US 3844232 A
Apparatus is provided to discriminate between authorized and unauthorized persons for permitting only authorized persons to operate a cash register. In its preferred form, the apparatus comprises a bullet-proof booth which encloses the register and which has a platform mounted on springs for displacement downwardly when a person stands on the platform to operate the register. Switch means provided below the platform cooperates with circuit means to supply power to the register only when a door to the booth is closed and to prevent electrical power from being supplied to the register when the weight of the person on the platform does not correspond to a preset authorized weight, or when an attempt is made to straddle the platform. In addition, photoelectric switches and light beams are provided in the booth to discriminate between the height of authorized and unauthorized persons.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Robinson 51 Oct. 29, 1974 CASHHER'S BOOTH  Inventor: James L. Robinson, 4706 Hazel Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19143  Filed: Sept. 4, 1973  Appl. No.: 394,132
Related US. Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 219,426, Jan. 20,
Primary ExaminerDennis L. Taylor Attorney, Agent, or Firm1-lowson & Howson  ABSTRACT Apparatus is provided to discriminate between authorized and unauthorized persons for permitting only authorized persons to operate a cash register. In its preferred form, the apparatus comprises a bullet-proof booth which encloses the register and which has a platform mounted on springs for displacement downwardly when a person stands on the platform to operate the register. Switch means provided below the platform cooperates with circuit means to supply power to the register only when a door to the booth is closed and to prevent electrical power from being supplied to the register when the weight of the person on the platform does not correspond to a preset authorized weight, or when an attempt is made to straddle the platform. In addition, photoelectric switches and light beams are provided in the booth to discriminate between the height of authorized and unauthorized persons.
Embodiments are disclosed wherein access to the receptacle is afforded when either height, weight or weight and door-closure conditions are met.
15 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTED [m 29 1914 SIEEI 1 0f 3 FIGI.
CASHIER'S BOOTH The present application is a continuation-in-part of copending application Ser. No. 219,426, filed on Jan. 20, I972, now abandoned, for a Cashiers Booth.
The present invention relates to theft-prevention apparatus, and more particularly, the present invention relates to apparatus for use in conjunction with a cash register to permit only authorized persons to operate the register.
At present, it is uncommon for business places such as drug stores, taverns, real-estate offices, and the like, in certain high-crime" areas to be robbed frequently, often by armed robbers. As a result, businesses in these areas sometimes find it difficult to obtain theft insurance, and in many instances they are forced to become self-insurers. In most business establishments, the cash register is located as to be readily accessible to clerks authorized to operate the register; however, the same ready accessibility renders the establishment susceptable of being robbed successfully.
With the foregoing in mind, it is the primary object of the present invention to provide means for permitting a cash register to be operated only by authorized persons.
It is another object of the present invention to provide apparatus for use in conjunction with a cash register to discriminate automatically between persons authorized to have access to the register and persons not so authorized and to permit the register to be operated by only those authorized.
It is a further object of the present invention to pro vide means for discriminating between persons authorized and unauthorized to have access to a receptacle for valuables by comparing the weight of the person seeking access with a preset authorized weight and/or by comparing the height of the person seeking access with a preset authorized height.
As a still further object, the present invention provides apparatus which permits an authorized person to have access to a cash register only when standing in a bullet-proof booth containing the register so that he is there safe from physical harm and able to resist a robbers demands.
More specifically, the present invention provides apparatus for use in conjunction with an electricallyoperated cash register to permit only authorized persons to obtain access to the register. The apparatus comprises a vertically-movable platform, means mounting the register sufficiently close to the platform to require a person to stand on the platform when using the register, switch means cooperable with the platform, and circuit means to supply power to the register to permit the same to be opened only when the platform is displaced downwardly a predetermined distance by the weight of a person on the platform and the switch means is contacted. The switch means is pre-set to the weight of a person authorized to have access to the register, and the switch means is adjustable to operate in a preselected range with respect to the pre-set weight to compensate for normal variatons in the weight of the authorized person. In addition, there is provided means to detect the height of the person seeking access for permitting access only when both weight and height conditions are met; however, embodiments are disclosed wherein the meeting of either height or weight-responsive conditions are required to open the register. In order to prevent a thief from forcing an authorized person to stand on the platform, a bullet-proof booth surrounds the platform and register, and, additional switch means is connected in the circuit to permit the register to open only when a door to the booth is closed. The booth is sized to receive only one person; however, to prevent a thief from straddling the platform by supporting himself on the inside of the booth when a person of an authorized weight is on the platform, the booth is mounted on springs for displacement relative to the platform, and normally closed switch means cooperates with the booth and the circuit to interrupt power to the register upon downward displacement of the booth.
These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention should become apparent from the following description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view with portions broken away of a cashiers booth embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of a lower portion of the booth illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a greatly enlarged perspective view of a portion of an adjustable switch assembly employed in the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a reduced front elevational view of the booth of the present invention having portions broken away to illustrate height discrimination means;
FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of an electrical circuit associated with the present invention; which requires height, weight, door-closure and a non-straddling condition of a platform to be met before a receptacle located adjacent the platform may be opened;
FIG. 5a is a schematic diagram of a portion of the circuit illustrated in FIG. 5 but wherein only weight conditions must be met before access to the receptacle is permitted; and
FIG. 5b is a schematic diagram similar to FIG. 5a but of a circuit which requires both weight and doorclosure conditions to be met before access to the receptacle is permitted.
Referring now to the drawings, there is illustrated in FIG. I, a cashiers booth l0 embodying the present invention. As illustrated therein, the booth 10 is about the size of a conventional telephone booth, i.e., large enough to contain a person comfortably in a standing position. The walls of the booth 10 are constructed of upstanding studs 11, ll nailed at their bases to a horizontally-disposed nailer l2 and at their tops to a similarly-disposed nailer which is not shown. The interior of the booth 10 may be paneled as at 13 to provide a finished appearance; however, paneling is not necessary. The exterior of the booth is sheathed by a layer of steel 14 of sufficient thickness (about 3/16 inch) to stop or at least greatly retard a bullet. The steel 14 is covered by a layer of plaster board 15, and the plaster board 15 is covered by an exterior layer of material 16 such as wood paneling, plaster, or the like, depending on the environment in which the booth 10 is to be installed and the desired aesthetics to be achieved. The top 17 of the booth 10 is similarly constructed, and a fan 18 and lamp (not shown) are mounted in the top of the booth to provide both ventilation and illumination. Access to and from the booth is provided by means of a door 19, constructed generally along the lines of the walls of the booth l0.
A receptacle such as an electrically-operated cash register 2f) is provided in the booth 141, and the register is mounted in the booth 111 at an elevation as to be conveniently accessible by a person standing on a platform 21 forming the floor of the booth. In order to permit a person to receive and dispense cash while in the booth, a window 23 of bullet-proof glass is provided, and a depository 24 is provided below the window 23. With this structure, a person standing inside the booth 10 with the door 19 closed is free from the threat of physical harm, and is thereby able to resist a robbers demands with impunity.
In order to prevent a robber from entering the booth 10 and operating the register 20, the present invention provides means to discriminate between a robber and a person authorized to operate the register 20. To this end, the platform 21 is mounted for vertical displacement in response to weight thereon, and discriminating means responsive to the displacement of the platform is provided. As best seen in FIG. 2, the platform 21 is mounted for vertical displacement by means of a series of four springs 25,25 spaced apart below the platform 21 and engaging between the underside of the platform 21 and a datum such as wooden base 27. In order to prevent the platform 21 from tilting when a person stands other than centrally thereon, for instance, when entering the booth 1% through the door 19, there is provided a bearing assembly 28 associated with each spring. A typical bearing assembly 28 comprises a vertically disposed post 29 depending from the platform 21 and telescopically received in an upstanding hollow sleeve 30 mounted on the base 27. The sleeve 30 is slotted longitudinally at 31, and a pin 32 extending transversely to the post 29 engages in the slot 31 and operates to limit displacement of the platform 21 away from the base 27. If desired, shock-absorber means may be provided between the platform 21 and the base 27 to dampen any tendency for the platform to oscillate after a sudden application of weight, for example, when a person initially enters the booth 10, or in response to normal movement on the platform 21.
For the purpose of supplying power to the register 20 in response to a predetermined downward displacement of the platform 21, as determined by the weight of a person standing thereon, circuit means 40 such as illustrated in FIG. 4 is provided and a switch assembly 41 (FIG. 2) is provided beneath the platform 21 and is connected in the circuit 40. In the present instance, the circuit 40 includes a transformer 42 having its primary windings connected across a power supply, such as 120 VAC, and its secondary windings connected in a lowvoltage circuit, such as a 12 VAC circuit 40"(FIG. 5). The low-voltage circuit includes a normally-open switch 39, a normally-closed switch 43, and the switch assembly 41, connected in series relation with the coil of a double pole relay CRI. One set of contacts of the relay CRI is connected across the 120 VAC supply and in series relation with the cash register 20. Thus, when the switches 39, 41 and 43 are closed, the coil of the relay CRI is energized and the contacts of the relay CRI are closed to supply power to the cash register 20 (as well as the fan and light) to permit the cash register 20 to be operated in the customary manner. Conversely, opening of either switch 39, 41 or 43 causes the coil of the relay CRI to be deenergized, and the relay contacts to open for interrupting power to the register and the fan and light. In order to permit access to the register 20 only when weight conditions are met, the lowvoltage circuit 40a of FIG. 5 is modified along the lines of the circuit 140a illustrated in FIG. 5a. In this circuit, power is supplied to the coil of the relay CR, when the weight-responsive switch member 44 engages one of the contacts 46,46. In order to permit the register 20 to be opened when weight conditions are met and the door 19 is closed, the circuit 240a illustrated in FIG. 5b is provided. In this circuit, power is supplied to the coil of the relay CR, when the weight-responsive switch member 44 engages one of the contacts 46,46 and the switch 39 is closed.
In the preferred embodiment, the switch 39 is of the magnetic proximity type and is mounted in the door 19 and its jamb as illustrated in FIG. 1 to close only when the door 19 is closed so that, one of the conditions for causing power to be supplied to the cash register 20 is that the door 19 must be closed. The other condition which must be met before power is supplied to the cash register 20 is that the weight of the person standing on the platform in the booth must be within a predetermined range of the weight of the person authorized to operate the register. To this end, the switch assembly 41 includes a contact 44 mounted on a post 45 depending from the underside of the platform 21 and one or more, in the present instance three, complementary contact members 46,46 mounted in vertically spaced relation on an upstanding post 47 on the base 27. As best seen in FIG. 3, each member 44 comprises a bored collar portion 44a slidably engaging the post 45, a thumbscrew 44b for frictional locking the collar 44a to the post 45, and a flexible leaf 440. The complementary contact members 46,46 are secured to their respective post 47 at elevations which cause their leafs 46c,46c to engage the leaf 460 of the member 44 when a predetermined weight is applied on the platform 21 and the platform 21 moves downwardly. By adjusting the elevation of the members 46,46 relative to the member 44 the displacement distance of the platform 21, which corresponds to the weight thereon, may be preset to the weight of the person authorized to operate the register 21. Thus, only when both conditions are met, i.e., the door 19 is closed and the preset weight is on the platform can the register 20 be operated. In the event that the door 19 is closed but the weight on the platform 21 is greater or lesser than the preset weight, the leafs 44c and 460 disengage one another to prevent the coil of the relay CRI from being energized. In the illustrated embodiment, the switch assembly 41 comprises three contact members 46 on the post 47 to permit three persons, each of a different weight, to operate the cash register 20.
It is known that a persons weight may tend to vary day to day and that such daily variations may amount to one or more pounds. In order to enable the switch assembly 41 to compensate for such variations, the leafs 44c and 460 are flexible, and the leaf 440 is mounted in the collar 44a by means of a friction lock 44d to permit the leaf 440 to be adjusted in a direction transverse to the path of movement of the platform 21. The amount of overlap of the complementary leaf members 44c and 46c determines the range of weight variation with respect to the preset magnitude. For instance, when the leaf 440 is adjusted so that the overlap with the leaf 460 is slight, the leafs will disengage one another in response to a relatively small increase in weight above the preset magnitude. When the leaf 44c is adjusted so that the overlap with the leaf 46c is greater, the leafs will remain engaged with one another for a greater amount of downward displacement of the platform 21 corresponding to a greater increase in weight above the preset magnitude. Thus, it should be apparent that by adjusting the amount of overlap of the leafs 44c and 46c, the sensitivity of the apparatus to variations in weight about a preset magnitude can be adjusted.
It is conceivable that a robber may attempt to enter the booth with an authorized person in an attempt to meet both of the aforementioned conditions for obtaining access to the register 20. However, the weight of two people on the platform would be so excessive as to cause the leafs 44c and 460 to disengage one another, thus preventing the platform weight condition from being met. If, however, an enterprising robber should attempt to straddle the platform 21 in an effort to reduce the load on the platform 21, the switch means 43 in the circuit of FIG. 4 prevents power from being supplied to the register 20. To this end, as best seen in FIG. I, the switch 43 is connected between the nailer 12 of the booth 10 and the base 27. The switch 43 includes complementary members 43a and 43b which normally engage one another to perform the function of a normally-closed switch when connected in the circuit 40. Like the platform 21, the booth 10 is mounted for vertical movement on a series of springs 51,51 and a bearing assembly 52 (FIG. 2) comprising an upstanding post 53 secured to the base 27 and a sleeve 54 in the bottom nailer 12 is associated with each spring 51 to prevent tilting of the booth 10. Thus, downward displacement of the booth 10 relative to the base 27 causes the switch 43 to open to prevent energization of relay CRI and to prevent power from being supplied to the register 20. It is noted, however, that unlike the bearing assemblies associated with the platform, the post 53 of each bearing assembly 52 projects upwardly into the walls of the booth 10. Accordingly, in instances where the booth does not have interior paneling, it is necessary to provide a cap 55 over the ends of each post 53 to prevent a robber from foiling the apparatus by standing on the posts 53,53.
In addition to the weight conditions which must be met before a person can obtain access to the register 20, the present invention also provides in the preferred embodiment of FIGS. 1-3 and 5, means to discriminate between the height of authorized and unauthorized persons. To this end, there is provided in the booth l0, emitter means 65a to project upper and lower beams of light B1 and B2, respectively, across the booth 10 in front of the register 20. Receiver means 65b is provided to receive the beams B and B on the other side of the booth. The upper beam B, is located so as to clear the top of the head of an authorized person when standing on the platform 21, and the lower beam B is located as to be interrupted by the head of the person when standing on the platform. The receiver 65b includes an internal normally-open switch 650 wired in series with one of the switch members 44 (FIG. 4), and the switch 650 is operable to close only when the upper beam B is unbroken and the lower beam B is broken. Thus, both weight and height conditions must be met before the register is energized. If more than one person is to be authorized to use the booth 10, additional beam emitters and receivers may be employed and mounted at corresponding elevations in the booth 10. In such event, the internal switch of each additional receiver is wired in series with the weight-responsive switch member 44 of the corresponding person to ensure energization of the register 20 only when a person of both the proper height and weight is standing on the platform 21.
In order to conceal the circuits, switches and the like, a skirt 57 is provided around the lower portion of the booth 10 to cooperate with the platform 21 and base 27 to provide a chamber 58. Power to the apparatus is supplied to a junction box (not shown) which may be located in the chamber 58. Preferably, the cash register 20 is permanently wired into the booth 10 by means of armored cable 59 (FIG. I) to prevent a robber from attempting to by-pass the system by utilizing an extension cord. A lockable hatch 60 is provided in the skirt 57 to provideaccess to the apparatus in the chamber 58 for permitting the same to be initially and periodically adjusted and maintained while preventing unauthorized access to the chamber 58. If desired, a toggle switch 61 (FIG. 4) may be provided in the booth l0 and wired in the circuit 40 to an exterior alarm to permit a person to summon aid while inside the booth 10.
In use, the booth 10 is installed in a business establishment at a location which is convenient to clerks authorized to operate the cash register 20. The switch assembly 41 is adjusted to operate in response to the weight of an authorized person by moving one of the members 46,46 either upwardly or downwardly until its leaf 46c engages the leaf 44c of its complementary member 44. Preferably, such adjustment is effected accurately with the person standing on the platform 21. Of course, if more persons of different weights are to be authorized to operate the register 20, the other switch members 46 may be similarly adjusted.
In using the apparatus, an authorized clerk simply enters the booth l0 and closes the door 19 to operate the cash register 20 in the customary manner. The clerk may then pass change or the like through the depository 24, or after the clerk has made a deposit or obtained the desired change from the register 20, he may then close the register 20 and exit the booth 10 to resume his normal duties.
In the event of a robbery attempt, the robber would not be able to operate the cash register 20, except in the extremely unlikely event that his weight and height is substantially the same as one of the store clerks authorized to operate the register. If he were to force an authorized clerk to enter the booth 10, it would be necessary for the clerk to close the door 19 before the register 20 could be opened. However, once the door 19 is closed the clerk would be safe from harm and he could resist the robbers demands with impunity, since the door 19 is lockable from inside the booth 10. If the robber were to attempt to enter the booth 10 with the authorized person, in spite of the small size of the booth, the switch assembly 44 would open if both stood on the platform 21. In the event that the robber were to attempt to straddle the platform 21, the booth 10 would move downwardly and the switch 43 would open to prevent power from being supplied to the register 20.
In view of the foregoing, it should be apparent that novel apparatus has now been provided for permitting only authorized persons to have access to a cash register and for preventing unauthorized persons from obtaining access to the register whether by themselves or by forcing an authorized person to grant them access. in one embodiment, access to a receptacle is afforded when a weight and door-closure conditions are met. In another embodiment, the control circuit is modified so that access is afforded when only a weight condition is met. in a further embodiment, a height-responsive condition is required to be met in addition to weight and door-closure conditions.
While a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been described in detail, various modifications, alterations and changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as described in the appended claims.
1. Apparatus for use in conjunction with a receptacle for valuables to permit only authorized persons to obtain access to the receptacle, comprising: a platform, means mounting said receptacle at a location with respect to said platform to require a person to support himself on the platform when obtaining access to the receptacle, and means responsive to weight on said platform for permitting access to said receptacle when a predetermined authorized weight is applied to said platform and for preventing access to said receptacle when unauthorized weights different from said predetermined weight are applied to said platform, whereby access to the receptacle is permitted only by an authorized person having a weight corresponding to the preset authorized weight.
2. Apparatus according to claim I wherein said weight responsive means includes means mounting said platform for vertical displacement with respect to a datum and control means engageable upon a predetermined downward displacement of said platform with respect to the datum to permit access to said receptacle.
3. Apparatus according to claim 2 including electrically-operated means providing access to said receptacle and wherein said control means includes a circuit connecting said electrically-operated means to an electrical power supply, and a switch connected in said circuit for closing said circuit to supply power to said electrically-operated means when said authorized weight is on said platform and to prevent power from being supplied to said electrically-operated means when said unauthorized weights are on said platform.
4. Apparatus according to claim 3 wherein said switch means includes a switch member carried on said platform and a complementary member fixed with respect to said datum and located in the path of movement of said switch member, said members being connected in said circuit and being engageable to complete the circuit upon a predetermined displacement of said platform in response to the application of said authorized weight, at least one of said members being flexible to permit said members to disengage one another when a greater than authorized weight is applied on said platform and said platform-carried member is displaced downwardly below its complementary member.
5. Apparatus according to claim 4 including means mounting one of said members for displacement transversely to the path of movement of said platform to permit the range of contact of said members to be varied to ensure engagement of said members over a limited range of weights in the vicinity of said preset authorized weight, whereby the apparatus is insensitive to slight changes in the normal weight of a person authorized to have access to the receptacle.
6. Apparatus according to claim 4 including at least another complementary switch member associated with said one complementary member, and including common post means mounting said complementary members at different elevations with respect to said datum to cause said platform-mounted member to effect engagement with a selected one of the complementary members depending on the displacement of the platform as determined by the weight applied thereon.
7. Apparatus according to claim 6 including heightresponsive switch means connected in series with each of said complementary members in said circuit, means to detect the height of a person on the platform, and means coupling said height-responsive switch means with said height detection means in said circuit to cause said electrically-energized means to be powered only when both height and weight conditions are met.
8. Apparatus according to claim 3 including means providing a bullet-proof enclosure surrounding said platform and receptacle, a door providing access to said enclosure, and a second normally open switch con nected in said circuit in series relation with said firstmentioned switch and closeable in response to closing of said door, so that access to said receptacle is permitted only when both switches are closed.
9. Apparatus according to claim 8 including means mounting said enclosure for displacement downwardly relative to said platform and datum and including third normally-closed switch means connected in said circuit and between said enclosure and said datum to disable said electrically-operated means in response to downward displacement of said enclosure, so that access to the receptacle by an unauthorized person cannot be effected by his straddling the platform in the enclosure when an authorized person is on the platform.
10. Apparatus according to claim 9 including a skirt surrounding a lower portion of said enclosure for telescopically receiving said enclosure, said skirt cooperating with said platform and datum to define a chamber with said platform-operated and enclosure-operated switches being mounted in said chamber, and including a hatch in said skirt providing a service access to said chamber.
11. Apparatus according to claim 10 wherein said platform mounting means includes a series of spring elements located in said chamber and supporting said platform at spaced locations and bearing means associated with each of said spring elements to prevent said platform from tilting when a weight is applied at a location other than centrally on the platform.
12. Apparatus according to claim 11 wherein spring elements include compression springs engaging between said platform and said datum to bias said platform away from said datum, and said bearing means includes a vertically-disposed post, depending from said platform and toward said datum, a sleeve mounted on said datum and slidably engaging said post, and means limiting axial displacement of said post upwardly relative to said sleeve so that in the absence of weight on the platform, the platform is maintained by the springs at a predetermined elevation with respect to the datum.
13. Apparatus according to claim 1 including means to detect the height of a person standing on the platon the platform, and including receiver means operable when the upper beam is unbroken and the lower beam is broken to permit access to the receptacle.
15. Apparatus according to claim 1 including means providing an enclosure around said platform, a door affording entry and egress to and from said enclosure, and means operable in response to a closed position of said door and cooperable with said weight responsive means to afford access to said receptacle.