Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3582890 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 1, 1971
Filing dateDec 1, 1969
Priority dateDec 1, 1969
Publication numberUS 3582890 A, US 3582890A, US-A-3582890, US3582890 A, US3582890A
InventorsLeslie C Rivers
Original AssigneeLeslie C Rivers
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Credit key
US 3582890 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Inventor Leslie C. Rivers 326 E. 229th Place, Wilmington, Calif. 90744 Appl. No. 881,066 Filed Dec. 1, 1969 Patented June 1, 1971 CREDIT KEY 10 Claims, 10 Drawing Figs.

[1.8. CI 340/149, 35/2, 40/22, 340/365 Int. Cl G08e 11/00, G09f 3/02 Field of Search 340/147, 149, 345, 348, 365; 40/22; 35/1-6; 179/90; 70/460 NU-hOIONQID [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,006,081 10/1961 Nyberg 35/3 3,376,661 4/1968 Hulett 40/22 3,500,326 3/1970 Benford 340/147 Primary ExaminerDonald J. Yusko Attorney-Sokolski and Wohlgemuth ABSTRACT: A key which can be used in place of or together with a conventional credit card, together with the apparatus which can read information on the key. The key has a shank portion which is multisided, having a plurality of holes drilled through the shank portion along its longitudinal axis, the holes being normal to the axis. The key is adapted to be inserted in the apparatus which through the utilization of photocells and a light source can determine the location of the hole on each edge of the shank portion.

PATENTED JUN 1 |9T| I 3; 582.890

' sum 1 BF 2 INVENTOR LESLIE C. RIVERS FIGAC 27 BY soKoLsKl a WOHLGEMUTH ATTORNEYS PATENTED JUN 1 IBYI SHEET 2 BF 2 FIG? mveu'ron u-zsue c. RIVERS SG OLSKI a WOHLBEMUTH ATTORNEYS CREDIT KEY The use of credit cards is increasing at a rapid rate in today s society. With such greatly increased use, various problems have been encountered. The most serious problem relates to the use of stolen or forged credit cards. The yearly losses due to the use of such forged or stolen cards have been increasing at an alarming rate. In order to overcome the problem of forged credit cards, one technique has been developed utilizing a computer having a memory containing information relative to the credit card. The credit card is inserted in a readout machine located at the store or place where it is being used. Information on the card is fed to the computer and a light or other signal is indicated on the apparatus in the store to show whether or not the card is valid or the account is in order. The memory of the computer would store the sequence of numbers of the card and even associate it with the name on the card. Alternatively, the card could be punched like a computer card, and read in that manner. Such cards are difficult to forge, since the forger cannot know the information stored in the memory of the computer. However, the problem with such cards that are read in conjunction with a computer is that they are often stolen. When stolen, the aforegoing advantages are obviously removed. Further, there even exists the possibility that such credit cards could be forged.

Thus, an object of this invention is to provide a device which is used in combination with a conventional credit card, such that when the two are used together a forged or stolen credit card would not be accepted.

A further object of this inventionis to provide a device to implement the utilization of conventional credit cards so as to prevent the use ofstolen or forged cards.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a device to be used in conjunction with conventional credit cards, which device is not normally carried together with a credit card and thus would not normally be stolen with the card.

Briefly, the invention comprises a key which is adapted to be set for a coded number. When used in conjunction with a credit card, the key will then prevent the proliferation or possibility of the use of forged or stolen credit cards. The key of the invention has a flat top portion which has a configuration similar to a normal house key and is adapted to be carried on a chain. The important part of the key lies in the stem which does not resemble that of a normal key. The stem is a solid piece having a plurality of longitudinal sides. For example, the stem of the key can be five sided. Along the length of the stem of the key there is a predetermined number of bands or levers. For example, there could be bands. The bands are not visible but are used for the indexing of the key. The key is ten drilled through its stem portion with a plurality of holes corresponding to a coded number. The holes are drilled completely through the stern so that light will pass therethrough. The hole is always drilled beginning at an edge of one of the sides of the key. The key is then used by placing it in an associated apparatus which has a light source and photocell pickups. The key is disposed in this readout device such that it will always be read in a desired order beginning with a particular edge of the key, designated as the first edge. If on the first edge the first hole is located on the 8 band, then the first number effectively read would be 8. The key is then rotated automatically in the device to expose the second edge to the light source. If the hole is drilled in the first band, then the effective number being read is 1". This process is re peated until all of the edges are exposed to the light and the photocells have picked up the corresponding reading. The information can then be transported to a computer which has stored in its memory the proper sequence of numbers which is associated with the card that the individual has already displayed and placed in a readout machine. If the numbers from the key match up with that stored in the memory of the computer, then indication is given that the credit can be processed. However, if the key is not read to match the number stored in the computer, then it becomes apparent that the credit card and/or the key is either stolen or forged.

It is believed that the invention will be better understood from the following detailed description and drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a pictorial representation of the key of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the shank portion of the key of FIG. I;

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the shank of the key of FIG. 2 taken along lines 33;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged plan view of a shank portion of a key ofthis invention;

FIG. 4A is a crosssectional view of FIG. 4 taken long line AA;

FIG. 4B is a cross-sectional view of the shank portion of the key of FIG. 4 taken along line B-B;

FIG. 4C is a cross-sectional view of the shank portion of the key of FIG. 4 taken along line C-C;

FIG. 5 is a partially schematic representation of the device for reading the key of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a view of a portion of the device of FIG. 5 taken along line 6-6; and

FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram of the circuitry of the device used to read the key ofthe invention.

Turning now to the FIGS. there is seen in FIG. 1 a key 11 of the invention, which comprises a rounded flat-top portion I3 having a hole 15 therein so that it can be kept on a key chain or a key ring. Flat portion l3 can have the identification of an airline or the like thereon, if desired. Extending from fiat portion 13 is a shank 17 having a plurality of sides 19. As seen in FIG. 2, in the embodiment described in this invention shank I7 has a total of five sides 19. In other words, the cross section of the shank is a pentagon.

The bottom end 21 ofthe shank portion, and thus the key itself, is cylindrically shaped, as particularly seen in FIG. 4, having a circumferential groove 23. This portion of the key is useful when the key is inserted in the device for reading it, as will be explained in detail. The base portion 21 of the key has a notch 25 which communicates with a circumferential groove 23 so the key can be used in the manner to be explained in the device. Additionally, as disclosed in FIG. 3, a rectangularshaped slot 26 is formed in the bottom of the key.

As seen in FIG. 4, the shank 17 can have a plurality of spaced lines thereon, l to 9 shown by way of example. The lines can either be embossed on the key or can be imaginary. The point is that the lines serve as important indications for holes to be drilled through the key. Each line represents that number digit. For example, a hole drilled through the shank portion of the key on line 1 will represent the number 1. The number of edges 27 on the shank portion of the key will determine the effective number of digits that can be read from the key. In order to explain the preparation of the key, each side can be designated a given number in sequence from which the sides are read, beginning with I through 5 as seen in FIG. 4A. The first digit is thus provided with a hole in the desired one of lines of l-9 beginning on edge I, passing through the center of the shank to the opposite side. For example, as seen in FIGS. 4 and 4B, the first digit in the 1' edge is on the fourth line; thus the first digit of this specific example is 4. As also seen in FIGS. 4 and 4B, the fifth line of the number 5 is used for edge 2; and thus the second digit read is 5. There is no hole on edge 3, thus the device reads 0. As seen in FIG. 4A, two 8s are utilized for both second and third numbers read by the key, corresponding to edges 4' and 5'. As can be appreciated, the holes 29 start from the edges, either 4' or 5, pass through the center of the shank to the opposite flat side. Thus, as can be appreciated, in the example using the numbers 0 through 9, one can present these digits in any sequence of five numbers. For example, one could have five holes all passing through the fifth line, so that the effective number being read is 55555.

Turning now to FIG. 5, there is seen a schematic diagram of the key 11 of the invention and associated apparatus for reading same. The device for reading the key can be contained in a suitable housing, not shown since this is a schematic type diagram. To read the key, it is inserted into the device which has fixed receptacle 33 receiving the base portion 21 of the key ill. The receptacle 33 additionally has a fixed pin 35. The key is inserted into the receptacle 33 such that the notch 25 passes over the pin 35 and allows the key to be fully seated therein. At this point, the pin 35 is then seated within the circumferential groove 23.

Fixed receptacle 33 is mounted on a rotatable plate 36. The base of the plate 36 is provided with hemispherical cams or extensions 37 as seen additionally in FIG. 6. The earns 37 will correspond in number to the sides R9 of the key. Thus, since in this example the key is five sided, there will be five earns 37 located on the bottom of plate 36. An arm 40 ofa microswitch 42 contacts the earns 37 as they are rotated. Connected to the microswitch is a bank of lights 44 which are actuated as the arm 40 is depressed.

The plate 36 is fixedly secured to a rotatable axle 38. Mounted on the axle 38 is a gear 39 which in turn is driven by motor 41 through a smaller gear 43, serving to rotate plate 36. Extending through plate 36 is an extension 45 of the axle 38. The extension 45 has a rectangular cross section and is thus seated in the slot 26. Additionally affixed to axle 38 is a cam 47 which contacts an arm 49 ofa microswitch 51.

Considering FIGS. and 7 together, an explanation of the operation of the device will be had. The key H, as indicated, is initially inserted into receptacle 33. in inserting the key, the

. pin 35 must pass through the opening 25 and seat in groove 23. Concurrently the extension 45 is seated in the slot 26 formed in the bottom of the key. After the key is inserted, it is then turned counterclockwise approximately 360 until the pin 35 strikes surface 28 located on the peripheral groove. This serves to rotate axle 38 and cam 47 to the starting position shown in FIG. 5. A clutch 52 mounted on the motor drive shaft 53 serves to allow small gear 43 to counter rotate during this winding step.

When the cam 47 is rotated to the starting position, the arm 49 of the microswitch serves to actuate the switch 51, which in turn energizes the entire circuit, including the bank of lights 44, and motor 41. When the key is turned to its starting position, side 1 is aligned with a bank of photocells 55 disposed oppositely of the bank of lights 44. Bank of photocells are located so as to receive the light passing through the key to each of the edges as they are rotated. When the key is in its starting position after having been rotated, side i is aligned with the bank of photocells 55, as schematically shown in FIG. 6. Lights are energized by microswitch 42, since in this position the arm 40 of the microswitch is depressed by one of the five extensions 37 on the rotatable plate 36. The key is then continuously rotated by the actuated motor 41, exposing successive sides 2 through 5 to the bank of photocells 55. As each side is aligned with the bank of photocells 55, microswitch 42 is tripped and lights 44 are lit. The purpose of energizing the lights when each side is aligned with the photocells is to eliminate reading holes backward. That is, if the lights 44 were continuously actuated, numbers could be read passing from the edge to a flat side in the opposite direction from which it is desired to read them. Thus, one effectively would be reading twice the number of holes that would be in the key, or alternatively be reading the same hole twice. As the key is rotated, arm 49 of microswitch 5i rides upon the cam 47 to its final upward position, at which time the microswitch 51 is deactivated turning off the circuit. The key is then realigned with its slot 25 in the base portion aligned with pin 35, and is ready for removal. As can be seen, pin 35 allows the key to be properly seated during its rotation movement and further prevents the key from being withdrawn prior to all ofthe numbers being read.

It is particularly desirable that the cam 47 be accurately controlled so that the circuit of the device will not be actuated until the key is fully rotated to its starting position. Thus, ifthe operator has not fully turned the key until pin 35 strokes stop surface 28, the deyicc will not be actuated.

It should be pointed out that the drawings are a mere illustration of one way in which the key of the invention can be rotated, and the associated lights and photocells be actuated. The main concept of the herein invention is so providing a multisided key with a plurality of holes at different levels therethrough, and rotating the key past a light source and a source to pick up the light transmitted through the holes, so that the location of each hold can be determined as indicated and read in a desired sequence. Thus, various other means for rotating the key and for energizing the circuit are within the scope of the herein invention. Additionally, it should be apparent that the invention will operate where the photocells are located at a flat side and the light source is disposed at an edge, opposite to that disclosed.

What i claim is:

1. A key capable of being read by a light source and photocells comprising:

a top portion for holding said key,

an elongated shank portion extending from said top, said shank portion being multisided, said shank portion having at least one hole drilled therethrough normal to the axis of said shank.

2. The key of claim 1 comprising:

said shank portion having a plurality of holes therethrough at different levels along its axis.

3. The key ofclaim I wherein:

each hole passes from an edge of said shank through the center axis thereof.

4. The key ofclaim 3 wherein:

each hole terminates on a flat side opposite the edge from which it begins.

5. in combination:

a key having an elongated shank portion extending from a top portion thereof, said shank portion being multisided, said shank portion having at least one hole drilled therethrough normal to the axis of said shank,

and means for determining the location of the holes in said shank portion.

6. The combination of claim 5 wherein said means for determining the location of said holes comprises:

a light source for disposition on one side of said shank portion,

and a plurality of light receiving means for disposition opposite said light source for receiving light passing through said holes.

7. The combination of claim 6 wherein:

said light receiving means is disposed adjacent the length of said shank portion.

8. The combination of claim 7 wherein:

the light receiving means can distinguish the location of a hole relative to the length of said shank.

9. The combination ofclaim 6 further comprising:

means for rotating the key relative to and between said light source and said light receiving means.

10, The combination of claim 9 further comprising:

means activating and deactivating said light source as said key is rotated such that said light source is on only when a desired hole to be determined is aligned therewith.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3006081 *Jun 8, 1959Oct 31, 1961Europ Handelsges AnstEncoding keying device
US3376661 *Jun 28, 1966Apr 9, 1968John G. HulettMultiple company credit card
US3500326 *Aug 17, 1965Mar 10, 1970Bowles BenfordMechanically programmed encoder system
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3688269 *Jan 15, 1971Aug 29, 1972Constellation Science And TechElectronic key lock having data coded key
US3702070 *Feb 19, 1971Nov 7, 1972Klaus W GartnerSequential signal producing means
US3790957 *Nov 24, 1972Feb 5, 1974L DukesKey automated data collection, control and source information system
US4392134 *May 13, 1981Jul 5, 1983Sach-Systemtechnik GmbhLocking device with programmable key
US7640185Dec 31, 1998Dec 29, 2009Dresser, Inc.Dispensing system and method with radio frequency customer identification
DE2516283A1 *Apr 14, 1975Oct 21, 1976Nixdorf Computer AgMultiple key locking control system - has system of light beams within lock barrel itself corresponding to cut pattern of key
DE2825874A1 *Jun 13, 1978Dec 21, 1978Valentin RappoportSchliesseinrichtung
DE3205586A1 *Feb 17, 1982Sep 8, 1983Duerrwaechter E Dr DoducoElektromechanische schliesseinrichtung
EP0358525A2 *Sep 8, 1989Mar 14, 1990W & T AVERY LIMITEDTransaction system
EP0358525A3 *Sep 8, 1989Sep 25, 1991W & T AVERY LIMITEDTransaction system
EP0816601A2 *Jun 6, 1997Jan 7, 1998Neves dos Santos, Paulo JoaquimOptoelectronic lock with optical guides
EP0816601A3 *Jun 6, 1997Oct 14, 1998Neves dos Santos, Paulo JoaquimOptoelectronic lock with optical guides
WO1998027519A1 *Dec 12, 1997Jun 25, 1998Yogendra Khimji RajaImprovements in or relating to credit cards
U.S. Classification235/458, 283/904, 250/221, 283/85, 283/75
International ClassificationG07F7/12, E05B49/00
Cooperative ClassificationE05B49/006, Y10S283/904, G07F7/08
European ClassificationE05B49/00M4, G07F7/08