US 3880330 A
The system includes a plurality of receptacles serially connected one to the other between a gas pressure source, for example air or CO2 under pressure, and a dispensing faucet. Each receptacle includes a cup-shaped body having a cover with an opening. In one form, a valve member is slidably mounted in the opening. The member has a pair of discrete side-by-side passages terminating at their upper ends in a funnel which receives the neck of a bottle inverted over the receptacle. The passages terminate at their lower ends in inclined laterally projecting passageways. The valve member is movable from a first normally closed position into a second valve open position by downward pressure on the inverted bottle which is maintained by a leaf spring bearing against the bottom of the inverted bottle. Gas under pressure flows through one of the passages into the bottle and liquid under pressure flows through the other passage into the receptacle for communication with the dispensing faucet. In another form, a transition member comprised of a resilient stopper having a pair of axially extending passages and a pair of oppositely directed frustoconical surfaces is interposed between each inverted container and the opening in the cover of the corresponding receptacle. The container neck and the margins about the receptacle opening seal about the respective frustoconical surfaces whereby liquid under pressure is directed solely into the receptacle. A check valve is interposed between each pair of serially connected receptacles to prevent reverse flow. The serially connected receptacles are provided for dispensing different liquids. Valves provide measured pours of liquid from the faucets. The quantity of liquid dispensed for each pour can be selected among a number of predetermined quantities. Counters are provided for counting each measured pour.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Leas et al.
[ Apr. 29, 1975 LIQUID DISPENSING SYSTEM AND RECEPTACLE THEREFOR  Inventors: Vernon E. Leas; Jeffrey Alan Leas,
both of Phoenix, Ariz.
 Assignee: Diverse Venture Corporation,
 Filed: Oct. 4, 1973  Appl. No.: 403,723
Related US Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 264.6ll. June 24.
l972. Pat. No. 3,768.70l.
 US. Cl. 222/136; 222/400.7; 285/334.4  Int. Cl. B67d 5/54  Field of Search 222/l29, 129.], 129.3.
Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Larry H. Martin Attorney, Agent, or Firm-LeBlanc & Shur [5 7] ABSTRACT The system includes a plurality of receptacles serially connected one to the other between a gas pressure source, for example air or CO under pressure, and a dispensing faucet. Each receptacle includes a cupshaped body having a cover with an opening. In one form, a valve member is slidably mounted in the opening. The member has a pair of discrete side-by-side passages terminating at their upper ends in a funnel which receives the neck of a bottle inverted over the receptacle. The passages terminate at their lower ends in inclined laterally projecting passageways. The valve member is movable from a first normally closed position into a second valve open position by downward pressure on the inverted bottle which is maintained by a leaf spring bearing against the bottom of the inverted bottle. Gas under pressure flows through one of the passages into the bottle and liquid under pressure flows through the other passage into the receptacle for communication with the dispensing faucet. In another form, a transition member comprised of a resilient stopper having a pair of axially extending passages and a pair of oppositely directed frustoconical surfaces is interposed between each inverted container and the opening in the cover of the corresponding receptacle. The container neck and the margins about the receptacle opening seal about the respective frustoconical surfaces whereby liquid under pressure is directed solely into the receptacle. A check valve is interposed between each pair of serially connected receptacles to prevent reverse flow. The serially connected receptacles are provided for dispensing different liquids. Valves provide measured pours of liquid from the faucets. The quantity of liquid dispensed for each pour can be selected among a number of predetermined quantities. Counters are provided for counting each measured pour.
11 Claims, 21 Drawing Figures PRESSURE REGULATOR 11m an PATENTEBAPRZSiGYS 3,880,330
SHEET 10F 5 HGI RETENTEDAPRZS i975 SHEET 2 UF 5 PATENTEBAPR291QI5 3,680,330
[0 DISPENSER AIR 306 SOURCE REGULATOR MANIFOLD PMENTEDAPMMQYS SHEET 5 BF 5 AIR SOURCE TO DISPENSER FIGZO A PRESSURE J REGULATOR MAN'FOLD LIQUID DISPENSING SYSTEM AND RECEPTACLE THEREFOR This application is a continuation-in-part of our prior application Ser. No. 264.611 filed June 24, 1972 now US. Pat. No. 3,768,701, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference thereto.
The present invention relates to a liquid dispensing system and particularly relates to a system for dispensing liquid from a plurality of serially connected receptacles, each of which receives liquid from an associated replaceable liquid container, to the receptacles for receiving the liquid from the containers, and to the transition members located between each container and its associated receptacle.
As employed herein, the term liquid" applies to beverages. such as liquor, soda and the like although the dispensing system hereof and receptacles therefor will be described specifically in terms of dispensing liquor. Also, the term container refers herein to any type of container for liquid although the following description at times refers to bottles in connection with dispensing liquor. Automatic liquor dispensing systems have been proposed and constructed in the past. Certain such systems provide a plurality of inverted bottles disposed such that the liquor flows into a common reservoir or manifold. The liquor then flows from the reservoir to a measuring chamber which is adjustable to provide a selected measure of drink. A counter is sometimes provided for counting the number of measured drinks dispensed. A system of this type is disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,598,287. Another system utilizes a common manifold which is inclined and on which a plurality of, relatively elevated, inerted bottles are mounted for emptying into the manifold. The manifold is coupled at one end to a gas pressure source and at its other end to a dispensing faucet and the bottles are emptied sequentially. Such system is disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,647,l 18. Other systems for dispensing liquor and the like are disclosed in US. Pat. Nos. 3,305,132; 3,428,218; 3,341,078; 3,386,621; 2,634,023; 2,531,755; 3,580,425; 2,808,178; 3,119,485; 3,170,698; and 3,193,143. These systems, however, have various disadvantages in construction, mode of operation and result. Certain such disadvantages include their relatively complex construction, high cost, lack of foolproof methods for controlling liquor inventory and/or controlling the size of the pour, lack of capability for readily expanding system capacity as dictated by the changing needs of the dispensing establishment, inability to be readily and easily installed in existing restaurants, bars and the like, the significant space required for such installations, the requirement in certain systems for applying special flow adapters to the bottles before the bottles can be integrated into the system and the bottle breakage caused by pressure shocks.
The present invention provides a novel and improved liquid dispensing system which eliminates and/or minimizes many of the foregoing and other disadvantages associated with prior dispensing systems and provides a novel and improved liquor dispensing system having various advantages in construction, mode of operation and result in comparison with such prior systems. Principally, the present invention provides a dispensing system wherein a large number of liquid containers, i.e., bottles of liquor, can be serially connected one to the other and dispensed through a faucet under pressure. More specifically, the present invention provides a systern comprised of a plurality of serially connected receptables for dispensing like liquid under pressure from a plurality of inverted liquid containers, each receptacle having a single liquid container coupled thereto for flowing its liquid contents into such receptacle and subsequent serially connected receptacles. The receptacles are serially connected between a source of gas under pressure and the dispensing faucet. The gas may comprise air, CO; or the like, hereinafter referred to generally as gas. For dispensing other types of liquid, an additional one or more sets of like serially connected receptacles are provided and connected between a gas pressure source and one or more associated faucets. It is a particular feature hereof that the receptacles lie at a common elevation while simultaneously the containers are sequentially emptied staring with the container nearest the gas source.
In one embodiment hereof, each receptacle comprises a generally bowl-shaped member having a side gas inlet port and a liquid outlet port at its bottom. A cover is secured to the bowl and has an opening in which is slidably mounted a poppet. A spring between the receptacle and poppet biases the poppet into a first valve closed position. The poppet has a pair of discrete passages therethrough which terminate at their upper ends in a flexible funnel for receiving liquid from the inverted containers. The lower end of the poppet termi nates in a frustoconical surface which bears. in the valve closed position, against a like valve surface carried by the cover. The lower ends of the passages terminate in laterally outwardly inclined passageways above the frustoconical valve surface. When the bottle is inverted and the bottle neck is disposed in the funnel, downward pressure on the bottle moves the valve to an open position permitting gas under pressure to flow up through one of the passages into the bottle and liquid from the bottle to flow downwardly through the other passage into the receptacle. By using inclined outlet passageways at the bottom of the poppet. air locks are eliminated an sequential emptying of the containes is provided.
A further feature of this invention, particularly useful in the foregoing described system. provides a novel funnel which serves to avoid spillage upon inversion of the bottl and provides a substantial seal about the inverted bottle neck to prevent contamination of the liquid. Moreover, this unique funnel receives the bottle neck without any adaptation of the bottle or need to provide it with a flow control device.
A further feature hereof, and particularly useful with the foregoing described system, includes the provision of a floating suspension for the inverted bottles whereby shock waves propagated by dispensing from the pressurized system are absorbed in the system. This is significant because bottles mounted rigidly in a pressurized dispensing system sometimes break at their weakest points, i.e., about the bottle neck. This bottle breakage is believed to be caused by shock waves propagated through the system upon dispensing liquid therefrom and which shock waves cause stresses on the rigidly mounted bottles beyond their breaking point. To preclude such breakage in the above described system, each inverted bottle is mounted between the spring biased poppet at its lower end and a resilient leaf spring at its upper end. Accordingly, both the poppet and inverted bottle are suspended between a pair of springs which absorb substantially the entirety of the energy of any shock wave propagated through the pressurized system.
In a further embodiment of the present invention, the receptacles are similary serially connected one to the other and pressurized from a suitable gas source. In this embodiment. however. a check valve is interposed in each flow passage between next adjacent pairs of serially connected receptacles. In one form. the check valve is located in the flexible conduit interconnecting the outlet port of one receptacle and the inlet port of the next serially connected receptacle. In another form. the outlet port for each receptacle is provided with a normally open ball check valve In both forms. the check valves serve to prevent reverse flow of liquid from one receptacle to one or more prior serially connected receptacles. in this manner, the empty containers can be replaced with full containers while reverse flow of liquid into the empty receptacles is prevented.
The containers can be replaced with the gas supply system either on or off. In either event. liquid from the full containers can be continuously dispensed for a limited period of time while the containers are being replaced due to the residual pressure remaining in the system.
A further feature hereof and particularly for use in conjunction with the foregoing described system provides for a transition element interconnecting each container outlet and the associated inlet port in the cover of the receptacle. Particularly, the transition element includes an elongated member having a pair of axially extending side-by-side passages and a pair of frustoconical shaped outer surfaces extending in opposite axial directions. When the transition element is interposed between the container and its corresponding receptacle. one of the frustoconical surfaces seals about the container outlet while the other frustoconical surface seals about the inlet port in the cover of the receptacle whereby liquid from the container is directed solely into the receptacle. The dual passages permit gas to flow into the container as liquid flows out of the container and into the receptacle. Furthermore, by utilizing a transistion element of this configuration. the element fits all standard sizes of liquor containers. the dispensing of liquor from various sizes of liquor bottles being one of the commerical uses for the present invention. Further, by providing a larger diameter upper frustoconical surface in comparison with the diameter of the lower frustoconical surface. transition element overlies the inlet port to the receptacle whereby foreign objects are prevented from inadvertently entering the receptacle.
In utilizing either of the foregoing described systems to describe different liquids, the sets of plural receptacles communicate with respective dispensing faucets via valves. The valves are solenoid-actuated and may be maintained in an open condition for selected intervals of time whereby the quantity of fluid dispensed through each faucet is known and measured. Switching apparatus is provided to open the solenoids for a longer or shorter interval to provide an over or under measured pour as compared with a standard or regular pour. Also. the dispensing faucets may be located either in a flexible hose with drink selector buttons and the over and under selector switch carried by the hose head or on a fixed support attached to a counter, bar or the like. 1
Accordingly. it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a novel and improves liquid dispensing system.
It is another object of the present invention to pro vide a novel and improved liquid dispensing system and receptacles therefor wherein the receptacles are serially connected one to the other and lie either at different or common elevations whereby, upon application of gas under pressure, liquid in inverted containers flowing into the receptacles is dispensed sequentially from the containers starting with the container closest the gas pressure source.
it is still another object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved liquid dispensing system and receptacles therefor which are economical in construction, readily adapted to existing counter or bartype facilities, inexpensively constructed, and capable of being utilized by relatively unskilled labor.
it is a related object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved liquid dispensing system and receptacles therefor which provides effective inventory control and prevents dispensing of uncounted drinks.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved dispensing system wherein the capacity of the system may be reaidly and easily increased or decreased as desired to meet the changing needs of the dispensing establishment simply by adding or removing one or more of the receptacles which form a part of the system hereof.
It is a still further related object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved liquid dispensing system wherein the liquid containers or bottles are mounted for movement on an elastic suspension system whereby breakage of the bottles due to the propagation of shock waves through the pressurized system is eliminated.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved dispensing system and receptacles therefor wherein each receptacle is provided with a novel no-spill funnel for connection with the liquid containers and wherein the containers do not require specialized equipment, such as stoppers and the like, preliminary to their attachment and use in the present dispensing system.
It is a related object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved pressurized system for dispensing liquid from serially connected containers and having a check valve interposed in the flow passages between next adjacent serially connected containers to prevent reverse flow of liquid upon removal of one or more of the containers.
It is another related object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved transition element for coupling an inverted liquid container and a manifold or receptacle therefor whereby the transition element adapts the receptacle to receive liquid from bottles of a variety of conventional sizes and permits pressurization of the liquid in the container and the flow of liquid therefrom into the receptacle.
These and further objects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent upon reference to the following specification, appended claims and drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of one form of a dispensing system constructed in accordance with the present invention and particularly illustrating plural sets of dispensers. each set containing a plurality of serially connected receptacles;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary perspective illustration of either dispensing system hereof mounted for use behind a counter or bar;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 and illustrating a further form of dispensing head:
FIG. 4 is a vertical cross-sectional view of one of the receptacles illustrated in FIG. 1 and illustrating the valve therefor in a closed position;
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 on a reduced scale and illustrating the valve in an open position:
FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the poppet for the valve.
FIG. 6a is a cross-sectional view thereof taken about on line oar-6a in FIG. 6;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary side-elevational view of the mounting for the receptacle and liquid container:
FIG. 8 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view taken about on line 8-8 in FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a schematic illustration of a bottle being applied to the funnel at the top of the receptacle;
FIG. 10 is a schematic illustration of a portion of an electrical circuit employed with the dispensing system hereof;
FIG. 1 I is a schematic illustration of a dispensing system constructed in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 12 is an enlarged fragmentary elevational view of a portion of the flow passage between each receptacle and illustrating a check valve therefor with parts broken out and in cross section;
FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional view thereof taken generally about on line 13-13 in FIG. 12:
FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a transition element for use with the dispensing system illustrated in FIG. II;
FIG. 15 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view illustrating the transition member interposed be tween an inverted container and receptacle:
FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional view thereof taken about on line l616 in FIG. I5,
FIG. 17 is a schematic illustration of a plurality of receptacles similarly as illustrated in FIG. II and utilizing the check valve illustrated in FIG. 18:
FIG. 18 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view of the outlet port of one of the receptacles illustrated in FIG. 17;
FIG. 19 is a cross-sectional view thereof taken generally about on line l9-l9 in FIG. 18; and
FIG. 20 is a schematic illustration of a still further form of a dispensing system constructed in accordance receptacles. for example, groups A, B and C as illustrated with only the containers of group A and bottoms of the inverted containers of group C being illustrated. Particularly, each set of receptacles has a first recepta cle 100 connected via a conduit 14 to a source of gas.
Le. air. CO; or the like. under pressure. intermediate receptacles [Ob-I00 serially connected one to the other and to the first and last serially connected receptacles 10a and [0f respectively via conduits I6. and a last serially connected receptacle 10f connected via a conduit 20 to a dispensing faucet. Each wall of a rccep tacle and an inlet port 24 through the side wall of the next serially connected receptacle for communicating liquid from that receptacle into such next serially con nected receptacle. Accordingly. with the foregoing described arrangement. the liquid in each container 12 flows into its associated receptacle for flow to succesive serially connected receptacles and and to the dispensing faucet. While the containers 12 in each set of receptacles contain like liquids. the liquid containers in the other sets may contain like or unlike liquids, as desired.
For example. the liquid containers in one dispensing set may contain gin while the liquid containers in another dispensing set may contain vodka whereby gin or vodka can be selectively dispensed from the two dispensing sets in a manner as set forth hereinafter.
Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3. the dispensing systems hereof may be employed behind a counter. bar or the like. For example. as illustrated in FIG. 2, there is disclosed a cabinet 24 in which the dispensing sets. for example thosc illustrated in FIG. I or FIG. II, hereofcan be disposed for dispensing the various types of the most commonly asked-for drinks. As illustrated six conduits 26 emerge from cabinet 24 and it will be appreciated that six dispensing sets are mounted in cabinet 24. The various liquids from the containers within cabinet 24 flow through conduits 26 into a valve block which houses a solenoid actuated valve for each conduit 26. The valves are normally closed and each valve is opened in response to actuation of a corresponding liquid dispensing switch indicated 3011-301. Upon opening a selected valve within valve block 28 by actuation of a selected one of switches 30a-30f. liquid from the desired dispensing set flows through a discrete conduit. not shown, within a conduit housing or sleeve 32 for delivery to a faucet below the selected switch. It will be appreciated that sleeve 32 contains as many conduits as there are conduits 26. Each valve is maintained in its open condition for a predetermined time interval whereby a measured quantity of liquid is dispensed from each dispensing set upon actuation of the appropriate selector switch.
Also mounted under the counter is a quantity selector switch .36 by which different measures of any one pour can be provided. For example. it is oftentimes desirable to provide a measured pour. i.e.. a one and onehalf ounce shot. in a quantity greater than a normal or regular pour, i.e.. a one ounce shot. Also. it is sometimes desired to provide a smaller measured pour. i.e.. a three quarter ounce shot. in comparison with the quantity provided in a normal or regular pour. By actuating the quantity selector switch 36 as hereinafter set forth these over or under pours can be effected. Further, counters are provided. for example in a box 38 below the counter recording the number of each pour in each of the regular, over or under pours. In this manner. exact knowledge of the quantity of liquid dispensed by the dispensing system hereof at any desired time is provided.
Referring to FIG. 3, the manifold carried on the counter top in FIG. 2 may be replaced by a flexible hose 40 mounting a nozzle head 42. The nozzle head 42 mounts a plurality of buttons or switches 44 for selecting the desired liquid from any one of the dispensing sets connected thereto similarly as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. The conduits for the respective dispensing sets are carried through the hose and terminate in individual faucets in the nozzle head 42. Also, quantity selector switches or buttons are provided on the nozzle head and, when actuated in conjunction with a selected drink. provide for a measured pour either over or under in comparison with a regular pour. as hereinafter more particularly described.
Referring now to FIGS. 4 and 5, there is illustrated in detail a receptacle l0 utilized in the dispensing system hereof. Each receptacle comprises a bowl-shaped body having an open upper end surrounded by an outwardly projecting flange 52, and a nipple 54 at the bottom of the bowl and defining the opening through liquid outlet port 22. A pair of nipples 58 and 60 are provided through a side wall of body 50 adjacent its open upper end. Nipple 58 defines the openings through inlet port 24 and is adapted for connection with conduit 22. Nipple 60 defines an opening for mounting a low liquid level sensor. A further opening 62 is provided in the side wall of bowl 50 adjacent its bottom and mounts a suitable sensor for indicating that the receptacle is empty.
Body 50 is closed at its upper end by a cover 68 having a lateral flange 70 and an upwardly extending central boss 72 defining a central opening 74 into body 50. The body 50 is internally stepped at its uper end as at 76 to provide a seat for an O-ring seal 78. The cover 68 is secured to body 50 by screws 76 engaging between flanges 70 and 52 with the O-ring 78 sealing between cover 68 and body 50 when the former is secured to the latter.
Slideably mounted in opening 74 is a poppet 80. Poppet 80 terminates at its upper end in a reduced diameter externally threaded end 82. The lower end of poppet 80 terminates in an outwardly flared skirt or frustoconical surface 84. An annular groove 86 is provided in skirt 84 for receiving an O-ring seal 88. In the valve closed position, seal 88 seals about a frustoconical surface 90 formed about the bottom of opening 70. A pair of axially spaced grooves 92 and 94 are provided about poppet 80 and receive sealing rings 96 and 98 for sealing about the walls of boss 72 defining opening 74. A pair of passages 100 and 102 are provided in axially extending side-by-side relation one to the other through poppet 80. The lower ends 104 and 106 of passages 100 and 102, respectively, are outwardly inclined and open through the side walls of poppet 80 above skirt 84 as indicated at 108 in FIG. 6. The passages 100 and 102, as indicated in FIG. 6a, are substantially D-shaped in cross-section with the flat walls thereof in back-toback relation one to the other. Body 50 carries a conical spring 110. The upper end of spring 110 engages in a recessed seat 112 in the lower end of poppet 80 and its lower end engages against the bottom wall of body 50. Spring 110 biases poppet 80 into a normally valve closed position with the O-ring 88 sealing about the valve seat 90 to preclude communication between body 50 and passages 100 and 102.
A collar having an internally threaded central opening is threadedly received about the reduced diameter end 82 of poppet 80.'An O-ring seal 122 is provided between the collar and a shoulder on poppet 80. The collar mounts an upstanding funnel 124 having side walls 126 which flare outwardly terminating at their upperends in a wall 128 inclined to the horizontal. Wall 128 has a central opening 130. The inner walls of funnel 124 slope inwardly toward the top of poppet 80 and provide a flexible surface against which the lip of an inverted bottle seals. A screen 132 is carried on top of poppet 88 and within the lower opening 134 of funnel 124. The funnel 124 is integrally secured to the collar 120.
A bracket for mounting the receptacles and maintaining each liquid container in an inverted position for flowing liquid therefrom through the funnel into the passages of poppet 80 and into the associated receptacle 10 is illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8. Particularly, an annular bracket encompasses body 50 below flange 52 and is suitably secured to a wall or other support structure as by screws 154. The bracket 140 includes an intermediate portion 156 between the wall and the receptacle and which portion is rectangular in cross-section as illustrated in FIG. 8 having vertically registering slots 158 and 160 through its opposite upper and lower walls. An upright bracket 162 formed of elongated flat spring steel is receivable in the openings 158 and 160. Bracket 162 has ratchet teeth 164 along one side thereof which cooperated with a spring biased detent 166. Detent 166 comprises a pin 167 having a knob 168 and receivable through a side wall of intermediate bracket portion 156. Pin 167 terminates in a scarfed end 170 and carries washer 171 adjacent its scarfed end. A spring 172 encompasses pin 167 between the side wall of bracket 156 and washer 171 to bias the scarfed end of pin 167 into engagement with ratchet teeth 164 whereby upright bracket 152 can be maintained in selected vertical position relative to the receptacles. The upper end of bracket 162 terminates in a laterally projecting leaf spring 178 having a generally sinuous configuration. The lowermost portion of leaf spring 178 is aligned over the receptacle. It will be appreciated that a bottle can be maintained in an inverted position between spring 178 and the receptacle with the bottle neck disposed within funnel 124.
In order to couple the bottle to the funnel so that liquid will flow into the receptacle, a side wall of the flexible funnel is flexed such that upper wall 128 obtains a substantially vertical orientation. The bottle is tipped such that its open end is received within the opening 130 and before the liquid flows out of the bottle. Once the bottle neck is received within opening 130, the bottle can be fully inverted over the receptacle with the funnel returning substantially to its normal position. The diameter of opening 130 is slightly smaller than the diameter of the neck of the smallest bottle usable with the system such that a substantial seal about the bottle neck is formed. Downward pressure on the bottle engages the lip of the bottle neck against the inside wall of thefunnel and about the openings through poppet 80. Further downward pressure on the bottle displaces poppet 80 downwardly against the bias of spring 110 thereby providing a through passage from the bottle into the receptacle via passages 100 and 102 and passageways 104 and 106. Downward movement of the poppet 80 is limited by the engagement of the underside of collar 120 with the upper end of boss 72. The inverted bottle is, of course, slipped under the leaf spring 178. Spring 178 retains the bottle in its inverted position with the poppet valve in the open position and against the bias of spring 110.
The previously described mountings for the inverted bottles elastically support the bottles between the leaf spring 178 and the poppet spring 110. Accordingly. the bottles are not rigidly mounted to the receptacles but rather are mounted for movement relative thereto. This is significant since any shock waves propagated through the pressurized system are absorbed by the elastic mountings provided by springs 110 and 178. The bottles are thereby prevented from breakage caused by any such shock waves.
When the receptacles are utilized in the dispensing sytem hereof illustrated in FIG. 1. they are serially connected one with the other in the manner previously described. Also. the bottles are inverted and clamped between the receptacles and the leaf spring I78 as previously described with the liquid flowing from the bottles into the associated receptacles. When the gas source is connected to the first of the serially connected receptacles, the gas enters one of the passages 100 or 102 by entering the corresponding passageway 104 or 106 and passes upwardly through the poppet valve into the bottle. The gas pressurized the remaining liquid in the hottle and drives it downwardly through the other of the passages and passageways into the receptacle.
It is a feature of the present invention that the receptacles and bottles may be maintained at a common elevation with the bottles emptying sequentially starting with the bottle closest to the gas source with the remaining bottles emptying successively thereafter in a direction toward the faucet. Previously. it has been believed that the bottles and receptacles must be inclined relative to one another with the gas source being applied to the highest bottle and the faucet connected to the lowest bottle of the serially connected bottles.
However. it has been found that, with the unique valve design hereof, successful dispensing can be obtained with the receptacles and bottles at a common or dissimilar elevation. Among other advantages. bottles at a common elevation facilitate installation of the dispensing system hereof where limited space is available.
It will be appreciated that when one or more of the bottles are emptied. they can be replaced with full bottles without interrupting the operation of the dispensing system To accomplish this, the empty bottle is first canted from below the leaf spring and the bottle neck is then withdrawn from the funnel After the bottle is removed, spring 110 displaces poppet 80 into the valve closed position with O-ring 88 sealing against valve seat 90. Consequently, gas flowing into that receptacle will merely flow through it and into the next serially connected receptacle(s) with the system continuing to operate and dispense liquid from the remaining unemptied bottles. A fresh full bottle may then be applied to the receptacle in the manner previously set forth herein.
It will be further appreciated that the unique funnel hereof accommodates the bottle necks of the variously different sized bottles. For example, the funnel is both flexible and resilient whereby the funnel opening is adapted for sealing engagement about the neck of a quart bottle as well as about the neck of a half gallon bottle, the funnel opening being about one inch in diameter for accommodating the full range of presently available bottle sizes.
Referring now to FIG. 9, there is disclosed an electrical circuit for use in the dispensing system hereof and particularly for use in operating the solenoid actuated valves contained in valve box 28, the counter within box 39, and the over and under pour switch 36. For dispensing various kinds of liquids. there is provided an electrical circuit as will now be described. Connected on one side of a I20 volt 60 Hz source. there is provided an line 200 connected with a three-position switch 202. The contacts 204, 206. and 208 of the switch 202 connect with time delay switches TDS1, TDS-Z. and TBS-3, respectively. These time delay switches are. in turn. coupled from a common line 217 to the various solenoid coils 2ll6a2l6f via respectiv'e lines 218u218f and respective selector switches 30(1-30/1 The other side of coils 2l6u-2l6f are connected via a line 222 to the other side of the AC source. In each of the parallel lines connecting between the time delay switches and the common line 217, there is provided a pulse counter PCl. PC2, and PC-3, respectively.
It will be appreciated that six selector switches and six coils are specifically described and illustrated and that a greater or lesser number of such switches and corresponding coils may be provided depending upon the number of kinds of drinks it is desired to serve. However. the most common types of drinks served number six or less and therefore an electrical circuit usable with six kinds of drinks is preferred.
in operation. a selected one of selector switches 30u30f is closed to energize the corresponding solenoid coil 216(1-2l6f through one of the time delay switches TDS1 TDS2. or TDS-3. The three-position switch is normally biased into a central position in electrical contact with contact 206 whereby the selected solenoid coil of solenoid coils 2l6u-2l6f is thus ener gized for a predetermined time sufficient to provide a regular size pour. Le. a one ounce shot. Consequently. the bartender need only close the selector switch indicative of the type of liquid to be dispersed, i.e.. either moving the selected handle of handles 30r-30fas illustrated in FIG. 2 or pressing the appropriate button on the nozzle head in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, to dispense a predetermined quantity of a selected liquid. Further. it will be noted that. upon a selected one of switches 30a-30f, the pulse counter PC-Z associated with the line through contact 206 and time delay switch TDS-2 is energized to record the drink dispensed. 1n the event that an over or under sized pour is required. the bartender closes the selected on and off switches 30a30f and also moves the three-position switich to the selected contact 204 or 208 thereby energizing a selected time delay switch TDS-l or TDS-3. In this manner, the valve is held open a longer or shorter period of time as required to dispense the oversize or undersize drink. The oversize or undersize pour is likewise recorded on the appropriate counter PC-l or PC-3. The three-position switch, as noted previously, is biased such that upon its release, it will return to the central position and into electrical contact with contact 206, whereby the next pour will be of regular size. It will be appreciated that the time delay switches TDS-l, TDS-Z and TDS3 may each comprise a switch whrein flow of current through the switch causes the switch to open after a predetermined time interval. The switch returns to its normally closed position once that time cycle is completed and whereat it is again ready to conduct current.
It will be appreciated that the three pulse counters serve the entire system whereby the total number of measured pours dispensed. of whatever kind of liquid. would be recorded as the sum of the counts on the three pulse counters. It will be noted, however, that an additional counter can be located in each line 2l8a218f whereby the total number of measured pours from each set of serially connected receptacles can be recorded.
It will be appreciated that the receptacle disclosed in the foregoing described embodiment may be utilized individually. That is, the inlet port of a receptacle can be connected to the gas pressure source and its outlet port connected directly to the dispensing faucet. In this manner, dispensing of measured and counted drinks from a single bottle is also obtained.
Referring now to another form of a liquid dispensing system constructed in accordance with the present invention. there is illustrated in FIG. 11 a plurality of receptacles generally indicated and which receptacles are adapted to receive liquid from inverted liquid containers generally indicated 12'. As in the previously described embodiment. a predetermined number of receptacles 10' are serially connected one to the other, for example by conduits 300, to form a group of serially connected receptacles, it being appreciated that for dispensing other types of liquids additional sets or groups of similarly serially connected receptacles may be provided. Also, as in the previous embodiment. the first serially connected receptacle 10a is coupled to an air manifold 302 by a conduit 304. The manifold in turn connects with a source of gas under pressure 306 by a conduit 308 containing a shut-off valve 310 and a pressure regulator 312. Each receptacle 10u'10j has an elevated inlet port 314 and an outlet port 316 located at the bottom of the receptacle. The conduit 304 from the source of gas under pressure connects with the inlet port 314 of the first serially connected receptacle 10a and the conduits 300 serially connected the receptacles by connection at one end with the outlet port of one receptacle and connection at its opposite end with the inlet port 314 of the next serially arranged receptacle. The outlet port 316 of the last receptacle 10/ is provided with a conduit 318 for communicating liquid to a dispensing faucet, not shown. The foregoing described receptacles and their containers may, as in the previous embodiment, be similarly disposed behind a counter, bar or the like as illustrated in FIG. 2. Also, either the selector switches illustrated in FIG. 2 or the selector switches mounted on a hose as illustrated in FIG. 3 may be utilized to dispense liquid from the system illustrated in FIG. 11 in like manner as previously described. Further, the quantity selection and counter apparatus previously described in connection with the first embodiment may also be utilized in connection with this embodiment.
The receptacles 10a'-10f are similar in construction to the receptacles previously described and further description thereof is believed unnecessary. Likewise, the cover 68 for the receptacles of this embodiment is identical to the cover 68 described in the preceding embodiment and further description thereof is also believed unnecessary.
For purposes which will become clear, each conduit 300, which provides a flow passage between adjacent serially connected receptacles, is provided with a check valve designated 320. Likewise conduits 304 and 318 are similarly provided with like check valves 320. The check valve employed herein is illustrated in detail in FIGS. 12 and 13. Specifically, the check valve includes a cylindrical housing 322 open at one end to define an interior cylindrical chamber 323 communicating with an axial passage 325 and having a nipple 324 at its opposite end for connection with the conduit 300. About the interior surface of housing 322 defining chamber 323, there is provided a circumferentially extending groove 326 and a plurality of tapered ribs 328 for guiding a disc-like seal 330 disposed in chamber 323 into sealing engagement against an annular shoulder 332 at the base of chamber 323. Check valve 320 also includes a stem 334 having an axial passageway 335 and a nipple 326 for connection with the conduit 300. Stem 334 has a circumferentially extending rib 336 for engagement in the groove 326 whereby the housing 322 and stem 334 are secured one to the other. The forward end of the stem terminates in a plurality of axially projecting, circumferentially spaced, fingers 338 for maintaining disc 330 spaced from the axial passage 335 through stem 334. Disc 330 is formed of resilient material, for example, a closed cell plastic material. From the foregoing description, it will be appreciated that disc 330 is movable axially between a position seating against shoulder 332 thereby sealing passage 325 and the illustrated position providing for flow through the check valve in the direction of the arrow, for example through passage 325 into chamber 323, about disc 330 and between fingers 338 into passage 335. It will also be appreciated that back pressure will cause the valve disc 330 to seat against the shoulder 332 preventing back flow of liquid through check valve 320.
In lieu of the check valve illustrated in FIGS. 12 and 13, the bottom of the receptacles 10a'l0f may be provided with a ball check valve, for example as illustrated in FIGS. 17l9. Particularly, the lower outlet port 316 of the receptacle may comprise a nipple 340 depending from the bottom wall of the receptacle and defining an outlet passage 342 having an interior tapered surface or seat 344. A ferrule 346 may be suitably secured about nipple 340 for example by an epoxy adhesive. The lower end of the ferrule defines a central passage 348 which terminates in an internally threaded boss 350. A fitting 352 is threaded on ferrule 346 for connection with the conduit 300.
The base of ferrule 346 has a plurality of upstanding pins 354 circumferentially spaced about passage 348 which under normal conditions of flow support a ball 356 in a manner to permit liquid flow from the receptacle through passages 342, about ball 356, between pins 354 and through passage 348 into the conduit 300. It will be appreciated that attempted reverse flow of liquid into the receptacle 1011 as illustrated in FIG. 18 causes ball 356 to rise and seal against seat 344 whereby back flow is prevented.
Also, illustrated in FIG. 18 is a screen or wire mesh 357 disposed in the bottom of the receptacle overlying passage 342. The screen 357 prevents flow of foreign objects, for example, bits of paper or cork, into the flow passages of the dispensing system.
Referring back to FIGS. 14-16, a further feature of the present invention provides for an elongated transition element interposed between each inverted container and its corresponding receptacle. This novel and unique transition element is provided to permit gas under pressure to flow into the container and liquid under pressure to flow from the container and into its corresponding receptacle while maintaining such flow passages externally sealed. i.e.. sealing the container to the receptacle. Moreover. the transition element is particularly adapted to fit the various container sizes utilized in the liquor industry, one of the industries in which the present invention is intended for commercial use. The transition element 360 is formed of a resilient material. for example neoprene rubber. and has a pair of axially extending side-by-side passages 362 and 364. As illustrated in FIG. 16. these passages are generally semi-cylindrical in cross section and enable flow of gas under pressure into the container and flow of liquid from the container into the receptacle.
To ensure that the transition element 360 forms a seal between the inverted container and the receptacle and also to provide a transition element adapted to fit the various sizes of containers in a specified industry. i.e.. the liquor industry. the generally cylindrical transition element 360 is provided with two frustoconical external surfaces 366 and 368. Frustoconieal surface 366 lies intermediate the length of transition element 360 and has its diametrically larger base 370 directly contiguous to. and particularly copolanar with the diametrically larger base 372 of frustoconical surface 368. Since base 370 is larger in diameter than base 372. there is provided a step along the outer surface of member 360 which overlies the inlet port to the receptacle as illustrated in FIG. 15 to prevent foreign objects from inadvertently falling into the receptacle.
The forward end of frustoconical surface 368 terminates in a still further, more shllow. furstoconical section 374, both surfaces 366 and 374 extending from their larger diameter bases in a like axial direction. Frustoconical surface 368, however. extends from its base 372 in the opposite axial direction. Thus it will be appreciated that the outlet to the container may be received about surface sections 374 and 366 with the section 366 serving to form a seal about the margins of the outlet of the container. Also. surface 368 is received in the inlet opening of the receptacle and forms a seal therewith. Consequently. liquid from the container and gas under pressure from the receptacle are permitted to flow in opposite directions through the passages 362 and 366 without leakage to the surrounding environment. The upper ends of the passages 362 and 364 terminate in tapered openings 376 and 378. respectively. with the central wall 380 between passages 362 and 364 serving as the extreme tip or upper edge of member 360. The tapered openings 376 about the tip of element 360 serve to facilitate insertion of the outlet of the container about the member 360 as well as enable substantially the entirety of the liquid contents of the container to flow into the receptacle through the passages.
When the system components are arranged as illustrated in FIG. 11, gas under pressure flows into the receptacles via the conduits 308, 304 and 300 and into the inverted containers mounted on top of the corrsponding receptacles via at least one of the passages 362 and 364 of the transition element. Liquid in all of the containers flows into the corresponding receptacles until each container and its receptacle is pressurized, i.e.. about eight pounds. Liquid can then be withdrawn from the system by operation of the solenoid-actuated valve controlling the flow of liquid from the serially connected receptacles to the corresponding faucet. When the valve is open and the liquid is drawn off, the flow progresses serially from receptacle to receptacle to the faucet. Particularly. the flow is such that the first of the serially connected containers and receptacles. i.e.. container 12a and receptacle 10a empties first with each succeeding container and receptacle emptying thereafter in sequence.
To replace the empty containers with fresh full containers. each empty container is canted or pulled off its transition element. A new container is then placed on the transition element and the spring biases the container downwardly onto the transition element to maintain the seal therebetween. When a container has been removed from the system. the check valve 320 and ball check valve 356. depending upon which type of check valve is employed. serves to prevent backflow of liquid from succeeding receptacles. That is. once the seal between an empty bottle and a receptacle is broken. for example when a replacement bottle is required. the pressure in that receptacle drops to zero causing the next succeeding check valve to seal. The check valves thus serve to isolate the loaded part of the system which is under pressure from the empty container or containers preventing reverse flow. This also prevents intermixing of the contents of the containers one with the other. Further. the check valves serve to prevent possible overflow of the receptacles on which the containers are being replaced because of the liquid and air pressure in the loaded part of the system. Still further. the check valves serve to retain pressure in the loaded part of the system such that liquid can be continuously dispensed for a limited period of time while reloading. It will be appreciated that the change of the containers can be accomplished either by shutting down the gas supply. for example by closing valve 310, or can be accomplished with the gas supply on. It will be appreciated that in the foregoing described system. all of the containers may be at the same elevation although this is not necessary to their operation. The containers may therefore be located at different elevations. Also it will be appreciated that a greater or lesser number of containers and receptacles than illustrated may be utilized for dispensing any given liquid.
Referring now to FIG. 20, a single container dispensing system is utilized wherein single containers of different liquids may be dispensed. In this form. manifold 30212 is coupled to the gas pressure source 3061; via the valve 31Gb and pressure regulator 312b. Manifold 302b has a plurality of outlet ports for communicating gas under pressure to each of the discrete receptacles connected thereto. For example. conduit 400 connects manifold 302b to receptacle I0a" while a conduit 402 connects the manifold 302b to a receptacle 10b". Each of the remaining receptacles is similarly connected with the manifold. In each such conduit 400, 402, etc.. there is disposed a check valve 320" of the type specifically illustrated in FIGS. 12 and 13. In operation, the gas under pressure flows through the manifold and through the discrete conduits to the corresponding receptacles pressurizing the liquid in the inverted containers associated therewith and in the receptacles per se. The outlet ports 316" of the receptacles are each connected by a discrete conduit to a separate dispensing faucet. Thus, upon opening the valve controlling the faucet, liquid flows from the associated receptacle and container to the faucet. The check valves 320" serve to prevent back flow of liquid into the gas manifold and contamination of both the liquid as well as the manifold. It will be appreciated that the transition element 360 previously described in connection with FIGS. 14-16 is also utilized in this latter dispensing system.
The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore to be embraced therein.
What is claimed and desired to be secured by United States Letters Patent is:
1. Apparatus for dispensing liquids from a plurality of inverted liquid containers comprising; a plurality of liq- .uid receptacles. each of said receptacles having an inlet for receiving liquid from an inverted liquid container. means carried by each of said receptacles for sealing between said receptacle and the inverted liquid container and having a passage enabling the liquid from each container to flow into the corresponding receptacle, means connecting said receptacles in series one with the other for communicating liquid successively through said receptacles, a source of gas under pressure. means coupling said gas source to a first of said serially connected receptacles for pressurizing the liquid in said receptacles and the inverted containers. a dispensing faucet, means coupling the last serially connected receptacle to said faucet for dispensing liquid under pressure from the serially connected receptacles and enabling the containers to be successively emptied starting with the container emptying into said first receptacle, and a plurality of check valves respectively carried by the portions of said connecting means between next adjacent serially connected pairs of receptacles whereby back flow of liquid between the serially connected receptacles is precluded.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein each of said receptacles has an inlet port and an outlet port, said connecting means including a plurality of fluid conduits, each said fluid conduit connecting between the outlet port of a receptacle and the inlet port of a next serially connected receptacle for flowing liquid sequentially through said receptacles in a direction toward said faucet.
3. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein each of said receptacles has an inlet port and an outlet port located at an elevation below said inlet port, said connecting means including conduits connecting at respective opposite ends with the outlet ports and inlet ports of the serially connected receptacles. the check valve being carried by said receptacle and located at said outlet port. 7
4. Apparatus according to claim 3 wherein said check valve comprises a ball, a valve seat about said outlet port and a ball support, said ball being normally spaced from said seat on said support to enable outflow of liquid from the receptacle through its outlet port past said check valve, and being movable in response to back pressure into sealing engagement against said seat to preclude inflow of liquid into said receptacle through its oulet port.
5. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein each said sealing means includes a member formed of resilient material for sealing about the outlet of the container and the opening into said receptacle.
6. Apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said member is elongated and has a second passage therethrough. said passage extending in the direction of the long axis of said member and lying in side-by-side, substantially parallel relation one to the other.
7. Apparatus according to claim 6 wherein each said member has side-by-side inlets at one end thereof for flow of liquid from the associated container through the passages into the receptacle, the margins of the member defining each of said inlets being axially spaced one from the other whereby substantially the entirety of the liquid in the containers flows through said inlets and said passages.
8. Apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said member is elongated and has at least one generally frustoconically shaped, axially extending, external surface for sealing engagement about the outlet of the inverted container or the inlet to said receptacle.
9. Apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said member is elongated and has a pair of axially spaced, and extending, generally frustoconically shaped external surfaces for respective sealing engagement with the outlet of the inverted container and the inlet to said receptacle.
10. Apparatus according to claim 9 wherein said frustoconical surfaces extend in opposite axial directions and have their larger diameter portions adjacent one another.
11. Apparatus according to claim 10 wherein the base of the frustoconical surface which seals about the outlet of the inverted container is larger in diameter than the base of the frustoconical surface which seals about the inlet to the receptacle whereby the first mentioned base overhangs the second mentioned base when said member is interposed between the inverted container and the receptacle.
3,880,330 Dated April 29, 1975 Inventor(s) Vernon E. Leas and Jeffrey Alan Leas It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
C01. C01, Col. C01. (301. (301. Col. C01. C01. C01. Col.
C01. C01. C01. C01. C01. C01. Col.
1, line 33, "inerted" should read --inverted--. 2, line 16, "staring" should read --starting--. 2, line 40, "containes" should read --containers--. 2 line 45 "bottl" should read -bottle--. 3 line 4, similary" should read -similarly--. 3, line 49 insert -each-- after "surface, 3, line 54 "describe" should read --dispense--. 4, line 2, "improves" should read --improved--. 4, line 25, "reaidly" should read --readily--. 5 line 58, "adatped" should read --adapted--. 6, line 6, after "Each" insert --conduit 16 connects between an outlet port 22 in the bottom--. 6, line 13, delete one "and". 7, line 30, "uper" should read .--upper- 10, line 38, "30r" should read --30a--. 10, line 49, "switich" should read--switch-. 10, line 61, "whrein" should read --wherein--. 13, line 22 "copolanar" should read --coplanar--. 13, line 30, "shllow" should read --shallow--.
Signed and Sealed this twenty-eight Day Of October 1975 Arrest:
RUTH MASON dinning Office?