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Publication numberUS2056382 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 6, 1936
Filing dateOct 20, 1934
Priority dateOct 20, 1934
Publication numberUS 2056382 A, US 2056382A, US-A-2056382, US2056382 A, US2056382A
InventorsAyres Waldemar, Gilbert N Fryer
Original AssigneeIbm
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sorting machine
US 2056382 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 6, 1936. w. AYRES ET AL SORTING MACHINE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Oct. 20, 1934 INVENTOR.

ATTORNEY Oct. 6, 1936. w. AYRES ET AL SORTING MACHINE Filed Oct, 20, 1934 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 PIC-3.3.

jun. JOHN no:


h zTToRNEY' Patented Oct. 6, 1936 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE SORTING MACHINE tion of New York Application Dctober 2.0, 1934, Serial No. 749,147

3 Claims. (Cl. 209-111) This invention relates to means for sorting addressed letters or envelopes according to the various postal districts to which they are to be sent.

Mail which is Sent out in large quantities such as circular letters or advertising matter is delivered. in bulk to the various post ofilces where it is separated by clerks according to districts. This sorting is done manually and each letter is handled and read separately.

The object of the present invention is to devise means to perform this sorting automatically and thus much more rapidly than it is now possible to do it.

According to the invention a code indication is stamped or printed on the envelope and is adapted to be analyzed by a machine having light sensitive elements and the envelope sorted in accordance with the code markings.

In illustrating the invention, the portion of the envelope to be sensed is shown as including six marked oil" areas or squares. Several of the squares may be filled in with ink so as to vary their light reflecting proprieties. In addressing an envelope, the operator by the depression of appropriate keys on the machine, may fill in the blank squares in accordance with the district to which the envelope is addressed. Or if addressing stencils are used, the stencils will cause the code to be printed on the envelope. When a quantity of such mail is delivered to the post ofiice, the letters will be placed in the sorting machine and run through, the machine feeding one at a time. Each letter is carried to an analyzing station where the control area is analyzed by a light scanning device, and sorting elements controlled in accordance with the combination of spots marked upon the envelope.

The envelope is then carried away from the analyzing station and passes over sorting chute blades until it reaches the particular blade representing the district marked upon the envelope. At this point electric circuits are operated to bring about a separation of the chute blades to cause 5 the envelope to pass between two adjacent blades and to be guided by such blade into the pocket representing the particular postal district.

Referring to the drawings:

Fig. 1 is a wiring diagram illustrating the manner in which the machine operates.

Fig. 2 is an enlarged detail of the ends of the chute blades and the means for controlling their operation.

Fig. 3 is a sectional detail taken on line 3--3 of Fig. 2.

Fig. 4 is an envelope marked to control the operation of the machine to elect sorting of the envelope in accordance with the markings thereon.

In the drawings, the envelope 8 is shown as 5 having an area made up of six squares 2, certain ones of which are filled in as at 3. A stack of letters so marked is placed in the hopper 4 and fed one at a time toward the right by a picker 5 to the position la. The sensing mechanism is 10 contained in the dotted position indicated at 11. After the envelope has been analyzed, it is fed from the sensing position by a picker 5a to the endless friction belt 8 which will carry it over the tops of a plurality of chute blades 9. The la letter will depress or cam downwardly each of the chute blades in succession as it moves toward the right. All of the chute blades rest against the lower surface of a plate mounted on parallel motion arms M. w

The plate is normally in the position of Figs. 1 and 2 but will be raised by energization of electromagnet i2. This will permit the blades, which press resiliently upward, to follow the plate. Such blades as have been depressed by the en- 25 velope, however, will continue to be held down, thus creating a path between the blades for the envelope to follow. The paths between the chute blades lead to separate receptacles 58, one for each postal district. 30

The sensing device contained in the enclosure i (Fig. 1) includes a light source Ml adapted to project a beam of light to the field 2 on the envelope from which it is reflected through perforations it, Mia in a scanning disk it. The light 35 passing through the perforations in the scanning disk falls upon a light sensitive tube H which controls the flow of current through a grid glow tube it. The scanning disk it is mounted on a shaft l9 which also carries contact arm 2!! wiping 40 successively over several contact segments ii. The perforations i5 and i511. in the scanning disk are so located that the perforation l5 first permits light to be reflected from the upper left hand square in field 2, then the middle left hand square 45 and then the lower left hand square. The perforation a. then comes into play and permits light to be reflected from the upper right hand square, then the middle right hand square and then the lower right hand square. As the per- 59 forations in the scanning disk pass these squares to permit light to fall from the light sensitive tube ll, contact arm 20 is passing synchronously over the several contact segments 29. The light falling upon the tube as the arm 20 passes over 5110- 55 wire 23, through an electromagnet 24, wire 25,

cam operated contacts 26 and back to the other side of the line 22.

The energization of electromagnet 24 closes contacts 21 and thus forms a holding circuit for the electromagnet from the line 22a through wire 28, contacts 21, armature 29, magnet 24, contacts 25 to the line 22.

There are six magnets 24, designated 24 to 24c, corresponding to the six segments 2| and the six spots in the field 2. One or more of these magnets 24 will be energized depending upon the arrangement of dark areas in the field 2. Each of the magnets 24, besides closing its own holding circuit at contact 21, also serves to close certain other contacts 30 and to open certain normally closed contacts 3|. The setting of the contacts 30, 3| in the various combinations by one or more of magnets 24-24e, provides a path for current from the positive line 22 through wire 28a, contacts 30, 3| according to their setting, to wires 32, a particular one of the several chute blades 9, plate In, magnet 33, to line 22a. All of the chute blades 9 normally engage plate In so that whichever one serves as a conductor for a particular set-up, breaks the circuit when the envelope depresses it, and causes the plate, which serves as an armature, to be raised. All of the chute blades to the right of the envelope at this moment, will follow the upward movement of the plate l so that as the envelope continues to be fed toward the right, it will be turned downwardly by the next chute blade and will follow the path between the blades and fall into a corresponding receptacle l3.

As soon as one envelope has opened the circuit through the chute blades and plate ill, the machine will be ready to analyze the next envelope to effect the next setting up of contacts 30, 3|.

The starting of this next cycle is effected at the same time that magnet I2 is energized. It is done by the closing of contacts 40 which are normally held open while the electromagnet 33 is energized and closed when magnet 33 is deenergized. The closure of these contacts now closes a circuit through a clutch magnet 4| which thereupon attracts its armature 4|a which acts as a latch to a one revolution clutch. This clutches the shaft 43 to the normal operating shaft 44. The clutch is adapted to cause the shaft 43 to turn one revolution and then stop. During the first part of this revolution, the scanning shaft i9 is operated through gears 45, 46, and this serves to analyze the envelope which is standing in position la. The electromagnets 24 and contacts 21, 30, 3| are then set in accordance withthe.

reading taken from the envelope. During the next part of the revolution, the cam 41 operates the follower arm 48 which is connected to the plate 49 carrying the pickers 5, a. This operation feeds the envelope from position |a to the feed belts So on the rollers 8, and simultaneously feeds the next envelope from the magazine 4 into the position la. The pickers 5, 5a are returned to the normal position as shown at which point the clutch 42 releases the shaft 43, leaving the scanning and feeding mechanism in their normal positions until the envelope now being fed by belts 8a depresses the particular chute blade 9 through which the current is passing. This will break the circuit through magnet 33, once more causing magnet I2 to operate to feed the envelope into the proper path leading to the receptacles l3, and also causing the magnet 4| to becomeenergized to start the-next scanning and feeding operation.

In order to register the letter in position for scanning, a stop 50 may be provided. The stop is normally up in position. A magnet 5| is adapted to be energized to remove the stop from the path of the letter when it is to be fed, and deenergized to let the stop return to position in time to cooperate with the next letter. A cam 52 on shaft I9 is timed to open and close the circuit through the magnet at the proper times.

While there has been shown and described and pointed out the fundamental novel features of the invention as applied to a single modification, it will be understood that various omissions and substitutions and changes in the form and details of the device illustrated and in its operation may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. It is the intention, therefore, to be limited only as indicated by the scope of the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. In combination, a supply hopper for envelopes, an analyzing station, light sensitive analyzing means at said station, means for feeding envelopes from the hopper to the station, a plurality of receptacles, means for selectively directing envelopes into said receptacles, said means being controlled by said analyzing means, and means operated by an envelope being fed into the receptacles for causing operation of the analyzing means to analyze the next envelope.

2. In an envelope sorting machine, means for analyzing a combinational code area on an envelope, a plurality of contacts selectively set by said analyzing means to selectively close one of a plurality of sorting circuits, said circuits including guiding chute blades adapted to be displaced by an envelope being fed to break the circuit, means operated when the circuit is broken for causing the envelope to be directed into a path between the chute blades, and a plurality of receptacles associated with said chute blades to receive the envelopes.

3. In a sorting machine, a plurality of sorting stations, a plurality of guides for guiding articles to be sorted to said stations, an electrically controlled member for controlling the positions of said guides, said member being controlled by an electric circuit passing through one of the guides as a conductor, means for feeding an article to be sorted with respect to the guides, the article being adapted to move the guides and thus break the electric circuit therethrough to cause operation of the electrically controlled member.


Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2593206 *Jan 6, 1950Apr 15, 1952Gen ElectricSensing device for sorting apparatus
US2609928 *Jan 12, 1948Sep 9, 1952Doust James FrederickApparatus for sorting postal packets
US2636602 *Jun 17, 1948Apr 28, 1953U D Engineering Company LtdApparatus for detecting the presence of foreign bodies on the bottoms of transparent vessels
US2669354 *May 9, 1951Feb 16, 1954Powers Samas Account Mach LtdPhotoelectric sorter for documents such as checks, etc.
US2697514 *Jul 3, 1952Dec 21, 1954Walter A StahlMail sorting device
US2719629 *Sep 1, 1951Oct 4, 1955Roy O RobinsonMail sorting and cancelling means
US2720360 *Mar 31, 1950Oct 11, 1955IbmCard scanning mechanism
US2840237 *Dec 21, 1953Jun 24, 1958Burroughs CorpMachine for sorting record forms
US2880328 *Nov 23, 1954Mar 31, 1959American Can CoApparatus for detecting containers having mismatched parts
US2993596 *Jun 5, 1957Jul 25, 1961Int Standard Electric CorpSorting arrangement
US3488511 *Oct 19, 1967Jan 6, 1970Tokyo Shibaura Electric CoAutomatic identifying apparatus of postage stamp indications
US5036984 *Sep 21, 1989Aug 6, 1991Electrocom Automation, Inc.Method for enabling prioritized processing of envelopes according to encoded indicia of potentially enclosed checks
US5283641 *Jun 16, 1993Feb 1, 1994Lemelson Jerome HApparatus and methods for automated analysis
US5351078 *Sep 16, 1993Sep 27, 1994Lemelson Medical, Education & Research Foundation Limited PartnershipApparatus and methods for automated observation of objects
DE1054022B *Nov 13, 1954Mar 26, 1959Siemens AgSchaltungsanordnung fuer Foerderanlagen mit Weichen, insbesondere fuer Hochkantfoerderband-anlagen zur wechselweisen Verteilung der Foerderstuecke auf mehrere Empfangsstellen
DE1277597B *Apr 29, 1959Sep 12, 1968Burroughs CorpSortierweichenanordnung fuer Dokumentensortiervorrichtungen
DE1282332B *Nov 2, 1959Nov 7, 1968Burroughs CorpSortierweichenanordnung fuer Dokumentensortiervorrichtungen
U.S. Classification209/584, 250/223.00R, 209/587, 209/900
International ClassificationB07C3/14
Cooperative ClassificationY10S209/90, B07C3/14
European ClassificationB07C3/14