US 3815798 A
A button is secured to a fabric or other material using a resilient plastic stringer inserted by the inventive button fastening tool. The fastening tool is of simplified design to achieve both minimum cost and optimum ease of use. The tool housing includes a depending finger rest, a contoured grip and a push button slidingly mounted atop the housing. Placement of the forefinger against the finger rest limits forward movement of the fastening tool as the push button is thumb-advanced for stringer insertion. This cooperation enables one hand operation. Simplified assembly of the fastening tool is accomplished without screws or rivets, using a two piece molded plastic housing including recesses for receiving a unitary needle, and a push rod-push button assembly of unique configuration. The housing also includes storage for a protective needle cap.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Lavitch et a1.
[ BUTTON FASTENER  Inventors: Bernard R. Lavitch, 16253 Lovett Pl., Encino, Calif.; Bernard H. Morry, 1085 Galesmore Ct., Westlake Village, Calif. 91361  Filed: May 21, 1973  Appl. No.: 362,473
 US. Cl. 223/102  Int. Cl A4lh 37/10 I  Field of Search 223/102, 103, 104; 112/80, 112/104  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 285,782 10/1883 Atwood 223/102 640,853 l/l900 Arnold 223/104 X 1,731.556 10/1929 223/102 2,069,878 2/1937 Flood 223/102 3,209,422 10/1965 223/102 X 3,470,834 10/1969 Bone 223/104 X 11 3,815,798 June 11, 1974 Primary ExaminerGeorge H. Krizmanich Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Flam & Flam [5 7 ABSTRACT A button is secured to a fabric or other material using a resilient plastic stringer inserted by the inventive button fastening tool. The fastening tool is of simplified design to achieve both minimum cost and optimum ease of use. The tool housing includes a depending finger rest, a contoured grip and a push button slidingly mounted atop the housing. Placement of the forefinger against the finger rest limits forward movement of the fastening tool as the push button is thumbadvanced for stringer insertion. This cooperation enables one hand operation. Simplified assembly of the fastening tool is accomplished without screws or rivets, using a two piece molded plastic housing including recesses for receiving a unitary needle, and a push rod-push button assembly of unique configuration. The housing also includes storage for a protective needle cap.
6 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUM 1 mm SHEET 10? 2 PATENTEmuu I 1 I874 SKEET 2 OF 2 BUTTON FASTENER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to a button fastening tool designed for minimum cost and one-hand operation.
2. Description of the Prior Art The attachment of buttons to a fabric or other material is simplified by using a stringer of the type having a filament which extends through the fabric and a button hole, a transverse bar at one end of the filament which is situated behind the fabric, and a head at the other end of the filament which retains the button in place. Such button attachment is far faster and simpler than the usual sewing operations. However, a very simple, and hence low cost, stringer-insertion tool has not been available in the past. Therefore a principal object of the present invention is to provide a much simplified button fastening tool.
Certain stringer-insertion tools are known, but none is of very simple construction. One quite satisfactory attacher is shown in the US. Pat. No. 2,069,878 to Flood. There, the blunt end of a hollow needle is clamped between a metal guide plate and a pair of guide blocks connected to the plate by screws or rivets. The guide plate itself is mounted to a handle via flanged parallel side walls interior of the handle. A push rod or plunger provided with a thumb operated actuating element forces the transverse bar portion of the stringer through the hollow needle.
While intended primarily for attaching tags to a garment, the Flood device is equally applicable to the attachment of buttons to fabric. Indeed, with regard to stringer insertion, the button fastening tool disclosed herein operates exactly like the Flood device. But the Flood patent reflects pre-World War II materials and techniques of manufacture, whereas the present invention uniquely takes advantage of present day materials and fabrication techniques, resulting in a tool of much simpler construction. Indeed, even the stringer itself underlines postWorld War II technology. Thus, whereas Flood uses an attacher having a tubular metal retaining bar at the end of a strand of string, present stringers are molded-as a single piece of plastic.
Design of the inventive tool also is simplified by using certain components for plural functions. For example, the unitary needle includes a novel push rod guideway which insures accurate push rod alignment without requiring careful emplacement of guide plate or like needle-retaining components during tool assembly, and without requiring a plunger guide bore in the tool handle. The needle is attached by integral, lateral projections, in a well known manner, as taught, for example, by the U.S. Pat. No. 2,518,888 to Hearst, wherein a fastener-insertion needle is secured to a handle or casing by a lateral tail. As another example of plural component functions, the push button of the present invention is configured for simplified attachment of the push rod rear end, and also retains one end of the push rod bias spring.
Another objective of the present invention is to provide a button fastening tool easily operated with one hand. This has been a problem in the past. Thus in another known fastening tool, the push rod is actuated by a handle telescopically engaging the rear part of the tool housing. In use, the housing must be held with one hand while the other hand is used to pump" the telescoping handle. It is impossible without considerable practice or unusual manual dexterity to use this plunger type handle with one hand.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The foregoing objectives are achieved by providing a button fastening tool having a minimum number of easily assembled components. The tool housing is configured to be gripped comfortably in one hand with the forefinger curled against a depending finger rest and with the thumb atop a push button. As the push button is pushed forward, a cooperating push rod urges a stringer through a hollow needle extending from the housing front end. During suchstringer insertion, the presence-of the forefinger against the finger rest stops forward motion of the tool itself, despite forward motion of the push button. True one-hand operation is accomplished.
The push button itself is uniquely configured to permit connection thereto of one end of the push rod with no attachment hardware. The forward end of the push rod seats within a guideway in the unitary needle structure. This guideway insures alignment of the push rod with the needle, and supports the push rod end, so that no guide bore is required. This also permits the tool housing to be substantially hollow, with concomitant savings in material cost.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A detailed description of the invention will be made with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein like numerals designate corresponding parts in the several figures. These drawings, unless otherwise indicated, are to scale.
FIGS. 1 and 2 respectively show side and top views of the inventive button fastening tool.
FIG. 3 is a longitudinal sectional view of the button fastening tool, as seen along the line of 3-3 of FIG. 2.
FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 are sectional views of the button fastening tool as seen respectively along the lines 44, 55 and 66 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 7 is a greatly enlarged perspective view of the needle employed with the button fastening tool of FIGS. 1-6. v
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary transverse sectional view showing use of the button fastening tool for attaching a button to a fabric.
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary transverse sectional view of an alternative embodiment of the inventive button fastening tool including a guideway for supplying stringers to the needle central section.
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary transverse sectional view of the fastening tool push button, illustrating attachment of the push rod thereto.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The following detailed description is of the best presently contemplated modes of carrying out the invention. This description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention since the scope of the invention best is defined by the appended claims.
Structural and operational characteristics attributed to fonns of the invention first described also shall be attributed to forms later described, unless such characteristics obviously are inapplicable or unless specific exception is made.
Referring to the drawings, the inventive button fastening tool 11 is used to secure a button 12 (FIG. 8) to a fabric 13 by means of a stringer 14. Each stringer includes a filament 14a having a transverse bar 14b at one end and a button-retaining head 14c at the other end. The stringer bar 14b is inserted through a lateral slot 15 (FIGS. 2 and 3) in the tool housing 16 and then into coaxial alignment with a generally clyndrical needle 17 extending from the housing forward end 16f.
The needle 17 is inserted through the button hole 12a and-the fabric 13, as shown in FIG. 8. A push button 18 is moved forward, causing a rod 19 to push the stringer bar 14b through the needle forward portion 17f. During this forward motion, the stringer filament 140 projects through aligned slots 16s, 17s in the housing 16 and needle 17. The stringer bar 14b is urged out of the needle 17 into place behind the fabric 13 with the filament 14a extending through the fabric and the button hole 12a, and with the head 14c retained at the front of the button 12. The needle 17 is withdrawn, leaving the button 12 firmly secured to the fabric 13 by the stringer 14.
The fastening tool 11 is configured for optimum comfort and ease of use. To this end, the housing 16 is provided with a depending finger rest 22 situated slightly forwardly of the push button 18 rest position. The housing underside 16a rearward of the finger rest 22 is arcuate to form a contoured grip. With this handle configuration, the users forefinger 23 comfortably engages the finger rest 22 (FIG. 1) with the thumb 24 atop the push button 18 and the other fingers 25 comfortably surrounding the contoured grip area 16a.
Holding the fastening tool 11 in this manner, a natural forward motion of the hand is all that is required to force the needle 17 through the button hole 120 and the fabric 13. Moreover, the presence of the finger 23 against the rest 22 limits forward motion of the housing 16 as the push button 18 is moved forward by the thumb 24 to insert the stringer 14. This cooperation is important, as it permits true one hand operation of the inventive fastening tool 11. Use of the finger rest 22 overcomes a problem associated with prior art button fastening tools wherein pressure of the housing itself against the button, or use of the other hand to grip the housing, is required to provide a counter-force as a stringer 14 is plunger-inserted through the button hole.
Another feature of the invention is the unitary needle configuration best illustrated in FIG. 7. The needle 17 itself is made of a single piece of metal which is incompletely curled to form the forward portion 17f and to define the slot 17s. The forward end of the section 17f is tapered to define a sloping point 17p providing easy egress for the stringer bar 14b. The needle 17 also has a curled rearward section l7r coaxial with the forward section 17f and having an inner diameter appropriate to receive the push rod 19. The needle rearward section 17r serves a dual function. It both supports the front end 19f of the push rod 19 and serves as a guideway insuring alignment of the push rod 19 with the needle forward section 17f. Since the guideway is an integral part of the unitary needle 17 structure, the needle does not have to be critically aligned in the housing 16. Tool assembly is simplified. Further, no separate push rod guideway is required in the housing 16.
The central section 17c of the needle 17 is open and has a length slightly greater than the stringer bar 14a. As shown in FIG. 3, this center section 17c is aligned beneath the slot 15 to facilitate stringer l4 insertion. A pair of ears 17e extend laterally from the needle central section 17c into ear-receiving recesses 26 (FIG. 4) in the housing 16 interior. The ears 17e prevent axial movement of the needle 17 during the button fastening operation.
The housing 16 preferably is molded of plastic. and advantageously may be formed in two pieces divided along the plane 3--3 (FIG. 2). Guide pins 27 integrally molded with one housing piece engage cooperating recesses 28 in the other housing piece to facilitate alignment during assembly and bonding of the two pieces. The housing 16 interior is substantially hollow to minimize material cost. A forward chamber 29 contains the push rod 19 and a spring 30 which biases the push button 18 rearwardly toward a rest position against a housing interior wall 31 (FIG. 3). A slot 33 opening upwardly from the chamber 29 guides the push button 18. As shown in FIG. 6, the push button 18 includes a neck 18a situated within the slot 33. The housing 16 has another rear interior chamber 34 separatedfrom the chamber 29 by the wall 31.
Further to minimize the cost of components and assembly, a unique arrangement is used to connect the rod 19 to the push button 18. As shown in FIG. 3, the push button 18 includes a depending flange 18b having a counterbored hole 18c therethrough. Another bore 18d extends upwardly into the push button 18 rearward of the flange 18b. The rear end 19r of the push rod 19 is bent at a right angle. The conical taper of the hole 18c and the distance between the flange 18b and the bore 18d are selected to allow easy insertion of the push rod bent end 19r through the hole 180, then rearwardly and upwardly into the bore 18d, as indicated in the fragmentary view of FIG. 10. The forward end 19f of the push rod 19 is retained within the needle rear section 17r (FIG. 3). Thus the push rod 19 will not come loose from the push button 18, even though no fastening hardware is used to attach these elements. The length of the rod 19 is selected so that the forward end 19f rests just behind the needle central section when the push button 18 is in its rest position. The spring 30 is retained between the conical hole 18c and a recess 35 extending forwardly from the chamber 29 within the housing 16.
Another feature of the invention relates to the needle cap 36. As shown in FIG. 3, this protective cap 36 removably covers the needle 12 to prevent accidents when the fastener 11 is not in use. The cap 36 comprises a cylindrical member closed at one end 36a, open at the other end 36b, and having an interior diameter dimensioned for tight press fit over the needle forward section 17f.
A receptical is provided to store the needle cap 36 when not in use. As shown in FIG. 3, this receptical comprises a hole 37 in the housing rear end l6r opening into the interior chamber 34 and having a diameter equal to the outside diameter of the cap 36. With this arrangement, the needle cap can be stored within the receptical hole 37 as shown in phantom in FIG. 3. To permit easy removal of the cap 36 from the receptical 37, the cap end 36b includes a finger grip flange 36c. Ribs 36d limit the extent of cap insertion, insuring that the flange 36c will be sufficiently spaced from the housing rear surface 1dr to permit finger grip removal.
In an alternative fastening tool embodiment it shown in H6. 9, a guideway 40 is provided in the housing 16' leading down to the needle central section 17c. A plurality of stringers M are fed through this guideway 40 into operative position in line with the push rod 19 and forward needle section 17f. The stringers lid may be connected as by webs MW linking adjacent bars 14b into a chain-like structure. This arrangement eliminates the need to insert each stringer M separately. The web MW of the stringer 14 being urged through the needle 17 is severed by the push rod forward end Intending to claim all novel, useful and unobvious features shown or described the inventor makes the following claims:
I. A button fastening tool for attaching a button using a stringer of the type having a filament, a transverse bar at one end of the filament and a buttonretaining element at the other end of the filament, said fastening tool comprising:
a. a housing including a finger rest depending from the bottom of the housing, a push button slidably mounted at the top of said housing, said housing being configured to be hand held with the forefinger engaging the forward side of said finger rest, and a contoured grip along the bottom of the housing rearwardly of the finger rest for the users other fingers,
b. a unitary, metal needle projecting forwardly from the front end of said housing, said needle including a forward portion incompletely curled coaxially forming a cylindrical passageway for the transverse bar of a stringer and an upwardly opening slot extending the entire length of said forward portion, an uncurled central portion including laterally extending flat ears, the length of said central portion being adapted to be slightly longer than the length of a transverse bar, and a rearward portion curled coaxially to form a guideway for a push rod,
c. said housing including interior lateral recesses re ceivin g the ears of said needle, an upwardly opening stringer loading slot aligned with the central portion of said needle for insertion of a stringer transverse bar into coaxial alignment with said needle cylindrical passageway, and an upwardly opening slot extending from said loading slot to the front end of said housing in alignment with the upwardly opening slot of said needle for passage of a filament, and
d. a push rod reciprocally, longitudinally disposed within said housing, the front end of said rod being disposed within the guideway formed by said curled rearward portion of said needle, the rear end of said rod being attached to said push button for reciprocation therewith, and a spring surrounding said push rod to bias said rod rearwardly of said housing front end to a rest position in which the rod front end is disposed within said needle guideway rearwardly of said central portion to provide clearance for insertion of a stringer transverse bar, forward motion of said push button by a users thumb moving said push rod forwardly to urge a transverse bar of a stringer through said needle forward section for securing a button while the rearward pressure of said forefinger against said finger rest limits forward movement of said fastening tool.
2. A button fastening tool according to claim i further comprising a needle cap for protecting the pointed forward portion of said needle when said tool is not in use. said needle cap comprising a cylinder closed at one end, and having an inner diameter dimensioned for snug mating engagement with said needle forward portion, said needle cap other end having a laterally extending peripheral flange forming a finger grip and a rib member extending a short distance from said flange toward said cap one end exteriorlyof said cap cylinder, and
wherein said housing includes an interior hollow chamber the rear end of said housing having a needle cap storage hole opening to said chamber and having a diameter substantially the same as the outer diameter of said needle cap, so as to receive said needle cap snuggly therewithin to permit storage of said needle cap while said fastening tool is in use, said rib member limiting the extent of insertion of said cap into said hole so that said flange is sufficiently spaced from said housing rear end to permit easy finger grip removal of said cap from said storage hole.
3. A button fastening tool according to claim 2 wherein said housing is formed of two molded pieces separated along the longitudinal axis of said housing, said members including complementary alignment pins and holes, each section also including one of said needle ear-receiving recesses.
4. A button fastening tool according to claim 1 wherein said push button includes a neck slidingly engaging a longitudinal slot in said housing and a depending flange extending into another interior chamber in said housing, there being a conical hole through said depending flange, the diameter of said hole increasing toward the forward surface of said depending flange, and a bore extending upwardly into said push button rearwardly of said depending flange, said push rod being disposed within said other interior chamber, the rear end of said push rod being bent at a right angle, the relative positions of said flange and said bore and the dimension of said conical hole permitting insertion of said push rod bent end through said conical hole and into said bore to retain said push rod attached to said push button without additional fastening hardware.
5. A button fastening tool according to claim 1 further comprising a stringer guideway in the upper portion of said housing front end, said stringer guideway accepting the aligned transverse bars of a plurality of stringers and guiding said transverse bars downwardly into said needle central portion, said guideway including an upwardly opening slot joining said housing slot to permit unimpeded passage of the filaments of the stringers being guided to said needle central portion.
6. A button fastening tool according to claim 5 wherein the transverse bars of adjacent guided stringers are web-attached, the forward end of said push rod severing the web of the stringers being inserted during forward motion of said rod.