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Publication numberUS3688947 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 5, 1972
Filing dateMay 3, 1971
Priority dateMay 3, 1971
Publication numberUS 3688947 A, US 3688947A, US-A-3688947, US3688947 A, US3688947A
InventorsArthur M Reichenberger
Original AssigneeMccann S Eng And Mfg Co Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Liquid dispenser and recorder means
US 3688947 A
Abstract
A liquor dispenser and recorder means particularly adapted for use in dispensing liquors in public barrooms, wherein a plurality of containers holding various priced liquors are provided with outlet fixtures cooperable with a stationary fixture engaging means, such that each outlet fixture of each container is physically distinctively cooperable with the engaging fixture so as to energize means for dispensing liquor from the respective container and energize an individual counter with respect to the value of the liquor in the respective container. In various embodiments, the manner in which each outlet fixture is physically distinctively cooperable with the engaging fixture may take the form of a variable length which functions to actuate none or one or more switches associated with the fixture to provide the necessary digital information to select the appropriate counter, or circumferential grooves may be provided in the outlet fixtures to cooperate with reoriented switches such that the grooves and the lands or ridges between the grooves effect the actuation or non-actuation of the switches, or a circumferential groove configuration may be utilized in conjunction with light sources and a plurality of photo cells whereby light impinges on the photo cells in combinations providing the desired information. As a variant of the last described encoding means, the grooves may be replaced with reflective circumferential bands about the outlet fixtures positioned to reflect the light from the sources onto only certain of the photo cells to provide the desired information.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent- Reich enberger 1151' 3,688,947 14 1 Sept. 5,1972

[54] LIQUID DISPENSER AND RECORDER MEANS [72] Inventor: Arthur M. Reichenberger, Phoenix,

52 u.s, c|. ...222/27,222/129.1,222/129.3

[51] Int. Cl. ..B67d5/08 [58] Field ofSearch ..222/23,42, 36, 27, 325,42, 3 tion AS a ivafiam of the last described encoding 1 means, the grooves may be replaced with reflective circumferential bands about the outlet fixtures posi- 222/l29.l, 129.3, 129, 132, I73

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,631,755 3/1953 Woodward ..222/28 3,341,073 9/1967 Arps et al. ..222/36 3,428,218 2/1969 Coja ..222/23 3,599,833 8/1971 Reichenberger ..222/23 Primary Examiner-Stanley H. Tollsberg Assistant ExaminerJames M. Slattery Attorney-Drummond & Phillips, William H. Drurnmond and James H. Phillips ABSTRACT A liquor dispenser and recorder means particularly adapted for use in dispensing liquors in public bar'- rooms, wherein a plurality of containers holding various priced liquors are provided with outlet fixtures cooperable with a stationary fixture engaging means, such that each outlet fixture of each container is physically ilistifietively 'absser'anewimae engaging fixture so as to energize means for dispensing liquor from the respective container and energize an individual counter with respect to the value of the liquor in therespective container. In various embodiments,

the manner in which each outlet fixture is physically distinctively cooperable with the engaging fixture may take the form of a variable length which functions to actuate none or one or more switches associated with the fixture to provide the necessary digital information to select the appropriate -counter,'or circumferential I grooves may be provided in the outlet fixtures to cooperate with reoriented switches such that the grooves and the lands or ridges between the grooves effect the actuation or non-actuation of the switches,

- or acircumfer'ential groove configuration-may be util- ,ized'in conjunction with light'sources and a pluralityof photo cells whereby light impinges on the photo cells in combinations providing the desired informationed to reflect the lightfrom thesources onto only certain of the photo cells' to provide the desired information.

' Means are also provided for securing semi-permanent storage on magnetic or paper tape of the activity of a dispensing station, and, where a plurality of stations are utilized, scanning means are provided for integrating informationfrom each station with additional, but related, digital information entered from a cash register to achieve a semi-permanent record of the complete activity of each station in conjunction with the encoded infonnation from the variously configured outlet fixtures. The semipermanent record may then be processed by a general purpose computer on a scheduled basis to withdraw performance, inventory, cost, etc., information as may be desirable. A more extensive installation in which a plurality of stations and cash registers remote from one another, such as encountered in a large hotel with multiple bars, utilizes direct communication with a general purpose computer to obviate the necessity for preparing the intermediate semi-permanent record.

9 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures PKTENTEDSEP 51912 688847 sum 2 ur a IISAC 6 .4

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83 MAGNETIC 4' DIGITAL RECORDER PAPEa TAPE PUNCH PROGRAM MEMORY STATION 1 29 ssawzcss" M ET: 5 l V 121 STATaoNID I D'G'TAL P TAPE u STATION 2 R PURPOSE OUANTH'Y AND PAPER LL COMPUTER sow-rue coma TAPE m STATlON 11) LL] TAT'ON N STA1|0N1 2 l $222120? 121 READER.

5mm 11 123 l I L EM? 133 3 TAPE I: O CASH O Recoaaza g g g RETAIL Emmi e o o o Pmce 1 1 CASH B328. 127 OPT\ONAL REGISTER CASH on cc CASH PERIPHERALS 1 CH a nsmsrsa D 'ACCSUNT N a I l 134m. 3 i i L CASH INVENTOB CASH g I nielsmw AETHURMREICHENBERGER DBAWERWITH' I N PRICE KEYS BY LIQUID DISPENSER AND RECORDER MEANS This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending application, Ser. No. 858,234, filed Aug. 7, 1969, for Liquid Dispenser and Recorder Means, said application Ser. No. 858,234 now being U.S. Pat. No. 3,599,833 to which reference is taken.

This invention relates to the liquid dispensing arts and, more particularly, to apparatus for accurately dispensing and for providing an accurate record of the dispensation of beverages.

The management of liquor dispensing and corresponding receipts relative to the operation of a barroom has posed many problems, one of which involves the attainment of a reasonable correspondence between the number ofdrinks poured and the cash received by the establishment.

In many barrooms, liquor is liberally poured and many drinks are on the house, so to speak, and it has therefore been difficult for management to keep anaccurate relationship between the amount of liquor used relative to the net income of the establishment.

While conventional shots of liquor are relatively inexpensive to the operator of a barroom, the overall expenses, including labor and overhead, necessitate a substantial charge for each mixed drink. Accordingly, the profits involved in the operation of a barroom depend upon accurate charging and maintenance of receipts relative to the corresponding drinks poured, mixed and served to customers.

It has been a great problem for the management of barrooms to maintain control of the number of drinks which are on the house; i.e., those which are deliberately or inadvertently served without collecting the proper amounts of monies for such drinks.

Heretofore, the management of barrooms has had difficulty in checking the efficiency of bartenders or other persons who mix drinks, serve them and collect the usual receipts therefor. There is a tendency for bartenders to overpour. v

The present invention comprises a novel liquid dispenser and recorder means particularly adapted for use in barrooms for dispensing and recording shots of liquor or other beverages normally sold to customers. The invention comprises a novel combination of elements, including a plurality of containers which hold variously priced liquors or beverages, said containers having outlet fixtures including physically distinctive elements which cooperate with respective stationary fixture engaging means so as to record each shot of liquor or drink of beverages dispensed in each one of a plurality of drink categories.

The invention also comprises a novel combination of elements, including means for vacuummatically removing predetermined amounts of liquor or beverages from any one of a plurality of containers, the combination including outlet fixtures on the containers, each having a spout provided with physically distinctive characand the relative prices thereof in accordance with the distinctive characteristics of each container outlet fixture and its spout portion.

The invention also comprises a novel combination of solenoid valve and vacuum source mechanism responsive to electrical switch means for withdrawing liquor or other beverages from the interior of various containers when spout portions of outlet fixture in connection therewith are engaged with stationary fixture engaging means of the invention; said containers having dip tubes extending to the bottom portions thereof, and novel air vent means all adapted to prevent unauthorized pouring from the containers, as well as siphoning liquid therefrom when not engaged with the stationary fixture engaging means of the invention.

Other features of the invention include novel modifications of the outlet fixtures coupled to the various containers of the invention; said outlet fixtures having physically distinctive identification means which may include various diameters and lengths of spout portions, as well as various means for operating electrical and opto-electric switches, such as mechanical switch actuating means or means including elements on the spout portions of saidoutlet fixtures which provide for distinctive lengths and/or configurations adapted to identify various prices of beverages in respective ones of said plurality of containers.

The invention also comprises novel means for measuring and dispensing liquors or beverages into glasses or other drinking receptacles automatically in response to vacuummatic or pressure differential withdrawal of such liquors or dispensers from any one of a plurality of containers having distinctive identification means thereon which automatically cause operation means for controllably withdrawing the contents and which also respond to record the withdrawal of the liquor or other contents from the respective containers of the invention.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a simple and reliable liquid dispenser and recorder means which may be economically installed in connection with liquor or beverage containers, and in relation to a stationary fixture engaging means of the invention for convenient use in barrooms or other establishments where liquors or other beverages are dispensed from any one of a plurality of individual containers.

Another object of the invention ,is to provide a liquid I dispenser and recorder means which is particularly adapted for use in the dispensing and recording liquors in barrooms in order to attain an accurate check with respect to the number of drinks poured and the relative receipts collected by bartenders or other employees who serve drinks to the general public.

Another object of the invention is to provide a novel liquid dispenser and recorder means having novel means for withdrawing liquor from any one of a plurality of individual containers having fixtures provided with novel and physically distinct spout portions to which a recorder of the invention responds in relation to a price or brand, and amounts of liquids dispensed from the containers.

Another object of the invention is to provide a novel liquid dispenser and recorder having novel vacuummatic, electrical and recording means which greatly facilitates rapid and accurate dispensation of liquors or other beverages and the accurate recording thereof.

Another object of the invention is to provide a liquid dispenser and recorder having a variety of novel identification devices adapted distinctively and individually to identify the price or brand of contents in any one of a plurality of containers and to automatically record dispensation therefrom in relation to a stationary fixture engaging means adapted to create a pressure differential in any one of said containers to thereby dispense liquid from the container into a beverage glass or other container.

Still another object of the invention is to provide means in conjunction with the dispensation and recording means and associated cash register or cash drawer means whereby a semi-permanent record is made on punched paper tape or encoded magnetic tape which can be periodically read into a computer suitably programmed to extract performance and inventory information from the tape supplied information.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a complete system in which a plurality of liquid dispensing and recording stations communicate directly with a computer to obviate the necessity for preparing a semi-permanent record and to make available instantaneously up-to-date information relating to each of the stations including any information which can be entered through a cash register or cash drawer in conjunction with the liquid dispensing and recording station.

The subject matter of the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of the specification. The invention, however, both as to organization and method of operation, may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing of which:

FIG. 1 is a vertical sectional view of a liquid dispenser and recorder of the invention showing mechanical features of the invention in section, and parts and portions in elevation to facilitate the illustration, and showing diagrammatically electrical wiring in connection therewith and in relation to electrical switches, liquid level sensing means, and recording means adapted to record the dispensation of liquids by the invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates three variant configurations for outlet fixtures and an alternative arrangement for the price and brand encoding switches which can be substituted into the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a typical outlet fixture showing in particular the outlet passage and breathing structure;

FIG. 4 is a detailed schematic of the recorder and control station of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 illustrates another novel encoding arrangement for the outlet fixtures utilizing opto-electronic devices and, sensing apparatus to provide cost and brand encoding;

FIG. 6 and 7 illustrate various configurations which the outlet fixtures utilized in the system of FIG. 5 can assume to accordingly vary the encoded information;

FIG. 8 illustrates an alternate embodiment for outlet fixtures for use in the system of FIG. 5, which alternate embodiment contemplates the use of circumferential reflective bands to effect the opto-electronic encoding;

FIG. 9 illustrates a multiple dispensing station multiple cash register system adapted to collect information stored on a temporary storage medium for subsequent computer analysis; and

FIG. 10 illustrates a still more extended system in which each station and each cash register as well as other peripheral equipment communicates directly with a central computer.

Referring now to FIG. 1, a stationary fixture support means is pivotally attached at a pivot point 21 to a mounting bracket 22 secured with screws to the underside of a bar counter 23. A fixture engaging orifice 24 comprising an outwardly and downwardly directed portion of the dispensing apparatus is adapted to receive an outlet fixture 40 secured to and within a bottle 41 of liquid to be dispensed in controlled quantities. The uppermost portion of the outlet fixture 40 can be manually pushed against a resilient gasket 25 having a centrally disposed opening into a passageway 26 which terminates in the upper portion of a -measuring chamber 34. The measuring chamber 34 is held normally closed by a spring loaded valve 48 closing off an opening 60 at the lower end of the measuring chamber 34. The valve 48 is biased to the closed position by means of a compression spring 61 which urges a lever arm 62 upwardly. The valve arm 62 is coupled directly to the spring loaded valve 48 by the rod 63 and also pivots about a point 50 in unison with a downwardly directed release lever 64 which terminates, at its lower end, with a rubber dispenser bar 49 against which a glass 65 may be pressed to effect the release of the contents of the measuring chamber 34 into the glass by opening the valve 48 in the obvious manner through the linkage.

Liquid from the bottle 41 is pulled into the measuring chamber 34 by means ofa vacuum set up within the chamber from a vacuum pump 37 under control of a solenoid valve 33. When the outlet fixture 40 is inserted into the fixture engaging orifice 24, the fixture support means 20 pivots generally upwardly about the pivot point 21 bringing fill cycle switch 30 into sufficient contact with the upwardly extending tongue portion 66 of the mounting bracket 22 to actuate the fill cycle switch 30 closing the contacts therein. As a result, through means to be described in further detail below, electrically driven vacuum pump 37 is started an solenoid valve 33 actuated such that the measuring chamber 34 is evacuated because of communication with the vacuum pump 37 through a conduit 67, the solenoid valve 33, and a passageway 68 which opens into the measuring chamber 34. It will be observed that the outlet fixture 40 has an axial passage 69 which joins a dip tube 42 by means of a flexible connection 43. The lower end of the dip tube 42 tends to assume the position shown in FIG. 1 thereby drawing liquid from the lowest portion of the bottle 41 upwardly through the flexible connection 43 and the axial passage 69 into the passageway 26 and into the chamber 34 when the chamber is evacuated as previously described by inserting the outlet fixture 40 firmly against the resilient gasket 25 within the fixture engaging orifice 24.

First and second level detector probes 31 and 32 terminate at different levels within the measuring chamber 34 and are electrically coupled, through electrical cable system 70 to a recorder and control station 36 which will be described in detail below. The electrical cable system 70 also provides independent electrical communication between the vacuum pump 37, the fill cycle switch 30, and three additional momentary switches 27, 28, and 29 with the recorder and control station 36. The momentary switch 29 is adapted for manual actuation whereas the momentary switches 27 and 28 are actuated by actuators 38 and 39 which are normally biased to the non-actuated position by compression springs 71 and 72, respectively. By providing outlet fixtures 40 having different lengths according to the assigned price 'of the beverage to be dispensed, (1) both switches 27 and 28 may be actuated, (2) only the switch 27 may be actuated or, (3) neither of the switches 27 and 28 may be actuated to provide three different price categories.

The condition of the switches 27 and 28 is coupled to the recorder and control station 36 through the cable system 70 to be utilized in a manner which will be described in detail below.

FIG. 2 illustrates a minor variation in the mutual configurations of the outlet fixture 40 and the momentary switches 27 and 28 which provides price information to the recorder and control station 36. It will be observed in FIG. 2 that switches 27a and 28a are provided with actuators 73 and 74 which extend into the fixture engaging orifice 24 to key into circumferential depressions 75 to actuate neither one, either one or both the switches 27 and 28 to achieve four levels of pricing information. Fixtures 40b and 400 illustrate keying combinations to provide different pricing information to the recorder and control station 36 and also illustrate that outlet fixtures provided with circumferential keying information may .also be provided with different lengths in order to accommodate both the switch actuating arrangement shown respectively, in FIGS. 1 and 2. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the amount of encoded information can be extended as desired by adding switches and commensurate switch actuating means to the outlet fixtures.

The internal structure of the outlet fixture 40, whether it be of the variable length type, the type with circumferential keying grooves as shown in FIG. 2, or a type with an encoding method to be described presently, preferably has the internal structure illustrated in FIG. 3. In addition to the axial passage 69 through which liquid contained within the bottle 41 is dispensed, it is desirable to provide a breather passageway 45 in conjunction with a ballcheck 46 which functions to allow air to enter the bottle 41 while it is in the normal upright dispensing position preventing, however, beverage from escaping if the bottle is turned upside down. As a further precaution, air escape holes 47 are provided closely adjacent the upper terminal of the axial passage 69 in order to prevent vacuum removal of the bottle contents by unauthorized pumps. A flexible chain or strap 44, which may be sealed by a peripheral band about the neck of the bottle 41, may be utilized to provide still further against unauthorized or unnoticed removal of the outlet fixture 40 from the bottle in which it is stoppered.

The configuration of the outlet fixtures 40, 40a, 40b, and 400 so far described set up conditions of the switches 27 28, 29, and 30 which provide digital information to the recorder and control station 36 in conjunction with the lower and upper level detector probes 31 and 32. The total information provided permits recording the number of drinks dispensed in each price category and also the number of drinks dispensed in greater individual volume under control of the upper level detector probe 32. Thus, recorder and control station 36 may include a martini counter 107 responsive to the number of drinks dispensed under control of the upper level detector probe 32 which might also be called the martini probe. A low price counter 108, a

.medium price counter 109, and a high price counter 110 are provided, each counter accumulating the number of drinks dispensed in the equivalent price range, each counter being activated according to the combination of the switch contacts as previously described. Of course, as previously noted, it will be clear to those skilled in the art that more different drink categories can be readily incorporated by simply increasing the number of switches activated with a corresponding increase in differently configured outlet fixtures 40.

FIG. 4 illustrates an electro-mechanical version of the circuitry contained within the recorder and control station 36 and further includes representations of the momentary contact switches 27, 28, 29, and 30, the level detector probes 31, 32, the solenoid valve 33, and the electrically driven vacuum pump 37. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, a 24 volt d-c power supply of conventional'design is energized from a standard 1 l5 volt line source. 24 volts d-c is selected as the nominal power supply voltage simply because 24 volt relays are readily available and, additionally, the use of the lower voltage provides a safety factor. Nonetheless, as will become more apparent as the description proceeds, the selection of 24 volts d-c is simply a design choice and can be varied as necessary to accommodate the available components.

In addition to the 24 volt d-c power supply 100, the recorder and control station 36 contains relays I02, 103, 104, 105, and 106, each relay having multiple contact sets as clearly shown in FIG. 4. For purposes of clarity, the relays are shown with the contacts in their de-energized position in FIG. 4. The counters 107, 108, 109, and 110 are ordinary pulse actuated counters which respond to a positive pulse by advancing one digit. A time delay relay 111 is also incorporated into the circuitry to provide logical continuity of multiple dispensing operations for reasons which will be set forth below.

It will be observed that, as long as the relay 103 is deenergized, the positive side of the 24 volts d-c, which is applied to terminal 6 of the relay 103, is available from terminal 5 to one contact of the manually operated momentary switch 29 (which may be designated the martini set up switch), the fill cycle switch 30, the terminal 8 of the relay 102, and the terminals 6 of each of the relays 104, 105, and 106. One side of the H5 volt a-c source is applied directly to the solenoid valve 33 and the vacuum pump 37 which are disposed in parallel. The other side of the a-c power source is connected to the terminal 6 of the relay 102, and the other power lead to the solenoid valve 33 and vacuum pump 37 are connecteddirectly to the terminal 7 of the relay I02.

Assuming first that the martini set up switch 29 is not actuated manually, the contacts of the fill cycle switch 30 will close when a bottle is inserted into the fixture engaging orifice 24 to pivot the fixture support means 20 about its pivot point 21 as previously described. As a result, the circuit is completed to the coil of the relay 102 which causes the contacts thereof to assume their alternate position. Thus, terminals 6 and 7 are made up to energize the solenoid valve 33 and the vacuum pump 37. Referring simultaneously to FIG. 1 and FIG. 4 as the description proceeds, energization of the solenoid valve 33 and the vacuum pumps 37 sets up a vacuum within the measuring chamber 34 whereby the contents of the bottle 41, which are in communication with the atmospheric, comes to be withdrawn through the passageway 26 into the measuring chamber 34 which is sealed off at its lower end by the spring loaded valve 48. Inasmuch as the energization of the relay 102 makes up the terminals 9 and 11, the positive d-c voltage is applied to one terminal each of the momentary switches 27 and 28 which, according to the configuration of the outlet fixture 40, may neither be actuated, only the switch 27 actuated, or both the switches 27 and 28 actuated, indicating low, medium or high price beverages.

It will be noted that the negative side of the 24 volt dc power supply 100 is connected directly to the measuring chamber 34 which may be of a conductive material. Alternatively, a probe connected to the negative side of the power supply may simply be provided at a low point in the measuring chamber 34. As the level of the beverage rises, it will contact the lower level detector probe 31 and, since the beverages contemplated have some conductivity, a circuit is closed between the negative side of the 24 volt power supply 100 and the base electrode of a transistor Q1 in the level detector circuit 101 through the terminals 4 and 1 of the still deenergized relay 104. The level detector circuit 101, which is simply a high gain circuit of notorious configuration and in merely exemplary, includes cascaded amplifier stages Q2 and Q3 which, along with the transistor Q1, are powered directly from the 24 volt power supply 100, and the collector electrode of the transistor Q3 drives relay puller transistor Q4 sufficiently hard to clamp the collector electrode of O4 to virtually the potential of the negative side of d-c power supply 100. The sensitivity of the level detector 101 may be adjusted by means of potentiometer 99 in the base circuit of transistor Q2. Since the terminal of relay 103 is connected directly to the relay puller transistor 04 and the terminal 2 is connected directly to the positive side of the 24 volt power supply 100, relay 103 is very quickly energized when the beverage in the measuring chamber 34 contacts the lower level detector probe 31. As a result of the energization of relay 103, terminal 6 makes up with terminal 7 rather than terminal 5 which immediately causes relay 102 to drop out thereby de-energizing the solenoid valve 33 and the vacuum pump 37. In its de-energized position, the solenoid valve 33 opens to atmospheric and thus immediately removes the vacuum from within the measuring chamber 34 to cut off the beverage flow into the measuring chamber. The beverage within the measuring chamber 34 may then simply be dispensed by pushing the glass 65 against the rubber dispenser bar 49 in the manner previously described.

Assuming that an outlet fixture 40 is utilized in a configuration representing a low price beverage such that insertion into the fixture engaging orifice 24 actuates neither of the switches 27 or 28. In that event, when the relay 102 is energized through the fill cycle switch 30, terminals 9 and 11 make up to provide positive 24 volts d-c which passes through terminals 11 and 8 of relay 104 and terminals 11 and 8 of relay 105 to advance the low price counter 108 one-half count. When the measuring chamber 34 has been filled to energize the relay 103 as previously described to interrupt the positive 24 volts, terminals 9 and 11 of relay 102 break to permit the low price counter 108 to complete the remaining one-half of the count.

Assuming now a condition in which an outlet fixture 40 is configured to actuate the momentary switch 27, but not the switch 28 when it is inserted into the fixture to initiate a dispensing cycle. With the contacts of the switch 27 closed, the coil of relay 105 is energized to provide a path to the medium price counter 109 between the terminals 1 l and 9 of energized relay 102, between terminals 11 and 8 of de-energized relay 104, between-terminals 11 and 9 of energized relay 105 and between terminals 11 and 8 of de-energized relay 106 to initiate the first one-half count. When the level detector energizes relay 103, the energy to the other relay coils is interrupted as previously indicated to terminate the pulse to the medium price counter 109 which thereby completes the second one-half count.

In a third condition in which an outlet fixture 40 is configured to actuate both the momentary switches 27 and 28, the high price counter 110 rather than the medium price counter 109 is advanced in the manner just described for the medium price counter, the pulse, however, being coupled to the high price counter 110 by the energization of the relay 106 through the switch 28 which makes up terminals 11 and 9 rather then 11 and 8.

In order to de-activate the lower level detector probe 31 and activate the upper level detector probe 32 to provide a greater quantity of beverage in the measuring chamber 34 before dispensation is ceased, as for example, when a martini is being dispensed, the martini set up switch 29 is manually depressed to energize the relay coil to the relay 104 which causes terminals 11 and 9 of relay 104 to be made up rather than terminals 11 and 8 for each of the three previously discussed conditions. Inasmuch as the martini counter 107 is connected directly to terminal 9 of the relay 104, the pulse initiating the first one-half count is directed thereto and the count is completed when relay 104 drops out as a result of the level of the dispensed liquid within the dispensing chamber 34 reaching the upper level detector probe 32. The upper level detector probe 32, rather than the lower level detector probe 31, is coupled to the base electrode of transistor Q1 because terminals 1 and 3, rather than 1 and 4, of relay 104 are made when relay 104 is energized.

In each instance set forth above, when relay puller transistor Q4 brings about the energization of relay 103, terminals 6 and 7 are made up to energize time delay relay 111 thereby breaking terminals 1 and 4 of the time delay relay for a predetermined time increment after which terminals 1 and 4 automatically remake. The purpose of time delay relay 111 is to provide the operator with sufficient time to remove the bottle from which the beverage is being dispensed after he has brought the glass 65 against the rubber dispensing bar 49 which drains the measuring chamber 34 and thus breaks the contact with which each of the probes 31 and 32 are in circuit. If, for example, the outlet fixture 4 were still in the dispensing position when the measuring chamber was drained, another fill cycle would be inadvertently instituted if the time delay relay 1 l 1 did not temporarily incapacitate. the dispensing apparatus.

While the components and logic within the recorder and control station 36 has been described in an electromechanical embodiment, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that several relays and the entire logic structure may be easily duplicated with solid state switching apparatus which is notoriously well known in the art and which has the further advantage of improved reliability and reduced cost in quantity manufacture.

Attention is now directed to FIG. which illustrates another means for encoding information into outlet fixtures to be utilized with bottles 41 of beverages to be dispensed. In the modification shown in FIG. 5, the container 41 is provided with an outlet fixture 74 having information encoded by means of a series of circumferential grooves 76 which, in conjunction with the ridges 77 selectively allow light sources 78 to energize photo cells 79 which, in turn, provide encoded information to an amplifier and decoder unit 80 as well as a single amplifier 81 which functions to sense that the outlet fixture 74 has been inserted to its complete extent. Amplifier 81 drives a relay 82 which serves the same function as the fill cycle switch 30; that is, institutes the fill cycle by providing power to the apparatus. Similarly, a martini switch 83 serves precisely the same function as the martini switch 29 previously described by inactivating the lower level detector probe 31 and activating the upper level detector probe 32. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the amplifier and decoder apparatus 80 can be a straightforward handbook circuit configuration providing a separation function to actuate any one. of the counters 84, 85, 86, 87, and 88 up to an Nth counter 89, the limit being determined by the number of combinations available, which in turn is determined by the number of photo cells 79 which can be separately controlled. FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate other exemplary configurations providing different information input to the amplifier and detector 80. It will be noted that each of the outlet fixtures 74, 74a, and 74b terminate in a ridge rather than a groove in order to indicate to the amplifier 81 that the outlet fixture has been fully inserted such that the dispensing cycle may be instituted. It should be apparent that the light sources 78 and the photo cells 79 are not diametrically opposed from one another with respect to the outlet fixture 74 but must be sufficiently offset to permit the light to pass through the ridges substantially tangentially to the smaller diameter portions thereof to reach the selected ones of the photo cells 79.

FIG. 8 illustrates a variation in the photoelectric sensing apparatus in which the outlet fixture 74c is provided with one or more reflective bands 90 which serve to effect the encoding in place of the circumferential grooves and ridges. If the reflective bands are utilized, it is necessary to reorient the light sources 78 and the photo cells 79 such that light from the light sources will impinge upon the corresponding photo cell only if a reflective band is aligned between the two when the outlet fixture 74 is in the dispensing position.

Because the amplifier and detector 80 can readily interpret and segregate the information provided by the photo cells 79 and the martini switch 83, it is an easy matter to provide a decoded output for driving a conventional magnetic digital recorder or paper tape punch 91 which therefore achieves a permanent or semipermanent record of all transactions recorded on the counters 84-89 and may be remotely located as a further precaution against tampering.

FIG. 9 illustrates a more extensive system in which provision is made for recording each transaction made at one of a plurality of stations 120, 121, and 122 onto magnetic or paper digital tape by means of an appropriate digital recorder for subsequently feeding information recorded on the recording medium to a computer for analysis. Provision is made in the system of FIG. 9 to feed information recorded on the recording medium to a computer for analysis. Provision is made in the system of FIG. 9 to feed information from a cash register 123 or cash drawer 124 to the digital recorder 125 to supplement the information brought in from the dispensing station. By way of example, the cash register 123 or cash drawer 124 can provide encoded information corresponding to an employer number, a retail price, a tax and miscellaneous charge, whether a transaction is by cash or credit card, and a charge account number. Cash registers with the capability of providing such output are notoriously well known in the computer arts and simply provide binary coded signals on a sufficient number of lines to the scanner 126 which also comprises apparatus notoriously well known in the computer arts. Thus, the scanner 126 may interrogate the several stations and the cash register or cash drawer sequentially or, as is common with more sophisticated systems, may scan on an on-demand basis to achieve higher scan rates although extraordinarily high scan rates common to the computer industry are riot deemed necessary to be utilized in the present invention.

By way of example, as to the manner in which the system of FIG. 9 may be utilized, a bartender at station number two-121 may dispense three drinks, each of which is coded by its outlet fixture 40 or 74, and this information is transferred by the scanner 126 to the digital tape recorder 125 to be stored on the recording medium along with a station identification which may be simply wired into each individual station as a different digital code. The bartender then utilizes the cash register 123 by pushing the button identifying himself, ringing the retail price and tax of each drink, and pushing a button indicating a cash or credit card transaction. As previously indicated, it is well within the capabilities of present day equipment to also provide for encoding such further information as a charge account number or the like. The scanner 126 reads the information provided from the cash register 123 and also transfers it to the digital tape recorder 125 for temporary storage. Periodically, such as once per shift or once per day, the encoded tape may be removed from the digital tape recorder 125 and entered into an appropriately programmed general purpose computer from which it is a simple matter to extract such information as the number of drinks dispensed per shift by each bartender, the number of drinks rung up by the bartender, the total dollar cost of the drinks dispensed, the total value of the drinks sold (the general purpose computer, of course, may be provided with cost information), cost/sales percentage ratio, tax, movement of each brand, recommendations for ordering stock or requisitioning stock from a stock room, accounts receivable, figures to charge card customers, direct billing to hotel rooms or the like, etc.

FIG. is directed to a block diagram illustrating a large scale operation, such as a hotel with multiple bars, wherein a general purpose computer with a modest amount of free time can be utilized to accept the information previously described directly. The

digital information from the stations 120, 121, and 122,

which may be located completely remotely from one another, and the information from cash registers 123, 127, and 128, which may be, respectively, proximate the stations 120, 121, 122, are all coupled to the input/output interface 129 which combines the scanner function with the capability for communicating directly with a general purpose computer 130 and peripheral equipment such as a tape reader 133, a tape recorder 134 and other optional equipment 135 in the manner usual to computer systems. Intercourse between the input/output interface 129 and the computer 130 is carried outunder control of the program 131 utilizing a digital memory 132 in the classical manner. With the system diagramed in FIG. 10, information comparable to that collected from the digital tapes produced in the system of FIG. 9 are available on an on-demand basis without the necessity for physically transferring the tapes and, further, complexes of almost any conceivable size can be handled with the utmost accuracy and speed.

While the principles of the invention have now been made clear in an illustrative embodiment, there will be immediately obvious to those skilled inthe art many modifications of structure,.arrangement, proportions, the elements, materials, and components, used in the practice of the invention which are particularly adapted for specific environments and operating requirements without departing from those principles.

I claim: v

1. In a liquid dispensing and recording system, the combination of: a plurality of portable containers; an outlet fixture coupled to each of said containers; a dip tube coupled to each of said outlet fixtures and disposed in a respective one of said containers; each dip tube having an open end disposed to receive liquid at a normally lower interior area of a respective one of said containers; each of said outlet fixtures having a delivery spout extending away from a respective one of said containers; each delivery spout communicating with a respective one of said dip tubes; a stationary fixture having an outlet fixture engaging means sealingly engagable by respective spouts of said outlet fixtures; each outlet fixture having first identification means carried by each of said outlet fixtures and adapted to identify the contents of respective containers; said fixture engaging means having second identification means corresponding to and cooperable with said first identification means and adapted to cooperate in identification of said contents; said first identification means being individually distinctive with respect to the contents of eachcontainer of said plurality of containers; said first identification means comprising characteristics encoding a plurality of actuating means, each said actuating means having one of two possible states for providing a code identifying the contents of respective containers; said second identification means comprising a plurality of electrical means having two possible states, the state of each of said electrical means being responsive to the state of one of said actuating means for generating an electrical code combination; each of said portable containers being manually selectively and individually movable and engagable relative to said stationary fixture to accomplish identification and dispensation of liquid from each respective portable container; a source of vacuum communicating with said fixture engaging means; valve control means operable by engagement of a selected one of said outlet fixtures with said fixture engaging means; a shutoff valve coupled with said valve control means and operable thereby; said shutoff valve disposed to establish and terminate communication of said source of vacuum with said fixture engaging means; a dispensing cavity communicating with said fixture engaging means and said source of vacuum and having a liquid outlet at its lower portion, whereby liquid is drawn from said container via said dip tube and into said dispensing cavity by said source of vacuum when said valve control means is operated upon engagement of a spout of one of said outlet fixtures with said fixture engaging means; and a recorder means coupled to said second identification means and responsive to said electrical code combination for recording the operation thereof and resultant dispensation of respective liquid from said liquid dispenser.

2. The liquid dispensing and recording system of claim 1 in which said first identification means comprises the length of said delivery spout of each of said outlet fixtures, and said second identification means includes a plurality of switches, each said switch being provided with an actuator of such length and orientation that the actuation of each individual switch responds to a different minimum length of said delivery spout, the combination of actuated switches generating said electrical code combination.

3. The liquid dispensing and recording system of claim 1 in which said first identification means comprises at least one circumferential groove about said delivery spout of each of said outlet fixtures, and said second identification means includes a plurality of switches, each said switch being provided with an actuator of such length and orientation that the actuation of each individual switch is responsive to the absence of a circumferential groove in said delivery spout at the position at which its corresponding said actuator abuts said delivery spout, the combination of actuated switches generating said electrical code combination.

4. The liquid dispensing and recording system of claim 1 in which said first identificationmeans comprises circumferential bands having selectively light transmitting and light non-transmitting characteristics, and said second identification means comprises:

A. light emitting means directed toward said circumferential bands; B. a plurality of light responsive means for assuming a first electrical characteristic when light impinges thereon and a second electrical characteristic when no light impinges thereon, each of said light responsive means being oriented with respect to one of said circumferential bands and to 'said light emitting means such that said first electrical characteristic is assumed by a given band when the corresponding one of said circumferential bands has light transmitting characteristics and said second electrical characteristic is assumed by a given band when the corresponding one of said circumferential bands has light non-transmitting characteristics; and

C. means for translating the combination of said first and second characteristics assumed by said plurality of light responsive means into said electrical code combination.

5. The liquid dispensing and recording system of claim 4 in which said light transmitting circumferential bands consist of bands of light reflecting material.

6. The liquid dispensing and recording system of claim 1 in which dip tube includes a flexible portion intermediate along its length such that said open end thereof gravitationally seeks the lowest possible point,

limited by its length, within the respective one of said containers in which it is disposed.

7. The liquid dispensing and recording system of claim 1 which includes:

A. a plurality of said stationary fixtures;

B. a general purpose computer having information output means; and

C. means coupling each of said stationary fixtures to said general purpose computer for providing information input thereto.

8. The system of claim 7 which further includes transaction information encoding means utilized in conjunction with each of said stationary fixtures for entering supplementary information into said general purpose computer.

9. The system of claim 7 in which said means coupling each of said stationary fixtures to said general purpose computer comprises a scanner and apparatus for preparing a semi-permanent record for subsequent reading into said computer.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification222/27, 377/21, 377/13, 222/129.1, 222/129.3, 377/53
International ClassificationB67D1/00, B67D1/12, G07F13/00, B67D1/10, G07G1/10, B67D1/08
Cooperative ClassificationB67D1/10, G07F13/00, B67D1/08, G07G1/10, B67D2001/0811, B67D1/1238
European ClassificationB67D1/12B6D, B67D1/08, G07F13/00, B67D1/10, G07G1/10