US 3255869 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
`lune 14, 1966 H. .1. KELLER 3,255,859
MAILING PIECE Original Filed Jan. 11, 1962 INVENTOR. HOA/4e@ d ACQ-45e A TTOR YS United States Patent O "ice 3,255,869 A MAILING PIECE Howard J. Keller, Northfield, Ill., assignor, by mesne assignments, to Sleepeck Printing Company, Bellwood, Ill., a corporation of Illinois Continuation of application Ser. No. 165,545, Jan. 11, 1962. This application Aug. 31, 1964, Ser. No. 394,649 1 Claim. (Cl. ZIM-45.33)
This application is a continuation of my copending application Serial No. 165,545, filed January l1, 1962, which is abandoned with the ling of this application.
This invention relates to a mailing piece, and particularly to one that includes an envelope of transparent or semi-transparent polyethylene or similar heat sealable or heat sealing material which encloses a brochure, such as a catalog, corporate report, or the like.
The use of such an envelope as a part of the mailing piece is advantageous for such u-se, not only because of its light weight, relatively low cost and excellent protective qualities, but also because of the transparency of the material which enables the recipient to ascertain the identity of the sender and the character of the contents before opening the mailing piece. Furthermore, such transparency enhances the display effect of expensive and attractive colored covers with which the contained brochures are frequently provided.
Heretofore, the opening of envelopes of this type has been difficult and has mitigated against widespread use thereof. Problems also have been encountered in the automatic labeling thereof. Also, when envelopes of this type have been employed in the past, they have typically been totally sealed so as to keep out dirt, moisture and the like. However, a totally sealed or air-tight envelope, particularly of polyethylene or any material having similar slipperyness, is particularly awkward to handle when 4the same contains a substantial quantity of entrapped air. Moreover, there has been a tendency for such envelopes to burst along a seam due to the application of handling forces, as a somewhat higher internal pressure is often thereby obtained. Further, a similar pressure difference is achievable when the mailing piece is transmitted by flight at a considerable altitude in a nonapressurized compartment.
The present invention overcomes the labeling problem by providing opaque paper labels to bear address indicia which may `be machine applied to the envelope, such as by heat sealing, in a machine which also closes the envelope by heat sealing. More importantly, the present invention overcomes the problems of unwanted bursting and of difficulty in opening by the provision of a means which defines a series of normally closed aligned slits which comprise both a line of weakness and which enable the escape of entrapped air without admitting air.
Such structure, namely the means which provides the row of aligned slits, is virtually invisible as a part of the mailing piece, and therefore there is further provided means along the virtually invisible row of aligned slits which simulates the appearance of a series of aligned slits in an exaggerated form.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to -provide a mailing piece including an envelope of heat sealable -material provided with means which defines a series of aligned normally closed slits which both facilitate manual opening of the sealed envelope, and which enable internally trapped air to escape thereform without rendering the mailing piece susceptible to the intake of dirt,
moisture, or air.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a transparent envelope of polyethylene or similar 3,255,869 Patented June 14, 1966 heat sealable 'material as part of a mailing piece wherein an apaque address label is applied thereto.V
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide means by which a substantially invisible row of i with parts shown in elevation.
The reference numeral 10 indicates an envelope made of heat sealable polyethylene or similar transparent material. The envelope may be made in any desired way as, for example, in tubular form, where one end has been closed by heat sealing prior to insertion of the material to be transmitted in the envelope as, for example, a brochure such as a catalog 1i, the other end being closed by heat sealing after insertion of said contents 11. As seen in FIGURE 2, the brochure 11 is flat. An address label 12 of paper is secured flatwise to the exterior surface of a side of the envelope 1t), and thereby provides a surface on which postal oicials may write. The address-label 12 is -so prepared as to be adhesively afiixed to ythe outer surface of the envelope 10, such as 4by heat sealing, and is thus preferably applied to the envelope by means of an automatic machine which forms no part of this invention, but which also operates to heat seal the envelope to close the same at its open end. It is a property of polyethylene film or Sheet that the same is resilient. The envelope 10 is sealed at all four edges, some of such edges thus comprising heat seals and others comprising a folded edge of the material.
It is a property of polyethylene, such 'as when the envelope is empty, that the sides tend to adhere together so that the empty envelope is initially substantially devoid of air and flat. However, it is necessary to billow the envelope in order to insert the brochure 11. Because of such billowing, and becauseof the inherent nonllatness or springyness of such a brochure, there is a substantial quantity of air initially entrapped within the envelope 10. Until this air is purged, both sides of the envelope V10 fail to lie smoothly and entirely atwise against the.
A return address may be made visible through the transparent envelope by being imprinted. at 13 on the brochure 11 enclosed therein, and the brochure 11 is so inserted in the envelope -10 that the return address and name of the sender is visible therethrough on the same side as that to which the address label 12 is affixed.
Heretofore, a great deal of difficulty has been encountered in opening envelopes of this Itype due to the toughness of the polyethylene. This diiculty is overcome in the present invention by slitting both sides of the envelope as at 14, the slits 14 thus comprising means delining a series of aligned normally closed slits through each side of the envelope 10. As the envelope is sealed at all of its edges, the slits 14 are the sole means through which internally trapped air may be vented to the atmosphere. When a number of mailing pieces such as that shown are stacked on top of each other, they tend to com' press each other, thereby creating an internal pressure higher than atmospheric which causes the slit-defining means to open at individual slits without tearing, thus enabling venting to the atmosphere of some of the internally entrapped air. Such forces may also be produced by a ...a postal employee who may hold a stack of these in `the hand, as well as also by other sources of handling forces. Once such slits 14 have opened slightly land have thus released internally entrapped air, as the material is resilient, the slits 14 reclose of themselves.
In the event that a higher external pressure should arise, such as by the brochures acting like an expansion spring, the atmospheric pressure will act on Ithe outer sides of the envelope lltl and press the row of aligned slits 14 atwise against the brochure. As the slits are backed up under this condition, they do not tend to pucker or deflect further into the brochure, and are thus precluded from opening. Thus as the slits 14 are self-reclosing, and as they are backed up by the brochure 11, they preclude the entry of dirt, rain or other moisture, or air. Thus the slits 14 are disposed in overlying relation to the brochure 11 and are rendered substantially invisible by the adjacent surface of the brochure, but are disposed in spaced relation to the address label 12.
As the slits 14 are virtually or substantially invisible when overlying the brochure 11, particularly when overlying the same in a close manner, there are provided opaque means 14adisposed on at least one side of the envelope 1t) paralleling the aligned slits 14 and adjacent thereto, and simulating the appearance of a series of aligned slits. It will be noted that the opaque portions 14a represent an exaggerated representative or simulation of such slits. As the material from which the envelope is made is transparent, the opaque portions 14a may be on either the interior of a particular side.
Moreover, the series of `aligned slits 14 comprises a line of weakness which facilitates opening the envelope 10. As indicated above, a great deal of difliculty has been encountered heretofore in opening envelopes of this type which have no line of weakness due to the toughness of the polyethylene. This difficulty is overcome in the present invention by the slits 14. If desired, the envelope may be imprinted with suitable directions as to indicate initial operation-Pinch Corner-together with an indicating arrow 15 imprinted thereon as shown in FIGURE l.
After the corner has been pinched by grasping the same at the point indicated by the arrow 15, a lateral tearing movement -along the opaque simulation 14a will serve to remove the end at both sides of the envelope to enable ready withdrawal of the brochure or contents 11 thereof. If desired, the user may be further informed `as to this operation by means of an indicating arr-ow 16 together with the instructions Tear off strip along dotted line, as shown in FIGURE 1.
It will be apparent from the foregoing that this invention provides an arrangement whereby the mailing piece may readily be opened and likewise provides plain and easily understood instructions and indicating indica to enable the user to effect such opening with ease and facility. Further, and most importantly, the means by which the mailing piece is rendered readily opened also serves as the means by which an excess amount of entrapped air is vented to preclude rupture of the envelope during handling, and comprises means which is self-reclosing so as to exclude the entry of moisture, dirt, or re-entry of air.
The opaque address label, which is of a material, or which is coated with a material, to facilitate its adherence to the outside of the envelope 16, may be imprinted either prior to or as a part of the automatic sealing operation whereby the envelope is closed and said label is applied.
I am aware that various details of construction may be changed without departing from the principles of this invention and therefore do not propose limiting the patent granted hereon otherwise than necessitated by the scope of the appended claim.
I claim as my invention:
A mailing piece, comprising:
(a) a ilat brochure;
(b) a at envelope of transparent polyethylene film enclosing said brochure, and having edges adjacent to the edges of said brochure, said envelope having such a seal at all of its edges as to entrap normally, at assembly, a substantial quantity of air therein with said brochure;
(c) means defining a series of aligned normally closed slits through each side of said envelope, and extending in overlying relation to said brochure, said slits being rendered substantially invisible by the adjacent surface of said brochure, said slits consisting the sole means through which such internally trapped air may be vented to the atmosphere in response `to handling forces applied to the maining piece, said slitdening means being self-reclosing and being engaged by said flat brochure in response lto a higher external pressure and prevented by said brochure from opening, said slit-dening means being also a line of weakness along which said envelope may be torn open;
(d) opaque means disposed on at least one side of said envelope paralleling said aligned slits adjacent thereto and simulating the appearance of a series of aligned slits; and
(e) a paper address-label secured flat-wise to the exterior surface of a side of said envelope in spaced relation to said slots.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS FOREIGN PATENTS 11/1959 Canada.
OTHER REFERENCES Modern Packaging Encyclopedia, 1959.
JOSEPH LECLAIR, Primary Examiner.
FRANKLIN T. GARRETT, Examiner.
D. T. MOORHEAD, Assistant Examiner.