US 3034512 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
P. H. HUNTER May 15, 1962 TABULATOR CARD AND SYSTEM FOR CODING AND SORTING SAME Filed Jan. 24, 1957 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 w a Q u 4 z x a. 3 32 6 2 J 4 M aw 1 i 4 3 INVENTOR.
4; 6 u/vrs P ATTORiE 1 May 15, 1962 P. H. HUNTER 3,034,512
TABULATOR CARD AND SYSTEM FOR CODING AND SORTING SAME Filed Jan. 24, 1957 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR 842/4 6 him r54 g0 BY M Q/W M ATTORNEY United States Patent ()fitice 3,034,512 Patented May 15, 1962 3,034,512 TABULATOR CARD AND SYSTEM FOR CODING AND SORTING SAME Paul H. Hunter, 875 Lockland Ave., Winston-Salem, N.C. Filed Jan. 24, 1957, Ser. No. 635,989 Claims. (Cl. 12916.1)
This invention relates to an improved tabulator card which can be coded according to the information it carlies. The invention also relates to an improved and simplified system for coding tabulator cards and for selecting a particular tabulator card of this kind from among a multitude of similar cards.
An object of this invention is to provide a card sorting system which is simple and inexpensive but which nonetheless is useful for rapidly and accurately selecting a particular card from a large group of such cards.
Another object is to provide a tabulator card for use in such a system and which can be encoded simply and without elaborate or specialized equipment.
A further object is to provide such a card whose coding is not necessarily permanent and does not deface or cover the writing surface of the card.
These and other objects will in part be understood from and in part pointed out in the description given hereinafter.
Tabulator card systems have a tremendous untapped potential use in small libraries and business oflices, for example, where only a moderate number of cards must be handled and where the cost of installing a system is an important consideration. Many difierent tabulator card systems are known at the present time but most, if not all of these for one reason or another have not been able to satisfy the need of the small user. One reason for this is that many of these systems, for example, those that encode the cards by means of perforations, require rather specialized machinery and trained operating personnel. Not only are the cards themselves relatively diflicult to encode but the apparatus required to read the code on each card generally includes complex and expensive electronic equipment. The present invention seeks to provide a simplified tabulator card and system for its use which are adapted for rapid operation without complicated apparatus to select a particular card from a large number of such cards. The present invention is intended to provide a system low enough in cost, large enough in capacity, and fast enough in operation as to be particularly desirable in meeting the needs of smaller installations.
In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, a tabulator card is arranged with one or more narrow electrically conductive strips extending across its face, one strip lying along the top edge of the card for example. Each strip is coded according to the presence or absence of narrow slits interrupting it at various predetermined points along its length. The information-carrying capacity of such a strip is large and the strip can be easily coded without special equipment and by anyone simply by cutting or tearing the slits at the required points along the strip. In addition to the simplicity of this arrangement for identifying cards is the advantage that the coding strip or strips need not cover the writing surface of a card thereby leaving this surface free to carry information written or typed in the usual manner. The amount of information which can be packed into a single slitted strip of this kind on a 4 x 6 inch card, for example, is fairly large and is comparable in amount to that carried on a punched card of similar size.
The system provided according to another aspect of the invention for selecting a particular card of this kind from a large group of them, in one simple embodiment, requires only N+1 electrical contacts and N switches corresponding to the number N of possible slits in the conductive strip on a card. These switches and contacts are set according to a pre-selected sequence and, when a particular card being sought is sensed by the contacts, an electrical circuit from a battery to a relay, for example, is completed and this particular card thereby identified. All differentialy-coded cards will be rejected. Thus it is possible quickly and accurately to select a desired card from :a large group of similar cards. A virtue of this arrangement is that simultaneous read-out of the code carried on each strip is possible. This of course is much quicker than sensing the presence or absence of a slit at each possible point along the strip sequentially. Moreover, the read-out of information is possible at high level, that is, a relay, for example, requiring a relatively large current compared to a vacuum tube can be operated directly from the coded strip on the card. This obviates the need for more expensive and complex equipment to sense a coded strip and to then perform a function such as removing the card from a file when the correct code is sensed.
A better understanding of the invention together with a fuller appreciation of its many advantages will best be gained from a study of the following description given in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIGURE 1 is a schematic representation of a system embodying features of the invention and comprising a coded tabulator card together with a selector mechanism for sensing the code on the card;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged portion of an edge of the tabulator card seen in FIGURE 1 illustrating a manner in which the conductive strip can be applied to the card;
FIGURE 3 shows an illustrative embodiment of a small, hand operated selector mechanism, provided according to the invention;
FIGURE 4 is an illustration of how the unit of FIG- URE 3 can be used with a card file of tabulator cards;
FIGURE 5 is a perspective view, with parts broken away, of another embodiment of the invention showing an automatic selector mechanism; and
FIGURE 6 is a cross-section view taken along the lines ,6 in FIGURE 5.
Referring to FIGURE 1, there is shown herein the top portion of a tabulator card 10 which carries along its top edge a conductive strip 12. This strip is a low-resistance conductor and is interrupted at points along its length by the thin slits 14. Three such slits are shown here, one slit at point 1, another at 3 and another at 5, no slits being provided at points 2 and 4. Touching strip 12 between each of these numbered points, the only points where a slit may occur, are the contacts -16. These are connected in pairs, as shown, to the lower terminals 18 of the double-throw, double-pole switches 20, there being one switch for each of the numbered points 1 through 5.
The center terminals of switches 20, which are designated by numerals 22, are connected in opposite pairs in series by the conductors 24. The left-most of these terminals is connected through the resistor 26, the battery 28 and the resistor 30 to the left-most contact 16. The right-most terminal 22 is connected through the coil of a relay 32. When, after switches 20 have been set to a desired combination, a card bearing a coded strip corresponding to the combination is sensed by cont-acts 16, a conductive circuit from battery 28 to relay 32 will be completed. This will enable the relay to, operate any suitable means for signaling the operator or for automatically selecting the particular card.
In order to establish a conductive path across a given switch 20 when it is set to sense the absence of a slit at the corresponding point on a conductive strip 12, the upper terminals 34 of each switch are shorted together.
Thus with switch 2 in FIGURE 1 which is set in its upper position to sense the absence of a slit at point 2, the opposed middle terminals 22 of the switch are connected together through the arms 36 of the switch, which arms are ganged together and connect terminals 22 to terminals 34. For aswitch to sense the presence of a slit, it is put in down position, as with switch 3, for example. i
It' will be noted that the switches in FIGURE 1' are set sotliat the particular card shown will be selected as the one desired. A switch is set down at each point where a slit occurs and is set up at each point where there is no slit. Thus an electric current will fiow from the positive side of battery 28 through resistor 26, the left terminal 18 of switch 1 to a contact 16, along strip 12 between points 1 and 3, to the right terminal 18 of switch 3, through a lead 24 and switch 4 to left terminal 22 of switch 5 and thence to the lower side of relay 32. This current will flow back from the top of relay 32 through the right terminal 18 of switch 5 to contact 16, along strip 12 between points 5 and 3, to the left terminal 18 of switch 3, through a lead 24, and through switch 2 to right terminals 22 and 18 of switch 1, and finally through resistor 30 to the negative side of battery 28. It is' evident that if a slit existed at point 2 or point 4 there would be an open circuit and relay 32 would not be energized. Conversely, if a slit did not exist at point 3, for example, there would be a short circuit and again relay 32 would not be energized.
In the arrangement described, it will be appreciated that the presence or absence, as the case may be, of the slits 14 in strip 12 is being sensed rather than, for example, the presence or absence of spaced conductive dots on the face of the card. Only one contact 16 is required for each portion of strip 12 between adjacent points, for example, points 1 and 2. Moreover, the sensing of the sequence of these slits along strip 12 is accomplished simultaneously and at relatively high current level. No vacuum tubes or other delicate electric signal amplifiers are required.
FIGURE 2 shows a corner portion of card 10,. somewhat enlarg'ed, with the end of strip 12 slightly lifted to illustrate a way of applying the strip to the card. The underside of strip 12 can be coated with a pressure-sensitive adhesive and then the strip, which can be of aluminum foil, for example, can be pressed into contact with the card. By way of illustration, a card may have dimensions of 4 x 6 inches and a thickness of slightly less than 0.01' inch. Strip 12 maybe 0.0003 inch thick aluminum /4 inch wide and 6 inches long. Such a strip can be slit at any ofup to 45 evenly spaced points along the strip. Since approximately 16 such strips can be placed on one face of a 4 x 6 card, upto 720 slits can be accommodated. Assuming 63 alphanumeric characters, each character requires six slits to represent it (i.e., 2N1=63,
- when N;6). Thus the coding capacity of a 4 x 6 card, as-
suming 720 slits, is 120 characters. This, on the basis of 4.8 characters per word, amounts to 25 words. 'In addition to a capacity of 25 coded words the card, on the face not covered by coding strips 12, can carry upwards of 1730 typed characters.
By comparison with the standard 7.375 by 3.25 inch punched tabulator card, the card described above will have approximately 50% greater capacity for coded words and far greater capacity for uncoded typed information since an entire face of the card is available. With a punched card, on the other hand, the perforations through the card seriously limit the clear space available for typing. One further advantage of the card according to the invention, aside from its low cost and convenience, is that 63 difierent characters will be en'- coded whereas with a standard punched card, for example, only 36 different characters are generally encoded.
FIGURE 3 shows a simple embodiment of a hand-size card sensing device 40. Six contact fingers 42', corresponding to fingers 16 in FIGURE 1, are connected to the push-button double-pole double-throw switches 44. These latter are substantially the same as switches 20 and are interconnected with each other and fingers 42 in the same way as fingers 16 and switches 20. A battery 46 is contained within apparatus as is also the bell 48 which rings when a current is applied to it in the same way that relay 32 is operated when a desired card is being sensed. The fingers 42 are held in proper alignrnent with cards being tested by the downward'side arms 50 and 52. As seen in FIGURE 4, these side arms hold device 40 centered as it moves down along the top of a card file 54 of coded cards. When the apparatus senses a desired card in the file, bell 48 rings and this card can then be withdrawn by hand.
FIGURE 5 is a perspective view, with parts broken away, of an automatic card sorting device embodying features of the invention. This device includes a box 62 subdivided into the three card stack receiving tiers 64, 66 and 68, seen also in the somewhat enlarged partial cross-section view of FIGURE 6. The bottom tier 64 holds a large number of t-abulator cards 70, which can be identical to card 10, one or more of which are to be selected from the other cards in the tier by device- Mounted in front of each tier is an endless belt 72 which is adapted to be revolved in the direction of arrows 74 over the pulleys 76, 78. The cards in tier 64 are gently pushed to the left by any suitable means not shown, but which can be a light spring, for example, so that the front card is urged into contact with the belt which, when it moves, draws this card upward by friction. As a card moves upward, it passes with its face having the coded conductive strip against the conductive roller contacts 80. These contacts, equivalent to contacts 16 in FIGURE 1, urge the card against belt 72 and at the same time establish contact with the segments of the conductive strip on the card. Contacts are freely rotatable and are mounted on a common axis, being. spring-urged toward belt 72. It is to be understood that, for the purpose of illustration, the spacing between these contacts and belt 72 and the spacings of adjacent elements have been exaggerated in FIGURE 6.
Each of the roller contacts 80 is connected in series with a battery, not shown, the solenoid 82, and the double-pole, double-throw switches 84, seen only in FIG- URE 5, in the same way as contacts 16, battery 28, relay 32 and switches 20 are connected in FIGURE 1. When a card 70 having a coded strip corresponding to a pre-set sequence of switches 84 passes contacts 80, a circuit will be completed and solenoid 82 energized. This will cause the latch 86 to move back to the position shown in FIG- URE 6 and permit the selected card 70 to be drawn by belt 72 up into tier 68. Afterward, latch 86 will move forward again andprcvent non-selected cards from entermg uppermost tier 68. These latter cards will then instead be shunted to middle tier 66. Using device 60 in this manner, a large stack of cards 70 in tier 64 can quickly be sorted into selected and non-selected groups. In this way, a particular card or cards can easily be separated from a multitude of similar but differently coded cards. The above description of the invention is intended in illustration and not in limitation thereof. Various minor changes may occur to those skilled in the art and these may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as set forth.
What is claimed is:
1. A method of sorting tabulator cards of the character described comprising the steps of taking a card having a non-conductive surface, establishing thereon a conductive strip, coding said strip by interrupting its continuity at one or more points along its length in accordance with a predetermined sequence, and then selecting said card from among a number of other cards having similar strips but coded differently by simultaneously sensing electrical-1v said strip adjacent each of said points to determine Whether an interruption occurs there.
2. A simple and inexpensive device for detecting a particular code on a conductive strip having narrow slits electrically interrupting it at one or more points along its length, said device comprising a plurality of double-pole, double-throw switches, the number of switches being equal to N the number of points Where a slit may occur along said strip, each switch having upper, middle and lower pairs of terminals, a plurality of N 1 conductors each connected between a center terminal of one switch and a center terminal of the next switch, a plurality of N leads each shorting together the upper pair of terminals of a respective one of said switches, a plurality of N +1 contacts, each connected to at least one of said lower terminals, and each adapted to contact said strip only at a respective portion to one side of one said points Where a slit may occur, a source of power connected to a middle terminal of an end one of said switches and to an end one of said contacts, and an electrically operated device connected to a middle terminal of the opposite end one of said switches and the opposite end one of said contacts.
3. A tabulator card-sensing device with which to select from among a number of similar cards a particular tabulator card having a conductive strip applied to its face and which may be electrically interrupted by a narrow slit at any one of N number of evenly spaced points along the length of said strip in accordance with a predetermined code, said device comprising N number of switches spaced opposite each of said N points, each switch being doublepole, double-throw and having left and right upper, middle, and lower terminals, N number of shorting leads, each connecting together a respective left and right upper terminal of one of said switches, N-1 conductors each joining a left middle terminal of one switch to a right middle terminal of the adjacent switch to form a series of said switches having a left end and a right end, N+1 contacts each positioned to contact a respective portion of said conductive strip adjacent a point where a slit may occur, each two adjacent contacts on opposite sides of a point being connected to the lower terminals of the respective one of said switches opposite the point, the contact on the right of this switch being connected to the left lower terminal of the switch, the contact on the left of the switch being connected to the lower right terminal of the switch, a source of electrical power connected to the left middle terminal of the left end switch in said series and to the left-most one of said contacts,
and an electrically operated device connected to the right middle terminal of the right end switch of said series and to the right-most one of said contacts, each switch being set in down position to sense a slit at the respective point opposite it, and being set in up position to sense the absence of a slit at the respective point opposite it, whereby through setting said switches in up or down position in selected sequence, a particular card bearing a conductive strip having slits at points corresponding to said selected sequence can complete an electric circuit between said source and said device through certain of said switches and portions of said strip.
4. A system for detecting the information stored on a tabulator card which has a non-conductive surface with a conductive strip thereon, said strip being coded by interruptions at one or more spaced points along its length in accordance with a predetermined sequence, said system comprising means to receive said card, an electric power supply, means establishing a conductive circuit external to said strip, pre-settable switch means for establishing a pair of connections respectively from said external circuit to said strip on opposite sides at each point where an interruption occurs and for interrupting said external circuit at respective places corresponding to each of said interrupted points, said card strip and said external circuit being in series with said power supply and said device, whereby said device will be operated only if the inter ruptions along said card strip occur in a particular sequence.
5. The system in claim 4 wherein said settable switch means includes a push-button, double-pole, double-throw electric switch for each of said points on said card strip.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,425,963 Heller Aug. 15, 1922 1,449,078 Whittlesey Mar. 20, 1923 1,656,999 Bull Jan. 24, 1928 1,669,238 Goss May 8, 1928 2,002,807 Whitson May 28, 1935 2,136,859 Michel Nov. 15, 1938 2,353,001 Armbruster July 4, 1944 2,484,642 Paris Oct. 11, 1949 2,502,785 Gottschalk Apr. 4, 1950 2,697,514 Stahl Dec. 21, 1954 2,709,001 Stahl May 24, 1955 2,762,952 Bruderlin Sept. 11, 1956