E. B. OFFUTT 3,409,171 REAR-HINGE?) DROP SHELF MECHANISM FOR VENDING MACHINE Nov. 5, 1968 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Sept. 7, 1967 E. B. OFFUTT 3,409,] 71
HINGED DROP SHELF MECHANISM FOR VENDING MACHINE Nov. 5, 1968 REAR 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Sept. 7, 1967 INVENTOR E/mefl rad/ey Gffuff United States Patent 3,409,171 REAR-HINGED DROP SHELF MECHANISM FOR VENDING MACHINE Elmer Bradley Otfutt, Independence, Mo., assignor to The Vendo Company, Kansas City, Mo., a corporation of Missouri Filed Sept. 7, 1967, Ser. No. 666,125 6 Claims. (Cl. 221-90) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A drop shelf vending machine having a series of vertically spaced shelves swingable about horizontal, vertically aligned axes at the rearmost ends of the shelves. Each shelf has a swingable, spring-loaded latch cooper-able with a corresponding keeper of a common control tube which is oscillated about a vertical axis and located behind the stack of shelves. A locking lug on all but the top shelf cooperates with a latch extension on the shelf next above to normally hold the shelves horizontal. Each keeper has two stops and a camming surface which operate sequentially to release the shelves successively from bottom to top when the control tube is actuated.
It is the primary object of the present invention to provide a drop shelf vending machine having locking and latching means arranged to preclude discharge of more than one article during each cycle of operation regardless of normal tampering efforts to release a number of addition-a1 shelves simultaneously.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view of a shelf unit of a vending machine embodying the rear-hinged drop shelf mechanism of my present invention, showing various positions of the shelves, parts being broken away for clearness;
FIG. 2 is a rear view of the unit shown in FIG. 1, parts being broken away to reveal details of construction;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the shelf unit;
FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the shelf unit;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken on line 55 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is'a fragmentary view similar to FIG. 4 showing certain parts at the opposite ends of their path of travel;
FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 5 showing a different position of certain parts;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken on line 8-8 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary, elevational view of one of the shelves showing that side of its latch opposite to the side shown in FIG. 1.
One of a plurality of side-by-side, vending machine shelf units is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and designated broadly by the numeral 10. Shelves 12 are supported by sides 14 of an upright channel 16 for vertical swinging movement about opposed pintles 18 integral with shelves 12. A tubular control device 20 at the rear of shelves 12, behind pintles 18, and within channel 16, is carried by the top 22 and bottom 24 of channel 16 for oscillation about its vertical axis.
Each shelf 12 has a pair of downwardly offset, generally triangular rearwardly extending wings 26, the pintles 18 being at the rearmost corners of wings 26. Wings 26 are joined by a bridge 28 below the level of shelf 12, and lock means in the nature of a wedge-shaped lug 30 extends upwardly from bridge 28.
An ear 32 below bridge 28 and extending rearwardly therefrom swingably receives a latch 34. Each latch 34 has upper and lower hinge plates 36 and 38 which receive 3,409,171 Patented Nov. 5, 1 968 a tubular hinge pin 40 passing through ear 32. A first angled portion 42 of latch 34 extends upwardly and rearwardly from plates 36 and 38, merging into a second portion 44 which angles laterally and rearwardly from portion 42 and terminates in a small finger 46 that is normally parallel to the axis of swinging movement of shelf 12.
On that side of plates 36 and 38 opposite to portion 42, each latch has a forwardly extending stretch 48 which is yieldably held biased against car 32 by a spring 50. A lateral offset 52 from stretch 48 terminates in a downwardly and forwardly inclined extension 54 below lug 30 having a chisel-shaped end 56 well below the bridge 28.
Extension 54 is normally in spaced parallelism to a plate 58 integral with and depending from bridge 28.
Spring 50 is looped around a hook 60 extending upwardly from stretch 48, has one end thereof extending into pin 40 and has its opposite end looped over the rear edge of bridge 28 along which it slides.
Tube 20 has a keeper 62 for each latch 34 respectively in the nature of an opening that cuts away substantially half of the tube 20. The upper edge 64 of keeper 62 presents a stop for the finger 46; the outer arcuate surface of a step 66 in the keeper 62 presents a cam for the portion 44 of latch 34; and the lower edge 68 of step 66 presents a stop for the portion 44 of latch 34.
Tube 20 is oscillated by a push-pull lever 70 having a pin 72 slidable in slot 74 of bottom 24, spring 76 yieldably holding lever 70 in the position shown in FIG. 3. A plate 78, swingable on bottom 24 by pin 80, has a Y-shaped slot provided with two branches 82 and 84 which alternately receive pin 72. A stud 86 on plate 78 passes through arcuate hole 88 in bottom 24 and is received by a yoke 90 rigid to tube 20.
Sold out mechanism, operable when the top shelf 12a has swung to its article discharge position, includes a lever 92 swingable downwardly on channel member 16 to the position shown in FIG. 8. Lever 92 is normally held at its upper position by a projection 94 on shelf 12a engaging a lateral car 96 on lever 92. When projection 94 is received in concave 98 of lever 92, rod 100 descends to actuate another lever 102 to a position where it blocks lever 70 by falling in front of an upturned ear 104 at the rearmost end of lever 70.
Operation The shelves 12 are all normally horizontal (as shown in FIG. 1 with respect to shelf 12a) supporting articles 106. The lowermost shelf 12b is the first to discharge its article 106, the article 106a being shown in FIG. 1 gravitating from the third shelf 120.
Each shelf 12, except the lower shelf 12b, is normally held horizontal by virtue of the extension 54 of its latch 34 engaging the front face of the lug 30 of the shelf next below. Shelf 12b is normally held slightly inclined (as shown in FIG. 1 with respect to shelf 12d) by its latch 34, i.e. the portion 44 of the latter engaging the corresponding edge 68 of the keeper 62 associated with shelf 12b.
Thus when an article 106 is to be discharged from shelf 12b, lever 70 is pulled forwardly against the action of spring 76. Pin 72 moves along slot 74 and branch 82 until it enters branch 84. This causes plate 78 to swing on pin from the position shown in FIG. 4 to the position shown in FIG. 6. Stud 86 swings yoke to rotate tube 20 clockwise viewing FIG. 3.
This moves edges 68 of all keepers 62 out of overlying relationship to portions 44, but only shelf 12b is effected because all of the remaining shelves are being held by latch extensions 54 and lugs 30. Shelf 12b tilts to a slightly greater angle as its latch finger 46 swings up into engagement with edge 64 of the corresponding keeper 62.
When lever 70 is released to return tube 20 to the normal stand-by position of FIG 1, the cam 66 of the lowermost keeper 62 engages portion 44 of the lowermost latch 34. This forces the portion 46 from beneath edge 64, permitting shelf 12b to drop to its article discharge position.
Each time a shelf 12 is so dropped, the shelf next above is no longer supported by the lug 30 therebelow. Note in FIG. 1 that the lug 30 of shelf 120 has slipped from behind the latch extension 54 of shelf 12d.-- Since shelf 12d is no longer supported by lug 30 of shelf 12c it tilts slightly until its latch portion 44 engages the proximal edge 68. Therefore, no shelf 12 can swing toits article discharge position until lever 70 is pulled. outwardly to the position shown in FIG. 6 because edge 68 must first be retracted from above latch portion 44 and finger 46 must move into engagement-with edge 64. This raises latch portion 44 to a position where it can be cammed outwardly by step of'the keeper 62 against spring 50 on the return stroke of lever 70 by the action of spring 76.
All shelves 12 except shelf 12b assume four positions, ie, the horizontal (held by lugs 30 and latch extension) the first incline (held by portions 44 engaging edges 68) the second incline (held by fingers 46 engaging edges 64) and the fully inclined, article discharge position. Shelf 12b assumes all but the horizontal position. Thus, during each stroke of the lever 70 only one article 106 can be discharged and it is impossible to maneuver the lever 70 to cause vending of successive articles 106 before lever 70 is returned to its stand-by position. As an added precaution, the plates 58 make it difficult to insert a wire or the like into the machine so as to shift the extensions 54 and thereby swing latches about their hinge pins 40.
Prior to reloading the operator pulls upwardly on the shelves 12 at their forwardmost ends, starting with the shelf 12b. As he sweeps his hand upwardly, successively raising the shelves 12, extensions 54 yield, because of springs 50, to cause lugs 30 to slip in behind the extensions 54. Latches 34 snap into the keepers 62 automatically and it is not possible for shelves to support articles 106 until such snap-in takes place. This also precludes the possibility of vending multiple articles 106 by a single stroke of lever 70.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. In a vending machine;
a stack of shelves individually mounted at one end thereof for swinging movement from a generally horizontal article supporting position to an inclined article discharge position,
each shelf except the uppermost shelf having lock means, releasable upon movement to said article discharge position, for normally holding the next adjacent shelf thereabove in said article supporting position;
a shiftable latch on each shelf respectively; and
a movable control device common to the shelves and provided with a keeper :for each latch respectively,
each keeper being provided with a latch stop and a latch release element,
each stop being disposed to hold the corresponding shelf against swinging movement to the article discharge position when engaged by the proximal latch,
the latch of the lowermost shelf normally engaging the stop of the corresponding keeper,
,each of the remaining shelves moving its latch into engagement with the corresponding stops upon release of the lock means next therebelow, 7
each element being disposed to release the corresponding latch after the latter moves into engagement with its stop upon movement of said device through a predetermined path of travel.
2. The-invention of claim 1; v
each keeper having-a second latch stop disposed for engagement by the corresponding latch upon. movement of said devicein one direction,
said elements being operable upon returnmovement .of said device in the opposite direction.
3. The invention of claim 2; I
said device comprising an elongated, upright member mounted for oscillation about its upright axis,
, each keeper including a latch-receiving opening having edges presenting said stops thereof.
4. The invention of claim 3;
said element of each keeper comprising a cam surface on the member adjacent the corresponding stop,
said surface engaging the latch to force the same out of the opening during return movement of the member whereby to release its shelf for movement to the article-discharge position.
5. The invention of claim 1;
each lock means comprising a normally upstanding lug rigid to the shelf adjacent its axis of swinging movement,
each latch except the lowermost latch having an extension normally engaging the lug of the shelf next below.
6. The invention of claim 5;
each latch being spring loaded for yieldably holding the same in its keeper,
the extension being shiftable against the action of the spring for clearing the proximal lug when the shelves are returned to their article, supporting position.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,884,163 4/ 1959 DuGrenier et al 221- 3,125,244 3/1964 Holstein 221 -90 3,126,124 3/1964 Katz et al 12190 3,137,411 6/1964 Bailey 12l90 3,161,319 12/1964 Holstein et al 221-90 X SAMUEL F. COLEMAN, Primary Examiner.