US 3738294 A
To close the toe end of a stocking, a short length of an open-ended stocking, say 5-10 cm, is drawn on to a flat holder and is transferred by means of this holder to a position between a smooth support and a presser foot having a contour corresponding to the desired shape of the seaming line. The presser foot then moves the flat stocking end past a seaming and cutting device.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Christiansen June 12, 1973 APPARATUS FOR CLOSING THE TOE OF A r  References Cited STOCKING UNITED STATES PATENTS  Inventor: Bendt Andreas Christiansen, 3,513,792 5/1970 Rossler 1l2/12l.15 Helsingof Denmark De Spain 1l2/121.l5 3,170,423 2/1965 Henebry ll2/l2l.l2 1 Asslgnee= Hans Chrlsllan Andersen, 3,439,637 12/1966 Haselgrove et a1... 112/12u2 Kastanienbaum, Switzerland 2,760,696 8/1956 Shoaf 223/42  Flled: Sept 1970 Primary Examiner-James R. Boler  Appl. No.: 76,604 Attorney-Watson, Cole, Grindle & Watson 63 C Related :LS. Application Data  ABSTRACT gglfiifg 0 1968 To close the toe end of a stocking, a short length of an open-ended stocking, say 5-10 cm, is drawn on to a flat  Cl. l I 112/121 15 holder and is transferred by means of this holder to a [511 m. C|...1......11.i1.,.111111.11111111 "Dosh 21200 eeeeeiee eeeweee e emeeeh eeeeeee eee e feee Field of Search 12 43 39 having a contour corresponding to the desired shape of 223/42. 112/25 12125 the seaming line. The presser foot then moves the flat stocking end past a seaming and cutting device.
12 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PAIENIEDJUMZW 3.738.294
sum 2 [If 4 INVENTOR ATTORNEY PATEMED JUN] 2873 INVENTOR ATTORNEY APPARATUS FOR CLOSING THE TOE OF A STOCKING CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This application is a Streamlined Continuation of U.S. Pat. application, Ser. No. 764,060, filed Oct. 1, 1968, and now abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a method of closing the toe of a stocking, especially a seamless stocking.
In the manufacture of ladies seamless stockings the stocking is knitted in the form of a tube, the open toe end of which is subsequently closed by forming a seam across the flattened tube along a seaming line of predetermined shape, and cutting away the material outside the seaming line. Various forms of seaming lines are used in practice, such as will be described hereinafter, and these are usually composed of circular portions and rectilinear portions. The seaming is usually made by stitching, but other seaming methods such as fusing or glueing may also be used.
For carrying out the toe closing operation mechanically or semi-automatically it has been proposed to draw the whole stocking on to a former or so-called inspection leg and then to clamp the toe portion between clamping means and upon withdrawal of said former, to close the toe portion while held by the clamping means.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION According to the invention, a method of closing the toe end of a stocking comprises the steps of sliding a short toe end portion of a tubular stocking blank forwards, i.e. toe end first, on to a flat holder, delivering said toe end portion, while in position on said flat holder, to a gripping device, withdrawing said flat holder from said gripping device, and while said toe end portion is being held by said gripping device, producing a seam across said toe end portion and cutting away surplus material.
When proceeding in this manner, since only a short toe end portion of the stocking is to be slid onto the flat holder, the toe end portion can be very accurately placed on this holder in a minimum of time, irrespective of the position of the rest of the stocking, and as soon as the holder has been withdrawn from the gripping device, the operator can start arranging the toe end of the next stocking on the holder in readiness for transfer to the seaming position as soon as the seaming of the beforegoing stocking has been completed.
According to a further feature of the invention, the whole stocking is first slid loosely onto a stocking holder, whereupon the toe end is pulled forwards and slid on to said flat holder. In this manner, the stocking is supported in a controlled manner, while its toe end is being processed, without however interfering with the liberty of arranging the toe end on the flat holder or with the subsequent transfer and toe closing operations. Thus, the stocking may remain on the holder until the whole process has been completed. Moreover, the stocking holder may be in the form of a tube which may be used, in a manner known per se, in combination with a pneumatic system for everting the stocking prior to the toe closing operation'and again reversing the stocking upon completion of this operation and conveying it to a collecting basket or to a following station in the manufacturing line. In this connection it is observed that it is generally preferred to scam the stocking toe on the reverse side, but if this is not desired, the two turning steps will of course be omitted.
The invention also relates to an apparatus for carrying out the described method. According to the invention, an apparatus for closing the toe end of a stocking comprises a flat holder for receiving a short toe end portion of a stocking, gripping means engageable to grip the flattened toe end portion of a stocking across the whole width thereof, means for moving said flat holder to a position between said gripping means and again withdrawing it therefrom upon engagement of said gripping means to grip the toe end portion, and seaming and cutting means operable to close the toe end portion held between said gripping means.
According to a preferred embodiment of the invention said gripping means comprise a stationary smooth support and a presser foot movable into engagement with and away from said support and also movable in a path parallel to the plane of said support.
In this embodiment the stocking toe end will be moved along the smooth support under the influence of the presser foot, and during this movement the seaming will take place by means of a seaming device in a fixed position, e.g. sewing needles. The shape of the seaming line will be determined by the movement of a single element, viz. the presser foot and can therefore be very accurately controlled and adjusted as desired.
Upon completion of the seaming operation, the presser foot may be returned to its original position. However, such return movement can be avoided by so constructing the presser foot that its contour comprises at least two portions each corresponding to the shape of the toe closing seam of a stocking, thus permitting the presser foot to be progressively moved in steps each corresponding to a full toe closing operation.
A particularly simple solution is to make the presser foot circular. In that case the movement of the presser foot will be pure rotation so that very simple driving means may be used. Besides, idle movement of the presser foot may be entirely avoided since seaming can start at any point of the circumference of the presser foot.
If other shapes of the seaming line are desired, driving and guiding means can be used, by which the presser foot is caused to perform a combination of rotary and translatory movement, such as will be further described below.
To permit the above-mentioned pneumatic turning and conveying of the stockings in combination with the toe closing operation, the apparatus may comprise stocking holding means in the form of a plurality of parallel tubes all located at the same distance from a common axis, means for rotating said tubes as a unit about said common axis, and means for connecting said tubes to a source of vacuum in predetermined positions thereof.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a diagrammatical perspective view of an apparatus according to one embodiment of the invention,
FIG. 2 on a larger scale a front view, partly in section, of a presser foot assembly forming part of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. I,
FIG. 3 a diagrammatic top view of the presser foot assembly as well as a stocking toe end holder and a set of stocking holder tubes,
FIG. 4 shows one form of a seamed stocking toe end,
FIG. 5 a toothed disc forming part of the driving means for a presser foot for use in the making of the seam illustrated in FIG. 4,
FIG. 6 another form of a seamed stocking toe end,
FIG. 7 a toothed disc corresponding to the seam illustrated in FIG. 6,
FIG. 8 a third form of a seamed stocking toe end,
FIG. 9 a toothed disc corresponding to the seam illustrated in FIG. 8,
FIG. 10 a presser foot suitable for making a rectilinear seam, and
FIG. 11 is a diagrammatic perspective view of an apparatus according to a further embodiment of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS At the left end of the apparatus of FIG. 1 there are shown three parallel smooth tubes 1, 2 and 3 in three positions a, b and c. The tubes 1, 2 and 3, each comprising a stocking leg support member, are mounted on a disc 4 which is rotatable about a horizontal axis, the tubes all being located at the same distance from the axis of rotation. The tubes are located at an angular spacing of 120 so that upon rotation of the disc 4 through an angle of 120, the tube 1 is moved from position a to position b, the tube 2 from position b to position c, and the tube 3 from position c to position a. The positions a and b are in the same horizontal plane. The tubes extend through the disc 4, and in positions a and c the rear ends of the tubes are connected to a pneumatic suction system, not shown. Position is that closest on the operator.
The disc 4 is mounted in a housing which contains driving means for the disc. The driving means and the suction system are controlled by a program device. A tray 6 for stockings to be closed at their toe end is mounted on the housing 5 above the tubes 1, 2 and 3 in a position convenient for the operator. A pad 7, e.g. of foam plastic, is engageable with the outer surface of the tube at any time in position c and is movable in the longitudinal direction of the tube. The pad is controlled by the program device for movement between two end positions, and is shown in one of these end positions, which is outside the end of the tube.
The position of the operator is in front of the apparatus off the free end of the tube 1 or other tube at any time in position a. At a convenient distance from the tube end 8 and the operator a stocking toe support and transfer member is mounted which is movable, preferably rotatable relative to the frame of the apparatus. The transfer member 10 comprises a bracket 11 which is rotatable about a pivot 12 on the frame of the apparatus. Moreover, the transfer member comprises a flat stocking toe end holder 13 consisting of a plate 14 which at its front end is constructed with two spaced parallel fingers 15 and 16. The toe end holder is movable in the direction of the fingers l5 and 16. The movement is produced by a pneumatic cylinder mounted in the bracket 11 and controlled by the program device. The rotation of the bracket 11 about the pivot 12 is likewise effected by means of a pneumatic cylinder controlled by the program device. The toe end holder 13 is so mounted as to be readily replaceable by another holder of different size or shape.
Upon turning of the stocking toe support and transfer member 10 about the pivot 12, the flat holder 13 is moved to a position between a presser foot 17 and a table'surface 18 of a sewing machine, see FIGS. 2 and 3. The sewing machine may be one of conventional type from which the normalpresser foot has been removed, its function being taken over by the presser foot 17. In FIG. 3 the flat holder 10 is shown in its initial position in full lines and in its rotated position in dotted lines. The presser foot 17 is shown in the form of a disc 19 provided along its marginal edge with a lip 20 of flexible material such as rubber. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 the presser foot is circular, but as will be explained below, it may also take other forms. A shaft 21 is rigidly attached to the disc 19 at its lower end and at its upper end carries a toothed disc 22 which in this embodiment is circular and which meshes with a driving pinion 23. The shaft 21 with the toothed disc 22 and the presser foot 17 are rotatably mounted in an exchangeable unit 24. When rotating the presser foot, the lip 20 moves past the needles 25 of the sewing machine at a short distance therefrom.
The pinion 23 is coupled to a variable speed electric motor 28 via a magnetic coupling 26 and a gear transmission 27. The pinion 23, the coupling 26, the gear transmission 27 and the motor 28 are mounted in a housing 30 swingable about a horizontal shaft 29, the latter being mounted in two brackets 31 on the frame 9. The swinging movement of the housing is produced by means of a swinging mechanism controlled by the program device and comprising a pneumatic cylinder 32 mounted on the frame and having a piston rod 33 which is pivotably connected with the bottom of the housing 30. The piston stroke is usually only a few centimeters. By the reciprocating movement of the piston rod 33 the housing 30 is swung upwards and downwards about the shaft 29 whereby the presser foot is lifted from and engaged with the sewing table surface 18, respectively.
The operation is as follows:
The operator is seated off the tube end 8 and the flat stocking toe end holder. In the tray 6 there is a supply of open-ended stockings having their outsides out and all having their toe ends pointing in the same direction. The operation will be described for a stocking to be sewn on its inside, which is generally preferred. Of course the apparatus may alternatively be used for making a seam on the outside.
The operator picks a stocking and holds its toe end in front of the tube end 8. Then a suction pulse of short duration is released in the pneumatic system whereby the stocking is sucked into the tube or stocking leg support member 1, toe end first. The operator keeps hold of the welt end of the stocking, and when the stocking has been sucked into the tube, which takes less than 1 second, he draws the stocking on to the tube 1, whereby it is turned inside out. The operator now pulls the toe end forward and slides a short toe end portion of the stocking, say 5-10 cm, on to the two flat fingers l5 and 16. The fingers are provided with markings so that it is easy for the operator to see when the stocking has been moved to the desired position. Since the fingers are spaced, the operator can directly see whether the stocking toe has been placed in correct position. The portion of the stocking supported by the tube 1 which is of course the major portion or practically the:
whole shaft length of the stocking does not interfere with the adjustment of the toe portion on the fiatfin I gers l5 and 16 because it fits very loosely on the tube end 8 and the fingers l5 and 16 may be moved and twisted practically without any resistance at all.
Now a pulse is released to turn the stocking toe support and transfer member 10 to a position in which the fingers and 16 are located between the presser foot 17 and the table 18. The presser foot is lowered to engage the stocking toe end portion present on the fingers 15 and 16. At the same time the tubes are turned 120, i.e. tube 1 to position b, tube 2 to position 0 and tube 3 to position a.
The fingers 15 and 16 are now withdrawn from the stocking toe end portion, the latter beingheld by the flexible lip 20 of the presser foot so as to be gripped between the lip 20 and the smooth sewing table. 18. The transfer member 10 is turned back, and the operator may now immediately start placing the toe end portion of the next stocking on the fingers 15 and 16. It will be realized that he may have started placing this next stocking on the tube 3 as soon as it arrived in position When the fingers 15 and 16 have been withdrawn, the presser foot 17 is rotated by means of the shaft 21 whereby the lip 20 moves closely past the sewing needles 25. Hereby a seam is formed across the toe end portion, and superfluous material is cut off by conventional means, not shown. Upon completion of the seam, the presser foot is lifted to liberate the stocking, and the tubes are turned 120, tube 1 from position b to position c, and similarly for the other tubes.
In position 0 the reversed-seamed stocking is again drawn fully on to the tube 1 by means of-the pad 7 which is moved backwards along the tube to engage the stocking web present on the outer side of the tube and thereby to slide the stocking backwards on the tube. When the closed stocking end strikes the end of the tube, the pad slips off the stocking. The stocking is now sucked into the tube, toe end first, whereby it is again reversed to normal position and carried away by the suction air current. The pneumatic system may convey the stocking to a subsequent station in the manufacturing line or e.g. to a flat laying device for deposition into a collecting basket.
The apparatus may be constructed for semiautomatic or all-automatic operation. In the former case, all the operator has to do, is to turn the stocking inside out by means of the tube 1, to place the open toe end portion on the flat fingers and 16,, and then to release a pulse to set the program device in motion. This is to be done for each 120 turn of the tubes. In the case of all-automatic operation the operator does not have to release the said pulse, but instead has to adapt himself to a rhythm determind by the program device. In that case the turning movement of the tubes may be continuous and will thereby determine the rhythm of all the other operations.
PRODUCTION OF DIFFERENT FORMS OF SEAMS In stitching the toe end portion of the stocking it is important that the marginal edge of the presser foot, or in other words the lip 20, moves past the sewing needles 25 at a substantially constant small distance. An
advantageous manner of obtaining this for different forms of seams will be explained in the following.
The exchangeable unit 24 is so placed relative to the housing 30 that the zone of engagement 34 between the toothed disc 22 and the pinion 23 is located substantially vertically above the sewing needles, as indicated by the dash-dotted line x in FIG. 2. Moreover, the outer edge of the lip 20 and the contour of the toothed disc 22 are substantially identical in geometrical shape and vertically in register with one another.
In the embodiment described above, the presser foot 17, and consequently also the toothed disc 22 are circular as again illustrated in a diagrammatic view in FIG. 5. The corresponding seam is shown in FIG. 4. The seam 35' is part of a circular arc of l 80. The remaining parts of this half circle are constituted by a running in portion i and a running out portion u where the stocking is not engaged by the sewing needles. It will be seen that in successive operations the presser foot always continues to move in the same direction. There is no return movement, and this also applies to the forms of seams to be described in the following.
FIG. 6 shows the so-called sabot seam consisting of a straight line 36 and a circular are 37. FIG. 7 shows the corresponding toothed disc 22 in top view. The zone of engagement is shown at 34. The toothed disc 22 is provided on its top face with two guiding pins 38 and 39 running in a guiding track 40 formed in the upper wall of the exchangeable unit 24. By rotation of the pinion 23, the toothed disc 22 will first be moved rectilinearly to the left until the pin 38 is present at 42, and the pin 39 assumes the former position of the pin 38. The toothed disc 22 is thereafter rotated about the pin 39 while the pin 38 runs along the semi-circular part of the track to the position 43 originally assumed by the pin 39. The toothed disc 22 has now made a half turn about its center 44, and the pins 38 and 39 have changed poof the fingers, the presser foot is moved through the running in portion i, whereafter the stocking is engaged by the needles to form the seam portions 36 and 37. Upon further movement of the presser foot through the running out portion 14, the presser foot 17 is lifted to liberate the stocking. Depending on the desired shape of the scam, the presser foot may have to perform a certain amount of idle motion in its lifted position between the running out portion u and the next running in portion 1'.
FIG. 8 shows a circular seam of smaller curvature than the seam of FIG. 4. FIG. 9 shows the corresponding toothed disc 22 with zone of engagement 34, guiding pins 38 and 39, and guiding track 40.
FIG. 10 shows a presser foot 22 for the seaming of a stocking of the type in which shaped web portions to form the toe and heel portions have been knitted in the knitting machine. In such a stocking the seam is to be made in the form of a straight line across the sole portion of the stocking. To make such a scam the stocking toe end portion is transferred in the same manner as described above to a position under the presser foot which in this case is elongated and relatively narrow. Its
longitudinal edges are straight parallel lines at least as foot is displaced in its longitudinal direction along the arrow P and during this movement the sewing is performed. When the presser foot has been displaced through a distance corresponding to the distances between the two centers of curvature, and has arrived in the position 54 its longitudinal movement is stopped, and it is again rotated, as indicated by the arrow P this time to the position shown in full lines. The stocking may suitably be liberated at the moment when the rotation indicated by the arrow P is commenced.
FIG. 11 shows an embodiment of the invention slightly different from that illustrated in FIG. 1. Corresponding parts are denoted by the same reference characters as in FIG. 1, with addition of the letter a. The three tubes la, 2a and 3a are arranged to rotate in the opposite direction. The flat fingers 15a and 16a are adjustably connected with the bracket 11a. The presser foot 17a has an active contour portion 55 corresponding to the seaming of a single stocking only and is returned to its original position upon completion of each seaming operation instead of being moved in progressive steps.
What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for closing the toe end of a stocking comprising a stocking leg support member for slidably receiving the leg of a stocking, a separate flat stocking toe support and transfer member for slidably receiving a short toe end portion of the stocking, gripping means engageable to grip the flattened toe end portion of the stocking across the whole width thereof, means for moving said toe support and transfer member independently of said stocking leg support member from a position in readiness to receive the toe end portion of the stocking supported on said stocking leg support member to a position between said gripping means and again withdrawing it therefrom upon engagement of said gripping means to grip the toe end portion, and seaming means operable to close the toe end portion held between said gripping means.
2. An apparatus as in claim 1, in which said stocking leg support member consists of a tube connectable to a source of vacuum to evert a stocking mounted thereon.
3. An apparatus as in claim 2, comprising a plurality of stocking leg support members in the form of parallel tubes all located at the same distance from a common axis, said apparatus further comprising means for rotating said tubes as a unit about said common axis, and
means for connecting said tubes to a source of vacuum in predetermined positions thereof.
4. An apparatus as in claim 3, in which there is provided a pad automatically engageable with and slidable along the surface of each tube in a predetermined position thereof.
5. An apparatus as in claim 1, in which said presser foot is provided with cushioning means for engagemen with said surface.
6. An apparatus as in claim 5, in which said cushioning means is in the form of an elastic lip extending along the contour of the presser foot.
7. An apparatus as in claim 1, in which said presser foot is progressively movable in steps each corresponding to a full toe closing operation, the contour of the presser foot comprising at least two portions each corresponding to the shape of the toe closing seam of a stocking.
8. An apparatus as in claim 7, in which the presser foot is circular.
9. An apparatus for closing the toe end of a stocking, comprising a flat stocking toe support and transfer member for receiving a short toe end portion of the stocking, gripping means engageable to grip the flattened toe end portion of the stocking across the whole width thereof, means for moving said flat stocking toe 'and a presser foot, means mounting saidpr'esser foot for movement of said presser foot into engagement with and away from said surface, a toothed disc of substantially the same shape and size as the presser foot, said toothed disc being located parallel to and substan tially in register with said presser foot and being drivably connected therewith, and a driving pinion in engagement with said toothed disc, the zone of engagement between said disc and said pinion being substantially in register with said seaming means.
10. An apparatus as in claim 9, in which said presser foot and said toothed disc are each of irregular shape, said toothed disc being mounted for sliding movement in its own plane, means being provided for guiding said toothed disc in such a manner as to permit sliding movement thereof while maintaining its toothed engagement with said pinion.
11. An apparatus for closing the toe end of a stocking comprising a flat stocking toe support and transfer member for slidably receiving a short toe end portion of the stocking, gripping means engageable to grip the flattened toe end portion of the stocking across the whole width thereof, means for moving said flat stocking toe support and transfer member to a position between said gripping means and again withdrawing it therefrom upon engagement of said gripping means to grip the toe end portion, and seaming means operable to close the toe end portion held between said gripping means, said flat stocking toe support and transfer member comprising two flat fingers located in a common plane in substantially parallel spaced positions.
12. An apparatus as in claim 10, in which the presser foot is circular.
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