US 3748051 A
A loose-leaf binder having a central sheet holding unit detachably coupled along both its outer sides to the binder cover. For sheet loading and unloading, the sheet holding unit is uncoupled from the binder cover on one or the other of its sides and the unit opened. Alternatively, the entire closed sheet holding unit is uncoupled from the cover on both its sides and completely removed from the binder for loading and unloading. The prongs of the sheet holding unit have substantially straight side leg portions extending substantially normal to the spine of the cover and in the same general direction as the closed covers. Hence, the capacity of the binder can readily be increased without increasing the size of the cover, by using a sheet holding unit having prongs with longer legs.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Frank 1 3,748,051- 1 July 24,1973- LOOSE-LEAF BINDER MECHANISM  Inventor: John L. Frank, Wyandotte, Mich.
[7'3] Assignee: Litton Business Systems, Inc.,
' Orange, NJ.
22 Filed: Aug. 27, 1968  Appl. No.: 755,584
 US. Cl. 402/75, 402/44  Int. Cl 1342f 3/00  Field of Search 402/68, 75, 44, 61,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,999,553 4/1935 Widder 402/75 X 2,637,323 5/1953 Lockwood..... 402/75 X 2,791,220 5/1957 McBee 402/44 2,878,816
3/1959 Panfil 402/61 X Primary Examiner-Lawrence Charles o Attbr 'hey Norman Friedman, Morris 1. Pollack, Arthur T. Groeninger, Stephen E. Feldman' and Philip Furgang Q  ABSTRACT A loose-leaf binder having a central sheet holding unit detachably coupled along both its outer sides to the binder cover. For sheet loading and unloading, the sheet holding unit is uncoupled from the binder cover on one or the other of its sides and the unit opened. Al-
ternatively, the entire closed sheet holding unit is uncoupled from the cover on both its sides and completely removed from the binder for loading and unloading. The prongs of the sheet holding unit have substantially straight side leg portions extending substantially normal to the spine of the cover andin the same general direction as the closed covers. Hence, the capacity of the binder can readily be increased without increasing the size of the cover, by using a sheet holding unit having prongs with longer legs.
7 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures SHEET 2 0F 2 INVENTOR JOHN L. FRANK BY w' ATTORNEY 1 LOOSE-LEAF BINDER MECHANISM I SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to loose-leaf binder mechanisms. v
In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a loose-leaf binder having a sheet holding unit which is detachably coupled to the binder cover. Coupling means is provided on both sides of the sheet holding unit, and adapted to cooperate with respective associated latching. or coupling means provided on the binder cover. The sheet holding unit in part incorporates features disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,791,220 issued May 7, 1957 to H. B. McBee.
Examples of prior art loose-leaf binders with removable sheet-holding units are disclosed in the following U.S. Pat.: Nos. 2,253,039 issued Aug. 19, 1941 to G. Lewis; No. 2,733,717 issued Feb. 7, 1956 to W. E. Haskin; No. 3,233,611 issued Feb. 8, 1966 to D. P. Stewart et al. Such prior art devices have various disadvantages. They are cumbersome and-unwieldly to use. Further, they incorporate a large number of parts and are therefore expensive in the first instance and expensive when it is necessary to replace the sheet holding unit.
The present arrangement is such that the sheet holding unit can be loaded or unloaded by either uncoupling the unit from the cover along either one of its sides while leaving the other side coupled, and then opening the unit. Further, the sheet holding unit can be completely removed from the binder cover for loading and unloading.
. Additionally, the to the binder in either one of the unit's two end for end positions.
The sheet holding-unit includes hinged linkage connecting the oppositeside portions of the unit. To open the unit, these links must be swung in a given direction. Accidental opening of the sheet holding unit is prevented when the unit is coupled to the binder by virtue of portions of the binder cover lying in the path 'of opening movement of this linkage.
As an additional feature, the sheet holding unit is of such construction that the capacity of the binder can be increased without increasing the size of the binder cover.,For this purpose, the sheet holding prongs include straight leg portions which extend substantially ,normalto the spine of the binder cover and generally in the same direction as the binder'front and rear covers when the binder is closed. Thus, the binder capacity can be increased merely by substituting a sheet holding unit-with prongs having longer legs. 7
Also, the fact that the sheet holding unit is completely removable avoids the necessity for scrapping the entire binder if only the sheet holding unit is rendered inoperable as by being bent ordistorted. Allthat need be done is to merely substitute a new sheet holding unit. a
It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide an improved loose-leaf binder mechamsm.
It is a further object to provide a loose-leaf binder mechanism in which the sheet holding unit can be easily coupled and uncoupled from the binder cover.
It is a further object to provide a loose-leaf binder mechanism having va sheet holding unit which can be loaded and unloaded with sheets with the unit uncoupled from the binder on either one of its sides.
sheet holding unit can be coupled It is a further object to provide a loose-leaf binder mechanism in which the capacity can be increased merely by substituting a new sheet holding unit having tailed description of a preferred embodiment of the in- I vention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is atop plan view of a loose leaf binder exemplary of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary top plan view similar to FIG.
1 but showing the right-hand side only of the sheet' holding unit uncoupled from the binder cover.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged detail front elevational view of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3, but showing the left-hand side only of the sheet holding unit uncoupled from the binder cover.
FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view taken on line V-V of FIG. 2.
FIG. 6 .is an enlarged detail and elevational view showing the closed sheet holding unit completelyuncoupled and removed from the binder cover.
FIG. 7 is an enlarged perspective view of the sheet holding unit in completely opened positions.
FIG. 8 is a top plan view partially in section ofthe coupling means which are mounted on the binder cover for detachably latching the sheet holding unit to the cover. I
FIG. 9 is an end elevational view showing the hinge linkage of the sheet holding unit swung downwardly to allow the unit to be opened.
Referring now to the drawings, the reference numeral l designates the entireloose leaf binder. The
binder comprises a cover made up of front and rear cover portions 2 and 3, and a central portion 4. The latter comprises a spine portion 4a and intermediate-or connector portions 411 and 4c.
Hinges 5 and 6 connect the left-hand connector portion 4b to the' front cover 2 and spine portion 4a respectively. Similarly, hinges 7 and 8 respectively connect the right hand connector portion 4c to the rear cover 3 and spine portion 4a.
The sheet holding unit will now be described. In certain respects, it incorporates the locking hinge principles of operation disclosed in U. S. Pat. No. 2,791,220 issued May 7,1957 to H.B. McBee. The sheet holding unit 10, best seen-in FIGS. 6, 7, and 9, comprisesopposed parallel right angle or flange bars 11 and 12. These bars each comprise a horizontal leg 11a, 12a integrally joined at its outer side edge with a depending vertical leg 11b, 12b. Spaced pairs of hinge links 13,14 interconnect the flange bars 11 and 12. Each such hinge pair comprises links 13a, 13b and 14a, 14b, pivotally connected together at 15 and l 6respectively.
Hinge links 13a and 14:: are identical, as are links 13b right-hand ends to the opposed vertical leg 12b of :the
other flange bar, 12.
. cuate portion 200. The lower ends of prong legs 20a are riveted to the horizontal leg 11a of flange bar 11. The other prong legs 20b are free. They are adapted to fit in tapered notches 21 provided in the horizontal leg 12a of the opposed flange bar 12, when the sheet holding unit 10 is in closed condition.
The normal closed condition of the sheet holding unit 10 is as shown in FIGS. 1-6 inclusive. It will be noted that in this position, the vertical flange legs 11b and 12b of the two flange members 11 and 12 are both vertical, and therefore parallel to each other. The pivot axes of each hinge link pair 13a, 13b and 14a, 14b on the respective flange legs are in horizontal transverse alignment. As will be described in detail shortly, the sheet holding unit 10 is detachably coupled to the binder cover along both sides of the unit. To allow the unit to be opened, it is uncoupled from either or both sides of the cover, to provide clearance for the following operations to be performed. After such uncoupling, each associated pair of hinge links can be swung downwardly about the now-aligned hinge axes to the position shown in FIG. 9. This brings into longitudinalfore-aft'alignment the axes of rotation defined by the pivotal connections l5, 16 between the two link members of each of the two pairs of hinge links. Accordingly, the flange bars 11 and 12 can now be opened by being swung away from each other to the open position of FIG. 7. The sheet holding unit 10 can now be loaded by threading loose leaf sheets over the free ends of prongs 20. After the unit has been loaded, the above-described opening process is reversed to close the unit. That is to say, with the parts still in the relative positions shown in FIG. 7, the two flange bars 11 and 12 are swung towards each other about the longitudinally coincident pivot axes defined by pivots l and 16. This inward movement is continued until it is stopped by the tapered notches 21 engaging the free end portions of prong legs 20b. At this point, each pair of hinge links is in the relative rotated position of FIG. 9. Then, each hinge pair is swung upwardly to the closed, locked position of FIG. 6.
As seen inFIG. 6, the final closed position of the hinge link pairs 13 and 14, that is to say their uppermost position, is limited by the upper surfaces of these links coming into abutment with the overlying horizontal flange legs 11a, 12a.
Two coupling pins 22 are secured to and project outwardly at a right angle to each vertical leg 11b, 12b of the flange bars 11, 12. These pins serve to detachably secure the sheet holding unit to the binder cover, as will now be described.
The pair of pins 22 of the left-hand flange bar 11 are adapted to be detachably latched to the left-hand cover connector portion 4b-by a latching unit 23. Similarly, the coupling pins of the right-hand flange bar 12 are adapted to be detachably coupled to the right-hand cover connector portion 40 by a latching unit 24. Each coupling'pin 22 terminates at its outer free end in a conical shaped head 22a separated from the remaining body portion of the pin by an annular recess or slot 221;.
The two latching units 23 and 24 are identical in construction, and the left-hand latching unit 23 will now be described.
The latching unit 23 includes an inverted U-shaped or channel member 25 (FIGS. 5, 8). The base of this channel member is provided with two elongated openings 26, one of which is seen in FIG. 8, spaced to rcceive the coupling pins 22 of flange bar 11. Openings 26 are equally spaced from the opposite ends'of channel 25, and pins 22 are equally spaced from the ends of the flange bar on which they are mounted. Channel 25 is secured to the cover connector portion 46 by spacer rivets 27 adjacent and longitudinally inwardly of holes 26. Elongated slots 28 of a slide 30 serve to mount the latter within channel 25 for longitudinal sliding movement on rivets 27. The lower end of the slide extends outside channel 25, and terminates in an upturned bent portion or lug 31 by which the slide may be manually shifted. The slide is at all times biased downwardly by a tension spring 32 connected between it and a downturned lug struck from the base of channel 25. The normal or lowermost position of slide 30 is determined by the upper ends of lower slot 28 abutting the adjacent spacer rivet 27.
Two horseshoe-shaped latching members 33, 34 are each secured to slide 30 at 35 and 36 respectively adjacent their bight portions. The horseshoe 'members 33, 34 are made of flat, resilient spring steel stock and are formed with enlargements 37, 38 at the free ends of their leg portions so as to partially protrude inwardly beyond the side edges of holes 26, as best seen in the upper portion of FIG. 8.
Each flange bar 11, 12 is adapted to be coupled to its associated latching unit 23, 24 as follows. The flange bar 11 or l2 is positioned with its coupling pins 22 in line with holes 26 of the latching unit. The baris then pushed into the holes in a direction perpendicular to the flat base of the latching unit. In this movement, the cone head 22a of each pin 22 will engage the innermost edges of the enlargements 37 and 38 of the horseshoe shaped resilient latching members 34, 35, and will cam or push the leg portions of the horseshoe members apart. As this insertion movement continues, the pushed-apart leg portions will then snapinto' the recess 22b at the of the conical head 22a of the coupling pins22, thereby holding the flange bar cover.
When it is desired to release either flange bar 11 or 12 from the binder cover, the upturned lug 31 of the related latching unit slide 30 is manually pushed inwardly against the bias of spring 32. This movement of the latching slide, and of the horseshoe-shaped latching members 37, 38 carried thereby, removes the inwardly protruding side edge portions of enlargements 37, '38 from the annular recesses 22b of coupling pins 22, thereby freeing the pins and permitting the flange bar to be withdrawn from the latching unit.
It will be understood that both the right and left side latching units are constructed and function in precisely the manner described above.
The binder of the present invention offers considerable flexibility in loading and unloading sheets. Either the left flange bar 11 or the right flange bar. 12 can be uncoupled from the cover and the sheet holding unit 10 opened from the other side. It will be understood that when using this technique, after uncoupling one side of the sheet holding unit from the binder cover, the cover I connector portion to which the unit is still coupled (together with the adjacent front or rear cover) is brought to horizontal position. This will cause the sheet holding latched to the unit to project vertically upwardly, thereby providing horizontal clearance free of the binder cover to operate and open the sheet holding unit.
Alternatively, the entire unit can be uncoupled from the binder cover and then opened for sheet loading.
This last technique is particularly advantageous in certain applications. For example, when the binder is used for meter readers, route salesmen, and the like, the sheet holding unit can be loaded at a business office by clerks, while the meter reader or route salesman is on his rounds. Then, when he returns to the office he merely picks up a new sheet holding unit already loaded with his blank customer pages for the next day and inserts it into his cover 2, 3, 4.
There is no predetermined top or bottom of the sheet holding unit 10. Because of the symmetry of its construction, it canbe coupled to the cover with either of its ends uppermost, and will function properly in either position.
Further, if the sheet holding unit should become bent or otherwise unusable, a new unit 10 can be substituted without having to replace the entire binder.
The fact that the sheet holding prongs have straight'leg portions 20a, 20b which, when unit 10 is coupled to the cover, extend substantially perpendicular to the cover spine 4a and substantially in the same direction as front and rear covers 2 and 3 when the binder is closed, enables the capacity of the binder to be increased without increasing its overall size. If a greater sheet capacity is desired, it is merely necessary to provide a sheet holding unit having longer prong straight leg portions 20a, 20b.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that the present invention and its various features provide a greatly improved loose-leaf binder.
While there has been shown for exemplary purposes one particular embodiment of the invention and its features, it will be understood that numerous modifications and variants will be apparent to those skilled in this art. Accordingly, it is intended that the foregoing disclosure be illustrative only and not in any way limitative of the following claims.
y I claim:
1. A sheet holding unitfor a loose-leaf binder comprising:
opposed fore-and-aft extending side portions;
' means interconnecting said side portions for opening and closing movement away from and toward each other;
at least one sheet holding prong having two opposed side legs;
one of said legs being secured to one of said side portions;
an open-sided notch providedon the other of said side portions and arranged to receive the other of said side legs when said unit is closed;
said interconnecting means being effective to cause the movement of said prong relative to said notch, when said unit is being closed, to be such that said other of said side legs moves laterally into said notch through the open side thereof.
2. The combination according to'claim 1, wherein:
said side legs are substantially straight and parallel.
3. The combination according to claim 1, wherein:
said interconnecting means comprises hinge linkage means.
4. A loose-leaf binder mechanism comprising:
an openable and closeable fore-and-aft extending sheet holding unit comprising opposed side portions;
coupling means for detachably coupling said unit to a loose leaf binder said coupling means constituting the sole means for securing said unit to said cover and including coupling members extending transversely of said unit;
said coupling members being provided on both said 7 side portions of said unit;
latching means secured to said cover for receiving said coupling members and latching said members to said cover;
' said latching means including manually operable re 'lease means for releasing said coupling members from said latching means to permit complete removal of said unit from said cover;
said latching means comprising separate latching units each cooperable with the coupling members of a related side portion of said sheet holding unit;
said sheet holding unit including hinge linkage means interconnecting said opposed side portions for movement toward and away from each other for respective opening and closing of said unit;
said sheet holding unit including at least one sheet holding prong secured to one of said side portions;
said other side portion having an open-sided notch for receiving'a portion of said prong when said unit is closed;
said hingelinkage means being effective to cause the movement of said prong relative to said notch, when said unit is being closed, to be such that such prong moves laterally into said notch through the open side thereof.
5. The combination according to claim 4, wherein: said prong comprisesv two opposed substantially straight and parallel leg portions. 1
6. A sheet holding unit fora loose-leaf binder comprising: opposed fore-and-aft extending side portions; means interconnecting said opposed side portions for. closing and opening movement toward and away from each other; v at least one sheet holding prong secured to one of said side portions; coupling means for detachably coupling said unit to a loose-leaf binder cover;
said coupling means comprising coupling members extending transversely of said unit;
said coupling means constituting the sole means for securing-said unit to said cover;
said prong comprising two opposed spaced legs, one of which is secured to one of said side portions;
a notch being provided in theother side portion and arranged to receive the other leg when said unit is closed.
7. The combination according to claim 6, wherein:
said leg portions aresubstan tially straight and parallel.