United States Patent 3749887

The invention is a system and method for checking and certifying personal credit cards etc. automatically at a central station by electrical means. Such electrical means is capable of transforming a message or a series of messages from a credit card or the like at a remote switching unit, and then transmitting the message to a central station where data is electrically stored as in a computer means. At the central station the message is automatically answered and the information is electrically, and automatically sent to the switching unit within a matter of seconds.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
235/382.5, 235/441, 235/492
International Classes:
G07F7/08; G07G1/14; (IPC1-7): G06K5/00
Field of Search:
340/149A 235
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3394246Status-indicating system1968-07-23Goldman
3353006Method and device for destroying credit cards1967-11-14Pollock
3315230Credit account verification system1967-04-18Weingart
3154761Security system1964-10-27O'Gorman

Primary Examiner:
Pitts, Harold I.
Having thus described my invention, what is claimed and believed new and which is desired to be secured by Letters Patent is

1. A card controlled system comprising a register having a plurality of selectable changeable indexes, each index having a first communication means, a first plurality of spaced pairs of sensors positioned adjacent the first communication means, whereby the indexes severally align selected first communication means adjacent the first sensors, a card receiver having a card-receiving opening and an array of second pairs of sensors positioned in the opening for receiving a card with second communication means adjacent selected pairs of sensors, power means connected to one sensor in each pair of sensors for supplying power thereto, and means operatively connected to the other sensor in each pair for converting information from the sensors into sequential data, transfer means for transferring the sequential data, remote means for sensing the data, comparing means connected to the remote means for sensing the data with stored information, response means connected to the comparing means and to the transfer means for transferring response, reception means connected to the transfer means and to the register for receiving the response, and disclosure means connected to the reception means for disclosing the response.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein the register comprises cash register means for computing total amounts from several price inputs thereto, and wherein the indexes comprise indicator means for displaying input prices and totals, indicators having the first communication means directly mounted thereon for placing the indicator-mounted first communication means adjacent the first sensor means as the indicators are displayed.

3. The system of claim 1 wherein the register comprises a cash register, and wherein the changeable indexes comprise a plurality of severally changeable visual indicators, having numbers thereon representing dollars and cents, wherein the indicators have communication means, and wherein the first plurality of sensors pairs are mounted on a bar extending transversely across the indicators, and further comprising a totalling bar connected to means for starting operation of the sequencing means.

4. The system of claim 1 wherein the register comprises a receipt-printing cash register having a printer means controlled by the index means, and totalling means in the register, feed means connected to the printer means for feeding receipts to the printing means, and wherein the disclosure means comprises stamping means connected to the printer means for stamping response indications on receipts.

5. The system of claim 1 wherein the second pairs of sensors comprise conductors, and further comprising a card positioned in the opening, the card having a unique array of conductive spots overlying the conductors.

6. The system of claim 5 further comprising means for pressing the card and its conductive spots on the conductors.

7. The system of claim 5 further comprising multiple card receivers, each having a separate card-receiving opening and each having an independent array of spaced pairs of sensors connected to an accumulator and to a sequential switching means, whereby multiple identities of register address, storage address and customer identification may be sensed and sequentially transmitted.

8. A card in the system of claim 1 comprising a rigid planar electrical insulator block having a plurality of electrical conductor spots positioned on a surface thereof at selected predetermined points of intersections of a reproducible geometric array of imaginary lines on the surface of the card.

9. A card receiver in the system of claim 1 comprising, a box having an open face, dividing means dividing a plurality of card-receiving openings in the face, an array of spaced pairs of sensors in each opening, each sensor comprising an exposed electrical contact closely spaced from its paired sensor by an electrical insulator and spaced from other sensors by electrical insulation means, a source of electrical power connected to one sensor in each pair, and a sequencing means connected to the other sensor in each pair.

10. Sensor means in the system of claim 1 comprising a plurality of chamber means, one for each pair of sensors, comprising insulator cylinders extending downward from the upper face and terminating in lower ends, springs positioned within the cylinders and opposite apertures in the cylinder walls above the springs, and wherein the sensors comprise semicylindrical conductors deposited in opposite sides of the cylinders and insulated from each other and from the springs and having rounded outer faces, and wires connected to the conductors and extending outward through the apertures.

11. The system recited in claim 1 wherein the register means includes a cash register which has a plurality of shiftable wheels which displays the total amount of sales, each wheel having numerical digits, each digit having one or more conductor spots approximate thereto, each digit is recognized by the number of conductor spots, and transfer means comprising a bar with a plurality of paired sensor pegs which are bridged electrically and thus circuit means is closed and causes electrical bits which identify that particular number or digit.

12. The system of claim 1 wherein the transfer means comprises means for transferring sequential data in short fixed length sequence of electric pulses, whereby multiplexing is facilitated.

13. A card controlled system comprising a card receiver having plural card-receiving openings and plural arrays of pairs of sensors positioned in the openings for receiving plural cards adjacent the arrays with positionally unique communication means on the card adjacent selected pairs of sensors for simultaneously sensing communication means on the plural cards, power means connected to one sensor in each pair of sensors for supplying power thereto, and means operatively connected to the other sensor in each pair for converting information from the sensors into sequential data, transfer means for transferring the data, remote means for sensing the data, comparing means connected to the remote means for comparing the data with stored information, response means connected to the comparing means and to the transfer means for transferring response, reception means mounted adjacent the card receiver and connected to the transfer means for receiving the response, and disclosure means connected to the reception means for disclosing the response.


This invention relates to means, ways and methods for electronically checking and certifying certain requested information and requests to a central station which are received from one or more primary stations or card receiving or card switching units which may be termed a card switching unit, or units. It is really a pick-up unit which is adapted to receive special electrical switching cards which are portable and can be carried upon a person in a pocket or in a purse. Such a card may request certain information that has been previously computerized at a central station and upon demand of such information, it is immediately, and directly sent from the central station to the primary station or switching unit.

In a credit investigation, such information may state a card holder's identification by number such as his Social Security number, his account number, his bank balance, his driver's number and much other information or may merely state a yes or no as to whether or not the card holder is a good risk for the amount of money involved.

All that the attendant at the primary station or pick-up unit (retail store or gas station) need do is to insert the computer-like card of a customer into a pick-up unit or switching box. The card has a plurality of electrical conducting spots thereon which closes certain electrical circuits within the pick-up box and from which special electrical bits are flashed to a central station where certain matters are checked and certified; and then the desired information is automatically flashed back to the primary station.

One of the principal objects of this invention is to present automatic electrical means and methods to receive certain information from a central station regarding certain needed facts.

Another object of the invention is to provide a quick reliable system and method to confirm or not confirm the credit standing or other facts regarding the card holder through automatic electrical means.

Another object is to economically check various matters concerning a card holder at a primary station which may be a retail store or other business house and which matter may include an identification of the card holder and that he is entitled to the privileges represented by the card and also whether or not the card holder has a good standing credit.

Still another object is to provide a foolproof system to check on a card holder who is involved in a special event which may be a business transaction, admittance to a club, a traffic violation, obtaining transportation, certifying prisoners and detectives, and many other matters.

Still a further object is to provide for a great plurality of card holders whose maximum number is equal to 2n -1 where n is the number of switch means to cause card interfacing of the circuit plate means.

Other objects and aims of this invention will became apparent upon inspection of the drawings and perusal of the specification and the claims.


In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a schematic showing of the invention wherein a store and bank are involved;

FIG. 2 is a schematic wiring diagram of a pick-up unit at a primary station which involves a well known type of cash register;

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of that shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of a part of a cash register and has a part thereof broken away;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged portion of a part shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of a portable switching card and shows the normal size thereof;

FIG. 7 is a cross sectional view taken along the line 7--7 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a portion of a switch plate;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line 9--9 of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a plan view of that shown in FIG. 11;

FIG. 11 is an elevational view of that shown in FIG. 10 and showing some parts broken away;

FIG. 12 is a plan view of a switch plate;

FIG. 13 is an elevational view of a printing device;

FIG. 14 is a view taken along the line 14--14 of that shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a top plan view of that shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 16 is a wiring diagram of a solid state regulated power supply which converts AC house current to various DC voltages and it depicts the circle A which connects to line 96 in FIG. 2.


The drawings illustrate one way in which the invention can be practiced.

In the portion of the drawings marked "Store" in FIG. 1, there is shown the front view of the cash register 1 which is of the common variety and may be of the kind marketed by the National Cash Register Company. Such a register generally has an outer casing indicated at 3 which encloses the mechanism.. The front panel is generally curved or slanted and has a plurality of openings which accommodate the plurality of push buttons etc. indicated by the reference character 6. A chamber with a glass front has a plurality of lined wheels 4, and each wheel has about its outer curved rim a plurality of digits ranging from zero to nine to indicate the money total of sales. The cash register 2 is shown in side view with a portion broken away.

Along one side of the register 1 or 2 (obviously there may be a large number of such registers in a large retail store or other stores) there is a receipt protruder means having the casing 7 with its well known slot 8. A push bar 9 is also a common part of such registers, and this bar starts the operation of a totalling machine within the casing and protrudes the receipt through the slot 8. The registers are shown with the usual handle 11 upon a drawer 10.

Along the other side of each register there is provided, as part of this invention, an interface unit or switching unit 12 having means which accommodates a portable card or the like in a well at the top of the unit and which will be explained later.

FIG. 1 shows a conduit means 14 which protects certain cable means that make connection with the unit 15. This unit 15 is a Codex unit TM 8/TM 15 Mux Demux device, and it has electrical connection with 16 which is a Codex AE 96 a Modem. From the Modem a cable means makes connection with a telephone line 18 which leads to 19 a Codex AE 96 which is also a Modem.

The Codex unit 19 makes cable connection with 20 which is an IBM unit 2701 Data Adapter through line 21. Line 22 connects 20 with 23 which is an IBM 360/40H. This unit has connection with a card unit 24 through line 25. From unit 23 via line 26 connection is made with a tape dispenser 27, and another line 28 leads to a disc unit 29.

The cash register 1 has a windowed section 40 behind which is a series of wheels or circular band means 41, 42, 43, 44 and 45 (FIGS. 3 and 4) which are independently rotatable on an axle 46 by mechanism within that is well known in the art. These wheels are rotated by pressing various numbered keys 6 so as to ring-up the amount of a sale or sales. The sales tape is printed within the casing 3 or 7 in a well known manner and then is shifted through the slot 8. Each wheel has the spaced digits 0 to 9, and they are mounted and individually rotated by their respective rubber rimmed small wheels like the one indicated at 42. It is believed unnecessary to give details as to how the common cash register works in that to do so would burden the application unnecessarily.

Immediately below the various numbers on each wheel (41-45') are shown four spaced apart spots 44', and the ones marked with an X are the ones that conduct electricity. Nonconductor spots are shown but can be omitted, however, the spots so marked are conductor spots which contain a good conductor of electricity which may be carbon or some metallic material. Each number is identified by the position of the conductor spots, therefore, the arrangement of the spots indicate the number. For instance, note the nine which is represented by the end spots which are conductors, and the number 7 is represented by one non-conductor spot and three conductor spots.

A cross bar member 45 (FIGS. 4 and 5) has its ends supported by side walls of the cash register, and spaced along the bar are series of matched pairs of contacts or pegs which have casings indicated by the numeral 46'. Each casing 46 is a tube of insulating material having a bottom 47, and the open end is firmly attached to the bar 45 which is also of insulating material. The connection may be by a suitable cement. Opposite sides of the tube have the slots 48, and 49 and shiftable within the tube is a pair of spaced apart electrical metal contacts or peg members 50 and 51. These conductor pegs are spaced apart by an insulating strip 52. The pegs and insulating strip are neatly rounded at their outer ends so that the switch or paired combination can easily slide on and off its respective conductor spot 44' as the wheels 41-45' are rotated by operation of the cash register to display the amount of sale.

To make sure of good contact between the pegs and their respective conductor spots, the spring means 53 is provided, and the forward loop of this spring is covered by a suitable non-conductor of electricity, or the bottoms of the pegs are insulated so as not to cause closing of this type of switching device by the spring. The slot 48 accommodates a conductor wire 97 which has one end connected to peg 50 and the other end connected to square wave pulse generator 95' shown in FIG. 2. The slot 49 accommodates the insulated conductor wire 55 which has one end connected to the accummulator 85' (FIG. 2) and the other end connected to peg 51. All the live conductor wires are accommodated by a trough-like means 56. The switching means along the bar can make electrical contact with their respective conductor spots on the wheels and all these conductor wires 55 carry their respective electrical bits to feed the accumulator 85'.

As shown in FIG. 2, a cable leads from accumulator 85' to a relay switch 88 having the magnetic coil means 89 for its control. Via cable means 60' the switch 58 is connected to the shift register 61.

At this point of the specification, we must consider the switch plates 62, 63 and 64. These plates need be but a single plate as shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 at 65; but the sections 62, 63 and 64 each have a special purpose to be explained presently. The section 62, for instance, is the array card or credit card section; the section 63 is for a very special use for generation of the device address etc.; and section 64 is the primary station identification section which may be for the store or gas station, for instance.

Each section receives a special card and the cards are indicated by the reference characters 66, 67 and 68. The plate 65 is the top wall of a cabinet having four sides 69, 70, 71 and 72 (FIG. 10) and a bottom wall 73 to provide a chamber 74 which accommodates equipment for the unit. Cross members 75 and 76 provide three wells or recesses which neatly accommodate the various cards 66-68, and these recesses are sized just a little larger than their respective cards so that the cards can be kept directly in place onto the particular section of the plate 65. The cards 67 and 68 may be fixed in position if desired, but the portable card 66 is a personal card and is carried only by a particular person or perhaps a particular agent of a business firm. The unites 77 are heavy blocks of metal or plastic for holding down their respective cards firmly against the proper section of the plate for good electrical contact between the conductor spots on the cards and their respective switching pegs on the plate 65. If the weight units 77 are of a conductor material, then insulating sheets are placed upon them, that is, their top and bottom surfaces, as indicated at 78 and 79.

Machine pressed into each switch plate area or section 62-64 are the paired conductor pegs or contact metal elements 80 which substantially cover their particular section. As shown in the enlarged views of FIG. 8 and 9, the paired pegs 81 and 82 are spaced apart in the plate which is of a suitable insulating material which may be plastic. Certain pegs lead to a common cable means via wires 97 and one peg of each pair has its individual insulated wire such as 84, and these wires lead to the unit 57 which is an accummulator (see FIG. 2). Similar cable or wires 86 lead from another switch plate section 63 to 57 and the same is true regarding another switch plate section 64, that is, its cables or wires lead to the unit 57, the cables being indicated by 87. For purposes of clarity, only portions of the switch plate section are shown in FIG. 2. From the unit 57 cable means lead to and through the switch relay 58 which has its control coil 59, and said cable means reach the shift register 61. From register 61 leads a cable means 103 to a delay timer 102 which slows transmission, and this is for the purpose of making sure of proper timing. From the unit 102 the electrical message bits are fed into the Codex unit 15 through line 104 and a transmitting polar relay 130 and then to the bank via telephone line or other means as line 18. The coil 93' in FIG. 2 is a delay reactance means which delays the operation of the entire system.

As shown in FIG. 2, the push bar 9 of the cash register mechanically works a lever on the switch 91 to connect electrical current from line 92 to the line 93, and this line 93 energizes the coil 94 on the relay switch means 95 which controls DC current from 96 to feed line 97 in each switch plate section 62, 63, 64 and 45. Numeral 95' indicates a square wave pulse generator. The branches from this line 97 feed the live sides of the paired switch pegs, and when these pegs are bridged by various conductor spots on the cards 66, 67 and 68 (as well as the spots on the wheels 41-45)electrical bits are generated and sent to unit 57 or 85' as the case may be. The cards have conductor sports 100 which were selected for a special purpose to be explained; the spots close circuits to send message bits. Thus certain circuits are closed while others are left open.

A photo sensitive cell 98 has the connecting lines 99 and 99' The answer tO the electrical bits from the switch plates is made at the bank where electrical bits from a computer means come through various units, that is, Codex 15 and thence to the shift register 106 (FIG. 2) via cable line means 107. From the register 106 the electrical bits are directed through the various AND gates 108, 109, 110 and 111 and the cross line which has the NOT gate 112 and thence via cable lines 113 and 114 to a particular part of the cash register 1 or 2, for instance, to cause operation of a printer device as shown in FIGS. 13-15.

Now, with reference to FIGS. 13 and 14 electrical bits passed through line 113 will energize the coil means 115 of of the relay switch 116 and thus allow a heavier current to flow from a battery (or current converter) 117 into line 118. If the electrical bits pass through line 114, the coil 119 is energized, and this would close the relay switch 120 and provide heavier current to line 121. Each line includes its respective resistance-capacitance unit 122 or 123, and these lines feed their respective magnetic coil means 124 or 125.

Mounted upon a suitable base 126 are the magnetic coils 124 and 125 and also the spring arms 127 and 128 and the housing 129 wherein is accommodated a coil of paper tape or the like that is common in cash registers. This tape is realy a pair of tapes 130, and 131 and they are coiled together and stored ready for use in the housing 129. A slot 132 in the housing allows the tapes to be fed along a platform 133 to a tear-off edge 134. A space A is shown along the tape to show where the well known printer in the common cash register can be placed for stamping the prices of sale items and totalling same. Further details of such a common printer is believed unnecessary in that it is not per se a part of this invention. The top tape 131 is a carbon strip and the bottom one 130 is an ordinary paper strip as now employed by cash registers. Obviously, the carbon strip need not be coiled with the sales slip or strip in the housing 129 in that there may be any suitable means for inking the stamper of this invention.

The flexible springy arms 127 and 128 each have a base portion 135 which is secured to the support means 126. The distal end of each arm has a stamp means as shown at 136 and 137; under the stamp in each case is a print die wherein one may have a NO and the other a YES. Each arm has a magnetic disc 138 which is pulled downwardly when the magnetic coil beneath it is energized; and when this happens, the stamp of that particular arm will snap onto the top of tape 131 and thus print its mark upon the tape 130. Obviously many more magnetic coils and stamps and circuits may be employed along with various letters or numbers so as to write a message etc., but it is believed sufficient to describe only a simple stamping means to avoid burdening this case with additional drawings and specification.

The devices used in the description may be similar to the type suggested below. All other devices are either explained in detail or are well known and obvious in function.

98 Photo sensitive cell Polypaks 92CU1066-55K 90, 93' 102 Monostable Multivibrator Polypaks 92CU1099 95' Square Wave Pulse Generator Polypaks 92CU1099 57, 85 Accumulator Polypaks SN7475 61, 106 Shift Register Polypaks 9300F 100 Clock Polypaks 92CU1144 19, 16 Modem Codex AE-96 15 Multiplexor Codex TM-8/TM-15 20, 23, 24 27 and 29 Digital Processing System IBM 360/40H CPU with various peripheral equipment


The operation of the system begins when both cards 66 and 68 are laid upon the swtich plates 62 and 64 and the weight units 77 are dropped into place. This action cuts the light beam between the sending unit 98' mounted beneath the switch plate 62 and 64. The photo sensitive cell 98 is securely mounted within the weight units 77 and this acts as an "Electric Eye" device.

When the light beam is cut the current on line 99 to switch 91 causes the swtich 91 to close and thus permits a current from the power source 92 to flow over line 93 providing push bar 9 is depressed. The light beam will be received by the photo sensitive cell 98 at anytime the cards 66, 68 are not in place and thus keeping switch 91 open. When switch 91 is open under this configeration no current will be permitted between the power source 92 and the line 93 regardless of the position of the cash register push bar 9. This arrangement isolates the system from the cash register and thus permits independent cash sale operations in the well known manner.

Assuming the cards 66 and 68 are properly in place, depression of the push bar 9 will cause a current over line 93 which activates the system. Current will also go to delay line 93' and its action will be explained later. This permits a burst or surge of DC current from the solid state regulated power supply A of 4 volt current (see FIG. 2) which is supplied through switch 95 to line 97". Line 97" provides the current to the square wave pulse generator 95'. This pulse continues over line 97 to the switches on the switch plates as; 62, 63 and 64, and cross bar 45.

The circuit through the switches will either be completed or inhibited depending on the overlay of the code card. If the code card overlay has a conductor spot, the square wave pulse will be x-mitted over lines 84, 86 and 87 to the accumulator 57 as electrical bits where they will be temporarily stored. If the code card overlays a nonconductor spot on the switch plate, no pulse will be transmitted to the accumulator.

The line 97 simultaneously transmits the square wave pulse to the switches located on the cross bar 45 anchored inside the cash regaister. The conductor spots 44' insure the correct decimal digits from the wheels 41-45' are converted to binary as the square wave pulse passes through pegs 50 and 51 in exactly the same manner as described for the switch plates. The pulse representing binary digits is transmitted to the accummulator 85' where it is temporarily stored.

At this time, it is best to digress to switch 91 which feeds line 93 when the push bar 9 is depressed to begin the operation. The current in line 93 is fed to to delay 93' and transmitted to the magnetic coils 59 and 89 which control the relay switches 58 and 88. After being suitably delayed, the current activates the switches 58 and 88 which causes the accummulators 85 and 57 to dump their contents to the shift register 61. The contents will contain at least the following information; price of sale (cross bar 45), customer and account identification (card 66), shop & account identification (card 68) and device address (card 67).

The shift register may have connected by line 101 an external clock 100 (consisting of an oscillator) which synchronizes the shifting of the register contents. The contents (electrical bits) are dumped serially to line 103 which transmits to the monostable multivibrator 102 used as a delay timer and pulse absence detector which slows the transmission rate to the required 75 BPS for line 14. The bits are then transmitted to the transmitting. polar relay where they are converted to ± 130 volt polar at 20 miliamps which is required for line 14.

The TM15 mux/demux 15, modified to return a receipt of message now called ROM, and will transmit the ROM if the data is correctly received. The ROM will be received through the receive polar relay 140 and transmitted over line 107 to the interval timer 90 which may also be a monostable multivibrator. If this ROM is not received at the interval timer 90 within an imperical time interval, the interval timer will trigger synchronization over the line 107' causing reset of the shift register 61. This action causes the contents of the shift register to be retransmitted.

Line 14 is a full duplex line which is used to return a message from the central processing unit. The CPU will save the device address and attach it to a return message which indicates whether the transaction was successfully completed. This message will be received at the receiving polar relay 140 and will be transmitted over line 107 to the shift register 106. The oscillator clock 100 synchronizes the shift register 106 which dumps the return message, consisting of a device address and/or message indicating disposition of the transaction, to the coincidence gates 108, 109, 110, 111 and 112. These coincidence gates may consist of AND gates 108-111 and a NOT gate 112. The correct address received at gate 108 will trigger a "1" output to AND gates 110 and 111. Depending upon the success of the transaction, the transaction message, received at gate 109 will trigger a 1 output at gate 110 or 111(not both) because of the NOT gate 112.

A positive response will be transmitted over line 113 or 114, as shown in FIGS. 13-15. The positive response will trigger gate 116 or 120 causing DC power from source 117 to be transmitted over line 118 or 121 to a capacitor 122 or 123. The capacitor will drain during a predetermined time interval through its associated transistor. This current energizes electromagnet 125/139 or 124/138 which causes the stamp 137 or 136 to strike the ribbon or tape means 131. One stamp may have the type NO and the other one the type YES meaning that the transaction was successfully completed or it was not. It is only a matter of a few seconds to receive an answer.

Certain novel features and details of this invention are disclosed herein, and in some cases in considerable detail, and this is in order to make the invention clear in at least one form thereof. However, it is to be clearly understood that the invention as disclosed is not necessarily limited to the exact form and details disclosed since it is apparent that various modifications and changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as described and claimed.