How cool would that be? I mean, if it really worked why aren't these in ALL cars? This thing really captured my imagination as I thought about what sort of mechanism would be required to accomplish this feat.
I had to know, so off I went to the USPTO.gov site to see what I could learn. Here's a pic of the second page of the patent granted to Alphonse J. Marquis that best shows what is going on inside the pipe filler. There's a bit of a paddle behind the spout that when pressed with the pipe bowl triggers a micro-switch on the right hand side of the unit. That causes a small, but low-geared motor to cycle and lift and then lower a plunger though a bin containing the tobacco. This plunger appears to not only push the tobacco forward and out through the bottom of the container, but this comes to rest at the bottom and acts as a stopper to prevent tobacco for flowing out between uses. Brilliant!
Now I wonder if this ever went into production and if so, where can I see one? Please let me know if you have any information about this.