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Publication numberUS2915863 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 8, 1959
Filing dateNov 15, 1954
Priority dateNov 15, 1954
Publication numberUS 2915863 A, US 2915863A, US-A-2915863, US2915863 A, US2915863A
InventorsKummer Ernst W
Original AssigneeKummer Ernst W
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for handling and filling envelopes
US 2915863 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 8, 1959 E. w. KUMMER 2,915,863



ATTORNEYS Dec. 8, 1959 w, KUMMER I 2,915,863


APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND FILLING ENVELOPES '7 Sheets-Sheet 5 Film! NOV. 15, 1954 INVENTOR Dec. 8, 1959 E. w. KUMMER APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND FILLING ENVELOPES F1104 NOV. 15, 1954 7 Sheets-Sheet 6 fmvsr W. Kl/MMER ATTORNEY6 Dec. 8, 1959 w, KUMMER 2,915,863

I APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND FILLING ENVELOPES Filed NOV. 15, 1954 7 Sheets-Sheet 7 INVENTOR ERNST W KUMMER BY ,JMIM9W ATTORNEYS United States Patent APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND FILLING ENVELOPES Ernst W. Kummer, Berlin, Germany Application November 15, 1954, Serial No. 468,927

10 Claims. (Cl. 53-117) This invention relates to apparatus for handling and filling envelopes and more particularly. to envelope handling apparatus per se and in special association with means for inserting material into the envelopes.

The mechanism herein disclosed provides high speed successive feeding of envelopes which are opened and stuifed with folded sheets alone or with other material such as single or prefolded sheets. Empty unsealed envelopes to be processed are stacked in a magazine from the bottom of which they are automatically removed one at a time and delivered to a filling station funnel. After the envelopes are filled they are preferably automatically delivered to a flap closing and sealing mechanism, and

after sealing they are positively ejected for delivery to other machines for further processing as may be required or for manual handling. 1

It is accordingly the primary purpose and object of the present invention to provide improved apparatus for feeding and filling envelopes automatically and at higher speeds than heretofore obtained.

It isa further object to provide improved mechanisms for the purpose which are compact and mechanically simple and capable of high speed automatic operation.

It is an additional object to provide envelope filling machines which are adjustable readily for adapting them to standard size sheet folding and feeding mechanisms.

A further object of the invention is to provide novel apparatus for extracting envelopes in succession from the bottom of a stack and feeding them onto a funnel where they are filled with one or more inserts and then removed from the funnel.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a novel combination of the foregoing with an envelope sealing device.

A further'object of the invention is to provide a novel envelope feeding mechanism wherein the envelope flap is first opened and the opened envelope pushed onto a funnel and there held to receive filling material;

A further object is to provide an envelope feeding roller pass which is closed to grip the envelope only after the envelope flap has been opened and thrust into the pass.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a novel automatic envelope feeding apparatus whereby the flap of the bottommost envelope of a stack of empty unsealed envelopes is opened and inserted into a feeding mechanism for withdrawing the envelope from the stack.

A further object is to provide in such mechanism a novel swingable feed roller carrying support operated in timed relation to the rest of the apparatus.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a novel funnel width adjustment for adapting it todifi'erent envelope sizes.

A further object is to provide simple novel movement of the funnel through a small angle from envelope filling to envelope ejecting position. t

It is a further object of the invention to provide a novel envelope extraction feature whereby the funnel is actiwalls 47. Set. screws 50 secure each hook 42 t'ohtheshaft 44 and permit adjustment of each hook about the,

2 l n vated during the early part of movement of the envelope thereunto to tilt that envelope slightly to avoid being accidentally interlocked with the flap of the envelope next above in the stack. V j The construction and operation of the apparatus together with the above stated and additional objects of invention will become apparent as'the description proceeds inconnection with the accompanying drawings inwhich'zj' Figure -1 is a generally perspective view illustrative'of a machine according to an embodiment of the invention; Figure 2 is a fragmentary view of an envelope handling operation; Y

Figure 3 is a sideelevation partly diagrammatic and partly in section of the above illustrative embodiment of the present invention; 1

Figure 4 is an end elevation of the apparatus of-Figure 1 as viewed from the left with the paper feed, motor andother parts eliminated for clarity; 4 4

Figures 5 and 6 are top and end views of a funnel structure; V

Figure 7 is a fragmentary view showing the envelope i feeding rollers in two operative positions;

Figure 8 is a fragmentary view showing the pivoted funnel and control linkage;

Figures 9 and 10 are fragmentary views showing the envelope sealing device and control-linkage;

Figure 11 is a side elevation of apparatus according;

to a further embodiment of the invention;

Figure 12 is a side elevation of apparatus according to still a further embodiment of the invention;

Figure 13 is a fragmentary side elevation of a funnel detail corresponding to Figure 12; and l Figures 14 and 15 are fragmentary end and top plan views respectively of a funnel width adjustment. r

the envelope filling funnel 26, the sheet folding and feed-,-

ing mechanism indicated generally at 28, the filled envelope ejector rollers 30, and the envelope closing and sealing mechanism 32. These components are compact ly arranged and mounted on a stand indicated generally at 34 and are actuated in predetermined timed relation as will be described in detail. 7 V

A generally conventional sheet-feeding mechanism is indicated generally at 36 and it will be understood that this mechanism per se forms no part of the invention may be replaced by an equivalent sheet feeder.

The envelope magazine 20 is in the form of a generally vertical chute and isadapted to contain a stack of empty unsealed envelopes 38 disposed with their sealing fiaps' 40 closed and disposed below the body of the envelope at the left as viewed in Figure 3. Magazine 20 is sufiiciently open at its lower end to permit the bottommost;

envelope 38 to be withdrawn from the magazine toward the left in Figure 3 during each successive cycle of op-j The bottom surface of the magazine is provided with one or more openings 21 to permit the entry eration.

of the envelope opening mechanism 22.

T he illustrated envelope opening mechanism includestwo laterally spaced hooks 42 which have sharp tips-43 at their upper ends and their lower ends fixed uponla transverse shaft 44 journalled as at 46 in the stand side shaft axis as well as longitudinal slidable adjustment,

along the shaft, to locate the hooks 42 in optimum loca-; tion for proper opening of the bottommost envelope 381:1:

the stack.

A lever 45 is rigidly secured intermediate itsehds t6 48 anchored to the wall at 4 9 constantly biases lever 45,

' 44 adjacent one sidewall 47 and a tension spring.

shaft 44 and hooks 42 counterclockwise in Figure 3. Lever trgansversescamshaft -52 whichis journalled at opposite ends inside walls 47; and carries. outside one side'wall a large gear 53 constantly meshed with aismaller gear v54 fixedupon a transverse drive shaft 55 also journalled on i parts and for a purpose to appear.

5 ;Drive;shaft 55 has fixed theretoa feed roller 65 which is coveredtwithrubber or like frictionqmaterialaand this roller comprises one side of th e envelope'feeding roller 1The'other sideof the envelope feeding .roller pass in this embodiment comprises laterally short spaced .coaxialrubber or like friction rollers 66 mounted on arockable frame assembly 67 that is rigid with a rock shaft' 68 supported at opposite ends in side wall pivots. Usually rollers 66 are mounted on opposite ends of a transverse axle 69'freely rotatablymounted in frame 67;

Outside one side wall47, rock shaft 68 has rigidly connected thereto one 'end of a lever 71 (Figure 7) that is biased as by tension spring 72 against a cam 73 fixed on} camshaft 52; Cams 51 and 73 are located on opposite sides of the same side wall 47. The end of spring 72 not connected to lever'71is ancholredon that side wall 47.

Thus motor driven rotatin-ofshaft 52 effects, through. the-coaction of cam 73 and spring 72, rocking movement -of;frame 67- between the full and dotted lines shown in Figure 7. When the parts are in the full line position of Figure 7,-t he envelope feeding pass is closed'as will ap- PW prises anup'per plate 74 and a lower plate 75 mounted in fixed spaced relation upon a rock shaft 76., The space indicated at 70 isadapted to receive folded sheets as will appear. An arm77 also fixed on shaft 76 is pivoted'at 78 topneend of a link 79 having its, other end; pivoted at. 81 ,to a lever 82 pivoted at its lower end at 83 on wall 47.

82is urged against a 'cam 8'7fi xed on camshaft 52 between gear 53 and adjacent wall 47. -Thus when c amshaft 52 rotates the funnel 26 is pivoted between the full and dotted line position of Figure 3 for a purpose to be described. e a

'At opposite sides of thefunnel are preferably provided spaced parallel arcuate surfaces 75 whichfunction to open the envelope body as the envelope is being pushed onto.,the funnel. Spaced bottom elements 75" are also provided on the funnel adjacent its upper end to further open theenvelope and maintain it open. With reference to. Figure it will be noted that upper plate 74 isformed witharcuate diverging surfaces 74' which aid in the envelope opening action. At its lower end. plate 74 is notched at 74" so that the operator may grip the envelope and contents if it is necessary to strip the envelope by hand.

The sealing and closing assembly 32 includes a fixed position heating element 88 which issecured to and extends ,between the side Walls of the stand and is heated byfany suitable means such as an electrical resistance element (not shown). An angula rly dispersed support plate89 is rotatably mounted on a transverse shaft 91 journalled atits opposite ends in the side walls.- Also rotatably mounted on the shaft 91 is acompression plate The envelope funnel 26, Figures 3 and ;8, com-.'.

urges arm 107 against a cam 109 fixed onshaft 52. stop 93 is provided with a rigid arm 111 (Figure 9) piv- 2,916,868 '9 r r a r and 93 normally occupy the positions shown in Figure 3 before the start of an operation cycle, the plates 89 and 92 forming an upwardly open 'trough and the stop 93 being disposed horizontally below a vertical slot 94 in plate 89. These members are independently actuated by cam and lever systems nowv to be described to effect the envelope closing, sealing and delivery operations.

Plate 89 is pivoted at 96 to one end of a link 97 in turn"pivotally attached'at its opposite end at 98 to the lower end of a lever 99 pivoted at its upper end at 101 to a side plate 47. Lever 99 is urged by tension spring 102 against a cam 103 non-rotatably mounted on cam shaft 52. Plate 92 is similarly pivoted at 104'to one end of a link 105 pivoted at 10.6 at its other end to a lever 107 also pivoted on the stand side wall at 101. A spring 108 The oted at 112 to a link 113 eccentrically attached as at 114 to thegear 53. 1

"Just inside each side wall 47 are mounted leaf springs 115, as on fixed pins 116, and 'springs'115 provide arcuate upwardly facing surface that prevent undesired droppingof the envelopes off the funnel as Will appear.

At their'lower ends springs 115 are formed with loops 117 that react with the envelope flap during sealing as will appear.

' The illustrative sheet feeding assembly disclosed herein by way .of example also includes the feeder mechanism 36 which is effective to'advance the uppermost ofa stack of single paper sheets 120 or multi-page units mounted upon a fixed support 121. The mechanism at 36 includes one or more paper contacting members 122 which is usually corrugated rubber rollers mounted on an axle journalled in the end of an arm 123 pivoted to the upper end of an actuating lever 125 pivoted. at 126 on support 121. Rollers'122 rest by gravity on the uppermost of the stack ofsheets 120 and are reciprocated during operation between the dotted and full line positions shownin Figure 3. jActuating lever 125 is pivoted at 127 to a link 128 Aftension spring 84 anchored upon wall 47 at 85 is hooked onto link 79 and thereby. a cam follower roller 86 on lever which in turn is eccentrically pivoted at 129 to gear 53.

- The sheets 120 are delivered to a pass formed by'upper and lower rubber covered feeding rolls 130 and 131 mountedon shafts 132 and'133 respectively, journalled in the side walls 47 of the stand and preferably urged together under'spring pressure as at 130' in Figure 1 suffi-' cient to feed the sheets and at the same time accommodate different thicknesses. A smooth surfaced guide 134 is provided from support 121 to the entrance of this pass. Adrive gear 135 (Figures '1' and 4) is fixed on'shaft 133. On'the. other side of this pass is the open mouth of a first fold chute 136 formed by spaced plates slotted at 137 to receiveone or more'paper stop pins 138 all fixed upon a transverserod 139 thatextends between walls 47, and rod 139 may be adjusted about its axis as by set screws 141 for shifting stop pins 138 along the slots 137 as desired. f

Roller 131 and a similar parallel rubber covered roller 142 mounted on :a shaft 143 form a second paper feed pass on the other side of which is disposed the open month of the second'fo'ld chute'1 44 preferably a duplicate of chute 136 and s1'otted'at'145 to receive stop pins 1'46' adjustable about the axis supporting rod 147. v

' when shaft 59,. is driven all of the paper feed roller passes are. activated. 7 a

- The envelope. ejector arrangementat 30 comprises a shaft 151' journalled' in walls 47 and carrying a pulley 152 connected by belt 153 to the motor shaft pulley.

Fixed. on 'shaft151 are. spaced rubber drive. rollersj 154 having a stop projection 93. ,:I fl ef1mem bers 89,92 15 which :When thefunnel 26 as. inFigurei8 are.

adapted to strip the filled envelope off the funnel and allow it to drop into the sealing device 32.

When the operation cycle starts the parts are in the full line positions of Figure 3 except for funnel 26 and frame 67 which at the time are in the dotted positions of Figure 3. The motor 64 is activated by a suitable foot or hand switch (not shown) and the belt and pulley system drives shafts 52, 55, 59 and 151.

The sequence of operation is that first the hooks 42 open the flap of the bottommost envelope of the stack, then the funnel 26 starts to swing from the Figure 8 position to the Figure 3 solid line position and frame 67 swings from its dotted line position of Figure 3 toward roller 65, with the paper feed at 36 advancing the topmost sheet or unit toward the initial sheet feed pass 130, 131. The parts are so synchronized that the front edge of sheet 120 enters the feed pass just as rollers 66 engage the envelope flap with enough pressure to provide a feeding action with roller 65. As the sheet is being folded in mechanism 28, the envelope is being fed onto funnel 26. After the envelope is on the funnel, the funnel is pivoted down toward the Figure 8 position, usually just as the Z-folded sheet is inserted into it. When it reaches the Figure 8 position, funnel 26 (see Figure 2) pushes the envelope against the rollers 154 which strip the envelope off the funnel and drop it toward the sealing device 32.

Referring to Figure 3, as cam 51 rotates counterclockwise hooks 42 rock counterclockwise under the influence of spring 48 until tips 43 enter between fiap 40 and the body of the bottommost envelope of the stack, and by the time that hooks 42 reach the dotted line position of Figure 3 they have opened fiap 40 into substantial alignment with the envelope body and moved the flap into the feed pass bearing against the underside of roller 65 where it remains as the low portion of the cam engages lever 45.

Then (Figure 8) by that time cam 87 has rotated to a position where it starts funnel 26 moving about pivot 76 toward the full line position of Figure 3, and at about the same time cam 73 has reached the position where it starts rocking frame 67 clockwise about pivot 68 toward the full line position of Figures 3 and 7. Also by this time eccentrically driven link 128 has started to activate mechanism 36 to feed the upper sheet of paper toward the roller pass 130, 131.

As the funnel 26 approaches its full line position of Figure 3 the envelope flap 40 is engaged by the rising top of the funnel (Figure 2) thereby insuring that flap 40 is straight in the feed pass when it is gripped between rollers 65 and 66, and the envelope is then fed toward and over the now aligned open end of the funnel. At the same time the leading edge of sheet 120 has been propelled by pass 130, 131 into the folding chutes of assembly 28.

During the initial entry of the envelope onto funnel 26, the funnel is given a slight downward tilt insufficient to interfere with forward feeding of the envelope but nevertheless sufficient to perform a very important function that eliminates possible jamming of the machine where window envelopes are fed, as shown in dotted lines in Figure 2. The function is obtained in this embodiment by a slight lowering of the cam surface at 80. It has been found that in the case of closely stacked window envelopes, the window with its transparent sheet closed opening being disposed upwardly, difficulties have arisen due to the next above flap becoming hooked into the window opening edge and becoming pulled out prematurely. This difficulty has been entirely removed by so slightly tilting the funnel as soon as the envelope being fed onto it has advanced far enough to be correspondingly tilted down out of possible reach of the flap of the next above flap but before the window section of the envelope being fed reaches that next above flap.

In the meantime the sheet 120 is advanced and is, being 6. folded and advanced into the open end of funnel 26., As shaft 52 rotates, gear 53 through link 128, lever 125 and arm 123 causes horizontal reciprocation of rollers 122 to the right in Figure 1 to feed the upper sheet or unit of stack 120 into the roller pass 130, 131 which advances the sheet into chute 136. As soon as the sheet front edge strikes stop pins 138 further feed of the roller pass creates a first fold in the space near the chute mouth. This fold diverts into the roller pass 131, 142 which then advances the sheet fold first into chute 144 until it strikes stop pins 146 and further sheet feed creates a second fold in the space through the chute mouth. This second fold is opposite in direction to the first fold to thereby create a Z-folded sheet that is delivered through pass 142, 148 to the funnel 26.

While the above described apparatus for forming an accordion or Z-folded sheet is adequate, it will be understood that for purposes of the envelope handling features to be hereafter described any sheet folding means can be provided.

When the envelope has been fully pushed onto funnel 26 and the folded sheet has been inserted into it, the cam 87 reaches a position where it permits spring 84 to start moving funnel 26 down towards its Figure 8 position, and when it reaches that position the envelope and its contents are squeezed between the funnel and ejector rollers 154 which strip the filled envelope downwardly off the funnel 26 and it drops down into the sealing device 32 with its lower end entering slot 94 and the flap 40 extending generally upwardly as in Figure 3. As the funnel moves downwardly accidental dropping off of the envelope is prevented by spring surfaces 115.

Referring to Figures 3, 9 and 10, the filled unsealed envelope 38 is illustrated after it drops into sealing assembly 32 where it stands upright in slot 94 resting by gravity on stop 93. At this point the cams 103 and 109 act in timed relation to close the flap 40 and seal it. First cam 103 and spring 102 coact through lever 99 and link 97 to swing support plate 89 to its Figure 9 position shown in dotted lines and during this operation flap 40 contacts spring loops 117 which fold the flap toward the envelope body. Then cam 109 and spring 108 coact with lever 107 and link to rock the compression plate 92 counterclockwise to the Figure 10 solid line position where the envelope flap is compressed flat against the heated element 88, and since either the flap or the adjacent envelope bo dy section are coated with heat sensitive adhesive the flap is thereby sealed to the envelope body. During this action the support plate 89 swings back to its original position.

After sealing, compression plate 92 is pulled back to its dotted line position of Figure 10 and the envelope is free to drop all the way through slot 94 when stop 93 is removed, this latter being eflected in timed relation through eccentrically driven link 113 and arm 111. The envelope is thereby delivered to a hopper and for such other handling as may be required.

Referring to Figure 11 the paper sheet feeding arrangements at 36 are essentially the same asin Figure 3, and the topmost sheet or unit of sheets to be folded is advanced by reciprocation of feed elements 124 into the pass formed by friction covered rollers and 161, one of which is driven as by belt 162. After emerging from pass 160, 161 the sheet slides along support surface 163 until it enters the friction roller pass 164, 165. Roller 165 is fixed upon a shaft 166 carrying a pulley 167 motor driven by belt 168. In turn shaft 166 is directly geared (not shown) to shaft 169 that carries roller 164-, and shaft 169 is connected by a suitable pulley to drive belt 162.

The sheet or unit 120 is first pushed into chute 171 that is slotted at 172 for reception and adjustment of stop pins 173 like those at 138, and when the leading sheet edge abuts pins 173 the rear portion buckles and the first fold is formed and forced into roller pass 164, 175

which forces it into the second fold 'chute 176 slotted at 177 'for reception and adjustment "of stop pins 178. After the second fold h'asbeen made, the zefold'ed 'sheet enters the funnel feed pass that comprises driven roller 175 and a rotatable pressure roller 179 that is urged by gravity 'or spring pressure (not shown) toward the driven roller 175. The end shaft projections of roller 179 are disposed in vertical guide slots 181 in the support 182.

1A fixed magazine 183 is open at its lower end and for asmall distance 184 along one side edge as shown in Figure 11. If desired sidewall 185 is vertically adjustable so that opening'184 is substantially of a height equal to the thickness of the vsheet, card or other element 185, single thickness or prefolded, stacked in the magazine, as by micrometer adjustment 186,so'that only the bottomriiost sheet or other element is fed out of the magazine with operation.

The'stack of elements in magazine 183 rests'on rollers 187 which have their ends journalled in arms 188 (one shown).

. 212 has 'its end shaft projections 213 journalled in blocks The projecting end shafts 189 of rollers 187 j are slidable in horizontal slots 191 in opposite support sides. to the upper ends of levers 193 that in turn are pivoted on support 121 at 194. One lever 193 has a releasablepivot connection 195 to a link 196 that is pivoted to actuating lever 125 at 197.

Thus rollers 187 are reciprocated horizontally through link 128, lever 125, link 196, levers 193 and arms 188 and since they are friction surfaced and the bottommost sheet or other element 185 is urged thereupon they feed the bottommost element of the stack to the right in Figure 11 during each cycle. If desired a weight or spring can urge the stack downwardly.

. Opposite and aligned with the long narrow outlet opening 184 of the magazine is a roller pass consisting of a driven roller 198 and a rotatable pressure roller 199 having its ends vertically slidably mounted in frame slots 201. Roller 198 is driven by belt 162 as illustrated. Each sheet or other element fed from the bottom of the stack by reciprocation of rollers 187 enters the roller pass 198, 199 and is discharged into the space 202 at the lower end of chute 176 where the second fold is formed in sheet 120.

Disposed at space'202 is a fixed guide plate 203 that extends transversely and serves as a guide for first folded sheets emerging from pass 164, 175 and moving toward chute 176. Plate 203 is preferably mounted on a support rod 204 fixed at opposite ends to support 182. Pivotally mounted on rod 204 is a gate plate or flap 205 that is shiftable between the full and dotted line portions of Figure 11, suitable means (not shown) being provided to hold it in either position.

'When flap 205 is in the full line position of Figure 11 the sheet or other element advanced by pass 198, 199 intospace 202 isinserted into the second fold of the sheet 120, the parts being actuated in timed relation to accomplish this end.

When 'no insert material is desired to be fed through magazine 183 and only folded sheets 120 are to be introduced into the envelopes fed onto funnel '26, the link 196 is disengaged at 195 and flap 205 is turned to the closed dotted line position of Figure 11 where it serves as a continuation of guide 203 and prevents the sheet 120 passing through space 202 from leaving chute 176 at this poin In operation the sheet folding and envelope feeding is generally thesame as in the earlier embodiment, This phase of the invention makes it possible to introduce additional material automatically into the folding sheets or'units 120 before introduction into the envelope stufling funnel. p

In 'theembodiment illustrated in Figure 12, there are provided a different envelopeflapopening arrangement and a difierentassembly of thefu'nnel and the roller The rear ends of arms 188 are pivoted at 192 214 resiliently urged by pivoted lever 215 and spring 216 so as to provide 'a roller feed pass 211, 212. Shaft 209 also carries a pulley 217 connected by belt 218 with the pulley on the shaft of roller 65 and with pulley 219 on the rotatable shaft 221 Whichcarries the friction rollers 222 for stripping the filled envelopes off the funnel. Suitable drive means (not shown tinuously rotates shaft 223 from motor 64, j

The magazine 224 is adjustable as to envelope width by the slot and screw means indicated at 225, and is adjustable as to envelope length in a direction at right angles to the plane of Figure 12 bythe screw adjustment indicated at 226. The envelopes 38 are stacked therein, empty and unsealed with flaps 40 closed and on the bottom side as in all embodiments, An opening 227 is provided in the bottom of magazine 224 whereby hooks or claws 228 having sha'rp'tips 229 may open the flap 40 of the bottommost envelope. v

Two such claws 228 are provided, one at each end of shaft 223 and adjacent the opposite ends of the envelope flaps. The arrangement at one side is shown in Figure 12 and this is duplicated at the other side. Each claw is pivoted at 231 upon a disc 232 fixed on shaft 223 and an arm 233 rigid with claw 228 has its free also conend connected by tension spring 234 to anchor 235 on the disc. Spring 234 thus resiliently urges claw 228 counterclockwise, a stop pin 235' being provided to define the limitposition.

Adjacent each claw 228 and spaced inwardly therefrom is a spring blade or finger 236 fixed at one end upon the shaft as at 237 and having an envelope flap engaging arcuate end portion 238. Thus, as shaft 223 rotates counterclockwise, once during each revolution the claws 228 open the flap 40 of the bottommost envelope and swing it toward the feed pass. The resilient claw mountings prevent damage should the claws encounter a solid frame or other part accidentally. The sharp claw tips insure opening of the flap 40. The spring fingers 236 follow behind the claws and engage the flap 40 to hold it open and urge it up toward the surface of roller 65 even after the claws have started to move away from the flap.

The rollers 66 in this embodiment are mounted on a frame 239 comprising spaced arms 241 rigidly connected by a cross bar 242 and mounted non-rotatably upon a rockshaft 243. Frame 239 is adapted to swing between thefull and dotted line positions of Figure 12. Also mounted to rock with shaft 243 is the funnel assembly 26 which here is supported by rigid side members 244 later described in Figures 13-15.

Shaft 243 may be rocked through a predetermined angle during each cycle of operation as by pivotally connecting a radial arm 245 rigid therewith to an eccentrically driven link 246 similar to link 79 of Figure 8. During operation shaft 243 is rocked in timed relation to the action of claws 228 sothat the frame 239 and funnel 26 are rocked as a unit into the envelope filling position shown in dotted lines after the envelope flap 40 has been disposed in the open feed pass. The flap 40 is gripped by the roller pass 65, 66 and fed onto funnel 26 as in the earlier embodiments. After the envelope is stufied, the funnel and frame 239 are rocked as a unit down to the full line position of Figure 12, and at this point the filled envelope on the funnel is pressed against ejector rollers 222 which strip it down be the funnel and 9 toward a sealing or other handling device as may be desired.

The sheet material to be inserted into the envelopes thus pushed over the funnel by roller pass 65, 66 is placed upon a trough assembly having a fixed front wall 247 and an inclined bottom wall 248 pivoted upon the support as by a rigid mounting arm 249 and a pivot post 250. Wall 248 is depressed by the operator until it hits the fixed stop 251, and then the material is pushed by the operator into the feed roller pass 211, 212 which feeds it into the funnel 26. it will be appreciated that the material may comprise prefolded or preassembled sheets, cards, pamphlets, etc. Also a folding device according to one of the earlier embodiments may be located between pass 211, 212 and the mouth of the funnel.

In order to limit operation of the apparatus to one cycle and enable the operator to place a fresh charge of material upon wall 243 as desired, a suitable controlled one-revolution clutch arrangement is provided. Fixed upon shaft 223 is a disc 252 the outer member of which carries a tooth 253 adapted to engage a stop plunger 254 slidably mounted on the support at 255 and 256. A collar 257 is fixed on plunger 254 and a compression spring 253 normally urges the plunger toward the path of tooth 253.

A latch element 259 has an end hook 261 engaged under collar 257, and its other end is pivoted at 262 to the end of a link 263 pivoted at its rear and at 264 to a lever 265 which is rigid with arm 249 and turns with arm 249 about the pivot 250. A tension spring 266 biases lever 265 counterclockwise and tends to keep wall 248 in the illustrated solid line position. A roller 267 abuts the rear end of plunger 254- and bears against the side of latch 259. Roller 267 is mounted on the end of a short lever 268 freely pivoted on the support at 269. A tension spring 271 biases latch 259 toward its solid line position.

Thus, as the operator depresses the wall 243 in order to feed the material into the roller pass, link 263 is pulled rearwardly in Figure 12 thereby displacing plunger 254 rearwardly to release tooth 253 for rotation of shaft 223 and causing clockwise rocking of lever 268 until latch 259 is displaced to the dotted line position of Figure 12. This releases plunger 254 for spring return to the path of tooth 253, and latch 259 is spring returned to hook under collar 257. When tooth 253 comes around again it is stopped by the plunger and this stops shaft 223. Preferably a friction clutch (not shown) is provided between shaft 223 and the drive from motor 64 to permit this operation.

Referring to Figures 13, 14 and 15 a funnel size adjustment adapting the funnel to different length envelopes is illustrated as applied to the funnel assembly of Figure 12. The funnel comprises a top center plate 271 having one end crimped about or otherwise secured upon a transverse rod 272 as at 273, and top and bottom side plates 274 and 275 connected at their outer ends by edge plates 276. Only one side is shown in Figures 14 and 15, and the funnel side and edge plate structure is duplicated at the other side.

Each side member 244 is apertured to be laterally slidably supported on both shaft 243 and rod 272 which are parallel. At their opposite ends shaft 243 and rod 272 are pinned non-rotatably to bridge members 277, and shaft 243 is rotatably supported in the support walls as indicated at 278 in Figure 14. An adjustment shaft 279 has an operating handle 231 outside the machine cover 282 and passes through an elongated slot 283 in the support end walls. Shaft 279 passes rotatably through bridges 277 as at 284 and freely through members 244 at 285, and inwardly of each bridge shaft 279 has a threaded portion 286 that is threaded into a bracket 10 287 rigidly connecting each plate 275 and side -member 244.

Thus, when shaft 279 is rotated by manipulation of handle 281, each funnel side slides oppositely as a unit with side members 244 as shown in Figure 15, shaft 279 having no longitudinal displacement because of shoulders 288. The areas 286 are oppositely threaded at the opposite ends of shaft 279. Plate 271 remains stationary during this adjustment, interleaving with plate 274 to effectively close the top of the opening between the two relatively adjustable funnel sides.

The foregoing adjustment is maintained during any rocking movement of the entire funnel with rock shaft 243, slot 253 in the support and a similar slot in the cover permitting such movement. This adjustment may be incorporated in any of the foregoing embodiments.

The term funnel as used in the claims unless otherwise recited is not limited to the specific structures shown in the drawings, but is intended to embrace any device onto which an open envelope may be fed at one end into which sheet material conditioned for the envelope is fed at the other end.

The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore intended to be embraced therein.

\Vhat is claimed and desired to be secured by United ,States Letters Patent is:

1. In an envelope handling and filling apparatus, means providing a stack of empty unsealed envelopes with closed flaps downwardly disposed, envelope feeding means, funnel means having a predetermined envelope receiving and filling position, means for opening the flap of the bottommost envelope and introducing it into said feeding means, means effective after introduction of said flap into said feeding means for rendering said feeding means operable to remove said bottommost envelope from the stack, and feed it onto said funnel means where it is maintained in opened condition, means in said apparatus for supplying sheet material to be folded and for folding said sheet material in a plurality of successive operations characterized in that the final folding operation is accompanied by actuation of said means to thrust the folded sheet material into said funnel means while the latter is in said predetermined position so that said folded sheet material is enclosed within said envelope while the funnel means remains in said predetermined position, and means for removing the filled envelope from said funnel means.

2. In an envelope handling apparatus, means providing a stack of empty unsealed envelopes with closed flaps downwardly disposed, a feed roller pass located adjacent the bottom of said stack, said roller pass being open at the beginning of each envelope handling cycle, means for opening the flap of the bottommost envelope of said stack and inserting it into the said open roller pass, means for then closing the roller pass and actuating the latter to extract said bottommost envelope from said stack, and means separate from said flap opening means operable after said flap opening means has opened the bottommost envelope flap for engaging and holding open said flap until said roller pass is closed.

3. In combination, means providing a stack of empty unsealed envelopes with closed flaps downwardly disposed, means for opening the flap of bottommost envelope of said stack, a funnel pivotable between an envelope receiving position and a downwardly tilted position, feed means for gripping the opened flap of the opened bottommost envelope and feeding the latter onto said funnel, means operable for pivoting said funnel means prior to said gripping of said flap by said feed 3 means.

I 4. In combination 'withmeans providing a'stack of empty unsealed envelopes with their flaps closed and disposed downwardly, envelope feeding means adjacent the bottom of said stack, means for opening-the fiap of the bottommost envelope comprising a finger moving through a path and {having a relatively sharp tip'that inserts between the flap and the envelope body, and

means for cyclically moving said finger through said.

path comprising resilient means actuating said finger at least duringthe portion of said path during which the flap is being opened.

5 5. In combination, a rpivoted envelope filling funnel,

means for feeding an open envelope over one end of said funnel, comprising a feed roller driven about a wardly disposed, an envelope filling funnel pivoted ad jacent one end to shift between'an envelope discharge position and an angularly displaced sheet material and envelope receiving position, said funnel being open-at said pivoted end, feed means for introducing sheet mate rial into said funnel disposed near said open end comprising sheet folding mechanism arranged to discharge folded sheets in succession into said funnel, and means fixed axis and a pressure roller mounted to move with envelope thereon into said stripping means.

for intermittently feeding sheets into said folding mechanism, envelope feed means comprising a fixed a ds feed roller near the bottom of said stack and a shiftable roller adapted in one position to coact with said feed roller todefine an envelope feeding pass and movable to another and inoperative position whereby said pass is open to permit an envelope to be introduced, means for intermittently extracting envelopes fromthe bottom of said stack and feeding them into said pass, a driven cam shaft comprising a cyclically operating flap opening finger for opening the flap of the bottommost envelope and moving it toward said pass, and cam 12 'means on said shaft for operating said-intermittent sheet feeding means, pivoting said funnel between said osi- 'tions, actuating said fiap opening finger and moving-said shiftable roller between its 1 operative "and --inoperaitive positions allin timed relation. p I

7. In an envelope filling apparatus, means providing a stack of empty unsealed envelopes, an envelope filling funnel, means for opening the bottommost envelopeof said stack, means for feeding said opened envelope onto said funnel, said funnel having an open end means for introducing sheet material into the open end of said funnel, and means controlled by said sheet material introducing means for actuating said envelope opening means through a single cycle during which said envelope .is openedand conditioned to coact with said envelope feeding means.

8. In the apparatus defined in claim 7, said sheet material introducing means comprising a member-moved to a predetermined .control position while said sheet material is being advanced into said funnel, and said actuating means comprising a device operated by move ment of said member to control activation of said envelope opening means.

9. In the apparatus defined in claim 8, said device comprising a latch for said envelope opening means coupled by a motion transmitting link with said member.

10. In the apparatus defined in claim 1, said means for removing the filled envelope comprising envelope stripping means and means for shifting said funnel means from said predetermined position to introduce the filled References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS

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U.S. Classification53/117, 53/284.3, 53/384.1, 53/569
International ClassificationB43M3/00, B43M3/04
Cooperative ClassificationB43M3/045
European ClassificationB43M3/04E