US 3548523 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
l. G. LAWS 3,548,523
APPARATUS FOR PLACING FLEXIBLE SHEETS IN PROTECTIVE ENVELOPE Dec. 22, 1970 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed July 25, 1968 'l. G. LAWS 3,548,523
APPARATUS FOR PLACING FLEXIBLE SHEETS IN PROTECTIVE ENVELOPE Dec; 22,1970
Fiied Ju1 25, 1968 2 Sheets-Sheet 3 "2% M Arm? E United States Patent 3,548,523 APPARATUS FOR PLACING FLEXIBLE SHEETS IN PROTECTIVE ENVELOPES Ira G. Laws, Tulsa, Okla., assignor to Seismograph Service Corporation, Tulsa, Okla, a corporation of Delaware Filed July 25, 1968, Ser. No. 747,607 Int. Cl. G09f 3/18 US. C]. 40-11 5 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A fixture for aiding in the wrinkle-free positioning of a thin, flexible sheet between the opposite sides of a protective envelope sealed along at least one edge thereof and open along another edge, comprising an upright backing member or tongue formed of a thin sheet of relatively stilf material and including a free outer edge and an inner end. At least one deflectable clamping finger having a movable outer end portion extending in confronting relation adjacent one side of the backing member is provided and the finger extends from the inner or fixed end of the backing member to a position adjacent the free outer edge portion for holding the thin, flexible sheet against said one side of the backing member when the sheet is inserted between the backing member and the finger. The backing member is dimensioned to project between the opposite side members within the envelope when the envelope is moved downwardly onto the backing member over the thin, flexible sheet held thereagainst. The envelope and flexible sheet positioned therein are then withdrawn upwardly and off of the backing member.
The present invention relates to a new and improved fixture for aiding in the wrinkle-free placement or insertion of a thin, flexible sheet between opposite sides of a protective envelope or jacket which is sealed along at least one edge and open along another edge.
More specifically, the fixture of the present invention is especially adapted for use in speeding up the preparation of voting information leaves prior to an election, for use in a vote recorder of the type shown in the copending United States application Ser. No. 574,106, filed Aug. 22, 1966, and assigned to the same assignee as the present invention.
Briefly, lvote recorders of the type disclosed in the aforementioned copending US. patent application include a number of pivotally mounted voting information leaves which indicate the various ofiices, candidates, and issues to the voter when punching out selections or a machine processable voting card with a stylus. Each of the leaves is adapted to display printed information for viewing by the voter, and in order to protect and preserve the printed information during the voting procedure each sheet of printed information is jacketed for protection in an envelope of clear or transparent material, such as plastic, through which the voter can view the printed information. Preferably, the envelopes are made of thin, flexible, transparent film, and opposite sides are heat sealed together along at least one edge or more while one edge is left open for receiving the printed information sheet placed in the envelope. The leaf is then pivotally mounted on the vote recorder in a manner described in the aforementioned copending application. In typical elections usually a number of such leaves are required for each vote recorder, and it is a time consuming and laborious job to prepare and ready 2. large number of vote recorders prior to the election, especially when a number of leaves are required for each recorder and require the placing of printed in- Patented Dec. 22, 1970 formation sheets within the clear plastic envelopes before the leaves are mounted on the recorder.
The present invention is adapted to reduce the labor and speed up the process of placing the printed information sheets in the protective envelopes and permit the information to be printed on less expensive, ordinary paper. In prior arrangements, because of the difficulty in placing the information sheets in the envelope, the information had to be printed on heavy hard stock rather than ordinary paper, and this substantially increased election costs. The present invention is also concerned with providing means for improving the rate at which even an unskilled person can properly position the printed sheets within the protective clear plastic envelopes in a wrinklefree manner, so that the printed information is properly lined up with the correct punch holes in the vote recorder.
By using the fixture of the invention it is possible to accomplish the burdensome time-consuming task of placing the information sheets in the protective envelopes in much less time, and in addition it is not necessary that the information sheets be made of relatively stiff, heavy card stock, as was previously required to insure that no wrinkles resulted as the sheet was inserted into the envelope.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved fixture for aiding in the rapid and easy placement of thin, flexible printed sheets in wrinkle-free condition between the opposite sides of a protective envelope or jacket which is sealed along at least one edge and open along another edge.
Another object of the present invention is the provision of a new and improved fixture of the character described which is simple in construction, easy to use, and low in cost.
Still another object of the present invention is the provision of a new and improved fixture of the character described which firmly holds the flexible printed sheets in proper position and aids in guiding the flexible plastic envelope into covering relation thereon.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved fixture of the type described which permits the sheet and envelope to be easily removed from the fixture after proper positioning of the printed sheet within the envelope is accomplished without displacement of the sheet.
The foregoing and other objects and advantages of the present invention are accomplished in an illustrative embodiment thereof which comprises a fixture having a generally rectangular, upright backing member or tongue formed of thin, relatively stiff sheet material. The backing member includes a free outer end portion and an inner end which is supported in upright position on a base or other convenient means. At least one deflectable clamping finger having a movable outer end portion and extended in confronting relation adjacent one side of the backing member is provided to extend from the inner end of the backing member to a point adjacent the free outer edge thereof. The finger is biased against the backing member and is adapted to hold the thin, flexible sheet material firmly against the backing member when the sheet is inserted into position between the clamping finger and said one side of the backing member. After the sheet is held in place on the backing member by the clamping finger, the open side of the envelope is positioned above the backing member and is moved downwardly thereon with one side of the envelope being inserted between the inside surface of the clamping finger and the outside surface of the printed sheet. After full downward movement of the envelope over the backing member and sheet, the envelope and sheet are pinched together at a point along the upper edge and are withdrawn together upwardly and free of the backing member. The fixture thus provides a convenient and easy to use means for rapid placement or insertion of printed sheets within a protective jacket or envelope.
For a better understanding of the present invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a new and improved fixture for aiding in the placement of printed sheets in protective envelopes and characterized by the features of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1 illustrating a thin, flexible information sheet with printed material thereon in position on the fixture between the clamping fingers and one face of the backing member or tongue thereof;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a typical protective envelope or jacket which is used for protecting and preserving the information sheet jacketed therein;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 2 illustrating the fixture of the invention with a printed sheet held in position thereon and a protective envelope partially inserted on the fixture in covering relation over the sheet;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 4 showing the envelope in a fully inserted position on the backing member encolsing the voting information sheet; and
FIG. 6 is a vertical sectional view taken substantially along lines 66 of FIG. 5.
Referring now, more particularly, to the drawings and specifically to FIG. 1 thereof, therein is illustrated a new and improved fixture for aiding in the wrinkle-free positioning or placement of a thin, flexible sheet between the opposite side members of a protective jacket or envelope. The fixture is referred to generally by the reference numeral 10, and the voting information sheet having printed matter on one or both sides thereon, illustrated in FIGS. 2, 4, 5, and 6, is referred to by the reference numeral 12.
Prior to the present invention, such voting information sheets were normally printed on relatively heavy, stiff card stock so that they could be more easily stuffed or inserted by hand into protective, clear, plastic envelopes for use on the voting machines. The use of heavy card stock was necessary because of the difficulty in stufiing the envelopes and the resulting high percentage of spoilage and multilation during the stufling operation. Because card stock is considerably more expensive than ordinary paper, it is desirable to provide a new and improved means for facilitating the insertion of the sheets in the protective envelopes so that thin, flexible sheets of ordinary paper can be used to reduce election costs.
In FIG. 3, there is illustrated a typical protective envelope or jacket 14 which preferably is made of thin, flexible, transparent plastic material so that the printed matter on the voting information sheet is readily viewed through the sides of the envelope after the information sheet is placed therein. The envelope 14 includes a pair of generally rectangular, opposite sides 16 which are dimensioned to be slightly larger than the voting information sheet 12 for easy enclosure. The transparent sides 16 of the envelope 14 are heat sealed together, preferably around three side edges A, B, and C and are left open along the fourth edge D, as best shown in FIG. 3 for insertion of the information sheet 12.
In order that the open edge D of the envelope 14 can be closed after the information sheet 12 is placed therein, and in order that the assembled voting information leaf may be pivotally mounted on a vote recorder, along the open edges D of the opposite sides 16, there are provided a plurality of elongated, flexible, tubular socket portions 18 which are spaced alternately on opposite ones of the sides, as shown in FIG. 3. After the voting information sheet 12 has been inserted between the sides, the socket portions 18 are moved into coaxial alignment with one another so that an elongated closure and hinge pin can be inserted therein for mounting the assembled leaf for pivotal movement on the vote recorder.
A fixture for facilitating the insertion of the pins through the aligned hinge portions 18 is the subject matter of my copending US. patent application Serial No. 745,- 913, filed July 18, 1968 and assigned to the same assignee as the present invention.
In accordance with the present invention, the fixture 10 includes a generally rectangular base 20 having a plurality of rubber support feet or grommets 22 mounted at the corners thereof for supporting the fixture on a work surface, such as a table, desk, or the like. The fixture 10 includes a generally rectangular, upstanding backing member or tongue 24 formed of thin, rigid, sheet material, such as metal or plastic and attached to the base along the lower edge thereof by a short, horizontal, lower flange portion 24 suitably fastened and secured to the base adjacent the center line thereof. The backing member 24 is dimensioned so that it will readily fit between the sides 16 of the envelope 14 within the sealed edges A, B, and C, when the envelope is moved downwardly thereon to enclose the voting information sheet 12 held in juxtaposition adjacent one side of the backing member.
In order to permit upward withdrawal of the envelope and the information sheet 12 inserted therein, the backing member 24 is formed with a semicircular-shaped finger recess 24b midway along the free, upper edge so that the user may conveniently grasp opposite sides of the envelope between the fingers and pinch the sides together against the voting information sheet 12 therein and withdraw the envelope and sheet upwardly away from the backing member without displacement of the sheet. The upward corners of the backing member are rounded as at 24c to facilitate guiding of the open side D of the envelope 14 onto the backing member without binding along the sealed edges A and C.
In accordance with the present invention, the fixture 10 includes at least one or more upwardly extending, movable clamping fingers 26 mounted adjacent to and directly confronting one side face of the backing member 24. The clamping fingers preferably are formed of metal or plastic strip material and are rigidly fixed adjacent their lower ends to the base or backing member. The upper end portions of the fingers are movable toward and away from the backing member and are biased to engage the adjacent side face thereof to hold the information sheet 12 in place, once it is inserted in position between the fingers and backing member, as shown in FIG. 2.
In order to guide the voting information sheet 12 and a side 16 of the envelope 14 into position on the backing member 24 between the inward face of the fingers 26 and the backing member, short upper end portions 26a of the fingers are formed to slope upwardly and outwardly away from the backing member side face. The finger end portions 26a serve to direct the voting information sheet 12 and envelope sides 16 against the side face of the backing member during placement on the fixture. The lower end portions of the clamping fingers 26 are spaced outwardly of the adjacent lower portion of the backing member 24 to accommodate the sheet 12 and envelope side 16, and for this purpose suitable spacing members 30 are disposed between the lower end portion of the fingers 26 and the adjacent side face of the backing member. Rivets 28 or other suitable fasteners are used to secure the clamping fingers to the spacers 30 and backing member 12.
Because the upper end portions of the fingers 26 are movable and are biased toward the side face of the backing member, the voting information sheet 12 is easily inserted downwardly into place between the fingers and the backing member and is firmly held in position by the fingers. During insertion of he sheet 12 and the envelope 14 onto the backing member, the upper end portions of the fingers are deflected outwardly momentarily but permit the sheet and envelope to slide easily into place.
FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate graphically the manner in which the envelope 16, positioned with its open edge D facing downwardly, is moved onto the upright backing member 24 to enclose the voting information sheet 12 clamped in place. After the envelope is facing downward, the user grasps the sides 16 between the fingers in the region of the finger recess 24b on the backing member and pinches the sides tightly against the sheet 12. The sheet and envelope are then withdrawn upwardly and away from the backing member 24, and the assembly is then ready for insertion of the hinge pin to close the envelope.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that the fixture permits the use of ordinary thin paper for the ballot information sheets 12 and does not require that the sheets be printed on more costly, relatively stiff, card stock material, as previously required. Moreover, the fixture 10 reduces the chances of tearing or spoiling the ballot information sheets as they are placed in clear plastic envelopes, and reduces the chances of wrinkling of the sheets during placement in the envelopes. The fixture reduces the time and labor required in placing a large number of voting information sheets in protective envelopes and permits the job of preparing the vote recorder leaves for an election to be completed much more rapidly and with fewer personnel than previously possible. The fixture 10 is relatively inexpensive and a single fixture can be used efiiciently for the task of preparing a large number of vote recorders in readiness for an election. The spacer blocks perform the function of limiting the downward movement of the ballot information sheet 12 and envelope side 16 so that proper positioning is easily obtained. As shown in FIG. 4, the envelope is inserted onto the fixture with the tubular hinge portions 18 on one side 16 spaced between the several clamping fingers without causing interference.
While there has been illustrated and described a single embodiment of the present invention, it will be appreciated that numerous changes and modifications will occur to those skilled in the art, and it is intended in the appended claims to cover all those changes and modifications which fall within the true spirit and scope of the present invention.
What is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1 A fixture for aiding in the wrinkle-free placement of a thin, flexible sheet having indicia on one side in proper facing relation between the opposite sides of a protective envelope sealed along one edge and open along an opposite edge, said envelope including a plurality of end-toend hinge segments on alternate opposite sides along said opposite edge and a greater number of segments'on one side than the opposite side, said fixture comprising a backing member formed of a thin sheet of relatively stiff material and including a free outer end portionand an inner end, and at least one deflectable clamping finger having a movable outer end portion extending in confronting relation adjacent one side of said backing member between said inner end and said outer end portion thereof for holding said thin flexible sheet against said one side upon insertion of the sheet from the outer end portion of said backing member between said member and said finger, said outer end portion of said backing member being dimensioned to be extended freely between the sides of said envelope within said sealed edge when said envelope is moved into covering relation thereon from the outer end toward the inner end, with said one side of said envelope disposed between said clamping finger and said sheet, said finger positioned relative to and edge of said backing member to avoid engagement with any hinge segments on said one side of said envelope when said one side if between ,said finger and said backing member and to engage a hinge segment on said opposite side of said envelope when 'said opposite side is inserted between said finger and said backing member.
2. The fixture of claim 1 wherein said clamping finger includes an inner end secured adjacent said backing member remote from the outer edge thereof.
3. The fixture of claim 1 wherein said backing member is substantially rectangular in shape including an outer edge and a pair of side edges normal thereto, said envelope being similar in shape and sealed around its periphery except along said open edge,.' said outer edge and side edges of said backing member lying closely adjacent and inside said sealed periphery when said envelope is moved onto said backing member with the open end adjacent the inner end of said member.
4. The fixture of claim 1 wherein said backing member is formed of a thin sheet material substantially rectangular in area and supported in anfupright position from a work surface along its lower edge and including a plurality of spaced apart clamping fingers extending upwardly of said lower edge and including an inner clamping surface biased toward said backing member and deflectable away from said member upon insertion of said sheet and said envelope said therebetween.
5. The fixture of claim 4 wherein each of said clamping fingers includes a guiding portion at the outer end sloping upwardly and outwardly 'of said backing member for guiding said sheet and envelope side between said clamping surface and said backing member.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,164,844 12/ 1915 Mudge 27061 2,021,338 11/1935 Struve 53-255 2,177,187 10/1939 Olsen 1 4011 2,528,463 10/1950 Whetzell 53-255 2,779,114 1/ 1957 Orthwine 40l1 EUGENE R. CAPOZIO, Primary Examiner W. I. CONTRERAS, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 53-390