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Publication numberUS3855894 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 24, 1974
Filing dateMay 6, 1974
Priority dateMay 6, 1974
Also published asCA1000979A, CA1000979A1, DE2453426A1
Publication numberUS 3855894 A, US 3855894A, US-A-3855894, US3855894 A, US3855894A
InventorsH Thomas, R Olszowka
Original AssigneeWurlitzer Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Key assembly
US 3855894 A
Abstract
An octave of keys, as for an electronic organ, is formed as a unitary subassembly. A plastic hinge strip extending the length of an octave is provided. The sharp or black keys are formed integral with the hinge strip, while the key bars for the white or natural keys are likewise formed integral with the strip. White keys are snapped on to the key bars and the octave subassembly of keys is then mounted on the organ key bed as a unit and without individual adjustment of the respective keys.
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United states Thomas et aL Patent 1191 1451 Dec 24, 1974 1 1 KEY ASSEMBLY [75] Inventors Howard M. Thomas; Robert F.

Olszowka, both of North Tonawanda, NY. [73] Assignee: The Wurlitzer Company, Chicago, 111. 22 Filed: May 6, 1974 [21] Appl. No.:467,207

,[52] U.S. 84/423, 84/433, 84/DIG.--7" [51-] Int. Cl. ..,.-.'...Gl 0c 3/12,G10h 1/00 [58] Field of Search 84/1.01, 423, 424, 430, v 84/433-436, 438, D16: 7 200/1 R, 5 R, 237

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,117,002 5/1938 Hammond 84/423 2,832,251 4/1958 'Hayslett 84/433 3,110,211 11/1963 Elbreeht .....-84/423 3,120,145 2/1964 Stiles 84/433 3,205,754 9/1965 Becwar 84/433 3,306,152 2/1967 Klann 84/423 3,715,950 10/1972 Nord'quist 84/433 3,740,448 1 6/1973 Olszowka et a1 84/1.01 3,797,357 3/1974 Thomas et a1. 84/423 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS v 737,203 6/1966 Canada", 84/433 [5 ABSTRACT An octave of keys, as for an electronic organ, is formed as a unitary subassembly. A plastic hinge strip 'extending;the-1ength of fan octave is provided. The

sharp or black keys are formed integral with the hinge strip, while the key bars for the white or natural keys are likewise formed integral with the strip. White keys are snapped 0n to the key bars and the octave subassembly of keysis then mounted on the organ key bed as a'unit and without individual adjustment of the respective keys. 4

. 13 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENIEUnEc-24m4 I 1 3 'snm anrz,

. KEY ASSEMBLY struments, and especially for electronic organs, it has beencommon practice to providea key'bar having a separate key mountedthereon, usually by means of screws, withthe assembly being mounted by means of a mechanical hinge structure. Each key and key bar has hadto be mounted individually, and considerable manual labor has been emailed for such mounting and for attendant ajustment.

j In accordance with the invention disclosed and claimed; in Howard M. Thomas et al US. Pat. No. 3,797,357, ELECTRONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MECHANICAL CONSTRUCTION, subassemblies of keys are provided'in which a plurality of plastic keys is formed integral with a mounting strip with a flexural section between each key and the mounting strip. In accordance with US. Pat. No. 3,797,357 it is necessary to have three subassembliesfor each octave. In mounting this structure it is necessary to place three mounting strips on'top of one another on.'a supporting base. The

construction disclosed is generally satisfactory, but a certain amount of hand labor is necessary for placing each of the three assemblies in properpos'ition and for securing the same in place. I c

A variationon the structure shown in Thomas et al u.s. PaLNo. 3,797,357 is found in R. A. Becwar US.

- such as of voices or effects to be played.

.uralstrip' mounting each key on the mounting strip.

Similarly, there is'a separate group of sharp or black keys integrally molded with a single mounting strip with a flexural interconnecting strip between each kay and the mountingstrip. This expedient still presents a problem in thattwo mounting strips must be mounted,one ontop of the other, with screw receiving holes in each strip lined up with one another and with screw receiving structure on the organ key bed;

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of the present invention to provide plastic molded organ keys with all of the keys of an octave integrally joined to a single mounting strip by fleitural plastic sections, whereby each subassembly comprisingan octave of keys ismounted by securing only a single plastic strip in position on a key bed ore specifically, it is an object of the present invention to provide an organ key construction in which all of the keys of. one colorare molded integral with common mounting strip as are key bars corresponding to the keys of the other color,- key caps or facings for the other keys being snapped into position on the key bars for mounting of the key assembly on a key bed.

In accordance with the foregoing objects an organ key'and mounting structure is provided .in which all of the black or sharp keys areintegrally molded with a single mounting strip with flexural sections between'the respectivekeys and the mounting strip. Likewise, all of the key bars corresponding to the natural or white keys are formed integral with the single mounting strip with an intervening flexural section. White keys are snapped on to the respective key bars, whereupon the entire subassembly is readily mounted on a key bed.

'- BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of the upper portion of an electronicorgan constructed in accordance with and embodying the principles of the present invention; 3 I

FIG. 2 is a sectional view through 'the keyboard as taken substantially along the line 2-2. in FIG. I;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view on an enlarged scale and is taken substantially along the line 3.3 in FIG. 2;

FIG 4 is a sectional viewtaken substantially along the line 44 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a top view showing the one-piece molding- I FIG. 7 isja from viewthere'of.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Turning now ingreater particularity, to the drawings, and first to FIG. 1 there will be seen the upper portion of an electronic organ 10 having a keyboard 12. As will be understood, it is possible that the organ could have two keyboards, either one ortwobeing common. Inad-.

dition, the organis provide d with various sets of stop tablets 14 for effecting various controls on the organ,

' Taking up the portions of the present invention in sequenc'e, attention next-shouldbe directedto FIGS. 5-7. In these figures there is shown a keyboard subassembly corresponding to one octave of keys, and hence of organ notesqSuch a subassembly isless than 6V2 inches long, and the integralparts as hereinafter set forth can readily. be molded in existing molding machines. It is contemplated that a complete keyboard subassembly could be molded in a larger machine. The present subassembly comprises a mounting strip 18 having three screw holes 20,22 and 24 therein. Thes'crew hole 21) is round forclose coaction with a screw to locate the subassembly, while the other two holes are elongated" or oblong to compensate for production tolerances.

The mounting strip has integrally molded therewith five black or sharp keys 26, each joined-to the mount ing strip 18 by a flexural strip 28v having a restricted area therein formed by a generally V-shaped notch 30 running transversely across the flexural strip 28; The I plastic material preferably is polypropylene which iswell adapted to the necessary flexing. The color used is black tocorrespond with the usual black color of the downwardly opening box shaped structure having transverse reinforcing webs therein, one-of which extends down as a yoke 32 reinforced by a triangular gusset 34, and having a pair of notches in the bottom thereof, generally as shownand described in Olszowkaet al US. Pat. No. 3,740,448 to bear against a biasingspring and a whisker contact, generally in the same manner as disclosed in the aforesaid Olszowka et al patent.

,At the front orouter end of each sharp key 26 there is a depending wall 36 reinforced by triangular gusset walls 38 and having a forewardly or outwardly directing flange 40 thereon, which flange is cooperable with upstops and downstops as will be hereinafter set forth.

In addition, the mounting strip 18further has integrally formed therewith a plurality of'key bars 42 which likewise are joined to the mounting strip by flexural strips 28 and V-shaped notches 30 to enhance flexing. The V-shaped notches throughout are upwardly directed. Each natural key bar 42 has structure corresponding to some of the structure on the sharp keys,

and hence identified by the same numerals, including the downwardly directed yoke 32 reinforced by gussets 34, and'including an end wall 36 reinforced by gussets 38, and having an outwardly directed flange 40 for cooperation with an upstop and adownstop. Each key bar 42 further includes a flat, elongated base 44 (FIGS.

4-6) with a pair of upstanding longitudinally ribs 46 spaced inwardly from'the edges thereof.

provided with an upstanding hollow boss 48 having an outside diameter approximately equal to the space across the outsides of the ribs 46, and having an inside v Each key bar 42 adjacent the inner end thereof is I diameter50 with an inwardly taperedor beveled internal upper edge 52. A small hole 54 is formed in the base 44of each key bar within the hollow boss 48.

Adjacent the opposite end of'each key bar, and specifically just .short of the notch 30, there is formed a hole 56 (FIGS. 2 and 5) having an inner right angle and the shape or outline being determined in accor;

dance with the 'usualshape of organ and piano keys.

' Each natural'key 64 is molded of white plastic material,

Toassemble a natural key 64 on the corresponding key bar the foot. 72 of the depending projectionis in- .serted through the hole 56 with the key at a shallow The inner diameter of each depending post 74'is substantially the same as the diameter of the hole 54 at the bottom of each boss 48. Therefore, for conditions of severe usage, such as in schools and the like where children might be expected to pry up under the outer ends of the keys, a screw may be passed up through each key bar and threaded into the corresponding post '74 to form a pick-proof connection. However, without the aid of such screws the interference fit forms a sufficiently tight connection that is quitedifficult to remove a key from the key bar short of prying with ascrewdriver or the like. Additional features of the present invention will be apparent withreference to FIGS. 2-4. Screws 78 extend through holes in a clamping angle member 79 and through the holes 20, 22 and 24 in the mounting strip and arethreaded into, upstanding projections 80 on a key bed 82, whereby to mountthe keyboard subassembly 16 on the key bed. A plastic or metallic generally- E-shaped molding or extrusion 84 is secured by means of screws 86 on aforward portion of the key bed 82, the screws 86 being tapped into the lower flange 88 thereof. The upper flange 90 is somewhat narrower, and is provided on its underside with astrip of felt 92 or other suitable resilient material engageable with the polystyrene being a satisfactory example. Other suitsurface of the projection 70 and the undersurface of the foot 72. The foot extends through the hole 56 with I the key tipped at an angle, and locks beneath the right I angle shoulder 58 thereof with the key lowered to hori- I zontal position.

. Each natural key 64 further is provided with a depending hollow post 74 aligned with the upstanding hollow boss 48. v

Theexternal diameter of each post is such as to form a tight fit between side walls 76 of the narrowest natural keys, while the depending post 74 in each key forms a tight fit within the inner diameter or bore of each boss.

flange 40 at theouter portion of each sharp key or key bar to serve as an upstop.-Similarly, an intermediate flange 94, all of the flanges being horizontal and in vertically spaced relation, is provided on its upper surface with a felt or other resilient strip 96 to serve as a downstop for engagement with the flange 40. v A comb shaped plastic member 98 is secured to the outer surface of the web 100 of 'the Eashaped member 84 by means such as rivets or. screws 102, and has wide fingers 104 extending upwardly between the side walls 106 of the outer portions of the natural keys 64. The broad fingers 104 are separated by slots 108 of suitable width to accomodate the side walls 106. As will be seen particularly in FIG. 3 the fingers 104 of the member 98 serve as lateral positioning members for the natural keys to prevent undesired side-to-side movement of the keys. The sharp keys are, in turn, limited in lateral movement by the adjacent portions of the natural keys. In actual fact the flexural strip 28 joining each key bar to the mounting strip 18 has sufficient lateral stability that there is very little side-to-side wobbling of the keys in any event. However, since the natural keys are longer and can provide a greater lever action onthe flexural strips, the upstanding teeth 104 of the comb shaped member 98 positively preclude more than the slightest lateral motion to these keys. The E- shaped' member 84 and the lower portion of the comb shaped member 98 are hidden from view by an upstanding, flange 110 at the outer edge of the key bed 82, theentire key bed preferably being formed as a single piece foamed plastic molding, generally of the nature shown in Thomas etial US. Pat. No. 3,797,357.

Aswill now be apparent we have provided a low cost keyboard subassembly for an electronic organ or the like requiring a minimumof manual labor ininstalling the keyboard subassembly. The two-piece construction of each natural or'whitekey, i.e.', key and key bar, requires a minimum of hand labor for assembly, whereby the entire keyboardcan be produced at a most reasonable cost; Although the specific example of an octave subassembly of keys is practical in view of size limitations of molding machines, and to compensate for possible accumulative tolerances, it is'contemplated that with suitable molding machinery the entire length of the keyboard could bemade with a single mounting strip having all sharp keys and natural key bars integral v therewith. The specific example of the invention as herein shown and described isfor illustrative purposes only. Various changes in structure will no doubt occur to those skilled in the art, and will be understood as 3 forming a part of the present invention insofar as they fall within thespirit and scope of the'appended claims.

The invention is claimed as follows:.

l. A key. assembly for useas in a musical instrument keyboard comprising an elongated mounting strip for attachment to supporting structure, a plurality of keys of a first type, a plurality of flexural portions respectively integrally connecting said keys of said first type to said mounting'strip, a plurality of key bars correspondingto keys of a second type, a plurality of flexible portions respectively integrally connecting said key bars to said mounting strip, and a plurality of keys of said second type respectively secured tosaidkey bars.

forth in claim 3 and further 7. A key assembly as set forth including means forming a hook connection between each key of said second type and a respective key bar.

mounting strip for attachment tosupporting s tructure, .a plurality of plastic keys of a first type integrally molded with said mounting strip, an integrally molded plurality of flexure portions respectivelyintegrally connecting said keys of said first type to said mounting strip, a plurality, of integrally molded key bars corresponding to keys of a second type, a plurality .of integrally molded flexible plastic portions respectively integrally connecting .Saidkey bars to said mounting strip, and a plurality of keys of said second type respectively secured to said key bars. a I

6. A key assembly as set forth in claim 5, wherein the integrallymolded plastic parts are of one type of plastic and the second type of keys are of a different type of plastic. I

in claim 5, wherein each key of a second type is secured to its respective key bar by means of a hooklike interconnection and means providing a friction fit. v 8. A key assembly as set forth in-claim 5, wherein each key bar isprovided with a hollow upstanding boss and each key of a second type is provided with a depending post frictionally received in a respective boss to secure said key of a second type to the respective key bar. v V

9. A key assembly as set forth in claim 8, wherein I each key of a second type'has depending side walls frictionally engaging exterior portions of a respective boss.

10. A key assembly 'as set forth in claim 8, wherein each key bar has upstanding ribs extending longitudinally adjacent its side edges, and each key of a second type has depending side walls embracing said ribs.

11. A key assembly as set forth in claim 9, wherein each key bar has upstanding ribs extending longitudinally adjacent its side edges, and each key'of a second type has depending side walls embracing said ribs.

12. A key assemblyas set forth in claim 8, wherein each of said posts is hollow. v i

13. A key assembly as set forth in claim 12, wherein each key bar has a hole through it within a respective boss and aligned with a respective hollow post to permit threading of a retaining screw into said post.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2117002 *Jul 18, 1936May 10, 1938Hammond LaurensKeyboard for musical instruments
US2832251 *Jul 7, 1953Apr 29, 1958Wurlitzer CoOrgan key
US3110211 *Aug 6, 1959Nov 12, 1963Baldwin Piano CoElectronic organ construction
US3120146 *Jun 2, 1961Feb 4, 1964Pratt Read & Co IncMusical instrument key
US3205754 *Aug 30, 1962Sep 14, 1965 Becwar keys
US3306152 *Jun 17, 1964Feb 28, 1967Klann Paul AKeyboard
US3715950 *Sep 22, 1971Feb 13, 1973Pratt Read CorpKey construction for keyboard instruments
US3740448 *Apr 12, 1971Jun 19, 1973Wurlitzer CoOrgan drop-in key assembly
US3797357 *Sep 20, 1972Mar 19, 1974Wurlitzer CoElectronic musical instrument mechanical construction
CA737203A *Jun 28, 1966The Wurlitzer CompanySharp key cap
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3941023 *Jun 14, 1974Mar 2, 1976The Wurlitzer CompanyChord button assembly
US4091707 *Dec 22, 1975May 30, 1978Graber-Rogg, Inc.Compact chord organ
US4128035 *Jun 25, 1976Dec 5, 1978Norman EricksonKeyboard assembly
US4136270 *Mar 24, 1977Jan 23, 1979Gte Automatic Electric Laboratories IncorporatedActuator for pushbutton switch
US4140039 *Apr 12, 1976Feb 20, 1979Faulkner Alfred HHand held synthesizer
US4205583 *Dec 12, 1977Jun 3, 1980Cbs Inc.Keyboard construction for pianos
US4248130 *Aug 24, 1978Feb 3, 1981Norlin Industries, Inc.Keyboard assembly
US4346639 *Jul 27, 1981Aug 31, 1982Ernest VagiasThermoplastic key face for pianos or the like
US4368364 *Dec 3, 1980Jan 11, 1983Load Cells Inc.Key mechanism
US4500756 *Mar 19, 1982Feb 19, 1985Pratt-Read CorporationKeyboard switch having a deformable membrane formed of cellular urethane
US4782734 *Aug 25, 1987Nov 8, 1988Rose Erma LKeyboard keys for larger hands
US6051768 *May 4, 1998Apr 18, 2000Yamaha CorporationKeyboard assembly
US6087576 *Feb 20, 1998Jul 11, 2000Yamaha CorporationElectronic musical keyboard apparatus resistant to yawing forces and rolling forces
US6133517 *Dec 2, 1997Oct 17, 2000Yamaha CorporationKeyboard musical instrument with simplified key unit assembly
US7476795 *Jun 18, 2007Jan 13, 2009Yamaha CorporationKeyboard device for electronic musical keyboard instrument
US20080121091 *Jun 18, 2007May 29, 2008Yamaha CorporationKeyboard device for electronic musical keyboard instrument
Classifications
U.S. Classification84/423.00R, 84/433, 84/423.00A, 84/DIG.700
International ClassificationG10C3/12, G10B3/12
Cooperative ClassificationY10S84/07, G10C3/12
European ClassificationG10C3/12
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 15, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: GENERAL ELECTRIC CAPITAL CORPORATION, CONNECTICUT
Free format text: PATENT SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:GIBSON PIANO VENTURES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:012280/0932
Effective date: 20011109
Owner name: GENERAL ELECTRIC CAPITAL CORPORATION 800 CONNECTIC
Free format text: PATENT SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:GIBSON PIANO VENTURES, INC. /AR;REEL/FRAME:012280/0932
Nov 14, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: GIBSON PIANO VENTURES, INC., A DELAWARE CORPORATIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WURLITZER COMPANY, THE, A DELAWARE CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:012280/0710
Effective date: 20011109
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Sep 29, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: TWCA CORP., A DE CORP.
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST. SUBJECT TO CONDITIONS IN AGREEMENTS RECITED;ASSIGNOR:WURLITZER COMPANY, WURLITZER MUSIC STORES, INC., WURLITZER INTERNATIONAL LTD; WURLITZER ACCEPTANCE CORPORATION AND WURLITZER CANADA, LTD.;REEL/FRAME:004998/0787
Effective date: 19880223
Owner name: WURLITZER COMPANY
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Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:WURLITZER COMPANY;WURLITZER MUSIC STORES, INC.;WURLITZERINTERNATIONAL LTD AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:4998/787
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:WURLITZER COMPANY;WURLITZER MUSIC STORES, INC.;WURLITZERINTERNATIONAL LTD;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:004998/0787
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Aug 17, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF CHICAGO, THE, ONE FIRST NAT
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Effective date: 19870408