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Патент USA US3095567

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June 25, 1963
c. B. CRUDGINGTON ETAL
3,095,558
VACANCY INDICATOR FOR MOTELS AND LIKE ESTABLISHMENTS
Filed Dec. 27, 1960
'
4 Sheets-Sheet 1
INVENTORS
Cleveland B. Crudgingfon
BY Colin D. Murdoch
June 25, 1963
c. s. CRUDGINGTQN ETAL
3,095,558
VACANCY INDICATOR FOR MOTELS AND LIKE ESTABLISHMENTS
Filed Dec. 27, 1960
4 Sheets-Sheet 2
Fig.3
4%
20a
4
INVENTORS
Cleveland 8. Crudgingfon
BY Colin 0. Murdoch
June 25, 1963
c. a. CRUDGINGTON ETAL
3,095,558
VACANCY INDICATOR FOR MOTELS AND LIKE ESTABLISHMENTS
Filed Dec. 2'7, 1960'
4 Sheets-Sheet 3
INVENTORS
Cleveland B. Crudgington
BY Cgoén D. Murdoch
June 25, 1963
3,095,558
c. a. CRUDGINGTON ETAL
VACANCY INDICATOR FOR MOTELS AND LIKE ESTABLISHMENTS
Filed Dec. 27, 1960
4 Sheets-Sheet 4
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United States Patent 0
3,095,558
1
C6 .
Patented June 25, 1963
1
2
be apparent from the following description of the accom
panying drawings which illustrate a preferred embodi
3,095,558
VACANCY INDICATOR FOR MOTELS AND
ment thereof and wherein
LIKE ESTABLISHMENI‘S
-
FIGURES 1 and 2 are “transparent” perspectives of an
Cleveland B. Crudgington, San Leandro, Calif., and Colin
D. Murdoch, Reno, Nev.; said Murdoch assignor to said
apparatus embodying our invention illustrating different
operational positions thereof;
Crudgington
FIGURE 3 is a front elevation of a vertical section
Filed Dec. 27, 1960, Ser. No. 78,480
3 Claims. (Cl. 340-286)
through the apparatus in the position illustrated in FIG
URE 1;
The present invention concerns itself with a problem 10
FIGURE 4 is a cross section through the apparatus
that is peculiar to motels. One of the great problems
taken along line 4—4 of FIGURE 3 and viewed in the
in managing motels is to know immediately when a guest
direction of the arrows'associated with said line;
has ?nally vacated his room. Most motels have a de?nite
FIGURES 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, and 5e are fragmentaryr
front elevations of the control mechanism of the appara
“check-on ” time, such as 12 o’clock noon, by which a
room must be vacated unless the guest is prepared to pay 15 tus illustrating a sequence of consecutive operational po
another day’s rent. In reality, however, guests will fre
quently leave much earlier, sometimes in the small hours
of the morning, without notifying the management of
the establishment of their departure, and the staff will
FIGURE 6 is a diagram illustrating the manner in
which the condition of a plurality of the apparatus of the
invention is visually indicated at a central board or
therefore not attempt to enter the room nor will the 20
panel.
management be able to rent the room to a new guest
Having ?rst reference to FIGURES l to .2, the deposit
returning apparatus of our invention comprises a box
10 of metal, wood or plastic material that may be secured
sitions thereof; and
until the “checkout” time has arrived.
This a serious disadvantage because the staff for clean
ing the rooms may be idle through most of the morning
hours and may be overworked in the afternoon hours; 25
to a wall, or to the door, of each room in a hotel, motel
or like establishment. Its bottom is formed by a hinged
trap door 12 that is normally in closed condition (FIG
URES 1, 5a and 5e) and upon which lie coins in the
‘amount of the deposit, say two coins of 510 cents, as indi
cated at 13. The trap door is hingedly connected to the
‘ The present invention aims to provide a system of, and
apparatus for, indicating at the reception desk of a motel 30 side-walls 14a and ‘14b of the box adjacent the front-wall
15 thereof by means of a hinge rod 16 and is normally
at the earliest possible moment, in fact at the moment
and the management may have to send guests away that
could have been accommodated had it been known that
some of the rooms had already been vacated.
of departure of a guest, that a room has been vacated
held in closed condition by means of a stirrup 18 in the
and may be cleaned up and rented again to the next
arrival. In this manner a motel may be kept in order
form of an inverted U whose vertical side bars 19a and
1911 are pivotally engaged in lateral, ?llets 20a and 20b
with a much smaller staff than otherwise necessary so 35 provided on the trap door 12 along the inner face thereof,
that the establishment can be operated much more eco
and whose cross bar 22 rests upon a stud 24- (FIGURES
1, 4 and 5a) in the upper end of a bar 26. Said bar 26
nomically, and there will be no loss in business due to the
fact that the reception clerk may not know whether there
is secured to, and projects upwardly from, a rotary cyl
inder 28 (FIGURE 4) that forms part of a lock 30- which
in fact rooms of the establishment have already been 4.0 is arranged in the front wall 15 of the box 10‘. Said cyl
inder 28 turns in the outer bushing 32 of said lock, and
vacated. The system of our invention is such that the
is a vacancy and may send a prospective guest away when
room clerk will know whether a guest left his room with
the intent to return, such as may be the case when he has
gone to have breakfast, or whether he has de?nitely de
parted.
by inserting a'key 34 into the key hole 36 of the lock
and turning the cylinder in a clockwise direction, as
viewed in FIGURES 1, 3 and 5a, the stud 24 is lowered
45 from underneath the cross bar 22 of stirrup 18 (FIG
’ Our invention is based upon the realization that the
URE 5b) so that the trap door 12 opens under its own
average guest if he paid a deposit for the key to his room,
will not depart without recovering the deposit. The
present invention provides means by which a guest may
weight and the weight of the coins lying thereon and the
to vacate the room, and‘when recovering his deposit he
loses control over the key and sets mechanism into mo
tion that indicates at a central panel in the reception
The key to be inserted into the key hole 36 may be the
room key, but is preferably a smaller key that is securely
fastened to the room key 42, or to the tag 44 that is
normally attached .to the keys of hotel or motel rooms,
coins are discharged onto a suitable coin dispensing
trough (not shown) from which they may readily be
recover his deposit in his own room once he has decided 50 withdrawn.
office of the motel visibly and/or audibly that his par
ticular room has been vacated and may now be made up 55 as illustrated in ‘FIGURE 2.
and re-rented if the opportunity arises.
It is an object of our invention to provide a simple,
dependable, and tamper-proof ‘apparatus for returning
Suitably supported from the front Wall ‘15 of the box
is a shelf 46 which in turn supports a normally open
switch 48 that is provided with an actuating arm 50
the key deposit to a guest who intends to vacate his room.
(FIGURE 3). A forwardly projecting stud 52 mounted
It is another object of the invention to provide an 60 in the hereinbefore mentioned bar 26 engages the actuat
apparatus, of the type referred to, which when operated,
deprives the departing guest of control over the key.
ing arm 50 when said bar is in its vertically disposed
initial position, shown in FIGURES l, 3 and 5a, and
holds the switch 48 in open position. Said switch 48
lies in the power circuit of a lamp '54 (FIGURE 6) which
Another object of our invention is to provide an app-a
ratus, of the type referred to, that indicates at once visibly
and/or audibly at a central panel which particular room 65 may be. of green color and which is mounted on a board
or panel 56 that is located in the reception office of the
has been vacated.
motel or hotel and mounts many such lamps, one for
Still another object of the present invention is to pro
each of the rooms of the establishment, with the number
vide an apparatus, of the type referred to, that may
readily be manipulated by the attending staff to release
of its corresponding room marked out above each lamp.
the key and be again in a condition to refund the de 70 Hence, whenever, a departing guest operates the lock 30
posit for a key.
andturns the lock cylinder 28 in a clockwise direction
' These and other objects of the present invention will
to release the trap door 12 and regain his deposit for
3,095,558
0
a
A
the room key, the stud 52 is removed from underneath
the switch arm 56‘, the switch 48 closes, and the lamp 54
through slot 76 when the lever 92 is in the de?ned posi-.
below the number of his room on the panel 56 in the re
ception office lights up and informs the reception clerk
that the room has become vacant so that he may instruct
the cleaning staff to make up the room and may rent
it again as soon as a new customer presents himself. If
so desired, a buzzer 58 may be connected in parallel with
each lamp 54, as shown in FIGURE 6, to draw the room
tion, its ear 9t) retains the coin in the chute as shown in
FIGURES 2 and 5d.
The hereinbefore mentioned lug ‘68 at the bottom cor
ner of the triangular lever 62 extends through the cir
cular hole 70 in partition wall 72 into the lower run 85
of the coin chute 75 (FIGURE 4); and whenever re
moval of the stud 24 in bar ‘26 from underneath the arm
64 of triangular lever 62 has permitted said lever to drop
clerk’s attention to the board 56 whenever a room becomes IO to a position wherein the ear 66 at its upper corner lies
vacant, and a switch 60 may be connected in series with
in the orbit of said stud 24 (FIGURE 50) and prevents
each buzzer, as likewise shown in FIGURE 6, to enable
return of the lock cylinder 28 to its initial position at
the room clerk to terminate the operation of the buzzer
which the key in the lock may be withdrawn, said lug 68
at will by opening said switch 60.
As long as the rotary cylinder of a lock of the type
illustrated in the accompanying drawings is rotationally
rests upon the bottom edge of the circular hole 70 as
pointed out hereinbefore. As shown in FIGURE 3, the
lug 63 is disposed obliquely so that its outer surface may
readily be engaged by a coin passing from the vertical
displaced from its initial position (in which position the
key hole is usually disposed in a vertical plane), the key
into the lower run of the coin chute 75. Thus, when a
cannot be withdrawn from the lock. Hence, to prevent
coin of the proper size and weight is dropped into the
a departing guest ‘from regaining control of the room key 20 coin chute and passes through the lower run thereof, it
once he has collected the deposit, means is provided in
engages the lug 68 and lifts the triangular lever 62 brie?y
accordance with the invention that makes it impossible
whereupon it settles against the ear 90 at the end of lever
for the key to be turned back into its initial position
- 92 which bars the discharge slot 88 of the chute at the
until and unless the deposit coins are returned to the box.
moment. When a second coin of the proper size and
For this purpose one corner of a lever 62 resembling a
weight is inserted into the coin chute, however, and passes
triangle in shape is pivotally supported at a point near
the left side Wall 14a of the box 10 (FIGURES 1 and 3)
into the lower run 85 of the chute, it comes to rest against
and a short arm ‘64 formed at the upper one of its free
corners rests initially on the stud 24 in the upper end of
ment when it engages the lug 63 at the bottom corner of
bar 26 when said bar is in its vertically disposed initial
position (FIGURE 5a). Formed on the end of said arm
is a forwardly bent ear 66, and when the bar 26 is turned
in clockwise direction as viewed in FIGURES 1 and 3
by operation of the lock 301 and the stud 24 is thus with
the edge of the previously deposited coin at the very mo
triangular lever 62 and has raised said lever to its initial
level (FIGURE 5d). Thus, it maintains the ear 66 at
the upper corner of said triangular lever 62 in a raised
position wherein it is unable to obstruct return of the
stud 24, the bar 26 and the lock cylinder 28 to their ini
tial positions (FIGURE 5a). When the lock 30 is now
drawn from underneath the arm 64, the lever 62 drops 35 operated to return the rotary cylinder 28 thereof to its
to a lower level as illustrated in FIGURE 5b. Said lower
initial position, the stud 24 engages the cross bar 22 of
level is determined by engagement of a rearwardly bent
stirrup 18 and raises the stirrup to a level wherein it
lug ‘68 (FIGURES 3 and 4) formed near the lower free
closes the trap door 12 at the bottom of the box (FIG
corner of lever 62, with the bottom edge of a circular hole
URE 5e). Brie?y thereafter the forwardly projecting
70 (FIGURE 5b) provided in a partition wall 72 (FIG
stud 52 on said bar 26 engages the counter-clockwise edge
URES 3 and 4) that extends parallel and adjacent to
of lever 92 and forces said lever in a clockwise direction
the rear wall '74 of the box. At said lower level of lever
against the urgency of spring 96. Thus, the coin block
62, its ear 6‘6 intersects the orbit of stud 24 (FIGURE
ing ear 90 at the bottom of said lever 92 is shifted into
50), and hence the lock cylinder 28 cannot be returned
the position illustrated in FIGURES 3 and 5e whereat
to its initial position wherein the key hole 36 is vertically
said ear is unable to block escape of the coins in the
disposed so that it is impossible to withdraw the key from
chute, and as a result thereof said coins will drop through
the lock.
the discharge slot 88 onto the closed trap door 12 as
The apparatus of the invention provides means, how
illustrated in FIGURE 5e. After the coins have escaped
ever, for raising the lever 62 to its initial position upon
from the chute and the second coin has thus released
return of the key deposit into the box so that the rotary
the lug 68 on the bottom corner of the triangular lever
‘cylinder of the lock may be brought into a position in
‘62, the arm 64 of said lever settles upon stud 24 which
which the key may be withdrawn. For this purpose the
places the triangular lever into precisely its initial posi
hereinbefore mentioned partition 72 and the rear wall 74
tion. The key may now readily be withdrawn from the
of the box form a coin chute 75 that is accessible through
lock and the box is ‘again in its initial condition with the
a vertically disposed slot 76 in the side wall ‘14b of the
deposit coins for the key safely enclosed therein (FIG
box near the upper end thereof (FIGURES 1 and 2), and
URES 1 and 5a); and as the bar 26 reached its vertically
which has an upper descending run 78 that is de?ned by
disposed initial position by manipulation of the key 34,
ledges 80‘ and 32 on the rear wall 74 and slants to a point
the stud 52 engages the actuating arm 50 of the switch 48
near the opposite side wall 14a of the box. Adjacent said
on shelf 46. This is effective to open the switch 48 and
side wall 14a the chute forms a short vertical run 84
interrupt the power circuit of the corresponding vacancy
(FIGURE 3) that curves into an oppositely slanting
indicating lamp on the control board 56 in the reception
lower run 85 de?ned by a concave guide ledge 86. Said
office causing said lamp to go out.
ledge ‘36 ends at a su?icient distance from the right side
The apparatus is now again in a position to refund the
wall 14b of the box to leave a discharge slot 88 which
deposit for the room key and to indicate at the reception
leads into the bottom of the box 10. When the lock 30
ci?ice by illumination of a particular lamp and/ or actua
has been operated to open the trap door -12 (FIGURE 65 tion of a buzzer that the room has become vacant, as
5b), said discharge slot ‘88 is blocked by an ear 90
soon as a departing guest inserts the key into the hole of
formed at the end of a one-armed lever 92 that is pivotally
its lock to recover the deposit coins.
supported from the rear wall of the box at a point above
The system of the present invention is easy to employ
the triangular lever 62 (FIGURES 2 and 3) and which
in practise. When the room clerk hands the room key to
is urged by a spring 94 into a counter-clockwise position
a new arrival, ‘he informs him that he is being charged
determined by a bracket 96 that is secured across par
a deposit for the key, and that at the time of departure
tition 72. In said counter-clockwise position of lever 92
he may recover the deposit in his own room by simply
its ear 9% extends over the discharge slot 88 as illustrated
operating the lock of a deposit refund box which is at
in phantom lines in FIGURE 3 and in full lines in FIG
URE 2. Thus, when a coin is inserted into the coin chute 75 tached to the wall in the room. Then, when the guest
3,095,558
5
is ready to depart, he merely operates the lock of the
box with his room key, or a special key attached thereto,
and recovers the deposit, but loses control over the key.
At the same time the lamp under the number of his room
on the central panel in the reception o?‘ice lights up and
indicates that the room has been vacated; and when the
cleaning staff has been informed that a certain room has
been vacated and may be made up, the person who cleans
the room, at the end ‘of his chore, deposits the proper
number of coins into the apparatus of the invention so‘ 10
6
motels and like establishments comprising a signalling
board having individual signalling means for each of
the rooms of the establishment and in each of the rooms
an apparatus for returning a deposit for the room key,
said apparatus comprising a container for the key de
posit, a door for affording access to the deposit in said
container, means ‘for activating a corresponding one of
the signalling means on said signalling board having
a switch within said container, lock means in the walls
of said container settable by a key from an initial nor
as to regain control of room key which may then be re
mal position wherein it holds said door in a closed
turned to the reception o?ice as a token that the room is
position to a position wherein it releases said door to
in condition to be rented out again.
provide access to the deposit in the container and causes
While we have described our invention with the aid
actuation of said switch to activate the corresponding
of an exemplary embodiment thereof, it will be under 15 signalling means on said signalling board, means e?ec
stood that the invention is not limited to the speci?c
tive upon departure of said lock means from its initial
position to block its return to said initial position and
constructional details shown and described, which may
be departed from, without departing from the scope and
thus prevent withdrawal of the key, a chute for the
spirit of our invention. Thus, while we have shown
insertion of coins into said container, means at the end
the control switches 48 in the boxes 10 as arranged to 20 of said chute for retaining coins inserted into the chute
close individual power circuits ‘for the vacancy indicat
within said chute, means effective in response to the
ing lamps 54 on control panel 56 for reasons of sim
accumulation of a number of coins of predetermined
‘size to disable said blocking means and thus permit said
plicity in explaining the principles of our invention, it
lock means to be returned to its initial position where
will be understood that closure of said switches upon
operation of the locks 30 may be employed in any other 25 the key may be withdrawn and said corresponding sig
suitable manner to initiate illumination of the corre
nalling means is de-activated, and means e?ective in
‘response to the return of said lock means to its initial
sponding lamps on the control board. For instance, the
position and upon closure of said door to withdraw
switches ‘48 may be arranged upon closure to energize
said coin retaining means and permit the coins to drop
minute radio transmitting sets that are located in, or on,
the boxes 10 and are adjusted to different frequencies, 30 from the chute into the closed container.
2. An arrangement according to claim 1 wherein said
and associated with each of the lamps on the control
signalling means is a lamp.
board may be 1a minute receiving set tuned to a fre
3. An arrangement according to claim 1 wherein said
quency equal to the frequency of the transmitting set
signalling means is a lamp and a buzzer connected in
in the corresponding coin return apparatus; and said
receiving sets may be arranged to close power circuits 35 parallel.
for their respective lamps in response to the reception
of a signal of the particular frequency to which they
are tuned.
We claim:
1. An arrangement for indicating room vacancies in 40
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
UNITED STATES PATENTS
2,767,570
2,905,926
Garver ______________ __ Oct. 23, 19-56
Aid ________________ __ Sept. 22, 1959
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