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Publication numberUS3660832 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 2, 1972
Filing dateMar 19, 1970
Priority dateMar 19, 1970
Publication numberUS 3660832 A, US 3660832A, US-A-3660832, US3660832 A, US3660832A
InventorsHoshall Thomas C
Original AssigneeHoshall Thomas C
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for merchandising small mercantile items
US 3660832 A
Abstract
A plurality of display cases where each display case includes a door which can be moved from an open to a closed position and a plurality of separate compartments therein for receiving the mercantile items. A locking device is secured to each display case and each locking device is adapted to move into and out of a locking engagement with the door, such that the door may be locked in a closed position. A control panel is disposed remotely from the display cases and includes a plurality of lock actuating devices, each of which are connected to one of the locking devices in a display case, such that a particular lock actuating device can actuate the locking device in the case, thereby moving the locking device into and out of a locking engagement with the door; and a plurality of lock indicator devices, each of which is connected to one of the lock actuating devices, and is adapted to provide a visual indication that the locking device has been moved out of a locking engagement with the door.
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United States Patent Hoshall 1151 3,660,832 45] May 2,1972

[54] APPARATUS FOR MERCHANDISING SMALL MERCANTILE ITEMS Thomas C. Hoshall, P. O. Box 14100, Oklahoma City, Okla. 731 14 22 Filed: Mar. 19,1970

21 Appl.No.: 21,124

[72] Inventor:

3,093,994 6/1963 Richard ..70/277 3,436,726 4/1969 Dentz 1 ..340/274 2,866,181 12/1958 Gordonm; 340/274 UX 3,453,749 7/1969 Snedeker, Jr. ..35/35 C 3,267,591 8/1966 Locke et al. ..35/35 C Primary Examiner-John W. Caldwell Assistant ExaminerWilliam M. Wannisky Att0rneyDunlap, Laney, Hessin & Dougherty [57] ABSTRACT A plurality of display cases where each display case includes a door which can be moved from an open to a closed position and a plurality of separate compartments therein for receiving the mercantile items, A locking device is secured to each display case and each locking device is adapted to move into and out of a locking engagement with the door, such that the door may be locked in a closed position. A control panel is disposed remotely from the display cases and includes a plurality of lock actuating devices, each of which are connected to one of the locking devices in a display case, such that a particular lock actuating device can actuate the locking device in the case, thereby moving the locking device into and out of a locking engagement with the door; and a plurality of lock indicator devices, each of which is connected to one of the lock actuating devices, and is adapted to provide a visual indication that the locking device has been moved out of a locking engagement with the door.

6 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures SHEET 2 OF 3 PATENTEDMAY 2 I972 nan/awn? K Two/14,45 6. HOSHALL APPARATUS FOR MERCHANDISING SMALL MERCANTILE ITEMS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to improvements in apparatus for merchandising small mercantile items and, more particularly, but not by way of limitation, to apparatus for merchandising small mercantile items wherein the withdrawal of the mercantile from a plurality of display cases is controlled from a central location.

2. Description of the Prior Art In the US. Pat. No. 3,475,070, issued to Thomas C. Hoshall, there was described a display case for mercantile items having a width of about three inches or greater, basically comprising an enclosure having an aperture through one surface thereof. The aperture was large enough to admit a human hand and small enough to prevent withdrawal of the mercantile item therethrough. The enclosure further defined a space which was large enough to permit manipulation of the mercantile item therein by hand introduced through one of the apertures. This patent represented a considerable advance over the prior art and has subsequently enjoyed significant commercial success and commercial acceptance. This display case, however, did require a salesman to manually open same to remove an item therefrom for sale to a customer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention contemplates an apparatus for merchandising small mercantile items which basically includes a plurality of display cases and a control panel disposed among the display cases. Each display case is adapted for displaying a plurality of the mercantile items, and each display case basically includes: a cabinet, having a door disposed thereon, such that the door can be moved from an open to a closed position; a plurality of separate storage compartments disposed in each cabinet, each storage compartment being sized to receive and store one of the mercantile items; and a locking device which is secured to the cabinet and is adapted to move into and out of a locking engagement with the door, thereby securing the door in the closed position in one position of the locking device. The control panel is adapted to provide a central control position for operating the several display cases and, basically, it includes a plurality of lock actuating devices and a plurality of lock indicator devices. Each lock actuating device is connected to one of the locking devices and is adapted to actuate the locking device connected therewith to move that locking device into and out of locking engagement with the door. Each lock indicator device is connected to one of the lock actuating devices, and is adapted to provide a visual indication that the locking device has been moved out of locking engagement with the door.

An object of the invention is to provide a method of merchandising small mercantile items contained in a plurality of display cases wherein the display cases are all centrally controlled by an operator.

Another object of the invention is to provide a method of merchandising small mercantile items wherein the customer access to the mercantile items is controlled by an operator from a central control position.

A further object of the invention is to provide a method of merchandising small mercantile items which is adapted to provide faster and more efiicient customer service, yet maintain the operating personnel requirement at a minimum.

A still further object of the invention is to provide a method of merchandising small mercantile items which is adapted to efficiently and substantially reduce the number of thefts of such items.

Another object of the invention is to provide a more efficient inventory control for a marketing outlet for small mercantile items.

One other object of the invention'is to provide the method of merchandising stereo tape cartridges and the like which includes apparatus for displaying the tape cartridges, and apparatus permitting the customer to listen to, an audio reproduction of the tape cartridges wherein the display apparatus and the listening apparatus are both controlled from a central location.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will be evident from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate the various embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a plan view of a typical merchandising outlet incorporating the apparatus of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a front, pictorial view of a display case, shown therein having portions cut away for the purpose of clarity.

FIG. 3 is a partial sectional view of the display case of FIG. 2, taken substantially along the lines of 3-3 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a front, pictorial view of a control panel, shown therein secured in a counter.

FIG. 4A is a fragmentary, enlarged view of a portion of the central panel of FIG. 4. 7

FIG. 5 is a typical schematic drawing illustrating the customer service indicating the door locking control for one of the display cases, including the interconnection therebetween and the control panel.

FIG. 6 is a typical schematic drawing illustrating the interconnection between some of the item sensors and the control panel.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawing in detail, and FIG. 1 in particular, shown there and designated by the general reference character 10 is a typical merchandising outlet for merchandising small mercantile items, comprising: a plurality of display cases 16; a horseshoe-shapeddisplay counter I8, disposed among the display cases 16 and having'a control panel 20 secured thereto; and a plurality of listening'control centers 22.

Each display case 16 is adapted for displaying a plurality of mercantile items, such as stereo tape cartridges and the like, and as shown more clearly in FIGS. 2 and 3, each display case 16 basically comprises a cabinet 24 having a plurality of sides 26, which are shaped to define what may be referred to as an open end 28. The sides 26 of the cabinet 24 cooperate to define an enclosure, having an open space 30 therein.

Each cabinet 24 also includes a plural fixture 32, having a plurality of separate compartments 34 formed therein for supporting the mercantile items. Each plural fixture 32 is disposed in a portion of the space 30 formed in the respective cabinet 24, and is supported therein generally between the top and bottom sides 26T and 26B, respectively, of the respective cabinet 24.

As shown in FIG. 2, each plural fixture 32 is spaced a distance from the open end 28 of the respective cabinet 24. The spacing between the open end 28 and the plural fixture 32 is sized to permit one of the mercantile items to be grasped and withdrawn into the space for manipulation by hand.

Each plural fixture 32 also includes a plurality of sensors 38. One sensor 38 is disposed in a lower portion of each of the compartments 34 of each plural fixture 32, and each sensor 38 is positioned in an actuating proximity with one of the mercantile items and adapted to sense the presence or absence of the mercantile item therein. In a preferred form, the sensors 38 are miniaturized micro-switches, and are adapted to be actuated by the presence of a mercantile item in one of the compartments 34, thereby opening the contacts therein.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, a pair of channels 40 and 42 are secured in each cabinet 24, generally adjacent the open end 28 thereof. As shown more clearly in FIG. 2, the channels 40 and 42 are parallel and, in a preferred form, each channel 40 and 42 extends about the entire periphery formed by the sides 26 of the respective cabinet 24. Each channel 40 and 42 is sized to slidingly receive a door 44 or 46, in such a manner that each door and 46 may be independently slid in the respective channel 40 or 42 to an open or closed position.

Each door 44 and 46 is constructed of a rigid, transparent sheet and is provided with aplurality of spaced apertures 48 therethrough. Each aperture 48 has a diameter which is large enough to permit a human hand to be extended through the aperture 48, and yet a diameter small enough to prevent withdrawal of the mercantile item therethrough. For example, as employed currently in merchandising stereo tape cartridges, the standard tape cartridge is 3%inches at the shortest dimension and the apertures 48 are formed to be 3%inches in a diameter.

Each door 44 and 46 also includes a locking aperture 50 and 52, respectively, as shown more clearly in FIG. 3. The locking apertures 50 and 52 are each sized to slidingly receive a locking apparatus, and each aperture 50 and 52 is disposed such that when each of the doors 44 and 46 have been moved to a closed position, that is a position wherein the doors 44 and 46 substantially encompass the open end 28 of the cabinet 24, the apertures 50 and 52 are substantially aligned.

As shown in FIG. 3, a rigid support member 54 is disposed in each cabinet 24, and is secured on opposite ends thereof to the top side 26T and the bottom side 26B of the respective cabinet 24. The rigid support 54 is disposed near a central portion of the cabinet 24 and is positioned in close proximity to the adjacent portions of the channels 40 and 42.

A solenoid valve 56 is secured to a portion of the support 54, and is adapted to operate a locking arm 58 which extends therefrom. The solenoid valve 56 is operatingly connected to the locking arm 58, such that when the solenoid valve 56 is deeneergized the locking arm 58 is fully extended from the solenoid valve.

The solenoid valve 56 is disposed on the support 54, such that'in the deenergized state, as shown in FIG. 3, the locking arm 58 of the solenoid valve 56 will extend through the locking apertures 50 and 52, and ther eby securely hold the doors 44 and 46 in a closed or locked position. Conversely, when the solenoid valve 56 is energized, the locking arm 58 is retracted and is moved out of a locking engagement with the doors 44 and 46.

Each cabinet 24 also includes a plurality of door position sensing switches 60 and, in a preferred form and as shown in FIG. 2, at least one switch 60 is associated with each door 44 or 46. The switches 60 are adapted and positioned to be actuated by doors 44 and 46, respectively, thereby closing the contacts therein.

A frame 62 is formed around the outer periphery of each cabinet 24, generally encompassing the open end 28 thereof. Frame 62 is shaped to substantially cover the channels 40 and 42, to prevent unauthorized tampering and for aesthetic purposes. A central frame portion 64 extends generally across a central portion of the frame 62, and is disposed to substantially cover the support bar 52 to protect the locking mechanism, that is the switch 56 and the locking am 58, from unauthorized access. The frame portion 64 also serves to cover the overlapping portions of the doors 44 and 46 for aesthetic purposes.

Each cabinet 24 is supported in an operating position by a base structure 63 and as shown in FIG. 2, each cabinet 24 includes a mirror 65, which is secured to a portion of the top side 26T and extends generally at a 45 angle therefrom. The mirror 65 permits an operator to observe customer movements from a remote location.

A push-button service actuator 66 and a service lamp 68 are secured in a central portion of the frame portion 64.'The service lamp 68 and the push-button service actuator 66 are adapted to indicate that service attention is required at a particular cabinet, in a manner to be more fully described below.

As shown in FIG. 1, each listening control center 22 basically comprises a chair 70 and a customer control panel 72. Each control panel 72 includes a volume control knob 74 and a plurality of sound fidelity control knobs 75, all of which are adapted to permit a customer to control the volume and sound fidelity of the audio-signal produced from a remotely located tape player. Each control center 22 also includes a head-set 77 adapted to permit the customer to hear the audio from the tape player.

A control panel 20, as shown more clearly in FIGS. 4 and 4A, can be basically separated into three functional areas for clarity of description: the cabinet lock control,'the cabinet control and the customer listening control. The cabinet lock control basically comprises a plurality of toggle switches 76, a plurality of green, service indicator lamps 78, a plurality of red, lock indicator lamps 80, and a plurality of yellow door indicator lamps 82. One toggle switch 76, one service indicator lamp 78, one lock indicator lamp 80 and one door indicator lamp 82 are connected in a cooperating manner to provide the control for one display case 16. Each toggle switch 76 is of the single pole double throw type, having a set of A contacts and a set of B contacts. A typical control circuit showing the interconnection between a single display case 16 and the associated components on control panel 20 is shown schematically in FIG. 5.

As shown in FIG. 5, the solenoid valve 56 is connected in series with the B contacts of the toggle switch 76 to the power supply 83. It is therefore apparent, that by moving the toggle switch 76 to a position closing the B" contacts between the solenoid valve 56 and the power supply 76, the solenoid valve 56 will be energized, thereby moving the locking arm 58 out of locking engagement with the doors 44 and 46.

The door position sensing switches 60 are connected in series with the door indicating lamp 82. Thus, when the two switches 60 are in the closed position, indicating that both doors have been moved to the closed position, the door indicating lamp 82 will be lit. The push-button 66 interconnects the power source 83 with a chime 84, such that when the push button 66 is depressed,thereby closing the contacts, the circuit between the power source 83 and the chime 84 is completed, thus sounding the chime 84. The push-button service switch 66 also connects the service indicator lamp 78 with the power source 83.

A coil 88 is connected in series'with the service indicator lamp 78, and is sized and adapted to operate switch contacts 90. The coil 88 and the switch contacts 90 are adapted such that when the coil 88 is energized .the switch contacts 90 will be moved to the closed position. The switch contacts 90 are connected in series with the A contacts of the toggle switch 76 to the power source 83. It is apparent from the foregoing and from FIG. 5, that when the push-button switch 66 is depressed the service indicator lamp 78 will be lit, and the coil 88 will be energized thereby closing the switch contacts 90. When the push-button switch 66 is released, the coil 88 will remain energized via the interconnection between the switch contacts 90 and the "A contacts of the toggle76 with the power source 83, that is assuming the toggle 76 to be in a position closing the A contacts. Thus, the service indicator lamp 78 will remain lit after the push-button 66 has been released.

The service lamp 68 is connected in parallel with the lock indicator lamp 80, and this parallel arrangement is connected in series to the power source 83 via the 13 contacts of the toggle switch 76. Thus, when the toggle switch 76 is moved to a position closing the B" contacts, the indicator lamps 68 and 80 will be lit.

As shown in FIG. 4, the cabinet control portion of the control panel 20 basically comprises a plurality of panel sections 98. Each panel section 98, as shown more clearly in FIG. 4A, includes a plurality of mercantile item indicator lamps and a plurality of toggle switches 102, the number of item indicating lamps 100 corresponding to the number of toggle switches 102. A unit comprising one item indicating lamp 100 and one toggle switch 102 is associated with one of the compartments 34 of one of the plural fixtures 32.

As shown in FIG. 6, each item sensor switch 38 is connected in series with one of the item indicator lamps 100 and one of the toggle switches 102 with the power source 83. The schematic drawing, shown in FIG. 6, indicates a typical electrical connection between the storage compartments 34 and the associated components on the panel section 98, and as indicated therein a main switch 103 is interposed between the power sources and the remaining compartments in the item control circuit.

Referring again to FIG. 4, the control panel 20 also includes a plurality of customer listening control panel sections 106. Each listening control panel section 106 is adapted to cooperate with one of the listening control centers 22, and includes a tape player 108 adapted to reproduce audio intelligenc'e from a tape recording. The audio output of each tape player 108 is connected to the listening head set 77 (FIG. 1) in one of the listening control centers 22. The volume and fidelity controls of the tape player 108 are connected directly to the volume knob 74 and fidelity knobs 75, respectively, in one of the listening control centers 22 (See FIG. 1) in such a manner that an individual can control the volume and fidelity of the sound being reproduced from the tape player 108 while he is positioned in one of the listening control centers 22.

Each of listening control panel sections 106 also includes a tape player indicator lamp 110. Each tape player indicator lamp 1 is then connected to one of the tape players 108, and is adapted to provide a visual indication that the tape player 108 connected thereto has been actuated and is reproducing sound from a record tape disposed therein.

OPERATION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The merchandising outlet 10 is adapted to permit maximum efficiency in servicing customers, and yet maintain the number of sales personnel required at a minimum. The merchandising outlet 10 is also adapted to provide an efficient inventory control of the mercantile items, and to substantially reduce the number of thefts of such items. The merchandising outlet 10 is particularly adapted for merchandising small mercantile items, such as record tape cartridges, and the operation of same will be described below with reference specifically to such tape cartridges. It should be noted, however, that the basic apparatus can also be effectively utilized to merchandise other types of mercantile items.

Initially, a tape cartridge is placed in each compartment 34 of the various plural fixtures 32, thereby opening each item sensor switch 38. Each toggle 102 on each cabinet control panel section 98 is placed in the closed position and each main switch 103 is placed in the open position. Therefore, none of the item indicator lamps 100 will be lit. The doors 44 and 46 of each cabinet 24 are placed in the closed position, thereby closing each door position sensing'switches 60, thus lightingeach door indicating lamp 82. Each toggle switch 76 is placed in a position closing the A contacts therein.

A customer may examine the various tape cartridges stored in the compartments 34 by extending his hand through the appropriate aperture 48 in one of the doors 44 or 46 and removing the desired tape cartridge from the particular compartment 34. The tape cartridge may then be examined by manipulating same in the space between the plural fixture 32 and the door 44 or 46. However, as noted before, the tape cartridge cannot be removed via the apertures 48.

When the customer has selected a particular tape cartridge or cartridges, which he desires to purchase, the customer will depress the press-button switch 66 on the appropriate display case 10. When the customer depresses the press-button 66 on a particular display case 16, one of the chimes 84 will be sounded and one of the service indicating lamps 78 will be lit, thereby resulting in a visual and an audible indication that service attention is required at a particular cabinet 24.

The operator will then close the main switch 103 on the particular cabinet control panel 98 and move the toggle switch 76 to a position closing the B contacts therein. With the toggle switch 76 in this position, the solenoid s'witch 56 will be energized thereby moving the locking arm 58 to a position out of locking engagement with the doors 44 and 46. When the toggle switch is moved to the position closing 3" contacts, the

.A" contacts are opened, thereby deenergizing the coil 88 and removing the power supply 83 from the service indicator lamp 78.

Since the doors 44 and 46 of a particular display case 10 are not in an unlocked position, the customer can slide the doors 44 and 46 to an open position. The customer can then remove from the cabinet 24 the tape cartridges which he desires to purchase. As the customer removes the tape cartridges from the compartments 34, the particular item sensor switch 38 will close, thereby indicating that the tape cartridge has been removed from the particular compartment 34. When the sensor switch 38 is closed, in a manner described above, the circuit between the power source and the particular item indicating lamp will be complete, thereby lighting one of the item indicating lamps 100.

After the customer has removed all of the tape cartridges from the display case 16, i.e. all which he desires to purchase, the customer will then move the doors 44 and 46 to a closed position, thereby closing each door position sensing switch 60 of the particular display case 10. When the door position sensing switches 60 are closed, one of the door indicator lamps 82 will be lit, thereby indicating to the operator that the particular display case 16 is in the proper position for locking same. The operator will then move the toggle switch 76 to a position closing the A contacts therein, thereby opening the B contacts and deenergizing the solenoid valve 56. With the solenoid valve 56 in the deenergized position, the locking arm 58 thereof will move into a locking engagement with the doors 44 and 46 of the particular display case 16.

The customer will then bring the tapes to the service counter 18 so that the sales transaction may be completed. The item indicating lamps 100 on the particular cabinet control panel 98 will indicate to the operator the exact number of tape cartridges which have been removed by the particular customer from the display case 16. This particular feature assures an accurate accounting by the customer of the number of tapes removed by him for purchase from the display case 16.

The operator will then move each toggle 102 which then corresponds to an empty compartment 34 to the open position. In this manner, when the above described customer transaction is repeated for subsequent purchases, the only item indicating lamps 100 which will be lit will be those item indicating lamps 100 corresponding to the tape cartridges removed by that subsequent purchaser. After each transaction is completed, the'operator will move the main switch 103 to the open position, so that the item indicating lamps 100 will not be flashed on and off as customers are examining various tape cartridges via the apertures 48 in the doors 44 or 46.

Should a customer desire to listen to one of the tape cartridges, the customer may remove the particular tape cartridge from the display case 16, in a manner described above, and the operator will take the tape cartridge and direct the customer to a particular listening control center 22. The operator will then place the tape cartridge in a tape player 108, corresponding to a particular customer listening center 22, and activate the particular tape player 108. The tape player indicating lamp corresponding to the activated tape player 108 will be lit, thereby indicating to the operator those tape players 108 which are in operation.

The customer will listen to the tape being played by the tape player 108 via the head set 77. Each customer is able to individually control the volume and fidelity of the sound reproduction from the corresponding tape player 108 via the volume and fidelity knobs 74 and 75.

It is apparent from the foregoing, that the customer is allowed a maximum listening freedom and a full opportunity to evaluate the particular tape cartridge, without the necessity of having the customer load the tape player 108, nor providing excessive access to the tape player 108 by the customer, thereby reducing premature destruction of the various tape players and reducing the possibility of having such tape players converted by a thief.

' It is apparent from the foregoing that the apparatus described herein provides an efficient method of merchandising small mercantile items,wherein.the misappropriation of such items is reduced to a minimum, while allowing sufficient access of such items to permit an adequate examination thereof by the'customer prior to purchase. The apparatus also permits a number of display cases and listening control centers to be effectively managed by a reduced number of operators from a central position. The operatorstime may now be effectively utilized to demonstrate larger items generally marketed in such a merchandising outlet and which may be displayed about the main counter 18.

It is also apparent that at the end of a particular sales day, the operator may close all of the main switches 103 on all of the cabinet control panel sections 98 and close all of the toggle switches 102, thereby lighting all of the item indicating lamps 100 which are connected'to an empty compartment 34 in the plural fixtures 32. Thus, the operator has a visual indication of the number of tape cartridges sold during the day, thereby providing an efficient and efi'ective inventory control mechanism.

Changes may be made in the construction and the arrangement of the parts or the elements of the various embodiments as disclosed herein without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for merchandising small mercantile items comprising:

a plurality of display cases, each display case adapted for displaying a plurality of the mercantile items, each display case including:

a door, having a plurality of apertures formed therethrough in spaced apart relationship, said apertures being sized large enough to admit a human hand and small enough to prevent withdrawal of the mercantile item therethrough;

a cabinet, having a plurality of sides, said sides being shaped to define an open end and a space within the cabinet, a-portion of the cabinet generally adjacent the open end thereof being sized and shaped to receive the door, and to support the door such that the door can be moved from an open to a closedposition, said cabinets each including a door position sensing means secured to the cabinet, the sensing mans being positioned and adapted to sense the door in one position thereof;

plural means disposed within a portion of the space within the cabinet and supported therein, each of the plural means being shaped for supporting said mercantile items within the cabinet, the plural means being spaced a distance from the door, the space within the cabinet between the plural means and the door being large enough to permit one of the mercantile items to be grasped and withdrawn into the space for manipulation by a hand extended through one of the apertures in the door;

locking means secured to the cabinet, and being adapted to move into and out of a locking engagement with the door;

a control panel disposed among the display cases and adapted to provide a central control position for operating the several display cases, said control panel including: a plurality of lock actuating means, each lock actuating means being connected to one of the locking means and being adapted to actuate the locking means connected thereto to move the locking means into and out of a locking engagement with the door;

a plurality of lock indicator means, each lock indicator means being connected to one of the lock actuating means, and being adapted to provide a visual indication that the locking means has been {moved out of locking engagement with the door;

a plurality of door indicator means, each door indicator means being connected to one of the sensing means,

10 service indicator being connected to one of the service actuators, and being adapted to provide visual indication that service attention is required at a particular display case; and

l 5 sound reproducing means connected to each service indicator, the sound reproducing means being adapted to provide an audible indication that service attention is required at a particular display case.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 which is further characterized in that:

said control panel includes a plurality of tape players adapted to receive tape recordings and to reproduce therefrom audio intelligence, a plurality of tape player indicators, each tape player indicator being connected to one of the tape players, and being adapted to provide a visual indication that the tape player connected thereto has been actuated and is reproducing the sound from a tape disposed therein;

said apparatus further including, a plurality of listening control centers disposed among the several display cases, each listening control center including a panel;

a listening means connected to the panel, the listening means being connected to one of the tape players and adapted to permit the customer to hear the audio reproduced therefrom from a selected tape recording;

volume control means attached to the panel, and being connected to one of the tape players'and adapted to adjustably control the audio volume therefrom; and

fidelity control means attached to the panel, and being con- I nected to one of the tape players and adapted to adjustably control the audio fidelity therefrom. 3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the plural means is defined further to include:

a plurality of sensor means, each sensor means being secured in the plural means and positioned in an actuating proximity with one of the mercantile items to sense the presence of the mercantile item; and

wherein said control panel includes a plurality of mercantile item indicator means, each item indicator being connected to one of the sensor means and adapted to cooperate therewith to provide a visual indication of the presence of the mercantile in actuating proximity to the sensor means. 5 4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein each sensor means is further characterized as being a switch connected in series with one of the item indicator means; and

wherein the control panel is defined further to include:

a power supply; and a plurality of toggle switches, each toggle switch being connected in series between one of the sensor switches, one of the item indicator means and the power supply, the toggle switches thereby cooperating with the sensor switches and the item indicator means to provide visual 6 5 indication of the mercantile items removed from the plural means at a particular time, as well as a visual indication of the mercantile items removed from the plural means over a period of time. 5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein each display case is further defined to include a second door, having a plurality of apertures formed therethrough, said apertures being sized large enough to admit a human hand and small enough to prevent withdrawal of the mercantile item therethrough; and

wherein each cabinet is defined further as having a portion thereof, sized and shaped to receive the second door, and

9 r 7 to support the second door such that the door can be wherein the locking means is further defined to include: moved p Q a closed P a locking arm sized to extend through the locking aper- 6. The apparatus of claxm 5 wherem the first menuoned tures in the doors in the position h f when the door and the second door each include a locking aperture doors have been moved to the closed position; and

formed therethrough, the locking apertures being disposed 5 control means to move the locking arm mm and out of such that when each door has been moved to a closed POSlth I cki nuns tion, the locking apertures therein are substantially aligned; e 0 ape and m 4- w 1-

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4866661 *Mar 26, 1986Sep 12, 1989Prins Maurits L DeComputer controlled rental and sale system and method for a supermarket and the like
US5835700 *Aug 16, 1996Nov 10, 1998Seagate Technology, Inc.SCSI-coupled module for monitoring and controlling SCSI-coupled raid bank and bank environment
US5966510 *Dec 29, 1997Oct 12, 1999Seagate Technology, Inc.SCSI-coupled module for monitoring and controlling SCSI-coupled raid bank and bank environment
US6964321 *Sep 18, 2001Nov 15, 2005Outdoor Merchandising Solutions, LlcMethod and system for presenting merchandise at an outdoor paved surface
WO2000030503A1 *Nov 26, 1999Jun 2, 2000Nelle J Van BvDisplay case
Classifications
U.S. Classification360/137, 186/52, 340/568.8, 222/153.1
International ClassificationA47F3/00, A47F9/00, A47F10/02, A47F10/00, A47F3/12
Cooperative ClassificationA47F3/125, A47F3/002, A47F10/02, A47F9/00
European ClassificationA47F10/02, A47F3/12C, A47F9/00, A47F3/00D