US 3923159 A
A device for dispensing articles such as cans which comprises a rack having a lower can receiving and dispensing portion, and an upper carton supporting portion. The rack is adapted to support a disposable carton in substantially an upright position thereby providing an unobstructed view to a purchaser of pictorial and written material on the face of the carton relating to the product contained therein. Articles, such as cans, in the carton automatically feed themselves into the rack through an opening in an end of the carton. A movable gate, having a sound producing element such as a bell attached thereto, is provided for the rack. The gate requires a purchaser to manually move it to an open position before an article can be removed from the rack. The sound producing element is activated when the gate is moved.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Taylor et al.
Dec. 2, 1975  PRODUCT DISPLAY AND ARTICLE DISPENSING DEVICE  Inventors: Robert Taylor, Evanston; Charles Kleiman, Highland Park, both of 111.
 Assignee: Lake Chemical Company, Chicago,
 Filed: Sept. 16, 1974  Appl. No.: 506,345
 US. Cl 211/49 D  Int. Cl. A47F 7/28  Field ofSearch ..211/181, 106, 88,49 R, 211/148, 49 D; 221/301, 3
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,614,363 1/1927 Hicks.... 221/3 X 3,055,293 9/1962 Lariccia 211/49 D X 3,203,554 8/1965 Pendergrast, Jr. et al,..... 211/181 X 3,225,939 12/1965 Braun 21 l/l81 X 3,313,448 4/1967 Suttle ct al 221/3 Primary E.\'aminerStanley H. Tollberg Attorney, Agent, or FirmWallenstein. Spangcnberg, Hattis & Strampel  ABSTRACT A device for dispensing articles such as cans which comprises a rack having a lower can receiving and dispensing portion, and an upper carton supporting portion. The rack is adapted to support a disposable car ton in substantially an upright position thereby providing an unobstructed view to a purchaser of pictorial and written material on the face of the carton relating to the product contained therein. Articles, such as cans, in the carton automatically feed themselves into the rack through an opening in an end of the carton. A movable gate, having a sound producing element such as a bell attached thereto, is provided for the rack. The gate requires a purchaser to manually move it to an open position before an article can be removed from the rack. The sound producing element is activated when the gate is moved.
2 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures US. Patent Dec. 2, 1975 Sheet 2 of2 3,923,159
PRODUCT DISPLAY AND ARTICLE DISPENSING DEVICE The present invention relates to an improved product display and article dispensing device.
Apparatus for dispensing articles, such as cans, from the cartons in which they are packaged and shipped directly onto a rack from which they can be removed by a purchaser has been the subject matter of a number of patents. Thus, for example, US. Pats. Nos. 3,203,554 and 3,225,939 disclose apparatus of this type wherein a narrow, rectangular can carton is positioned in an inclined position on a rack, with the discharge end of the carton facing forward. Cans in the carton automatically feed themselves by gravity toward the front of the rack. A significant shortcoming of such arrangements is that the position of the narrow, rectangular carton on the rack does not permit pictorial or written material on the face of the carton to be easily viewed or read by a purchaser of the product dispensed from the rack. The attention-getting and promotional value of such material, therefore, is, to a large extent, lost. Over and above this consideration, dispensing racks of the type shown in the aforementioned patents are constructed with two or more vertically spaced shelves each shelf being adapted to hold two or more cartons. The structural requirements of such racks not only add to their cost, but, also, make them cumbersome and unwieldly. In US. Pat. No. 3,776,419, a rack and carton arrangement is shown which, while enabling pictorial and written material on the face of a carton to be easily viewed and read, has an important disadvantage in that it requires the use of a carton having a specially constructed end flap. The rack, in turn, requires special structural features which are adapted to cooperate with the specially constructed end flap of the carton. This mutual dependence in structural characteristics between the carton and the rack requires that the one be used in combination with the other.
In accordance with the present invention, a product display and article dispensing device is provided which enables optimum benefit to be derived from pictorial and written promotional material appearing on a carton supported on the device. A carton to be used in conjunction with device does not require any special constructional features. The carton need only have a configuration, and be of a size, which will enable it to be supported in substantially an upright position on the device. The device is compact and light in weight, and can easily be moved by an individual even with a full carton supported thereon. In addition, the device can be conveniently positioned on a counter or hung on a wall.
The device, in brief, comprises a framework or rack having a lower article receiving portion and an upper carton supporting portion. One side of the carton supporting portion of the rack is positioned in spaced relation above a shelf provided on the article receiving portion, and is formed to present a rearwardly and downwardly inclined extension upon which an end of a carton is supported in elevation with respect to the shelf of the article receiving portion. A carton is supported on the rack in a slightly rearwardly inclined, but substantially upright position so that any pictorial or written matter on the face, or front panel, and the sides of the carton is clearly visible. The supported end of the carton is provided with an opening through which articles such as cans automatically feed by gravity onto the shelf of the article receiving portion of the rack. Stop means is provided to limit the forward movement of the articles on the shelf. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the rack has a movable gate with a sounding device attached to it. Movement of the gate is required to enable a purchaser to remove an article from the rack. The sounding device is activated when the gate is moved.
The foregoing, and other features and advantages of the invention, will become apparent upon reading the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. I is a top plan view of an embodiment of the device of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a front view in elevation of said embodimerit;
FIG. 3 is an end view of said embodiment;
FIG. 4 is a view in perspective of a carton for use in combination with said embodiment of the device;
FIG. 5 is a view in perspective of said carton showing a section of an end closure flap having an opening formed therein through which articles in the carton self-feed by gravity onto the can dispensing device; and
FIG. 6 is a sectional view showing the embodiment of the device mounted on a wall, with a carton of cans positioned on the device and automatically feeding into the article receiving portion of the device.
Referring, now, in greater detail to FIGS. 1 through 3 of the drawings, the embodiment of the device illustrated, and designated generally by reference numeral 10, comprises a framework or rack having a lower article receiving portion 12 and an upper carton supporting portion 14. The framework or rack advantageously is formed of wire or small diameter metal rods.
The article receiving portion 12 has a pair of side supports 16-16, each of. which is desirably formed from a single metal rod. Each of the side supports 16 comprises an upwardly extending outer leg 16a which is joined to a substantially horizontal bottom or support leg 16b. The leg 16b is joined by an outwardly curved section 16c to an upper horizontal leg 16d. The leg 16d, in turn, is joined to an inner, upwardly extending leg l6e, the free end of which is positioned below the level of the corresponding end of the outer leg 16a.
A rear crossbar 18 is connected to the outer leg 16a of each of the side supports 16-16, and a base crossbar 20 is connected to the forward end of the leg 16b of each of the side supports 16-16. A plurality of shelf-supporting brackets 22 are mounted on the crossbars 18 and 20. The brackets 22 each have a pair of legs 24-14 joined at their free ends to the rear crossbar 18. The legs 24 are transversely positioned with respect to the Crossbars 18 and 20, and each comprises a rear section 24a which extends downwardly from its point of connection to the crossbar l8 and then is inclined inwardly and downwardly for the remainder of its length. Each section 24a is joined at its lower end to a horizontal shelf-engaging section 24b. The sections 2412-24b of each bracket are joined near their leading ends to the crossbar 20, and are interconnected at their ends by a U-shaped upwardly extending articleengaging section 240. A shelf 30 is secured to the outermost section 24b of the legs 24 of the brackets 22 positioned nearest the side supports 16-16.
The carton supporting portion 14 of the device 10 advantageously is formed from a single metal rod. As shown, the portion 14 has a rear section or crossbar 14a joined at each of its ends to a side section 14b. Each section 14b is connected as by welding to the side supports 16l6 of the article receiving portion 12 at the free ends of the outer legs 16a and inner legs 16c of the supports l6l6. Since, as stated, the free ends of the inner legs l6e terminate at a level below the free ends of the outer legs 16a, the side sections 1411, when connected as descirbed, are inclined forwardly and downwardly. The forward end of each side section 141) is joined to a short, downwardly extending section 146. Each of the sections 140, in turn, is joined to an inwardly extending, substantially horizontal section Me, the inner ends of which are joined to a downwardly extending section 14f. The lower end of each of the sections 14f is joined to the legs of an inwardly and rearwardly extending, slightly downwardly inclined U- shaped carton-support section or extension 143. The rear section or crossbar 14a of the portion 14 desirably has a pair of washers 3232 attached thereto to enable the device to be hung on a wall.
In the embodiment of the invention illustrated, a movable gate 40 is'provided for the device 10. The gate 40, as shown, is U-shaped, and comprises a crossbar 40a joined at its ends to legs 40b. The free ends of the legs 40b are looped around the sections 14s of the carton supporting portion 14 in a manner to enable the gate 40 to be rotated from its normally closed position as shown in FIGS. 1 through 3, to an open position (not shown). A crossbar 42 is connected at its ends to the legs 40b of the gate 40. The crossbar 42 serves to prevent articles from being removed from the shelf when the gate is in its normally closed position. A sounding device such as a bell 44 is attached to the gate 40 by a support rod 46. The bell 44- is adapted to ring when the gate 40 is moved to an open position. Other sounding arrangements activated upon opening of the gate can readily be substituted for the bell.
Referring, now, to FIGS. 4 and 5 of the drawings, a box or carton 50, for use with the device 10, is shown. The dimensions of the carton are such that it can be supported in substantially an upright position on the carton supporting portion 14 of the rack described above. The carton is most advantageously one in which the cans are normally packaged and shipped. The carton desirably has pictorial or printed matter 52 on the side thereof which will face potential purchasers of the product contained in the carton. The carton 50 has an end closure panel or flap 54 in which an opening 56 is formed to enable articles such as cans 60 contained in the carton to pass therethrough into the article receiving portion 12 of the rack. The flap 54 may be formed of a single section or two sections. In either case, the unopened portion 54a of the flap is adapted to engage and be supported on the U-shaped carton-support extension 14g of the carton supporting portion 14 of the rack. The opened portion 54b of the flap remains hinged along its outer margin to the carton 50 for reasons that will become clear as the description proceeds.
The device, as stated above, may be supported on a counter, or shelf, or it may be hung on a wall 70 by means of screws 72 as shown in FIG. 6. When thusly suspended, the device will be slightly inclined forwardly and downwardly. In use, a carton, such as carton 50, is provided with an opening in the lower end flap 54 as described. The carton is then positioned on the carton supporting portion 14 of the rack. As illustrated in FIG. 6, the carton 50, when in position on the portion 14, is substantially upright and slightly rearwardly inclined. In this position, the pictorial and printed matter 52 on the face of the carton is clearly visible from the front of the rack. The free margin of the opened portion 54b of the end flap 54 engages the shelf 30. The opened portion 5419, as a result, acts to provide a forwardly inclined ramp for the cans 60 feeding from the carton 50.
As indicated, the cans 60 in the carton 50 automatically feed by gravity onto the shelf 30 of the rack. The carton 50, as shown, is packed to provide two tiers of cans, each tier comprising three rows of cans arranged in end-to-end relation. The cans 60 are fed onto the shelf 30 in a manner corresponding to that in which they are packed in the carton 50. Therefore, three cans, arranged end-to-end, will present themselves at the forward margin of the shelf 30. The forward movement of the cans on the shelf is limited by the upwardly extending, article-engaging curved sections 24c of the brackets 22. The number of tiers of cans and the number of rows of cans is, obviously, variable as one may desire depending on the size of the carton and the size of the cans.
In order to remove a can from rack, a purchaser must raise the gate 40. Removal of a can from the rack other than by raising the gate is prevented by the legs 24 of the brackets 22, the legs 16b and 16d of the side supports 16-l6, and the crossbar 42 on the gate 40. As the gate 40 is raised the bell 44 will ring. Upon removal of a can from the rack by a purchaser, another can will be pushed forward on the shelf by the force exerted upon it by the cans behind it. The slightly rearwardly inclined position of the carton causes the cans therein to move toward the opening 56 in the end flap 54. As a result, all of the cans in the carton will continue to feed onto to the shelf 30 until the carton is empty.
It should be understood that various modifications may be made in the preferred embodiment of the invention shown and described without deviating from the broader aspects of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A portable, self-supporting product display and article dispensing device suitable for positioning on a counter or the like, comprising a one-piece, unitary, wire framework having an article receiving portion and a carton supporting portion, said article receiving portion having side members for supporting article holding means therebetween, said side members having a forwardly extending base section which serves as a support for the device when it is placed on a counter, or the like, and an upwardly extending rear section to which the carton supporting portion of the framework is secured, said carton supporting portion having upper and lower carton engaging means for supporting an article containing carton in a substantially upright position on the framework, said lower carton engaging means including a freely supported extension positioned in transverse relation with respect to the side members of the carton supporting portion, said extension providing an elevated, rearwardly extending, downwardly inclined surface on which a partly opened end of an article containing carton rests and which serves as the main supporting surface for said carton, said surface acting to maintain said end of the carton in vertically spaced relation with respect to the article holding means supported between the side members of the article receiving portion of the framework whereby tioned in relation to the article receiving portion as to require that the gate be grasped and swung clear of the article receiving portion to enable an article to be removed therefrom.