Title:
INFORMATION SHEET DISPENSING DEVICE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An information sheet dispensing device including a housing having a front side, a back panel, an open top end and a bottom end closed by a bottom sloping at a downward angle from the back panel to the front side, a dispensing slot formed in the housing proximate the bottom end, and a cap movable between an engaged position closing the open top end of the housing and a disengaged position allowing access through the open top end. A dispensing mechanism is carried within the housing and includes a roller assembly rotatably carried within the housing above the bottom, a dispensing control coupled to the roller assembly for rotating the roller assembly to dispense information sheets singly; and a cassette pivotally carried within the housing at an offset pivot point and having an open top end and an open lower end, the open lower end positioned rearward of and above the roller assembly, the offset pivot point biasing the open bottom end of the cassette forwardly.



Inventors:
Burns, William Ronald (PHOENIX, AZ, US)
Application Number:
12/114280
Publication Date:
11/05/2009
Filing Date:
05/02/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
221/46, 221/45
International Classes:
B65H3/06; B65D83/08; B65H1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RANDALL, JR., KELVIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERT A. PARSONS (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Claims:
1. An information sheet dispensing device comprising: a housing having a front side, a back panel, an open top end and a bottom end closed by a bottom sloping at a downward angle from the back panel to the front side; a dispensing slot formed in the housing proximate the bottom end; a cap movable between an engaged position closing the open top end of the housing and a disengaged position allowing access through the open top end; a dispensing mechanism carried within the housing, the dispensing mechanism for receiving a stack of information sheets through the open top end with the cap in the disengaged position and dispensing single sheets from the stack through the dispensing slot upon actuation of the dispensing mechanism; and a dispensing control for actuating the dispensing mechanism to dispense a single information sheet.

2. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the dispensing mechanism includes: a roller assembly rotatably carried within the housing above the bottom and coupled to the dispensing control; a cassette pivotally carried within the housing and having an open top end and an open lower end, the open lower end positioned rearward of and above the roller assembly; and a biasing mechanism biasing the open bottom end of the cassette forwardly.

3. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 2 wherein the biasing mechanism includes a lever arm extending outward in a forward direction from the cassette proximate the open upper end and terminating in an aperture pivotally hung on a pivot rod carried by the housing.

4. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 3 wherein the biasing mechanism further includes a biasing member carried between the cassette and the back panel of the housing.

5. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 2 wherein the roller assembly includes an axle extending between sidewalls of the housing and terminating in the dispensing control, and at least one roller carried by the axle.

6. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 5 wherein the dispensing control is a crank handle.

7. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the front side of the housing is a display panel which includes a front plate of transparent material through which a display information sheet can be seen, and a back plate spaced from the front plate with a gap therebetween for receiving a display sheet.

8. An information sheet dispensing device comprising: a housing having a front side, a back panel, an open top end and a bottom end closed by a bottom sloping at a downward angle from the back panel to the front side; a dispensing slot formed in the housing proximate the bottom end; a cap movable between an engaged position closing the open top end of the housing and a disengaged position allowing access through the open top end; and a dispensing mechanism carried within the housing, the dispensing mechanism comprising: a roller assembly rotatably carried within the housing above the bottom; a dispensing control coupled to the roller assembly for rotating the roller assembly to dispense information sheets singly; and a cassette pivotally carried within the housing at an offset pivot point and having an open top end and an open lower end, the open lower end positioned rearward of and above the roller assembly, the offset pivot point biasing the open bottom end of the cassette forwardly.

9. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 8 wherein the cassette includes a lever arm extending outward in a forward direction from the cassette proximate the open upper end and terminating in an aperture pivotally hung on a pivot rod carried by the housing, establishing the offset pivot point.

10. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 8 further including a biasing member carried between the cassette and the back panel of the housing.

11. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 8 wherein the roller assembly includes an axle extending between sidewalls of the housing and terminating in the dispensing control, and at least one roller carried by the axle.

12. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 11 wherein the dispensing control is a crank handle.

13. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 8 wherein the front side of the housing is a display panel which includes a front plate of transparent material through which a display information sheet can be seen, and a back plate spaced from the front plate with a gap therebetween for receiving a display sheet.

14. An information sheet dispensing device comprising: a housing having a front side, a back panel, an open top end and a bottom end closed by a bottom sloping at a downward angle from the back panel to the front side; a dispensing slot formed in the housing proximate the bottom end at the sloped bottom; a cap movable between an engaged position closing the open top end of the housing and a disengaged position allowing access through the open top end; a dispensing mechanism carried within the housing, the dispensing mechanism comprising: a roller assembly including an axle extending between sidewalls of the housing and carried within the housing above the bottom, and at least one roller carried by the axle; a dispensing control coupled to the axle of the roller assembly; and a cassette pivotally carried within the housing at an offset pivot point and having an open top end and an open lower end, the open lower end positioned rearward of and above the roller assembly, the offset pivot point biasing the open bottom end of the cassette forwardly; and a stack of information sheets carried by the cassette, the stack of information sheets having an end resting on the sloped bottom and biased forwardly with the cassette, with the at least one roller contacting the stack proximate the end resting on the bottom, whereby rotation of the roller assembly by the dispensing control dispenses information sheets singly.

15. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 14 wherein the cassette includes a lever arm extending outward in a forward direction from the cassette proximate the open upper end and terminating in an aperture pivotally hung on a pivot rod carried by the housing, establishing the offset pivot point.

16. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 14 further including a biasing member carried between the cassette and the back panel of the housing.

17. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 14 wherein the dispensing control is a crank handle.

18. An information sheet dispensing device as claimed in claim 14 wherein the front side of the housing is a display panel which includes a front plate of transparent material through which a display information sheet can be seen, and a back plate spaced from the front plate with a gap therebetween for receiving a display sheet.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to sheet material dispensing devices.

More particularly, the present invention relates to devices for storing and distributing information sheets.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In many industries it is desirable for pamphlets, flyers or other information sheets to be readily available for disbursement to interested individuals. Some industries have offices, display rooms, and the like, which permit flyers to be stacked for easy retrieval by staff members or the interested individual. Other industries, such as the realty markets, and in particular the home re-sale industry, do not have office, display rooms and the like, for displaying their products, but actual employ signs indicating a property for sale on location. When there is an open house, flyers and other information sheets can be stored inside for disbursement to interested individuals. However, for the great majority of the time, the only indication of sale is a listing and a for sale sign.

Information about the home in the form of information sheets is often placed in a box with a lid. While inexpensive and capable of storing information sheets, these storage boxes do not readily dispense individual flyers. Storage boxes holding information sheets must be opened and the desired sheet withdrawn manually. This can result in more than one sheet being extracted, the cover being lost or not replaced and the elements adversely affecting the information sheets. Additionally, when the stored information sheets have been dispersed, there is no available information on the item, such as a home, being sold.

It would be highly advantageous, therefore, to remedy the foregoing and other deficiencies inherent in the prior art.

An object of the present invention is to provide a weather resistant dispensing device.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a dispensing device which will dispense single information sheets.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a dispensing device which exhibits the information dispensed with a display sheet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, to achieve the desired objects and advantages of the instant invention an information sheet dispensing device is provided. The dispensing device includes a housing having a front side, a back panel, an open top end and a bottom end closed by a bottom sloping at a downward angle from the back panel to the front side. A dispensing slot is formed in the housing proximate the bottom end, and a cap is provided which is movable between an engaged position closing the open top end of the housing and a disengaged position allowing access through the open top end. A dispensing mechanism is carried within the housing for receiving a stack of information sheets through the open top end of the housing with the cap in the disengaged position, and dispensing single sheets from the stack through the dispensing slot upon actuation of the dispensing mechanism. A dispensing control is provided for actuating the dispensing mechanism to dispense a single information sheet.

In a particular aspect, the dispensing mechanism includes a roller assembly rotatably carried within the housing above the bottom and coupled to the dispensing control, a cassette pivotally carried within the housing and having an open top end and an open lower end, the open lower end positioned rearward of and above the roller assembly, and a biasing mechanism biasing the open bottom end of the cassette forwardly.

In yet another aspect, the biasing mechanism includes a lever arm extending outward in a forward direction from the cassette proximate the open upper end and terminating in an aperture pivotally hung on a pivot rod carried by the housing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Specific objects and advantages of the instant invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an information sheet dispensing device according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front plan view of the information sheet dispensing device of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side plan view of the information sheet dispensing device of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a front view of the information sheet dispensing device of FIG. 1 with the front removed to illustrate a dispensing mechanism;

FIG. 5 is a side view of the information sheet dispensing device, illustrating a dispensing mechanism.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Turning now to the drawings in which like reference characters indicate corresponding elements throughout the several views, attention is first directed to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 which illustrate an information sheet dispensing device generally designated 10. Dispensing device 10 is intended for use in storing, displaying and dispensing sheets of information such as flyers used to provide information about offered goods or services. In the preferred embodiment, the device is employed for home sales, remodeled homes and the like, and in particular for use in re-sale homes by positioning dispensing device 10 at the home offered for sale, typically mounted to the conventional for sale sign. Many and various fastening mechanisms can be employed to affix dispensing device 10 to a post 11 of a conventional for sale sign, including brackets, hooks, screws, nails and the like, as will be described presently.

Information sheet dispensing device 10 includes a housing 12 having an open top end 14 closed by a cap member 15, a front side, generally designated 16, a back panel 17, a bottom end 18 closed by a bottom 19, opposing sidewalls 20 and a dispensing mechanism (see FIGS. 4 and 5) controlled by a dispensing control, which in this embodiment is a crank handle 22. Front side 16 of housing 12 consists of a display panel 23, in which one of a plurality of information sheets 24 is placed on display as will be described in greater detail. In operation, a plurality of information sheets 24 are deposited within housing 12 through open top end 14 into the dispensing mechanism, as will be described presently. Top cap 15 is movable between an engaged position wherein it is received by housing 12, closing top end 14 to protect an interior volume thereof from the elements, such as wind, rain, detritus and the like, and a disengaged position wherein it is removed from housing 12 allowing access to the interior volume of housing 12 through open top end 14. An individual desiring an information sheet 24 actuates the dispensing control which, in this embodiment, consists of rotating crank handle 22 in the direction indicated by arrow A. As the dispensing mechanism is activated, information sheet 24 is dispensed from a dispensing slot 26 proximate bottom end 18 of housing 12, in the direction of arrow B. Dispensing slot 26 is defined by display panel 23 and bottom 19 of housing 12. Bottom 19 preferably extends forwardly past sidewalls 20 forming a dispensing lip 28 to aid in presenting information sheet 24. An overlying shield member 29 can be coupled to front side 16, extending between sidewalls 21 and positioned directly over dispensing slot 26. Shield member 29 extends outwardly from front side 16 and serves to protect dispensing slot 26 from rain, wind and the like. A deflector 31 is position overlying bottom 19 in a spaced manner, to aid in directing dispensed sheet out dispensing slot 26. In one embodiment, deflector 31 can have a forward edge extending outwardly past front side 16 to replace shield member 29, protecting dispensing slot 26 from the elements.

With additional reference to FIGS. 4 and 5, the dispensing mechanism is illustrated in greater detail. The dispensing mechanism includes a cassette 30 having an open upper end 32 and an open lower end 33, a front wall 35, a back wall 36 extending to a point lower than front wall 35 and opposing sidewalls 38. In the preferred embodiment, cassette 30 is a generally rectangular tube to receive and retain a stack 40 of the plurality of information sheets 24. As will be understood by those skilled in the art, cassette 30 is intended to maintain sheets 24 in a generally aligned stack 40 from which the sheets can be individually dispensed. Thus, cassette 30 can be formed of various materials such as plastic, metal and the like and is sized to receive and maintain sheets 24 in stack 40.

The dispensing mechanism includes a biasing mechanism which includes cassette 30 being pivotally mounted within housing 12 with an offset pivot point C. In this manner, open lower end 33 of cassette 30 is biased forwardly toward front side 16 of housing 12. The biasing mechanism, in the preferred embodiment, includes a lever arm 42 extending substantially perpendicularly outwardly from front wall 35 proximate each of opposing sides 38 of cassette 30. Lever arms 42 extend from front wall 35 proximate open upper end 32, and each terminates in an aperture 44. Cassette 30 is pivotally carried with housing 12 by a pivot rod 45 coupled to sidewalls 20 of housing 12 proximate open top end 14 and journalled through apertures 44. In this manner cassette 30 is pivotally suspended inside housing 12 such that sidewalls 38 are generally parallel to sidewalls 20 and open upper end 32 is proximate open top end 14 while open lower end 33 is positioned spaced from bottom 19. Cassette 30 is pivotally mounted such that movement is permitted in a forward, toward front side 16, and rearward, toward back panel 17, direction about pivot point C. By offsetting pivot point C forward of front wall 35 of cassette 30 toward front side 16 of housing 12, the weight of cassette 30 tends to swing open lower end 33 toward front side 16 of housing 12 in the direction of arrowed line D. To provide a further bias in the direction of Arrowed line D, a biasing member, such as spring 48 can be carried between cassette 30 and back panel 17 of housing 12. This provides additional force to bias cassette 30 in the direction of arrowed line D. The additional force may be desirably to insure adequate forward bias to cassette 30. The importance of the forward bias will be discussed presently.

Also included as part of the dispensing mechanism, is a roller assembly 50 mounted between sidewalls 20 of housing 12 proximate lower end 18. Roller assembly 50 is carried within housing 12 in a position forward of cassette 30, and at a height intermediate bottom 19 and open lower end 33 of cassette 30. Roller mechanism 50, in this preferred embodiment, includes an axle 52 extending between sidewalls 20 and terminating in crank handle 22. Axle 52 carries a pair of rollers 54 that rotate with axle 52 turned by crank handle 22. A ratchet assembly can be associated with axle 52 to prevent rotation in one direction. In the preferred embodiment, crank handle 22 is rotated in a clockwise direction to dispense a sheet and prevented from rotating in the counter-clockwise direction to prevent jamming of the device. It will be understood that while a pair of rollers 54 are employed in this embodiment, a single roller extending between sidewalls 20 or a plurality of small rollers may also be employed. Additionally, while axle 52 is turned by crank handle 22, it will be understood that other mechanisms may also be employed, including gears to increase or slow the rotation of axle 52, and a measured dispensing control such as a lever or push button having a measured stroke for turning axle 52 only sufficient to dispense a single unit or single information sheet.

Referring specifically to FIG. 5, stack 40 of information sheets 24 are carried in cassette 30 such that a lower end of stack 40 extends past open lower end 33 and rests on bottom 19. The weight of cassette 30 and the bias of spring 48, if used, pivot the portion of stack 40 extending past open lower end 33 against rollers 54 of roller mechanism 50. As can be seen, back wall 36 of cassette 30 extends lower than open lower end 33 as defined by the bottom edge of front wall 35, so as to force the lower end of stack 40 against rollers 54. As crank handle 22 is turned, thereby turning rollers 54, a single information sheet 24 is extracted from cassette 30 and ejected from housing 12 through dispensing slot 26. Bottom 19 of housing 12 is sloped at a downward angle from back panel 17 to front side 16 to convert the downward movement of the dispensing sheet from a downward movement to a forwardly directed movement. A flat bottom tends to cause damage to the information sheets and can clog and bind the mechanism due to inadequate ejection of the information sheet. It has been found that a 10-20 percent slope is the preferred angle for bottom 19. With biasing spring 48, the best angle is 12.5 degrees of slope.

Turning now to FIG. 2 with additional reference to FIG. 5, display panel 23 is coupled to sidewalls 20 by flanges 58. Display panel 23 and flanges 58 form front side 16 in this embodiment, as housing 12 is formed of sheet metal with display panel 23 formed of transparent acrylic or plastic materials. It will be understood that housing 12 can be formed in a single piece of molded or extruded plastic, in which case display panel 23 may be formed as a portion of housing 12 and no flanges or other attachment members are necessary. In either case, display panel 23 includes a front plate 60 of transparent material through which a display information sheet 62 can be seen, and a back plate 64 spaced from front plate 60. A gap 65 between front plate 60 and back plate 64 receives display information sheet 62 indicative of the sheets carried by dispensing device 10. Display sheet 62 is inserted into gap 65 through open top end 14 when cap 15 is in the disengaged position.

Various changes and modifications to the embodiments herein chosen for purposes of illustration will readily occur to those skilled in the art. To the extent that such modifications and variations do not depart from the spirit of the invention, they are intended to be included within the scope thereof, which is assessed only by a fair interpretation of the following claims.

Having fully described the invention in such clear and concise terms as to enable those skilled in the art to understand and practice the same, the invention claimed is: