advantages will become more fully-apparent as the following description is read in conjunction with the drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of apparatus constructed according to an embodiment of the invention, with a portion broken away;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged side elevation view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1, with portions broken away to illustrate internal mechanism in the device;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken generally along the line 33 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is anenlarged perspective view of the mounting of pusher elements in the apparatus; and
FIG. 5 is anenlarged-view taken generally along the line 5-5 in FIG. 2.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EMBODIMENT or THE INVENTION Referring to the drawings, and first more specifically to FIG. 1, at 10 is indicated generally apparatus constructed according to an embodiment of the invention. The apparatus includes a'substantially cylindrical enclosure 12 which is closed at its opposite set of ends by a front end wall 14 and a rear end wall 15. Large openings in opposite sidesof the enclosure are closed by elongate arcuate doors 16 which are hingedly connected to the enclosure at 18.
Supported within enclosure 12 are a plurality of elongate formed plate me'mbersextending longitudinally of the enclosure and defining" four elongate, laterally spaced, parallel article-holding trays illustrated in end view in FIG. 3 at 22, 24,26,28. Trays 22, 24 are disposed to one side of the longitudinal center line of enclosure 12 with tray 22 superposed over tray 24. Trays 26, 28 are disposed to the opposite side of the center line with' tray 26 superposed over tray 28. Trays 22, 24 thus are considered to be situated in an over and under pair, and trays 26,28 are considered as forming another over and under pair.
As is illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, each tray is adapted to support a plurality of articles in a row extending longitudinally of the trays, such articles being illustrated in the drawings at 32 in the upper set of trays and 34 in the lower set of trays. All of articles 32, 34 are substantially the same, and have substantially the same dimension, or thickness, T when measured in a direction extending longitudinally of the trays. The articles in the upper and lower trays have been givendifferent numbers to diistinguish them in an operational description which will follow. Each of articles 32, 34 may be prepackaged quantitiesof pressed wood fuel logs. As is known, they may be prepackaged in a plastic covering.
As is seen in FIG 2, the trays extend longitudinally of the enclosure through amajor portion of its length. The rear set of ends of the trays, at the right end of the enclosure in FIG. 2, are spaced a short distance from rear end wall 15 of theenclosure. The forward set of ends of the trays, adjacent the left end of FIG. 2, terminate a distance inwardly from end wall 14. As is seen in FIG. 2, the forwardmost ends of the upper pair of trays, such as end 26a for tray 26, project forwardly of theforwardmost setof ends of the lower trays, as indicated at 28a for tray 28. The horizontal distance between ends 26a, 28a of the trays isapproximately the thickness T of one of the articles.
A protective, or guide, plate, 38 inclines downwardly at a relatively steep angle from the forwardmost end of the upper set of trays. I
An elongate screw 40, also referred to herein as a support element, extending longitudinally of the enclosure is associated with each pair of trays 22, 24 and 26, 28. Aslis seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, a screw 40 associated with a pair-of trays is spaced below the upper tray in the pair and extends fully the length of the trays. Each screw is supported and journaled adjacent its opposite ends for rotation about its longitudinal axis, as by bearings such as that indicated generally at 42 in dashed outline at the right end of FIG. 2. I 7
Each' screw has a sprocket 44 secured thereto adjacent its forwardmost end as seen inFIG. 3. I
Screwed onto each of screws 40 is a ball nut 48 also referred to hereinas a support member, (see FIGS. 2 and 4). Each nut has lugs, such as that indicated genef= ally at50 in FIG. '4 projecting laterally outwardly to appositesides of the nut. A pair of horizontal bores 52 paralleling screw 40 extend through lug 50 on each side of the ball nut.
A pair of pusher, or shifting, elements, or members, 54, 56 are detachably mounted on the ball nut associated with each of screws 40. As will be understood from the following description, pusher elements 54 project upwardly from their associated screws 40 through slots extending longitudinally of the upper trays to operate upon articles held in trays 22, 26, while pusher elements 56 depend from their associated screws 40 and are adapted to operate upon articles in trays 24, 28.
Describing first a pusher element 56 and referring to FIGS. 2 and 4, it includes a bifurcated yoke portion 58. Yoke portion 58 has upwardly projecting legs 58a, 58b which are spaced apart at their upper set of ends and receive screw 40 therebetween, as seen in FIG. 4. Each of legs 58a, 58b has a pair of bores extending therethrough, indicated generally at 60, which, with the pusher element in the position shown in FIG. 4, are axially aligned with bores 52 in lugs 50 on the ball nut. Depending from yoke portion 58 is a plate portion 64. Plate portion 64 has a neck 64a which projects upwardly from its forward edge margin and joins integrally with yoke portion 58. The rearmost upper edge margin of portion 64 underlies ball nut 48. An upright bolt 66 is screwed into a threaded bore in the top of portion 64 and thus is vertically adjustable relative to the upper'edge margin of plate portion 64. A lock nut 68 screwed onto bolt 66 is operable to lock the bolt in a selected vertically adjusted position relative to the plate portion.
A lower portion of plate portion 64, indicated generally at 64b, (see FIG. 2) projects forwardly, in a direction longitudinally of the trays, and has an upright planar pusher plate 70 secured to its forward edge. As is bestseen in FIGS. 2 and 3, plate 70 extends transversely of the tray and is adapted to engage an upright side of the rearmost article in a row of articles on one of the lower trays.
Pusher element 54 includes a similar bifuracted yoke portion 72 having spaced-apart legs 72a, 721) which are open on their lower set of ends and receive screw 40 therebetween. Elongate aligning pins 74 project outwardly from both of yoke legs 72a, 7212. With the pusher elements in the position shown in FIG. 4, pins 74 are aligned with bores 52, 60 in the other elements in the' pusher assembly whereby they may extend through bores 52, 60 respectively to establish andmaintain a selected alignment between the various elements in the assembly.
Pusher element 54 also includes a plate portion 78 which projects upwardly from yoke portion 72 and is integrally joined to yoke portion 72 by a neck 78a. The rear edge margin of plate portion 78 overlies ball nut 48. A downwardly projecting bolt 80 is screwed into a threaded bore in plate portion 78 adjacent its rear edge and is vertically adjustable relative to plate portion 78. A lock nut 82 is screwed onto bolt 80 to permit locking of the bolt in a selected adjusted position relative to plate portion 78.
The upper end portion of plate portion 78 projects forwardly in the apparatus longitudinally of the trays andan upright pusher plate 86 is secured thereto (see FIGS. 2 and 3). Plate 86 extends laterally of the support tray and is adapted to engage a side of the rearmost article held in a row on the upper tray. As is seen in FIG. 2, small rollers 87 are journaled at opposite ends of the plate 86 and are adapted to ride on tray 26. These rollers aid in supporting the pusher assembly in its movement along the apparatus.
Referring to FIG. 4, a slide lock assembly 88 is provided for locking ball nut 48, and pusher elements 54, 56 together in operative assembly position. The slide lock assembly includes an elongate upright locking element 90 which has an elongate slot 92 formed therein and a beveled forward edge 94. Element 90 is mounted for sliding movement in an upright guide channel 96 formed in one side of plate portion 78. A bolt 98 extends through slot 92 and is screwed into a threaded bore in plate portion 78. Bolt 98 is adapted, on tightening, to secure locking element 90 in a selected adjusted position relative to the plate.
Describing the assembly of ball nut 48 and pusher elements 54, 56, with the ball nut in the position shown in FIG. 4, and elements 54, 56 in the substantially upright positions shown in FIG. 4, aligning pins 74 are slid through bores 60, 52, respectively, and the elements are brought into abutting contact. In .this position adjacent faces of yoke portion 58 and lugs 50 are in abutting contact, and adjacent faces of yoke 58 and yoke 72 are in abutting contact. Once they are in abutting contact, locking element 90 is slid downwardly in its channel and beveled edge 94 engages the rear surface of lug 50, nearest the viewer in FIG. 4. Further downward movement of the locking element draws the elements tightly together. Once the elements have been drawn tightly together the locking element 90 is se-' cured in position by tightening bolt 98 to lock the pusher elements to the ball nut.
Referring to FIG. 2, with the ball nut and pusher elements assembled pusher plate 86 precedes pusher plate 70 by a distance which is substantially equal to one half the thickness of an article, T. This results in the distance *X" between pusher plate 86 and end 26a of its associated tray differing from the distance Y between pusher plate 70 and end 28a of its associated tray by an amount substantially equal to one half the article thickness, *T". Although the difference between X and Y has been illustrated herein as substantially equal to T/2, it should be understood that the difference between X and Y may be equal to any positive odd integer multiplied by T/2. This will become more clearly evident upon a reading of the operational description, infra.
Referring now to the operating mechanism for the apparatus, there is a separate drive for each of screws 40. The drive assemblies for screws 40 are similar, and thus only one will be described in detail. Referring to the drive mechanism shown for screw 40 associated with trays 26, 28 in FIG. 2, itincludes an exterior crank handle 100 adjacent end wall 14 and a drive shaft 102 secured to handle 100 and journaled for rotation about its central axis which parallels screw 40. A sprocket 104 is secured to drive shaft 102 adjacent its end opposite crank handle 100.
A second drive shaft 106 is journaled for rotation below and rearwardly of shaft 102. A first sprocket 108 is secured to shaft 106 adjacent its left end, and another sprocket 110 is secured thereto adjacent its right end, as seen in FIG. 2. A drive chain 112 is trained over sprockets 104, 108 to transmit driving power between shafts 102, 106. Another drive chain 114 is trained over sprocket 1 l0 and sprocket 44 on screw 40 to drivingly interconnect shaft 106 and screw'40. An idler sprocket 116 is provided for maintaining proper positioning of chain 114 (see FIG. 3). v
The driving relationship between crank handle 100 and screw 40 is suchthat turning crank handle 100 one complete revolution moves ball nut 48 and the pusher elements attached thereto forwardly in the apparatus, toward end wall 14, a distance substantially equal to one half the thickness T of one of the articles operated upon. I I
The apparatus illustrated is coin operated and has coin plunger actuated locking means for controlling use of the handle. Explaining further, and referring to FIGS. 2 and 5, shaft 102 has a pair of circular, spacedapart plates 120, 122 secured thereto. These plates are secured together by bolts 124 and spacers therebetween maintain a desired spacing between the plates. The plates are keyed to shaft 102 so that they rotate therewith. Between plates 120, 122 is a locking, or stop, element 126 having the somewhat L-shaped outline illustrated. The locking element is shiftable in a direction laterally of the shaft 102 between a locking position as illustrated in solid outline and a release position spaced radially inwardly therefrom as shown in dot dashed outline at 126A.
A pair of spaced-apart projections 128, 130 secured to and extending outwardly from element 126 toward the viewer in FIG. 5 are received slidably in an L- shaped slot 132 and a straight slot 134, respectively, in plate 120. A similar pair of projections on theopposite side of element 126 project through similar slots in plate 122. These slots and projections control the path of movement for locking element 126 as it is shifted between its locking and release positions.
A pair of tension springs 136, 138 are secured at one set of their ends to opposite end portions of locking element 126 and are secured at their other set of ends to plates 120, 122. The positioning of these springs is such that if the locking element is moved to the right in FIG. 5 from the position shown in solid outline to a position in which projection 128 is aligned with the upright leg of slot 132, spring 136 will urge the left end portion of element-126 upwardly and projection 128 will move upwardly into the uppermost portion of the upright leg of slot 132. At that same time, projection 130 moves to the right in slot 134. With such movement, spring 136 contracts to the position shown at- 136A to yieldably hold the locking element in its release position, while spring 138 maintains a biasing force on the locking element'urging the element toward the left in FIG. 5. The rotatable plates, stop element and springs are referred to collectively herein as a rotatable control assembly.
A rigid, stationary abutment member 150 is disposed adjacent the control assembly in a position to be engaged by locking element 126 when in its'locking position, as shown in solid outline in FIG. 5. This prevents rotation of the control assembly and shaft 102 in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 5. When the stop element is shifted to its release position it clears abutment member 150 to permit rotation of the control assembly and shaft 102.
A coin operated plunger 140 is provided in front end wall 14. The plunger is operable to move toward the rear of the apparatus, to the right, in FIG. 2, only upon insertion of a proper amount of coin. Plunger 140 is illustrated in cross section in FIG. 5 also.
An upright rotatable shaft 142 (see FIG. 5), having a substantiallyhorizo'ntal leg 142a behind plunger 140, extends upwardly to a position adjacent shaft 102 and locking 'element 126. A spur gear 146 secured to the upper end of shaft 142 engages the teeth on a rack gear 148. Rack gear 148 is shiftable to the right and left as illustrated in FIG. 5, toward and away from drive shaft 102, whereby on being'shifted toward drive shaft 102 it moves locking element 126 from its locking position shown in solid outline to its release position shown in dot-dashed outline.
As has been mentioned above a projection similar to projection 128 extends outwardly from the opposite, or rear side, of locking element 126 and through a slot similar to slot 132 in back plate 122. A stationary pin, shown in dashed outline at 154, ispositioned behind plate 122 whereby it engages the oppositecounterpart of pin 128 on rotation of shaft 102. Pin 154 is operable to cause the locking element to move from its release position shown in dot-dashed outline at 126A toward its locking position on rotation of the device.
Explaining further, as the control assembly rotates in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 5, with the locking element in its release position, pin 154 engages the opposite counterpart of pin 128 and causes it to move in the upright leg of the L-shaped slot toward the horizontal leg. When the pin reaches the horizontal leg of the slot spring 138 causes the locking element to slide from its release to its locking position.
Also included in the control mechanism is an antireverse device which is a spring loaded pin having a beveled front end portion 160a. Pin 160 is yieldably biased to the left in FIG. 5 by a spring 162. Pin 160 is in such a position that rotation of shaft 102 and plates 120, 122 in a clockwise direction in FIG. 5 is permitted, because bolt heads 124 are able to engage beveled portion 160a and push pin 160 outwardly against the biasing force of spring 162. Should the assembly be rotated in a counterclockwise direction, a bolt 124 would come into contact with the nonbeveled side of pin 160 and it would be prevented from rotating. v
Referring to FIG. 2, spaced above andforwardly of forwardmost end 26a of tray 26 is a stop element indicated generally at 170. Stop element and the underside of guide plate 38 both act to hold articles in titled positions, as shown in solid outline for the forwardmost article 34 in FIG. 2 andas illustrated in dot-' dashed outline for an article 32A in the upper row. i
A chute underlies the forwardmost ends of the trays and is adapted to receive and channel articles pushed from the open ends of the trays to doors 182, 184 opening at the forward end of the apparatus.
Explaining now the operation of the apparatus, to load articles into the upper and lower'trays, the pusher element assemblies are disassembled. The pusher ele ments are disassembled by unlocking locking element 90, loosening adjustment bolts 66, 80, and sliding yoke portions 72, 58 longitudinally of the apparatus away fromball nut 48. Pusher element 54 then may be lifted from screw 40 and pusher element 56 lowered from the screw and removed from the apparatus. Ball nut 48 then may be screwed substantially fully to the rear end of the screw 40. 1 Articles, such as prepackaged compressed fuel logs, thenare loaded in rows onto the upperand lower trays in the positions shown in FIG. 2. Pusher elements 54, 56 then are replaced on the screw and tightened against ball nut 48 in positions directly behind the rows of articles. In this initial loading process the pusher elements and articles are set so that the forwardmost article in one of the rows is resting only partially on its associated tray. With such positioning the article is tipped outwardly and away from the other articles in the row as illustrated by article 34A. As is seen its upper edge is supported by plate 38. The forwardmost article 32 in the upper tray is initially disposed immediately adjacent the open end of tray 26.
To operate the apparatus to dispense an article into chute 180, a proper quantity of coin is inserted into plunger 140 and the plunger is pressed inwardly to turn shaft 142 and gear 146, thus to move rack gear 148 against locking element 126. This shifts the locking element 126 from its locking position, shown in solid outline, to its release position, shown in dot-dashed outline. With the locking element in its release position, the crank may be turned one revolution. As the crank is turned in a clockwise direction through approxi mately one half a revolution pin 154 adjacent the back side of plate 122 causes locking element 126 to return to its locking position, to limit the control assembly to one revolution.
As the crank handle is rotated the ball nut and pusher elements are advanced along the screw a distance equal to one half the thickness T of one of articles 32, 34. As the pusher elements are moved forward article 34A is pushed off its tray and drops into chute 180. The forwardmost article 32 in tray 26 simultaneously is pushed half way off the open end of its associated tray, rotates about its lower end and tips outwardly, forwardly, from the remainder of the articles in the row. In the illustrated situation the forwardmost article 32A shown in dashed outline is tilted forwardly and is stopped by stop element 170.
A second rotation of crank handle 100 would produce another forward movement of the pusher element onehalf the thickness of such article, at which time the remaining portion of forwardmost article 32A will be pushed off tray 26 and would drop downwardly into chute 180. Subsequent half article thickness movements of the pusher elements acts to dispense first an article from the upper tray and then an article from the lower tray, thus alternating dispensing of the articles.
With such apparatus the removable pusher elements permit ease and efficiency in loading. The offset pusher elements for the upper and lower tray permit alternate dispensing from one and the other of such trays. Such apparatus is rugged of construction, simple and efficient in its operation, and may be economically constructed.
While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been described herein, itshould be apparent to those skilled in the art that variations and modifications are possible without departing from the spirit of the invention.
It is claimed and desired to secure by Letters Patent:
1. Apparatus for dispensing articles having like dimensions as measured in one direction comprising means defining a pair of elongate, laterally spaced,
substantially parallel trays for supporting a plurality of such articles in adjacent rows, with the articles in each row contiguous and in line with each other with said like dimension of each article extending in a direction longitudinally of the tray, said trays being open at one set of their ends,
article shifting means comprising a pair of article shifting elements and means mounting said shifting elements for movement longitudinally of said trays, with one of said shifting elements positioned to engage and shift articles in one of said trays toward said open end of the tray and the other of said shifting elements positioned to engage and shift articles in the other of said trays toward the open end of the other tray on movement of said shifting elements toward said open set of ends of the trays, and
operating means operatively connected to said shifting means operable on actuation to shift said shifting elements simultaneously toward said set of ends of the trays a distance equal to one half said dimension of an article, with said elements being spaced different distances from the open ends of their associated trays, said difference in distances being substantially equal to a positive odd integer multiplied by one half of said dimension of an article.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein one of said trays is disposed above the other of said trays and said one end of said one tray extends longitudinally outwardly beyond said one end of the other tray.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein an article has such a configuration that when it is shifted partially off said open end of its associated tray it rotates about the outer edge of the tray and tips outwardly and away from following articles in the row, and said apparatus further comprises stop means associated with each tray disposed above said end of the tray and spaced longitudinally outwardly therefrom which the upper edge margin of such a tipped article may engage when its bottom end is shifted partially off said tray, said stop means preventing falling of an article from its associated tray until its bottom is shifted fully from said tray.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said mounting means comprises an elongate support element extending longitudinally of and substantially parallel to said trays, a support member mounted on said support element for movement longitudinally therealong, and means detachably connected a shifting element to said support member.
5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein said shifting element comprises a yoke portion which fits over side margins of said support element adjacent said support member, and said detachable connecting means comprises means for establishing and maintaining a desired alignment of said yoke portion relative to said support member and means releasably locking said yoke to said support member.
6. The apparatus of claim 4, which further comprises roller support means mounted on a shifting element for providing rolling support of said element on its associated tray.
7. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein said support ele ment' comprises an elongate screw and said support member comprises a nut movable along said screw.
8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein said operating means comprises means for turning said screw a requisite number of turns to advance said nut toward said open ends of the trays a distance equal to one half said like dimension of an article.
9. Apparatus for dispensing articles comprising means defining an elongate tray for supporting a plurality of articles with the articles disposed in an elongate row extending longitudinally of the tray, and article shifting means comprising an elongate support element extending longitudinally of and substantially parallel to said tray, a support member mounted on said support element for movement longitudinally therealong, a shifting element, and releasable connecting means including aligning pins mounted on the shifting element and aligning bores mounted in the support member a locking element mounted on said shifting element and shiftable between a connecting position and a release position and operable in said connecting position to secure said shifting element to said support member for movement with said support member in a position to engage and shift articles longitudinaly of said tray on movement of said shifting element and in said release position to permit removal of said shifting element from said support member laterally of said support element.
10. Apparatus for dispensing articles comprising means defining an elongate tray for supporting a plurality of articles with the articles disposed in an elongate row extending longitudinally of the tray, and article shifting means comprising an elongate screw, means mounting said screw for rotation about its longitudinal axis and in a position extending longitudinally of and substantially parallel to said tray, a nut mounted on said screw for movement longitudinally therealong on relative rotation between the screw and nut, a shifting element detachably connected to and movable with said nut in a position to engage and shift articles longitudinally of said tray on movement of said shifting element, operating means operatively connected to said screw operable on actuation to rotate said screw, and control means operable to limit rotation of said screw to produce a preselected movement of said support member and shifting element longitudinally of said tray on actuation of said operating means, said control means comprising a stationary abutment member and a rotatable control assembly operatively connected to said screw in such a manner that when the control assembly is permitted to rotate the screw may be rotated, and when the control assembly is prevented from rotating, the screw is prevented from rotating, said control assembly comprising a stop element rotatable with the assembly and mounted for shifting movement between a locking position spaced laterally outwardly from the center of rotation of said assembly in a position to engage said abutment member and a release position spaced inwardly toward said center of rotation from its said locking position to clear said abutment member on rotation of the assembly, means for releasably maintaining said stop element in either of its said positions, and means forproducing selected movement of said stop element between its said two positions.
11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein said means for producing movement of said stop element comprises release means adjacent said abutment means actuatable to shift said stop element from its locking to its release position and means spaced from said abutment means actua'table to cause said stop element to move from its release to its locking position