Title:
Shelf for coin-controlled vending refrigerators
United States Patent 2376561


Abstract:
This invention relates to the construction of a shelf for a vending machine of the type wherein bottles roll by gravity along an inclined shelf as each foremost bottle on the shelf is delivered from the machine. In a vending machine such as shown in my Patent No. 2,316,897, issued April 20,...



Inventors:
Smith, Milton L.
Application Number:
US39411241A
Publication Date:
05/22/1945
Filing Date:
05/19/1941
Assignee:
Smith, Milton L.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
221/124, 221/129, 221/301, 312/71, 312/351
International Classes:
G07F11/30
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Description:

This invention relates to the construction of a shelf for a vending machine of the type wherein bottles roll by gravity along an inclined shelf as each foremost bottle on the shelf is delivered from the machine.

In a vending machine such as shown in my Patent No. 2,316,897, issued April 20, 1943, to which reference may be had for a more complete disclosure, there is shown a coin controlled vending machine having a plurality of shelves one above the other, each shelf being at an inclination to the horizontal sufficient to cause bottles which are laid thereon to roll by gravity down the shelf. The foremost bottle is held by an escapement mechanism. As the escapement mechanism is operated to release the foremost bottle the remaining bottles roll forward by gravity. Bottles of the type commercially used for vending drinks such as milk, fruit juices, vegetable juices, carbonated drinks and the like, are generally not truly cylindrical. Generally the base of the bottle is of slightly greater diameter than the rest of the bottle, there being a slight or great taper upward. This is inherent in the processes generally used in making bottles of the type here involved. As a result there is a tendency for the bottles to tilt as they roll along the shelf. The greater the taper on the bottle, the greater will be the likelihood and the magnitude of the tilting of the bottles. The delivery mechanism of a coin controlled vending machine of the type here involved is constructed and arranged for delivering bottles received by it in a given position. If the bottle tilts appreciably from its normal position the delivery mechanism may not operate properly, and the machine may jam. It is one of the objects of the present invention to provide a shelf construction which will prevent tilting of the bottles.

In accordance with one of the principles of the present invention each shelf is provided with a longitudinally extending groove which forms a trackway for a steel or other heavy ball. The ball presses against the last bottle of the row of bottles and thus prevents tilting of that bottle.

That bottle in turn presses against the next bottle and thus prevents tilting of that bottle. Each bottle thus prevents tilting of the bottle ahead of it. By this arrangement tilting of the bottles is avoided.

The attainment of the above and further ohjects of the present invention will be apparent from the following specification taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing forming a part thereof.

In the drawing: Figure 1 is a perspective view- of a coin controlled refrigerator vending machine having shelves therein embodying the present invention; Figure 2 is a diagrammatic view illustrating the movement of the bottles on the shelves; Figure 3 is a sectional view taken along the line 3-3 of Figure 1 and looking in the direction of the arrows:; and Figure 4' is a sectional view taken along the line 4-4' of Figure 3 and looking in the direction of the arrows.

The refrigerator shown in Figure 1 is of the general type shown in my Patent No. 2,316,897, issued April 20, 1943, to which reference may be had for a more complete description of the machine.

The machine comprises a refrigerator cabinet I having the usual electric or other refrigerating apparatus therein and having a series of inclined shelves 2 therein for receiving bottles 3. The shelves are at such an inclination that the bottles 3 tend to roll down the shelf. As the lowermost bottle on a shelf is removed the remaining bottles on that shelf will roll forwardly. The cabinet has a door 4 locked by a key, and has the usual heat insulating side walls 7-7 and heat insulating rear wall 7'. The machine includes a selector mechanism 5 and a coin controlled mechanism 6. By depositing a coin in the mechanism 6 and then operating a selected one of the push buttons on the selector 5 an escapement mechanism for the selected shelf is operated to release the lowermost bottle on the selected shelf. For this purpose each shelf is provided with an escapement mechanism comprising an angle plate 8 pivoted at 9. The angle plate includes a forward portion 10 and an upwardly inclined rearward portion I I which constitutes a stop arm for the foremost bottle 3 of the shelf. The angle plate serves as a discharge escapement mechanism for permitting the discharge of only one bottle at a time from a shelf. The rearward portion I of the angle plate abuts against the foremost bottle on the shelf and prevents the same from moving forward. If the angle plate 8 is turned in a clockwise direction from the position indicated atthe top shelf of Figure 2 to the position of the angle plate of the next lower shelf, it permits one bottle to move forward by gravity until the bottle rests in the cradle formed by the angle o0 the forward portion 10 and the rearward portion f1 of the angle plate. If that angle plate is then returned to. its initial position that forward bottle is discharged to a discharge chute 15, as indicated by the bottle at 13. The respective discharge chutes of the respective shelves extend to the front of the machine and discharge the bottles through hinged doors 16, one such door being provided for each shelf of the refrigerator. A safety curtain 18 prevents manual access to the shelf by insertion of the hand through the door 16 into the space between adjacent chutes 15. A flag 20 pivoted at 21 rests upon the foremost bottle of the row of bottles on each 1 shelf and swings to the position indicated at 22 when the shelf is empty, thus indicating an empty condition of the shelf. Any desired well known type of control for the flag 20 and the angle plate 8 may be used.

The bottles 3 are arranged upon each shelf in the manner illustrated so that as the foremost bottle is discharged from a shelf the remaining bottles of the row of bottles on the shelf roll along the shelf until the next bottle comes into abutment with the rearward portion II of the angle plate 8. If the foremost bottle on the shelf were at an angle of 900 to the position illustrated in Figure 3, or even at a fraction of 900 to that position, it could not be discharged from the shelf. It is therefore necessary to prevent skewing of the bottles on the shelf as the row of bottles progressively move forward on successive discharges of the foremost bottle.

The bottles on the shelf are not truly cylindrical.

They do have a portion which is approximately cylindrical but even that portion tapers slightly.

Ordinarily the pressure of each bottle upon the preceding bottle prevents the preceding bottle from tilting. However, the last bottle of the row on the shelf is not held against tilting. Thus there is a tendency for that bottle to tilt. As it tilts it releases its pressure upon the next lower bottle and permits that bottle to tilt. This permits further tilting of the last bottle and also permits some tilting of the bottle preceding the one before the last. The tilting action on the bottles is thus cumulative, the last bottle of the row tilting the maximum amount, and the magnitude of tilt of all of the bottles of the row increasing progressively with each advance of the row of bottles on the shelf. It is an object of this invention to prevent such progressive tilting action of the bottles. This is accomplished by providing a weighted ball 25 which rests on the shelf 2 and presses against the last bottle of the row of bottles on the shelf. In order to maintain the ball at a proper distance from the edge of the shelf the shelf is provided with a longitudinally extending groove or trough 26 forming a trackway in which the ball rides. The trough is of sufficient width and depth so that the ball does not tend to roll across the shelf but tends to ride in the trough or groove. I have found, in one construction, that a trough onehalf inch wide and one-fourth inch deep is sufficient for this purpose, the ball 25 being a solid steel ball approximately two inches in diameter.

The ball exerts a continuous pressure against the end bottle and prevents the narrow end of the last bottle from moving towards the narrow end of the subjacent bottle, since such movement would result in outward or upward movement of the wide end of the bottle and a corresponding movement of the heavy ball 25. The pressure of the ball against the last bottle is transmitted to all of the bottles and each bottle thus prevents the next lower bottle from tilting or skewing.

Different bottles are of different shapes, and it is thus therefore necessary in some instances to exert the pressure of the ball at a greater or lesser distance from the end of the bottle. For this reason the shelf is provided with two additional grooves 28 and 29, similar to the groove 26, so that the ball 25 can be placed in any one of the three grooves 26, 28 or 29.

Each groove terminates at its lower end in a pocket 30 adapted to receive and hold the ball 25 after the last bottle has been discharged, thus preventing delivery of a ball 25 in lieu of a bottle 3 if the angle plate 8 is operated after the last bottle on the shelf has been delivered. The ball clears the flag 20 so that when the last bottle has been discharged the flag is not actuated by the ball, and thus indicates an empty condition of the shelf. The circuit controlling the escapement is such that when the flag 20 hangs downwardly the escapement 8 of the corresponding shelf can not be operated and the coin collecting mechanism returns the coin if that shelf is selected by the customer.

Adjacent the upper end of the shelf there is provided a short depression or a socket 34 for receiving and temporarily holding the ball.

When the attendant proceeds to place bottles on the shelf he picks up the ball 25 and places it in the socket or cavity 34 where it is not likely to be lost and will not interfere with the manual operation of filling the shelves. After the shelf has been filled the operator then takes the ball 25 and places it in the proper groove 26, 28 or 29.

Each shelf is provided with a plurality of transverse slots 38 for permitting the circulation of cooling air in the space between shelves.

It is to be noted that the shelf is inclined in the direction illustrated in Figure 1, that is, in the direction of roll of the bottles, and is also inclined so that that edge of the shelf which is across the front of the refrigerator is lowermost, as illustrated in Figure 4. The end of the shelf 2 has a ledge 40 extending lengthwise of the shelf. Thus the bottles do not tend to slide towards the rear of the refrigerator as they roll down the shelf from one side of the refrigerator to the other. The shelves in the refrigerator may be individually removable to facilitate cleaning of the shelves and of the refrigerator.

From the above description it is apparent that I have provided a simple shelf structure which is adapted for bottles of different shapes and which will prevent the bottles from skewing as they roll on the shelf to the escapement mechanism.

What I consider new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is: 1. A shelf mounted at an inclination so that round articles thereon will roll towards one end thereof, said shelf having a plurality of spaced longitudinally extending slots adjacent one edge thereof, and a weighted ball on said shelf and adapted for positioning in any one of the slots and guided by the slot in which it is placed to roll along the shelf and maintain a pressure against articles on said shelf.

2. A shelf mounted at an inclination so that round articles thereon will roll towards one end thereof, said shelf having a longitudinally extending slot adjacent one edge thereof, a weighted ball on said shelf and adapted for positioning in the slot to be guided by said slot to roll along the shelf and maintain a pressure against articles on said shelf, and means for holding the ball as the last article on the shelf rolls off of the same. 3. In an apparatus of.the type wherein a row of bottles roll along an inclined shelf as the foremost bottle of the row is discharged from the shelf, means for preventing skewing of a bottle as it rolls on the shelf, said means comprising a round member of a weight at least as great as that of a bottle, said member resting on the shelf and pressing against the last bottle of the row of bottles adjacent that end of the bottle which tends to turn in a direction opposite that of the direction of rolling of the bottle on the shelf, and means for guiding said member as it moves on the shelf in contact with the last bottle of the row of bottles.

4. In an apparatus of the type wherein a row of bottles roll along an inclined shelf as the foremost bottle of the row is discharged from the shelf, means for preventing skewing of a bottle as it rolls on the shelf, said means comprising a round rolling member of a weight at least as great as that of a bottle, said member resting on the shelf and in rolling engagement with and pressing against the last bottle of the row of bottles adjacent that end of the bottle which tends to skew in a direction opposite the direction of rolling of the bottle on the shelf, and means for guiding said member as it moves on the shelf in contact with the last bottle of the row of bottles, said guiding means comprising a groove formed in the shelf and into which groove the member extends.

5. In an apparatus of the type wherein a row of bottles roll along an inclined shelf as the foremost bottle of the row is discharged from the shelf, means for preventing skewing of a bottle as it rolls on the shelf, said means comprising a round rolling member of a weight at least as great as that of a bottle, said member resting on the shelf and in rolling engagement with and pressing against the last bottle of the row of bottles adjacent that end of the bottle which tends to skew in a direction opposite the direction of rolling of the bottle on the shelf, means for guiding said member as it moves on the shelf in contact with the last bottle of the row of bottles and means for holding the round member against rolling off of the shelf while permitting the bottles to roll off of the shelf.

6. In a cabinet, an inclined shelf for supporting a row of bottles in a position to roll on the shelf, means for maintaining the bottles against skewing as they roll on the shelf, said means comprising a longitudinally extending groove formed in the shelf adjacent one edge thereof, and a ball, of a weight substantially heavier than the weight of a bottle, said ball resting on said shelf and pressing against the last bottle of the row adjacent that end thereof which tends to skew in a direction opposite the direction of rolling of the bottle on the shelf and guided by the groove as the ball rolls forward upon advance of the row of bottles.

7. A self-service type of dispensing machine including in combination a refrigerator box having a main refrigerated chamber, bottle holding means in said chamber for holding bottles in a row at an angle to the horizontal with a longitudinal edge of the bottle in contact with the shelf and with the base of each bottle at a substantial angle to the shelf, each bottle being in contact with and held by the preceding bottle of the row against moving downwardly by gravity, stop means for holding the lowermost bottle of the row, mechanism for controlling the discharge of bottles one at a time from the lowermost end of the row whereby each time a bottle is withdrawn the remaining bottles move downwardly in said holding means by gravity, means for preventing the bottles from skewing, said last named means comprising a movable member engaging the last bottle of the row of bottles adjacent that end thereof which tends to skew in a direction opposite the direction of movement of the bottle on the shelf and moving therewith as the last bottle moves with the row of bottles, means for guiding said movable member, and means for preventing discharge of the member by operation of the discharge mechanism.

MILTON L. SMITH.