US 3327664 A
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June 27, 1967 L. T. F. BRYAN ETAL 3,327,664
AUTOMATIC TOE-CLOSING OF STOCKINGS 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed June 26, 1964 June 27, 1967 L. T. F. BRYAN ETAL 3,327,664
AUTOMATIC TOE-CLOSING 0F STOCKINGS 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed June 26, 1964 June 27, 1967 Filed June 26, 1964 F. BRYAN ETAL AUTOMATIC TOE-CLOSING OF STOCKINGS 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 J1me 1967 L. 'r. F. BRYAN 'ETAL 3,327,664
AUTOMATIC TOE-CLOSING F STOCKINGS Filed June 26, 1964 Sheets-Sheet 4 5 33 1 J 34 36 I "K35 F ll H 5 i i l "i i I a h! 8 73 June 27, 1967 'r. F. BRYAN ETAL 3,
AUTOMATIC TOE-CLOSING OF STOCKINGS Filed June 26, 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 United States Patent 3,327,664 AUTQMATHC TOE- LOSING 0F STOCKINGS Leonard Thomas Frank Bryan and Bob Haselgrove, High Wycomhe, England, assignors to Detexomat Limited, High Wycombe, Buclsinghamshire, England, a British company Filed June 26, 1964, Ser. No. 378,295 Claims priority, application Great Britain, June 28, 1963, 25,817/63 16 Claims. (43]. 112-462) The invention concerns automatic or semi-automatic toe-closing of stockings, more especially ladies stockings.
In the manufacture of ladies seamless stockings the stocking is knitted as a tube with the welt at one open end and generally a reinforced band at the other end which is subsequently converted into the toe of the stocking by stitching the band to form the toe outline and cutting away surplus material. Such operation of stitching and cutting away is referred to as a toe-closing operation.
It is also a well-known procedure to draw the stocking prior to toe closure onto a former or so-called inspection leg by which the fabric is stretched so that it may be visually inspected for flaws.
An object of the invention is to provide an automatic or semi-automatic procedure for toe-closing and preferably one which enables the operations of inspection and of toe closure to be undertaken substantially simultaneously and rapidly by one person. Another object is to provide apparatus to carry out such procedures.
According to one aspect of the invention a method of closing the toe of a stocking during manufacture comprises mounting the stocking on a carrier so that the toe portion of the stocking is in a predetermined position with respect to said carrier, moving said carrier relative to a stocking toe portion clamp means along a predetermined path, transferring the stocking from said carrier to said toe clamp means while maintained in said predetermined position, and thence closing the fabric of the toe portion along a predetermined line while the stocking is held by said clamp means in required position relative to a toe-closing means.
Preferably the carrier is a leg member over which the stocking is drawn e.g. so as to inspect the stocking for fiaws.
An identification feature or features on the stocking may assist in the predetermined positioning of the toe portion of the stocking on the leg member.
Advantageously the carrier mounting the stocking is reciprocated along a predetermined path to an advanced position with the toe end of the stocking projecting beyond said clamp means, and said clamp means is closed and holds the stocking in the required position while the stocking is stripped from the leg member.
The clamp means holding the stocking in the required position may be moved relative to the toe-closing means so as to close the fabric of the toe portion along the predetermined line.
The toe-closing may be effected by a cutting and stitching means.
According to another aspect of the invention there is provided apparatus for closing the toe of a stocking during manufacture comprising a structural framework, a carrier supported by said framework and on which the stocking is to be mounted with the toe portion of the per se known kind mounted stationarily on a housing 6 for stocking in a predetermined position with respect to said carrier, a clamp means supported by said framework,
drive means to move said carrier relative to said clamp means along a predetermined path, the arrangement being such as to transfer the stocking from said carrier to said clamp means while maintained in said predetermined position, and toe-closing means located by said framework to close the fabric of the toe portion along a predetermined line while the stocking is held by said clamp means in required position relative to said toeclosing means.
Preferably as stated the carrier is a leg member adapted to have the stocking drawn thereover e.g. so as to inspect the stocking for flaws, and the leg drive means is arranged to reciprocate the leg member along the predetermined path to an advanced position bringing the toe end of a stocking on the leg member to project beyond .the clamp means which in closed condition acts to hold the stocking in required position whilst the drive means withdraws the leg member and the toe-closing means closes the fabric of the toe portion along the predetermined line.
Further features of the invention will become apparent from the embodiments of methods and apparatus according to the invention which are hereinafter described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a general layout view of one embodiment of such apparatus,
FIG. 2 is a plan view showing the carrier or inspection leg member and its relation to the clamp means and toe closure means,
FIG. 3 shows the drive means for the inspection leg member and an associated set of switch actuating cams,
FIG. 4 is a partial view showing a detail of the inspection leg member,
FIG. 5 is a part-sectional side view showing the relation between the toe end of the leg member in an advanced position, the clamp means, and an uncurler means,
FIG. 6 is an elevational view of the clamp means, the clamp drive means and an associated set of switch-actuating cams, and the toe-closing means, and
FIG. 7 is a plan view of such set of cams of the clamp drive means.
FIGS, 8 and 9 are diagrammatic side and plan views of another embodiment of apparatus wherein the toe-closing is effected by welding.
Referring to the apparatus of FIGS. 1 to 7, this comprises a carrier in the form of an inspection leg member I mounted and driven with a reciprocating movement by drive means in a housing 2, toe portion clamp means 3 mounted and driven with a restricted rotary movement by drive means in a housing 4, and a toe-closing means 5 in the form of a cutting and sewing machine of generally the sewing machine drive means. Bobbins 7 and a thread guide 8 are associated with the sewing machine. A housing 6 adjacent the sewing machine housing receives waste material from the cutting and sewing operation.
The leg member 1 is supported cantileverwise at one end by a head 8 mounted for manual rotation in a boss 9 which is in turn fixed to an end of a leg drive rod 10 of square section slidable lengthwise in two spaced sets of bearings 11 (FIG. 3). The leg 1 is held against rotation with either side uppermost by spring catch means 22 (FIG. 4) co-acting with appropriate sockets 13 between the head 8 and boss 9. The leg 1 consists of a flat thin plate 14 on each side of which two spaced ribs 15 extend tapering towards the free toe portion 16 of the leg but ending some distance short thereof. The toe portion 16 is of less width than the main portion and is joined thereto by a pair of shoulders. In the immediate vicinity of each shoulder there is an aperture 17. An aperture 18 extends transversely partly across the toe portion 16 and a line 19 marked on the leg extends at right angles to the leg axis from each end of the aperture 18.
The leg drive means includes a drum wheel means 20 (FIG, 3) mounted for rotation on a bearing 21 fixed in the housing 2, the axis of rotation lying the same horizontal plane as the leg drive rod axis. The drum 20 is driven by an electric motor 22 incorporating an electromagnetic brake 22 via a gear box 23 and pulley and belt drive 24. A cam follower roller 25 is mounted on the drum 20, and a cam groove member 26 is fixed to the leg drive rod 10, the cam follower roller 25 co-acting with the cam groove to impart the reciprocating movement to the rod and leg 1 upon rotation of the drum 20. The cam groove comprises a central arcuate portion 27 having its centre of curvature on the axis of reciprocation of the drive rod 10 and having the same radius of curvature as the radius of rotation of the cam follower roller 25. Each end of the arcuate portion 27 leads with smooth blending into a straight portion normal to said axis of reciprocation. A dwell period is thereby imparted to the leg 1 in its advanced position, at which time the cam roller 25 is moving along the arcuate portion 27 of the cam groove and no movement is imparted to the cam groove member 26.
The drum 20 carries spaced around its periphery a set of cams LC1, LC2 and LC3 which each co-act with a related micro-switch LS1, LS2 and LS3 respectively fixed in the housing 2. In FIG. 3 the switches are shown diagrammatically for clarity in one plane, but in fact the cams and associated switches are in three spaced vertical planes.
The clamp means 3, as best seen in FIGS. 2 and 6, includes opposed upper and lower arcuate jaw members 31, 32 faced with resilient material 33 and which each constitute a marginal edge or segment of a disc form. The jaws are slidably mounted on one vertical guide post 34 and have tongues 35 engaging in a slot in a second parallel guide post 36. The guide posts are fixed in a frame 37 carried by a radialarm 38 pivotally mounted about the axis of such disc forms on the clamp drive housing 4. The jaws 31, 32 are urged to closed condition by a slotted cam plate member 39 cooperating with pegs 40 on the jaws, the cam member being electrically actuated by way of a Bowden cable 41, The jaws are urged to open condition by a spring 42 acting on the cam member 39 in the opposite sense to the cable 41. Such clamp operating mechanism has a cover 42'.
The radial arm 38 is fixed on the upper end of a vertical drive shaft 43 driven in the housing 4 by an electric motor 44 via an electro-magnetic clutch 45. The arm 38 is urged for return movement to an initial starting position of the clamp means by a spring 46. A dash pot device indicated at 47 is associated with the drive shaft 43 to control such return movement, which is limited by a stop e.g. indicated at 48.
The drive shaft 43 carries a set of cams CC1, CC2, CC3 which each co-act with a related micro'switch CS1, CS2, CS3 respectively fixed in the housing 4. The cams and associated switches are in three spaced horizontal planes, but in FIG. 7 the switches are shown diagrammatically in one plane for clarity.
An uncurler means 50 is mounted stationary on housing 6 just beyond the clamp jaws 31, 32 and includes arcuate jaws 51, 52 which are actuated with a scissor action about 4 a pivot pin 53 carried by a support 54. The jaws are gently closed with electrical actuation via a Bowden cable 55 and urged open by a spring 56.
The cutting and sewing machine 5 is driven by an electric motor 57 via an electro-magnetic clutch 58 and belt and pulley drive 59. The sewing machine presser foot indicated at 60 is electrically actuated to working position, with spring return to rest position. A deflector plate 5' is incorporated with the sewing machine to guide the cut and stitched end of the stocking out of further engagement with the cutting and sewing means, such end being guided beyond the presser foot in the direction of arrow D in FIG. 6.
A vacuum pump 61 also in housing 6 communicates via passage 62 with bins 63, 64 in the housing 6, the bin 63 receiving via a suction tube 65 waste chain linking cut from the sewing machine, and the bin 64 receiving via a suction passage 66 waste surplus fabric cut from the toe of the stockings.
A pneumatic conveyor mouth is indicated at 67, to receive the stockings after toe closing.
A safety device 68 is provided to ensure that the operators hands cannot be carried by the inspection leg 1 to between the clamp jaws and thence towards the sewing machine. The device comprises a rod pivotally mounted on the housing 4 so that as the leg 1 is advanced it moves close past the safety rod movement of which controls the leg drive motor. If the operators hand is over the end of the leg 1 and is carried forward it will strike the safety rod to pivot same and stop the leg drive motor.
In operation, a stocking S is drawn over the leg 1 so that the reinforced band B which is to be converted into the toe portion is at or near the leg toe portion 16. The stocking fabric is thereby stretched and may be rapidly and accurately inspected by eye, the leg 1 being rotated by hand so that both flat sides of the stocking are scanned. The inner transverse edge E of the reinforced band B is brought into alignment with the transverse datum line 19 on the leg. The edge E is visible on both sides of the leg 7 due to the datum aperture 18 and it is therefore possible to superpose the opposite edges. The toe portion of the stocking is therefore located on the leg in a predetermined position. It is to be understood that such adjustment is performed during the inspection so that additional time and effort if any is relatively insignificant. Other forms of identification feature or features on the stocking may assist in its predetermined positioning.
The stocking has to be presented to the clamp and toe closing means while inside out. The stocking may be delivered to the inspection station in this condition in which event it is simply necessary for the operator to draw it over the leg. However, if the stocking is delivered to the inspection station right side out then the operator will turn the stocking inside out when drawing the stocking over the end of the leg. In doing so the operator lays the stocking along the top flat surface of the leg between the respective ribs 15 and turns the welt W back at one side over the toe end of the leg. Thereafter the welt is pulled lengthwise along the leg with the effect that the stocking is drawn thereon inside out. The ribs 15 ensure that the stocking cannot slip off sideways when first laid on the leg, and furthermore as the stocking is drawn over the leg it is raised from the upper leg surface and the remainder of the stocking sliding therealong so that frictional engagement between that remainder and the part of the stocking already drawn over the leg is reduced or eliminated.
The above procedure applies to tubular stockings having no reinforced heels. However, the invention is equally applicable to seamless stockings having reinforced heels. These are commonly made so that on each side of the heel there is a triangular reinforced portion as indicated at H, the base of each triangle being defined by the round portion of the heel and the apex of the triangle being is drawn over the inspection leg in the manner described above and the reinforced toe band B is located on the leg in the manner indicated. The reinforced heel portion H is positioned so that the apex of both triangular portions is aligned with the same leg .datum aperture 17 and the stocking is so adjusted that the apices coincide. In this way the reinforced toe band is located in predetermined relationship with the heel so that the line of toe closure is correspondingly related upon completion of the toe closing operation.
With the stocking correctly positioned inside out on the leg in starting position as in FIG. 2, the operator presses a starter switch button in an electrical control circuit to release the electro-magnetic brake 22' and start the motor 22 in the leg drive, so that the leg is advanced a predetermined extent to the position shown in FIG. 5
between the open jaws of the clamp means and the uncurler means. Cam LCI of the leg drive actuates microswitch LS1 to bring the clamp and uncurler jaws simultaneously to closed condition on the stocking toe portion,
during the dwell period of the leg in advanced position. 25
The leg is then withdrawn on its return stroke. The resilient faces of the clamp means continue to grip the stocking fabric and hold same in a required position against movement while the leg is withdrawn, the leg being smooth and offering little frictional engagement to the stocking fabric. At the end of the return stroke the leg is stopped in the original starting position due to coaction of cam L03 with micro-switch LS3 to stop the leg drive motor 22 and re-engage the electro-magnetic brake 22. The operator slides the welt end of the stocking to the left in FIG. 2 to strip the stocking off the leg and offers it into the pneumatic conveyor mouth 67 Where it is retained, the toe portion still being held in the clamp and uncurler means.
As the leg is withdrawn, cam LCZ in the leg drive actu a restricted are as indicated by arrow C in FIG. 7 relative to the cutting and sewing machine to cut and stitch such toe portion along the predetermined closure line T which is arcuate about the axis of rotation of the clamp means. The actuation of micro-switch LS2 simultaneously engages the cutting and sewing machine drive by the electro-magnetic clutch 58.
On commencement of the clamp rotary drive, the cam CCZ of such drive operates micro-switch CS2 to bring the presser foot 60 of the sewing machine into action. The
uncurler jaws 51, 52 gently engaging the fabric of the 55 stocking at the toe end just beyond the clamp means act to uncurl such fabric as it is drawn through such jaws by the rotary movement of the clamp means towards the cutting and sewing machine.
At the end of the forward restricted arcuate movement of the clamp means, to the point indicated at F in FIG. 2, the toe portion of the stocking has been cut and stitched along the predetermined closure line T as aforesaid. That is, in the known manner the edge is cut, rolled over and sewn by the machine. The cam 5 CC3 of the clamp drive operates micro-switch CS3 to disengage the electro-magnetic clutch 45 in the clamp drive, the clamp means being thereupon returned by the spring 46 to the initial starting position as shown in FIG. 2, with co-action of the dash pot device 47 and limit stop 48. The operation of micro-switch CS3 also disengages the electro-magnetic clutch 58 in the cutting and sewing machine drive.
011 return of the clamp means to the initial starting position, cam CCl of the clamp drive operates microswitch CS1 to de-energise the electrical actuation of the jaws of the clamp and uncurler means, whereupon the respective springs 42, 56 return such jaws to open condition. The stocking with toe closed is thereby released from the clamp means and sucked away through the pneumatic conveyor mouth 67.
At this stage the cams will have re-set the micro-switches to initial condition and the operator will have positioned another stocking on the leg, and the sequence of operations is repeated with great rapidity.
The waste material is removed as aforesaid.
In the apparatus as illustrated diagrammatically in FIGS. 8 and 9 the toe closing is effected by welding the fabric of the toe portion along the predetermined closure line T and severing the surplus material at the reinforced toe end B of the stocking S.
Thus in line with the reciprocating inspection leg 1 there is a clamp means 3 for holding the stocking during the toe closing operation comprising a pair of superposed clamp jaws 31', 32' faced with resilient material 33' and movable between open and closed conditions to hold the stocking in the predetermined position after withdrawal of the leg 1, all substantially as described above.
Both clamp jaws may be moved towards each other as above or one clamp jaw only may be moved, with open and closing movement imparted by means as de scribed above or in any other convenient manner e.g. using pneumatic, mechanical or electrical means.
The welding means comprises a pair of high frequency welding electrodes 70 similarly movable towards and away from each other. The electrodes are immediately adjacent the clamps. The electrodes are connected to a source of high frequency electric current and are movable to engage the fabric between the electrodes in any convenient manner (e.g. pneumatically, mechanically or electrically) the arrangement being that the electrodes are applied to the fabric with a predetermined pressure. While the electrodes are so engaged with the fabric the high frequency current is applied to the electrodes with the result that the material of the fabric is fused or welded together.
' The electrodes are pointed or edge shaped so that engagement with the fabric is on a relatively narrow line. Furthermore the pointed or edged electrodes either cut through the material along the edge of the weld or seal line or weaken the material along such line so that surplus material is readily severed subsequently. To this end the apparatus may comprise a pair of jaws 71 which move towards and away from each other to grip the surplus material projecting beyond the electrodes 70. The gripper jaws 71 are so constructed and arranged as to hold the surplus material while the stocking is removed from the clamp means 31', 32' after the toe closing operation, in the case that the electrodes cut through the fabric, or to tear the material away from the stocking, in the case that the electrodes 70 are pro vided to weaken the fabric along the weld line. In the latter case the clamp jaws 31', 32 may remain closed to hold the stocking while the surplus material is removed by the gripper jaws 71. To this end these jaws 71 may be moved, while they grip the fabric, lengthwise of the inspection leg 1 away from the clamp means 31, 32 remaining in closed position, the electrodes 78 having been separated.
The clamp jaws, electrodes and gripper jaws are shaped to correspond to the weld line T which is to be produced. It is adequate in many instances for the weld line to be an arc of a circle in which event the clamps, electrodes and jaws are correspondingly shaped. However, the weld lines may be of other outline in which event the clamps electrodes and jaws are correspondingly formed.
To enable a sequence of such operations to be performed automatically it is arranged that the various movements are controlled by micro-switches actuated by movements of the inspection leg, clamp jaws, electrodes and so on, after the operator has pressed a starter button. The welding operation is determined by a time control device.
Such welding is particularly applicable to stockings made from nylon, but may be applied to other textile materials which are coated or impregnated with a substance which enables such a welding operation to be performed thereon.
The Welding may be by electrical high frequency heating as indicated above or ultra-sonic welding equipment.
In an alternative procedure thetoe closing may be effected using adhesive to unite the fabric of the toe portion along the predetermined line and severing the surplus material at the toe end of the stocking. v
In the embodiments as described, the toe-closing operation is effected only at a reinforced toe portion of the stocking. However, the invention is similarly applicable where the toe closing also involves closing the stocking fabric along a predetermined line extending from the toe portion any desired distance along the insole from the toe to the heel portion. Also, the toe portion of the stocking need not be reinforced.
Although the invention has been specifically described in relation to stockings and more especially ladies stockings, it is equally as applicable to the toe-closing of ladies, mens and childrens socks or so called half hose. In this connection, the terms stocking as used throughout the claims appended to this specification is to be taken to include half hose.
The method and apparatus according to this invention does not, of course, necessarily involve inspecting the stockings for flaws whilst they are mounted on the carrier or inspection leg and the inspection step may quite Well be dispensed with in certain circumstances. In this case, it would not be necessary to stretch the stocking out fully on the carrier leg when mounting it thereon, provided that the toe portion is properly drawn on and positioned for the toe-closing operation. Although the stockings have been described as being manually mounted on the carrier or leg, automatic machinery could be used for this purpose.
The Bowden cable actuating means described may be replaced by any other suitable actuating means. The electric micro-switches described may be replaced by any other suitable electric switch means.
1. A method of closing the toe of a stocking during manufacture comprising drawing the stocking over a leg member so that the toe portion of the stocking is in a predetermined position with respect to said leg member, moving said leg member in translatory motion relative to a clamp means along a predetermined path, to an advanced position with the toe end of the stocking projecting beyond said clamp means, closing said clamp means and holding the stocking in the required position and withdrawing said leg member, closing the fabric of the toe portion along a predetermined line while the stocking is held by said clamp means.
2. A method according to claim 1 including the step of aligning an identifiable feature on the stocking with respect to an identifiable feature on the leg member to place the stocking on said leg member in said predetermined position. 3. A method according to claim 1 including the step of rotating said clamp means holding the stocking in the required position through a restricted are relative to a toe-closing means and closing the fabric of the toe portion along a predetermined line which is arcuate about the axis of such rotation.
4. A method of closing the toe of a stocking during manufacture comprising mounting the stcoking on a carrier leg member having a fiat toe portion over which the stocking is drawn so as to inspect the stocking for flaws and so that the toe portion of the stocking is in a predetermined position on said flat toe portion of said leg member, moving said leg member relative to a clamp means along a predetermined path to bring the toe end of the stocking on said toe. portion of said leg member to a position projecting beyond said clamp means,.closing said clamp means to hold the stocking maintained in the predetermined position and withdrawing said leg member to the extent at least that said flat toe portion is withdrawn from the clamped-toe ends of the stocking; and closing the fabric of the toe portion along a predetermined line while the stocking is held by said clamp means in required position relative to a toe-closing means.
5. A method to claim 4 including the step of moving said clamp means holding the stocking in the required position relative to a toe-closing means, and closing the fabric of-the toe portion along the predetermined line which is determined by the path of relative motion.
6. A method according to claim 5 wherein the step of moving the clamp means is carried out by rotating said clamp means past said toe closing means, whereby the fabric will be closed about an arcuate line.
7. A method according to claim 5 wherein the movement of said carrier leg member and the movement of said clamp means are independent of each other.
8. Apparatus for closing the toe of a stocking during manufacture comprising a structural framework, a stocking carrier supported by said framework and on which the stocking is to be mounted with the toe portion of the stocking in a predetermined position with respect to said carrier, a clamp means supported by said framework and including opposed normally open and closeable jaws, drive means to move said carrier relative to said clamp means along a predetermined path, to' an advanced position bringing the toe end of a stocking on said carrier to project beyond the jaws of said clamp means, said clamp means when in closed condition holding the stocking in position, said drive means further moving said carrier to a withdrawn position wherein said carrier is Withdrawn from between said jaws; and toe-closing means located by said framework to close the fabric of the toe portion along a predetermined line while the stocking is held by said clamp means in required position relative to said toeclosing means.
9. Apparatus according to claim 8 wherein said leg member presents datum means to co-operate with at least one identifiable feature on the stocking to assist in the predetermined positioning of the toe portion of the stocking on the leg member.
10. Apparatus according to claim 8 including resilient facing material on said opposed jaws to hold the stocking in the required position.
11. Apparatus according to claim 8 including drive means connected to said clamp means moving said clamp means past said toe closing means to permit said toe closing means to close the fabric of the toe portion along said predetermined line.
12. Apparatus according to claim 8 including clamp drive means for rotating said clamp means through a restricted are relative to said toe-closing means, and means actuating said toe closing means as the clamp means rotates to close the fabric of the toe portion along the predetermined line which is arcuate about the axis of rotation of said clamp means.
13. Apparatus according to claim 8 wherein said carrier drive means includes a motor driven wheel means, a cam follower mounted on said wheel means, and a member presenting a cam groove and attached to said carrier, said cam groove including an arcuate portion having the same radius of curvature as the radius of rotation of said cam follower and located to impart a dwell period to said carrier in its advanced position, said cam follower co-acting with the cam groove to impart the reciprocating movement to said rod and carrier.
14. Apparatus according to claim 13 wherein the length of said arcuate portion is arranged such that the dwell of said carrier in the advanced position is of sulficient time to allow said clamp means to be actuated to closed condition to hold the stocking in the required position.
15. Apparatus according to claim 12 wherein said means actuating said toe closing means includes a set of cams, and electric switches in an electrical circuit co-act with said cams for automatically controlling a sequence of operations.
16. Apparatus according to claim 8 wherein said drive means moves said carrier in a reciprocating motion between said advanced and said withdrawn positions.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Dittrich 1122 Larkin 1122 Wilder et a1 112-2 X Arbter 1122 Buckreus et a1. 1 12-252 Graves 112-2 10 JORDAN FRANKLIN, Primary Examiner.
J. R. BOLER, Assistant Examiner.