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Publication numberUS3153853 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 27, 1964
Filing dateJul 7, 1960
Priority dateJul 7, 1960
Publication numberUS 3153853 A, US 3153853A, US-A-3153853, US3153853 A, US3153853A
InventorsLipton Nat
Original AssigneeLipton Nat
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Letter opener
US 3153853 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

N. LIPTON LETTER OPENER Oct. 27, 1964 Filed July 7, 1960 INVENTOR. WWW

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United States Patent 3,153,353 LETTER GPENER Nat Lipton, 2327 Pine Ave, Long Beach 6, Can-f. Filed duly 7, 196b, Ser. l o. 41,439 6 Claims, (iii. 3l 29 i) This invention relates to an improvement in letter openers which utilize cutting blades or ordinary safety razor shaving blades as the cutting instrument to effect a neat and straight cut inside the periphery of and proximate to the edge of an envelope.

The ordinary cutting blade type of letter opener, as disclosed in prior patents, has a 1d relationship between the cutting point of the cutting blade edge and the envelope supporting base, and the edge of an envelope has to be forced between and past said base and said point in order to initiate the cut. in some on ting blade type devices the envelope supporting base consists of a spring tension means, and an envelope has to be forced between the cutting point and said means to initiate the cut. In either case an envelope edge must be started in front of or before the cutting point and must be pulled or forced past said cutting point.

In other disclosures in prior patents, where the cutting blade is not mount d in fixed relation to the envelope supporting base, some form of pivotal arrangement is employed at one terminal end of the blade whereby that end remains in substantially the same position whereas the other terminal end of the blade is manually depressed and inclined towards the said supportirn base; and the construction in these types of prior patents requires that the envelope opener be placed on a table or other supporting structure in order to eiiect the cutting operation.

In the instant application the letter opener is composed of two co-acting, slidably connected members, one mernher being fixed to the cutting blade and the other member being provided with an envelope supporting base. in normal position the cutting point of the cutting blade and the envelope supporting base are kept in inoperative or disengaged position by spring tension means which keep the two said members at their maximum separable distance. This arrangement permits an envelope edge to be inserted into the access opening thus created, with the cutting point of the blade spaced a predetermined distance inside of said envelope edge.

When manual pressure is simultaneously applied to the top wall of one of said members and to the bottom wall of the other of said members, one of said members will telescope within the other or" said members and thereby bring the cutting point of the cutting lade into engaged or operative position with the envelope supporting base. It will be noted that this construction permits the operator to exert the requisite pressure between the thumb and forefingers of one hand, without the need of a table or other supporting structure, while the other hand inserts the envelope and draws it through the l tter opener.

The principal object or" this invention is to provide a novel means of starting a cut at any point within the periphery of and proximate to the edge of an envelope in order to eliminate the resistance that is encountered in drawing the edge of an envelope past a cutting blade.

Another object is the novel means of providing an access opening in the letter opener for easy insertion of the edge of an envelope therein, and the means of limiting the contraction of said opening so as to form a narrow channel in which to guide said envelope, thereby causing a cut to be made in a neat, straight line substantially parallel to said edge. The access opening renders it easy to remove any strip of paper that may adhere to the cutting point and eliminates the need for disassembling the opener in such event.

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Still another object is to provide the means whereby the limited contraction of said access opening will bring the edge of the cutting blade into cutting contact with only the upper sheet or layer of the envelope, so that the opener will not becon e clogged with strips of paper and so that the sharpness of the razor edge will be preserved.

An additional object is to provide flat surfaces on the forward and rear walls of the envelope opener so that advertising matter can be imprinted thereon.

A still additional object is the novel construction that enables the operator to hold the envelope opener in one hand, free of any table supports, and to compress the envelope supporting base and the blade holder block towards each other so as to bring the surface of an envelope supported on said base into contact with the cutting point of a cutting blade which is fixedly positioned on said block.

A further object is to provide novel means whereby the letter opener may be easily and quickly disassembled and reassembled for the purpose of changing the cutting blade position to a different cutting edge or for replacing the cutting blade.

A still further object is to provide a novel, compact and inexpensive letter opener that may be easily carried in a pocket or purse.

Yet another object is to substantially conceal the cutting blade in the letter opener so that it can do no injury to ones person or to the personal effects in ones pocket or purse.

Other objects, advantages and features of invention may appear from the accompanying drawing, the subjoined detail description, and the appended claims.

The accompanying drawing illustrates the invention in a form I at present deem preferable.

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view showing a preferred embodiment of my invention, and displaying an envelope in position to be cut or opened.

FIGURE 2 is a sectional elevation taken substantially on line 22 of HGURE 1, and depicts the access opening (into which the envelope is inserted) in normal open position. The leaf spring in this view is not shown in section but in its full side elevation.

FIGURE 3 is a sectional elevation taken substantially on line 2-2 of FIGURE 1, similar to that of FIGURE 2, but showing the access opening in closed position and with the cutting edge of the razor blade pressed into the top sheet or layer of the envelope. The leaf spring in this view is not shown in section but in its full side elevation.

FIGURE 4 is an exploded view showing all the component parts of the letter opener and their relation to each other in the assembly of the unit.

PEGURE 5 is a sectional elevation taken on line 55 of FIGURE 2, particularly disclosing the position of the leaf spring in normal position and the access opening in open position.

Referring to the drawings:

The envelope opener is comprised of blade holder block 1, slidable support member 2 and blade retainer plate 3, and may be made of any suitable material but preferably molded of a suitable plastic material. Forward plate 4 of holder block i is provided with apertures 5 and 6. Rear plate 7 of holder block 1 is provided with partially sunk holes or recesses 8 and 9 which are in alignment with apertures 5 and 6 respectively. The forward plate 4 and rear plate 7 are fixedly spaced from each other by slot 143 formed in holder block 1, and side walls 11 and 12 and top wall 13 of slot Till enclose slot 19 on three sides thereof and front wall 37 of rear plate 7 and rear wall 38 of forward plate 4 form the rear and front walls or slot it respectively, leaving the bottom of slot it open. Slidable support member 2 comprises an upright plate 16 and envelope supporting base 35, said base being transverse to and running longitudinally with plate 16. The terminal ends of leaf spring 14 rest agamst top wall 15 of upright plate 16 of slidable support member 2 while the upper bowed portion of spring 14 exerts a spring tension against topwall 13, the spring 14 thereby assuming the relationsmp to top wall 13 and top wall 15 substantially as depicted in FIGURES 2, 3 and 5. Upright plate 16 of slidable support member 2 is provided with two elongate slots 17 and 18 therein.

Blade retainer plate 3 is provided with projecting pins 19 and 20 diagonally spaced and in fixed relation to each other so that when cutting blade 21 is positioned on pins 19 and 29, the bottom cutting edge 22 of blade 21 is oblique to bottom wall 23 of blade retainer plate 3 and projects a predetermined distance below said bottom wall 23.

When blade holder block 1, slidable support member 2 and blade retainer plate 3 are in assembled position, the center lines of aperture 5, recess 8, elongate slot 17 and pin 19 are all in a vertical plane; likewise, the center lines of aperture 6, recess 9, elongate slot 13 and pin 26 are all in a vertical plane.

As shown in FIGURE 4, to assemble the opener, spring 14 is inserted in slot 10, and upright plate 16 is introduced into slot through the open bottom thereof, so that the terminal ends of spring 14 are compressed against top wall of upright plate 16. The free end of pin is introduced into aperture 6, into slot 18 and finally anchored in bottom of recess 9; simultaneously the free end of pin 19 is introduced into aperture 5, into slot 17 and finally anchored in the bottom of recess 8. In the assembled position upright plate 16 rides up and down inside slot 19 between side walls 11 and 12 and between front wall 37 and rear wall 355, and elongate slots 17 and 18 are guided up and down on pins 19 and 2t respectively, thereby serving to retain upright plate 16 inside of slot 10 and to guide it in its upward and downward course. 1

When spring 14 is in normal or expanded position, as shown in FIGURES 2 and 5, an access opening 24 is created, the top wall of the opening 2 being formed by bottom wall 23 of plate 3 and bottom wall 25 of forward plate 4, the opposing or bottom wall of access opening 24 being formed by forward top wall 27 of envelope supporting base 35 of support member 2. Base 35 is integral with, and extends laterally and longitudinally along the bottom edge of upright plate 16. Bottom wall 23 and bottom wall 25 are substantially in the same horizontal plane, and cutting edge 22 is oblique to, and extends a predetermined distance below, said walls 23 and 25. In said expanded position an envelope 26 is inserted in access opening 24, and an edge 36 of envelope 26 is held against front wall 31 of upright plate 16. By pressing the holder block 1 and the envelope supporting base 35 together between the thumb and forefinger, the upright sleeve 16 of support member 2 then compresses spring 14 by movement into slot 10 until access opening 24 assumes the contracted position shown in FIGURE 3.

When rear top wall 23 of base 35 is in contact with bottom wall 29 of rear plate 7, as shown in FIGURE 3, the spring 14 is substantially fully compressed, and the cutting point 32 of cutting edge 22 prot udes below bottom wall 23 of retainer plate 3 and also projects below the bottom wall 25 of forward plate 4, but said cutting point 32 in said position of the parts is spaced a predeter mined distance from the top wall 27 of envelope supporting base 35. In this position the point 32 will be so spaced from top wall 27 that it will penetrate only the upper layer of envelope 26 when said envelope is placed in cutting position on envelope supporting base 35, with edge 39 abutting front wall 31 of upright plate 36. Although for the most part this arrangement will prevent strips of paper from clogging the cutting edge 22 or cutting point 32, it can be seen that any strips that may become lodged thereon would be readily accessible and easily removed when the access opening 24 is in normal or open position. To state it another way, when the holder block 1 and slidable support member 2 are moved toward each other against tension of spring 14, the top rear wall 28 of base 35 will be engaged by the bottom wall 29 of rear plate 7 and will stop further reciprocal movement of block 1 and slidable support member 2 toward each other, and in such position cutting point 32 of cutting edge 22 will be positioned in spaced relation to top wall 27 of base 35 a distance equivalent to the thickness of one layer or sheet of paper forming the envelope, so that the cutting point 32 will not penetrate or cut the lowermost sheet of the envelope.

The bottom wall 23 of retainer plate 3 and the bottom wall 25 of forward plate 4 are rounded at the ends or corners thereof, as at 34, to provide for easy movement of bottom walls 23 and 25 on the surface of envelope 26, or, conversely, for rendering it easy to pull envelope 26 through access openin 24. Said rounded corners 34 tend to ride over bumps in said envelope and to flatten uneveness in the envelope surface being cut, and eliminate any likelihood of catching and tearing the upper surface or the envelope.

The terminal free ends of pins 19 and 29 are, when the device is assembled, held by frictional engagement in recesses 3 and 9 respectively, thus holding the blade retainer plate 3 secure on the forward plate 4 with the blade 21 therebetween.

When it is desired to disassemble the device, particularly to replace or change the position of the cutting blade 21, this may be easily accomplished by providing the forward plate 4 with a recessed arc 33 at each opposite end of the device, as shown in FIGURES 1 and 4, and which recess is walled in by retainer plate 3 in assembled position. A coin, not shown, may be partially inserted in recess 33, and by twisting the coin, blade retainer plate 3 may be pried loose from block 1, and pins 19 and 20 dislodged from their frictional contact in recesses 8 and 9. When pins 19 and 25 are thus disengaged from slots 17 and 18, the upright plate 16 of slidable support member 2 can be freely removed from slot 10.

In operation, an envelope may be held in one hand and the opener held in the other hand. An edge 30 of the envelope is then inserted into access opening 24 up against front wall 31 of upright plate 16 with the forward edge of the envelope slightly past the cutting point 32, and then by squeezing block 1 and support member 2 towards each other, upright plate 16 is caused to telescope into slot it) and against tension of leaf spring 14, and at the same time forces the point 32 of blade 21 into the top sheet of the envelope 26. The letter opener may then be moved or pulled along the edge of envelope 26 to elfect a neat, clean, fray-less cut on the upper layer thereof. a It will be noted that pressure on top Wall 39 of block 1 and simultaneously on bottom wall 4% of slidable support member 2 contracts the access opening 24 against the tension of spring means 14 (which in expanded position retains the acess opening 24 in full open position), and such contraction of the access opening 24 also forces the cutting point 32 directly into the upper sheet of en-' velope 25, thereby initially puncturing or penetrating the envelope paper to facilitate the start of the cutting action.

if it be des med, the letter opener is operative in another fashion by omitting leaf spring 14 and the slidable support member 2 from the sectional detail shown in FIG- URE 2. Since front wall 31 of upright plate 16 is in a vertical plane with forward walls 36 of side walls 11 and 12 (see FIGURE 5 envelope 26 may be laid down on any table, desk or other supporting surface with edge 39 up against the forward walls 36, and envelope 26 will then assume the same relation to holder block 1 and plate 3 as it does in FIGURE 3, said supporting surface thereupon being substituted for and serving the same purpose as forward top wall 27 and rear top wall 28 of envelope supporting base 35. By then drawing the letter opener down along an edge 30, a neat, clean and straight out will be effected along the inside of edge 30.

Having fully described my invention, it is to be understood that I do not wish to be limited to the details herein set forth but my invention is of the full scope as defined in the appended claims.

I claim:

1. In a letter opener, the combination of a blade holder block having a rear plate and a forward plate, apertured means formed between said rear plate and said forward plate, a cutting blade secured to said forward plate, the bottom edge of said blade oblique to the bottom wall of said forward plate, the cutting point of said blade projecting below said bottom wall, a horizontal envelope supporting base disposed beneath said cutting blade and transverse to the vertical plane of said cutting blade, said base having upright means, said upright means being in vertical sliding en agement with said apertured means, and means for slidably retaining said upright means in said holder block.

2. The combination as set forth in claim 1, and, in addition, means to limit the reciprocal vertical movement of said blade holder block and said upright means towards each other a predetermined distance, so that simultaneously the movement of said cutting point and said envelope supporting base towards each other will be limited to a predetermined distance.

3. The combination as set forth in claim 2, in which said means for limiting the reciprocal vertical movement of said blade holder block and said upright means towards each other a predetermined distance consists of the contact between the bottom wall of said rear plate and the rear top wall of said envelope supporting base.

4. The combination as set forth in claim 1, and, in addition, spring means disposed between said blade holder block and said upright means, said spring means extending said upright means a predetermined distance from the top wall of said apertured means, so that simultaneously the top wall of said envelope supporting base will be separated a predetermined distance from said cutting point.

5. The combination as set forth in claim 1, in which the upright means is an upright plate substantially perpendicular to said horizontal envelope supporting base, the vertical apertured means being an elongate longitudinally extending slot in said blade holder block, said slot being of slightly wider and longer dimensions than the top wall of said upright plate, said slot being enclosed by two side walls, a front wall, a rear wall, and a top wall, and said slot having an opening disposed at the bottom thereof.

6. The combination as set forth in claim 5, in which the means for slidably retaining said upright means in said holder block is a blade retainer plate having two diagonally spaced projecting pins, said pins projecting through apertures in said forward plate, said pins projecting through two vertical elongate slots in said upright plate, and said pins being bottomed in recesses in said rear plate.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,250,538 Williams Dec. 18, 1917 1,732,564 Mayer Get. 22, 1929 2,089,528 Barycz Aug. 10, 1937 2,233,497 Teigen Mar. 4, 1941 2,282,062 Iewett May 5, 1942 2,428,490 Goughnour Oct. 7, 1947 2,567,102 Cook Sept. 4, 1951 2,679,098 Deicken May 25, 1954-

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3432926 *May 23, 1966Mar 18, 1969American Hydromath CoCombination paperweight and letter opener
US3597843 *Mar 21, 1969Aug 10, 1971John S KettlestringsDevice for opening envelopes
US3898735 *May 9, 1973Aug 12, 1975Conde KkKnife for cutting out clippings
US4016708 *Aug 13, 1975Apr 12, 1977Docutronix, Inc.Envelope processing machine
US4048719 *Feb 17, 1976Sep 20, 1977Mary Kay ThompsonCarton opener
US4360970 *May 30, 1980Nov 30, 1982Rival Manufacturing CompanyDevice for opening sealed food bags
US4419915 *Jan 19, 1982Dec 13, 1983The Staplex Company, Inc.Envelope opener device
US4530154 *Feb 27, 1984Jul 23, 1985Dicarlo Pen CompanySlitter assembly
US4711031 *Jul 16, 1986Dec 8, 1987Paul Joseph AnelloEnvelope opener
US5127161 *Jun 24, 1991Jul 7, 1992Saiko Inc.Cutter
US5802942 *Oct 10, 1995Sep 8, 1998Fiskars Inc.Paper trimmer
US6439095 *Jan 12, 2000Aug 27, 2002Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.Paper cassette provided with a cutter
US6745476 *Jan 30, 2003Jun 8, 2004William Korba, Jr.Cutting tool
US8079152Apr 28, 2010Dec 20, 2011Hamilton Beach Brands, IncElectric can opener having removable opener tools
US8567075 *Jul 26, 2010Oct 29, 2013Crain Cutter Company, Inc.Loop pile cutter
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US20030140505 *Jan 30, 2003Jul 31, 2003William KorbaCutting tool
US20050102838 *Feb 20, 2005May 19, 2005David LeasonClam Shell and Blister Package Opening Device and Method for Using Same
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US20090056149 *Aug 29, 2007Mar 5, 2009Andreas KentrotasCutting tool for ceiling tiles
US20100206137 *Apr 28, 2010Aug 19, 2010Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc.Electric can opener having removable opener tools
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US20130139392 *Dec 6, 2011Jun 6, 2013David Scott WrightCutting tool and method of operating same
US20140352156 *May 31, 2013Dec 4, 2014Thomas Jay LANDWEHRCutting hand tool
CN103974809A *Nov 2, 2012Aug 6, 2014波音公司Cutting tool and method of operating same
DE2535889A1 *Aug 12, 1975Feb 26, 1976Docutronix IncMaschine zum entleeren von briefumschlaegen
DE2560613A1 *Aug 12, 1975Mar 7, 1985 Title not available
Classifications
U.S. Classification30/294, 30/DIG.300, 83/912
International ClassificationB43M7/00
Cooperative ClassificationY10S30/03, B43M7/002, Y10S83/912
European ClassificationB43M7/00B