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Publication numberUS3590159 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 29, 1971
Filing dateNov 15, 1968
Priority dateNov 15, 1968
Publication numberUS 3590159 A, US 3590159A, US-A-3590159, US3590159 A, US3590159A
InventorsMeri Kalju, Simms John, Wolf Arnold
Original AssigneeElectrospace Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Telephone-answering device
US 3590159 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [111 3,59%,159

[72] lnventors Arnold Wolf 3,286,033 11/1966 Lemelson 179/6 Brooklyn; 2,864,895 12/1958 Bryant 179/6 John Simms, Yonkers; Kalju Merl, 2,832,841 4/1958 Eldridge 179/100.2 lVlaspeth,allo,N.Y. 2,937,237 /1960 Zanardo 179/6 [21] App1.No. 776,204 3,370,131 2/1968 Reed 179/100.2 [22] Filed Nov. 15, 1968 OTHER REFERENCES Patented June 29, 1971 901 173 7/1962 Great Britain .i 179/6 [73] Assignee Electrospace Corporation Glen Cove, Y Primary Examiner-James W. Moffitt Assistant Examiner-Raymond F. Cardillo, .lr. Att0rneyFriedman & Goodman [54] TELEPHONE-ANSWERING DEVlCE 13 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs. 7

[52] US. Cl 179/6 R, ABSTRACT: A terephone answering device of the type m 179M002 ML 179M002 ing a shifting position playback and recording head, wherein [5 l] llll. Cl 04m "64, the head s urged through movement y an expanding G1 lb 5/48 G1 lb 21/08 member, such as a spring, which in each operating interval is Field of Search 179/6 R, 6, expanded a prescribed extent effective to cause a theoretical 6 100-2 CA; maximum extent ofmovement in such head, but wherein usual 274/4 H A operation contemplates the limiting of head movement to {56] References Cited selected lesser extents than said theoretical maximum to thereby provide plural recording positions for the head. The UNITED STATES PATENTS difference between theoretical and actual head movement is 3,388,911 6/1968 Wilson l79/100.2 readily allowed for by expansion of the spring.

PATENTEUJUNZQIQH 590,159

sum 3 or 3 f I 96 TELEPHONE I IJ C LINE; TELEPHONE RINGING |02 SENSING l 64 TAPE DRIVE LA- f2?" l6 1 4 R/P I06 TAPE HEAD H60 ||6d l I l I l l I IIO H2 PHOTO CELL FLIP FLOP H6 AND cmcurr LAMP NETWORK m K FIG. 5.

INVENTOR. ARNOLD wow .IUIIN 5.1 [VI Nib TELEPHONE-ANSWERING DEVICE The present invention relates generally to an improved device for automatically answering a telephone call by transmitting a prerecorded announcement to a caller and recording a dictated message from the calling party, and more particularly to improved means for affecting alternately, the announcement playout and incoming message recording.

There are telephone-answering devices of the kind herein contemplated in which it is necessary to use two separate decks having two magnetic tapes and two separate record/playback heads in order to provide for the playout of a recorded announcement and subsequent recording of an incoming message. One tape is used for the announcement and the other tape is used for the incoming message. In addition, the use of two separate tapes requires, besides two separate heads, the use of two separate tape drive systems and their ancillary components. Furthermore, electrical switching means are necessary to switch from one deck operation to the other deck operation.

While such prior art telephone-answering devices generally provide commercially acceptable service, there is no one known model that is completely satisfactory from the viewpoint of economical cost of production, or economical maintenance and repair.

Broadly, it is an object of the instant invention to provide an improved telephone-answering device overcoming the foregoing and other shortcomings of the prior art. Specifically, it is an object to provide a telephone-answering device of the type having only one record/playback head operatively arranged to provide both announcement playout and incoming messagerecording functions, such functioning being effectively coor dinated with shifting movement of the head between playback and recording positions thereof relative to a single magnetic recording tape. 1

Additionally, it is an object of the invention to provide a telephone-answering device using only a single magnetic tape, a single record/play head and a single tape drive system.

It is a further object of this invention to use a record/play head which is shiftable transversely across the recording tape.

A further limitation which exists with prior art telephone answering devices is their being limited to only one announcement message. If a second announcement message is desired it can be achieved only by recording the second announcement message on the first announcement, thereby erasing it. Conversely, if it is desired to repeat the first announcement message it has to be recorded again resulting in the erasure of the second recorded announcement message. It is evident from the foregoing, that in the instance where a user of the answering equipment desires to have different styles of announcement messages on leaving his-office for lunch hour, on leaving for the day or for weekends, this would entail considerable inconvenience to the user to repeatedly have to rerecord a new announcement at each instance of leaving his office.

It is accordingly an object of the instant invention to overcome this shortcoming by facilitating the possibility of recording multiple announcements on the recording tape, adjacent to each other. The user can select any one of the multiple announcements, at any time, by turning a selector control thus shifting the movable head to the desired announcement position.

The above brief description, as well as further objects, features and advantages of the present invention, will be more fully appreciated by reference to the following detailed description of a presently preferred, but nonetheless illustrative embodiment in accordance with the present invention, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a simplified plan view of a telephone-answering device according to the present invention wherein positions of movement of moving parts thereof are illustrated in phantom and full line perspective;

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view projected from FIG. 1 in which positions of movement of a movement-actuating means providing the positions of movement of FIG. 1 are, in turn, illustrated in phantom and full line perspective;

FIGS. 3A and 3B are greatly simplified plan views which best illustrate the selection of different recording tracks, the positions of movement of moving parts of the device again being illustrated in full line and phantom line perspective;

FIG. 4 is a plan view, on a greatly enlarged scale, of a magnetic recording tape suitable for use in the telephone-answering device hereof; and

FIG. 5 is a circuit diagram of exemplary electrical controls for the telephone-answering device.

Reference is now made to the drawings and in particular to the simplified showing in FIGS. 1, 2 of a telephone-answering device demonstrating objects and advantages of the present invention, such device being generally designated 10 and appropriately enclosed within a housing, only the bottom wall 12a and front and rear walls 12b, 120, respectively, of which are shown in FIGS. 1, 2. The illustrated embodiment of the device 10 utilizes an endless loop of recording tape 14 on which, as will be subsequently described in greater detail herein, there is provided either one or several announce tracks which, as the name implies, has an appropriate message which announces to the telephone caller that the party being called is not available and which further invites the caller to then dictate a message which is recorded by the device 10. Thus, also as will be subsequently described in greater detail herein, the recording tape 14 additionally has appropriate delineated or reserved areas for recording a message dictated by the telephone caller. These areas shall be referred to in this description and in the appended claims as potential plural message recording tracks even though each is not technically a track until a message has been recorded thcrealong. Cooperating with the recording tape 14 is a combination playback and recording head 16, of conventional design, which is effective, as generally understood, to provide an audio reproduction or playout of the message previously recorded on the tape announce track or tracks (as the case may be) and also to produce a recording of the caller's message on the tape recording tracks. To achieve this functioning, the head 16, according to the present invention, is movable from a starting announcement playout position adjacent one side 14a of the tape, along which it will be understood there is provided the previously referred to announce tracks and which playback position is illustrated in phantom perspective in FIG. 1, transversely across the width of the tape 14 for a selected extent to a message recording position, such as is illustrated in full line in FIG. 1. At the selected message-recording position the head 16 is then adjacent a potential message-recording track of the tape 14 and is operated, in a well understood manner, to record the message being dictated by the caller.

Turning now to the structural details by which the foregoing transverse movement of the head 16 is achieved, as is clearly illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2, head 16 is appropriately rigidly secured to a plate 18 having confined slidable movement along the housing bottom wall 12a, the plate 18 being movable beneath a combination guide and holding bracket 20 at one end and elsewhere having strategically located bearing and groove arrangements 22 which cooperate to confine plate 18 to movement transversely of the tape 14, as already noted. An L-shaped member 24 pivotally mounted at the juncture of its legs, as at 24a, is connected at the free end of its longer leg 24b to the plate 18, such connection being achieved by a pin and slot 26 which, as generally understood, makes allowance for the pivotal movement of the member 24 about the pivotal axis 24a while imparting sliding movement to the plate 18 which is tangential to the axis 24a. At the free end of its short leg 24c, member 24 is connected, at 28a, to one end of a helical spring 28 which is connected at its opposite end 28b to the lower pivoting end of the lever 30 which, in turn, is actuated through pivoting movement by a solenoid 32, the details of which pivotal movement will subsequently be described in greater detail. At this convenient pointin the description, however, it should be noted that in response to pivotal movement of the lever 30, as from its full line to its phantom line positions depicted in FIGS. 1, 2 spring 28 is correspondingly expanded and a force urgency is created in this member whichis effective to urge the member 24 through clockwise pivotal move ment about the axis 240. Consistent with this functioning of the spring 28, there is a spacing rod 34 freely disposed within the helical turns of the spring. Specifically, rod 34 is free of attachment to either the lever 30 or leg 34b although it is in abutment with those elements prior to operation of the solenoid 32. Thus, upon operation of the solenoid 32 and move ment of the lever 30 to its pivoted position of movement as depicted in phantom line perspective, spacing rod 34 and, more particularly, end 34b thereof is moved to a clearance position out of contact with the short leg 24c and, in the usual circumstances of operation of the device 10, does not come back into contact with this leg until after an announcement playout and message recording interval of operation of the device 10.

In the foregoing description of operation it will be understood that the movement of the lever 30, as provided by the solenoid 32, is of an extent which is effective in causing head movement of an extent at least equal to the width W of the tape 14 such that the theoretical extent of the movement which can be imparted to the head 16, as measured from the starting position adjacent the edge 14a, is completely across the width of the tape to the opposite side 14b. In practice, however, movement of head 16 is limited to only a portion of this theoretical extent of travel and, further, such limitation of movement is operatively arranged to coincide with the positions of movement required of the head 16 such as is necessary to provide a selected one of the possible recording positions for the head adjacent the various potential tape-recording tracks. In other words, in each announcement playout and message recording interval of operation of the device 10, the expansion of the helical spring 28 which serves as the prime mover of the member 24 is conducted to an extent necessary to theoretically produce movement in the head 16 to the full extent of at least the width of the tape 14 though, in usual circumstances, the member 24 and thus the head 16 mounted thereon actually moves only a portion of this distance.

The head-movement limiting mechanism, or more particularly, the track-selecting means of the device includes a transversely oriented shaft 36 appropriately journaled for rotation in bearings supported in the housing front and rear walls 121;, 120. In the illustrated embodiment hereof, which has been simplified so as not to obscure the invention, there is rigidly mounted on a medial portion of the shaft 36 and thus rotatable in unison therewith a cylindrical member 38 having an edge 38a in facing relation to the member 24 and having as its significant structural aspect a circumferentially arranged series of accurately machined, molded or otherwise appropriately provided recesses, herein individually and collectively designated R. The specific position of the member 38 along the shaft 36 is such that a selected individual one of the recesses R will be engaged by an upstanding pin 24d mounted in the medial portion of the long leg 24b and thus in an advantageous position, during pivotal movement of the long leg 24b, to make this engagement and thus provide a selected one of 13 recording positions for the head 16, each such recording position aligning with a cooperating recording track of the tape 14. In other words, location of the recessed edge 38a in the path of pivotal movement of the pin 24d on the member long leg 24b results, during each operating interval of the device 10, in engagement 'of this pin against a surface defining a specific recess R and, as a consequence, limits clockwise pivotal movement of the member 24 and thus the transverse movement of the head 16 to a specific position of movement adjacent the tape 14, this position of movement being more particularly one in which the head 16 is appropriately adjacent a potential recording track of the tape 14.

To better understand the cooperating relationship between the recesses R and the positions of movement of the head 16 relative to the tape 14, reference should be made to the enlarged scale illustration of the tape 14 in FIG. 4. As already noted, one or possibly three announce tracks A1, A2 and A3 are allotted on the tape 14 adjacent the edge 14a. The potential message recording tracks are arranged longitudinally of the tape 14 in side-by-side positions across the prescribed width W of the tape 14. These potential message recording tracks are designated in FIG. 4 by the reference letter T followed by an arithmetic number in the order in which the tracks are utilized; thus track T1 is the first of these recording tracks to be utilized in the recording of a message dictated by a telephone caller and is followed in use by recording track T2 and so forth until all 13 of the available recording tracks are used, it being understood that the invention is'in no way limited to the use of only 13 recording tracks but that more orless than this number may be used. As illustrated in FIG. 4, however, it will be noted that the tracks intended to be sequentially used in the operation of the device 10 are alternately spaced with each other such that, for example, successively utilized recording tracks T1 and T2 are separated by recording track T12. As a result of this alternate spacing, the

distance D between successively used tracks, as exemplified by tracks T1, T2, is larger than what would be the required distance if the successively used recording tracks were adjacent each other, This alternate spacing or interleaving of successively used tracks has been found to minimize cross talk between adjacent tracks, The invention, however, is not limited to the alternate spacing of the recording tracks T since this feature is only preferred but not essential.

Still referring to FIGS. 1, 2, rigidly mounted on shaft 36 adjacent the cylindrical member 38 is a ratchet 40 having the usual circumferentially spaced peripheral teeth 40a. Cooperating with the ratchet 40 is a pawl 42 having a hook 42a which, in practice, meshes with the ratchet teeth 40a during the interval of operation of the device 10 that solenoid 32 is deenergized and return spring 44 is then effective in urging the meshing pawl 42 through movement causing counterclockwise rotation of the shaft 36. Naturally, rotation of the shaft 36 in turn results in rotation of the cylindrical member 38 and thus the positioning of the next recess R for engagement with the upstanding pin 24d. Any holding mechanism, such as the recessed wheel and detent arrangement 45 may be used to hold the shaft 36 and member 38 in each discreet position of rotation.

As is clearly shown in FIG, 2, pawl 42 is appropriately rigidly connected to extend laterally of a pivotally mounted lever 46 engaged at its upper end also to a return spring 44, at its lower end pivotally connected, as at 44a, to a horizontally oriented support 46, and engaged at its medial area to an ex tending portion 32a of the solenoid plunger. Thus, during a power stroke of the plunger 32a, lever 46 is pivoted from its full line position to its phantom line position as depicted in FIG. 2 and in the process pawl 42 is disengaged from the ratchet 40 and moved into its ready position, also depicted in phantom line perspective in FIG. 2. The opposite end of the solenoid plunger 32b is connected to the upper end of the previously noted lever 30 which is also pivotally connected, as at 48, to the support 46 but at the opposite extending end thereof. Lever 30, when urged through pivotal movement during operation of the solenoid 32 and thus in response to the power stroke of the solenoid plunger 32b, causes expansion of the spring 28 and thus movement of the head 16, all as previously described herein. From the foregoing, it shouldtherefore be appreciated that movement of the pawl 42 from its ready position into its meshing position in which it causes rotation of the shaft 36 occurs during movement of the member leg 24]) back to its original starting position and thus when the pin 24a is out of contact with the recesses R and the cylindrical member 38 is thus free to rotate with the shaft 36. Facilitating this return of the member 24 to its starting position is a return spring 48 connected between this member and the housing rear wall 120. Any appropriate technique of regulating the urgency of the opposing springs 28 and 48 may be employed to achieve clockwise and then reverse return movement of lever 24. For example, a preferred technique is prestretching spring 28 to produce a force urgency therein al most equal to that of spring 43 such that the subsequent additional expansion thereof occurring upon operation of solenoid 32 is clearly effective to overcome the resistance of spring 48.

Completing the device is a tape drive mechanism for moving the endless loop of tape 14 longitudinally past the head 16 during the playback and recording positions of the head. The preferred embodiment for this mechanism, as illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 includes a motor 50 appropriately mounted on supports 52, 54 on housing rear wall 120 and having a drive shaft 56 extending through this housing wall and mounting a pulley 58 on the free end thereof. Entrained about this pulley and about a cooperating pulley 60 is a pulley belt 62 which is effective in transmitting the rotational power of the motor 50 to a capstan shaft 64 mounting the pulley 60. As is perhaps best shown in FIG. 2, the endless loop of tape 14 is contained within a housing 68, the major length portion of the tape being arranged in folds and threaded over an end of the shaft 64 and a guide roller 72 such that the tape has a run along the outside of the tape housing front wall 68a and, during such run, passes in close playback and recording proximity to the head 16. The capstan shaft 64 is powered in rotation during operation of the motor 50 and thus causes longitudinal movement of the tape 14, an appropriate nip pressure for driving the tape 14 being applied by an elastomeric roller 66 journaled for rotation in a lever 74 which is pivotally mounted at one end, as at 76, to the housing front wall 120 and biased through pivotal movement via spring 78 against the tape 14 in terposed between the roller 66 and shaft 64.

Description will now be made of a typical announcement playout and recording interval of operation of the device 10 with specific reference to the plan views of FIGS. 3A, 3B, and 4. As already noted, an exemplary embodiment of the tape 14, as clearly shown in FIG. 4, includes several announce tracks, Al, A2 and A3 as well as a plurality of potential recording tracks, as exemplified by tracks TI- 13. The determination of the specific one or number of announce tracks A1, A2 or A3 available for use is a function of the starting position of head 16, such starting position being in turn a function, as clearly illustrated in FIG. 1, of which one of three seats S1, S2 or $3 on wheel 80 is dialed into position to accommodate a cooperating laterally extending pin 81 in seating relation when plate 18 is biased by spring 48 to its starting position.

As is clearly illustrated in FIG. 4, the endless loop of tape 14 includes a transversely oriented segment 14c which cooperates, in a manner which will soon be described in detail, with a photocell to produce an appropriate signal indicating initially that the end of an announce track, either of track A1, A2 or A3, has been reached and thereafter causing movement of the head 16 from one such announce track to one of the recording tracks that is selected as a function of the particular recess R which is engaged by the upstanding pin 24d during pivotal movement of the member 24, all as has been previously described. The longitudinal movement of the tape 14 naturally moves the selected recording track past the head 16 which then operates, in a well understood manner, to record the dictated message of the caller along the recording track. When the transparent segment Me is again encountered, the signal from the cooperating photocell is at this time effective to terminate the operation of the telephone-answering device 10 and cause all moving parts thereof to return to their initial starting position in preparation for the next successive playback and recording interval of operation.

By way of providing concrete examples of operating intervals of the device 10 for purposes of this description, reference is made to FIG. 3A which illustrates movement of the head 16 from its initail starting playback position, as illustrated in full line, adjacent the announce track Al, to a recording position, illustrated in phantom line perspective, adjacent a recording track located in the medial portion of the tape 14, as for example adjacent recording track T3. This selected positioning of the head 16 is achieved by engagement of the upstanding pin 24d, during pivotal movement of the member leg 2 b in a recess located approximately midway between a point of shallowest and greatest depth of the cylindrical wall which defines the member 38, such recess being specifically designated R3 in FIG. 3A and being understood to be that recess which is correlated with the tape 14 to provide a position to the head 16 adjacent the track T3. Assuming successive operating intervals of the device 10, ultimately these uses will result in utilization of succeeding recording tracks which, for present purposes, will further be assumed to include tracks T4-6, inclusive, thus leaving recording track T7 as the next recording track available for use. Since track T7 is located adjacent the far end 1417 of the tape 14, extensive movement is required of the head 16. As illustrated in in FIG. 33, member 38 will thus be understood at this time to have rotated to a position of rotation in which recess R7, the recess defined by the shallowest extent of the wall of member 38, is then in position to be engaged by the pin 24d, such engagement occurring upon pivotal movement of-member 24, all as is clearly illustrated in phantom line perspective in FIG. 3B.

As is perhaps best understood from FIGS. 3A, 3B, and more particularly from the full line and phantom line illustrations of the positions of movement of these FIGURES, use in advantageously made of the geomentry of lever legs 24b, 24c which, in a well understood manner, provides amplification of the pivotal traverse of leg 240 in the output pivotal traverse of let 24b. For this reason, the power stroke of solenoid 32 and thus the expansion of spring 28 need only be proportional to the maximum travel required of the head 16, the final output movement being supplemented by the movement amplification characteristic of lever 24.

Any one of numerous electrical controls can be provided for operating the telephone-answering device 10 in the manner just described, but for completeness sake, a circuit diagram for a preferred arrangement of such electrical controls is illustrated in FIG. 5, to which FIGURE reference is now made. As clearly illustrated therein, connected to the incoming telephone lines 90, 92 is a transformer 94 coupling the telephone circuit to a telephone-ringing sensing means 96, this portion of the circuit further including a conventional DC blocking capacitor 98 functioning in a well-understood manner to block the telephone line direct current from the sensor 96. Upon receipt of a telephone-ringing signal, the previously noted telephone-ringing sensing means 96 is effective to bias a transistor 100 into its conduct condition thereby operating relay 102. The operation of relay 102 in turn results in the closing of a first set of relay contacts 192a (located adjacent the sensing means 96), a second set of contacts 102!) and also a third set of contacts 1020, with the following results: closing of contacts 102a grounds the emitter of transistor 100, thus maintaining the same in its conductive condition, closing of contacts 1102b completes the circuit for the tape drive motor 50, thus rendering this motor operative, and closing of contacts 102C will seize the telephone line.

As already noted, operation of motor 40 operates the previously described tape drive mechanism, illustrated in diagrammatic block form in FIG. 5 and designated with the reference numeral 64 of the previously noted drive shaft, to thereby cause longitudinal movement of the endless loop of tape 14 past the combination recording and playback head 16. At this time, during the operating interval of the device 10, a prerecorded announcement recorded on one of the tape announce tracks, A1, A2 or A3 is played out to the telephone lines 90, 92 via the head 16, along the conductors through normally closed contacts 116a, through the amplifier 106, along the conductors through the normally closed contacts 11612, and finally through the telephone transformer 94.

As additionally already noted, at the completion of the playout of the message on the announce track, the tape transparent segment 14c ultimately passes between a photocell and lamp arrangement I10 triggering, in a well-understood manner, the photocell. The photocell, in turn, triggers a con- Operation of the transistor 114 energizes the coil of a relay 116 causing closure of relay contacts 1l6e. The closing of relay contacts 116s completes the circuit for the solenoid 32. As already noted, operation of solenoid 32 is effective in shifting the head 16 from its starting playback position adjacent an announce track to a recording position adjacent a recording track, such position being a function of the recess R on member 38 presented for engagement by the upstanding pin 24d of the member 24. Operation of relay 116 also has the ef fect of shifting the input connection of the amplifier 106 via the normally open contacts 1 16d to the telephone transformer 94. Thus, the incoming message being dictated by the caller is now fed into the amplifier 106 and recorded on a tape-recording track via normally open contacts 116C and head 16.

When the endless loop of tape 14 completes its cycle oflongitudinal movement, the tape transparent segment 140 is again passed between the photocell and lamp arrangement 110, thereby triggering the photocell which again triggers the flipflop circuit network 112, flopping this circuit at this time-into a state so as to bias both the previously noted transistors 11111 and 114 into their cutoff conditions. The cutoff of transistor 100 releases relay 102 causing deactivation of the motor 50 and release of the telephone line while the release of relay 116 deactivates the solenoid 32. Upon deactivation of the solenoid 32, the return spring 48 biases head 16 back to its starting position adjacent the announce tracks of the tape 14. Additionally, due to the release of relay 116, the input and output of the amplifier 106 is again connected to the head 16 and telephone transformer 94, respectively. Thus, the telephoneanswering device is returned to its starting or standby condition preparatory to operation for succeeding playback and recording intervals.

A latitude of modification, change and substitution is intended in the foregoing disclosure and in some instances some features of the invention will be employed without a corresponding use of other features.

We claim:

1. A telephone-answering device adapted to play out an announcement in response to an incoming call and to record an incoming message comprising announcement playout and message recording means including a recording surface provided with a first section of a prescribed width having at least one announce track adjacent one side of said recording surface and a second section adjacent to said first section, said second section having a prescribed width with plural message recording tracks across said prescribed width of said second section, a playback and recording head, resilient means exerting an urging force ofa prescribed extent on said head to normally maintain said head in a starting position adjacent said announce track of said first section, movement-actuating means, signal means disposed on said first section at an end of said announce track to activate said movement-actuating means subsequent to an announcement playout, said movement-actuating means being operatively connected to pivoted member linkage means, said pivotal member linkage means being operatively connected to said head for moving said head from said starting position of said first section transversely across said recording surface to said second section in a message-recording position adjacent a selected one of said plural message-recording tracks in opposition to said resilient means an actuation of said movement-actuating means by said signal means, and track selecting means disposed in a path of movement of said pivotal member means to engage said pivotal member means to limit movement of said head adjacent to said selected one of said plural message-recording tracks.

2. A telephone-answering device as defined in claim 1, wherein-said recording surface is a part of an endless loop of a recording tape.

3. A'telephone-answering device adapted to play out an announcement in response to an incoming call and to record an incoming message comprising announcement playout and message-recording means including a recording surface provided with a first section of a prescribed width having at least one announce track adjacent one side of said recording surface and a second section adjacent to said first section, said second section having a prescribed width with plural messagerecording tracks across said prescribed width of said second section, a playback and recording head, resilient means exerting an urging force of a prescribed extent on said head to normally maintain said head in a starting position adjacent said announce track of said first section, movement-actuating means, first signal means disposed on said first section at an end of said announce track to activate said movement-actuating means subsequent to an' announcement playout, said movement-actuating means being operatively connected to pivoted member linkage means, said pivotal member linkage means being operatively connected to said head for moving said head from said starting position of said first section transversely across said recording surface to said second section in a message-recording position adjacent a selected one of said plural message-recording tracks in opposition to said resilient means on actuation of said movement-actuating means by said first signal means, track-selecting means disposed in a path of movement of said pivotal member means to engage said pivotal member means to limit movement of said head adjacent to said selected one of said plural message-recording tracks, and second signal means disposed on said second section at an end of each of said plural message-recording tracks to deactivate said movement-actuating means subsequent to a message recording interval to allow said resilientmeans to return said head to said starting position adjacent to said announce track of said first section of said recording surface.

4. A telephone-answering device as defined in claim 3 wherein said track-selecting means is a rotatable member having an edge provided with plural recesses effective to limit movement of said head as a function of the depth of one of said recesses engaged by said pivotal member linkage means during movement thereof.

5. A telephone-answering device as defined in claim 3 wherein said track-selecting means includes an element provided with means to alternately space said head in order of its contemplated use with respect to said plural message-recording tracks so that one recording track is interposed between a pair of successively selected ones of said plural messagerecording tracks.

6. A telephone answering device as defined in claim 3 including a second resilient means, said pivotal member linkage means and said second resilient means having an operative interposed position between said movement actuating means and said head, said second resilient means being expanded during each message-recording interval a distance propor' tional to the extent of movement of said pivotal member linkage means as permitted by said track-selecting means.

7. A telephone-answering device as defined in claim 6 wherein said second resilient means is connected at one end to said pivotal linkage member means and at its opposite end to said movement-actuating means.

ii. A telephone-answering device as defined in claim 3 wherein said movement-actuating means is a solenoid having a piston with a prescribed stroke of proportionally lesser extent than the combined prescribed widths of said first and second sections of said recording surface, the proportion being a function of a movement amplification characteristic of said pivotal member linkage means.

9. A telephone-answering device adapted to play out an announcement in response to an incoming call and to record an incoming message comprising announcement playout and message-recording means including a recording surface provided with a first section of a prescribed width having plural announce tracks adjacent one side of said recording surface and a second section adjacent to said first section, said second section having a prescribed width with plural message-recording tracks across said prescribed width of said second section, a playback and recording head, resilient means exerting an urging force of a prescribed extent on said head to normally maintain said head in a starting position adjacent a selected one of said announce tracks of said first section, movementactuating means, first signal means disposed on said first section at an end of said announce track to activate said movement-actuating means subsequent to an announcement playout, said movement-actuating means being operatively connected to pivoted member linkage means, said pivotal member linkage means being operatively connected to said head for moving said head from said starting position of said first section transversely across said recording surface to said second section in a message-recording position adjacent a selected one of said plural message-recording tracks in opposition to said resilient means on actuation of said movement-actuating means by said first signal means, track-selecting means disposed in a path of movement of said pivotal member means to engage said pivotal member means to limit movement of said head adjacent to said selected one of said plural message recording tracks, and second signal means disposed on said second section at an end of each of said plural messagerecording tracks to deactivate said movement-actuating means subsequent to a message-recording interval to allow said resilient means to return said head to said starting position adjacent to said selected one of said announce tracks of said first section of said recording surface.

10. A telephone-answering device as defined in claim 9 including an announce track-selecting means operatively arranged in the return path of movement of said head and effective to limit movement thereof to a position adjacent a selected one ofsaid announce tracks.

11. A telephone answering device adapted to play out an announcement in response to an incoming call and to record an incoming message comprising announcement playout and message-recording means including an endless loop of recording tape provided with a first section of a prescribed width having at least one announce track adjacent one side of said recording tape and a second section adjacent to said first section, said second section having a prescribed width with plural message recording tracks across said prescribed width of said second section, a playback and recording head, movement-actuating means including a solenoid, signal means disposed on said first section at an end of said announce track to activate said solenoid of said movement-actuating means subsequent to an announcement playout, said solenoid being provided with piston means of a prescribed stroke, spring means operatively connected between said piston means and pivoted member linkage means so as to resiliently urge said pivotal member linkage means through a pivotal movement upon operation of said solenoid, said pivotal member linkage means being operatively connected to said head for moving said head during said pivotal movement from a starting position adjacent said announce track of said first section transversely across said recording tape to said second section in a messagerecording position adjacent a selected one of said plural message-recording tracks on actuation of said solenoid by said signal means, track-selecting means disposed in a path of movement of said pivotal member means to engage said pivotal member means to limit movement of said head adjacent to said selected one of said plural message-recording tracks.

12. A telephone-answering device as defined in claim 11 wherein said track selecting means is a rotatable member having an edge provided with plural recesses effective to engage with said pivotal member linkage means at different positions of pivotal movement thereof as a function of the depth of said one recess against which engagement is actually made.

13. A telephone-answering device as defined in claim 12 wherein said solenoid is operatively connected to additionally cause rotative movement of said rotatable member of said track selecting means to thereby enable movement of said head to a different message-recording position in successive recording intervals.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3700818 *Sep 14, 1970Oct 24, 1972Matsushita Electric Ind Co LtdAutomatic answering telephone set
US3865987 *May 22, 1973Feb 11, 1975Matsushita Electric Ind Co LtdAutomatic telephone answering system with variable speed drive control
US3909538 *Apr 19, 1974Sep 30, 1975Jacobson SavaControl circuit for telephone answering device with end of tape detection means
US3943290 *Jan 9, 1974Mar 9, 1976Golden Michael ESemi-automatic telephone-answering system
US3967068 *Feb 11, 1975Jun 29, 1976Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.Automatic telephone monitoring system
US4006312 *Jan 8, 1975Feb 1, 1977Leonard RubensteinSound recording and reproducing machines
US4074071 *Apr 2, 1976Feb 14, 1978Wells-Gardner Electronics CorporationAutomatic telephone answering device with paired transducers
US4198544 *Nov 10, 1977Apr 15, 1980Phone-Mate, Inc.Tape head control arrangement
US4340784 *Feb 5, 1980Jul 20, 1982International Port-A-CallPortable telephone answering device
EP0048271A1 *Mar 23, 1981Mar 31, 1982BUGLEWICZ, Neal J.Multi-track tape drive with reel end of tape sensing and rewind
Classifications
U.S. Classification379/73, 379/82
International ClassificationH04M1/65
Cooperative ClassificationH04M1/6515
European ClassificationH04M1/65M