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Publication numberUS2947406 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 2, 1960
Filing dateDec 31, 1958
Priority dateDec 31, 1958
Publication numberUS 2947406 A, US 2947406A, US-A-2947406, US2947406 A, US2947406A
InventorsJr Henry S Hazelton
Original AssigneePitney Bowes Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Letter inverter
US 2947406 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aug- 2, 1960 H. s. HAzELToN, JR 2,947,406

LETTER INVERTER Filed Dec. 31. 1958 2 Sheets-SneekI 1 mf n, m r /R ms m V ww H e All@ 2, 1960 H. s. HAzELToN, JR 2,947,406

LETTER INVERTER Filed Dsc. 3l, 1958 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 EN R. f/115; 5, ze/ f V ATTORNEY United States Patent() LETTER INVERTER Henry S. Hazelton, Jr., White Plains, N.Y., assigner to Pitney-Bowes, Inc., Stamford, Conn., a corporation of i Delaware Filed Dec. si, 195s, ser. No. 784,255 7 claims. (ci. 19e-33) This invention `relates lto apparatus for handling letters and `to a new letter reorienting device for use with automatic stamp cancelling machines and in similar and related letter handling methods.

In automatic stamp cancelling machines, provision is made for -receiving and Vsupporting on their longitudinal edges `a stack of unfaced and unoriented letters of random lengths and heights coming within the limits for which the machinesare designed. The letters are then advanced one by one to a stamp cancelling mechanism which is so constructed `and arranged that when a stamp along the lower longitudinal edge portions of a letter is sensed and cancelled the letter is deposited in one ro 'ceptacle or `another depending on how each letter happens to be` facing. If no stamp cancelling operation is performed on a letter, for instance when no stamp is sensed along the lower edge portions of a letter, the letter is rejected and separated `from those on which the stamp or stamps have been cancelled. Such rejected letters may be collected in a stack which may be bodily inverted and replaced as a group in the same or another stamp sensing-and cancelling machine. When this is done, the former upper longitudinal edges of the letters become the lower longitudinal edges so that they. are in position to be sensed and have stamps thereon cancelled.

` However, to avoid double handling of the letters, it has 4been found advantageous to individually invert the positionof each letter rejected by the first cancelling machine yand advance it to a second cancelling machine in an inverted position where the stamps on the then lower longitudinal edges of the letters may be sensed and cancelled.

` It is an object for the present invention to provide improved means for transferring and inverting letters passing from arirst cancelling machine to `a second cancelling machine in such a way ias to minimize bodily twisting and distortion of the letterbeing transferred and inverted.

Another object of the present invention is to provide letter transferring and inverting means which is so con- Vstructed and arranged as to receive and advance letters of. various heights within the limits for which the ma chine is designed wand yet deposit each inverted letter with its then lower edge on a receiving table of the second cancelling machine.

An :important feature of this invention is the provision of a simple relatively inexpensive letter feeding and p inverting device which may be operated at high speed and yet requires a `minimum of attention and service.

These objects and advantages are accomplished Aby `the present invention in theA form illustrated as exemplary thereof by providing continuously traveling letter 'advancing` means including a iirst belt section and a second belt secnon traveling together in contact and positioned to receive the letters between them one at a time. The `belt sections are so guided that they cross over the letter path with` the result that a letter frictionally engagd `between the belt sections is inverted and is dis- 2,947,406 Patented Aug. 2, 1960 charged from the sections of the belt at the delivery end of the device. Preferably the belt is .continuous and is circular in cross section which is so .trove over lianged pulleys as to cause the belt sections to cross the letter path. The belt may be of rubber or other elastomeric friction material so as to frictionally engage and hold each letter as it is advanced and inverted. Since the belt sections make virtually line contact with the opposite sides of the letter, the letter rotates on a longitudinal axis and `is inverted with a minimum amount of twisting and distortion.

Other features and advantages will hereinafter appear.

For the purposes of illustration and explanation, the invention is shown in detail in its preferred form in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

Fig. l is a-top plan view of apparatus for sensing and cancellingA stamps on letters and including the letter, transferring and inverting device of the present invention;

Fig. 2 is a diagrammatic view showing the manner in Which the letters are advanced and separated, the letters being inverted between the first stamp cancelling machine and the second stamp cancelling machine;

, 1Fig3 isV `a plan view of the letter transferring and inverting device ofthe present invention; and

Fig. 4 is a-front elevation ofthe device shown in Fig. 3.

As lillustrated in Fig.` l, the apparatus comprises a iirst stamp cancelling machine ,10 and a second stamp cancelling machine 11 between which is interposed the letter transferring and inverting device 12 of the present invention.

Each cancelling machine has a pair of power driven feed belts y13 defining the letter path through the machine. The belts are located `above a table 14 and the arrangement is such that the tables 14 of the cancelling machines 10 and 11 are located on the same horizontal plane. The tables 14 serve as guide surfaces on which the lower longitudinal edges of the letters travel while the letters are held in a vertical position by being engaged between and fed by the belts 13.

#Each cancelling machine has stamp cancelling dies =15 for cancelling stamps on the lower leading edge portions of the letters and stamp cancelling dies 16 for cancelling stamps on the lower trailing edges of the letters. The operations of the cancelling dies are controlled by a stamp sensing device 17 for the stamps .at the leading edge of the letters and a stamp sensing device 18 for stamps at the trailing edges of the letters.

i Each cancelling machine also comprises a pair of gates i19, the positions of which are controlled by the sensing devices 17 and 18 to divert letters having cancelled stamps thereon into a stacking compartment 20 or 21` dependingon whether the stamp is located at the leading edge or at the trailing edge of the letter. The result of this is, as shown in Fig. l, that all the letters in the compartment 20A will be facing in one direction and form a stack"20a and all the letters in the compartment 21 will be facing in the other direction and form a stack 20b The stamp Vsensing devices also control the gates 19 so that if no stamp is cancelled on a. letter it will continue on the letter path to a pair of feed rollers 22.

In the embodiment of the invention herein disclosed, the first cancelling machine 10 dilers from the second cancelling machine 11 in two respects. The cancelling p machine 10 has a letter feeder device 23 including mechanisrnA 24 for feeding one letter at a time from a stack of letters `23a contained in the feeding device. The sec.- ond cancelling machine 11` does not require the feeder 23 since it receives the letters, as will bepointed out below,` directly from the transferring and inverting `device 12. Thecancelling machine 11 does, however, have a stacking compartment 25 to receive rejected letters and form a stack 25a, i.e., letters which have had no stamps cancelled thereon after passing through both cancelling machines. The stacking compartment 25 receives such rejected letters directly from the feed rolls 22 of the cancelling machine 11. The first cancelling machine does not have a stacking compartment for the rejected letters since such letters are fed by its feed rolls 22 directly to the transferring and inverting device 12.

The letters are placed in the feeder 23 of the cancelling machine 10 to be supported on their lower longitudinal edges without being faced and without being oriented with regard to the position of the stamp-carrying edge portions of the letter. Y

The sensing devices 17 and 18 sense only the lower longitudinal edge portions of the letters and therefore 4the letters having no stampsor stamps at the upper longitudinal edge portions are rejected by the cancelling machine 1t) and pass through the gates 19 to the rollers 22. Since the letters are of random heights, it is not possible to pass the rejected letters directly to the second cancelling machine since there would be no way of anticipating at what height the stamps on the upper longitudinal edge of the letter would be located.

lt is therefore necessary to invert the letters which are rejected by the cancelling machine 10 so that the upper longitudinal edge becomes the Vlower longitudinal edge and to cause the lower longitudinal edges of the successive letters to travel in the same plane. Y

This is accomplished by the present invention by a simple relatively inexpensive letter feeding and inverting device which can be operated at high speeds and yet require a minimum of attention and service. Such a device is illustrated in Figs. 3 and 4 and comprises a base plate 26 on which there is supported on posts 27 a feed table 28 which receives the letters one at a time from the feed rolls 22 of the cancelling machine 10. Also supported on the base plate 26 are two posts 29, one located on each side of and adjacent the path of the letters and at the introductory side of the transferring and inverting device 12. Also mounted on the base plate 26 are two posts 30, one positioned at each side of the letter path and located at the delivery side of the transferring device. The posts 29 carry tlanged pulleys 31 and the posts 3i) carry hanged pulleys 32. The pulleys 31 and 32 support and guide a continuous belt 33 which is so rove over the pulleys 31 and 32 in that a first section 33a and a second section 33b travel in the same direction and are in contact `for a substantial distance as they travel between the pulleys 31 and 32. Further, the belt 33 is so rove over the pulleys 31 and 32 that each of the sections 33a and 33b respectively travels from the pulley 31 at one side of the letter path to the pulley 32 at the other side of the letter path, with the result that the sections 33a and 33b cross over the letter path as they travel from the introductory side of the transfer device to the delivery side.

The pulleys 31 are so spaced apart that a throat por-Y tion 34 is formed between the approaching belt sections and it is into this throat portion that the leading edge of an advancing letter extends. The belt 33 is made of friction material such as rubber or other elastomeric material and thus the leading edge and subsequent pore tions of the letter are gripped between the belt sections 33a and 33b. y

The effect of the belt sections 33a and 33b crossing over the letter path is to cause them to contact each other on a helical line. Since this is the line at which the letter is engaged, as the letter advances from the location of the pulleys 31 to the location of the pulleys 32, it is rotated about a longitudinal axis. Since the helical line of contact extends .for 180, the letter will be rotated 180, as illustrated in Fig. 2, to completely invert the letter as iti travels to the delivery side of the device Where it is Yreleasedrfrom the grip of the belt sections. ToV

4 facilitate the release and discharge of the inverted letter, the post 30 and the pulleys 32 are spaced slightly further apart than the post 29 and pulleys 31.

The return sections 33e and 33d of the belt run from the pulleys 32 to the pulleys 31 and are arranged so as to extend beyond the range of movement of the highest letters for which the device is designed so as not to interfere with the inverting movement of the letters as they are advanced by the belt sections 33a and 33b. While this spacing may be provided for by any suitable means such as additional outwardly spaced idler rollers, in the form of the invention herein illustrated, the pulleys 31 and 32 are of such diameters as to space the return sections 33C and 33d from the sections `33a and 33b the necessary distance from the letter path.

To complete the desired cross over movement of the belt sections 33a and 33b before they reach the pulleys 32, auxiliary pulleys 35 and 36 may be provided to engage respectively the upper surface of the belt section 33a and the lower surface of the belt section 33b. 4The pulleys 35 and 36 are mounted on brackets 37 and 38 so that the pulleys are located somewhat to the rear of the pulleys 32.

When the letters are discharged from the belt sections they are deposited in amanner explained below on a receiving table 39 which is a coplanar extension of the table 14 of the cancelling machine 11.

The pulleys 31 are so located vertically with relation to the base 26 and feed table 28 that the belt sections will engage letters L of the more common height substantially on their longitudinal median line. It follows, therefore, that letters of greater height, such as the letter L shown in dot-and-dash lines in Fig. 4, would'be engaged below this median line, and therefore when a letter, such as the letter L', is inverted it would extend downwardly further (see letter L2 in Fig. 4) from the delivery end of the belt than letters L of common height. i

To permit handling letters of various heights within the limits for which the transfer device is designed, the posts 30 and pulleys 32 are higher than the posts 29 and pulleys 31 so that the belt sections 33a and 33b incline upwardly away from the introductory side of the device. The result of this is that the letters of even maximum height will arrive at the delivery end of the beltV sections so that their lower edges are above the plane of the receiving table 39. The posts 29 and 30 are nclined slightly so that the pulleys 31 and 32 are at the correct angle to receive the belt 33.

In order to deposit the inverted letters delivered by the belt sections 33a and 33b on the table 39, the present invention provides means at the delivery end of the transfer device forV urging letters there delivered one at a time forwardly and downwardly onto the receiving table 39. ln the form of the invention herein disclosed, this means comprises cylinder-like members rotated on axes inclined to the perpendicular and having weak frictional engagement with the letters delivered to it by the belt sections for yieldingly urging the letters there delivered one at atime forwardly and downwardly onto the receiving table 39. The cylinder-like members may be in the form of power driven elongate cooperating brushes 40, one located at each side of the letter path, and positioned to engage the leading edge portion of the letter before it is released by the belt sections 33a and 33b and carry it away from them. In addition to the rotary brushes 40, there is another pair of power driven rotary brushes 41 which receives the leading edge portion of the letter delivered to them by the brushes 40 and continues the downward-,movement of the letter and urges its lower -longitudinal edge against the table 39 -just before the leading edge portion of the letter engages the belts 113 of the cancelling machine 11. The bristles of the brush are sufficient-ly flexible to more or less impositivelyV engage the faces of the letters and to slip thereon when the longitudinal lower edge of the letter reaches the table 39 which occurs sooner or later depending on the height of the particular letter being handled.

The brushes 40 and 41 have shafts 42 having lower bearings 43 in a plate 44 and upper bearings 45 in a plate 46 supported by abracket 47.4 4The shafts 42 for the brushes may bepower driven in any suitable manner. As shown., the shafts 42 for the brushes 41 are connected by gearing48 located under the table 39 and the brushes 40 and 41 at each side of the letter path are driven in unison by belts 49.

What is claimed is: t

In astampcancelling machine, a first stamp cancelling mechanism; a second stamp cancelling mechanism in line with and spaced from said rst cancelling mechanism and adapted to receive letters from the latter on which no cancelling operations have been performed;

a letter transferring device located between said first and second cancelling mechanism and comprising a feed table on said rst cancelling mechanism for receiving letters from said first cancelling mechanism and supporting and guiding the letters on their longitudinal edges, a receiving table connected with said second stamp cancelling mechanism on which the letters are deposited on their longitudinal edges, a letter advancing means beltween said feed table and said receiving table, said advancing means comprising means for receiving letters one at a time from the feed table, advancing each letter toward said receiving table and simultaneously inverting each letter on a longitudinal axis as it advances, the receiving end of said advancing means being spaced a determinate distance above the plane of the feed table whereby a letter of common height will be engaged on or closely adjacent its longitudinal median line while letters of greater than common height will be engaged below their longitudinal median lines, the delivery end of said advancing means being spaced a distance above said receiving table substantially greater than said determinate distance whereby the lower edges of inverted letters of all heights for which said device is designed arrive at the delivery end of the advancing means at or substantially above the plane of the receiving table; and means at the delivery end of the advancing means for urging letters there delivered one at a time forwardly and downwardly onto the receiving table of the second cancelling mechanism.

2. In a stamp cancelling machine, a letter handling device comprising a feed table for receiving letters and supporting and guiding the letters on their longitudinal edges, a receiving table spaced from said feed table on which the letters are deposited on their longitudinal edges, a letter advancing means between said feed table and said receiving table, said advancing means comprising means for receiving letters one at a time from the feed table, advancing each letter toward said receiving table and simultaneously inverting each letter on a longituditudinal axis as it advances, the receiving end of said advancing means being spaced a determinate distance above the plane of the feed table whereby a letter of common height will be engaged on or closely adjacent its longitudinal median line while letters of greater than common height will be engaged below their longitudinal median lines, the delivery end of said advancing means being spaced a distance above said receiving table substantially greater than said determinate distance whereby the lower edges of inverted letters of all heights for which said device is designed arrive at the delivery end of the advancing means at or substantially above the plane of the receiving table, and means at the delivery end of the advancing means for urging letters there delivered one at a time forwardly and downwardly onto the receiving table.

3. The machine as defined in claim 2, in which the feed table and the receiving table are located in the same horizontal plane and the letter advancing means is inclned upwardly and away from the feed table to space the delivery end of the letter advancing means a greater distance above the receiving table than the receiving end of the advancing means is spaced above the feed table.

4. The machine as defined in claim 2, in which there are means at the receiving table for advancing the letters beyond the means for urging the letters forwardly and downwardly onto the receiving table.

5. In a stamp cancelling machine, a letter handling device comprising a feed table for receiving letters and supporting and guiding the letters on their longitudinal edges, a receiving table spaced from said feed table on which the letters are deposited on their longitudinal edges, a letter advancing means between said feed table and said receiving table, said advancing means comprising belt means having two engaged sections traveling in the same general direction for receiving between them letters one at a time from the feed table, advancing each letter toward said receiving table, said sections having a helical line of mutual engagement extending for about to invert each letter on a longitudinal axis as it advances, the receiving end of said belt sections being spaced a determinate distance above the plane ofthe feed table whereby a letter of common height will be engaged on or closely adjacent its longitudinal median line while letters of greater than common height will be engaged below their longitudinal median lines, the delivery end of said belt sections being spaced a distance above said receiving table substantially greater than said determinate distance whereby the lower edges of inverted lettersof all heights for which said device is designed arrive at the delivery end of the belt sections at or substantially above the plane of the receiving table, and means at the delivery end of the advancing means for urging letters there delivered one at a time forwardly and downwardly onto the receiving table.

6. In a stamp cancelling machine, a letter handling device comprising a feed table for receiving letters and supporting and guiding the letters on their longitudinal edges, a receiving table spaced from said feed table on which the letters are deposited on their longitudinal edges, a letter advancing means between :said feed table and said receiving table, said advancing means comprising belt means having two engaged sections traveling in the same general direction for receiving between them letters one at a time from the feed table, advancing each letter toward said receiving table, said sections having a helical line of mutual engagement extending for about 180 to invert each letter on a longitudinal axis as it advances, the receiving end of said belt sections being spaced a determinate distance above the plane of the feed table whereby a letter of common height will be engaged on or closely adjacent its longitudinal median line while letters of greater than common height will be engaged below their longitudinal median lines, the delivery end of said belt sections being spaced a distance above said receiving table substantially greater than said determinate distance whereby the lower edges of inverted letters of all heights for which said device is designed arrive at the delivery end of the belt sections at or substantially above the plane of the receiving table, and cylinder-like members rotated on axes inclined forwardly to the perpendicular and having weak frictional engagement with a letter delivered by said belt sections for yieldingly urging letters there delivered one at a time forwardly and downwardly onto the receiving table.

7. In a stamp cancelling machine, a letter handling device comprising a feed table for receiving letters and supporting and guiding the letters on their longitudinal edges, a receiving table spaced from said feed table on which the letters are deposited on their longitudinal edges, a letter advancing means between said feed. table and said receiving table, said advancing means comprising belt means having two engaged sections traveling in the same general direction 'for receiving between them letters one at a time from the yfeed table, advancing each letter toward said receiving table, said sections having arhelical line of mutual engagement extending for about 180 to invert each letter on a longitudinal axis as it advances, the receiving end of said belt sections being spaced a determinate distance above the plane of the feed table whereby ak letter of common height will be engaged on or closely adjacent its longitudinal median line while letters of greater than common height willY be engaged below their longitudinal median lines, the delivery end of said belt sections being spaced a distance above said receiving table substantially greater than said determinate distance whereby the lower edges of inverted letters of all heights V'for which said device is designed arrive at the References Cited in the l'e of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTSV 873,633 Thomas Dec. y10, 1907 j 1,719,175 Finn July Q, 1929 Forty Aug.' 2, 1955 figlia.,

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3125834 *May 16, 1962Mar 24, 1964The CarboSurface treating apparatus with turnover device
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US3144250 *Sep 27, 1961Aug 11, 1964Int Standard Electric CorpArrangement for the turning-over of flat dispatch articles
US3203534 *Aug 30, 1961Aug 31, 1965Telefunken PatentConveyor
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Classifications
U.S. Classification198/405, 209/900
International ClassificationB07C1/20, B65H15/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65H2301/33222, B65H2301/33212, B65H2701/1916, B65H15/00, B07C1/20, Y10S209/90, B65H2301/33224
European ClassificationB65H15/00, B07C1/20