US 3313304 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
p 1967 L. R. BEYER 3,3333% BINDER Filed May 4, 1966 ATTOEA/EYE.
United State 3,313,394 BENDER Lewis R. Beyer, 1853 Harrington Circle, Brunswick, Ohio 44212 Filed May 4, 1966, Ser. No. 547,669 7 Claims. (Cl. 129-24) This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending application Ser. No. 416,362, filed Dec. 7, 1964, and entitled, Binder.
The present invention relates to binders and more particularly to a ring binder of an economical construction, that is convenient to use and which can easily be applied to folders and other light covers to provide a low cost binder cover for supporting perforated sheets.
Millions of binders and covers are used each year as advertising brochure covers for supporting product specification and description sheets. The main attributes required in binders for such uses are case and convenience in assembly and use, durability, and most important, economy.
In the above mentioned copending application, a ring binder assembly is disclosed and claimed in which binder ring elements are integrally formed with a back plate so that the entire ring binder can be made as a single piece member. The ring binder assembly is normally fastened to a binder cover. The binder ring elements are flexible fingers which project in a curved manner from one longitudinal side of the back plate to their free ends, and which are movable longitudinally and laterally, relative to the back plate. The other longitudinal side of the back plate and the free ring ends include interlocking portions for selectively securing the free ends of the binder ring elements to the back plate to close the ring binder assembly. The construction and arrangement therein provided overcame many disadvantages of known low cost binders, such as those that use bendable prongs, separate ring elements, separate rings, or rings that lack suitable locking arrangements to prevent them from becoming unlatched inadvertently. In its preferred form, the above described ring binder assembly is formed economically from a suitable synthetic plastic material by an injection molding technique.
The present invention embodies the various advantages and improved features of the ring binder disclosed and claimed in the above identified application, While yet providing additional advantageous features that greatly improve the functioning and durability of the ring binder.
One principal feature of the present invention is an improved construction of the binder ring elements and back plate of the ring binder. This improved construction utilizes recesses formed in a longitudinally extending edge of the back plate, at the locations where the binder ring elements, or fingers, are secured. The ring elements are integrally formed with the back wall. Narrow, elongated extending finger portions are connected at recesses by flexible hinge portions. -Each hinge portion is located beneath the upper surface of the back plate and above the lower surface. When a ring element is in a closed position, a base portion lies within a recess and the finger forms a loop with the base plate. The hinge location and recess construction permit each binder ring element to swing open without interference from the binder cover. When closed, the ring element base is inset, flush with the side of the back Wall, to provide an essentially flat longitudinal edge surface.
Each binder ring element is provided with a wide base portion adjacent the hinge. The width of the base portion and length of the hinge, relative to the finger portion width, are significant. The width of the base portion and the length of the hinge serve several important functions:
sans-t ice (l) The base is Wide enough to stabilize the hinge portion of the binder ring element against twisting from forces applied to the elongated finger portion. (2) The hinge is of sufficient length to securely connect the ring element to the base plate. (3) The hinge length is restricted to a value, relative to the finger width, at which the hinge retains its flexibility with respect to the stiffness of the finger portion of the binder ring element. That is, the hinge portion is kept short enough that it is more flexible than the narrower but thicker finger portion. As a result, the hinge and not the finger portion flexes. (4) The absolute width of the base portion is greater than one quarter inch to prevent sheets having standard size holes from sliding down to the hinge portion of the binder ring, where the sheets could become pinched between the binder ring and the back plate.
Another important feature of the invention is the thickness of the integral hinge portion connecting the Wider base portion of the binder ring with the back plate. The thickness of the hinge must be controlled within definite limits. To provide sulficient strength to securely connect the binder fingers to the back plate while yet providing flexibility, the base portion of each binder finger is connected to the back plate at a juncture that is controlled in thickness to between 0.010 and 0.020 inch. It will be appreciated that control of this feature within the defined limits, which are primarily dictated by the characteristics of the material of which the ring binder is made, determines the flexibility of the hinge portion for any given hinge length. The flexibility of the hinge, the actual length of the hinge, and the relative length of the hinge to the width of the fin er portion of the binder ring element are all selected to provide desired functional characteristics of the hinge and finger in this invention.
All parts of the present ring binder are integrally formed of a suitable synthetic plastic material by an injection molding technique. It has been discovered that a linear polyethylene plastic of the type sold by The Dow Corning Corp. under the designation S provides the necessary toughness and flexibility while yet overcoming some of the disadvantageous features of other known plastic materials. In particular, the present material overcomes several disadvantages inherent in the use of polypropylene. That material, while being very flexible, is brittle under sudden impact, and particularly in cold weather. Thus, binder rings of polypropylene might shatter if not handled carefully during shipment. For example, polypropylene binder rings in covers have been known to shatter from the impact resulting from a dropped carton of binder rings. Disadvantages of polypropylene for the purpose of forming a binder ring assembly have been overcome by the use of linear polyethylene.
The finger portions of the binder ring elements have been constructed to provide a high degree of rigidity, notwithstanding the inherent flexibility of the plastic material used. Three longitudinal ribs have been provided along the length of each finger and the ribs have been contoured to have a rounded outer shape. Two ribs are contiguous with the longitudinal side edges of each finger. These ribs form rounded or beaded edges that minimizes cutting or tearing of bound sheets at the punched holes, through which the fingers extend. The inwardly facing surfaces of the fingers are smooth and convexly curved to provide contact along a substantial portion of the curved periphery of holes punched in sheets mounted in the binders. Pro jections at the free ends of each binder finger are also rounded in contour so as not to catch on the holes of sheets used with the binder rings. These combined features provide. binder fingers that function easily and smoothly without damaging or catching sheets during insertion of such sheets or during use after binding.
A further important feature of this invention relate to the construction of two bores positioned at each end of the back plate of the binder assembly. For convenience and economy, the back plates are riveted to the backs of folders at two spaced locations, adjacent the ends of the back plate. Bores through the back plate facilitate the rivets, which are punched through the folder and upset or swaged at the top surface of the back plate within the folder. One problem in the past ha been a tendency for the somewhat flexible back plate to lift or bow away from the back of the folder at the central portion of the back plate. This tendency has essentially been overcome in the present arrangement by beveling a bottom surface of the back plate at areas surrounding the through-bores to provide lower surfaces that are inclined upward and toward the center of the back plate. As a result, when the back plate is riveted in place, the rivets and folder cooperate with the beveled surface to bias the central portion of back plate into close contact with the back of the folder. Counterbores are provided in the beveled surfaces surrounding the through-bores to receive any burrs from the material of the folder about the rivet. Such burrs would otherwise prevent close contact between the back plate and the folder. This further minimizes any space or gap between the back plate and the folder.
Accordingly, the objects of this invention are to provide a novel ring binder with a back plate and integral binder fingers of improved construction.
These and other objects, features and advantages of this invention will become better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a top plan view of a ring binder constructed in accordance with the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is a transverse sectional view of the ring binder of FIGURE 1, taken along the line 22 and looking in the direction of the arrows, showing a binder finger in closed position;
FIGURE 3 is a transverse cross sectional view of the binder of FIGURE 1, similar to FIGURE 2, showing a binder ring in open condition;
FIGURE 4 is a partial side elevational view of the ring binder, taken along the line 44 in FIGURE 2, and looking in the direction of the arrows;
FIGURE 5 is a partial longitudinal sectional view of the ring binder of FIGURE 1, taken along the line 55 and looking in the direction of the arrows;
FIGURE 6 is a plan view of a fragmentary portion of the ring binder of FIGURE 1, showing on enlarged scale an opening for receiving and interlocking a free end of a ring binder finger;
FIGURE 7 is a view similar to FIGURE 6, showing another embodiment of an opening for receiving and locking a free end of a ring binder finger;
FIGURE 8 is a fragmentary side elevational view of the ring binder of FIGURE 1, with parts in section, showing the manner in which a beveled portion of the bottom surface of the back plate biases the central portion of the back plate and the back wall of a cover into close juxtaposition; and
FIGURE 9 is a transverse sectional view taken along the line 9--9 of FIGURE 8, and locking in the direction of the arrows.
Referring now to the drawings, a ring binder 20 is shown in the form of a one-piece integral unit formed of linear polyethylene. The ring binder 20 consists essentially of (1) an elongated back plate 22 constructed to be attached to the inside back of a binder cover, and (2) binder ring elements 24 integral with the back plate and constructed to pass through punched holes in sheets and to thereby bind the sheets within the binder cover. A corner of a sheet 25 secured by a ring element 24 is illustrated in phantom in FIGURE 1.
The back plate 22 is formed to fit against the inside back 28 of a binder cover 29. See FIGURE 9. The back plate has a top or upper surface 32 that faces away from the back 28 of the binder cover 259, in the direction the binder ring elements 24 extend. The top surface 32 is spaced from the back 28 of the binder cover by two longitudinal walls 34, 35 along opposite longitudinal side edges of the back plate 22, and by transverse walls 36 beneath the back plate 22, between the longitudinal side walls 34, 35. The lower edges of the longitudinal side walls and the transverse walls form a bottom surface 38 of the binder ring. The walls 34, 35, 36 space the top surface 32 from the back 28 of the binder cover to provide open spaces 40 beneath the top. These spaces allow room for the ends of binder ring elements 24 beneath the top surface 32 when the rings are in a closed position.
The edge of the back plate 22 along the longitudinal side wall 34 includes three spaced recesses 42. As best illustrated in FIGURE 1, the recesses 42 are relatively short with respect to the length of the back plate 22 and extend only a short distance across the width of the back plate. As best shown in FIGURE 4, the depth of the recesses 42 is less than the thickness of the back plate; that is, less than the height of the side wall 34. The cavities 42, then, form steps in the top surface 32 and side edge along side wall 34 of the back plate 22. Each of these steps is formed with a bottom surface 44 and side surface 46. See FIGURE 3.
Each binder ring element 24 includes a wide base portion 48 that fits within a recess 42. The binder ring element also includes a narrow finger portion 50 that is integral with and extends from a central portion of the base. referably, the finger portion is curved, as shown in FIGURES 2 and 3.
The wide base portion 48 is of the same thickness as the finger portion 50, as can be seen from FIGURES 2 and 3. The base is formed with a flat inner surface 52, a flat bottom surface 54 and a flat outer surface 55. As
best shown in FIGURES 2 and 3, the thickness of the base portion 48 is substantially the same as the depth of the step or recess 42 along the bottom surface 44. The width of the base portion 48, as best shown in FIGURE 4, is somewhat less than the length of the recess 42. The height of the base portion 48 is essentially equal to the height of the side surface 46 so that the wide portion is flush with the top surface 32 of the back plate. The lower edge of the base portion 48 formed by the juncture of the outer surface 55 and the lower surface 54 is integral with the back plate at the outer edge of the step or recess 42. A thin connecting portion 58 forms a flexible hinge so that the binder ring element 24 can pivot about the thin connecting portion.
The actual and relative dimensions of the base portion 48, the narrow finger portion 50 and the hinge 58 are important for optimum performance. Thus, the thickness of the hinge 58 should be between 0.010 and 0.020 inch, and preferably 0.018 inch. The length of the hinge 58 is essentially identical to the length of the wide base portion 48 in the preferred embodiment shown. If desired, the base portion can be wider than the length of the hinge.
The force needed to flex the hinge 58 is directly pro portional to the length of the hinge. Similarly, the rigidity of the finger portion 50 of the binder ring elements 24 is directly proportional to the finger width, for any given thickness. When the finger width is at least one-third of the width of the hinge 58, there is suflicient rigidity in the finger portion to cause the hinge 58 to flex when the free end of the binder ring element is moved. On the other hand, the width of the wide base portion 48 should be at least twice as wide as the narrow finger portion 50 to stabilize the position of the binder ring element and to inhibit twisting of the base portion of the binder ring element, which tends to tear the hinge 58. It has been found convenient and advantageous to provide a hinge along the entire width of the base portion, making both of them between two and three times the width of the finger portion, preferably 2 times the'width.
It will be appreciated that the width of the narrow finger portion 50 can be no larger than the diameter of a standard hole provided in sheets to be mounted in the binder. At the same time, it is advantageous to provide a wide base portion, wider than the diameter of the standard size holes, to prevent the papers from riding down the binder ring elements to the hinge 58, where they can be caught. This is prevented by making the width of .base portion 48 greater than Ai-inch. In the preferred construction, the base portion is one-half inch wide.
The narrow finger portion 50 of the binder ring elements 24 is formed with an inside surface 500 curved in cross section, as best shown in FIGURE 5, Preferably, the curvature is formed to a radius of Ai-inch to provide substantial contact with the periphery of the standard size holes of the sheets to be secured in the binder. An outer surface 5012 includes three spaced longitudinally extending reinforcing ribs 60. These ribs 60 provide stiffness to the finger portion 50, to help retain it in a preformed curved configuration. The outer surfaces of the ribs 60 are rounded. Two of the ribs extend contiguously with the two longitudinal edges of the finger portion 50 and provide rounded or beaded edges that protect the peripheries of the holes of sheets secured in the binder. This construction of the finger portions greatly facilitates the turning of pages within the binder without catching the pages and without tearing them.
An end projection 62 extends outwardly from the free end of the narrow finger portion 50 and has a top inclined surface 63, as best shown in FIGURE 3. The end projection 62 engages with a portion of the back plate 22, in a manner to .be described subsequently. The outer periphery of the end projection 62 is curved as shown in FIGURE 1, so that there are no sharp corners to catch the periphery of holes in sheets that are slipped over the ends of the finger portions 50.
Three spaced apertures 66 are formed in the back plate 22 along the side edge adjacent the longitudinal side wall 35. An aperture 66 is shown in detail in FIG- URE 6. Each aperture 66 includes a large entrance portion 68 and a narrow locking portion 69. The narrow locking portion 69 is directly opposite the center of the base portion of an associated binder ring element 24. The entrance portion 68 is longitudinally offset from the center of the base portion of the binder ring element. As shown in FIGURE 1, two of the entrance portions 68 of the apertures 66 are ofiset in a common direction from the base portion of the associated ring element while the entrance portion of a third aperture 66 is offset in an opposite direction. This prevents sheets carried by the binder ring elements from shifting longitudinally of the back plate and moving all three binder ring elements from the locking portions of the apertures to the entrance portions.
The entrance portion 68 of each aperture 66 is large enough to receive the free end of the finger portion 59 of the associated finger binder ring element, including the end projection 62. The narrow locking portion 69 is of a width transversely of the back plate 22 sufiicient to accommodate only the thickness of the narrow finger portion 50 of the binder ring element 24. An outer edge or peripheral portion 72 of the narrow locking portion 69 is spaced inwardly from the longitudinal side wall 35 a distance essentially equal to the depth of the inclined surface 63 of the end projection 62. The lower surface 74 of the back plate 22 between the peripheral portion 72 and the side wall 35 is inclined, as illustrated in FIGURE 3, complementary to the inclined surface 63 of the end projection 62.
A peripheral portion 76 of the locking portion of the aperture 66 is flush with a depending stop plate 78. The plate 78 is adapted to abut the inside surface of the free end of the narrow finger portion 50, directly opposite the end projection 62, when the ring element is closed.
The above described arrangement permits the free end of the binder ring element to be inserted into entrance portion 68 and down into the open space 40 beneath the back plate 22 at a position offset from the center of the base portion of the ring element. The free end portion is then moved longitudinally of the back plate into the narrow locking portion 69 of the aperture 66, with the projection 62 beneath the back plate and with the inclined surfaces 63, 74 contacting each other. The inclined surfaces lock the free end against upward movement. The stop plate 68 prevents the free end of the binder ring element from moving backward if the extending finger portion above the top surface 32 is moved forward toward side wall 35. As a result, the free end cannot be rocked or pivoted to work the heel of the free end up through the narrow aperture portion 69.
A locking protrusion 89 extends from the surface 72 of the back plate 22 partially across the aperture 66 at the junction between entrance portion 68 and the narrow locking portion 69. This locking protrusion diminishes the space through which the free end of the binder ring element must pass in its longitudinal movement between the entrance portion and locking portion of the aperture. This locking protrusion 80 inhibits longitudinal movement of the free end of the finger portion 50 between the locking portion 69 and the entrance portion 68 of the aperture 66. The resiliency of the material allows the free end to 'be purposefully moved longitudinally when it is desired to open or close the binder ring element.
A- portion of a modified back plate 22 is shown in FIGURE 7, in which a modified aperture 66' is provided. The aperture 66 and back plate 22 are identical to the aperture 66 and the back plate 22 previously described, with the exception of the shape of the entrance portion 68'. The modified shape shown in FIGURE 7 provides sufficient opening for the curved periphery of the end projection 62. The opening 68 in FIGURE 6 will accommodate an end projection having square corners. The aperture of FIGURE 7 functions in an identical manner to the aperture of FIGURE 6.
With the binder ring elements 24 in an open position, as shown in FIGURE 3, sheets to be secured in the binder are placed over the projections 62 of the free ends. The free end of each ring element is then moved forward and down toward the aperture 66, pivoting the element about the hinge 58. At the same time, the end is rotated or twisted to one side of a vertical plane passing through the central base portion of the ring element, as indicated by the line 22 in FIGURE 1, so that the free end overlies the entrance portion 68 of the aperture 66. This position is indicated in phantom at the center ring element in FIGURE 1. The end projection 62 is then inserted into the entrance aperture 68 until the inclined upper surface 63 of the end projection 62 is below the lower inclined surface 74 of the back plate 22. The free end of the binder ring element is then moved longitudinally past the locking protrusion 80 into the locking portion 69 of the aperture 66. In this position the ring element is aligned in the vertical plane passing through the central portion of the base of the binder ring element. As explained above, the stress on the hinge 58 caused by twisting the narrow finger portion 50 to one side for interengagement with the back plate is minimized by the wide base portion 48 of the binder ring element. In addition, because of the above mentioned relationship between the length of the hinge 58 and Width of the finger portion 50, the binder ring element 24 pivots about the hinge 58.
The binder ring elements 24 are opened by movement in an opposite manner than that just described. Thus, the .free end is first moved longitudinally from the lockingportion 69, past the locking protrusion 80 and into the entrance portion 68 of the aperture 66. The binder ring element is then pivoted upward about the hinge 58 to an open position. Because the element is pivoted about its outer, lower, edge no portion of the element swings below the bottom surface of the back plate. Hence, there is no interference with the binder cover. The resiliency inherent in the hinge 58, which is a thin or weakened portion of the integral binder ring unit, biases the ring element to a partially open position.
An improved construction for securing the back plate 22 to the back 28 of a binder cover 29 is best shown in FIGURES 5, 8 and 9 of the drawings.
For convenience and economy in manufacture and assembly, the binder ring unit 20 is secured to a folder by rivets 82 that pass through vertical bores 84 through the back plate 22 adjacent opposite ends thereof. The through-bores 84 are each formed in 21 depending circular boss 86 that extends downward from the undersurface of the back plate 22 a distance such that the lower end or surface 88 of the boss 86 forms in part the bottom surface 38 of the binder ring unit 20. As best shown in FIGURE 5, the lower surface 88 is inclined in an upward direction, inwardly of the en-ds of the binder ring unit 20. Thus, the bosses 86 at each opposite end are inclined in opposite directions, both upwardly toward the center. Each through-bore 84 has a counterbore 90 in the lower surface 88 of the boss 86, and a counterbore 92 in the upper surface 32 of the back plate 22.
The manner in which the rivets 82 and bosses 86 cooperate with the binder cover to secure the binder ring unit 20 in place, is best shown in FIGURES 8 and 9 of the drawings. During assembly, the rivet 82 is forced from outside the back 28 of the binder cover 29 through the cover and bore 84 of the back plate 22. The rivet 82 has a flat outer head 94 larger than the diameter of the bottom counterbore 90, and serves to clamp the back 28 of the cover 29 against the bottom surface 88 of the boss 86. The counterbore 90 receives any burrs that are formed in the cover about the rivet 82 when the rivet is forced through the back 28 of the cover 29. As a result, the inclined bottom surface 88 of the boss is in essentially fiush contact with the inner surface of the back 28. The inner end of the rivet 82 is upset or swaged, as at 96, to clamp the binder ring unit 20 and cover back 28 tightly together.
Because both the back plate 22 and the cover back 23 are flexible, each deforms to a slight extent so that contact is obtained across the lower inclined surface 88 of the boss 86. This contact along the inclined surface biases the back 28 and back plate 22 together inwardly of the rivet connection. As a result, the central portion of both' the back plate 22 and the back 28 of the cover 29 are held in close contact, notwithstanding the fact that the connections are located only adjacent the far ends of the back plate 22.
From the above it will be apparent that a ring binder of improved unitary construction has been provided that is durable, convenient to use and economical to manufacture.
While a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been described with particularity, it will be understood that various modifications and alterations may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, as set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. In a ring binder:
(a) a back plate to be fastened inside a binder cover and having a first side or bottom surface to be positioned against a back of the cover and a second side or top surface that faces away from the back of the cover;
(b) a plurality of binder ring elements integral with the back plate along a first longitudinal side edge of the back plate, each having a narrow finger portion and a wider base portion, said wider base portion being substantially shorter than the length of the back plate and said narrow finger portion having a free end portion interengageable with the back plate adjacent a second longitudinal side edge of the back plate; and
(c) flexible hinge portions (i) integrally connecting the ring elements at spaced locations along the said first longitudinal side edge of the back plate,
(ii) substantially thinner than the thickness of the finger and base portions of the ring elements, and
' (iii) located beneath the top surface of the back plate.
2. The ring binder of claim 1 wherein the flexible connection is of a length that is between two and three times as great as the width of the elongated finger portion of each binder ring element.
3. The ring binder of claim 1 wherein the wide base portion of the ring elements are essentially flush with the top surface of the back plate when the free ends of the binder ring elements are engaged with the back plate.
4. The ring binder of claim 1 including a plurality of recesses spaced along the first longitudinal side edge of the back plate, and wherein the wider base portion of each ring element is inset in one of said recesses when the free end portion is engaged with the back plate.
5. The ring binder of claim 4 wherein the wider base portion of each ring element is at least twice as wide as the width of the elongated finger portion and wherein the flexible hinge portion is of a thickness between 0.010 and 0.020 inch and of a length not greater than three times the width of the elongated finger portion.
6. The ring binder of claim 4 wherein the recesses are of a depth and width less than the depth and width of the back plate, forming an inset step portion in the outer surface of the back plate along the said first longitudinal side.
7. The ring binder of claim 6 wherein the hinge portions secure the ring elements to the step portion along a bottom and outer edge of each base of the ring elements.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 210,991 12/1878 Byrne 129-24 1,593,416 7/1926 Adams 129-24 2,322,180 6/1943 Vernon 129-1 X 2,374,803 5/1945 Broadwell 129-24 2,413,616 12/1946 Freundlich 129-24 2,495,180 1/1950 Phillips 129-1 2,845,931 8/1958 Kinney 129-1 3,019,486 2/1962 Stinson 281-375 X 3,087,498 2/1963 Vogel 129-23 3,251,364 5/1966 Goldman 129-24 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,364,099 5/ 1964 France.
590,431 7/ 1947 Great Britain.
JEROME SCHNALL, Primary Examiner.