US 3771890 A
A loose-leaf paper binder having the appearance of a hard cover book and formed from a single piece of molded plastic. The paper is bound by three split rings which are each pivotably retained by a pair of ring bosses spaced along the inner back surfaces of the front and rear covers, one boss of each pair on the front cover and the other boss oppositely disposed along the rear cover. This attachment causes a double pivoting action of the rings during the opening and closing of the covers facilitating movement of the rings through the margin holes in the bound paper. The rings are retained within the ring bosses in a slightly expanded condition which biases the covers closed (when in their closed position) and open (when in their open position).
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Notto LOOSE-LEAF BINDER APPARATUS  Inventor: Leonard A. Notto, St. Paul, Minn. [73 I Assignee: Data Tactics Inca, St. Paul, Minn.
 Filed: May 28, 1971 ] Appl. No.: 147,979
 11.8. C1. 402/21, 40/102  Int. Cl B42f 13/02 [58} Field of Search 402/19, 20, 21, 22,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,639,361 8/1927 Adams 401/21 3,458,216 7/1969 Harrison 40/124 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 485,313 7/1952 Canada 402/21 1,095,917 12/1954 France 402/21 Nov. 13, 1973 Primary Examiner-Robert W. Michell Assistant Examiner-J. H. Wolff Att0rneyMerchant & Gould  ABSTRACT A loose-leaf paper binder having the appearance of a hard cover book and formed from a single piece of molded plastic. The paper is bound by three split rings which are each pivotably retained by a pair of ring bosses spaced along the inner back surfaces of the front and rear covers, one boss of each pair on the front cover and the other boss oppositely disposed along the rear cover. ,This attachment causes a double pivoting action of the rings during the opening and closing of the covers facilitating movement of the rings through the margin holes in the bound paper.
The rings are retained within the ring bosses in a slightly expanded condition which biases the covers closed (when in their closed position) and open (when in their open position).
6 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PAIENIEBIIBV 13 new 3771; 890
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1 LOOSE-LEAF BINDER APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention pertains to apparatus for binding material in a loose-leaf manner.
At the present time, there are commercially available numerous differently designed loose-leaf binders. Typically, these binders are either of a two or three-ring design, although binders having more than three rings are also available. Paper whichhas margin holes for insertion onto these binder rings is commercially available in a wide range of sizes (8% by 11 inches). The binder rings are normally split into two 180 halves having one end of each half rigidly fastened (e.g., spot welded or soldered) to a member which is connected in a rotatable manner to the back cover portion of the binder. The movement of the rotatable member or members opens the rings (i.e., splits the unfastened ends of the rings apart) to allow paper to be inserted onto the rings. Various mechanisms for separating the rings and for locking the rings in their closed or unseparated position are known in the art. Most frequently, the cover portions of the presently available binders are formed from either an entirely plastic material or from a cloth or plastic covered cardboard-like material.
The greatest disadvantage of the commercially available loose-leaf binders is the difficulty in opening the binder cover without disrupting the bound paper, particularly when the rings are nearly completely full with paper. This results primarily from the failure of the binder rings to move freely or easily within the margin holes as the binder cover is opened or closed. Instead, the rings tend to drag the bound paper along as the binder cover is moved causing (1) a difficulty in moving the cover generally and (2) a disruption (e.g., bending) of the bound paper. An additional disadvantage of the presently available loose-leaf binders is the lack of durability of both the binder apparatus and the binder covers resulting in undesirable replacement costs. Thus, a loose-leaf binder which provides easy' access to the material bound therein and which is also highly durable is commercially desirable.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present loose-leaf binding apparatus includes a front cover, a rear cover spaced apart from the front cover and a back cover connecting the front and rear covers. At least two ring-like members are provided for binding the material and each are split so as to define first and second ends. A rod-like protrusion is connected to each of these ends extending generally outward therefrom normal to the ring-like member. One rod-like portion of each pair is pivotably attached to the front cover and the other rod-like portion is pivotally attached to the rear cover. This attachment provides a double pivoting action of the ring-like members during the opening and closing of the front and rear covers. In the preferred embodiment, the binder is in the form of a book-like shell integrally formed from a molded plastic material and selector means are provided for allowing the binder to be opened to a preselected page.
The double pivoting action of the ring-like members during the opening of the binder covergreatly facilitates the movement of the rings through the margin openings in the bound paper. Thus, ready access to the paper bound within the binder is provided. Additionally, the selector means preferably incorporated as a portion of the front cover allows preselection of the material to which the binder will open. Moreover, in the preferred embodiment the binder takes the form of a book-like shell molded from .a plastic material (e.g., polypropylene) which is extremely durable and which completely insulates the bound paper from the surrounding environment. Numerous additional advantages will become apparent from reading the following description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the loose-leaf binder provided by the present invention showing the binder in its closed position;
FIG. 2 is a top, fragmented view of the present book binder in its fully open position;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmented view illustrating one of the binder rings utilized in the present invention and its attachment to the front and rear covers;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along the plane 44 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along the plane 55 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is anenlarged cross-sectional view taken along the plane 6-6 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 7 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along the plane 77 of FIG. 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Turning now to a description of the embodiment illustrated, the numeral 10 generally designates the preferred loose-leaf binder provided by my invention. As subsequently explained in greater detail, binder I0 is formed from a single piece of molded plastic material in accordance with well known injection molding techniques. The external appearance of the closed binder 10 (as shown in FIG. 1) closely resembles or approximates that of a typical hard cover book. This greatly enhances the aesthetic attractiveness of binder l0 relative to the presently available loose-leaf binders. It also entirely insulates the paper or other material bound within the book-like shell from the surrounding environmental elements (e.g., light, moisture, dirt, etc.). This greatly increases the useable life of the material bound therein. It should be understood, however, that while the illustrated design is highly desirable, binder 10 can be constructed having any number of alternative designs.
The loose-leaf binder 10 includes a generally planar front cover 12, a generally planar rear cover 14 spaced vertically apart from and generally parallel to front cover 12, and a back cover 16 connecting the front and rear covers. Three side surfaces 17, 18 and 19 extend vertically between the front and rear covers 12 and 14 along the upper, lower and front edges, respectively, of the binder 10. As can be seen particularly well in FIG. 1, the side surfaces l7, l8 and 19 each have a roughened or grooved exterior face giving these surfaces the appearance of the edge of a book (i.e., the appearance of overlying pages in a bound volume). The side surfaces 17, 18 and 19 each have an upper and lower half separated by a split or division through each of these surfaces. This allows the binder 10 to be opened in the book-like manner shown in FIG. 2, the two halves of side surfaces 17, 18 and 19 separating along the center split therein.
The front and rear covers 12 and 14 also have a roughened outer face so as to give the appearance of a leather grain finish thereto. Back cover 16 has a surface which is less roughened than covers 12 and 14, simulating the linen texture of a conventional book binding. A title plate 25 is imbedded in the front cover portion 12. In the preferred embodiment, the title plate 25 is formed from a photo sensitized aluminum plate or any other suitable material. A title plate 26 of similar material is imbedded in the outer face of the back cover or binding 16. As will subsequently be described in greater detail, the front cover 12 preferably includes selector means 28 for allowing binder to open to a preselected page.
In the embodiment shown, a curved portion 30 of front cover 12 extends arcuately inward along a bead 31 extending along the length of cover 12. Similarly, a curved portion 32 of the rear cover 14 extends arcuately inward along a bead 33. As shown, the two curved cover portions 30 and 32 define substantially the entire back cover 16. A thin, flexible back cover portion 35 connects the two curved cover portions 30 and 32 and functions as a fulcrum or joint means for the opening and closing of the covers 12 and 14. As can be seen particularly well in FIG. 6, the cover portion 35 is sufficiently flexible to allow the front cover 12 to be opened through a 180 are so as to lie in the same plane as rear cover 14. Preferably, the book-like shell is constructed from a polypropylene material by conventional injection molding techniques. This provides a highly durable and impact resistant binder. In this embodiment, a thickness of about 0.090 inches for cover portion 35 provides the desired flexibility, yet provides a binder 10 which can withstand a large number of openings and closings.
Turning now to the internal construction of binder 10, reference should be had to FIGS. 2-7. As shown in FIG. 2, three split ring binder members 42a, 42b and 42c are provided for binding a plurality of paper sheets 43 in a loose-leaf manner (i.e., each page is bound separately from the other pages). As can be seen particularly well in FIG. 6, the integral members 42a-42c each include a planar ring shaped-portion 44 of substantially 360 having adjacent first and second ends 45 and 46, respectively, which define the split in the respective ring portions. Formed integrally with each of the ring portions 44 is a pair of rod-like protrusions 47 and 48 which project laterally outward at the ring ends 45 and 46, respectively, generally normal to the plane of the respective ring portion 44. The rings are preferably made from a resilient material (e.g., a high quality steel).
Three pairs of ring bosses 50, 51 and 52 are provided for retaining the ring members 42a-42c, respectively, in the proper position for binding the sheets of paper 43. Each pair of ring bosses includes three longitudinally spaced members 55a, 55b and 550 positioned along the curved front cover portion 30 and three similarly positioned members 56a, 56b and 560 along the curved rear cover portion 32 (as shown in FIG. 3). The boss members 55a-55c and 56a-56c are preferably integrally molded as part of the curved cover portions 30 and 32 of the front and rear covers 12 and 14, respectively. Thus, the boss members 55a55c and 56a-56c move with the front and rear covers 12 and 14 during the opening and closing thereof. Each of these boss members includes a recess along the innermost edge thereof which cooperates with the curved cover portion contiguous thereto so as to define an opening or groove 60. Three such grooves 60 are similarly disposed along opposite sides of the cover portion 35 for each pair of ring bosses 50-52. A greater or lesser number of grooves could, of course, be utilized. The longitudinally spaced grooves 60 on one side of cover portion 35 receives the rod-like portion 47 of'each of the ring members 42a-42c in a snap-lock manner. The grooves 60 on the opposite side of cover portion 35 receives rod-like portion 48 in a similar manner. While secured within grooves 60 by this snap-lock action, each of the rod-like portions 47 and 48 is free to axially turn or pivot therein.
As shown, each of the rod-like portions 47 and 48 is retained by the ring bosses 50-52 so as to extend generally parallel to the back cover 16. So secured, the ring portion 44 of each of the ring members 42a-42c project outwardly from the rear cover 16 generally normal thereto toward the front surface 19 of binder 10. A ring retainer 62 integrally molded as a part of the curved cover portions 30 and 32 and longitudinally spaced from each of the end boss members 55a and 56a retains the rod-like portions 47 and 48 within the respective bosses (i.e., prevents longitudinal movement of the rod-like members out of grooves 60).
As shown in dotted lines in FIG. 6, the ring portion 44 of split ring members 42a42c has a generally el' lipitical shape prior to the insertion of rod portions 47 and 48 into grooves 60, placing the rod portions generally adjacent one another. Thus, to position the rods 47 and 48 within the respective grooves 60, the ring members must be slightly separated to align the rod portions with the grooves. This separation places the inserted ring members under a slight tension. As a result, the split ring members 42a-42c apply a biasing force to each of the curved cover portions 30 and 32. This biasing force tends to retain the binder 10 in its closed position when cover 12 is closed (as shown in FIG. 5) and to retain the binder 10 in its open position when cover 12 is opened (as shown in FIG. 6).
The selector means 28 includes a guide channel extending along the forward edge of front cover 12 and an index selector 72. The index selector 72 includes an index button 73 moveable within guide channel 70 and an index finder or finger 74 attached to button 73. An upper portion 74a of finger 74 extends vertically downward through an opening 75 in the bottom of guide channel 70. A lower portion 74b of finger 74 extends horizontally inward so as to move beneath tabs attached to the front edge of each sheet of paper 43 (as shown in FIG. 5). Typically, an index listing of the material contained within binder 10 is provided along the side of title plate 25 adjacent channel guide 70. Thus, by moving selector button 73 to a position opposite the desired item on the index listing, the index finger portion 74b will engage the appropriate tab 80 so as to open binder 10 to the preselected material. While the advantages of incorporating selector means with my binder are readily apparent, it should be understood that this is not a necessary feature of the present invention.
As can be seen particularly well in FIG. 7, the covers 12 and 14 are retained in their closed position by a magnetic lock assembly 82. Assembly 82 includes a permanent magnet 85 molded or inserted within the lower portion of front surface 19 and a magnetically attractive material 86 which is molded or inserted within the upper portion of surface 19. It should be understood, however, that numerous alternative locking mechanisms can be utilized.
In use, the sheets of paper 43 are inserted onto the rings 42a-42c prior to the attachment of the rings to the respective ring bosses 50-52. After-inserting the paper 43 onto the rings, the rods .47 and 48 are then pulled apart to obtain alignment thereof with the grooves 60 in each of the ring bosses. The rods 47 and 48 are then pivotally secured within grooves 60 by a snap-lock action and the binder is ready for opening and closing of the covers.
It will be apparent to the artisan that numerous modifications can be made to the described embodiment. In this regard, numerous such design alternatives have been pointed out hereinabove. This being the case, it is my intent to be limited solely by the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
1. Apparatus for binding sheets of material, comprising:
a. front and rear covers having arcuately converging back portions connected by flexible joint means to form a book-like binder apparatus having an arcuate back;
b. at least two generally circular, split-ring binder members, each binder member including a ringlike portion adapted to be positioned generally normal to said covers and having first and second spaced ends, and further including laterally protruding means connected to each of said ends;
c. a parallel array of boss-like ring retainers extending normally from each of the arcuately facing back portions of both said covers, said ring retainers being situated in oppositely disposed pairs adjacent said joint means and on opposite sides thereof;
d. means on said ring retainers for removably engaging said protruding means with each of said protruding means matingly engaging plural ring retainers on each of said back portions so as to permit relative pivotal movements therebetween during opening and closing of said covers, said ring retainers in each pair being spaced apart a distance generally corresponding to the thickness of said binder member associated therewith to aid in supporting said binder member in said normal position during opening and closing movements of said cover;
whereby the pivot points of said ends of each said binder member being between two oppositely dis- .posed pairs of said ring retainers adjacent said joint means on opposite sides thereof and at equal distances therefrom to permit opening and closing of said covers without substantially flexing said binder members.
2. The binding apparatus of claim 1 wherein said front and rear covers are integrally formed from a molded plastic material.
3. The binding apparatus of claim 2 wherein said joint means comprises a thin, flexible piece of molded plastic material connecting said back portions.
4. The binding apparatus of claim 2 including side surfaces of molded plastic material extending between said front and rear covers to form a book-like shell, each of said side surfaces having a split extending essentially parallel to said front and rear covers adjacent the center of each of said surfaces to allow said front and rear covers to be opened and closed.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said joint means is located within said binder members when the covers are open, and is located outside said binder members when the covers are closed, said joint means passing between said ends of said binder members during opening and closing of said covers.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said arcuate back engages a major portion of said binder members when said covers are closed.