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Publication numberUS3689155 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 5, 1972
Filing dateJul 13, 1970
Priority dateJul 14, 1969
Also published asCA934059A, CA934059A1, DE2034962A1, DE2034962B2, DE2034962C3
Publication numberUS 3689155 A, US 3689155A, US-A-3689155, US3689155 A, US3689155A
InventorsFukui Tooru, Izura Yoshiteru, Nakano Masaaki, Nishiyama Akira, Takahashi Satoshi, Takashima Yuji, Tanaka Masaaki
Original AssigneeMatsushita Electric Ind Co Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Mail processing apparatus
US 3689155 A
Abstract
An automatic mail processing apparatus having means for postmarking a registered mail matter, means for applying information such as the accepting post office designation, serial number and date to the mail matter, a keyboard for generating numerical signals representative of the postal charge, compensation money and weight, and means for supplying a sheet of paper for recording the information and the numerical signals on the sheet, so as thereby to reduce the processing period of time and preventing errors due to manual handling.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Nishiyama et al.

[ 1 Sept. 5, 1972 [54] MAIL PROCESSING APPARATUS [72] lnventorsi Akira Nishiyama, Neyagav/a; Tooru Fukui, Suita; Satoshi Takahashi, Hirakata; Yuii Takashima, Neyagawa', Masaaki Nakano, Osaka; Yoshiteru lzura; Masaaki Tanaka, both of Toyonaka, all of Japan [73] Assignee: Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.

Ltd., Osaka, Japan [22] Filed: July 13, 1970 [21] Appl. No.: 54,555

[30] Foreign Application Priority Data Jul 18, 1969 Ja an ..44/58l40 Jul 14, 1969 Japan ..44/56663 Jul 14, 1969 Japan ..44/56665 Jul 18, 1969 Japan ..44/58135 July 18, 1969 Japan ..44/5s139 52 U.S.Cl ..355/133,95/1.1,346/107 c, 355/39, 355/112 51 Int. Cl. ..G03b,G03b 27/14 [58] lheld of Search ..355/39, 40, 41, 64, 112, 133; 95/1.1; 346/107 C, 22

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,960,377 1 l/ l 960 Simjian ..346/22 3,104,314 9/1963 Simjian ..346/107 C 3,458,253 7/1969 Hansen ..355/19 3,411,768 11/1968 Gatti ..271/10 2,930,296 3/ 1960 Simjian .'....346/ 107 C 2,717,069 9/1955 Driscoll ..346/ 107 C 3,065,467 1 l/ 1962 Prevost "346/ 107 C 2,983,187 5/1961 Bone ..346/107 C Primary Examiner-Samuel S. Matthews Assistant Examiner-Richard L. Moses Attorney-Stevens, Davis, Miller & Mosher [57] ABSTRACT An automatic mail processing apparatus having means for postmarking a registered mail matter, means for applying information such as the accepting post office designation, serial number and date to the mail matter, a keyboard for generating numerical signals representative of the postal charge, compensation money and weight, and means for supplying a sheet of paper for recording the information and the numerical signals on the sheet, so as thereby to reduce the processing period of time and preventing errors due to manual handling.

1 Claim, 12 Drawing Figures HEIDI] COUNTER PATENTEDsEP 5.912 3.689.155 sum 3 M 5 $40 44 i 7) 2 z a?) DELIVERY SLIP Cop OFE/VVELQPE 7. l2. DATE No.3 MAIL r P05 omaz/vo 5mm Na PATENTED P SHEET 5 0F 5 mm NM NH Au CW mw 5% H 2 v1 6 6 M m F W 4L 8 WW 5 A6 R6 Maw AL mmm H mm \W $1 5 A a MM x RETURN 64\ CHANGE RECE/Pr MAIL PROCESSING APPARATUS This invention relates to an apparatus for the automatic processing of mail.

The processing of registered mail matters is generally broadly classified into three operations, that is, the accepting operation for the mail matter between the sender and an accepting post office, the inter-office operation for the transfer of the mail matter between the accepting post office and a receiving post oflice, and the delivery operation for the delivery of the mail matter from the receiving post office to the receiver of the mail matter. Any of these operations has been troublesome in that characters and numerals must be transcribed or stamped on the mail matter. Further, due to the fact that all these operations have been carried out by hand, an extremely extended period of time has been required for the handling of the mail matter and many errors have been seen during the transcription of the characters and numerals on the mail matter.

It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to mechanize the mail processing operation to provide an automatic mail'processing apparatus thereby to reduce the mail processing period of time to a minimum and to prevent inadvertent mistakes due to the manual processing.

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description of some embodiments thereof taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1 and 2 are a block diagram and an external view, respectively, of an embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 3 and 4 are a block diagram and an external view, respectively, of another embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 5 and 6 are diagrammatic views of parts of a further embodiment of the present invention;

. FIG. 7 is a plan view of a delivery slip prepared in the course of mail processing by the apparatus shown in FIGS. 5 and 6;

FIGS. 8 and 9 are diagrammatic views of parts of another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a plan view of a list of accepted mail prepared in the course of mail processing by the apparatus shown in FIGS. 8 and 9; and

FIGS. 11 and 12 are a block diagram and an external view, respectively, of a further embodiment of the present invention.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a mail matter 16 which may comprise a registered envelope a parcel, is inserted into a mail insertion opening of an apparatus 14 in a predetermined direction. A postmarker 1 imprints a postmark on the mail matter 16 and then an information stamper 2 imprints information including the designation of the accepting post oflice, the serial number and the date of acceptance on the mail matter 16. Upon completion of the two kinds of operations described above, a switch 3 is actuated to energize a lamp (not shown). As soon as the switch 3 is actuated, a web of photosensitive paper is supplied from a paper supply means 5, and a strip of paper is cut off from the web of photosensitive paper by a cutter 6 to provide a blank for preparing a mail receipt therefrom. The blank is fed to a copying means 7 where the address and name of the sender and receiver and the information including the designation of the accepting post office, the serial number and the date of acceptance carried by the mail matter 16 as well as information supplied from an information generating means 8 are copied on the blank to provide a mail receipt 15. The information generating means 8 is connected with a keyboard 4 for cooperation therewith so that, in response to the manipulation of the keyboard 4 depending on the weight, postal charge, compensation money (in the case of a registered mail matter) and any other required factors, these factors are displayed on a display means 13, and at at the same time, the information thereof is generated from the information generating means 8.

The mail matters 16 are periodically collected to be collectively transferred to the next processing step. A switch means 9 is provided to actuate a paper supply means 10 and a serial number printing means 12 so as to prepare a record or list of accepted mail. A web of photosensitive paper supplied from the paper supply means 10 is fed past a cutter 11 to the serial number printing means 12 where the serial number is printed on the strip to provide the list of accepted mail. In starting the periodic transfer of the mail matters, the switch means 9 is turned on so that the serial number printing means 12 prints the serial number of the processed mail matters on the strip supplied from the paper supply means 10 to provide the list of accepted mail. Upon completion of the periodic transfer of the mail matters, the switch means 9 is turned off to cause the operation of the cutter 11 thereby to cut off the strip from the web of photosensitive paper, and at the same time, to stop the operation of the printing means 12 and the paper supply means 10.

According to the embodiment described above, a relatively simple and inexpensive apparatus can greatly improve the service at the window of the accepting post office. That is, it is a very time-consuming operation to clearly transcribe the address and name of the sender and receiver at the window for preparing a mail receipt. However, according to the embodiment described above, the address and name transcribing operation, the imprinting of the postmark and date of acceptance, and the preparation of the mail receipt as well as the list of accepted mail can be carried out simultaneously thereby quickening the service at the window and improving the precision of such service.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, a mail matter 34 is inserted into a mail insertion opening of an apparatus 37 in a predetermined direction. A postmarker 17 imprints a postmark on; the mail matter 34 and then an information stamper l8 imprints information including the designation of the accepting post office, the serial number and the date of acceptance on the mail matter 34. An edge card applying means 19 attaches an edge card to the mail matter 34, and a code recorder 20 records required codes corresponding to at least the serial number and the receiving post office number on the edge card so that the codes can be magnetically or optically reproduced. The edge card may be mechanically attached to the mail matter by holding the mail matter between a pair of rubber rolls. For the correct positioning of the edge card on the mail matter, optical means or physically actuated contact means may be employed. Upon completion of the operation of the code recorder 20, a switch 21 is actuated to energize a lamp (not shown). As soon as the switch 21 is actuated, a web of photosensitive paper is supplied from a paper supply means 22 and a strip of paper is cut off from the web of photosensitive paper by a cutter 23 to provide a blank to be processed for serving as a mail receipt. The bank is supplied to a copying means 24. An information generating means 26 is cooperable with a keyboard 27 so that, in response to the manipulation of the keyboard 27 depending on the weight, postal charge, compensation money (in the case of a registered mail matter) and any other required factors, these factors are displayed on a display means 35, and at the same time, the information thereof is generated from the information generating means 26. A web of a suitable paper is supplied from a paper supply means 33 through a cutter 32 to a typewriter 31 where the information including the weight, postal charge and compensation money supplied from the information generating means 26 in association with the keyboard 27 is typed on the strip. The copying means 24 copies the characters typed on the strip cut from paper supply 33 and the address and name carried by the mail matter 34 on the blank of photo-sensitive paper cut off by the cutter 23 from the web of photosensitive paper supplied from the paper supply means 22 so as to provide a mail receipt 36.

The mail matters 34 are periodically collected to be collectively transferred to the next processing step. A switch means 25 is provided to actuate a paper supply means 28 and a serial number printing means 30 so as to prepare a record or list of accepted mail. A web of photosensitive paper supplied from the paper supply means 28 is fed past a cutter 29 to the serial number printing means 30 where the serial number is printed on the strip to provide the list of accepted mail. In starting the periodic transfer of the mail matters, the switch means 25 is turned on so that the serial number printing means 30 prints the serial number of the processed mail matters on the strip supplied from the paper supply means 28 to provide the list of accepted mail. Upon completion of the periodic transfer of the mail matters, the switch means 25 is turned off to cause the operation of the cutter 29 thereby to cut off the strip from the web of photosensitive paper, and at the same time, to stop the operation of the printing means 30 and the paper supply means 28.

According to the second embodiment described above, a relatively simple and inexpensive apparatus can greatly improve the service at the window of the accepting post office. That is, it is a very time-consuming operation to clearly transcribe the address and name of the sender and receiver at the window for preparing a mail receipt. According to the embodiment described above, however, the address and name transcribing operation, the imprinting of the postmark and date of acceptance, and the preparation of the mail receipt as well as the list of accepted mail can be carried out simultaneously thereby expediting the service at the window and improving the precision of such service.

Further, in a registered mail matter, a check or money is generally enclosed in an envelope which has a variety of sizes. It is therefore extremely difiicult, in the service sections except the service section at the window such as the sorting section and collating section, to mechanically read the receiving post office number and the serial number directly described on the mail matter. However, according to the embodiment described above in which an edge card of predetermined size is attached to a predetermined position of the mail matter, the edge card can be easily read mechanically for the automatic sorting of the mail matters. Further, the apparatus may be connected to a computer for reading the codes carried by the edge card so as to facilitate the collation of the mail matter which is transferred from one post ofiice to another. In other words, all the service for the mail matter throughout its travel from the accepting post office to the delivery can be checked by the edge card and the computer. Moreover, the present invention provides a system in which the characters obtained from a keyboard, a typewriter and a mail matter are copied on a single strip of paper. This means that a system of producing character patterns by a keyboard is combined with a system of typewriting characters by a typewriter and copying the typed characters, and thus the keyboard is not necessarily provided with an information generating means such as a copying character pattern generator. In other words, a copying character pattern generator may be affixed to the keyboard when fixed character patterns are generated independently of the mail, while the typewriter may be operated in any other cases and the typed characters may be copied together with the characters on the mail matter thereby to prepare a mail receipt in an inexpensive manner.

FIGS. 5 and 6 show parts of an apparatus for preparing a delivery slip of a registered mail matter and a duplicate thereof. Referring to FIG. 5, a box 38 contains therein non-processed registered mail matters. The mail matters are successively fed into a processed mail receiving box 42 by means of rollers 39 and a belt 43. (Non-processed and processed mail matters in the description of FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, refer respectively to mail matters before and after processing for the preparation of a delivery slip as illustrated in FIG. 7, corresponding to each processed mail matter.) While a mail matter 44 passes through a point A, the address and name of the sender and receiver as well as the designation of the accepting post office and the serial number described and imprinted on the mail matter 44 are recorded on a strip as shown in FIG. 7 by an optical system 40 which has a structure as shown in FIG. 6. The optical system 40 includes an optical means 45 for producing the entire image of the mail matter 44 and an optical means 46 for producing an enlarged partial image including the designation of the accepting post office and the serial number. These images are recorded on a web of photosensitive paper supplied from a supply roll 41 so as to prepare a delivery slip as shown in FIG. 7. The non-processed mail container 38 is provided with means for aligning the specific edges of the mail matters so that the post office number, the serial number, etc. imprinted on a predetermined place of each mail matter are brought to a predetermined position.

The third embodiment of the present invention described above is advantageous in that the processing period of time per mail matter can be reduced by virtue of the mechanized system, the labor is eased due to the elimination of the entry of characters by hand, no errors can occur due to the preparation of the record by photographic reproduction, and a duplicate can be easily obtained for convient filing.

Referring to FIG. 8, a mail processing apparatus embodying the present invention has a function of taking a copy of a registered mail matter and the serial number thereof, a function of preparing a list of accepted mail,

and a function of counting the number of such mail matters.

A purality of non-processed mail matters such as envelopes 56 are stacked up on a table 47 which is provided with a positioning means 55 for aligning the specific edges of the envelopes 56 so that the post office number 53 and the serial number 54 printed on a predetermined place of each envelope 56 can be registered at a predetermined position as shown in FIG. 9. After so aligning the envelopes 56, the envelopes 56 are fed one by one by a feeding means 48. As an envelope 56 passes through a point A on the feeding means 48, a copying means 49 takes a copy of the entire envelope 56 or of a portion of the envelope 56 carrying the accepting post office number 53 and the serial number 54. Thus, a list having a series of post ofiice numbers and serial numbers carried by the envelopes 56 can be obtained as shown in FIG. 10. As the envelopes 56 are successively fed by the feeding means 48, a counter 50 counts the number of envelopes 56 passing therebelow. The number of envelopes 56 may be detected by an optical method employing a photoelectric transducer or by a mechanical method employing a mechanical contact means such as a micro-switch. The number of envelopes 56 thus counted is displayed by a suitable means such as a display tube. After the above processing, the envelopes 56 are divided into a plurality of groups each consisting of ten, one hundred or more envelopes by means of a dividing means 51 which is responsive to the output of the counter 50. A parting colored sheet may be interposed between the groups of envelopes or each group of envelopes may be bundled. The envelopes 56 divided into the groups each consisting of a fixed number of envelopes are stacked on a table 52 to be transferred therefrom later.

The fourth embodiment of the present invention described above which can fully automatically process registered mail matters is advantageous in that the processing period of time per envelope can be reduced by virtue of the mechanized system, the need for the entry of characters by hand is eliminated thereby reducing the number of clerks particitating directly in the service of this kind and easing the labor involved, no errors can occur due to the preparation of the record by photographic reproduction, and a duplicate can be easily obtained for convient filing following the service of this kind.

FIGS. 11 and 12 show a further embodiment of the present invention which may be installed in a post office for saving the labor of mail clerks in accepting mail matters or outside of the post office for accepting mail matters in the nighttime during which the post office is closed, or may be installed in a building or on the street for automatically carrying out, without being attended by a mail clerk, the acceptance of registered mail matters for which a receipt must be issued.

A mail matter 57 such as a registered envelope or parcel is dropped into a mail insertion opening 66 by the sender. The weight of the dropped mail matter 57 is measured by a scale 58 and the measured value is sup plied to a charge calculator 59. Further, the sender actuates a manual signal input means 60 to put the information including the classfiication of the mail, either ordinary or express delivery, and compensation money into the charge calculator 59. An input monitor 68 is provided for the monitoring of the input signals. The charge calculator 59 calculates the charge on the basis of the information supplied from the scale 58 and the manual signal input means 60, and the result of charge calculation is displayed on a charge display means 61. A balance calculator 63 compares the money dropped into a coin inlet 62 by the sender with the result of charge and return any balance to a change returning section 64. As soon as the proper charge is accepted, a means 65 which may be a photographic copying means or printer prepares a mail receipt and a copy thereof so as to issue the mail receipt to the sender and reserve the copy in the apparatus as a record.

The manual signal input means 60 illustrated in FIG. 11 may be a keyboard which is manually operated or a signal input means responsive to voice information. A so-called edge card such as a magnetic card or punched card bearing a record of coded characters or visible characters may be attached to a mail matter so that the record carried by the edge card'can be read by means such as a magnetic head, OCR, OMR, or cadmium selenide or like photoelectric element. Thus, the apparatus can be connected to a large-scale mail control system which includes a computer for preparing the receipts, counting the number of mail matters and, carrying out the collation and sorting of mail matters.

The fifth embodiment of the present invention described above is advantageous in that the work at the window of a post office for the acceptance of registered mail matters can be done at high speed without the attendance of post office clerks, and the registered mail matters can be accepted at any time of the day. Another advantage resides in the fact that the mail processing apparatus may be installed in a building or on the street, that is, at any suitable places convenient for the senders. A further advantage is that the mail matters are processed within the apparatus without the aid of the human hand and thus the possibility of trouble such as losses of mail matters can be reduced to a minimum. A yet further advantage resides in the fact that the sorting and counting of the number of mail matters, collation, and issuance of vouchers are facilitated by the attachment of an edge card to the mail matters and thus the apparatus can be connected to a large-scale mail control system which will come out in future.

What is claimed is:

1. A mail processing apparatus for processing mail matters, such as registered envelopes or parcels, at a post office window, comprising: means for imprinting a postmark on each accepted mail matter, means for applying information, said information comprising the accepting post oflice designation, the registration serial number, and the date to each mail matter, means for positioning a stack of mail matters having information applied thereto for subsequent movement into position to be copied, means for providing a registered mail and means for printing said other information on the sheet of paper which comprises the receipt, and means for taking out one mail matter after another from the stack and successively moving them toward the means for copying each mail matter.

l l i k =0

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4037956 *Dec 19, 1975Jul 26, 1977Mckeen Jr Earl SVerified mail system
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US7158941 *Dec 3, 1999Jan 2, 2007Thompson Clifford CResidential and business logistics system and method
US7266531 *Apr 16, 2002Sep 4, 2007Pitney Bowes Inc.Mail processing system with unique mailpiece authorization assigned in advance of mailpieces entering carrier service mail processing stream
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Classifications
U.S. Classification355/133, 355/39, 355/112
International ClassificationB07C1/00, G07F17/00, G07F17/26, G07B17/00
Cooperative ClassificationG07B2017/00701, G07F17/26, G07B17/00467, G07B2017/00225, G07B17/00193, B07C1/00
European ClassificationB07C1/00, G07F17/26, G07B17/00E1