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Publication numberUS505905 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 3, 1893
Filing dateJan 13, 1891
Publication numberUS 505905 A, US 505905A, US-A-505905, US505905 A, US505905A
InventorsFrederick A. Spear
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Store-service apparatus
US 505905 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

(No Model-.) 3 Sheets-Sheet 1.


(No Mofiel.) 3 Sheets-Sheet 2.

'P. A. SPEAR. STORE SERVICE APPARATUS- Patented 001:. 3, 1893."


No Model.) 3 SheetsShe et 3.



No. 505,905. Patented-Oct. 3-, 18.93.




SPECIFICATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 505,905, dated October 3, 1893.

Application filed January 13, 1891. Serial No. 377,673. No model.)

To aZZ whom it may concern.-

Be it known that I, FREDERICK A. SPEAR, a citizen of the United States, residing in the city of Lowell,county of Middlesex, and State of Massachusetts, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Store-Service Apparatus, fully set forth in the following description and represented in the accompanying drawings.

This invention relates generally to a store service apparatus, and more particularly to that class of apparatus in which the carriers are moved along away or from station to station by means of a traveling cable.

The object of the present invention is to provide a simple, inexpensive and effective apparatus whereby carriers may be conveniently placed in position upon the way or ways and conducted to their destinations and when at such destination will move. from the way or ways so as to not obstruct the passage of following carriers in going to the same destination or to others beyond, as will be fully hereinafter described.

The improved apparatus consists essentially of a way extending in some cases past a number of salesmens stations to a central or cashiers desk, hereinafter termed the forwarding way, and another way leading from the central or cashiers desk to and past the several salesmens stations, hereinafter termed the return way. Along each of these ways there extends a motor'cable traveling along the forwarding way in the. direction "necessary to move the carriers to the cashiers desk, and along the return way in the direction necessary to move the carriers from that desk to the salesmens stations. In the preferred form, the motor cable will be an endless one stretched around and guided by suitable pulleys so thatone portion of the cable will extend along the forwarding way and the other portion along the return way.

The carriers, capacitated either for small or large packages such as cash or merchandise, and of anysuitable form, are supported by the way so as to be moved along the latter by the motor cable, and in the constru'c-.. tion shown these carriers are suspendedfrom the ways by the heads of projections extending from the carrier body, the heads sliding or rolling along and guided by the ways.

For the purpose of delivering only the previously designated carrier to its proper salesmans station, the way is open or spread at each station to allow the carriers to leave the way, and in conjunction therewith there is provided one or more guards, bridges or auxiliary Ways adapted to temporarily support those carriers in passing the open or spread portion that are designed to be delivered at a station farther along the way. And in conjunction with these guards, bridges or auxiliary ways each carrier is provided with proj ections, flanges or rolls adapted to coact with one or the other of said guards, bridges or the like to temporarily support the carrier and prevent it from being prematurely delivered from the way.

In the preferred construction the way while it may be of any desired form, is shown in the form'of a tube of any shape in cross section so that the motor cable and carrier suspending devices are hidden from view, which tube has a slot or opening extending substantially its entire length for the passage of the connection between the carrier and its suspendcerned a cable catch or grip may be used either with or in the absence of a projection formed on or carried by the cable. With this general understanding of the nature of the invention, a detailed description thereof will now be given reference being bad to the accompanying drawings, in which Figure l, is a side elevation of the improved apparatus, broken away and foreshortened at places for economy of space. Fig. 2, is a plan view of the greater-portion of the same. Fig. 3, is an enlarged cross section of a portion of the parts shown in Fig. 1 taken on the line 3, 3, thereof. Fig. 4, is an enlarged elevation partly in section on the lines at of Fig. 6, showing particularly that portion of the apparams at a salesmans station. Fig. 5, is a hori zontal section taken on the line 5, 5, of Fig. 4, the guards, bridges or auxiliary ways being indicated by dotted lines. Fig. 6, is a vertical cross section taken on the line 6, 6, of Fig. 4:. Fig. 7, is a sectional detail of one form of devices for imparting the movement of the cable to the carriers. Fig. 8, is a like detail of a different form of carrier and its suspending devices. of another form of carrier and its way. Fig. 10, is a diagram of the form of way and its guards or bridges. Fig. 11, is a cross sectional elevation of the apparatus'with an elevator for elevating a carrier to one of the ways.

Referring'now particularly to Figs. 1 and. 2, the ways, consisting of the forwarding way a central or cashiers desk 0, along and: past: several salesmens stations a, b, and theendless motorcable D is stretched around. suit.- ablepulleys so as to extend in alignmentwith each of the ways in position to propel the carriers along the forwarding; way from the several salesmens stations to the cashiers desk, and. along the: return way from thecashiersdeskto the salesmemsstations. The. motor cable is shown. as stretched around a grooved wheel amounted: at: one; end of: the ways, which wheel in. the presentinstance: is driven from any suitable motor located for instance at E; and at the opposite-end the motor cable passes around a sinrilacwheelcl, that: is mounted to keep a constant. strain. upon the cable: to hold it taut. Thus, the axle of. said grooved wheel is journaled. in

the end of. a. rod. 20 extending through; and" I guidedaby thewhead of acylinder 21. and having at. its inner. enda piston. 22. that. is borne upon by a spring23 tending to move the piston toward one endof the cylinder and toith us hold. the motor cable. tawt against yielding:

pressure. The ways are shownas extending horizontally fromthe cashiers desk forashort distance, then by a suitablecurve. are ex tended. vertically and then by another curve extended horizontally, and then,as bestlseen in Fig. 2, by a lateral curve. horizontally and by another similar curve for the remainder of their extent in the. same direction but in a. higher plane to the portion mediate the cash-- iorsdesk; and. at each of these curves in the; ways there is provided a grooved. wheel e, for guidingthe motor cable and for holding. it in alignment with thecurve of the way...

In the; preferred construction each of the ways consists substantially of a tube ortnbularstructnre 8shown ofcircularform in cross section, which. tube adjacent to the different curves merges into a pair of rails 9, forming,

however, with thetubular portion a practically continuousway for the carriers from. one terminus tothe other. Throughout the Fig. 9, is a like detail continues along the portions where the tubes into the vertical portion, as shown in Fig. 1,

said slot is continued in a spiral direction so that. instead. of occupying a position upon the lower side of the tube it will curve into and occupy a side position with respect to thatv tube as shown at the points a whence it will continue in a direct line along the curve formed by the rails 9, thence into the tube portion, and thence into another curve formed by the rails 9, and again by a spiral. will. return. to its original position at the. underside of the: tube. A and the return way B,. extend from and to Y The purpose of changing the: position of the:- slot is to adapt the carrier to pass the grooved wheels located at the points where the horizontal portion of the ways merges into the vertical. portion so that. so" far as the movem'ent'of' thecarrier up the vertical portion is concerned its connec- 1 tion with the cable will. be unbroken.

The ways areshown as located one beneath with some side. support as the shelving or posts in atstoreorwarehouse5and thegrooved 2 wheels maybe supported. by extensions from these brackets 11, as shown in Fig. 1, as is also the stretchingdevicet'or the cable formed or opening l0is enlarged, as at12, best-shown partially: by the cylinder. 21.

At; each of the 83163111611 8 stations, theslot j in. Figs. 4t and 5-, suflicient: to permit the suspending; devices for the carriers. hereinafter described, to pass entirely from the return warding way. Andin connection with theseway and to be inserted in position in thefor enlarged openings-.12, with the exception of the salesmans station farthest removed from single apparatus, will consist. of one or more I pairsof plates 13 of a little greater length I than the opening for a purpose to-behereinafter described- These: guards will preferably be supported. by one or more-of the brackets it and will extend inwardly toward each. other a-sutticient distance to be engaged by suitable projections from the carrier and yet permit the free passage of. thecarriers between the pair or pairs of plates, as shown in Fig. 6.

The carriers Gr may obviouslybe of'any' of the well known forms,- but as shown in Figs. 1 to Gare formed of two telescopic tubes 13,

14,0f metal orrother material each tube te1"- initiating in ahead l5 form'ing'the ends of the carriers, the whole-structure adapted to permit the rotation of one tube with respect to the other so as to bring the openings 16, 17, in the-respective tubes in alignment to'gain access with the interior of the carrier. the outer tube 14 there are secured suitable suspending devices through which the carrier is held to and guided along the ways. In the preferred form, they consist of a pair of heads 6 of greater width than the slot or opening 10 along the ways, but slightly smaller than the enlarged openings 12 at the salesmens stations. Each head 6 is formed at the upper end of a shank 7 adapted to pass through the slot or opening 10 and secured by means of a rier, but it is obvious'that the same effect will be had by employing only one, connected withsubstantially the center of the carrier body. The connection between the motor cable and the carrier, so that the latter is propelled, may be varied considerably. Thus, as shown in Figs. 1, 2 and 7, the cableisprovided at many points along its length with beads 18 adapted to lie loosely within the tube, forming the way, immediately in front of a knot or projection in the cable. This head provides a convenient support for the cable between the several grooved wheels guiding the cable or be tween the points where it is deflected from one direction into another so that-it is prevented from sagging, and is held from contact with the heads of the carrier suspending devices. The head 18 may bear directly against the head of one or the other of the suspending devices, or it may bear against an independent projection as 19, see Fig. 7, extending from the head of the carrier; and when the heads 18 are employed, the several pulleys around which the cable passes will be provided with one ormore pockets 24, see Figs. 1 and 2, to receive the head as it passes the wheel; In lieu of the head 18, a simple knot 25 in the cable, as shown in Fig. 4, may bear against a projection from the carrier, as for instance the projection 19, or a projection 3 from the head 6 of the suspending device. So too, the knot 25 may be omitted and the projection 3 be a forked one, as shown in Fig. 6, with an inclined inner face so as to become wedged to the cable. Of course it is obvious that the projection 3 in the forked form shown may be used either in conjunction with the knot 25 alone or with the head 18 alone, and

that instead of being on the head of the sus-v pending device it may be provided at the end of the projection 19; and this projection 19 may be at one or both ends of the carrier.

When there is more than one station along the way or ways of the apparatus, thus em the return way or that farthest distant from the cashiers desk need not be provided with a guard or bridge F as all carriers designed for that station will be delivered there. Likewise the last station on the forwarding way or that at the cashiers desk will lack any guard or bridge F whereby all the carriers dispatched along said way will be delivered at that point. The first station along the return way, if there be five salesmens stations along that way, will be provided with four pairs of plates 13, each pair constituting a guard or bridge for carriers passing to either of the four stations beyond, and the carrier designed to be delivered at said first station will have its projection'4 low enough below the plane of the lower pair of plates to miss engaging therewith, so that the carrier will be delivered at that station as indicated in Figs. 4 and 6 in connection with the return 'way B. The next or second salesmans'station willbe provided with three pairs of plates 13 constituting the guard or bridge, the lower pair of the previous or first station being omitted, so that the carrier with projections that have rested upon said lower pair of plates in passing the first station will, in the absence of a guard at the second station, therefore be delivered atthat station; and so on with the remaining stations along the return way, each succeeding station having one less pair of plates, and the carriers with their projections 4 at different heights, the carrier having the farthest distance to go having its projections 4 arranged so that they will rest upon the uppermost pair ofplates in passing each of the preceding salesmens stations and there being no guard or bridge at its station will consequently be delivered there. The guards or bridges F. for the salesmens stations along the forwarding way are similarly arranged so that the carrier dispatched from the station farthest from the cashiers desk will be supported through its projections4 along the uppermost pair of plates 13;


the carrier from the next succeeding station will be supported in like manner by the second pair of plates, as is shown in Figs.4 and 6 in connection with the forwarding track A, and so on.

The carriers that are to be delivered at each of the salesmens stations may pass from the way into a suitable receptacle within reach of thesalesman. In the preferred form, the apparatus is provided at each of the salesmens stations and along the return way, with a receiverR of trough shape underlying the way for a distance to insure the reception of the carriers therein and curved or turned 1aterally, as shown in Fig. 2, and if necessary sloped downwardly so that the carriers under the momentum as well as by gravity" may pass to the outer end of the receiving trough within reach of the salesmen or cashier. receiving trough will be supported in any suitable manner either by the brackets 11 or by other suitable supports independent of the ways. The receiver will be provided at its outer end with a stop or abutment 30 against which. the ends of the carriers may strike: to stop their further movement.

It is obvious that the construction of the apparatus may be modified from that shown in many particulars. Thus, i nsteadof locating the forwarding and. return ways one immediately abovethe other they may be separated a distance apart and supported independently, or they may be arranged side by sidein the same horizontal planes as is obvious. The head? 6, of the suspending devices, instead of being a fixture, asshown, may, as shown in Fig. 8, be in the form of rolls mounted at the end of the shank 7 adapted to roll upon the way during the movement of the carrier; In said Fig. 8 there is also shown a carrier of. rectangular form provided at one side with a hinged cover 31, provided with a spring at its hinge so that its'norm-al tendency is to move open, and a catch 32 for holding:

the cover closed: and adapted to be pressed to one side to release the coverso that itwi'll open automatically.

While the tubular form of the way' is the preferred one, it is obvious that the invention is not limited thereto as said ways, as shown in Figs. 9 and 10, may consist of a pair of rails supported a suitable distance apart to provide the longitudinal opening 10, and which rails may be spread as shown to form the delivery opening 12 before referred tofor the free passage of the head of the carrier suspending devices.

Another form of carrier is also shown in Fig. 9 consisting of a frame to which the suspending device is attached and a removable receptacle connected to the frame by the ordinary bayonet joint. So, too, insteadof employing aguard or bridge formed of a num ber of plates corresponding to the number of stations along the way, less one, and em ploying carriers with projections at graduated heights corresponding to the position of the plates of the guard or bridge, said coacting projections of the carriers may occupy the same plane and be of the same length or be of graduated lengths adapted to engage with the guard or bridge consisting of a single pair of plates supported at diflerent or equal distances apart at different stations, as best shown in the diagram, Fig. 10. The pair of plates forming the guard or bridge F are arranged adjacent to each of the enlarged or delivery openings 12 in position to form a rest for the projections 4 of the carrier thatis topass one or more of the stations;


eachof the plates being provided with slots i for thepassage of bolts securing them inplace graduated in height, inwhich case one ormore pairs of plates will be used, or they may be graduated in positionwith respect to the center line of travel of the carriers varying at each station the distance between theirinner edges; and that the projections at of the carriers will be either graduated in height upon the carrier body to correspond with the location of the guards or bridges; or be of the same height and lengthor of thesameheight and graduated in length, as will be readily understood.

In each of the forms of the guards or bridges F, the enlargedopenings 12 along the way provided at each station will be of substantially the same size so thatso far as theway is coneerned, alongwhi'ch thecarriers travehit will be of uniform construction adapted to any situation and whether one or a large number of stations are provided along its length. So too, the carriers and their suspending device or devices will be of uniform construction with the: exception that in one form of the guard or bridge the projections 4 will be of different heights ondifferent carriers. These two features are of considerable importance vices being practically independent of the Way and not. entering into itsconstructiou, may be adjusted as circumstances require without disturbing the way and permitting the way and the carriers to be manufactured in large quantities without attention being paid to the number of stations that may ultimately be arranged in an apparatus in which they may be used.

In the apparatus as so far described herein it has been contemplated that the salesman should place the carrier by hand in position on the way A so as to be taken by the cable. It is obvious that in lieuot this, and especially where it is desired to support the apparatus a considerable distance above the floor, a carrying elevator may be employed extending from the track A down to a position within easy reach of the salesman. Such a structure is shown in Fig. 11, wherein one or more of the brackets 11, is provided with two or more Vertically, an elevator carriage L, its care 29 and 34 embracing said rods 28. The shape of the carriage Will correspond to the style of carrier G that may be employed. It is shown as recessed to fit the circular under surface of the carrier with its projections 4 resting upon the top of the elevator carriage, so that upon the elevation of the elevator and the carrier it will be held in position for its head 6 to pass through the enlarged opening in the way, and its body or receptacle portion to pass between the bridge plates 13; thelower set of plates forming a stop for limiting the vertical movement of the elevator and of the carrier. The elevator carriage may be elevated by any suitable means as, for instance,

by a handle H within reach of the salesman, the opposite ends of which are connected to the ends of a pair of cords 27 which pass upward and around pulleys 26, and down to the cars 34 extending from the elevator carriage to which they are fastened.

What is claimed is I 1. In a store service apparatus, the combination of a way having a lower opening at each station for the passage of the carrier therefrom by gravity, and a guard or bridge located adjacent to said opening and adapted to temporarily support a carrier passing to a station beyond and to allow the delivery of a carrier at that station by gravity, substantially as described.

2. In a store service apparatus, the combination of a way having openings of equal size at each station for the passage of the carrier therefrom by gravity, and guards or bridges located adjacent to one or more of said openings and adapted to temporarily support a carrier passing to a station beyond and to allow the delivery of a carrier at that station, substantially as described.

3. In a store service apparatus, the combination of a Way having an opening at each station of uniform size, and a guard or bridge at two ormore stations arranged adjacent to said openings, and consisting of two or more pairs of plates mounted at difierent heights, and carriers with projections of graduated height coacting with said guards or bridges, substantially as described.

4. In a store service apparatus, the combination of a Way having an opening at each station of uniform sizefor the delivery of the carrier, a guard or bridge arranged adjacent to said opening at one or more stations, and carriers having suspending devices adapted to the way and to pass through said openings, and also having projections coacting with said guard or bridge, substantially as described.

5. In a store service apparatus, the combination of a Way having a continuous opening between its tread bearin g surfaces, said bearing surfaces being curved from one planeinto another in passing from a horizontal posit-ion to a vertical one, or vice'versa, and a carrier havinga head or heads 6 to be suspended from said way, substantially as described.

6. In a store service apparatus, the combination of a way of tubular structure having a continuous opening between its tread bear-- ing surfaces, said tubular structure merging into a rail-form with two separate tread hearing surfaces to pass curves, and a carrier adapted to said way, substantially as described.

7. In a store service apparatus, the combination of a way having a continuous opening between its tread bearing surfaces, the latter being curved from one plane into another in passing from a horizontal position to a vertical one or vice versa, acarrier having a head or heads 6 to be suspended from said way, and a motor cable extending along the way,- the latter having supporting or guiding wheels for the cable at the points where deflected,

substantially as described.


' Witnesses:


Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5172791 *Dec 26, 1990Dec 22, 1992Couvrette Edward FConveying apparatus having improved reliability and security
Cooperative ClassificationB07C3/087