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Publication numberUS943940 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 21, 1909
Filing dateNov 24, 1908
Priority dateNov 24, 1908
Publication numberUS 943940 A, US 943940A, US-A-943940, US943940 A, US943940A
InventorsPaul T Kenny
Original AssigneePaul T Kenny
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Theater-chair-signal system.
US 943940 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)


Patented Dec. 21, 1909.

2 sinus-SHEET 1. I



943,940, Patelited Dec. 21, 1909.





To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, PAUL T. KENNY, a citizen of the United States, residing in the borough of Manhattan, in the city, county,

. by entrance is barred. into such aisles and rows as have no vacant chairs, such means being released as soon as a chair is vacated in the row or aisle.

Among the possible applications ofmy invention are the followin a group of electric signals,- preferably l1ghts, located adjacent a row of seats, and chair-related switches, each adapted when its chair is occupied to extinguish its corresponding signal, and when its chair is vacated to re-light itssignal; a gate, preferably in the nature of a turnstile, located at the end of a row of chairs, and chair-related switches adapted when. all the chairs in the row are occupied to effect the locking of such gate against ingress, and when one or more seats are vacated to release such lock; an electric signal at the head of an aisle to indicate when all the seats pertaining to that aisle are occupied or when some are vacant, and chair-related switches adapted to actuate said signals; a gate, preferably in the nature of a turnstile,

at the head of the aisle, and chair-related:

switches adapted to efiect the locking of said gate against ingress when all the seats are occupied, and to release such lock when one or more of the seats are vacated; a group of signals at the box office corresponding to the seats in the house, and chair-related switches.

whereby such signals are individually actu' ated as the chairs are occupied and vacated; and a signal at the box'ofiice or ticket booth for indicating that the house is"full,.and chair-related switches whereby said signal is displayed only when all the seats are occulation between the turnstile for row and aisle Specification of Letters Patent. Application filed November 24, 1908. SeriaI No. 464,293.

and the signals for row or aisle is particutheseclaims it should be kept in mind that the term group, as applied to chairs, is used in a purely generic sense and does not necessarily refer to any specific number or arrangement. may be regarded as agroup.

The advantages of my invention will be readily apparent. Reserved seats may be sold over and over again at the box oflice, in the same day, (it being well known that patrons of moving picture theaters .are con- .stantl entering and leaving), and patrons who do not purchase reserved seats may tell at a glance on entering the theater what seats open to them are vacant. As patrons in moving picture resorts are entering constantly during the performance, and as the house is usually dark, it is of great. value to obviate the hunting for seats, which is a source of annoyance to those already seated, as well as to the newcomers themselves and by means of signal lights I attain this desideratum. x

The accompanying drawings are to be taken as illustrating rather than limiting my invention.

Briefly describing them, Figure 1 shows a transverse section of a one-aisle theater with a row of three seats on either side thereof, together with diagrammatic illustration of the chair-related switches, signals, turnstiles, and wiring; Fig. 2 is a vertical longitudinal section through one of the chairs; Fig. 3 is a detail view of a form of chairrelated switch that may be used; Fig. 4 is a detail view of aform of group signal that may be used for the rows; Fig. 5 is a partial perspective showing a ticket booth and part of the interior of the theater; and Fig. 6 is a diagrammatic view showing how the lock for a row turnstile may be operated.

In Figs. 1 and 4 my signaling system is shown as installed in a theater havin na deeply-sunken aisle 5, covered by a Iatform 6, which connects the portions 0 the floor of the house at opposite sides thereof,

but it need scarcely be observed that the All the chairs in the house- Patented Dec. 2 1, 1909.

by a pin 28 projecting'laterally from said system is not limited in its application to any one type of theater construction. Flights of stairs 7 may lead from the bottom of the aisle 5 to the rows of seats at both sides.

For the sake of avoiding complication in the illustration of wiring I have shown the switches 9 pertaining to the chairs numbers 1, 2 and 3 of the row designated by the numeral l as connected with the group 16 of row signals V V V and the row turnstile 3, while the chair-related switches 9 of chairs numbers 4, 5 and 6 of the row designated by the numeral 2 are shown connected only with the box-ofiice group of signals 14. This may, in fact, be the arrangement, if the chairs on one side of the house are for general admission and those on the other side are reserved; but it must be understood that my invention contemplates as well the connection of the chairs on both sides of the house .with row signals and turnstiles and with the box-office group of signals.

Considering now the chairs of the row at the left of Fig. l, designated by the numeral 1, a suitable mode of wiring and connection is the following: From the positive side of generator 17, along wire 40, through unlocking magnet 10 of spring-actuated locking pawl or member 10 (it being understood that any usual or desirable pawl and ratchet or clutch device is present to prevent retrograde movement of the turnstile 3), along wire 41, and in parallel through the switches 9 and their series-connected lamps V ,V ,V along wire 42, through relay 11, and along wire 43 to the negative side of the generator l7.

From the foregoing relations it will be seen that the signals of the grou 16 are controlled individually from their corresponding chairs, whereas the turnstile 3 is controlled by the chairs of row 1 collectively. Any desirable form of switch may be employed; that shown in Fig. 3 is mainly for illustrative pur oses. It is shown in the position it would occupy with the pivoted seat'35 pressed down by the weight of an occupant. It comprises a shaft 25 moving vertically in and projecting above a suitable casing 22, being provided at its upper end with a seat-engaging button 20. A 'comparatively strong sprin 21, confined between the top of the casing 22 and the button 20 elevates the shaft 25 when the chair is vacated. Spring contacts 23 are shown within the casmg 22, in position to be engaged by a contact member or late 26 carried gya sleeve 28, loose on shaft but limit as to longitudinal movement thereon shaft 25 and coiiperating with a vertical slot in the sleeve 27. A comparatively light spring 24 is inte between the top of t e casing 22 an the contact member 28.

In operation, if the chair be vacated, the

shaft 25 rises under the influence of spring.

21, raising with it the sleeve 27 and contact member 26. In this way, the circuit between the sprin contacts or terminals 23 is completed. en a person sits upon the seat 35, the shaft 25 is depressed; but the sleeve 27 remains for a time stationary, while the pin 28 travels to the bottom of its slot. Then, the contact member 26 is forced downward and the s ring 24, which was compressed dur'ing t e foregoing operation, acts suddenly to break the connection between the contact 26 and the sprin terminals 23. All of these are immaterial details as far as the main features of the invention are concerned.

It will now be ap )arent that the lights of the group 16 are illuminated individually as the corresponding chairs are vacated, and extinguished individually as the corresponding chairs are occupied; also that the looking device l0 of the turnstile 3 is in operation only when all the chairs of the row are occupied and, therefore, the magnet 10 deenergized. When one of the chairs is vacated, this magnet is again energized and the turnstile is unlocked as to ingress.

As to the chairs in the row at the right of Fig. l, designated-by the numeral 2, the illustrative arrangements are as follows: Current passes from the positive side of generator 17, along wire 44, past manuall -operated switch 36, alon wire 45, in darallel through the signal lights of the box-ofiice group of signals 14 and their series-connected switches 9, and along wires 48 and 43 to the negative side of the enerator. The switches 9 being of the kin just described, it is evident that each chair as it is vacated partially completes the circuit through one of the signals 14, and vice versa. When the occupant of the box oflice desires to consult the chart afforded by the group of signals 14, he or she merely closes the switch 36, 7

when the lights corresponding to vacant seats flash out. In this way, patrons desirous of securing reserved seats can be immediately informed which seats are unoccupied. They can then be furnished with Suitably identified tickets, so that they may secure these seats. e As intimated, the left hand side of th house in Fig. 1 may be regarded as for eneral ildIIliSSlOIl, while the right hand si e is for reserved seats. For greater convenience, the seats at the left side may be reached from the depressed aisle or passageway 5, while the seats at the rightmay be reached from the elevated platform 6. When allthe neral admimiomseats pertaining to the ais e 5 are taken, a turnstile 50 at the head of the aisle may be locked inst ingress and an all seats occupied s1gnal'13 may be dislayed in lace of the directing signal 12. i'his may accomplished in the following I contact member -1.

way: The relay 11 operates a double-faced switches are adapted to be operated to dis-' ing through the relay 11, which true. as long as one of the seats at the left of Fig. 1 is unoccupied, this contact 51 is elevated and completes the circuit through a shunt in which is located the signal 19.. When .all the seats are occupied, the magnet of relay 11 is deenergized, and the contact 51 engages with a pair of contacts pertaining to a shunt in which is located the signal 13 and the locking magnet 52 of the spring-released locking pawl 53 of the turnstilc 50. Persons desiring general admission seats will, thus, be warned that no seats are vacant, and. should they attempt to press forward, would be 'n'evented by the locked turnstile,.until someone occupying one of these chairs leaves it. I

It'seems scarcely necessary to observe that a signal corresponding to signal 13 may be located outside the theater or-at the box oflice. j

The lights of the groirp 16 have been shown as mounted on the underside of the platform 6. Of course,-this is not material; and in Fig. at I have shown a group of jewel lights 80, which may be used as well, being mounted in acasing 31 at the upper end of a pipe standard and shaded by hood 32. This type of signal may be used in connection with the reserved seat section, if de sired, and I have indicated one of them at 15, at the end of the row of seats at the right of Fig. '1. In order to avoid obscuring the illustration, I have not shown the wiring of this set of lights; but it will be under stood that it may be the same as that shown for .the lights of group .16. f It has been gathered from all the .foregoing that the essence of this invention is by no means limited to details or to particular applications. The signals need not all be lights. Operations may be reversed. It is not at all necessary that the chair-related switches be operated by the seats of the chairs. They mightnot be operated directly" by; the chair at all. All-that is necessary is that they be adapted to be actuated,

involuntarily with reference to the occupant of the chair, upon the chair being occupied and reversely upon the chair being vacated.

In certain of the appended claims I have concisely set forth the'relation' between the chair-switchesand the chair-indicating signals, by stating that each switch is adapted to be operated, involuntarily with reference to the occupant of the chair, through the occupying and vacating thereof, to display its signal. diversely throughout vacation and occupation. In order to anticipate the possible technical objection that a signal light when extinguished is not displayed,'I wish to point out that it is displayed in anegative sense. Moreover, the statement that the -to illuminate' and extinguish tively.

When current is flowi play their signals diversely throughout vacation and occupation should not be taken as incompatible, on the one hand, with the fact that the switches may be slow-acting in one direction, so that the signals will not be changed for a predetermined period after the occupants rise from their chairs, or, on

the other hand, with the fact that a manual,

operators switch may beinserted. in all the circuits of a group of signals, so that, while the chair-switches may be operated through the vacation of the chairs to change the sig-, nals, they may be prevented from doing so by reason of the operators switch being open. The latter state of affairs may obtain with reference to the box-office signals,"as has been described. H There remains to be referred to afeature of value, which, in most instances, it will probably be advisable to employ. This feature is means for rendering the switches J slow-acting upon the vacation of the chairs. The advisability ofsuch provision will be apparent when there is taken into consideration the fact that patrons of theaters often arise from their seats for purposes other than that of quitting the building, as,

forexample, for the purpose of adjusting their wraps; Of course, various devices for rendering switches slow-acting in one direction are old, and it is immaterial to this invention which of these or what novel means may be employed for this purpose. A dash- :pot- 54, with air-cock for regulating purposes, would serve to good purpose.

What I claim as new is: 1. In a theater signaling system, the combination with a group ofchairs, of a group of visual, ocoupancy-indicating electric signals corresponding thereto, and .chair related switches each pertaining to a chair and connected with a signal and adapted to beoperated, involuntarily with reference to the occupant of the chair, through the occupying and vacating thereof to display its,

signal diverselythroughout vacation and 00- cupation.

of electric lights corresponding thereto and in the vicinity thereof within the theater, and chair-related switches each 'pertaini-n to a chair and connected with a light an adapted to be operated, involuntarily wlth reference to the occupant of the chair, through the occupying and vacating thereof its light throughout vacation and occupation respec- 3. In a theatersignaling system, the combinationwith' a group of chairs, of a group of visual, occupancy-indicating signals cor- 'thereto, and .chairrelated responding pertaining to a chair and conswitches each i 2. In a'theater signaling system, the com-v 'bination with a group of chairs, of agroup izo nected with a signal and adapted to be operated, involuntarily with reference to the occupant of the chair, through the occupying and vacating thereof, to display its signal diversely throughout vacation and occupation; together'with a manual, operators switch common to all the signals.

4. In a theater signaling system, the combination with a. group of chairs within the theater, of a group of visual, occupancy-indicating signals corresponding thereto located in the box-oflice of the theater, and chair-related switches each pertainin to a chair and connected with a signa and adapted to be operated, involuntarily with reference to the occupant of the chair, through the occupying and vacating thereof, to display its signal diversely throughout vacation and occupation.

5. In a theater signaling system, the com bination with a group of chairs, of visual electric si naling means adapted to indicate in the vicinity of the chairs their condition with reference to occupation or vacation, chair-related switches connected with said signaling means and adapted to be operated, involuntarily with reference to the occupant of the chair, through the occupying and vacating thereof, a gate controlling the access to all of said chairs,locking means therefor,

and electrical connections between all the switches and said locki means, whereby the gate is locked when al the chairs are 00- V are T. In a theater signaling system, the combination with a roup of chairs, of chair-re- 1mm "switches at apted-to be operated involuntarily with reference to the occupant of the chair through the occupying and vacat ing thereof, mechanism operated by said switches for indicating the condition of said chairs as to occupancy and vacancy, and means for rendering said switches slow-acting upon i'aeation of their respective chairs.




Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2453838 *Feb 19, 1946Nov 16, 1948Fletcher Roy AlanApparatus for indicating the available seating accommodation at places of entertainment
US6307472 *Oct 21, 1999Oct 23, 2001Darryl Lee RobertsonPost office box system and apparatus for indicating post office box occupancy
US20130032428 *Mar 15, 2012Feb 7, 2013Jin Tzeng WooAutomatic engine lock of electric motorcycle
Cooperative ClassificationG08B25/14