Title:
ARTICLE STORING AND DISPENSING UNIT WITH MOVABLY MOUNTED GATE
United States Patent 3765429


Abstract:
A portable storing and dispensing device for disc-like members such as chips, coins, and the like which includes an elongated storage chamber or magazine for holding the disc-like members in stacked relation one on top of the other and having an open end through which the disc-like members are dispensed. A resilient member partially overlies the open end serving to support the members in the magazine and act as a gate to dispense one member at a time as the magazine is pressed onto a supporting surface such as a table top or the like. The resilient member is biased or spring-loaded normally to project outwardly from the open end. The resilient member is reciprocally mounted on the magazine with a cam and a cam surface on respectively one and the other of the magazine and resilient sleeve and arranged such that as the resilient member and magazine are moved relative to one another, the innermost dimension of the resilient member is enlarged sufficiently as to allow a disc of predetermined size to pass therethrough. The opposite end of the magazine is covered with a detachable lid removable for loading the magazine. To load the magazine, a second element is provided which holds a predetermined number of disc-like elements such as chips and is funnel-shaped with a removable cover on each of the two ends. The entire assembly, that is the storing and dispensing device as well as the loading device, may be made of any material such as plastic, metal or the like.



Inventors:
ROCHELEAU C
Application Number:
05/210473
Publication Date:
10/16/1973
Filing Date:
12/21/1971
Assignee:
ROCHELEAU C,CA
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
453/62
International Classes:
G07D1/08; (IPC1-7): G07D1/00
Field of Search:
221/297,310,289,298,220,221,299,300,301,307 133
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3586210MANUALLY PORTABLE DISPENSING DEVICE1971-06-22Andamasaris
3186593Portable golf ball dispensing device1965-06-01Miotke
2520321Game marker dispenser1950-08-29McDonald



Primary Examiner:
Tollberg, Stanley H.
Claims:
I claim

1. A portable storing and dispensing device for articles of uniform configuration such as coins, Bingo chips, pills, or the like, comprising:

2. A dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein said second sleeve has a plurality of notches extending inwardly from the end thereof which projects from the magazine, said notches extending longitudinally of the sleeve and spaced apart from one another circumferentially around the sleeve.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a dispensing device and more particularly a dispenser having a magazine for holding wafer-like articles in stacked relation and terminating at one end in a dispensing unit which is actuated by movement of the assembly against an object on which the article to be dispensed is deposited. The articles are wafer or disc-like members such as coins, or discs, normally referred to as chips, used in a commonly known Bingo game placed on a card during use. The terms "wafer" and "disc" used herein are intended to mean a relatively thin object and which may be of any outline configuration in plan view but preferably circular as is the case with coins and Bingo chips. However, they may be rectangular, square or otherwise irregular in outline configuration. Although the present invention is intended to be used with relatively thin discs such as coins or Bingo chips, the principle is applicable to objects of thicker dimension such as nuts, washers, pills and the like or any other article which is of uniform thickness and adapted for stacking in relation one on top of the other.

2. Description of Prior Art

Dispensers are known for dispensing coins, but in most all instances, a lever assembly is provided on the container or magazine for effecting removal of one coin at a time, thus resulting in complcated mechanical mechanisms. The principal object of the present invention is to provide a small, portable and simple device which effects dispensing of articles held herein by pressing the entire assembly against an object on which the article being dispensed is deposited.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

Accordingly, in accordance with the present invention, there is provided a portable storing and dispensing device for articles such as discs of substantially uniform configuration, i.e., Bingo chips, washers, coins, nuts, pills or the like, comprising:

A. A LONGITUDINALLY EXTENDING MAGAZINE FOR STORING AND HOLDING A PLURALITY OF SIMILAR ARTICLES IN STACKED RELATION;

B. AN OPENING FROM SAID MAGAZINE THROUGH WHICH SAID ARTICLES IN THE MAGAZINE PASS IN BEING DISPENSED THEREFROM;

C. A GATE MOVABLY MOUNTED ON SAID MAGAZINE AND INCLUDING A PORTION NORMALLY PROJECTING TO OVERLIE A MARGINAL EDGE PORTION OF SAID OPENING, RETAINING THE ARTICLES WITHIN THE MAGAZINE;

D. MEANS MOVING SAID GATE TO AN OPEN POSITION IN RESPONSE TO PRESSING THE OPEN END OF SAID DEVICE AGAINST A SUPPORT SURFACE; AND

E. SPRING MEANS RETURNING SAID GATE UPON REMOVAL OF SAID PRESSURE TO A GATE NORMALLY CLOSED POSITION.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The invention is illustrated by way of example in the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side elevation of one embodiment of the dispensing device and container for loading the same, both of which are partially broken away;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary longitudinal view of FIG. 1 on an enlarged scale;

FIG. 3 is an end view of FIG. 2 as seen from left to right;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view, in partial section, of a further embodiment of a dispensing device in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view of the dispensing end of the device illustrated in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a vertical side sectional view of a component in the dispensing head of the device illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5;

FIG. 7 is a side elevational view of the unit illustrated in FIG. 6, and showing the entire assembly as seen from right to left;

FIG. 8 is a side elevational view, in partial section, similar to FIG. 4 but illustrating a further modification to the dispensing head;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged sectional view similar to FIG. 5 illustrating a still further embodiment;

FIG. 10 is a view similar to FIG. 6 illustrating a modified unit as used in the dispensing head illustrated in FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a view similar to FIG. 7 but illustrating a still further modification to a unit which may be substituted for the assemblies illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 10;

FIG. 12 is a side vertical elevational view of a single disc of one type which may be dispensed from the assemblies illustrated in the foregoing drawings;

FIG. 13 is a side elevational view of the disc illustrated in FIG. 12 as viewed from right to left; and

FIG. 14 is a view similar to FIG. 13 but illustrating a different outline configuration for the article to be dispensed.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings in detail, there is illustrated in FIG. 1, one embodiment, a portable dispensing assembly 10 consisting of a magazine portion 20 and a gate assembly 30 having a movably mounted gate to effect dispensing of a single article from the magazine upon pressing the dispensing assembly against a generally flat surface such as a table top or the like. Included in FIG. 1 is a loading device 40 which may be used to collect or hold articles to be dispensed, and facilitates placing the same in the magazine of the dispenser 10.

The magazine 10 consists of a tubular body made of metal, plastic or the like, having respectively opposed open ends 21 and 22. The internal cross-sectional shape of the magazine defined by an inner wall 23 corresponds to the outline plan view configuration of articles to be held in the magazine, and slightly larger so that the articles may be placed in stacked relation and slide readily through the magazine. It is obvious the cross-sectional configuration may be irregular, for example, square, rectangular, hexagonal or circular depending upon the outline configuration of articles to be dispensed from the magazine in question. The open end 22 of the magazine is covered by a removable cap 24, and upon removal of such cap, articles to be dispensed may be inserted individually or by use of the device in 40 (or similar device) to place the articles for dispensing into the magazine.

The gate assembly 30 is located at the open end 21 of the magazine, and includes a gate assembly consisting of a plurality of members 31 which project to overlie the opening 21 serving to hold the articles to be dispensed within the chamber until such time as a dispensing operation is effected. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the members 31, which project over the opening, consist of members which are interconnected by an annular flange 32. Each member 31 has a first portion 33 which slopes inwardly toward the longitudinal axis of the magazine chamber in a direction away from the open end 21, and an oppositely sloped terminal end portion 34 with such portions being joined at an apex 35. The magazine body has a chamfered portion 25 extending from the open end 21 and the slope of such chamfered end corresponds generally to the slope of the gate portion 33. The chamfered end 25 and gate portion 33 are effectively a cam and cam follower as will be seen hereinafter. The gate 31 is held captive on the end of the magazine by a sleeve 36 having a portion of an internal wall 37 held in spaced relation from the outer surface of the magazine body by a further sleeve 38. The sleeves 36 and 38 are press-fit onto one another with the sleeve 38 being press-fit onto the outer surface of the body of the magazine. The sleeve 36 has an inwardly directed terminal end portion 39 which prevents the gate from being removed from the magazine. A space between the end portion 39 of the sleeve 36 and an adjacent end of sleeve 38 receives the annular flange 32 of gate with there being sufficient room as to allow the gate to move in a direction longitudinally of the magazine. The gate members 31 are made of a resilient flexible material, and located with the end portions 34 projecting beyond the terminal end 39 of sleeve 36. Pressing the outer ends of gate portions 34 against an object causes the entire gate assembly to move to the right, as viewed in FIG. 2, and during such movement inter-engaging surfaces 25 of the magazine body and flange 33 effectively provide a cam and a cam follower moving the apexes 35 of the respective gate members 31 outwardly with respect to the longitudinal axis of the magazine to a position so as not to overlie the open end 21. In holding the object in a vertical position, a disc will fall by gravity through the open gate into a space between the apexes 35 and surface against which the dispenser has been pressed. The apex 35 is spaced inwardly from the terminal end of device preferably slightly greater than the thickness of the object to be dispensed, such that when the object is released, it assumes a position to the left of the apex. In lifting the assembly off a supporting surface on which the article to be dispensed is deposited, the spring effect of member 31 causes it to slide to the left as viewed in FIG. 2, to a normally closed gate position with the apex 35 again assuming a position partially overlying the open end to prevent dispensing of further objects until such time as the unit is pressed against a table top or other type of supporting surface.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4, there is provided a dispensing and storage portable assembly having a magazine 20 closed at one end by a removable cap 24 and at the other end, by a dispensing gate assembly 50. The gate dispensing assembly 50 consists of a first sleeve 51 having a bore 52 extending therethrough corresponding in outline configuration and size to a bore 20A extending through the body of the magazine and which provides a chamber for holding the articles to be dispensed. The sleeve 51 has an enlarged counter-bore 53 corresponding substantially in diameter to the outer diameter of the body of the magazine 20 to receive the same in a press-fit relation, the sleeve 51 thus being held on the body of the magazine. The sleeve 51 at the opposite end has an outer circumferentially grooved portion 54 terminating in a chamfered end 55 corresponding to the chamfered end 25 in the embodiment shown in FIG. 2. The sleeve 51 adjacent the end opposite to chamfer 55 has an outer end portion 56 of larger diameter than the reduced end section 54. A second sleeve 57, having a central bore extending therethrough corresponding in diameter to the portion 56 of sleeve 51 is press-fit onto the portion 56 holding the same in overlying relation with respect to the sleeve 51. The space between sleeves 51 and 57 provided by reduced section 54 and sleeve 51 receives a resilient and movable gate dispensing element 60 made of plastic, metal or the like with spring characteristics. Gate element 60, as seen from FIGS. 6 and 7, consists of a cylindrical sleeve portion 61 tapering inwardly at an end portion 62 to a smaller diameter and terminating at such end in an inner, circumferential edge 63 corresponding to the apex 35 illustrated in FIG. 2 and described with reference thereto. The edge 63 is spaced inwardly from an adjacent end 64 of the element 60 by an amount corresponding to slightly more than the thickness of an article to be dispensed from the magazine when held in stacked, flatwise relation, one on another in the magazine. In the space between the end 64 and the portion 63, there is a circumferential wall designated 65 having a diameter of greater extent than the portion 63, such diameter also being slightly greater than the article to be dispensed so that the article is readily removable therefrom after having been dispensed, leaving the article upon the surface on which the assembly has been pressed after a dispensing operation.

In an actual device constructed, satisfactory results have been obtained in dispensing wafers or Bingo chips having a diameter of nineteen thirty-seconds inches and a thickness of 0.040 inches using the diameter for 63 roughly 0.020 inches less than the diameter of the chip and a diameter for 65 approximately 0.025 inches greater than the diameter of the chip and a distance between 64 and 63 approximately 0.015 inches greater than the thickness of the chip.

The member 63 has a plurality of slots 66 extending inwardly from the end 64 in a direction toward the opposite end, thereby providing interruptions in the continuity of the circumferential inner edge 63. As seen from FIG. 7, the slots 66 separate the circumferential edge 63 into portions 63A, 63B, 63C, 63D. The portion 62 of element 60 has a slope of approximately 30°, corresponding to the slope of chamfered end section 55.

The gate member 60 is held captive between the sleeves 57 and 51 and is biased to a position illustrated in FIG. 5 by a coil spring 70 engaging, at one end, a shoulder 54A between the reduced section 54 and outer surface 56 of the sleeve 51 and, at the other end, a washer 71 interposed between the spring and the gate member 60. To limit the extent of movement to the left, as viewed in FIG. 5, it will be noted sleeve 57 is undercut on the inner surface from right to left providing a shoulder 57A engageable with the washer 71.

The gate member 60 is not removable to the left as viewed in FIG. 5 by virtue of an inwardly turned end 57B of the sleeve 57.

From the foregoing, it will be evident the gate member 60 is reciprocally mounted on the magazine at one end thereof for movement in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the magazine and is resiliently biased to a position to project beyond the remainder of the dispenser, at which location the edge 63 projects to overlie an open end of the magazine, thus holding articles stacked therein. Pressing the end 64 of gate member 60 against an object such as a table top causes the gate member 60 to retract into the space between the sleeves 57 and 51, and at the same time, by virtue of inter-engagement of the cam follower and cam respectively on the inner face of flange 62 which has a slope of approximately 30° and a corresponding slope on the outer chamfered end 55 of the sleeve, the ledge or ridge 63 is moved outwardly so as to increase the diameter of the opening, allowing an article to pass therethrough. The gate member 60, accordingly, must be resilient so as to permit expansion and such expansion, of course, is facilitated by the use of notches 66 extending inwardly from the end 64 at various peripheral positions spaced from one another circumferentially around the gate element 60. The gate element 60 is preferably made of plastic, but this need not be so as metal with spring characteristics will effect the same result.

In FIG. 8, there is illustrated a modified gate assembly 80 wherein the element 60 is held captive by a rubber or other spring-material sleeve 81, eliminating the need of a spring 70 as shown in FIG. 5. The sleeve 81 provides the spring characteristic biasing the gate element, as in FIG. 5, to a gate-closed position. The sleeve 81, although preferably of rubber or other stretchable elastic material, may be replaced by a compression coil spring which snugly engages the outer surface of each of the sleeves 51 and gate element 60.

In FIG. 9, there is illustrated a further alternative embodiment eliminating the need of an outer sleeve. In reference to FIG. 9, there is illustrated a modified gate assembly 90 consisting of a movable dispensing gate element 100 of resilient elastic material having an end 64, an internal end circumferential groove 65 and a ridge 63 projecting over an open end of the magazine chamber. The gate element 100 has an internal, circumferential rib 101 projecting into a circumferential groove 102 in the outer surface of a body 103 providing a magazine for articles to be dispensed. The magazine body, from adjacent the groove 102 to the end, has a chamfered outer surface 104 engageable with a correspondingly sloped inner wall surface 105 of the element 100. The element 100 and body 103 are each preferably made of a plastic material having substantially frictionless engaging surfaces 104 and 105, such that the elasticity of the outer member 100 causes it to remain in a gate closed position and biased to that same position as illustrated in FIG. 9. The rib 101, fitting into the groove 102, limits the longitudinal movement of the member at each of opposite directions of a gate-open and gate-closed position. As in the previous embodiments, the element 100 preferably includes inwardly extending grooves 106 spaced from one another circumferentially around the opening.

In each of the foregoing embodiments, the gate element, which is movable longitudinally along the magazine, is a single one-piece element, and in FIG. 11, there is illustrated an alternative embodiment made of rigid sections 120 held together by an annular spring member, as for example, a coil spring or elastic sleeve 121. FIG. 11 is an end elevational view taken, as for example, from right to left in FIG. 6, differing therefrom in that the individual sections 120 are provided by extending groove 66 in FIG. 6 fully to the right, separating the one section from the other. In such an embodiment, the elements 120 may be made of a rigid metal without elastic characteristics, but in order to provide the movement necessary for opening and closing the gate, the elastic characteristic is provided by a separate element 121.

In the foregoing, it is mentioned elements to be dispensed may be of various configurations, and in FIGS. 12 and 13, there is illustrated a disc used in the game of Bingo. Alternatively, the element illustrated in FIGS. 12 and 13 may be coins, pills or the like. As another alternative, in FIG. 14, there is illustrated the outline configuration of a hexagonal nut. Elements of uniform configuration which are defined here generally as discs, wafers or the like, are held in stacked relation within the magazine, said magazine having a cross-sectional configuration corresponding generally to the outline configuration of the articles to be dispensed. The articles are dispensed one at a time by pressing the entire assembly, as previously mentioned, against a table top, causing relative movement between the gate element reciprocally mounted on the magazine and the magazine such as to move the gate to an open position allowing one article to be dispensed. The gate is biased to a gate-closed position, and has an area for receiving a single dispensed article, such dispensed article retaining the remaining articles in position until such time as the gate closes during removal of the dispensing device from the surface engaged during dispensing.

In order to place the articles to be dispensed within the chamber, there is provided a loading device 40 consisting of a funnel-shaped body 41 having respectively open ends 42 and 43 closed by removable caps 44 and 45. The loading device 40 is filled by removing the cap 45 and placing chips or discs therein, the funnel shape facilitating aligning the same in stacked relation. After the loading device is filled, cap 45 is placed over the open end 43, and cap 44 is removed from the opposite end and held in mating relation with the open end 22 of the magazine.