US 3428988 A
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1969 J- A. BLACKBURN CREDIT CARD CLEANING APPARATUS Filed Aug. 11,- 1967 JOHN A. BLACKBURN ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,428,988 CREDIT CARD CLEANING APPARATUS John A. Blackburn, 3601 El Camino Real at Matadero, Palo Alto, Calif. 94306 Filed Aug. 11, 1967, Ser. No. 660,009
A container for cleaning solution that has plural brush bristles between which a card is passed during insertion into and removal from the cleaning solution.
This invention relates to apparatus for effecting efficient cleaning of semi-rigid members, such as credit cards. Although the invention finds particular utility in connection with gasoline credit cards, it is not limited to such.
In the efficient performance of his duties, an attendant in a gasoline station soils his fingers and hands with grease, oil and the like. When his duties include writing up charge transactions, it is customary for the attendant to receive a credit card from the customer and return the credit card to the customer when the charge transaction has been recorded. Transfer of grease and oil from the attendants hands to the credit card is inevitable and is unpleasant to the customer. Therefore, it is an object of the invention to provide an apparatus for quickly and conveniently cleaning a credit card after its use by the gas station attendant and before its return to the customer.
The above object is achieved in accordance with the present invention by providing a container for a detergent solution and a pair of rows of brushes adjacent the surface of the solution. The rows of brushes confront one another so that when the credit card is moved between the brushes, both sides of the credit card are contacted by the brushes. Such contact, together with the detergent action of the solution, effects quick and efiicient cleaning and degreasing of the credit card.
Another object of this invention is to provide a card cleaning apparatus that conserves detergent solution and permits rapid cleaning. This object is achieved by providing a detergent container that has a height greater than half the length of a credit card and less than the full length of the credit card. Because the container has a height less than the full length of the credit card, it is impossible for the user inadvertently to lose control of the credit card; because the container has a height greater than one-half of the credit card, the entire card can be cleaned by sequentially submerging the card from both ends thereof.
Still another object is to provide -a card cleaning apparatus that requires but minimum operator attention in use. This object is attained in the present invention by providing a slotted plate overlying the brush rows and the liquid, the slot being aligned over the region between the two brush rows so that a card inserted through the slot will be guided between the brushes. A feature and advantage of the slotted plate is that it assists in keeping contaminating materials out of the detergent solution.
Other objects, features and advantages will be more apparent after referring to the following specification and accompanying drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is perspective view of card cleaning apparatus of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a top view of the apparatus;
FIG. 3 is a side elevation view in cross section taken along line 33 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a side elevation view in cross section taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2.
Referring more particularly to the drawing, reference numeral 12 indicates liquid impervious container having a bottom wall 14, mutually parallel side Walls 16 and end walls 18. In FIG. 1 the container is shown secured to rigid structure such as a post P of the type typically seen in service stations. The side walls and end walls define a rectangular mouth 20 opposite bottom wall 14. Spanning side walls 16 adjacent mouth 20 is a plate 22 that is formed with a slot 24 located approximately midway between side walls 16-. In one apparatus designed according to the present invention, slot 24 has a length equal to about 2 /2" and a width of about 4'. Such exemplary structure was designed to accommodate a typical credit card that is 3%" x 2 /8", such card being indicated in phantom at C in FIGURE 3.
Plate 22 is supported in spanning relation across mouth 20 by mounting blocks 26, which blocks are secured rigidly in the container. Exemplifying a suitable means for so securing the blocks are screws 28 which extend through side walls 16 into the blocks. Plate 22 is rigidly mounted along the top of blocks 26, an adhesive connection as at- 30 in FIG. 4 being exemplary. Plate 22 is foreshortened to define a drainage opening 31 and is sloped toward the drainage opening to return such fluid to container 12 as may drip onto plate 22. Opening 31 also affords access to the interior of container 12 for cleaning and filling it.
Blocks 26 are at least as wide as the length of slot 24 and support a plurality of brush bristles 32. As seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, there is at least one row of bristles 34 above the surface S of detergent solution and there is at least one row 36 below surface S.
As can be seen more clearly from FIG. 3, upper row 34 is spaced above bottom wall 14 by an amount greater than one-half the length of card C and less than the full length of card C. The spacing between plate 22 and bottom wall 14 is similar, namely: greater than one-half the length of card C and less than the full length of the card. The individual bristles of brush 32 extend from side walls 16 by an amount greater than half the width of container 12 so that the bristles overlap somewhat, thereby assuring that both sides of the card will be contacted by the bristles. Such overlapping relationship is shown at 38 in FIG. 4.
Thus it will be seen that the present invention provides a container that affords convenient cleaning of credit cards. In so doing, the invention fulfills a need that has long been felt by charge customers in service stations. The advantages are achieved in a simple, attractive and inexpensive device that is rugged and requires virtually no maintenance.
Although one embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, it will be apparent that other adaptations and modifications can be made without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention.
1. Apparatus for cleaning a planar credit card of the type that has a length of about 3%" comprising a liquid impervious container having a bottom wall and a mouth opposite said bottom wall, first and second pluralities of rows of brushes confronting one another within said container and adjacent said mouth, said pluralities being disposed relative to one another and having bristles of sufficient length that the bristles overlap to assure that both faces of the card are simultaneously contacted by the brushes, at least one row in each said plurality being positioned to reside above the surface of liquid in said container and at least one row in each said plurality being positioned to reside below the surface ofliquid in said container, said pluralities of rows being spaced from said bottom wall by an amount greater than one-half the length of the credit card and less than the length of the credit card, and a plate spanning the mouth of the container and having a guide slot therein in alignment with the region between said confronting rows of brushes so that insertion of a card through said slot guides the card intermediate said confronting brush rows, said plate being foreshortened at one lateral extremity thereof to define an opening for aifording access to the interior of said container, said plate sloping toward said opening so that liquid dripping onto the upper surface of said plate runs thereacross to said opening.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 5/1932 Laing 1521 8/1937 Dietterle 15-39 6/1938 Swift 1539 XR 1/1941 Costa 1539 3/ 1959 Hermance 15-10492 11/1964 Dirks 118637 10 PETER FELDMAN, Primary Examiner.
U.S. Cl. X.R.