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Publication numberUS3450887 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 17, 1969
Filing dateDec 15, 1965
Priority dateDec 15, 1965
Publication numberUS 3450887 A, US 3450887A, US-A-3450887, US3450887 A, US3450887A
InventorsNirenberg Hans
Original AssigneeTelefonbau & Normalzeit Gmbh
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Photoelectric control system for postage meters comprising a light reflecting surface inclined with respect to the plane of the mail to be imprinted
US 3450887 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

H. NIRENBERG SYSTEM FOR G SURFAC IN OF THE MAIL 3,450,887 POSTAGE METERS COMPRISING CLINED WITH RESPECT T0 TO BE .IMPRINTED Sheet of 2 W bkq M WWW MR/yw I H. NIRENBERG 3,450,887 E MPRISING Sheet 2 of 2 TAGE METERS CO ED WITH RESP BE IMPRINTED awn/roe H W/1 NAM/MM THE MAIL TO June 17, 1969 SYSTEM FOR POS THE PLANE OF Filed Dec. 15, 1965 United States Patent US. Cl. 250-219 4 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A photoelectric control system for postage meters including a light sensitive element controlling the operation of imprinting means for mail in response to interruption of a beam of light by mail intercepting said beam of light is provided with means for precluding improper illumination of the light sensitive element by light reflected from the mail which, if occurring, results in malfunction of the postage meter.

This invention relates to postage meters wherein the printing or stamping mechanism is under the control of photoelectric means, including a beam of light intercepted by the mail while in transit through the meter and causing, when so intercepted, the printing or stamping mechanism of the meter to become operative.

It is a general object of this invention to provide improved postage meters of the aforementioned description, or improved control means for such postage meters, respectively.

Postage meters of the aforementioned description include a light source, a light-reflecting surface and a lightsensitive element. Normally a beam of light emitted from said light source, directed against said light-reflecting surface and reflected from the latter impinges upon the light-sensitive element, or light sensing element. The printing mechanism, or stamping mechanism of the postage meter remains inoperative as long as the lightsensitive element, or light sensing element, is illuminated and this mechanism becomes operative when the aforementioned beam of light is intercepted by mail in transit through the postage meter.

It is likely to occur in prior art postage meters of this description that the beam of light is reflected from the surface of mail to be processed in such a way that the illumination of the light-sensitive element, or light sensing element, is not interrupted, as it should, by the particular piece of mail. As a result, the printing or stamping mechanism of the meter remains inoperative. The danger of such malfunctioning is particularly acute when flat and highly light-reflecting mail such as letters and post cards are being processed in the postage meter.

It is, therefore, another object of this invention to provide improved postage meters, or improved light control means for postage meters, respectively, which are not subject to the aforementioned limitations or drawbacks.

The stamp which is imprinted by a postage meter upon a particular piece of mail must be exactly positioned in a predetermined fashion. This can only be achieved if the light beam is totally intercepted by the leading edge of the mail and the light-sensitive element, or light sensing element, is momentarily shrouded in darkness.

It is, therefore, another object of this invention to provide postage meters, or light control means for postage meters, respectively, which comply with the above requirement.

3,450,887 Patented June 17, 1969 In some instances it is desirable to adjust the spacing of the stamp from the leading edge of mail intended to be processed depending upon the particular kind of mail being processed.

It is, therefore, still another object of this invention to provide postage meters, or light control means for postage meters, respectively, which readily allow such adjustments to be made.

For a better understanding of the apparatus according to the present invention reference is made to the following description, which is taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIGURE 1 shows diagrammatically a front elevation of a structure embodying the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a section along 22 of FIG. 1;

FIGURE 3 is a diagrammatic front elevation of the structure of FIGS. 1 and 2 combined with a postage meter structure; and

FIGURE 4 is a side elevation of the structure of FIG. 3 seen in the direction of the arrow R of FIG. 3, some portion of the structure being broken away to expose to view the interior thereof.

Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2 thereof, reference numeral 12 has been applied to indicate a common support for a light source, or incandescent lamp 13, and for a light-sensitive element, or light sensing element 14. Light-sensitive element 14 may be formed, for instance, by a photoresistor, or by a photoelectric cell. Numeral 21 has been applied to indicate the optical axis of light source 13, and numeral 21 has been applied to indicate the optical axis of lightsensitive element, or light sensing element 14. The first mentioned optitcal axis and the last mentioned optical axis are both inclined with respect to any vertical plane and jointly define a plane which is arranged at right angles to a slanting reflecting surface 20 which includes an acute angle with any horizontal plane. Common sup port 12 for parts 13 and 14 is, in turn, supported by the horizontal bar 11, and is slidable along horizontal bar 11 in a direction longitudinally thereof.

The structure of FIGS. 1 and 2 further comprises guide means determining a straight path 19 for the movement of mail to be imprinted by the postage meter. Any conventional means may be used for moving mail 18 along straight path 19, and such means have not been shown in the drawing. In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 the aforementioned guide means for mail 18 include a pair of spaced horizontal boundary surfaces 16 and 17 defining a channel. Surface 17 projects beyond surface 16 and the protruding end of surface 17 is inclined with respect to surface 17 proper, and is silver coated to form the aforementioned reflecting surface, or reflector 20. Light beam 21 emitted from light source 13 intersects the planes defined by the two horizontal surfaces 16 and 17 at a predetermined acute angle, and is reflected from reflecting surface 20 along line 21' upon the light-sensitive element, or light sensing element 14.

Light beam 21, 21' is intersected by the leading edge of mail 18 travelling through the gap defined between horizontal surfaces 16, 17. The obstruction of light beams 21, 21' by mail 18 results in deenergization of the lightsensitive element 14 which, in turn, causes the printing mechanism of the postage meter to become operative, as will be stated below more in detail.

Numeral 22 has been applied to indicate a beam of light resulting from reflection of beam 21 from the lower surface of mail 18. It is apparent that beam 22 is reflected away from light-sensitive element, or light sensing element 14, and thus incapable of energizing the same and, by so doing, causing malfunction of the postage meter.

'In FIGS. 3 and 4 the same numerals as in FIGS. 2 and 3 have been applied to indicate like parts. Therefore FIGS. 3 and 4 call only for a description of such parts which have not been illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, and described in connection therewith.

FIGS. 3 and 4 show a postage meter structure arranged above horizontal mail guiding surfaces 16, 17. Postage meter 23 is operated by an electric motor M. Reference numeral 24 has been applied to indicate a base or frame structure which is arranged below horizontal mail guiding surfaces 16, 17. Common support 12 for light source 13 and light-sensitive element 14 are supported by the aforementioned base, or frame structure 24, and energized from a power supply 25. The output of lightsensitive element 14 controls an electronic switching device 26 which, in turn, controls an electromagnet 27 controlling the operation of postage meter 23. Magnet 27 is inoperative as long as light-sensitive element 14 is illuminated, and becomes operative when mail 18 moving through the gap formed between surfaces 16, 17 intersects and interrupts the light beam emitted from light source 13. When the aforementioned light beam is intercepted by mail 18 and interrupted, and the light-sensitive element 14 deenergized, magnet 27 is energized and causes operation of the printing mechanism of postage meter 23.

Referring now again to FIGS. 1 and 2, shifting of common support 12 of light source 13 and light-sensing element 14 along supporting rod or shaft 11 varies the locus at which light beam 21 is being intercepted by the lead ing edge of mail 18, and consequently varies the point of time at which electromagnet 27 is being energized, and consequently varies the location at which the stamp of the printing device of the postage meter is being affixed to mail 18. In other words, shifting of parts 12, 13, 14 in a direction longitudinally of shaft 11 or parallel to the direction of the movement of mail 18 makes it possible to vary, and to control the spacing between the leading edge of mail 18 and the point at which the postal stamp is being aflixed to mail 18.

While the principles of the invention have been described above in connection with specific apparatus, it is to be clearly understood that this description is made by way of example, and not as a limitation on the scope of the invention.

I claim as my invention:

1. A photoelectric control system for postage meters for precluding improper illumination of a light sensitive element by light reflected from mail to be imprinted including:

'(a) a guide means determining a straight path for mail to be imprinted;

(b) a light-reflecting surface arranged on one side of said path and inclined with respect to said path;

() alight source and a light-sensitive element arranged in spaced relation from each other on the other side of said path substantially in a common plane at right angles to said light-reflecting surface, said light source being arranged to produce a beam of light projecting obliquely through said path and impinging upon said light-reflecting surface, and said light-sensitive element being arranged along the line defined by the portion of said beam of light reflected from said light-reflecting surface and thus exposed to said portion of said beam of light reflected from said lightreflecting surface, and said light-sensitive element being arranged in spaced relation from the line defined by the portion of said beam of light reflected from mail moving along said guide means and thus being substantially unaffected by said portion of said beam of light reflected from said mail moving along said guide means; and

(d) means under the control of said light-sensitive element for controlling imprinting means for said mail in response to interruption of said portion of said beam of light reflected from said reflecting surface.

2. A photoelectric control system for postage meters as specified in claim 1 comprising means for controlling the position of imprint on mail relative to said line defined by said portion of said beam of light reflected from said light-reflecting surface, said position-of-imprint controlling means including a common support for said light source and said light-sensitive element and means for adjusting the position of said common support relative to said light-reflecting surface in the direction of said straight path for the movement of mail.

3. A photoelectric control system for postage meters as specified in claim 1 comprising guide means including a pair of spaced horizontal surfaces, a light-reflecting surface angularly related to and projecting beyond said pair of spaced horizontal surfaces, a common support for said light source and said light-sensitive element movable rela tive to said pair of spaced horizontal surfaces, and means for guiding said common support along a horizontal trajectory parallel to the path for the movement of mail to be imprinted.

4. A photoelectric control system for postage meters for precluding improper illuination of a light-sensitive element by light reflected from mail to be imprinted including:

(a) a pair of boundary walls defining a horizontal channel of relatively limited height for the passage of mail to be imprinted, said channel having an opening for the entrance of mail and said channel having an opening for the exit of mail;

(b) the upper of said pair of boundary walls having a projection adjacent said opening for the exit of mail from said channel extending beyond the lower of said pair of boundary walls and flaring outwardly from said upper of said pair of boundary walls and forming a reflector on the lower surface thereof;

(0) a light source and a light-sensitive element arranged in spaced relation from each other substantially in a common plane at right angles to said projection of said upper of said pair of boundary walls, said light source being arranged to produce a beam of light projecting obliquely through the planes defined by said pair of boundary walls and impinging upon said reflector formed by said projection, said light-sensitive element being arranged along the line defined by the portion of the beam of light emanating from said source and reflected from said reflector formed by said projection, and said light-sensitive element being arranged in spaced relation from the portion of the beam of light emanating from said source and reflected substantially from the plane defined by the lower of said pair of boundary walls; and

(d) means under the control of said light-sensitive element for controlling imprinting means for mail moving through said channel in response to interruption of the portion of the beam of light emanating from said source and reflected from said reflector formed by said projection.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2/1947 Reynolds 250-223 OTHER REFERENCES K. A. Cook, Optical Card Lever, IBM Disclosure Bulletin, vol. 3, N0. 3, August 1960, p. 20.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2416595 *Mar 15, 1944Feb 25, 1947Rca CorpPhotoelectric relay
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3614453 *Apr 8, 1970Oct 19, 1971Johnson Richard MRadiation sensitive cassette leader detector
US3901607 *Feb 21, 1974Aug 26, 1975Xerox CorpHigh aperture reflection photodetector apparatus
US3973685 *Jun 23, 1975Aug 10, 1976Litton Systems, Inc.Photoelectric sensing apparatus for pallet storage systems
US4082189 *Jun 28, 1976Apr 4, 1978Basic Vegetable Products, Inc.Apparatus for separating food articles from field debris
US4299496 *Nov 6, 1978Nov 10, 1981Interlake, Inc.Load proximity detection techniques
US4365151 *Sep 2, 1980Dec 21, 1982Burroughs CorporationSensor for a document processor
US4762292 *Jan 30, 1987Aug 9, 1988Anci Alexander M DVacuum column web loop position sensing system
US5075543 *May 29, 1990Dec 24, 1991Xerox CorporationLight weight paper sensor using fibers
Classifications
U.S. Classification250/559.29, 250/223.00R
International ClassificationB07C3/10, B07C3/14, G06K13/067, G06K13/06
Cooperative ClassificationG06K13/067, B07C3/14
European ClassificationG06K13/067, B07C3/14