US 3205754 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 14, 1965 R. A. BECWAR 3,205,754
KEYS Filed Aug. 30, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 J INVENTOR.
RUDOLPH A. BEcwAR BY 777M W MH- PH C E United States Patent 3,205,754 KEYS Rudolph A. Becwar, 1 S. 280 Forest Trail, Elmhurst, Ill. Filed Aug. 30, 1962, Ser. No. 220,483 2 Claims. (Cl. 84-433) This invention relates to keys, and more particularly, to keys of the organ or piano type.
It is a primary object of the present invention to afford a novel key construction for use on organs, pianos, and the like.
Another object of the present invention is to enable novel plastic keys of the aforementioned type to be afforded in a novel and expeditious manner.
Plastic keys for organs, pianos, and the like, have been heretofore known in the art. However, such keys as have been heretobefore known have commonly had several inherent disadvantages such as, for example, being complicated and difficult to install; being inefficient and unreliable in operation; being noisy in operation; or being difiicult and expensive to manufacture, and the like. It is an important object of the present invention to overcome such disadvantages.
Another object is to afford a novel key assembly for use in organs, and the like, which is flexible in construction, with the parts of the assembly constituted and arranged in a novel and expeditious manner whereby the resiliency of the key assembly may be relied upon to return such a key to normal position after the key has been depressed from normal position and then released.
A further object of the present invention is to enable a plurality of keys to be manufactured and installed in organs, pianos, and the like, as a unit, in a novel and expeditious manner.
An object ancillary to the foregoing is to enable entire octaves of black keys or white keys to be manufactured and installed as an octave unit.
Another object of the present invention is to enable novel keys of the aforementioned type to be quickly and easily installed, and quickly removed and replaced in organs, pianos, and the like.
Another object is to afford novel keys of the aforementioned type which are practical and eflicient in operation, and which may be readily and economically produced commercially.
Other and further objects of the present invention will be apparent from the following description and claims and are illustrated in the accompanying drawings which, by way of illustration, show preferred embodiments of the present invention and the principles thereof and what I now consider to be the best mode in which I have contemplated applying these principles. Other embodiments of the invention embodying the same of equivalent principles may be used and structural changes may be made as desired by those skilled in the art without departing from the present invention and the purview of the appended claims.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary top plan view of a keyboard for an organ, or the like, embodying the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a white key assembly embodied in the keyboard shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a black key assembly embodied in the keyboard shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a detail sectional view taken substantially along the line 4-4 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a detail sectional view taken substantially along the line 5-5 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a detail sectional view taken substantially along the line 66 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary detail sectional view somewhat similar to FIG. 4, but showing a modified form of key construction; and
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary detail sectional view somewhat similar to FIG. 5, but showing a modified form of key construction.
A keyboard structure 1, embodying the principles of the present invention, is shown in FIGS. 1 to 6, inclusive, of the drawings to illustrate the preferred embodiment of the present invention. The keyboard structure 1 includes, in general, a mounting base or mounting plate 2 of a type well known in the art for use on organs, and the like, FIGS. 4 and 5, and a plurality of keys 3 by which an organist can actuate switching mechanisms 4 in the playing of the organ of which the keyboard forms a part.
The keyboard construction 1 embodies a plurality of white key assemblies 5, FIGS. 1, 2, and 4, and black key assemblies 6, FIGS. 1, 3, and 5.
The white key assembly 5 shown in FIG. 2 includes the seven white keys 7-13, inclusive, constituting the keys from C to B of an octave, respectively. Each of the white keys 7-13 includes an elongated body portion 14 at the front end thereof and a reduced elongated shank 15 projecting rearwardly therefrom, FIGS. 2 and 4. The rear ends of the shanks 15 are secured to an elongated, substantially straight mounting strip 16, which extends across the entire rear end of the white key assembly 5, perpendicular to the keys 7-13 for a purpose which will be discussed in greater detail presently.
Each of the keys 7-13 includes an outer housing or shell 17 having a substantially flat upper wall 18 affording the finger contacting or playing surface of the key, two side walls or side skirts 19 and 19a projecting downwardly from respective longitudinal edges of the top wall 18 in substantially perpendicular relation to the latter, a front wall or front skirt 20 projecting downwardly from the front end of the top wall 18 in substantially perpendicular relation to the latter, and a rear wall or rear skirt 20a projecting downwardly from the rear end of the top wall 18 in substantially parallel relation to the front wall 20, FIGS. 4 and 6.
The mounting strip 16 of the white key assembly 5 comprises an outer body portion 21 made of suitable plastic material such as, for example, a suitable acetal resin made by the polymerization of formaldehyde, and an elongated reinforcing strip 22. extending longitudinally through the body portion 21, FIGS. 2 and 4. The reinforcing strip 22 may be made of any suitable material such as, for example, steel. The walls 18-20a of the keys 7-13, and the body portion 21 of the mounting strip 16 are preferably molded as an integral unit from the aforementioned suitable plastic material.
A downwardly opening notch or slot 23 is formed in the lower portion of the junction of each of the keys 7-13 with the mounting strip 16, FIGS. 4 and 5, and extends across the full width of the rear ends of the shank 15, for a purpose which will be discussed in greater detail presently.
Hollow keys on the keyboard of musical instruments of the type used in organs, pianos, accordions, and the like, have a tendency to resonate and afford objectionable noises when fingernails are dragged thereacross, or the like. In the housing 17 of each of my novel keys 7-13, I have mounted a filler block 24, FIGS. 2 and 6, which may be made of any suitable material such as, for example, an expanded plastic material such as, for example, expanded polystyrene. The filler block 14 in each of the keys 7-13 is of the same length as the combined lengths of the body portions 14 and shanks 15 of the respective key and has notches or recesses 25 and 26 extending along the upper longitudinal edges thereof.
a The filler blocks 24 are mounted in the shell portions 17 of the respective keys 7-13 in such position as to completely till the entire length of the latter, with the side skirts 19a and 19 of each key disposed in the notches 25 and 26, respectively, FIG. 6. The filler blocks 24 are of the same width as the keys 7-13, in which they are mounted and preferably have a maximum depth equal to the distance that the front wall 20 projects downwardly from the top wall 18 of the respective key. Preferably, the bottom of the filler block 24 slopes upwardly from closely adjacent the rear end of the body portion 14 of each key toward the rear end of the shank portion 15 thereof, and terminates at its rear end in uniplanar relation to the rear wall 20a of the respective key, FIG. 4.
The white keys 7-13 of each white key assembly are disposed relative to each other on the mounting strip 16 in the proper position which they should assume when disposed in the keyboard of an organ, or the like. With this construction, the entire seven white keys may be installed, as a unit, in a keyboard such as, for example, the keyboard 1, shown in the drawings, by securing the mounting strip 16 in proper position on the mounting base 2. The white key assembly 5 has openings 27 extending through the mounting strip 16, and suitable fastening members such as screws 28 may be extended through the openings 27 into the mounting base 2 to releasably secure the key assembly 5 to the mounting base 2, FIGS. 1, 4, and 5.
The material from which the walls 18-2tla and the body portion 21 of the mounting strip 16 is formed is flexible in nature and, with the slots 23 afforded between the shanks and the mounting strip 16, it will be seen that the keys 7-13 may be pivoted downwardly around the junction of the keys 7-13 with the mounting strip 16 by downward pressure applied to the upper surface of the top walls 18 thereof. When the keys 7-13 are released from such downward pressure, the natural resiliency of the material causes the keys 7-13 to again swing upwardly into normal, at-rest position.
As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, organs, pianos, and the like, normally have a stop member such as, for example, a mounting check 29 mounted on the mounting base or mounting plate 2, or the like, which, among other things, serves to limit the upward and downward movement of the keys in a keyboard such as the keyboard 1. The front end wall of each of the keys 7-13 terminates at its lower end portion in a forwardly projecting, substantially horizontally extending flange 30, and the check 29 includes a padded upper flange 31 and a padded lower flange 32 disposed in position to engage the flanges of the keys 7-13 in position to limit the upward and downward movement, respectively, of the keys 7-13.
In the preferred form of key construction shown in FIGS. 1-6, inclusive, each of the white keys 7-13 has an opening 33 extending downwardly through the rear end portion of the top wall 18 in forwardly spaced relation to the rear wall 20a thereof, FIGS. 1, 2, and 4. Each of the keys 7-13 may be operatively connected to a suitable switchingmechanism such as, for example, the switching mechanism 4 shown diagrammatically in FIG. 4. Such switching mechanisms 4 are well known in the art, and commonly include an actuating member such as a lever 34, having a connecting member 35 projecting therefrom. In the kyeboard 1, the member 35 of a respective switch mechanism 4 may be inserted downwardly through the opening 33 in each respective key 7-13, and secured in position therein by a suitable member such as, for example, a snap ring or spring nut 36 disposed in underlying juxaposition to the top wall 18, FIG. 4-. It will be seen that the connection of the switch mechanisms 4 with the respective keys 7-13 is disposed forwardly of the junction of the keys 7-13 with the mounting strip 16. Hence, the return mechanism of the switch mechanism 4, such as, the spring 37 shown diagrammatically in FIG.
4, and which, as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, is commonly embodied in such switch mechanisms, is also effective to yieldingly urge the keys 7-13 toward normal, at-rest position, wherein the flanges 30 thereof are disposed in engagement with the upper padded flange 31 of the mounting check 29.
The black key assembly 6 embodied in the keyboard 1, shown in the drawings, includes all five of the black keys 38-42, inclusive, of a complete octave for an organ, or the like, FIGS. 1 and 3. Like the white keys, each of the black keys 38-42 includes a body portion 43 at the front end thereof, and an elongated shank 44 extending rearwardly therefrom. Each of the black keys 33-42 is hollow, and includes a top wall 45 having an upper finger contacting or playing surface, two side flanges or side walls 46 and 47, a front wall 48, and a rear wall 49. The lower edges of the side walls 46 and 47, the front wall 48 and the rear wall 49 are preferably disposed in substantially uniplanar relation to each other. A mounting strip 51, which, like the mounting strip 16, includes a plastic body portion 52 having a metal reinforcing strip 53 extending longitudinally therethrough is secured to the rear walls of the black keys 38-42 in each black key assembly 6, with a downwardly open ing notch or slot 54 formed in the lower portion of the junction of the mounting strip 51 with each of the black keys 38-42, the notches 54 extending across the full width of the shanks 44 of the black keys 38-42.
Unlike the white keys of an organ, or the like, the black keys thereof are not normally subjected to practices, such as the dragging of fingernails thereacross, which tend to cause them to resonate. Therefore, the black keys may be made hollow, with a consequent saving in material, without the corresponding danger of affording objectionable noises.
The black keys 38-42 of each black key assembly 6 are disposed in such position on the mounting strip 51 thereof that they are disposed in proper position relative to each other for mounting in operative position in the organ, or the like, in which they are to be used. The mounting strip 51 has suitable openings 55 extending therethrough, and the openings 55 are so disposed therein that the mounting strip 51 may be mounted in operative position in the keyboard structure 1 in overlying, substantially parallel, juxtaposition to the mounting strip 16 of a corresponding white key assembly 5, and the screws 27, used to hold the white key assembly 5 may also be inserted through the openings 55 to thereby secure the mounting strip 51 in proper operative position in the keyboard structure 1. The mounting strip 51 of each black key assembly 6 is so disposed relative to the black keys 38- 42 projecting therefrom that when the mounting strip 51 is disposed in such operative position on the mounting strip 16, the black keys 38-42 of the black key assembly 6 project upwardly above the keys 7-13 of the corresponding White key assembly 5, in proper normal operative position between the white keys 7 and 8, 8 and 9, 10 and 11, 11 and 12, and 12 and 13, respectively, thereof.
Each of the black keys 38-42 may be connected to a respective suitable switch mechanism, such as the switch mechanism 4 shown in FIG. 5, and which switch mechanism may be identical in construction to switch mechanisms 4 connected to the white keys 7-13, the portions of the switch mechanism 4 shown in FIG. 5 being indicated in the drawings by the same reference numerals as the corresponding parts of the switch mechanism shown in FIG. 4. For so connecting the black keys 38-42 to such switch mechanisms, openings 56 are afforded through the rear end portions of the top walls 45, forwardly of the front walls 49, and the connecting members 35 of the switch mechanisms 4 may project downwardly therethrough and be secured in position therein by suitable fastening members such as, for example, snap rings or spring nuts 57, FIG. 5.
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that although the white key assembly 5 is shown in FIG. 2 as embodying seven keys, and the black key assembly 6 is shown in FIG. 3 as embodying five keys, my invention is not limited thereto and that such key assemblies may contain a greater or lesser plurality of keys without departing from the purview of my invention. In fact, the key assemblies used at the extreme ends of keyboards may preferably embody a difierent number of keys. For example, the right end as viewed in FIG. 1, of keyboards for organs, and the like, commonly terminate in a C key and, therefore, I prefer to have my novel white key assembly for that end of the keyboard embody eight keys rather than the seven keys shown in FIG. 2, the extra key in that instance being an additional C key which would be disposed in proper operative position to the right of, and adjacent to the B key of the assembly.
As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, the installation of keys in keyboards for organs, pianos, and the like, heretofore has commonly been a relatively difficult, time-consuming operation. The keys of such keyboards, of course, when properly installed, are very accurately positioned therein. I-Ieretofore, this has commonly required the proper installation and positioning of such keys individually. With my novel invention, pluralities of keys, such as, for example, entire octaves of keys may be installed in such keyboards as a unit. Furthermore, prior to installation, the keys of such units are properly positioned relative to each other in the formation of the units, and, thus, it is merely necessary for the installer to properly position the mounting strips of the units on the keyboards to insure the proper positioning of the individual keys. This may be quickly and easily accomplished.
Furthermore, it will be seen that my novel invention affords novel keys of the organ or piano type which readily lend themselves to economical mass production, so that they may not only be economically installed, but, also, may be economically manufactured.
In FIGS. 7 and 8, a modified form of a white key and a black key, respectively, are shown. The white key 58 shown in FIG. 7 is of a type adapted for use with a switch mechanism 59 of the type which is actuated by the front end portion of the key rather than the rear end portion thereof. The White key 58 shown in FIG. 7 is identical in construction to the white keys 7-13 shown in FIGS. 1-6, inclusive, except that it does not embody the openings 33 in the rear end portion thereof, and the filler block 60 of the key 58 embodies a nipple or projection 61 projecting downwardly from the front end portion thereof in position to abuttingly engage an underlying actuating member 62 of the switch mechanism 59.
Similarly, the black key 63 shown in FIG. 8 is identical in construction to the black keys 38-42 shown in FIGS. 1-6, inclusive, except that it does not embody the openings 56 extending through the rear end portions thereof, and embodies a nipple or projection 64 projecting downwardly from the front end portion of the key 63 in position to operatively engage an actuating member such as, for example, the actuating mechanism 62 of the switch mechanism 59 shown in FIG. 7.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that I have afforded a novel key construction which enables a plurality of keys to be installed, as a unit, in organs, pianos, accordions, and the like, in a novel and expeditious manner.
Also, it will be seen that my novel invention alfords novel keys of the organ or piano type, which are practical and elficient in operation and which may be readily and economically produced commercially.
Thus, while I have illustrated and described the preferred embodiments of my invention, it is to be understood that these are capable of variation and modification, and I therefore do not wish to be limited to the precise details set forth, but desire to avail myself of such changes and alterations as fall within the purview of the following claims.
1. A key assembly for use in a keyboard of the organ or piano type, said assembly comprising (a) an elongated mounting strip having a molded plastic body portion,
(b) a plurality of keys,
(c) each of said keys having (1) a front end portion, and (2) a rear end portion, (d) said rear end portions (1) being of integral formation with said body portion, and (2) projecting substantially horizontally forwardly from said body portion,
(e) the junctions between said rear end portions and said mounting strip having downwardly opening notches disposed in the lower portion thereof, and
(f) said keys being pivotable around said junctions downwardly from and upwardly toward a normal, atrest position of said keys to thereby close and open said notches, respectively.
2. In a musical instrument of the keyboard type having mounting means, and actuating mechanisms operable upon actuation to cause musical tones to be sounded,
(a) a plurality of elongated keys having an outer plastic portion, and
(b) an elongated mounting strip having a plastic body portion integral with said outer plastic portion,
(c) said mounting strip being removably mounted on said mounting means in position to movably support said keys in position to actuate said actuating mechanism,
(d) and in which said keys are operatively connected to said mounting strip for vertical pivotal movement relative thereto into and out of a position effective to so actuate said actuating mechanism, and
(e) the connections between said keys and said mounting strip are slotted to facilitate said pivotal movement of said keys.
I References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,840,712 1/ 32 Grant 84-424 2,470,659 5/49 Sloan 84-435 2,514,978 7/50 Terlinde 84-441 2,584,319 2/52 Appel 84-433 2,612,812 10/52 Greenleaf et al 84433 2,844,065 7 5 8 Corwin 84-423 2,931,877 4/60 Henley 84-423 X 3,110,211 11/63 Elbrecht 84-423 LEO SMILOW, Primary Examiner.
LEYLAND M. MARTIN, Examiner.