US3151668A - Coin-operated automatic ice cube and bag vending machines - Google Patents

Coin-operated automatic ice cube and bag vending machines Download PDF

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US3151668A
US3151668A US120730A US12073061A US3151668A US 3151668 A US3151668 A US 3151668A US 120730 A US120730 A US 120730A US 12073061 A US12073061 A US 12073061A US 3151668 A US3151668 A US 3151668A
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means
bags
ice
bag
string
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US120730A
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Zimmermann Edwin
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North American Vending Manufacturing Corp
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North American Vending Manufacturing Corp
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F11/00Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles
    • G07F11/68Coin-freed apparatus for dispensing, or the like, discrete articles in which the articles are torn or severed from strips or sheets
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10STECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10S206/00Special receptacle or package
    • Y10S206/806Suspension
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10STECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10S206/00Special receptacle or package
    • Y10S206/82Separable, striplike plural articles

Description

Oct. 6, 1964 E. ZIMMERMANN 3,151,658

COIN-OPERATED AUTOMATIC ICE! cuss AND BAG VENDING MACHINES Filed June 29, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR 50w 2 IMHE/PMA/Y/Y WP ma Oct. 6, 1964 E. ZIMMERMANN 3,151,668

COIN-OPERATED AUTOMATIC ICE CUBE AND BAG VENDING MACHINES Filed June 29, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR foum Z/MmsenAmv Oct. 6, 1964 E. ZIMMERMANN 3,151,663

COIN-OPERATED AUTOMATIC ICE CUBE AND BAG VENDING MACHINES Filed June 29, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVEN TOR. [Du/1v Z INMFMANN 84 ATI'OQIYEY Oct. 6, 1964 E. ZIMMERMANN 3,151,668

COIN-OPERATED AUTOMATIC ICE CUBE AND BAG VENDING MACHINES Filed June 29, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 Pnfi .//V P I/ V7? INVENTOR. BY

E. ZIMMERMANN 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 IN VEN TOR. Haw/ v Z/MME M my/v57 Oct. 6, 1964 COIN-OPERATED AUTOMATIC ICE CUBE AND BAG VENDING MACHINES 9 DJ 0 III! mi 1 v a @W P s 5 n g Q. z

m 0.0 mN J 3,151,668 CON-Oi ERATED AUEGMATIC ICE CUBE AND BAG VENDING MACHINES Edwin Zimmermann, Mineola, N.Y., assignor to North American Vending Manufacturing Corp, Floral Park,

N.Y., a corporation of Delaware Filed June 29, 19 51, Ser. No. 126,736 26 Claims. ({Il. 165-393) This invention relates to coin-operated vending machines, and in particular to machines of this type designed for dispensing predetermined quantities of ice cubes.

There are presently available on the market ice vending machines of a variety of different constructions adapted for selling ice in bulk, i.e. either in the form of a quantity of relatively small blocks commonly termed ice cubes or in the form of a single large block of ice which may be subsequently comrninuted by the purchaser. Basically, however, all of these machines have one cormnon characteristic, to wit, each block or vendible quantity of ice is prepackaged in a suitable container or Wrapping prior to its being deposited in the machine from which it is ultimately to be dispensed, and the several packages of ice in a given machine are generally arranged in separate compartment or conveyer sections for individual delivery to the respective purchasers.

One major disadvantage of such systems is the fact that the machinese are not fully automatic and must be serviced almost every 24 or 48 hours to replenish the supply of ice therein. This is a procedure which requires considerable expenditure of time, labor mono since not only is the amount of Worn involved in servicing the said machines quite large, but special equipment is necessary, such as refrigerated trucks, apparatus for forming the quantities of ice, apparatus for packaging the formed ice, and apparatus for handling the packaged ice.

Another disadvantage of the known ice vending machines is that they are usually at least 8 feet in height, and frequently more. This is a consequence of the fact that the machine cabinets must be large enough to provide the interior space required for storing at least a reasonably large number of ice packages and for accommodating the conveying mechanisms therefor. As a result, when a machine of such a known type is to be transferred from the factory to its intended location of use, it must be shipped by special large trucks, which entails greater shipping charges and thus further increases the cost of the machines to the ultimate owners or operators thereof.

It is, therefore, an important object of the present invention to provide an ice cube vending machine which is free of the disadvantages and drawbacks of known machines designed for similar purposes.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an ice cube vending machine of novel construction which is substantially fully automatic and yet inexpensive to manufacture and install, and which, once installed, need not be furnished with ice from an exterior source.

A more specific object of the present invention thus is the provision of such an automatic ice vending machine which is equipped with means for forming new batches of ice cubes as previously formed cubes are dispensed in response to the depositing of the required coins in the accumulator coin mechanism of the machine by the purchasers of ice cubes, and which is further equipped with means for storing the formed cubes, pending the dispensing thereof, without the possibility of the cubes coalescing.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide an automatic ice cube vending machine of the aforesaid type in which empty bags for the ice cubes are provided and automatically dispensed one at a time to the respective purchasers during each vending cycle and prior to the dispensing of the ice cubes, and in which the bags are United States Patent Fatented Get. 5, lfiri i ice specially constructed and arranged to perform an operation-controlling function during each vending cycle and prior to being dispensed from the machine.

Still another object of the present invention is the provision, in such an automatic ice cube vending machine, of means for preventing the initiation of a vending cycle either if the supply of bags is exhausted, or if the ice cube storage bin is empty due to a failure of the ice cube freezing mechanism to operate properly, and of means for indicating the existence of such a condition.

The foregoing and other objects of the present invention, as Well as the characteristics of the preferred form of the machine conforming thereto and the advantages accruing from its use and operation, will be more fully comprehended from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective illustration of an ice cube vending machine constructed according to the present inventron;

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic illustration, in perspective, of a string of the ice cube-receiving bags which are dispensed one at a time by the machine of FIG. 1 during each vending cycle and which in addition are specially constructed to perform a control function during each vending cycle;

FIG. 3 is an elevational view, in perspective, of such a bag as it appears when being filled with ice cubes from the delivery chute of the machine;

FIGS. 4 and 5 are sectional views taken, respectively, along the lines 4-4 and 5 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 66 in FIG. 1 and illustrates the ice cube and bag dispensing mechanisms of the machine in front elevation;

FIGS. 7, S and 9 are sectional views taken, respectively, along the lines 77, 8-8 and 9-9 in FIG. 6;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary and diagrammatic illustration of a bag as it approaches its operation-controlling position during a vending cycle; and

FIG. 11 is a schematic wiring diagram for the vending machine of the present invention.

Referring now more particularly to FIG. 1 of the drawings, it will be seen that the ice cube vending machine according to the present invention comprises a cabinet composed of an upper section 21 and a lower section 22 rigidly secured to one another. At the front face of the upper section 21 is provided a panel 23 having a coinreceiving slot 24, a push button 25 for initiating the ice dispensing part of the overall vending cycle, and a coin return opening 26, the panel being mounted for swinging movement to provide access to the accumulator coin mechanism A (see also FIG. 7) located behind it. The mechanism A is preferably of a commercially available type manufactured and sold under the designation Model No. 7200 by National Rejectors, Inc., of St. Louis, Missouri, in accordance with the disclosures of a number of US. patents such as Nos. 2,339,695, 2,934,190 and others, and its essential circuitry is shown in the broken-line rectangle at the right-hand side of FIG. ll. Other than as needed for the description of the operation of the vend ng machine according to the present invention, however, no details of the accumulator coin mechanism A will be set forth herein.

The upper cabinet section 21 is further provided at its top edge with a fluorescent light fixture 27 designed to furnish illumination during night hours and is covered by a removable top plate 28. At its front, the lower cabinet section 22 is provided with an opening or recess 29 within the confines of which are disposed the outlet or discharge portions of the ice and bag dispensing mech- 3 anisrns. in a manner to be described more specifically hereinafter. I

As clearly shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, in the uppermost region of the upper cabinet section 21, the walls of which are suitably insulated, is disposed an apparatus for forming the ice cubes C to be sold. The apparatus 39 is preferably a commercially available ice cube maker manufactured and sold under the trademark Kold Draft by the Uniflow Mfg. Co., of Erie, Pa, in accordance with the disclosures of a number of U.S. patents such as Nos. 2,583,294, 2,645,095 and others. The ice cube maker 30 is of a type in which the ice cubes are loosened from their respective freezing surfaces with the aid of heat which causes each cube to have a film of water on its outer surface. Removal of this water or melted ice as it accumulates is accomplished by means of a drain pipe 31 7 connected to the bottom of the ice cube maker 39. In order to prevent coalescence of the ice cubes, which would ocur if a freezing temperature were to be maintained about the ice cube maker, there is provided in accordance with the present invention atspec'ial heater 32 (see FIG. 11) which is controlled by a thermostat 33. The heater and thermostat are positioned in the upper region of the cabinet section 21, and the thermostat 33 is so set as to close the heater. circuit when the ambient temperature about the ice cube maker drops to 40 F. and to open the circuit when the said temperature rises to 50 F. Certain other componentstof the ice cube maker 30 are indicated diagrammatically in, and will be more fully referred to hereinafter in connection with the description of, and schematic wiring diagram of FIG. 11, but apart from that a more explicit description of the structural features of the said ice cube maker is not deemed necessary herein.

Positioned directly below the ice cube maker 30 and adapted to receive the frozen ice cubes C therefrom is an open-topped combination storage bin and dispensing hopper 34 having a front wall 34a, a rear wall 34b, and side walls 34c and 34d. Preferably, the major portion of the bin 34 is of uniform cross-sectional size, but in its lowermost portion the walls 34a to 34d converge to define a funnel structure terminating in a rectangular opening 342. The interior of the bin 34 communicates via the opening 34c with an elongated, laterally closed trough 35 disposed on the bottom Wall 21a of the upper cabinet secwardly slanted chute 38 terminating in a vertically downwardly depending outlet or discharge section33a disposed within the confines of the front recess 29 of the lower cabinet section 22 (see FIG. 1). For a purpose which will become clearer as the description proceeds, thereare provided on the outer faces of the side walls of the ver: tical chute section 33a a pair of hooks 39 (see also FIG. 3).

Also: mounted on the floor 21a of the upper cabinet 7 section 21 is an.electric' motor 40 which has an output shaft 41 carrying a sprocket wheel 42. A sprocket chain 43 drivingly connects the sprocket 42'with a sprocket 44 carried by the axie136a of the screw conveyer 36, and with a sprocket 45 carried by a cross shaft 46 extending through the lower funnel-like portion of the M1134 and. journaled at its opposite endsin bearings 47 supported by the front'and rear walls of the cabinet section 21. The shaft 46 further carries another sprocket 43 which is connected by a chain 49 with a sprocket 5% carried by a second cross shaft 51 journaled at its opposite ends in bearin s .52 supported by the front andfrear walls' -Sa and 34b of the'bin 34 at the exterior faces of the latter.

7 Thetwo cross shafts 46'and51 are provided with re;

spective sets of circumferentially staggered, radially extending cube-agitating fingers 46a and 51a, the fingers of each set being spaced from one another longitudinally of the respective shafts. Any possibility of the cubes C coalescing while stationary in the bin 3 is effectively prevented by the provision of a heater 53 (see FIG. 11) which is controlled by a thermostat 54. This heater and thermostat are positioned in the region of the bin, and

the thermostat is so set as to close the heater circuit when the ambient bin. temperature falls to 35 F. and to open the circuit when the said temperature rises to 36 F. Accumulated melted ice may be removed by means of a suitable drain pipe (not shown).

The bin 34 is also provided with means (not shown) for sensing the quantity of cubes in the bin, this sensing.

means being operable to close a normally open switch 55 (see FIG. 11) when the supply of cubes is exhausted in the event that the ice maker 30 hasfailed to function properly. To prevent ice cubes from being crushed between the discharge side edge of the opening Me and the screw conveyer 36, there is provided at the lowermost edge of the slanted part of the bin wall 34:: an arcuate cabinet section 21 is preferably. provided with an opening 21d which is normally covered by a removable panel or closure plate 56 and provides access to the interior of the cabinet for inspection, repairs, etc.

As previously mentioned, the vending machine according to the present invention also provides and dispenses the bags for receiving the ice cubes being dispensed through the chute 38. Referring'first to FIGS. 2 to 5, the bags 57, preferably made of polyethylene or a like flexible synthetic plastic material, are initially connected to one another in end to end relationship so as to form a long string adapted to be wound into a roll, With the closed, preferably heat-sealed end 57a of each bag being attached along a perforated edge 57b to the open or top end of the next bag. The entire string of bags 57 may thus conveniently be formed by extruding a long tube of V polyethylene, flattening the same out (see FIG. '4) to provide opposite side panels 57c and intermediate doublefolded edge pleats 57d, contacting the so flattened tube with a heat sealing tool at a plurality of longitudinally spaced locations to form the seals 57a, and then transversely perforating the now sectioned flat'tube in any suitable manner adjacent the heat seals 57a to form the 7b. Concurrently, a hole 57s is punched into each bag 57 adjacent the perforations 57b thereof so that there is such a hole in each of the side panels 57c.

I These holes 57e, as will presently becomeclear, serve a dual function, being adapted not only to provide means for gripping and holding'the bags both during and after, the filling thereof, but also to. provide means by which a certain control over the operation of the machine during each vending cycle can be exercised. 7

Turning now to FIGS. 6 to 10,-t he means 58for holding the supply of bags 57 and for dispensing the same from the vending machine are located in the lowercabinet section 22. As there illustrated, the bag supply and dispensing mechanism 58 comprises a framework 59 which includes vertical side members 60 and '61 spaced from one another transversely of themachine'and rigidly connected by a cross member 62; Rotatably arranged in superposed relationbetween the frame members "60 and 61- at the front of the cabinet section 22 are two rubber rollers 63 and 64- the purpose of which will be more fully explained hereinafter.

The trunnion or shaft'63'a of the lower'roller 63 at oneiend of the latter is journaled inia; bearing 65 mounted on the frame member 60. An extension of this shaft projects from the bearing through the frame member 69 and carries a spur gear 66, While the other end of the lower roller 63 is provided with a sleeve bushing 67 which receives and is locked by means of a set screw 68 to the output shaft 69 of an electric motor 70 fixedly mounted on the frame member 61.

The upper roller 64 is rotatably supported at its opposite ends by a pair of spaced, parallel lever arms 71 and 72 at one end of the latter, these arms being in turn independently rotatably supported at their other ends by a cross bar 73 stationarily extending between and secured to the frame members 69 and 61. At that one of its ends supported by the arm 71, the roller 64 has a shaft or trunnion 64a which extends through a relatively wide clearance hole 69a in the frame member 60 and carries at its outermost end a spur gear which meshes with the gear 66 carried by the shaft of the roller 63. It will thus be apparent that to a limited extent the upper roller 64- may be shifted up or down relative to the lower roller at one or the other of its ends only or at both ends. The purpose of this arrangement is to ensure that regardless of the location of the lower roller 63 when install d, i.e. regardless of whether the roller 63 is truly horizontal or not, the upper roller may be brought into precise parallelism with the lower roller to achieve a full rolling contact therebetween over the entire lengths thereof. The upper roller may be secured, i.e. prevented from moving upwardly, in any adjusted position thereof by means of two adjusting screws 75 (see FIG. 6) which are mounted in a pair of brackets 76 ailixed to the frame members 60 and 61, respectively, and bear against the upper edges of the arms 71 and 72.

Positioned behind the rollers 63 and 54 is a bag guide and back-up structure consisting of a pair of coplanar horizontal plates 77 which are spaced from one another at their adjacent edges and are supported at their remote edges by a pair of vertical plates 78. Behind the said guide and back-up structure there is disposed a further rubber roller '79 which is journaled in the frame members 60 and 61 and extends parallel to the rollers 63 and as. The arrangement is such that the plane of the top faces of the guide plates 77 is substantially tangent to the idler roller 79 at the uppermost point of the latters periphery and to the cross bar 73 at the lowermost point of the periphery thereof. The purpose and advantages of this arrangement will become clear as the description proceeds.

Fixedly mounted on the inside surfaces of the side frame members 6i) and 61, respectively, are two horizontmly aligned bearing blocks 8% having upwardly open semicircular recesses which are adapted to receive the trunnions 81 projecting from the opposite ends of the shaft 82 of an elongated roller or core barrel 83 on which the string of bags 57 is wound. As diagrammatically indicated in FIG, 1, the front wall of the lower cabinet section 22 is provided with a door or removable panel 29a at the rear of the recess 29 so as to provide access to the interior of the cabinet for the purpose of removing an empty core barrel and replacing the same with a full one.

The mechanism 58 further includes a cross shaft 84 which is disposed just behind the cross bar 73 and is rotatably journaled at its opposite ends in the firame members 6i and 61. At a point substantially centrally of the framework 59 the shaft carries a feeler arm 85 which overlies the gap between the adjacent edges of the horizontal guide and back-up plates 77. The cross shaft 84 projects out of the confines of the framework 59 at one side thereof (see FIG. 9) and is there connected in any suitable manner to one end of a tension spring 86 the other end of which is anchored to the outer surface of the frame member 61 at 86a, the spring 86 biasing the shaft 84 in such a direction as to tend to move the feeler arm 35 downwardly into the gap between the plates 77. It will be understood that in lieu of two plates the backup means may be a unitary structure provided with an interior or medial space or aperture positioned to register with the bag holes 57:: and large enough to permit the feeler arm to project thereinto. At its outermost end region, the shaft as further carries two mercury switches 87 and 88 which are electrically connected with a number of elements, including a relay 89 mounted on the frame member 61 (see FIGS. 6 and 7), in a manner to be more fully explained hereinafter in connection with the description of the circuit diagram of FIG. 11.

In addition to the foregoing, there is rotatably journaled in the framework 59 a cross shaft 90 which is positioned at the top of the framework and extends parallel to the axis of rotation of the roll of bags 57 when the same is mounted in the bearing brackets 8t) (see FIG. 8). The shaft 9% carries an elongated feeler member or arm 91 which rests on the outermost periphery of the roll of bags and thus follows the decreasing contour of the roll as the bags are dispensed from the machine. One end of the shaft t) projects out of the framework 59 through the frame member 61 and carries an actuator arm 92 (see FIG. 7) which is adapted to contact and close a normally open switch 93 (see also FIG. 11) when the roll of bags is used up, i.e. when the follower arm 91 reaches the core barrel 83.

As clearly shown in PEG. 8, in use the leading end of the string of bags 57 is passed from the roll rearwardly of the machine under the cross bar 84, over the horizontal plates 77 and around the idler roller 79, and then back frontwardly of the machine under the plates 77, i.e. between the vertical plates 78, and between the rollers 63 and 64 until the leading edge of the first bag is disposed just inside the bag dispensing slot 58' at the front of the lower cabinet section 22 but still inaccessible from the outside. The arrangement of the various elements is such that at this time the tip of the feeler arm 85 is located just behind one of the holes 572, between the latter and the following seal d edge 57a of the same bag 57. Consequently, when the motor 79 is started, it will rotate the lower roller 63 and therethrough the upper roller 64 so as to feed the first bag out of the machine through the slot 58'. While this feeding operation is taking place, the feeler arm 85 rides along the upper surface of that part of the string of bags then passing over the plates 77. The latter thus serve the function of preventing the said arm from pushing the bag contacted thereby downwardly and accordingly prevent the shaft 34 from being rotated until the next hole 57e reaches the arm 85 and permits the same to drop. In addition, the relative positioning of the coplanar upper surfaces of the back-up plates 77 with respect to the peripheries of the bar 73 and roller 79 ensures that the arm 85 remains in its proper neutral position preparatory to its dropping through a hole 572.

The ice cube vending machine according to the present invention is further provided with an electrical control circuit 94 which includes some of the elements already mentioned hereinbefore and which is shown in FIG. ii. For the purpose of the following description, some of the elements shown in FIG. 11 which do not have any critical bearing on the operativeness of the invention will not be specifically identified.

More particularly, the accumulator coin mechanism A comprises an eight-terminal connector arrangement 95 by means of which its components are connected to the main control circuit 94. As shown in PEG. 11, the circuit 94 comprises a neutral line 96 and two power lines 97 and 98 which are, for example, at a potential of volts relative to the neutral line and thus at a potential of 230 volts relative to one another. Connected directly across the lines 9:: and 97 are an outlet or socket 99, a timer motor 103, the fluorescent light 27 and a series-connected switch Hi1 which is mechanically linked with the motor 1%, a bag-vend relay 192 and a series-connected switch 1&5 which is normally open, the ice maker heater 32 and its thermostat 33, and the bin heater 53 and its thermo- '2' stat 54. The. function of the socket 99 is to permit a heating device (not shown) to be connected to the circuit for the purpose of warming the water lines for the ice maker of the machine in regions of cold climate or during prolonged periods of low'temperatures, while the.

motor 109 is so set as to close the switch 101 at a predetermined time every night for energizing the light 27 and to open'the switch at a predetermined time every morning for turning the light 27 E.

The relay 192 is a four-pole, double-throw relay which has three, pairs of active contacts 102a, 102b and 102a (the inactive'pair is not shown). Of these, the first two are normally open, while the contacts of the third pair are normally closed, and the movable contact members are correspondingly ganged together. The open pair of contacts 192a and the closed pair. of contacts 1020 are connected in series with one another between the coil of the relay 102 and a line 1134 which connects the terminal of the connector arrangement to the 6 terminal thereof, the line 1194 having incorporated therein one normally open pair of contacts 165a and one normally closed pair of contacts 1155b of a relay which is connected in series with the parallel-connected bin and bag empty switches 55 and 93 between the neutral line 96 and the junction of the line 194 with the closed pair of contacts 1020 The second normally open pair of contacts 19215 of the relay 1t32is incorporated .in a line 106 which connects the power line 97 to the 8 terminal of the connector arrangement 95. The common point of the contacts 102a and 1132c is connected via a switch 107 to the power line 97 and to the terminal of the connector arrangement 95. The switch 107 is a vend-time control switch which is normally closed and is mechanically connected with a vend-timer motor 108 connected between the neutral line 96 and the 7 terminal of the connector arrangement 95, the motor 108 being equipped with suitable actuator or cam means (not shown) adapted to open the switch 107 at the end of a complete vending cycle. A vending cycle counter 199 of any suitable construction is connected in parallel with the motor 163.

Also connected in parallel with the timer motor 168 is a' relay 110 for the ice dispensing part of the vending cycle. The relay 110 has a normally open pair of contacts 110a connected in series with the ice cube delivery motor 40 between the neutral line 96 and the second power line 93, and a second normally open pair of bold. ing contacts 11% connected between the line 11 1, extending from the common point of the mercury switches '87 and 38 and the relay contacts 8%, 59b and 1192a to the 3" terminal, and the line 193' which connects the common point of the motor 198, counter 109 and relay 1119 to the 7 terminal of the connector'arrangement 95. This terminal is in turn connected to a switch 111 which is normally open and is adapted to be closed when the 'ice-vend push button 25 (see FIG. 1) is depressed. The

switch 111 is connected to one terminal of a double-pole double-throw switch 112 which is the stepper vend switch of the accumulator coin mechanism A and has its second 3 terminal 101 the connector arrangement95 and thus 7 to the line 11 and therethrough to the relays 89 and 102. The mechanism A further includes a plurality of coin switches 115 for nickels, dimes and quarters, a stepping motor 116, a stepping switch 117, and other switches and associated circuitry including solenoids and electromag- V nets for controlling such actions as coin return, re-

jection of slugs, and the like in a manner well known and requiring no detailed, explanation herein. Inaddition, there is provided a heater 118 connected" between the 11' and 2 terminals ofthe connector arrangement 95 to 'preve nt formation and accinnulation of moisture on theparts, of the mechanism Awhich might lead to re-t.

jection of inserted coins, and an empty indicator lamp 119 (see also 1 1G. 1) connected between the 2 and 5 terminals. 7 t

.The icecube maker 30, illustrated only diagrammatically at thejlert-hand side of FIG. 11, includes an actuator motor 121) and associated circuitry, a water valve 121, a hot gas valve 122, a water pump 123, and a number of other elements not necessary to describe in detail. The ice maker circuit is connected between the neutral line 96 (which is the same as the 2 terminal of the connector arrangement 95) and the second power line 98. The latter has incorporated therein a normally open pair of contacts 124:: of a relay 124 which is connected directly between the line 98 and a branch 97' of the line 97 and is adapted to be energised upon closing of a switch 125 in the branch line 97'. The switch 125 is associated with the ice cube storage bin 34 in such a manner that it is open as long as the bin contains at least or more than a predetermined minimum supply of ice cubes, and closed whenever the supply of cubes fmls below the set minimum value. cuit 126 of the refrigeration system of the ice cube maker 3i which circuit includes a compressor 127, a pair of condenser fan motors 128, and a fan motor control switch 129 which closes when the pressure in the system rises to more than a set value.

The adaptability of thernachine'to different power supply conditions is greatly enhanced by the provision of a booster transformer 131? in parallel with the compressor 127, i.e. between the line 93 and the branch line 97'.'

As indicated by the broken line 1.31, the compressor may be connected to the tap of the transformer 130. With the aid of these alternative arrangements, therefore, if the potential across the lines 97-98 is a full 230 volts, then the compressor 127, which works only with an input of 230 volts, may be connected to the branch line 97 as shown in solid lines, while if the power supply yields only a lesser potential, say 208 volts, then the compressor may be connected to the tap 131 of the transformer 139 the output of which is the desired 230 volts, the connection 127' between the branch line 97' and the compressor at such time being eliminated.

It will be understood that when a machine as so far described has been shipped to its destination and intended location of use, it is merely necessary to connect the water conduits or" the ice cube maker 39 to a water supply pipe coming from a source offresh water, and to connect the power input terminals of the control circuit 94 to a suitable source of electrical potential. Once this has been done, the machine requires no further supervision or servicing as far as its ice making system is concerned ex- 'cept in cases of mechanical failure or breakdown. Pe-

riodically, of course, the supply of bags 57 will be exhausted, but since each roll of bags will consist of anywhere from about 350 to '500'bags it is evident that the 7 required frequency of bag replacementwill be very small.

Thus, overall maintenance costs for the machines embodying the principles of the present invention may be accommodate fixed quantities of ice in bulky packages kept at an absolute minimum, which increases the operationalprofits to be derived from such machinesand accordingly renders them highly desirable from an economic standpoint. 1 7

Still another economic'advantage results from the fact that the ice vending machines according to the presentinvention, having no need for relatively huge interiors to not capable of being replenished automatically, may be made with cabinets the heights of'which (including the thickness or" the cover or topplzitegZd), are never in ex-; cess of about 71/2, feet and which thus are much smaller than the heretofore known ice vending machine cabinets.

Consequently, machines according to the present invention may be shipped from the factory to their destinations in standard size commercial trucks at far less cost'than is en 1 i In addition, the switch 125 controls the cir-.

9 tailed in shipping the known machines by extra large special trucks required therefor.

The operation of the ice cube vending machine according to the present invention will be most clearly comprehended from the following description of one complete vending cycle. in this description, reference will at times be made to elements of the coin mechanism A which are not, or best only schematically, disclosed in the drawings but which are fully disclosed in the patents of National Rejectors, Inc, incorporated herein by reference.

As a starting point, it is assumed that the storage bin 34 is full, so that the switches and 125 are open. The relay 124 is thus deenergized and its contacts 124;: are open to render the ice cube maker 3% inoperative. It is also assumed that the bag dispensing mechanism 58 contains a full supply of bags 7, so that the respective switch 93 is also open. As a result, the relay 1?:7 is deenergized and its contacts 159a and 1651; are in the condition shown in FIG. ll.

When enough coins totaling the price of a load of cubes are dropped into the slot 24 in the accumulator coin mechanism panel 23, the 25 switch 115 is shifted from its illustrated position to energize the stepping motor 116 which in turn and through the intermediary of the stepping switch 117 and the stepper electromagnet 117a actuates the stepper vend switch 112 into its second position through the intermediary of a ratchet wheel (not shown). This completes a circuit from the power line 97 through the 1 terminal of the connector arrangement 95, the switch 112, the 3 terminal, and the line 114 to the relay 102 to energize the latter. At the same time, the bag dispenser motor 7i is actuated through the same circuit plus the relay contacts $912 and starts to feed the first bag 57 out through the slot 58', as previously described, which moves that part of the string of bags engaged by the arm 85 in the direction of the arr w B in FIG. 10. As soon as a hole 57e reaches the arm 85, the latter drops therethrough -masmuch as the spring as is now able to rotate the shaft 84, this action being efiective to close the mercury switches 87 and 88. When switch 87 is closed, it connects the relay $9 to the line 114 and thus to the power line 97. With this relay energized, the normally open contacts 89:: are closed, while the normally closed contacts 8% are opened. The contacts 89a thus are seen to act as holding contacts for the relay S9 to continue the energization thereof. During this time, of course, the motor 79 keeps running, despite the fact that the relay contacts 8% are open, by virtue of the mercury switch 88 being closed. The bag feeding operation thus continues until the feeler arm 85 rides up out of the hole 57:: and back onto the flat surface of the string of bags, which again opens the mercury switches and stops the motor 743 so that just one bag is accessible from the front of the machine and can be torn off. When this has been done, the customer, using the holes 57c in the side panels 570 of the dispensed bag, hangs the bag on the hooks 39 of the delivery chute 3-33a (see FIG. 3) preparatory to initiating the ice dispensing part of the vending cycle.

Reverting now to the relay 1&2, it will be recalled that the latter was energized by the shifting of the vend switch 112 out of its illustrated position. When the relay 102 is so energized, the contacts H925; and 1%!) thereof close and the contacts ltlZc open. As a result, two circuits are completed. The closing of the contacts 192a completes a circuit from the power line 97 through switch 107 and the relay coil 102. to keep the latter energized, the contacts 102a thus acting as holding contacts. At the same time, the closing of the contacts 192.5 closes a circuit from the line 97 and through the line 1%, the 8 terminal of the connector arangement 95, the stepper reset electromagnet 113a and the 2 terminal to the neutral line 96. The magnet 113a when so energized operates to return the stepper vend switch 112 to its illustrated 1% position. The machine is now ready for the ice dispensing part of the vending cycle.

With the bag 57 hanging from the hooks 39, when the push button 25 is depressed, the switch 111 is closed. This completes the power circuit for both the vend-timer motor 1% and the ice-vend relay 114 from line 97 through switch 197, the closed contacts 1li2a, line 114, the 3 terminal, switch 112, switch 111 and the 7 terminal. When the relay 111'? is energized, its contacts 119a and 11% close. Closing of the contacts 119a causes the ice dispensing motor ill to be actuated so as to rotate the screw conveyor 36 for feeding ice cubes from the storage bin 34 into the chute 33 from which they fall directly into the bag 57 hung at the outlet end of the chute. At the same time, of course, the agitator shafts 45 and 51 are rotated to ensure that the cubes C in the bin are fully separated before they reach the conveyor trough 35 and the screw 36. Closing of the second pair of contacts 11% ensures that even though the switch 111 is opened as soon as the button 25 is released, the relay 11!) remains energized since a power circuit therefor is now completed between the lines 96 and 97 via the lines 168' and 114, the still closed contacts 1l32a, and the switch 107.

Concurrently with the foregoing, the vend-timer motor 168 is runnin After a predetermined time interval, therefore, fixed by the nature of the cam associated with the timer motor 198 in accordance with the operating speed of the ice dispensing motor 4t and the feeding capacity of the screw conveyer as, the said cam becomes effective to open the switch 167. When this occurs, the power circuits for holding the relays 89, 1'92 and 119 energized are broken. As a consequence, the contacts 89a, 192a, 1921), 11th: and 11% open and the contacts 8% and 1620 close, thereby terminating the entire vending cycle, but since the switch 197 only remains open mo mentarily, as soon as it is closed again the entire circuit, and thus the machine, is immediately ready for another vending cycle. The customer can now lift the filled bag 57 of the hooks 39 and use the holes 5% as handle holes in carrying the bag away from the machine.

Should either the supply of bags 57 or the supply of ice cubes C in the bin become completely exhausted, either the switch 3 or the switch 55 will be closed. This completes a power circuit for the relay from the neutral line 9e, through the normally closed contacts 1ll2c of the relay 1%2 and the normally closed timer switch 197 to the power line 97. When the relay 1%5 is so energized, the normally open contacts 1%:1 thereof close, while the normally closed contacts 1951: open. This establishes a power circuit from line 97 to line 96 through switch 1%7, contacts 1020, contacts 1435a, line 194, the 5 terminal of the connector arrangement 95, the indicator lamp 119, and the 2 terminal, whereby the lamp lights up to indicate an empty condition. At the same time, the coin acceptance circuit is conditioned, due to the opening of the contacts 1051) and other factors not necessary to describe in detail herein, to prevent actuation of the stepper vend motor 116. No Vending cycle as hereinbefore described can, therefore, ensue until the switches 55 and 93 are both open again and the relay contacts lllda and 1&5!) return to their illustrated positions upon deenergization of the relay 165.

During the operation of the machine, whenever the supply of cubes in the b n falls below a predetermined minimum (without being completely exhausted), the switch closes to energize the relay 124 and to actuate the refri eration system 125 of the ice cube maker 35 When the contacts 124a close, therefore, the ice maker is set into operation to form more ice cubes to replenish the supply in the bin. As soon as a build-up of the desired reserve of ice cubes in the bin has been achieved, the switch 125 opens again and the relay 124 is deenergized to interrupt the operation of ice maker 3 Vtnile there has been described herein a preferred r bodiment of the present invention, it is to be understood'that the description is for purposes of illustration only and that many changes or modifications and refinements maybe made in the structures and structural relationships disclosed Withoutany departure from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined, in the appended claims. Merely by way of example, the fiuorescent light 27 may be incorporated in the top or cover plate 23 for the cabinet. Also, an insulated door (not shown) may be provided at the front of the lower cabinet sec don 22 to overlie the recess 29 when the machine is idle, so as to prevent loss of cold from the inside and 'to keep the discharge elements 38c'and 53' of the ice and bag dispensing means clean and sanitary. Still other variations will readily suggest themselves to those skilled in the art.

Having thus particularly described my invention, what I clm'm and desired to secure by Letters Patent is:

L'An automatic, coin-operated ice cube vending machine, comprising a coin-receiving mechanism, a supply of ice cube-receiving bags in the form of a long string of end to end detachably connected bags, means for feeding said string of bags from the location of said supply thereof along a predetermined path toward a dispensing location, means for sensing the passage of unit bag-length portions of said strin of bags past a predetermined point or" said pa h, meansresponsive to the 7 operation of said sensing means for interrupting the operation of said feeding means whenevera single bag has been fed to said dispensing location, whereby said bags are dispensed one at a time, means for freezing water into a supply of ice cubes, means for dispensing ice cubes from the supply thereof into a dispensed ice cubereceiving bag held in open condition, and control means operatively connected with said coin-receiving mechanism, said feeding means, said responsive means, said freezing means, and said ice cube dispensing means for ensuring proper operation thereof during each vending cycle after the initiation of the cycle by the introduction of suiiicient coins 'into said coin-receiving mechanism.

2. An automatic ice cube vending machine according to claim 1, said feeding means comprising a pair of feed rollers in rolling surface contact with one another and adapted to have said string of bags pass therebetween, and drive means operatively connected with said rollers for rotating the same.

3. An automatic ice cube vending machine according to claim 1, said sensing means comprising a feeler member mounted for rocking movement about an axis oriented substantially transversely to said path of movement of said string of bags, and means for continuously urging said feeler member against a surface of the passing string of bags, each of said bags being provided at a point along the line of contact betwwn said feeler member and said string of bags with a hole large enough to permit said feeler member to pass therethrough when coming into registry'therewith during movement of said string of bags under theaction of said feeding means, said responsive means being operable'to effect the inter- 5&8

l2 of said string of bags with the adjacent surface of said plate means, said plate means being provided within the confines thereof with an aperture positioned for registry V with successive ones of said holes in said bags as said string of bags moves over said plate means, said feeler member being arranged opposite and in registry with said aperture, whereby any transverse displacement of said string of bags under the force of said feeler member is prevented at all times, while any rocking movement of said feeler member about its axis is prevented at all times except when one of said holes comes into registry with said aperture and said fceler member. V 6. Anautomatic ice cube vending machine according to claim 3, further comprising a of. coplanar, spaced back-up plates disposed along said path of movement of said string of bags toward said feed rollers in position for sliding contact of said string of bags with the adjacent surfaces of said plates, said feeler member being arranged opposite the gap between said plates, whereby the latter prevent any transverse displacement of said string of bags under the force of said feeler memher at all times and thus prevent said feeler member from rocking about its axis at all times except when one of said holes comes into registry therewith.

7. An automatic ice cube vending machine according to claim 1, said ice cube dispensing means comprising a bin for containing said supply of ice cubes, a delivery chute for transferring said ice cubes to said open bag, said bin being provided with a discharge opening in its bottom, a trough having one end region thereof disposed beneath said discharge opening and communicating at its other end region with said delivery chute, a rotary screw conveyor arranged in said trough, a plurality of rotary shafts extending across the interior of said bin at spaced locations, each of said shafts being provided with a plurality of radially extending ringers, motor means, and transmission means operatively interconnecting said motor means with said rotary screw conveyor and said shafts, whereby during the feeding operation of said screw conveyer said shafts are rotated to cause said fingers to agitate and separatethe ice cubes still in said bin.

8(An automatic ice cube vending machine according to claim 7, said shafts being arranged at different elevations within said bin, and said fingers on each shaft being circumferentially staggered about and'spaced from one another longitudinally of the same.

9. An automatic ice cube vending machine according to claim 7, further comprising first means for sensing whether the supply of ice cubes in said bin is more or less than a predetermined minimum. quantity, second means for sensing the complete exhaustion of said 'ice cubes from said bin, means responsive to said first sensing means and constituting a part of said control means and operable when said supply of ice cubes drops to less than said minimum quantity to effect actuation of said freezing means for replenishing thesupply of ice cubes 7 in said bin to more than said minimum quantity, and

ruption of the operation of said feeding means when said feeler member rides up out of a hole and back onto said surface of said'string of bags upon continued move! ment of said strings of bags. 1

'4. An automatic ice cube vending machine according to claim 3, said ice cube. dispensing means comprising a delivery chute having a terminal mouth through which ice cubes are adapted to leave the machine, and at least one hook extending laterally from saiddelivery chute Qadjacentsaid mouth thereof, said hook being adapted to enter said hole in a dispensed bag which has been detached from said string of bags to support said bag in position for receivingthe dispensed ice cubes.

5. An automatic ice cube vending machine according to clairn 3, further comprising back-up plate means disposed along said path or" movement of said string of bags toward said feeding means in position for sliding contact means responsive to said second sensing means and constituting a part or" said control means and operable when the supply of ice cubes in said bin is exhausted, without being replenishedby said freezing means, to deactivate said control means and inhibit initiation of any vending cycle.

10. An automatic, coin-operated ice cube vending machine, comprising an ice cube freezing device, .a storage bin for receiving ice cubes from said freezing device, a delivery chute, a screw conveyor for feeding ice cubes from said bin to said delivery'chute, means for preventing coalescence of said cubes while in said bin, a first electric motor operatively connected to said screw conveyor for rotating the same, a long string of end to ,end detachx ably connected ice cube-receiving bags, a pair of feed rollers adapted to have said'string of bags pass therebetween, a second electric motor ,operatively connected to to a bag-dispensing location, each of said bags being provided with a hole at that one of its ends ultimately to be the open or top end, a rotatable cross shaft, a feeler arm carried by said cross shaft, spring means connected to said cross shaft and biasing the same so as to keep said feeler arm pressed against said bags as the latter pass thereby, said arm being adapted to pass through each of said holes as the same reach it to permit said cross shaft to be rocked accordingly, normally open switch means arranged to be closed when said cross shaft is so rocked, a coin-receiving mechanism, means responsive to reduction of the reserve quantity of ice cubes in said bin for actuating said ice cube freezing device to produce additional ice cubes so as to replenish the supply of cubes in said bin to more than a predetermined miriimum quantity, an electrical control circuit operatively connected with said electric motors, said switch means, the circuitry of said coin-receiving mechanism and said ice cube freezing device, and said responsive means for ensuring proper actuation and operation of the machine during each vending cycle when initiated by the introduction of sufficient coins into said coin-receiving mechanism, and time control means incorporated in said control circuit for deactivating the same and thereby terminating each vending cycle at a predetermined time interval after the initiation thereof.

11. An automatic ice cube vending machine according to claim 10, further comprising first and second electric heating means positioned in the regions of said ice cube freezing device and said bin, respectively, and first and second thermostatic switches incorporated in said control circuit and controlling said first and second heating means, respectively, to provide and maintain ambient temperatures slightly above freezing at said device and said bin for preventing coalescence of said ice cubes.

12. An automatic ice cube vending machine according to. claim 11, said first thermostatic switch being set to close the circuit for said first heating means at a temperature of about 40 F. and to open the circuit at a temperature of about 50 F., and said second thermostatic switch being set to close the circuit for said second heating means at a temperature of about 35 F. and to open the circuit at a temperature of about 36 F.

13. An automatic, coin-operated ice cube vending machine, comprising a cabinet, an ice cube freezing device located in said cabinet adjacent the top thereof, a storage bin disposed below said device for receiving ice cubes therefrom, said storage bin having a bottom discharge opening, a delivery chute arranged in said cabinet below said bin and slanted downwardly therefrom toward the front of said cabinet, said chute terminating exteriorly of said cabinet and being provided at its discharge end with a pair of hooks, a screw conveyer positioned to receive ice cubes from said bin through said bottom opening thereof and adapted to feed the cubes into the intake end of said delivery chute, a plurality of multi-fingered agitator shafts extending through and across said bin, a first electric motor operatively connected to said screw conveyer and said agitator shafts for rotating the same, a roll of a long string of end to end detachably connected ice cubereceiving bags rotatably mounted in said cabinet, said cabinet being provided at the front thereof with a bag discharge slot, a pair of feed rollers rotatably arranged in said cabinet adjacent said slot and adapted to have said string of bags pass therebetween, a second electric motor operatively connected to said feed rollers to drive the same for feeding said bags through said slot, each of said bags being provided with a hole at that one of its ends ultimately to be the open or top end, whereby each bag may be hung from said hooks in an ice cubereceiving position, a rotatable cross shaft extending transversely to the path of movement of said string of bags from said roll to said rollers, a feeler arm carried by said cross sdaft, spring means connected to said cross shaft and biasing the same so as to keep said feeler arm pressed against said bags as the latter pass thereby, said arm being adapted to pass through each of said holes as the same reach it to permit said cross shaft to be roclaed accordingly, a pair of normally open mercury switches carried by said cross shaft and adapted to be closed when said cross shaft is rocked upon said feeler arm passing through said holes in said bags, 21 coin-receiving mechanism mounted at the front of said cabinet, first and second means responsive, respectively, to exhaustion of the supply of ice cubes in sm'd bin and exhaustion of the supply of bags on said roll and adapted to render the entire machine inoperative and prevent initiation of a vending cycle whenever said bin and roll are empty, third means responsive to a falling of the amount of ice cubes in said bin below a predetermined minimum quantity for actuating said ice cube freezing device to produce additional ice cubes so as to replenish the supply of cubes in said bin to more than said predetermined minimum quantity, an electrical control circuit operatively connected with said electric motors, said mercury switches, the circuitry of said coin-receiving mechanism and said ice cube freezing device, and said first, second and third repsonsive means for ensuring proper actuation and operation of the machine during each vending cycle when initiated by the introduction of suflicient coins into said coin-receiving mechanism, and time control means incorporated said control circuit for deactivating the same and thereby terminating each vending cycle at a predetermined time interval after the beginning of the operation or said first electric motor.

14. A mechanism for dispensing articlereceiving bags one at a time from a long string of such bags detachably connected to one another in end to end relationship, comprising a pair of feed rollers in rolling surface contact with one another and adapted to have said string of bags pass therebetween, drive means operatively connected with said rollers for rotating the same to feed said string of bags toward a dispensing location, control means operatively connected with said drive means, means for sensing the passage of unit bag-length portions of said string of bags past a predetermined point along the path of movement of said string of bags under the action of said feed rollers, and means responsive to the operation of said sensing means and constituting a part of said control means for interrupting the operation of said drive means whenever a single bag has been advanced by said feed rollers to said dispensing location.

15. A bag dispensing mechanism according to claim 14, each of said bags being provided, at a region thereof adjacent that one of its ends which will be the open top end of the bag when the same is separated from said string 0 bags, with a hole, said sensing means being arranged to be inactive whenever in registry with the imperforate portions or" said string of bags and to operate Jhenever registry is effected between said sensing means and one of said holes, and said responsive means being operable to effect the interruption of the operation of said drive means when the registry between said sensing means and a hole is terminated upon continued movement of said string of bags past said sensing means.

16. A bag dispensing mechanism according to claim 14, said sensing means comprising a feeler member mounted for rocking movement, and means for continuously urging said feeler member against a surface of the passing string of bags, each of said bags being provided at a point along the line of contact betv een said feeler memher and said string of bags with a hole large enough to permit said feeler member to pass therethrough when coming into registry therewith during movement of said s ring of bags under the action of sad feed rollers, said responsive means being operable to effect the interruption of the operation of said drive means when said oneness l feeler member rides up out of a hole and back onto said surface of said string of bags upon continued movement of said string of bags past said memberv 17. A bag dispensing mechanism according to claim 16, further comprising back-up plate means disposed along said path of movement of said string of bags toward said feed rollers in position for sliding contact of said string of bags With the adjacent surface of said plate means, said plate means being provided within the confines thereof with an aperture positioned for registry with successive ones of said holes in said bags as said string of bags moves over said plate means, said feeler member being arranged opposite and in registry with said aperture, whereby any transverse displacement of said string of bags under the force of said feeler member is prevented at all times, while any rocking movement of said feeler member about its axis is prevented at all times except when one of said holes comes into registry with said aperture and said feeler member.

18. A bag dispensing mechanism according to claim 16, further comprising a pair of coplanar, spaced back-up plates disposed along said path of movement of said string of bags toward said feed rollers in position for sliding contact of said string of bags with the adjacent surfaces of said plates, said feeler member being arranged opposite the gap between said plates, whereby the latter prevent any transverse displacement of said string of bags under the force or" said feeler member at all times and thus prevent said feeler member from rocking about its axis at all times except when one of said holes comes into registry therewith.

19. A bag dispensing mechanism according to claim 14, further comprising bearing means rotatably supporting one of said feed rollers along a fixed axis, said'drive means being connected to said one feed roller, independent journal means rotatably supporting the other of said feed rollers and mounted for displacement transversely to the axis of said other feed roller, means acting on said journal means, respectively, so as to maintain said other feed roller in rolling surface contact with said one feed roller and gear means drivingly connecting said one feed roller to said other feed roller.

20. A bag dispensing mechanism according to claim 14, further comprising a pair of spaced arms mounted independently of one another for rocking movement in respective planes transsecting the axes of rotation of said feed rollers, bearing means rotatably supporting one of said feed rollers along a fixed axis, said armsextending from the mounting points thereof toward the location of said feed rollers, the other of said feed rollers being rotatably journaled in and supported by said arms, said drive means being operatively connected to said one feed roller, gear means drivingly connecting said one feed roller to said other feed roller, and means acting on said arms, respectively, so as to maintain said other feed roller in rolling surface contact with said one feed roller.

21. A bag dispensing mechanism according to claim 14, further comprising a stationary cross bar extending parallel to said feed rollers and disposed behind the same as viewed in a direction opposite to the direction of feeding of said string of bags through said rollers, said feed rollers being arranged in substantially vertically superposed relation, bearing means rotatably supporting the lower one of said feed rollers along a fixed axis, said drive means being connected to said lower feed roller, a

pair of spaced, parallel arms independently rotatably' mounted at one end thereof on said cross bar and extending from the latter toward the location of said feed rollers, the upper one of said feed rollers being rotatably journalled at its opposite ends in the other ends of said arms, gear means drivingly connecting said lower feed roller to said upper feed roller, and adjustment means engageable with said arms, respectively, for securing the same in any adjusted positions thereof, whereby'a true parallelization of the axis of said upper feed roller with the axis of said lower feed roller and full surface contact therebetween over their entire lengths may be effected while separation of said rollers during a bag feeding operation is inhi -ited.

22. An ice cube dispensing mechanism, comprising a storage bin adapted to contain a supply of ice cubes and provided in its bottom with a discharge opening, a delivery chute disposed below said bin for transferring ice cubes to the purchaser thereof, a trough having one end region disposed beneath said bin and in direct communication with said discharge opening thereof, the other end region of said trough overlying and communicating with said delivery chute, a rotary screw conveyer arranged in said trough, at least one rotary agitator shaft extending across said bin'and carrying within the confines of said bin a plurality of radial fingers staggered relative to one another circumferentially of said shaft' to feed ice cubesfrom said bin to said delivery chute and agitate and separate the ice cubes in said bin, and control means operatively connected with said drive means and operable to actuate the latter so as to cause a quantity of ice cubes to be dispensed through said delivery chute.

23. An ice cube dispensing mechanism according to claim 22, further comprising at least one additional rotary agitator shaft extending across said bin and essentially identical in construction with said one agitator shaft, said shafts being disposed at different elevations relative to the bottom of said bin, and the wall of said bin defining the front edge of said discharge opening, as viewed in the direction of feeding of said ice cubes, being provided with an 'arcuate edge recess to prevent crushing of ice cubes between said front edge and said screw conveyer during the feeding operation of the latter.

24. An article of commerce, comprising a long string of bags in flat-folded condition adapted to be dispensed one at a time from an automatic vending machine, said bags being detach'ably connected to one another in end to end relationship in such a manner that that end of each bag which is ultimately to be the open or'top end thereof is connected to the sealed or bottom end of the next adjacent bag of said string of bags, each of said bags being provided adjacent said open or top end thereof with a transverse hole dimensioned and positioned to permit entry of a bag passage-sensing and dispensing operation controlling element of the vending machine, and also to serve as a handle hole for each bag after the same is dispensed and separated from the next adjacent bag of said string of bags. t

25, An article of commerce, comprising a long string of fiat-folded bags adapted to be dispensed one at a time from an automatic vending machine, said bags being detachably connected to one another in end to end relationship in such a manner that that end of each bag which is ultimately to be the open or top end thereof jacent bag of said string of bags, each of said bags being provided adjacent said open or top end in the juxtaposed fiat wall panels thereof with a pair of substantially centrally located, axially aligned transverse holes, said holes in each of said bags constituting when the respective 'bag is folded flat a single aperture dimensioned and pois dispensed and separated from, the next adjacent bag of said string of bags. i l

26. In an automatic ice cube vending machine equipped with ice cube freezing means'for forming 'ice cubes and with a storage bin for receiving formedcubes from said ice cube freezing means; the improvement comprising first means for sensing whether the supply of ice cubes in said storage bin is more or less than a predetermined minimum quantity, second means for sensing the complete exhaustion of ice cubes from said bin, means responsive to said first sensing means and operable when said supply of ice cube drops to less than said minimum quantity to effect actuation of said freezing means for replenishing the supply of ice cubes in said bin to more than said minimum quantity, and means responsive to said second sensing means and operable when the supply of ice cubes in said bin is exhausted, Without being replenished by said freezing means, to inhibit initiation of any vending cycle.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Stearns Dec. 2, Stoeh-ler July 5, Matthews Oct. 15, Abbott Apr. 17, Piazze Aug. 21, Chaplik et a1. Mar. 17, Lowenthal Dec. 13, Eschenburg et a1. J an. 31, Howard June 6, Groves July 31,

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent Noo 3 151 668 I October 6 1964 Edwin Zimmermann It is hereby certified that error appears in the above numbered patent requiring correction and that the said Letters Patent should read as corrected below Column 3 line 31 for "and" read the column 9 line 18 for "150a" read 105a column l5 line 41 v after "roller" insert a comma; column a line 12 Elite! "thereof" insert is connected to the sealed or bottom end of the next ad- Signed and sealed this 2nd day of February 1965.

(SEAL) Attest:

-INEST W. SWIDER' EDWARD J. BRENNER sting Officer Commissioner of Patents

Claims (1)

1. AN AUTOMATIC, COIN-OPERATED ICE CUBE VENDING MACHINE, COMPRISING A COIN-RECEIVING MECHANISM, A SUPPLY OF ICE CUBE-RECEIVING BAGS IN THE FORM OF A LONG STRING OF END TO END DETACHABLY CONNECTED BAGS, MEANS FOR FEEDING SAID STRING OF BAGS FROM THE LOCATION OF SAID SUPPLY THEREOF ALONG A PREDETERMINED PATH TOWARD A DISPENSING LOCATION, MEANS FOR SENSING THE PASSAGE OF UNIT BAG-LENGTH PORTIONS OF SAID STRING OF BAGS PAST A PREDETERMINED POINT OF SAID PATH, MEANS RESPONSIVE TO THE OPERATION OF SAID SENSING MEANS FOR INTERRUPTING THE OPERATION OF SAID FEEDING MEANS WHENEVER A SINGLE BAG HAS BEEN FED TO SAID DISPENSING LOCATION, WHEREBY SAID BAGS ARE DISPENSED ONE AT A TIME, MEANS FOR FREEZING WATER INTO A SUPPLY OF ICE CUBES, MEANS FOR DISPENSING ICE CUBES FROM THE SUPPLY THEREOF INTO A DISPENSED ICE CUBERECEIVING BAG HELD IN OPEN CONDITION, AND CONTROL MEANS OPERATIVELY CONNECTED WITH SAID COIN-RECEIVING MECHANISM, SAID FEEDING MEANS, SAID RESPONSIVE MEANS, SAID FREEZING MEANS, AND SAID ICE CUBE DISPENSING MEANS FOR ENSURING PROPER OPERATION THEREOF DURING EACH VENDING CYCLE AFTER THE INITIATION OF THE CYCLE BY THE INTRODUCTION OF SUFFICIENT COINS INTO SAID COIN-RECEIVING MECHANISM.
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US20060174969A1 (en) * 2003-11-19 2006-08-10 Ice House America Llc Automated ice bagging apparatus and methods
US20070267086A1 (en) * 2006-04-27 2007-11-22 Dunn Danny L Automated ice delivery apparatus and methods
US7421834B1 (en) * 2005-09-27 2008-09-09 Desmond John Doolan Ice measuring and dispensing apparatus
US20090266661A1 (en) * 2003-08-13 2009-10-29 Alan Jolley Gas Spring Assembly With Pre-Paint Protective Sleeve
US20090293536A1 (en) * 2008-05-27 2009-12-03 S. I. Incorporated, Dba "Serv-Ice" Pre-packaged, flexible container of ice and air
US20090297691A1 (en) * 2008-05-27 2009-12-03 S. I. Incorporated, Dba "Serv-Ice" Method of serving a drink to a person
US20090293434A1 (en) * 2008-05-27 2009-12-03 S. I. Incorporated, Dba "Serv-Ice" Method of forming a pre-packaged, flexible container of ice and air
US20100024363A1 (en) * 2007-01-24 2010-02-04 Schur International A/S Method and Apparatus For Producing, Bagging and Dispensing Ice
US7757513B2 (en) 2008-07-15 2010-07-20 Paine Robert A Ice storage and bagging system
US20100205985A1 (en) * 2009-02-19 2010-08-19 Dongguan Jiafeng Mechanical Equipment Co., Ltd. Weighing type ice vending machine
US20100263335A1 (en) * 2009-04-21 2010-10-21 Henrik Pape Method and apparatus for distributing articles in a storage compartment
US20110041467A1 (en) * 2009-08-24 2011-02-24 Henrik Pape Ice bagging apparatus
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US20120186276A1 (en) * 2010-12-17 2012-07-26 Seymour Kerry R Ice and chilled water producing and dispensing machine
US8353146B1 (en) 2008-08-11 2013-01-15 In-Store Bagging Machine Company, LLC Ice bagging assembly
US8356850B1 (en) 2010-09-22 2013-01-22 In-Store Bagging Machine Company, LLC System and method for carrying and installing a plurality of empty ice bags into an ice bagging assembly
US20130092707A1 (en) * 2011-10-17 2013-04-18 Yonghyun KIM Ice storage container and refrigerator having same
US8528302B1 (en) 2009-04-10 2013-09-10 In-Store Bagging Machine Company, LLC Ice bagging device
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US20130306680A1 (en) * 2012-05-10 2013-11-21 Lancer Corporation Integrated ice and beverage dispenser
US20140053949A1 (en) * 2012-08-23 2014-02-27 Mark Witt Ice machine
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US9409726B2 (en) 2010-09-17 2016-08-09 Reddy Ice Technology Llc Method and apparatus for distributing articles in a storage compartment
US9562711B2 (en) 2013-01-11 2017-02-07 Reddy Ice Technology Llc Method and apparatus for storing and dispensing bagged ice
US10161664B2 (en) 2014-09-05 2018-12-25 Ice House America, Llc Ice vending machine
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US3268118A (en) * 1966-08-23 Flaked ice dispenser
US3246797A (en) * 1962-08-03 1966-04-19 King Seeley Thermos Co Bag dispenser
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US3749237A (en) * 1971-08-16 1973-07-31 H Dorton Bag strip for handling soiled surgical sponges
JPS5016282Y2 (en) * 1971-10-16 1975-05-21
JPS4853641U (en) * 1971-10-16 1973-07-11
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US3798923A (en) * 1972-07-14 1974-03-26 Amana Refrigeration Inc Refrigerator with ice dispensing means
US4088243A (en) * 1976-09-28 1978-05-09 Deveson Maxwell Ivan Ice making and vending machines
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US4201299A (en) * 1978-06-06 1980-05-06 Bumgarner Robert L Bag
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US4404817A (en) * 1982-02-25 1983-09-20 Cox Iii Herman G Satellite ice plant
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US5112477A (en) * 1991-03-01 1992-05-12 Hamlin Jerry J Purified water and ice dispensing apparatus
US5165255A (en) * 1991-07-29 1992-11-24 Mile High Equipment Company Intermediate staging ice bin for ice and beverage dispensing machines
US5277016A (en) * 1992-08-10 1994-01-11 Ice Systems, Inc. Ice cube making, bagging, and storing apparatus
US6112539A (en) * 1999-01-23 2000-09-05 Colberg; Francisco J. Ice making and bagging vending machine
US6176099B1 (en) 1999-09-15 2001-01-23 Camco Inc. Ice making assembly for refrigerator
US20090266661A1 (en) * 2003-08-13 2009-10-29 Alan Jolley Gas Spring Assembly With Pre-Paint Protective Sleeve
US9188187B2 (en) * 2003-08-13 2015-11-17 Stabilus, Inc Gas spring assembly with pre-paint protective sleeve
US8561655B2 (en) 2003-11-19 2013-10-22 Ice House America Llc Automated ice bagging apparatus and methods
US20080196788A1 (en) * 2003-11-19 2008-08-21 Ice House America Llc Automated Ice Bagging Apparatus and Methods
EP1699699A1 (en) * 2003-11-19 2006-09-13 Ice House America LLC Automated ice bagging apparatus and methods
US7426945B2 (en) 2003-11-19 2008-09-23 Ice House America, Llc Automated ice bagging apparatus and methods
US20060174969A1 (en) * 2003-11-19 2006-08-10 Ice House America Llc Automated ice bagging apparatus and methods
EP1699699A4 (en) * 2003-11-19 2012-08-22 Ice House America Llc Automated ice bagging apparatus and methods
US20100319806A1 (en) * 2003-11-19 2010-12-23 Ice House America Llc Automated ice bagging apparatus and methods
US7806152B2 (en) 2003-11-19 2010-10-05 Ice House America Llc Automated ice bagging apparatus and methods
US7421834B1 (en) * 2005-09-27 2008-09-09 Desmond John Doolan Ice measuring and dispensing apparatus
US7735527B2 (en) 2006-04-27 2010-06-15 Ice House America Llc Automated ice delivery apparatus and methods
US20070267086A1 (en) * 2006-04-27 2007-11-22 Dunn Danny L Automated ice delivery apparatus and methods
US20100206899A1 (en) * 2006-04-27 2010-08-19 Ice House America Llc Automated ice delivery apparatus and methods
US8245488B2 (en) 2006-04-27 2012-08-21 Ice House America Llc Automated ice delivery apparatus and methods
US8122689B2 (en) * 2007-01-24 2012-02-28 Schur International A/S Method and apparatus for producing, bagging and dispensing ice
US20100024363A1 (en) * 2007-01-24 2010-02-04 Schur International A/S Method and Apparatus For Producing, Bagging and Dispensing Ice
US8800305B2 (en) 2007-01-24 2014-08-12 Schur Technology A/S Retrofit ice making and bagging apparatus and retrofit method of installation on aisle freezer
US20090297691A1 (en) * 2008-05-27 2009-12-03 S. I. Incorporated, Dba "Serv-Ice" Method of serving a drink to a person
US7900471B2 (en) 2008-05-27 2011-03-08 S. I. Incorporated Pre-packaged, flexible container of ice and air
US20090293434A1 (en) * 2008-05-27 2009-12-03 S. I. Incorporated, Dba "Serv-Ice" Method of forming a pre-packaged, flexible container of ice and air
US20090293536A1 (en) * 2008-05-27 2009-12-03 S. I. Incorporated, Dba "Serv-Ice" Pre-packaged, flexible container of ice and air
US7757513B2 (en) 2008-07-15 2010-07-20 Paine Robert A Ice storage and bagging system
US9527610B1 (en) 2008-08-11 2016-12-27 Gw Services, Llc Ice bagging assembly
US8353146B1 (en) 2008-08-11 2013-01-15 In-Store Bagging Machine Company, LLC Ice bagging assembly
US8091374B2 (en) * 2009-02-19 2012-01-10 Dongguan Jiafeng Mechanical Equipment Co., Ltd Weighing type ice vending machine
US20100205985A1 (en) * 2009-02-19 2010-08-19 Dongguan Jiafeng Mechanical Equipment Co., Ltd. Weighing type ice vending machine
US9481478B2 (en) 2009-04-10 2016-11-01 Gw Services, Llc Ice bagging device
US9828127B2 (en) 2009-04-10 2017-11-28 Gw Services, Llc Apparatus for bagging ice including ice level and load sensors
US8689523B1 (en) 2009-04-10 2014-04-08 Gw Services, Llc Ice bagging assembly with accessible hopper
US8528302B1 (en) 2009-04-10 2013-09-10 In-Store Bagging Machine Company, LLC Ice bagging device
US8935906B2 (en) 2009-04-21 2015-01-20 Schur International A/S Method and apparatus for distributing articles in a storage compartment
US20100263335A1 (en) * 2009-04-21 2010-10-21 Henrik Pape Method and apparatus for distributing articles in a storage compartment
US8256195B2 (en) * 2009-08-24 2012-09-04 Schur Technology A/S Ice bagging apparatus
US20110041467A1 (en) * 2009-08-24 2011-02-24 Henrik Pape Ice bagging apparatus
US10189646B2 (en) 2010-09-17 2019-01-29 Reddy Ice Technology Llc Method and apparatus for distributing articles in a storage compartment
US9409726B2 (en) 2010-09-17 2016-08-09 Reddy Ice Technology Llc Method and apparatus for distributing articles in a storage compartment
US8356850B1 (en) 2010-09-22 2013-01-22 In-Store Bagging Machine Company, LLC System and method for carrying and installing a plurality of empty ice bags into an ice bagging assembly
EP2452880A1 (en) * 2010-11-10 2012-05-16 Dongguan Jiafeng Mechanical Equipement Co., Ltd. Bag sealer and ice vending machine using the same
US20120186276A1 (en) * 2010-12-17 2012-07-26 Seymour Kerry R Ice and chilled water producing and dispensing machine
US9134060B2 (en) * 2010-12-17 2015-09-15 Kooler Ice, Inc. Ice and chilled water producing and dispensing machine
US20130092707A1 (en) * 2011-10-17 2013-04-18 Yonghyun KIM Ice storage container and refrigerator having same
US20130306680A1 (en) * 2012-05-10 2013-11-21 Lancer Corporation Integrated ice and beverage dispenser
US9285149B2 (en) * 2012-05-10 2016-03-15 Lancer Corporation Integrated ice and beverage dispenser
US8534034B1 (en) 2012-08-02 2013-09-17 Schur Technology A/S Method and apparatus for distributing and storing serially produced articles in multiple storage units
US9696082B2 (en) 2012-08-02 2017-07-04 Reddy Ice Technology Llc Method and apparatus for distributing and storing serially produced articles in multiple storage units
US20140053949A1 (en) * 2012-08-23 2014-02-27 Mark Witt Ice machine
US10093482B2 (en) 2013-01-11 2018-10-09 Reddy Ice Technology Llc Method and apparatus for storing and dispensing bagged ice
US9562711B2 (en) 2013-01-11 2017-02-07 Reddy Ice Technology Llc Method and apparatus for storing and dispensing bagged ice
US10161664B2 (en) 2014-09-05 2018-12-25 Ice House America, Llc Ice vending machine
WO2019236740A1 (en) * 2018-06-06 2019-12-12 Mark Metzger Ice vending machine and related methods

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