US 3479912 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 25, 1969 M. H. KENNEDY 3,479,912
ENVELOPE OPENER Filed Jan. 8, 1968 INVENTOR. MELVIN H. KENNEDY AGENT 3,479,912 ENVELOPE OPENER Melvin H. Kennedy, Cortland, N.Y., assignor to SCM Corporation, a corporation of New York Filed Jan. 8, 1968, Ser. No. 696,178 Int. Cl. B26d 7/06 US. Cl. 83176 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A device for opening sealed envelopes. The device includes a roller positioned intermediate the end of a V-shaped guide and a blade for causing an envelope sealing flap end to buckle thereby permitting access of the blade between the buckled end of the envelope back and effect shearing of the envelope along the sealing flap fold as it is drawn through the guide.
Background of the invention This invention relates to envelope openers and more particularly to the type which require manual movement of the envelope to effect opening thereof.
In most known envelope openers of this type, the envelope is positioned within a guide slot and a lOng blade is manually brought into contact along the inserted edge for trimming a thin strip therefrom.
This type of opener obviously could present the problem of damaging a tight fitting letter within the envelope wherein a folded edge of the letter would be dangerously close to the envelope edge that is to be trimmed off.
This type of opener also requires careful attention that the entire length of the envelope is fully inserted within the guide slot so as to insure against a partially opened envelope.
Summary of the invention In the present invention an envelope is positioned within the V-shaped guide in an inverted position and is pulled along the guide during which a stationary blade enters the opening between the envelope body and the free end of the sealing flap to shear the envelope along the sealing flap fold. An abutment which is intermediate the guide end and the blade extends slightly into the guide straight line path for causing a buckling of the sealing flap free end thereby providing a more positive entry of the blade between the flap end and the envelope end.
By opening the envelope along the sealing flap fold rather than trimming off a portion of the fold and by effecting entry of the blade between the envelope body and the sealing flap, the disadvantages of possibly damaging the letter within the envelope or efiecting only a partial opening are therefore greatly reduced, if not eliminated.
Description of the drawing FIGURE 1 is a partially exploded left front perspective view of the novel envelope opener;
FIGURE 2 is a left elevational view in section of FIGURE 1 taken along line 22 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of FIGURE 1 illustrating the sealing flap buckling condition;
FIGURE 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along line 44 of FIGURE 2 of an envelope urging spring member illustrating the means by guide by which it is assembled within the V-shaped guide; and
FIGURE 5 is an enlarged perspective view in section of a portion of one of the spring member urging fingers.
nited States Patent 0 3,479,912 Patented Nov. 25, 1969 Description of the preferred embodiment Referring to FIGURES l and 2., a plastic support member 10 has a V-shaped guide aperture 12 which extends from the support rear wall 14 to an intermediate wall 16. Another wall 18, which is substantially perpendicular to the intermediate wall 16 and extends to the front of the support 10, has a roller 20 pivotally mounted on its surface by a screw 22 and a blade 24 rigidly mounted to its surface by a lock screw 26.
The roller 20 is so positioned with respect to the end of the guide aperture that the periphery of a roller hub 28 extends slightly into the straight line path of a guide apex 30 while the blade 24 is so positioned that its point 32 is just away and substantially above the roller hub 28. The blade 24 has a cutting edge 33 extending from the point 32 toward the opposite end and exposed downwardly toward roller 20.
A pair of spring arms 34 are integrally formed from a spring steel member 36 (FIGURE 4) which in turn is formed at its lower end in a V-shape, the angle of which is slightly larger than the angle of the V-shaped guide aperture 12. A pair of tabs 38 are lanced outward from the spring member 36 so as to snap into mating recesses 40 in the guide aperture defining walls 42 when the spring member is inserted into appropriate channels 44 in the guide aperture walls 42 during assembly. The spring member 36 is flexed as it is forced into the guide channels 44 and accordingly the spring fingers 34 contact each other with a slight force due to the degree of flexing of the spring member 36.
The inner surface 48 (FIGURE 5) of each spring finger 34 has a plurality of ribs 50 which are inclined downward from left to right (FIGURES 2 and 5). The ribs urge the envelope 52 (FIGURE 2) downward against the guide apex 30 as it is pulled to the right along the guide and bet-ween the spring fingers 34.
Being that the roller hub periphery 28 extends slightly above the straight line guide path, the leading end 54 (FIGURE 3) of the envelope 52 abuts the roller hub 28 and is raised slightly as the leading end 54 approaches the blade end 32. When the envelope end 54 is raised, the free end 56 of the envelope sealing flap 58 buckles away from the body of the envelope 52 thereby creating an opening 60 for entry of the blade end 32. Thereafter, as the envelope 52 is pulled forward and its enthe length passes over the roller hub 28, the blade cutting edge shears the sealing flap 58 along its fold line 64.
A front shelf 66 (FIGURE 1) of a removable support portion 68 acts to guide the envelope in substantially the same straight line path until the entire length of the sealing flap has been sheared. The removable support portion 68, which is rigidly assembled to the support 10 by way of screws 70, provides accessability to the roller 20 and blade 24 for assembling or replacement when needed.
A metal insert 72 (FIGURE 2) is rigidly assembled within a suitable cavity in the support 10 by a pair of screws 74 for providing additional weight to the support while a friction pad 76 is cemented to the base of the support to insure against movement of the opener when used.
The ability of the spring fingers 34 (FIGURE 1) to be forced apart as an envelope is inserted bet-ween the finger curved ends 78 renders the opener capable of opening envelopes of varied thicknesses.
The envelope to be opened may be placed in the opener in an inverted position as illustrated and opened along the top fold or it may be inserted upright and opened along the bottom fold as the already sealed lower flap as well as the main sealing flap is free at its corner ends.
The 'force exerted by the spring fingers 34 inwardly against the envelope sides is sufiicient enough to effect the aforementioned downward urging by the inclined ribs 50 but it is not too great to prevent smooth movement of the envelope as it is pulled along the guide apex 30.
It is now evident that the present invention provides a low cost, efficient manually operated envelope opener which greatly reduces the possibility of damaging the contents within the envelope when operated by insuring entry of a blade between the envelope sealing flap and the envelope body thereby reducing the chance of contacting the contents within the envelope proper.
The present invention also provides an envelope opener which insures opening the envelope along the entire length of the top or bottom fold by providing a constant downward urging of the envelope as it is pulled through the opener. In addition to the downward urging of the envelope by the spring finger ribs, it is also evident that the angle of the blade edge inherently tends to urge the envelope downward as the envelope is being opened.
The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof.
What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. An apparatus for opening a sealed envelope having a body portion (52) and a sealing flap (58) joined at a fold (64) therewith comprising:
(a) a support having means (30) for guiding the fold (64) of the envelope in a straight line path when moved therealong;
(b) an abutment (20) on the support positioned near an end of the guide means and extending into the straight line path of the guide means for buckling the sealing flap (58) away from the body portion to form an opening (60) at the leading end (54) thereof; and
(c) a blade (24) mounted on the support positioned near the abutment and having a cutting edge (33) positioned to enter the opening and thereafter shear the fold of the envelope as the envelope is moved across the abutment.
2. An envelope opener as defined in claim 1 wherein the abutment (20) is a pivotally mounted roller.
3. An envelope opener as defined in claim 1 further comprising yieldable means (36) for automatically and constantly urging the envelope against the guide means (30) as the envelope is moved along the guide means.
4. An envelope opener as defined in claim 3 wherein the yieldable means comprises a spring member (36) including a pair of arms (34) extending substantially parallel with respect to the guide means (30) and normally biased against each other, each of the arms having a plurality of ribs on a side facing each other and extending lengthwise and downwardly toward the blade (20) for urging the envelope against the guide means.
5. An envelope opener as defined in claim 1 further including a second abutment (66) mounted on the support and disposed at distance from the first abutment (20) for insuring the straight line movement of the envelope when the trailing end of the envelope is approaching the first abutment.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,753,710 4/1930 Mayer 83-176 1,867,973 7/1932 Keiser 83-l76 3,204,503 9/1965 Simjian 83912 X JAMES M. MEISTER, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.