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Title:
AUTOMATIC DRIVE-IN STORE
United States Patent 3647026
Abstract:
An automatic drive-in store structure having in its upper portion a warehouse for storing a multiplicity of diverse retail items within individual dispenser units, and in its lower portion a plurality of parking stalls for vehicles, each stall being provided with a console control apparatus which is equipped with a plurality of item selector panels for use by a motorist whereby a selective list of retail items may be ordered and thence dispensed from the respective dispenser unit responsive to electronic control means and delivered through a system of conveyors to the automobile; said console control apparatus also being supplied with a closed circuit television which is in circuit with a video camera for transmitting a picture of a selected item onto a television screen, and a moneychanger unit which returns the correct change after registering the amount submitted and subtracting the total price of the items selected.


Inventors:
Alexander, Gilbert L. (Bloomington, IL)
Neaville, Arthur W. (Webster Groves, MO)
Mayfield, William A. (Webster Groves, MO)
Alexander, Gilbert L. (Bloomington, IL)
Neaville, Arthur W. (Webster Groves, MO)
Mayfield, William A. (Webster Groves, MO)
Application Number:
04/889502
Publication Date:
03/07/1972
Filing Date:
12/31/1969
Assignee:
GILBERT L. ALEXANDER
ARTHUR W. NEAVILLE
WILLIAM A. MAYFIELD
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
198/341.07, 198/349, 221/82, 221/268, 221/301
International Classes:
E04H14/00; G07F7/00; (IPC1-7): E04H3/04
Field of Search:
186/1,1.2 221
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3541309MERCHANDISING SYSTEM1970-11-17Cutter
3490717PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYER SYSTEM WITH AUTOMATIC FILLING AND EMPTYING OF MULTIPLE CIRCULATING CONVEYER CONTAINERS1970-01-20Rejler
3258153Dispensing devices with audible announcing means1966-06-28Morgan
3032172Tripping hook1962-05-01Jensen
2956660Can vending machine1960-10-18Nordquist
2663398Article vending system1953-12-22Skillman
2276293Article order assembly system and apparatus therefor1942-03-17Farmer
2071771N/A1937-02-23Shield
Primary Examiner:
Hornsby, Harvey C.
Claims:
Having described our invention, what we claim and desire to obtain by Letters patent is

1. An automatic drive in store comprising means defining a structure; said structure having a delivery zone having at least one parking stall located at a distance remote from said product storage zone and a product storage zone; a supply of various types of products within said structure product storage zone; a plurality of dispensers in said product storage zone for each type product; release means operatively engaged to each product dispenser; a console control unit located in said delivery zone; product selector means located on said console control unit; conveyor means communicating each dispenser with the console control unit in said delivery zone; and electronic control means housed within said console control unit for effecting actuation of said release means responsive to the operation of said product selector means to dispense selected products onto said conveyor means and to transport the selected products to said delivery zone; said electronic control means including product recording means; price recording and tabulating means; currency reading and accepting means for accepting currency toward payment of said selected products; said currency reader and acceptor means including a credit registering means for maintaining a cumulative total of currency received; currency change return means for returning the difference between the total price of the selected products and the credit registered; and means releasing said product recording means after payment has been made and the change returned thereby actuating selected dispenser release means.

2. The combination as defined in claim 1 and further characterized by one of said dispensors comprising an endless track mounted on an incline within said structure, upper and lower rails on said track presented in aligned spaced apart relationship; a plurality of articulated trolleys riding within said upper and lower rails around the perimeter of said track; and an arm pivotally mounted to each trolley; a guide bar mounted to said structure spacedly, axially parallel to said track; each arm of said trolley slideably engaging said guide bar; said product supply including a plurality of bag products; said bag product having aperture means for slideably receiving same over each arm; said release means comprising a detent positioned in abutment with the free end of said guide bar; actuator means connected to said detent for alternatively removing and returning said detent responsive to said electronic control means whereby upon removal of said detent, said arm will fall by gravity for dispensing a bag product upon said conveyor means.

3. The combination as defined in claim 1 and further characterized by said dispensers being prearranged in rows; said conveyor means including a first conveyor located spacedly below each dispenser row to receive dispensed products; a second conveyor disposed in downwardly parallel relationship with each first conveyor and normally moving in an opposite direction than said first conveyor; a third conveyor disposed in axial normal relationship in a plane located between said first and second conveyors communicating each of said first conveyors with said second conveyor; and means for channeling the dispensed products traveling on said second conveyor to the delivery zone.

4. The combination as defined in claim 3 and further characterized by said channeling means comprising a delivery chute having end portions, one end portion of said delivery chute being pivotally connected to said structure in immediate adjacency to said second conveyor; the other end portion of said delivery chute being movably mounted on said console control unit.

5. The combination as defined in claim 1 and further characterized by said product selecting means comprising a plurality of leaves hingedly mounted on said console control unit; each of said leaves having a front and rear panel portion; product indicia means for each product disposed on said front and rear panel portions; a contact button located adjacent each product indicia means; circuit means connecting each contact button to said electronic control means whereby upon engagement of each button corresponding release means will be actuated for discharging the selected product onto said conveyor means.

6. The combination as defined in claim 1 and further characterized by one of said dispensers comprising a downwardly inclined rack; said product supply including a plurality of cylindrical products provided in said rack; said release means comprising a body having a downwardly opening arcuate portion presented upwardly of said rack and formed on substantially the same radius as said cylindrical products; a rounded leading edge formed integrally with said arcuate portion for normally retaining said cylindrical products within said rack; a rounded trailing edge formed integrally with said arcuate portion presented overlyingly of the lowermost cylindrical product and adapted for forcibly ejecting the lowermost cylindrical product onto said conveyor means and maintaining the immediately adjacent cylindrical products within said rack; an extension having upper and lower end portions, the lower end portion being integrally formed with said arcuate portion and the upper end portion projecting upwardly of said arcuate portion; means provided intermediate said upper and lower end portions for rockably mounting said extension; actuator means connected to the upper end portion of said extension for effecting rockable movement of said body responsive to energization of said electronic control means; said actuator means operating to swing said leading edge of said arcuate portion away from said rack, and the trailing edge into forcible engagement against the lowermost cylindrical product for ejecting same and into engagement against the immediately adjacent cylindrical product for maintaining same within said rack.

7. The combination as defined in claim 1 wherein said stall is defined by parallel spaced apart walls; there being an opening within one of said stall walls; a console control unit disposed within said opening and said product selector means located on said console control unit.

8. The combination as defined in claim 8 and further characterized by said console control unit comprising a mobile lower frame; means for alternatively extending and retracting said lower frame for projecting console control unit into and away from said stall; an upper frame movably mounted on said lower frame for movement normal to the movement of the latter; and means for effecting forward and rearward movement of said upper frame within said stall when said lower frame is in an extended position.

9. The combination as defined in claim 8 and further characterized by said means for alternatively extending and retracting said mobile lower frame comprising a fluid cylinder; first switch means for effecting extension of said cylinder to project said console control unit within said stall; second switch means provided on said console control unit for stopping the extension of said control unit at a predetermined location; actuator means on said console for moving said upper frame forwardly and rearwardly within said stall; third switch means for energizing said actuator means for adjusting the position of said upper frame relative to said lower frame.

10. The combination as defined in claim 7 and further characterized by a closed circuit television system comprising a television screen mounted on said console unit; a plurality of television cameras provided within said structure proximate predetermined product dispensors; first circuit means connecting said television camera and said television screen; product indicia means for each product disposed on said product selector means; a contact button located adjacent each product indicia means, second circuit means connecting each contact button with the related television camera whereby upon engagement of a contact button the picture of said product will be presented on said television screen.

11. The combination as defined in claim 1 and further characterized by said means for change returning means comprising: a plurality of spools rotatably mounted within said console; a roll of sheet material wound around each spool; each roll having a plurality of pockets formed therein, said pockets containing a predetermined unit of paper money; means for advancing said roll a distance slightly greater than the length of a pocket; a knife blade mounted within said console in the path of each roll; circuit means for simultaneously energizing said roll advancing means and elevating said knife blade upon closing, and deenergizing said roll advancing means and permitting said knife to fall by gravity upon opening to sever a pocket; a chute having a discharge end for receiving severed pockets; a retractable drawer in said console unit in communication with said chute discharge end for receiving said pocket.

12. The combination as defined in claim 1 and further characterized by said change returning means comprising a plurality of coin tubes; a mounting block having recesses for receiving the lower end of each coin tube; said block having a transverse slot in the region below each coin tube; each slot being substantially the same height as the coin denomination dispensed; a retractable drawer mounted within said console immediately beneath said coin tubes; a plurality of plungers, each having a length for extension into and through a related transverse slot; and solenoid operated means for alternatively extending and retracting selected plungers to dispense a coin into said retractable drawer.

13. The combination as defined in claim 7 and further characterized by said structure having a plurality of transversely spaced apart stalls, a plurality of product dispensors mounted within said structure storage zone spacedly above said stall and in longitudinally spaced-apart rows; said conveyor means comprising a plurality of minor endless conveyor belts moving longitudinally in one direction; said minor conveyor belts being presented spacedly below the related rows of product dispensors to receive dispensed products; a major conveyor belt moving in a longitudinally opposite direction of said minor conveyor; at least one feeder conveyor disposed transversely within said structure being positioned to deliver products travelling on said minor conveyors to said major conveyor; means for channelling the dispensed products traveling along said major conveyor to a predetermined stall.

14. The combination as defined in claim 13 and further characterized by said channeling means comprising a plurality of delivery chute means, one end of each chute means being pivotally connected to said structure in immediate proximity with said major conveyor; the other end of the respective chute means extending downwardly from said major conveyor belt within the related stall; gate means provided within said structure adjacent each chute means for selectively directing the products traveling along the major conveyor to predetermined delivery chute means for delivery to the related parking stall.

15. The combination as defined in claim 14 and further characterized by said electronic control means including circuit means for energizing a preselected gate means for directing dispensed products to the related stall.

16. The combination as defined in claim 4 and further characterized by gate means mounted within said structure at the conveyor adjacent end portion of said delivery chute for swingable movement between delivery chute occluding position and conveyor occluding position; said electronic control means including circuit means for energizing said gate means into said conveyor occluding position for directing the products traveling on said second conveyor into said delivery chute.

Description:
BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates in general to an automated, drive-in store structure and more particularly, to the system and apparatus for selecting a plurality of retail items for ultimate delivery to an automobile after payment for said items has been made.

An object of the present invention is to provide an automated drive-in structure which is adapted for ready use by a motorist for selecting desired retail items and having same delivered directly to an automobile without necessitating leaving the automobile.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a structure of the character described, which incorporates electronic devices for recording the selected item as well as the price thereof, maintaining such data in a memory bank until payment has been effected, transmitting the data stored in the memory bank by electronic impulses to the respective actuator means for releasing the selected items onto a conveyor system for ultimate delivery to the consumer.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a structure of the character described which utilizes a movable console control apparatus which is normally retained within a wall of the parking stall but upon entry of an automobile within said stall the console will be moved forwardly to a predetermined location relative to the automobile and may be laterally adjusted through electric and hydraulic circuitry for providing proper alignment with the driver's window of an automobile.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a structure of the character described which incorporates a television receiver screen for ready viewing by the consumer and a video camera located within the structure which camera transmits a picture of the selected item onto the television screen responsive to the closing of a circuit by the consumer by pressing an appropriate view button located on the console control selector panels.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a conveyor system which delivers the selected items from the product dispensers directly to the automobile.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a structure of the character described which is completely automated requiring of the consumer the task of pushing buttons located adjacent a product designation on the console control apparatus, inserting the required amount of money within the console, and then packaging the goods delivered to the driver's window in bags or the like provided in each parking stall.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a can ejector which assures the discharge of a single can onto the conveyor system and prevents advancement of immediately adjacent cans from the ejector.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a structure of the character described which incorporates a box dispenser which assures the discharge of a single box onto the conveyor system by preventing the advancement of the immediately adjacent box during the dispensing operation.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a structure of the character described which is furnished with a soft goods bag dispenser for bags of the polyethylene type having a grommet in its upper portion; said bags being suspended by said dispenser and dropped onto the conveyor system responsive to an electronic signal on a one-at-a-time basis.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a currency changer within the console control apparatus, which, responsive to electronic impulses, will return the correct change in bills and coin to the consumer after payment for the selected items has been made.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a structure of the character described which may be constructed on a small land area and therefore may be built in congested areas while still providing efficient service to the purchasing public; which requires little parking space; which eliminates pilferage and damage to products; and which reduces operating personnel to a minimum number of relatively unskilled workers for serving a maximum number of consumers, as only stock boys and a manager will be necessary.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a structure of the character described which will substantially reduce the shopping time.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a structure of the character described which incorporates a plurality of spaced-apart parking stalls each having a console control unit which may be operated simultaneously by the respective consumers parked within the stalls; with the delivery of selected items being limited to one stall at a time to preclude the possibility of mixup; said waiting time being approximately 19 seconds per unit, during which time the consumer may obtain residual monies from the change box provided in the console.

Additional objects and advantages will be apparent from the following when read in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of an automatic drive-in store constructed in accordance with and embodying the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view taken on the line 2--2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view taken on the line 3--3 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is an end elevational view in partial section of the console lower frame assembly taken on the line 4--4 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is an end elevational view of the lower console frame assembly illustrating same in extended position.

FIG. 6 is an elevational view taken on the line 6--6 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 7 is an elevational view taken substantially along the line 6--6 of FIG. 4 illustrating the console upper frame assembly in extended position.

FIG. 8 is a plan view taken on the line 8--8 of FIG. 6.

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary, side elevational view of a track containing a plurality of bag dispensors mounted within the warehouse.

FIG. 10 is a transverse section taken on the line 10--10 of FIG. 9 illustrating a trolley utilized for storing and delivering retail items contained within bags.

FIG. 11 is an enlarged fragmentary view taken on the line 11--11 of FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a top view of a trolley taken on the line 12--12 of FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 is a view in partial section illustrating the release means for said bag dispensor.

FIG. 14 is a top view of the release mechanism taken on the line 14--14 of FIG. 13.

FIG. 15 is an end view of the release mechanism taken on the line 15--15 of FIG. 13.

FIG. 16 is a side elevational view of a can ejector.

FIG. 17 is an end view of the can ejector taken on the line 17--17 of FIG. 16.

FIG. 18 is an end view of the can ejector taken on the line 18--18 of FIG. 16.

FIG. 19 is a top view of the release mechanism of said can ejector taken on the line 19--19 of FIG. 16.

FIG. 20 is a vertical transverse section taken on the line 20--20 of FIG. 16.

FIG. 21 is a side elevational view of said can ejector illustrating same in dispensing position.

FIG. 22 is a side elevational view of a box dispensor.

FIG. 23 is an end view taken on the line 23--23 of FIG. 22.

FIG. 24 is a top view taken on the line 24--24 of FIG. 22.

FIG. 25 is a top plan view of a delivery chute utilized in the present invention.

FIG. 26 is a side elevational view taken on the line 26--26 of FIG. 25.

FIG. 27 is an end elevational view taken on the line 27--27 of FIG. 26.

FIG. 28 is a vertical section taken on the line 28--28 of FIG. 26.

FIG. 29 is a vertical section taken on the line 29--29 of FIG. 26.

FIG. 30 is a view in partial section taken on the line 30--30 of FIG. 26.

FIG. 31 is a front view of the console illustrating the delivery chute counterbalance.

FIG. 32 is a top view with portions cutaway taken on the line 32--32 of FIG. 31.

FIG. 33 is a side elevational view taken on the line 33--33 of FIG. 31.

FIG. 34 is a view taken on the line 34--34 of FIG. 33.

FIG. 35 is a fragmentary top view taken on the line 35--35 of FIG. 34.

FIG. 36 is a rear view taken on the line 36--36 of FIG. 33.

FIG. 37 is a fragmentary top view of the product selector panels of the present invention with a portion of the console being shown in section.

FIG. 38 is a front elevational view taken on the line 38--38 of FIG. 37.

FIG. 39 is a fragmentary view taken on the line 39--39 of FIG. 37.

FIG. 40 is a horizontal transverse section taken on the line 40--40 of FIG. 39.

FIG. 41 is an enlarged view of an indicia bearing strip as used on a selector panel.

FIG. 42 is a horizontal section taken on the line 42--42 of FIG. 41.

FIG. 43 is a plan view of a currency changer of the present invention with portions of the console being shown in section.

FIG. 44 is a fragmentary side view taken on the line 44--44 of FIG. 43.

FIG. 45 is a fragmentary view in partial section taken on the line 45--45 of FIG. 43.

FIG. 46 is a vertical transverse section taken on the line 46--46 of FIG. 43.

FIG. 47 is a top view of a sheet containing paper money.

FIG. 48 is a vertical section taken on the line 48--48 of FIG. 47.

FIG. 49 is a plan view of a coin changer utilized in the present invention.

FIG. 50 is a vertical section taken on the line 50--50 of FIG. 49.

FIG. 51 is a circuit diagram of the console motion control.

FIG. 52 is a block diagram of the product selection and delivery circuitry.

FIG. 53 is a block diagram of the console selector circuit.

FIG. 54 is a block diagram of the console button circuit.

FIG. 55 is a block diagram of the viewing circuit.

FIG. 56 is a schematic diagram of the coin release circuitry.

FIG. 57 is a schematic diagram illustrating the paper money release circuitry.

FIG. 58 is a block diagram of the currency reader and changer circuit.

FIG. 59 is a block diagram of the sold-out circuit.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now by reference characters to the drawings which illustrate the preferred embodiment of the present invention, A generally designates an automatic drive-in store comprising an elevated, enclosed warehouse 1, supported above ground by a plurality of horizontal spaced apart walls 2 which at their upper end are formed integrally with the floor 3 of said warehouse 1. The adjacent support walls 2 define between their respective confronting side faces 4, 5, a stall 6, being open to the front and rear for accommodating the entry and exit of an automobile 7. The side face 5 of each stall 6 is provided with an alcove 8 within which is housed an extensible console control unit C comprising a cabinet 9 having a top wall 10, a front wall 11, a backwall 12, and a pair of sidewalls 13, 13', said walls being suitably secured to an upper frame assembly 14 which, in turn, is movably mounted on a lower frame assembly 15. Hingedly mounted to the front wall 11 of console C is a plurality of selector panels B, each having on their front and rear faces 16, 16' a plurality of strips 17 arranged in side-by-side relationship in vertical rows 18, 18'; each strip 17 bearing indicia representing the name of designation of a retail item, as at 19, the weight of size of the item, as at 20 and the price of the item, as at 21 (FIGS. 39, 41). Positioned adjacent each strip 17 is a buy button 22, a cancel button 23 and a view button 24. The customer does his shopping by leafing through the selector panels B and pressing the buy button 22 adjacent the desired item strip 17. If the customer desires to see a picture of the item selected he engages view button 24, whereupon a picture of the item selected will be presented on the scanning screen 25 of a television 26 mounted on console cabinet 9.

Below product selector panels B on cabinet front wall 11 is a price display window 27 which displays the running total of the price of the items selected so that the customer knows how much he is spending during selection. Located above window 27 are a pair of slots 28, 28', the former being for receiving paper money currency into a currency reader 29 and the latter being a credit card scanner 30 for effecting payment of the items selected. Spacedly adjacent the slots 28, 28' is a change receiving drawer 31 which receives currency change from a currency changer D suitably mounted within the console C.

Suitably supported within warehouse 1 spacedly above floor 3 is a plurality of dispensor units F, including a box dispensor 32, a can ejector 33 and a bag dispensor 34, each dispensor unit F containing a particular retail item. The discharge end of each dispensor unit F is positioned overlyingly of related auxiliary conveyors 35 of a conveyor system E employed within warehouse 1 which system comprises a plurality of endless belts being driven by conventional drive means (not shown). The auxiliary conveyors 35 of system E are presented longitudinally within warehouse 1 in spaced apart relationship, the number of auxiliary conveyors 35 being determined by the quantity of dispensor unit rows. The discharge end of each auxiliary conveyor 35 communicates with related transversely disposed feeder conveyors 36, 36' which travel inwardly toward the center of warehouse 1 terminating above a main conveyor 37; there being at least two feeder conveyors 36, 36' for collecting items traveling on auxiliary conveyors 35 and delivering same to main conveyor 37. The main conveyor 37 is longitudinally disposed within warehouse 1 being suitably supported on floor 3 and being in a plane downwardly of auxiliary conveyors 35 and in parallel relationship therewith, the direction of travel being opposite that of auxiliary conveyors 35. Mounted adjacent main conveyor 37 and at longitudinally spaced apart locations are a plurality of slide chutes 38 each of which extends curvingly downwardly through an opening 39 in floor 3. The upper end of each slide chute 38 opens perpendicularly to main conveyor 37 so that items traveling therealong will not enter slide chute 38 during their normal course of travel. Pivotally mounted adjacent the slide chute upper end opening is a gate 40 which is adapted to swing across conveyor 37 for directing any items traveling thereupon into slide chute 38.

Pivotally connected to the lower end of slide chute 38 is a feeder chute 41, the other end of which is presented within a delivery chute 42, being rockably mounted on console top wall 10 as will be described hereinbelow. At discharge end of delivery chute 42 is provided a handle 43 which is grasped by the customer for pulling chute 42 downwardly adjacent the automobile window 7'.

DELIVERY CHUTE AND COUNTERBALANCE

Delivery chute 42 embodies a front portion 44 and a rear portion 45, the latter being of general U-shaped figuration having a bottom wall 46 and a pair of upwardly extending sidewalls 47, 47' which are coextensive with the length of bottom wall 46. Bottom wall 48 of front portion 44 is of trapezoidal shape, having side edges 49, 49' which converge forwardly and inwardly terminating into a front edge 50; said handle 43 depending from front edge 50.

Front portion 44 of chute 42 is provided with a pair of flaps 51, 51', each being of angle configuration having a vertical flange 52, 52', respectively, and a horizontal leg 53, 53', which latter is in planar parallel relationship with bottom wall 48. Each horizontal leg 53, 53' is pivotally mounted, as by bolt 54, 54', respectively, adjacent sidewalls 47, 47', there being a spacer 55 (FIG. 29) between the lower face of bottom wall 48 and the upper face of the related horizontal legs 53, 53' for preventing frictional engagement therebetween. Each leg 53, 53' is additionally supported adjacent front edge 50 by a bolt 56, 56' which is passed through a guide slot 57, 57' provided transversely within each horizontal leg 53, 53'. Thus, the extent of pivotal movement of each flap 51, 51' is limited by the length of its respective guide slot 57, 57'. It will be observed that the head portion of each bolt 54, 54' and 56, 56' is embedded within bottom wall 48 so as not to impede the flow of items within chute 42.

Mounted on the underside of each horizontal leg 53, 53' is a depending lug 58, 58' having an annular recess 59, 59' for receiving therearound the ends of a tension spring 60 which normally prejudices flaps 51 and 51' toward one another so that the vertical flange 52, 52' is in abutment against the respective side edge 49, 49' of bottom wall 48. Each horizontal leg 53, 53' is trimmed, as at 61, for effecting flush edgewise engagement between the forward portions of flaps 51, 51', as shown in FIG. 25. Flaps 51, 51' cooperate to effect a metering of items traveling within chute 42 so that all the items will not be dispensed simultaneously. However, in situations where an item is relatively large or where a jam occurs, flaps 51, 51' pivot about bolts 54, 54' against the action of spring 60 for permitting passage therethrough and unblocking therein.

Mounted on the underface of bottom wall 46 in chute rear portion 45 is a cylindrical boss 62 having a pair of braces 63, 63' connected to the sidewall thereof on one margin and to bottom wall 46 on the other. Formed within boss 62 is a socket s for receiving a dowel 64 which is formed integrally with the upper end of a stem 65 of a carriage 66. The lower end of stem 65 is fixed to a sleeve 67 being presented axially normal to stem 65 and adapted to freely receive a shaft 68, the ends of which extend outwardly of sleeve 67 for accommodating rollers 69, 69'.

Stem 65 of carriage 66 extends through an elongate slot located within top wall 10 of console C with said rollers 69, 69' engaging a plate 70 having side edges 71, 71' which are supported by a pair of inwardly opening, spaced apart angle members 72, 72', respectively; the ends of same being suitably fixed to the front and backwalls 11, 12 of cabinet 9. Thus, it can be seen that delivery chute 42 may be moved forwardly relative to console C on rollers 69, 69' and pivoted downwardly about shaft 68 for presenting chute 42 at an angle to the horizontal, with the front edge 50 being presented adjacent automobile window 7'.

Connected to the vertical flange 52, 52' of each flap 51, 51' is one end of a cable 73, 73' which extends upwardly and outwardly for entrainment around a pulley 74, 74', respectively, each being freely mounted for rotation on a pin 75, 75' having its ends journaled within a bracket 76', 76', respectively. Each of said brackets 76, 76' are connected to the upper end of an upright 77, 77', the lower end of each being mounted on top wall 10 substantially intermediate front and backwalls 11, 12 and adjacent the related sidewalls 13, 13' (FIGS. 31, 32). The other end of each cable 73, 73' is attached to a counterweight 78, 78' which is received within a cylindrical guide sleeve 79, 79', respectively, being suitably secured to sidewalls 13, 13'. The lower ends of each guide sleeve 79, 79' are capped, as at 80, 80', respectively, so that the respective counterweight 78, 78' will engage related cap 80, 80' when delivery chute 42 is in planar parallel relationship with top wall 10.

Mounted within boss 62 is an eyebolt 81 which extends toward backwall 12 for connection to one end of a cable 82 which latter is trained around a pulley 83 keyed or otherwise secured on a shaft 84. The ends of shaft 84 are journaled within sidewalls 85, 85' of a bracket 86, having flanges 87, 87' fixed to backwall 12. The lower end of cable 82 is attached to a counterweight 88 received within a guide sleeve 89 the lower end of the latter being mounted on a bracket 90 which is secured to backwall 12 spacedly downwardly from top wall 10. Thus, it can be seen that when delivery chute 42 is pulled forwardly and downwardly by a customer grasping handle 43, counterweights 78, 78' and 88 will be elevated within guide sleeves 79, 79' and 89, respectively, so upon release of delivery chute 42 the same will return to its original position through the downwardly movement of counterweights 78, 78' and 88.

SELECTOR PANELS

Each product selector panel B is of extruded construction and of general rectangular shape having a top wall 91, a bottom wall 92, a front wall 93, and a pair of parallel, spaced apart sidewalls 94, 94'; each of the latter being formed with a pair of windows 95, 95' which latter are separated by a center segment 96. Formed integrally with top wall 91, bottom wall 92 and front wall 93 is a center partition 97 extending through panel B for dividing same into equal lengthwise compartments 98, 98'.

Sidewall 94 in its rear portion is formed with an extension 99 to which is fixed one leaf 100 of a hinge 101, the other leaf 102 being secured to front wall 11 of cabinet 9 in the zone spacedly downwardly from top wall 10; each of said leaves 100, 102 having a series of spaced-apart sleeves, as at 103, for accommodating a pintle 104 therethrough in the customary fashion. Thus it can be seen that each of said panels B readily swings about its respective hinge 101 for presenting either sidewall 94, 94' for viewing by a customer. Disposed within each compartment 98, 98' is a sheet 105 which is constructed of transparent material, such as plastic, and retains said strips 17 within associated slots 106 located between sheet 105 and a backing plate 107. As above described, strips 17 are arranged in rows 18, 18' for viewing through windows 95, 95', each strip 17 having indicia thereon concerning a particular retail item. It will be understood that strips 17 may be readily withdrawn from their respective slots 106 when circumstances require such action, such as to change the price or add a new item.

Mounted on both faces of center partition 97 are conventional printed circuit boards 108, 108' having a number of conductors, as at 109. Adjacent each strip 17, sheet 105 is provided with a number of apertures as at 110 for receiving said buy button 22, cancel button 23, and view button 24 (FIG. 41), each button 22, 23 and 24 having an annular shoulder 111 which is normally biased into engagement with the inner face of sheet 105 by means of a spring 112 having one end bearing against circuit board 108, 108', respectively, and the other end bearing against the respective buttons 22, 23, 24; there being a socket 113 within each of the latter for receiving spring 112. Said backing plate 107 is provided with openings, as at 114, for passage of the respective buttons 22, 23, and 24 therethrough. Each button 22, 23, and 24 contains on its annular shoulder a pair of contacts 115, 115' which engage conductors 109 on the respective circuit board 108, 108' for circuit closing condition when the particular button 22, 23, 24 is pressed inwardly of sheet 105. The conductors 109 of each circuit board 108, 108' are connected to a lead 116 which is directed through an opening 117 in console front wall 11 for connection to circuitry to be described hereinbelow.

It will be understood that the items stored within dispensor units F are listed on the strips 17 of the respective panels B in such a manner that each item is categorized under the generic name thereof; e.g., peas under vegetables; apples under fruit; etc., so that a customer can easily complete his shopping by first selecting a panel B of the proper category and then pressing a buy button 22 of the desired item.

CONSOLE FRAME ASSEMBLY

For purposes of describing the console frame assembly as best seen in FIGS. 4-8, the terms "outwardly" and "inwardly" will denote directional movement into and away from the path of travel in stall 6 of structure A, and the terms "forwardly" and "rearwardly" will designate relative movement with respect to the exit and entry of stall 6. Said lower frame assembly 15 comprises a pair of outwardly opening, spaced apart longitudinal channel members 118, 118' and a pair of outwardly opening, spaced apart transverse channel members 119, 119', each end of the latter being suitably fixed, as by welding, to the web of the related longitudinal channels 118, 118', respectively (FIG. 8). Spacedly inwardly from and in parallel relationship to each transverse channel 119, 119' is mounted an inwardly opening channel member 120, 120', respectively, the ends of each being secured to the web of the related longitudinal channels 118, 118'. Interposed between the confronting web portions of each pair of transverse channels 119, 120 and 119' 120' is a set of wheels 121, 122 and 121', 122', respectively, each wheel being freely mounted on a shaft 133 having its ends fixed within the channel web portions at a location spacedly from the related longitudinal channel member 118, 118'. Said wheels 121, 122 and 121', 122' engage the surface of a platform 124 provided within alcove 8. Formed within platform 124 at a location substantially intermediate wheels 121 and 122 and 121' and 122' is an upwardly opening recess 125 for housing a hydraulic cylinder 126 having an extensible piston 127.

The piston remote end of cylinder 126 is pivotally connected, as by pin 128, to a pair of spaced apart angle brackets 129, 129' which are firmly secured to the rear wall 130 of recess 125 by anchor bolts 131, 131'. The outer end of piston 127 is pivotally connected by pin 132 to a pair of spaced apart angle brackets 133, 133' being secured, as by bolts 134, 134' to the web portion of longitudinal channel member 118. It will be observed that the cylinder 126 is pivotally mounted on rear wall 130 of recess 125 for causing a relative raising and lowering of cylinder 126 when piston 127 is extending and retracting (FIGS. 4 and 5).

Superimposed on the upper flange of each channel member 118, 118', 119, 119' is the horizontal leg of an angle member 135, 135', 136, 136', respectively; each of the latter being coextensive with the width and length of the former. Mounted on the vertical leg of each angle member 135, 135', 136, 136' and the flange edges of the respective channel members 118, 118', 119, 119' is a cover or skin 137 which extends around the perimeter of lower frame assembly 15 for enclosing same.

Said upper frame assembly 14 comprises a pair of inwardly opening, spaced apart, longitudinal angle members 138, 138' and a pair of inwardly opening, spaced apart, transverse angle members 139, 139', which angle members are located in the same plane as the bottom portion of cabinet 9 with the vertical legs of each angle member 138, 138', 139, 139' being fixed to the inner face of the related cabinet walls 11, 12, 13, 13', respectively. The horizontal flange of each transverse angle member 139, 139' is notched as at 140, 140', respectively, adjacent its ends, so that the end edges of each horizontal leg of transverse angles 139, 139' are in flush engagement with the related edge of longitudinal angles 138, 138'.

Mounted on the underface of each longitudinal angle member 138, 138', spacedly inwardly from its ends, are a pair of spaced apart mounting channels 141, 142 and 141', 142', respectively. Each of said mounting channels 141, 142, and 141', 142' incorporate a pair of downwardly depending flanges 143, 143' (FIG. 4) within which is fixed the ends of a shaft 144 having freely mounted thereon wheels 145, 146 and 145', 146' for engaging the upper face of horizontal leg of angle members 135, 135', respectively. It will be observed that the upper frame assembly 14 is movably mounted on the lower frame assembly 15 for movement forwardly and rearwardly or in a direction normal to the movement of lower frame assembly 15. The horizontal legs of angle members 135, 135' serve as rails for the respective wheels 145, 146, 145', 146' of the upper frame assembly 14.

Spaced from and parallel to each transverse angle member 139, 139' there is provided a pair of outwardly opening, spaced apart angles 147, 147'. The horizontal leg of each angle 147, 147' is notched, as at 148, 148', at their respective end portions for effecting flush edgewise engagement with a related edge of said longitudinal angle members 138, 138', respectively; the vertical leg of each angle 147, 147' being secured to the horizontal leg of each longitudinal angle member 138, 138' in the region of the related notches 148, 148' for effecting positive securement to upper frame assembly 14. Mounted eccentrically on the horizontal leg of each angle 147, 147' is the upper flange of a channel bracket 149, 149', respectively, the lower flange of each channel bracket 149, 149' having a pin 150, 150' respectively passing therethrough for connection to the outer end of piston 151, 151' of a hydraulic cylinder 152, 152', respectively. The piston remote end of each cylinder 152, 152' is pivotally connected by pin 153, 153', respectively, to a channel bracket 154, 154', respectively, the web portion of each bracket 154, 154' being secured to the vertical leg of transverse angle members 136, 136' of said lower frame assembly 15 (FIGS. 6 and 7). It will be noted that hydraulic cylinders 152, 152' are substantially axially parallel to platform 124 for achieving maximum thrust when pistons 151, 151' are activated.

Said upper frame assembly 14 additionally comprises in its upper portion (FIGS. 31-33) a pair of inwardly opening, spaced apart, longitudinal angle members 155, 155', and a pair of inwardly opening, spaced apart transverse angle members 156, 156', said angle members 155, 155', 156, 156' being in vertical alignment with angle members 138, 138', 139, 139', respectively. The horizontal leg of each angle member, 155, 155', 156, 156' is secured to the top wall 10 of cabinet 9. For additional support, each corner of cabinet 9 is provided with front and rear vertically disposed uprights 157, 157', 158, 158', respectively, the ends of which terminate proximate the related angle members 138, 138', 139, 139' and 155, 155', 156, 156'.

When upper frame assembly 14 is in its customary position on lower frame assembly 15, the pistons 151, 151' of cylinders 152, 152', respectively, are in substantially half-extended position (FIG. 6). Upon cylinders 152, 152' being activated by conventional hydraulic means the upper frame assembly 14 will be moved forwardly or rearwardly, depending upon the desired directional movement, one piston 151 will be extended while the other piston 151' will be retracted for causing wheels 145, 145', 146, 146' to move along the track forming angle members 135, 135' of the lower frame assembly 15.

CURRENCY CHANGER

Spacedly downwardly from top wall 10 of cabinet 9, the front uprights 157, 157' are notched, as at 159, 159', respectively, in each of the sidewall adjacent legs defining in its lower portion a shoulder 160, 160', respectively, upon which is mounted the respective ends of an angle 161. Horizontally aligned with angle 161 and in parallel relationship thereto is a corresponding angle 161' which is secured to the leg of each rear upright 158, 158'. Said angle members 161, 161' are inwardly opening for slideably receiving the longitudinal bars 162, 162', respectively, of a generally rectangular mounting frame 163; there being a pair of transverse end bars 164, 164' fixed at their ends to the related ends of the longitudinal bars 162, 162' for lateral support (FIGS. 43, 45).

Mounting frame 163 also incorporates a centrally located transverse bar 165 and a plurality of transverse beams 166, 167 and 168 located intermediate transverse bars 164, and 165; and beams 166', 167', 168' located intermediate transverse bars 165 and 164'. Said frame 163 is employed to support the currency changer D within console cabinet 9. It will be observed that mounting frame 163 is axially offset within cabinet 9 being spacedly closer to front wall 11 than backwall 12.

Said currency changer D essentially comprises a plurality of freely mounted spools 169 arranged in sets of three adjacent the transverse end portions of mounting frame 163, each spool 169 having wound therearound a roll 170 of sheet material having pockets 171 formed therein for housing paper bill units u. The outer end of each roll 170 is directed into the leading slot 172 of a roll advancing guide structure, generally designated 173, incorporating an upper drive roller 174 and a lower idler roller 175 which grip roll 170 through an opening 176 within guide structure 173 for advancing roll 170 through a trailing guide slot 177 into a cutting and receiving section 178.

Additionally, coin changer D embodies a plurality of coin tubes, collectively designated 179, which are inserted at their lower end within an opening 180 in a mounting block 181 positioned on said central transverse bar 165. Coin tubes 179 are of varying diameter for accommodating coins of different denomination. Each of spools 169 is mounted on a shaft 182 the ends of which are journaled within pillow blocks 183 supported upwardly of frame 163 on uprights 184 appropriately secured to beams 166, 166', respectively. Each roll 170 of spool 169 is formed from a pair of preferably translucent, relatively thin-walled sheets 185, 185' (FIG. 48) of polyethylene material which sheets 185, 185' are sealed along their longitudinal side margins as at 186, 186' and are sealed at transversely spaced apart locations as at 187 for developing said pockets 171. Each roll 170 has provided in its respective pockets 171 said dollar bill units u. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, six bill units u are utilized in the rolls 170 of each spool 169. For example, the present bill units u consist of the following: one-- 10 dollar bill; one-- five dollar bill; four-- one dollar bills; three-- one dollar bills; two-- one dollar bills; and one-- one dollar bill.

Said roll advancing guide structure 173 comprises a pair of formed plates 188, 189 each having a horizontal flange 190 which is mounted on the longitudinal bars 162, 162' of frame 163 so that plates 188, 189 are in vertically presented, parallel relationship. Each plate 188, 189 is of identical construction having an irregular upper margin with appropriate flanges extending therefrom to which is mounted conventional framework, generally designated 191. The framework 191 and plates 188, 189 of guide structure 173 may be of unitary construction or may be comprised of individual components, the particular construction of which does not form a part of the present invention and, therefore, need not be described in detail since the main objective of guide structure 173 is to form said leading and trailing guide slots 172, 177, respectively, and to support other structural components peculiar to the currency changer D.

Mounted on the inner face of plate 189 is a bracket 192 for supporting a motor 193 which is operatively connected to a gear box 194 having suitable bearings (not shown) for the ends of shafts 195, 196, the other ends of which are journaled within suitable bearings, as at 197, 197', provided on plate 188. Each lower idler roller 175 is keyed on shaft 196 underlyingly of upper drive rollers 174 provided on shaft 195. Interposed between drive shaft 195 and each drive roller 174 is a roller bearing 198 of conventional construction having an inner race 199 keyed to drive shaft 195, and an outer race 200 secured to the drive roller 174 so that under normal conditions when drive shaft 195 is rotating, drive roller 174 is nonrotating.

Mounted on drive shaft 195 immediately adjacent the respective drive rollers 174 is a brake and clutch mechanism 201 of conventional construction comprising a drive portion 202 and a driven portion 203; said drive portion being keyed to drive shaft 195 and the driven portion being operatively engaged to drive roller 174. In operation, the driven portion 203 is normally disengaged from the drive portion 202 so that when drive shaft 195 is rotating the drive roller 174 is nonrotating. However, upon energization of brake and clutch mechanism 201, through circuitry to be described, the drive and driven portions 202, 203, respectively, will engage for accordingly effecting rotation of drive roller 174 for advancing roll 170 through trailing guide slot 177. To assure against slippage each drive roller 174 is provided with a pair of flanges 204, 204' having serrations 205 thereon for biting into roll 170 adjacent the longitudinal sealed edges 186, 186', respectively. It will be observed that the portion of drive roller 174 between flanges 204, 204' is of less diameter for accommodating passage of the pockets 171 containing the bill units u, while flanges 204, 204' of drive roller 174 are in positive engagement with the lower idler roller 175 for tightly sandwiching roll 170 therebetween.

Mounted to framework 191 adjacent each roll 170 in the region of leading guide slot 172 is a lamp 206 which cooperates with a corresponding photoelectric cell 207, the former being disposed overlyingly of roll 170 for directing a light beam therethrough and the latter being disposed underlyingly of said roll. The lamp 206 and photoelectric cell 207 is normally closed and is opened upon the bill unit u interrupting the light beam, as will be described hereinbelow. Said structure assures that only one pocket 171 containing the bill unit u will be advanced at a time. Moreover, an auxiliary lamp 206' and photoelectric cell 207 may be provided for precautionary reasons in the event that lamp 206 and photoelectric cell 207' fail.

If desired, an idler roller 208 may be provided for engaging the outer periphery of each roll 170 for maintaining same in tightly wound condition on spool 169; said roller 208 being supported by suitable linkage 209 connected to framework 191 in a conventional manner.

Provided within said cutting and receiving section 178 is a knife blade 210, 210', respectively, each blade being pivotally mounted, as by pin 211, 211', respectively, on framework 191 proximate plate 189. The other end of each knife blade 210, 210' is provided with a protuberance 212 around which is wrapped the hook 213 formed on the outer end of an armature 214 of a solenoid 215. The solenoid 215 is mounted at its lower end on a bracket 216 which in turn is secured on beam 168. As will be described in the operation, each knife blade 210, 210' normally occludes trailing guide slot 177 and is elevated upon energization of solenoid 215 for clearance of slot 177 and dropped by gravity upon deenergization of solenoid 215 for severing a bill unit u from roll 170. Each bill unit u severed from roll 170 will be passed through a chute 217 into said drawer 31.

Referring to FIGS. 43 and 49, it will be observed that eleven coin tubes 179 are provided, each having a diameter which is slightly greater than the coin denomination inserted therein. In particular, there are five-- one cent tubes, 218, 219, 220, 221, and 222; three-- 25 cent tubes, 223, 224, and 225; one-- five cent tube 226; and two-- 10 cent tubes 227, 228. Each of said tubes 179 are open to the top for providing access thereto. Provided within mounting block 181 at the lower end of each opening 180 therein, are a plurality of slots, collectively designated 229, each of which extends transversely through block 181 and being of the same height as the coins stacked in the related tube 179. Each slot 229 is adapted to receive the finger element 230 of a plurality of plungers, designated 231; each finger element 230 being slightly less in dimension that the related slot 229 for engaging the edge of the lower most coin in the respective tube 179 for dispensing purposes. Each plunger 231 is connected at its finger element remote end to the arm 232 of a solenoid 233 which is secured to beam 167, 167', respectively, as by bolts 234. Provided on beams 168, 168', respectively, is a guide member 235 having a plurality of slots 236 which are in horizontal alignment with slots 229 of the related tubes 179. Said slots 236 receive the respective finger elements 230 for assuring stability of plungers 231 in the proper dispensing of coins from tubes 179.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention ten plungers 231 (FIG. 49) are provided which plungers 231 are adapted to dispense or punch out a predetermined number of coins with the same denomination. For example, plunger 237 incorporates four finger elements 230 which upon energization of its related solenoid 215 projects finger elements 230 within slots 229 for dispensing four-one cent coins. Similarly, finger elements 230 of plunger 238 are adapted to dispense three-- one cent coins; plunger 239, two-- one cent coins; plunger 240, one-- one cent coin; plunger 241, three-- 25 cent coins; plunger 242, one-- 25 cent coin; plunger 243, two 25 cent coins; plunger 244, one-- five cent coin; and plungers 245 and 246, two and one 10 cent coins, respectively. Thus through energization of selected solenoids 215, through circuitry to be described, the related finger elements 230 of plungers 231 will punch out the requisite number of coins for any change amount from one cent to 99 cents.

Sidewalls 13, 13' of cabinet 9 are provided with removable panels 247, 247', respectively, for providing access to the currency changer D. The latter may be slideably retracted by pulling frame 163 along angles 161, 161' for replacing expended spools 169 with new spools and additionally for filling the respective coin tube 179.

DISPENSOR UNITS

FIGS. 9-24 illustrate particular dispensor units F, namely, a box dispensor 32 (FIGS. 22-24), a can ejector 33, (FIGS. 16-21), and a bag dispensor 34 (FIGS. 9-15), each of which contain one of a myriad of various retail items listed on selector panels B. In general, dispensor units F are suitably supported within warehouse 1 in a series of spaced apart longitudinal rows with their discharge ends being positioned overlyingly of an auxiliary conveyor 35, as above described.

Bag dispensor 34 generally comprises an endless track 248 incorporating upper and lower, vertically aligned, cooperating rails 249, 250, respectively, supported within warehouse 1 by a conventional structural component, (not shown). Interposed between rails 249, 250 is a plurality of articulated trolleys 251, each comprising a body 252 of relatively flat plate construction, having an angle member 253 mounted adjacent its upper portion, one leg 254 extending laterally inwardly of body 252 and the other leg 255 extending forwardly in parallel relationship with body 252; there being a pin 256 extending through body 252 and leg 255 for rotatably mounting a roller 257 which is received within upper rail 249. Mounted on the lower portion of body 252 are a pair of brackets 258, 258', being similar in construction as angle member 253 for cooperating with body 252 to support the pins 259, 259' of freely mounted rollers 260, 260' which ride within lower rail 250. Mounted on the front face of each body 252 substantially intermediate rails 249, 250, are a pair of spaced apart lugs 261, 261', each having an aperture 262, 262', respectively, for receiving the ends of the pin 263. Freely mounted on pin 263 is a sleeve 264 of a carrier arm 265 having a stem 266 extending axially normal to sleeve 264. The stem 266 of each carrier arm 265 is adapted to ride on a guide bar 267 which is mounted within warehouse 1 in spaced, parallel relationship with track 248. Abutting against the lower end portion of guide bar 267, is a detent 268 which is secured to the outer end of an armature 269 of a solenoid 270; said detent 268 being normally biased into abutting relationship with the lower end portion of guide bar 267 for retaining the lowermost carrier arm 265' on said guide bar 267. Solenoid 270 is mounted, as by U-bolts 271, 271' to an upright 272, which in turn is supported on a structural member 273 within warehouse 1.

Bag dispensor 34 is adapted to store and deliver package products which otherwise could not be stored within a gravity-fed bin; such products comprising produce, meats, or the like usually contained within a bag 274 of the type having a grommet 275 located in its upper portion. The grommet 275 of bag 274 is received over the stem 266 of each carrier arm 265 (FIG. 10). Thus, it can be seen that each carrier arm 265 will support bag 274 as long as the outer end of stem 266 is in engagement with guide bar 267. Upon energization of solenoid 270, detent 268 is temporarily withdrawn from engagement with the lower end portion of guide bar 267 for permitting the stem 266 of the lowermost carrier arm 265' to fall upon rotative movement of sleeve 264 about pin 263 thereby causing bag 274 to slide off stem 266 for delivery to the related auxiliary conveyor 35. Upon deenergization of solenoid 270, detent 268 will return into abutting engagement with the lower end portion of guide bar 267 for retaining the immediately adjacent stem 266 of the related trolley 251, which is motivated by gravity within upper and lower rails 249, 250. It will be observed that the lowermost carrier arm 265' is positioned on detent 268 so that when the latter is retracted the said lowermost carrier arm 265' will fall immediately so that the detent 268 may be returned relatively quickly to assure that the immediately adjacent carrier arm 265 will not accidentally slide off guide bar 267.

Can ejector 33 is adapted to dispense cans, as at 276, stored within a rack 277 of channel construction, having a bottom wall 278 and a pair of upstanding sidewalls 279, 279'; said cans 276 being positioned in axially parallel relationship with their end portions being adjacent the inner faces of said sidewalls 279, 279'. Rack 277 is mounted on an inclined T-beam 280 which in turn is suitably supported by conventional structural components (not shown).

Provided for engagement with the lowermost can 276' is a yoke 281 of extruded construction having opposed, spaced apart, rounded can engaging edges 282, 282' with an intervening arcuate portion 283 formed on a radius being substantially the same as that of cans 276. Integrally formed with said arcuate portion 283 is an extension 284 which is pivotally mounted on pin 285 spacedly upwardly of arcuate portion 283; said pin 285 being journaled within pillow blocks 286, 286' which are secured, as by bolts 287, 287' to the horizontal flange 288, 288', respectively, of a pair of outwardly opening, spaced apart angles 289, 289', respectively. The respective ends of each angle 289, 289' are mounted to cross beams 290, 290', respectively, which, in turn, are suitably supported within warehouse 1 by conventional structural components. Extension 284 projects upwardly between angles 289, 289' with its upper end being notched, as at 291, developing spaced apart bearings 292, 292' through which extends a pin 293 for pivotally connecting one end 294 of a connector rod 295 to said extension 284. The other end 296 of rod 295 is connected by pin 297 to a clevis 298 to which is fixed an armature 299 of a solenoid 300; armature 299 being normally urged outwardly of solenoid 300 by a compression spring 301 disposed surroundingly of armature 299. Solenoid 300 is mounted on a block 302 positioned on a horizontally disposed plate 303, which latter is secured to said angles 289, 289'. Thus, solenoid 300 is maintained in position on block 302 by a pair of U-bolts 304, 304' which straddle solenoid 300 and extend downwardly where the ends of same are secured to plate 303.

In operation, can engaging edge 282 normally engages said lowermost can 276', as shown in FIG. 16. When solenoid 300 is energized, armature 299 and, thus, connector rod 295, will be retracted for effecting pivotal movement of yoke 281 about pin 285. During said movement, can engaging edge 282 will be released from engagement with lowermost can 276' and can engaging edge 282' will forcibly engage the lowermost can 276' for pushing same outwardly of rack 277 and onto the related auxiliary conveyor 35. The remaining cans 276 within rack 277 will move downwardly by gravity but are retained within rack 277 by said can engaging edge 282', as shown in FIG. 21. Upon solenoid 300 being deenergized yoke 281 will be returningly pivoted about pin 285 so that can engaging edge 282 will contact the immediately adjacent can 276 for completing the cycle of can ejector 33. It will be observed that the novel can ejector 33 of the present invention assures that only the lowermost can 276 will be ejected from rack 277.

Box dispensor 32 comprises a gravity chute 305 having a bottom wall 306, upstanding sidewalls 307, 307' and an end wall 308; said sidewalls 307, 307' terminating spacedly from end wall 308 for defining transverse passages 309, 309' respectively, in the related sidewall 307, 307'. Gravity chute 305 is supported within warehouse 1 by uprights, as at 310. Presented within gravity chute 305 are a multiplicity of boxes 311, such as of the type containing cereal, cookies, and other like commodities, with the lowermost box 311' being in engagement with the end wall 308 and in alignment with passages 309, 309'.

Mounted to the under face of bottom wall 306 is an end portion of an outwardly extending plate 312, the other end portion of which is supported by an upright 313. Mounted on plate 312 spacedly from gravity chute 305 is a bracket 314 to which is secured a solenoid 315, as by U-bolts 316, 316'. Solenoid 315 incorporates an armature 317, the outer end of which is fixed to a pusher plate 318 which is of general rectangular configuration, being slightly less in width and length than the corresponding dimensions of the lowermost box 311' to be dispensed. Pusher plate 318 is adapted to extend within passage 309 in sidewall 307 for engaging the lowermost box 311' and, when solenoid 315 is energized, to push lowermost box 311' outwardly of passage 309' in wall 307'. Each box 311 which is dispensed through passage 309' falls on a slide 319 appropriately supported by upright 310 for directing the dispensed box 311 onto the related auxiliary conveyor 35. It will be observed that during the dispensing operation, pusher plate 318 will engage the immediately adjacent box 311 for retaining same within chute 305 so that only one box 311 will be dispensed at a time.

CIRCUITRY FOR CONSOLE OPERATION

The circuitry for the movement of console C is shown in FIG. 51 wherein P designates a source of power, such as the conventional 110 voltage, supplied to each console C through a hotline h which is connected at junction 320 to a lead 321 connected to a lamp 322 for illuminating same; said lamp being located within the respective wall 4 of each stall 6. Said lamp 322 projects a beam of light transversely of each stall 6 to a photoelectric cell 323 for effecting a normally closed circuit, opened through the interruption of the light beam upon entry of an automobile 7 within the respective parking stall 6. Photoelectric cell 323 is connected to an amplifier 324 which is in circuit with a relay 325 being energized upon interruption of the light beam. Provided adjacent relay 325 are a pair of normally opened switch arms 326, 327, the latter being connected through a lead 328 to a contact 329 for effecting, as will be seen hereinbelow, a "sealing-in" circuit. Switch arm 326 is connected by a lead 330 to a contact 331 of a normally closed switch 332, the other side being connected by a lead 333 to contact 334 of a double-pole limit switch 335. Limit switch 335 is mounted on the front wall 11 of console C and the switch arm 336 of which is normally urged through a spring bias into engagement with contact 334. Switch arm 336 is connected by lead 337 to hotline h for supplying current to switch 326 through lead 333, switch 332, and lead 330.

When relay 325 is energized through interruption of the light beam, switch arms 326 and 327 engage contacts 338, 339, respectively; the latter being connected by lead 340 to lead 321 for supplying current through switch 327 to contact 329. Contact 338 is connected by lead 341 to a relay 342 which is energized upon closing switch 326. Provided adjacent relay 342 is a normally closed switch 343 and a pair of normally open switches 344, 345; the latter switches 344, 345 engage contacts 346, 347 which are connected by lead 348 to hotline h. The other side of switch 344 is connected by lead 349 to a motor starter coil 350 which energizes the motor (not shown) for the hydraulic pump (not shown). The other side of switch 345 is connected by lead 351 to a solenoid valve 352 for directing hydraulic fluid to the hydraulic cylinder 126 for projecting console C outwardly into parking stall 6. Console C will stop upon the switch arm 336 of two-pole limit switch 355 engaging automobile 7, whereupon switch arm 336 will be urged into engagement with contact 353. Relay 342 is deenergized when switch arm 336 is disengaged with contact 334 whereby switches 344 and 345 will be opened for deenergizing coil 350 and solenoid valve 352, respectively.

At this juncture, the consumer may desire to adjust console C laterally with respect to the automobile window 7'. This can be accomplished by selectively engaging a normally open toggle switch 354 which is located on console front wall 11. Toggle switch 354 is connected to hotline h and is adapted to engage contacts 355 and 356. Contact 355 is connected through lead 357 to a relay 358 which is energized upon toggle switch 354 engaging contact 355. Provided adjacent relay 358 is a normally closed switch 359 and a pair of normally open switches 360, 361; the latter switches 360, 361 close upon energization of relay 358 engaging contacts 362, 363 which are connected by lead 364 to hotline h. The other side of switches 360, 361 are respectively connected to coil 350 through leads 365 and 349, and to solenoid valve 366 through lead 367. Hydraulic fluid is directed through solenoid valve 366 to the hydraulic cylinder 152' for projecting console C rearwardly within stall 6 until toggle switch 354 is disengaged from contact 355, whereupon relay 358 will be deenergized for opening switches 360 and 361 thereby deenergizing solenoid valve 356 and coil 350.

When toggle switch 354 is engaged with contact 356 current is supplied through lead 368 for energizing a relay 369 for opening a normally closed switch 370 and closing a pair of normally open switches 371, 372, respectively. Switches 371, 372 engage contacts 373, 374 which are connected to hotline h for supplying current to coil 350, through switch 371, leads 375 and 349 and to solenoid valve 376, through switch 372 and lead 377. Upon energization of solenoid valve 376, hydraulic fluid is directed to hydraulic cylinder 152 for projecting console C forwardly within parking stall 6 until toggle switch 354 is disengaged with contact 356 thereby effecting deenergization of relay 369, coil 350 and solenoid valve 376.

After console C has been adjusted laterally relative to the automobile window 7', the consumer may commence to select retail items by pushing the respective buy buttons 22 located on selector panels B. It will be observed that when console C is in outwardly projected position, switch arm 336 of limit switch 335 will be engaged with contact 353 for supplying current through lead 378, switches 370, 359, 379, and 343 to a selector panel enable circuit H (FIG. 52) which includes a relay 380 and a pair of normally open switches 381, 382, which latter are closed upon energization of relay 380. The latter switches 381, 382 must be closed before a consumer may commence selection of retail items. It will be observed that one of the switches 343, 379, 359 and 370 will be necessarily open upon movement of console C and will be closed upon stoppage. Thus, the circuit through lead 378 to relay 380 is a safety circuit to assure that no selections can be effected during any console movement.

The circuitry for selecting the various retail items listed on selector panels B will be described in detail hereinbelow.

Connected to hotline h through lead 383 is a pair of contacts 384, 385 for normally opened currency switch 386 and credit card switch 387, respectively; said switches 386, 387 being incorporated within the currency reader and changer circuit J (FIG. 58). When payment for the selected retail items has been made and the correct change returned, which procedures will be presently discussed, either the currency switch 386 or the credit card switch 387 will be engaged with its respective contact 384, 385 for supplying current through conductor 388 to a branch lead 389, one end of which is connected to a contact 390 and the other end to a contact 391. Contact 391 is normally engaged by a switch arm 392 which is connected by lead 393 to a relay 394. Provided within the field of relay 394 are a pair of normally open switches 395, 396, each of which is connected to hotline h through leads 397, 398, respectively. Said switches 395, 396 engage contacts 399 and 390, respectively, upon energization of relay 394. The closing of switch 396 effects the "sealing-in" of relay 394 through the circuit developed by lead 398, switch 396, lead 389, switch 392 and lead 393. Said relay 394 will remain energized until switch 392 is opened, as will be seen hereinbelow. The closing of switch 395 supplies current from hotline h through leads 397 and 400 for energizing relay 401. Provided adjacent relay 401 are normally open switches 402, 403 and 404, and normally closed switches 332 and 379. Switch arm 402 engages contact 329 upon energization of relay 401 for "sealing-in" of said relay 401 through a circuit comprising leads 321, 340, switch 327, lead 328, switch 402 and lead 405. Said relay 401 will remain energized until the opening of switch 327 when relay 325 is deenergized upon reestablishment of the light beam.

Upon energization of relay 401, switches 403 and 404 engage contacts 406, 407, respectively, which are connected through lead 408 to hotline h for supplying current to coil 350 through lead 409, normally closed limit switch 410, leads 411 and 349, and to solenoid valve 412 through lead 413, respectively. Said solenoid valve 412 directs hydraulic fluid to the main hydraulic cylinder 126 for retracting console C inwardly within alcove 8 until limit switch 410, which is mounted on console backwall 12, is urged into open position for deenergizing coil 350. Console C will remain in retracted position because solenoid valve 412 will remain energized until relay 401 is deenergized upon reestablishment of the light beam transmitted across parking stall 6. Additionally, it will be observed that when console C commences to retract inwardly within alcove 8, switch arm 336 of limit switch 335 will disengage contact 353 and reengage contact 334. In the former, the circuit is broken through lead 378 to selector panel enable circuit H thereby preventing the consumer from making any further selections. In the latter, current will be supplied from hotline h through lead 337, switch 336, lead 333, switch 332, which latter is now in engagement with contact 414, and lead 415 for energizing the relay 416. Provided within the field of relay 416 is a normally open switch 417 and the said normally closed switch 392. One side of switch 417 is connected through lead 418 to a product release circuit G and the other side is connected through lead 419 to the product release circuit G. Upon energization of relay 416, switch 392 will be opened for deenergizing relay 394, and switch 417 will be closed whereby the retail item selected may be released from the respective dispensor units F as will be described hereinbelow. The product release circuit G assures that none of the retail items will be released until payment has been made and the console C has been retracted.

After the consumer has received the selected retail items and has driven from parking stall 6, the light beam will be reestablished for deenergizing relay 325 thereby opening switch 327 for deenergizing relay 401 and solenoid valve 412. At this juncture, the cycle has been completed and is ready for the entry of another automobile 7 into parking stall 6.

SELECTOR PANEL CIRCUITRY

The consumer in each parking stall 6 selects the desired retail items by pushing the respective buy button 22 on the product selector panels B. Since the circuitry for each buy button 22 is identical, only one circuit will be described. Each buy button 22 engages the respective conductors 109 located on printed circuit board 108 as above described for effecting circuit closed condition. Conductor 109 is in circuit by high-level voltage leads 420, 420' to a direct current power supply 421 of the type generating a high-level voltage and a low-level voltage. Said conductor 109 is in circuit with a signal converter 422, such as the type commonly used in a diode clamping circuit, which reduces the high-level voltage from power source 421. Upon closing of buy button 22, current is supplied through leads 420, 420' and through conductor 423, at a reduced voltage, to an encoder 424, which is an integrated circuit read-only memory (ROM) device, such as a MOTOROLA CX-170, suitably attached to the printed circuit board 108 of each respective retail buy strip 17 on the selector panels B. Each encoder is connected through leads 425, 425' to the low-level voltage conductors 426, 426' of the power supply 421. Additionally, each encoder is in circuit through leads 427, 428 to a clock or pulse generator 429 of conventional type being adapted to transmit pulses through leads 428 and 427 to the respective encoder 424. Each encoder 424 transmits, responsive to the clock pulses, three data units or words; each word comprising eight binary digits or bits. Three clock pulses are necessary in order for the encoder 424 to transmit the words. The first word is transmitted through a memory or isolation buffer 430 having eight output buffers representing each digit of the word being sent therethrough. The first word comprises a two-bit digit address which is resubmitted through leads 431, 432 to encoder 424 causing the output of a second word responsive to a clock pulse to the memory buffer 430; the second word having a two-bit digit address which again is resubmitted to the encoder through leads 431 and 432 for causing a third word output responsive to the clock pulse. The three words from buffer 430 are directed to a code discriminator 433 which is located within each respective console C.

Said code discriminator 433 incorporates an input filter comprised of a plurality of gates and flip-flops (not shown) which are arranged, as is well known in the art, to separate each of the three words being transmitted therethrough to a price code register 434, a product group register 435 and a product item register 436. Each of said registers 434, 435 and 436 receives one word in accordance with a predetermined two-bit digit address, for example, the first two-bit digit address of each word may be utilized so that binary "01" would be received only by the price code register 434, binary "10" to the product group code register 435 and binary "11" to the product item code register 436. Each word within its respective registers is delivered to a console memory bank 437 which may be comprised of magnetic tape or the like for storing the coded words for the price, product group, and product item for each of the retail items selected by the consumer.

The price code register 434 is also in circuit with a price arithmetic unit 438, such as the type having two half adders for each digit with gates arranged in a conventional manner. The words received by the price arithmetic unit 438 are directed to a segment decoder 439, such as of the BCD 7 type, which decodes the word received by it for driving segment drivers 440 of a seven segment display unit 441 which maintains a running total of the price of the selected retail items. The segment display unit 441 is positioned adjacent console front wall 11 so that the consumer may readily see the total price of the retail items selected through the price display window 27.

CANCEL CIRCUITRY (FIG. 54)

If after the consumer presses a buy button 22, he changes his mind about the particular retail item that he just selected, he may engage a cancel button 23 which erases the code from the console memory bank 437 and subtracts the price of the item from the arithmetic unit 438. Since each buy button 22 incorporates a cancel button 23 in circuit therewith, only one cancel button circuit will be described.

Each cancel button 23 engages contacts 442, 442' which are connected by leads 420, 420' to the power source 421. Contact 422' is in circuit with a signal convertor 443 which reduces the high-level voltage from power source 421. Upon the closing of cancel button 23, current is supplied through conductor 444 at a reduced voltage to a cancel setup switching box 445 which is conveniently attached to the printed circuit board 108 of each respective retail item strip 17 on the selector panels B. Cancel setup switching box 445 is in circuit by lead 446 with the price arithmetic unit 438, and by lead 447 to the console memory bank 437. Said cancel setup switching box 445 is connected by conductor 448 to lead 423 which latter connects the converter 422 to the respective encoder 424. Additionally, the cancel setup switching box 445 is in circuit, as by lead 450, to the circuits of all other buy buttons, designated 22', of the selector panel B.

In operation, when the consumer presses buy button 22, a signal is transmitted through lead 423 to the encoder 424, as above described, and to the cancel setup switching box 445 through lead 449. If the consumer desires to erase the selection made by the buy button 22, he engages cancel button 23 which will effect erasing the code from the memory tape 437 through leads 447 and 446 and will substract the price of the selected item from the price arithmetic unit 438 through lead 446. If the consumer does not press cancel button 23, but engages a second buy button 22', a reset signal, designated 451, will be transmitted through lead 450 to the cancel setup switching box 445 after which cancel button 23 can no longer effect cancelling of the selection made by the buy button 22. Thus, it can be seen that once a second buy button 22' is engaged, the selection made by the first buy button 22 can no longer be cancelled through engaging cancel button 23.

VIEWING CIRCUITRY (FIG. 55)

If before pressing a buy button 22, the consumer wishes to view the product on the television scanning screen 25, he presses view button 24 located on product selector panel B adjacent the respective buy button 22. Since the circuitry for each view button 24 is the same, only one circuit will be described. Each view button engages contacts 452, 453 which are connected to the power source 421 through leads 420, 420'. Contact 453 is in circuit with a signal convertor 454 which reduces the high-level voltage from power source 421 when view button 24 is in closed condition. The signal is transmitted through the lead 455 to encoder 424 which in turn transmits two data units or words each consisting of eight binary digits or bits. The first word is transmitted through the memory or isolation buffer 430 having eight output buffers representing each digit of the word being sent therethrough. The first word comprises a two-bit digit address which is resubmitted through leads 431, 432 to encoder 424 causing the output of a second word to the memory buffer 430. The two words represent the product group code and the product item code; there being no price code transmitted to the code discriminator 433. Without a price code being transmitted to the code discriminator 433, the latter directs the respective codes to a product group code register 456 and product item code register 457 which are similar in construction as product group register 435 and product item code register 436. Additionally, a console code is emitted from code discriminator 433 through lead 458 to each of the registers 456, 457. Each register 456, 457 is connected by leads 459, 460, respectively, to a central video selector unit 461, which is conveniently located within warehouse 1 and is common to all consoles C of supermarket A. The product group code, product item code, and the console code are transmitted through leads 459, 460 and 462, respectively, to the central video selector unit 461 for decoding. The central video selector unit 461 is in circuit through lead 463 to each television 26 located within the respective parking stall 6 and is in circuit with a video camera 464 and a lamp 465 through appropriate leads 466, 467, respectively. Upon closure of view button 24 the video camera 464 and lamp 465 will be energized for transmitting a picture of the selected retail item onto scanning screen 25 of television 26. The central video selector unit 461 is in circuit with multiple video cameras 464 located within warehouse 1 proximate the dispensor units F. It will be understood that the central video selector unit 461 contains the conventional gates and flip-flops for effecting energization of a particular video camera 464 necessary to produce a picture of the selected item on the scanning screen 25. The picture on scanning screen 25 will remain until the view button 24 is released.

CURRENCY READER AND CHANGER CIRCUIT

After the consumer has finished selecting the desired retail items, the total price for said items will appear on the price display window 27 located on console front wall 11. It is then incumbent upon him to make payment by inserting paper money or a credit card within the respective slots 28, 28' to cover the said amount. Referring to FIG. 58, R designates a currency reader and receiver unit which has a dual purpose of reading the amount of paper money inserted therein as well as validating a credit card. In the event a credit card is used, unit R determines whether the card is valid and either rejects the card or accepts same, by closing credit card switch 387 (FIG. 51) which, in turn, as above described, closes the product release circuit G. When currency is used instead of a credit card, the currency reading of unit R is transmitted through lead 468 to a comparator 469, such as of the cascaded DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) No. K174 digital type, which is in circuit through leads 470 and 471 to said price arithmetic unit 438. Upon the currency reading being received by comparator 469, it is compared through lead 471 with the total price recorded in the price arithmetic unit 438. If the currency reading is less than the amount recorded in the price arithmetic unit 348, a signal is fed through lead 472 to unit R for indicating, through a conventional signal device, such as a bell or a lamp, that more currency is required. If the currency reading is greater than the amount recorded in the price arithmetic unit 438, a clearance signal is transmitted through lead 473 to unit R for indicating that payment has been made and thereby closing currency switch 386 (FIG. 51). Simultaneously with the clearance signal being sent to unit R, the currency reading is fed through lead 470 to the price arithmetic unit 438 wherein the price recorded is substracted from the currency reading and the remainder is transmitted, in a binary number form, through lead 474 to the change maker circuit 475.

The changer maker circuit 475 comprises a plurality of cascaded BCD counters 476, such as of the DEC-type K210, which receive the binary number signal from the price arithmetic unit 438 and direct the signal through lead 477 directly to a sequence of BCD decoders, such as of the DEC-type K161, 478. Additionally, depending upon the particular binary number signal, the latter is fed through lead 479 to a plurality of inverting gates 480, such as of the DEC-type K113, which are in circuit through lead 481 with the decoders 478. Said decoders 478 incorporate inhibitors (not shown) for permitting the decoders 478 to be connected in a chain of units, while at the same time assuring only one output per unit by inhibiting all but one unit. Thus, a single signal from the BCD decoder 478 is obtained for each change amount, which is routed through noninverting gates (not shown) to actuate solenoid drivers, such as of the DEC-type K683, indicated generally at 482, for each denomination of coin and paper money necessary to satisfy the exact change required. The BCD decoders 478 are in circuit through appropriate conductors to a coin release circuit 483 (FIG. 56) and to a currency release circuit 484 (FIG. 57). The coin release circuit (FIG. 56) incorporates a plurality of relays, indicated generally at 485, one side of each relay being connected to the respective solenoid driver 482 through suitable leads, the other side being connected by conductor 486 to a source of power 488. Provided within the field of each relay 485 is a switch 489 which is in circuit through lead 490 to said source of power 488. Upon energization of a relay 485 the related switch 489 will be engaged with a contact 491 for energizing the related solenoid 233 for extending the respective plungers 237-246 to punch out the necessary coin change.

The currency release circuit (FIG. 57) is employed when the amount of change requires paper money. Each of the solenoid drivers 482 for the particular paper money amount is in circuit, as by a lead 492 to a relay 493 having in its field a plurality of normally opened switches 494, 495, 496 and 497. Switch 494 is connected by lead 498 to a contact 499 located within photoelectric cell 207. Switch 495 is connected by lead 500 to the photoelectric cell 207. Switch 496 is connected through lead 501 to coils 502 and 503 of the clutch and brake mechanism 201. Switch 497 is connected by conductor 504 to the knife solenoid 215. Each of the switches 494, 495, 496 and 497 engage contacts 505, 506, 507, 508 upon energization of relay 493, all of which are connected to a source of power (not shown) through lead 509. Also connected to a power source (not shown) through lead 510 is lamp 206 which transmits a beam of light to said photoelectric cell 207 of a normally open circuit.

Upon energization of relay 493, switch 497 is closed thereby directing current through lead 504 to solenoid 215 for effecting elevation of said knife blade 210. When switch 496 is closed, it supplies current through lead 501 to energize coils 502, 503 of the clutch and brake mechanism 201 whereby a roll 170 of the sheet material containing the particular paper bill units u of requisite change will be advanced through rollers 174 and 175. When sheet 170 is advanced, the light beam between lamp 206 and photoelectric cell 207 is interrupted for closing a switch arm 511, which is in circuit through lead 512 to relay 493 for "sealing-in" said relay 493 until the light beam is reestablished, whereupon switch arm 511 will open and relay 493 will be deenergized. When relay 493 is deenergized, the switches 494, 495, 496 and 497 will be open thereby deenergizing coils 502, 503 of clutch and brake mechanism 201. Additionally, solenoid 215 is deenergized for permitting the knife blade 210 to fall by gravity for cutting said sheet roll 170 with the severed bill unit u passing through chute 217 into drawer 31.

PRODUCT RELEASE CIRCUITRY

The product release circuit G is connected through leads 420, 420' to the DC power supply 421 (FIG. 52) and when closed, as above described, transmits a signal through a signal convertor 513 to the console memory bank 437 through lead 514 and to a central input or processor unit 515 through lead 516. The central input or processor unit 515 is conveniently located within warehouse 1 and is common to all consoles C of supermarket A. Said central input unit 515 is in circuit through leads 517, 518 to the low level voltage leads 426, 426' and is also connected through lead 519 to lead 428 of clock 429. Clock pulses are transmitted through leads 428 and 519 through the central input processor unit 515 at predetermined intervals. Referring to FIG. 53 there is provided within central input unit 515 a plurality of AND gates, as at 520. One input side of each gate is connected by lead 521 to the clock lead 519 and the other input side of each gate 520 is connected to the lead 516. To assure that only one product list code from one console memory bank 437 will be transmitted at one time, the payment signal and the clock pulse must simultaneously enter a gate 520, which combination signal is transmitted through a lead 522 to an inverted input to AND-gate 523, which, in turn, sends a signal through lead 524 to the memory band 437. The memory bank 437 will then transmit the coded retail items through a lead 525 through central input unit 515 and to a decoder 526 through lead 527. The output of gate 520 will also be sent through lead 522a to OR-gates g, each associated with the remaining console circuits, the output of which OR-gate g is inverted and transmitted to the associated output gate 523' of the remaining console circuits, precluding a clearance signal to a second memory bank 437' so that only one memory bank 437 is being processed at one time. In addition to sending the clearance signal to memory bank 437, a signal is also transmitted through a lead 526a (FIG. 52) through an amplifier 527a to solenoid 528 for moving gate 40 across main conveyor 37 so that any retail items traveling therealong will be directed into slide chute 38.

Said decoder unit 526 is in circuit with clock 429 through lead 529. The decoder unit 526 is divided into a price decoder 530, a group decoder 531, and an item decoder 532; each decoder 530, 531, 532 is in circuit with a computer 533 through leads 534, 535, and 536, respectively. The computer 533 is provided for transmitting data to a sales ticket printer 537 through lead 538 which ticket printer 537 prints a receipt listing the price of the retail items shown in the customary manner. The computer 533 may contain a memory bank (not shown) for statistical use, inventory control, and the like. The group decoder 531 and the item decoder 532 are in circuit through leads 539, 540, respectively, to a product selector 541 which is connected to the low-level voltage of power supply 421 through leads 542, 543. Said product selector 541 receives the input of the group decoder 531 and the unit decoder 532 for transmitting a group signal and an item signal to a product release driver 544 which, in turn, directs said signals through its power amplifier 545 to the respective solenoid operated relay mechanisms, indicated generally at 546. Solenoid mechanism 546 is representative of the solenoids mounted on the product dispensor units F for effecting release of the selected retail item, whether it be a can, package, or a box, as above described, onto the conveyor system E. All retail items dispensed from the respective dispensor units F will engage gate 40 for delivery to the automobile 7 through chutes 38, 41 and 42, as above described.

SOLD OUT CIRCUITRY (FIG. 59)

When a signal is transmitted from the release driver 544 to energize the solenoid 546, the signal is also transmitted through a lead 547 to a resetable delay circuit 548. In warehouse 1 adjacent each dispensor unit F is a detection switch 549, such as a limit switch or a photoelectric eye circuit for indicating through lead 550 to the resetable delivery circuit 548 whether the particular dispensor unit F is in a soldout condition. If a signal is received from the detection switch 549 the delay circuit is reset and no soldout signal results. If no delivery signal is received, the delay circuit energizes an encoder 551 through lead 554, which encoder is identical to the encoder 424 previously described. Encoder 551 transmits the pertinent data as to the price, product group and product item to a sequential reader 554 which transmits the data through lead 553 to the central input unit 515. The central input unit 515 routes the price code of the soldout retail item to the change maker circuit 475 for effecting pertinent change return and to the sales ticket printer 537 for recordation purposes. The central input unit 515 includes the sold-out information in its statistics storage and also actuates appropriate alarms well known in the art to alert the operator of store A as to each soldout condition.