US 3863051 A
A positioning device for mailing envelopes embodies a pair of spaced plates between which a corner portion of the envelope is inserted. The device includes a pair of right angular stop elements engageable with right angular edges of the envelope during use to accurately position the envelope in relation to a zip code field consisting of a multiplicity of rectilinear apertures in one of said plates.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
O Umted States Patent 91 m1 3,863,051 Wilcoxon l l Jan. 28, 1975  DEVICE TO FACILITATE UNIFORM 2.525.837 l()/l950 Simplair 33/174 APPLICATION OF ZIP CODE INDICIA T0 2,775,405 l2/l956 Paston 235/6l.l2 N 3,705 294 l2/l972 Kuehnle.... 235/6l.l2 N ENVELOPES 3,783,246 l/l974 Bayer 235/hl.l2 R  Inventor: Kenneth H. Wilcoxon, 9 Ericsson,
Bethe5da- 20034 Primary Examiner-Daryl W. Cook Assistant Examiner-Robert M. Kil ore  Filed. June 13, 1973 g 6 79 ] 3 9 6 57 ABSTRACT  U 5 Cl 235/61 12 R A positioning device for mailing envelopes embodies a  3/00 4 6 pair of spaced plates between which a corner portion  Fie'ld 35/37 235/61 12R of the envelope is inserted. The device includes a pair 12 M, of right angular stop elements engageable with right angular edges of the envelope during use to accurately  References Cited position the envelope in relation to a zip code field H consisting of a multiplicity of rectilinear apertures in UNITED STATES PA I EN1 5 one of Said plates. |.x7|,597 8/1932 English 35/32; I 2,190,752 2/1940 Brown 35/324 4 Chums, 2 Drawing F Igures l4 l5) f g 25 I 5 4 l i b /i\ a moo-1mo14 o|-o ooooooooocm oooooooog; ooooooooo ooooooooo KDCUNQ U \J (slip-O N KIOD\Q\L DEVICE TO FACILITATE UNIFORM APPLICATION OF ZIP CODE INDICIA TO ENVELOPES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The increasing use of optical scanning or reading equipment by the post office makes it desirable in connection with automatic mail sorting to apply zip codes to mailing envelopes in the form of dark markings, such as small dots or squares, in a rectilinear field near one lower corner of the envelope. The dots or similar markings contrast to the usual light color of the paper envelopes and are automatically read by the optical equipment to aid in automatic mail sorting. It is essential that the zip code markings be applied to the envelopes in a uniform manner and with accuracy in the spacing of the markings in a plurality of vertical and horizontal right angular rows parallel to the adjacent corner edges of the envelope.
It is the object of this invention to provide a simple device for positioning a mailing envelope properly relative to a rectangular zip code field formed by rows of apertures in the device while a pencil or similar marker is inserted through the apertures to place the zip code markings on the envelope in a reliable manner enabling them to be properly read by the optical equipment. The zip codes are five digit numbers including the numbers zero through nine. Therefore, the apertures code field provided in at least one wall of the device contains ten parallel equally spaced horizontal rows of apertures with five apertures per horizontal row. The apertures are also arranged in five parallel equally spaced vertical rows containing ten apertures per row.
Prior US. Pat. No. 2,775,405 deals generally with the problem of providing a coded envelope to facilitate mail sorting. However, in this patent, the zip code field in blank form must either be preprinted or applied to the envelope in the form of preprinted strips or cards having rows of indicia to be filled in by pencil or ink when applying the zip code or address. Therefore, in the prior art, a special envelope or special printed cards or strips are required, whereas with the present invention conventional envelopes are utilized and the desired coding is applied by the simple use of the positioning device and a pencil or the like. No preprinting of the envelope or attachment thereto of printed strips or cardsis involved with the invention. The device is economical and durable and should last indefinitely.
Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent during the course of the following description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING FIGURES FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a device embodying the invention and showing the use of the device for positioning an envelope relative to an apertured zip code field.
FIG. 2 is a horizontal cross section through the device on line 2-2 of FIG. 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to the drawings in detail wherein like numerals designate like parts, the device comprises a pair of preferably rectangular and preferably equally sized plates and 11 formed of transparent plastic. While transparent material is preferred for the device, it could if desired be formed from opaque material such as metal or wood in whole or in part. Also. the device in its overall configuration need not be rectangular as shown but this is the most convenient shape in terms of symmetry with a rectangular envelope.
The two plates 10 and 11 are assembled in rather closely spaced parallel relation such as one-sixteenth inch apart to provide a slot 12 between them for the in sertion of one corner of an envelope 13 as illustrated in FIG. I. The envelope-receiving slot 12 opens through the corner 14 of the device formed by the right angular sides 15 and 16.
The other pair of sides of the device are closed by spacer strips 17 forming envelope positioning stops. These spacer strips are arranged in right angular relationship and are fixedly secured between the plates 10 and 11 by fasteners 18 or by adhesive means, if preferred. The strips 17 or stops may be transparent or opaque and formed of any desired material. The interior edges 19 of the two strips 17 are disposed in true right angular relationship to engage the right angular edges of the envelope 13 which form one corner 20 thereof.
Preferably, the strips 17 terminate short of the corner 21 of the device as indicated at 22 in FIG. I. This forms an open corner portion in the device adjacent to the envelope corner 20 and helps to accommodate envelopes which are not truly square.
The zip code or indicia field for the device, as shown. is made up of a multiplicity of small apertures 23 in the plate 11. These apertures 23 are of a size to accommodate a pencil point, pen point or like marking implement. They may be circular apertures, as shown, square, triangular or any other convenient shape. The aperture or zip code field is rectangular and consists of ten equally spaced parallel horizontal rows of the apertures and five vertical rows. The vertical rows of apertures are parallel to one of the envelope stop edges 19 and the horizontal rows are parallel to the other edge 19. To aid in using the zip code field composed of the apertures 23, indicia numerals 24 from zero to nine in ascending order from top to bottom are placed adjacent to the outside vertical rows of apertures in the field, as shown in FIG. 1. These numerals are imprinted on the preferably transparent device so as to be clearly visible to the user.
In use, the lower right hand corner of the mailing envelope l3 opposite the postage stamp 25 is inserted into the slot 12 of the device and the right angular edges of the envelope are moved into firm engagement with the positioning edges 19 or stops. This will locate any envelope properly to receive the zip code in the form of markings formed with a pencil or the like inserted through the apetures 23. The five digits of the zip code for any area of the nation can thus be conveniently applied in opaque dot form to the envelope by choosing one digit of the zip code in each of the five vertical rows of apertures and making a marking on the envelope at that point.
The invention assures that the zip code will be applied to all envelopes in a highly uniform and accurate manner necessary for proper reading by the automatic sorting equipment of an optical nature.
It is to be understood that the form of the invention herewith shown and described is to be taken as a preferred example of the same and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangement of parts may be resorted to, without departing from the spirit of the invention or scope of the subjoined claims.
1. A device to assist in applying coded indicia to mailing envelopes of varying sizes and the like comprising a pair of plates in side-by-side spaced relation forming therebetween an envelope-receiving slot, spacer elements between marginal edge portions of the plates and fixedly secured thereto, said spacer elements having straight envelope positioning edges disposed at right angles, and one of said plates having a code field consisting of apertures formed through said plate and said apertures arranged in multiple parallel spaced rows with said rows of apertures in the field extending at right angles, the rows of apertures in one direction being parallel to one of said envelope positioning edges and the rows of apertures extending in the other direction being parallel to the other envelope positioning edge, means for accommodating envelopes which are larger than said plates, said last named means comprising said spacer elements being spacer strips extending along one pair of corner forming marginal edged ofthe plates, thereby allowing said envelope-receiving slot to be open and unobstructed over the remaining areas of said plates, wherein said plates include at least a pair of square corner forming edges, and said spacer elements comprising spacer strips extending along said corner forming edges and having corresponding ends terminating short of said corners, whereby envelopes having irregular corners may be accomodated, said code field being spaced inwardly of said spacer strips with corner forming rows of apertures in the field parallel with inte rior straight edges of said strips and spaced equidistantly therefrom.
2. The structure of claim 1, and readily visible numeric indicia imprinted on one of said plates adjacent to one outer row of apertures in said code field. said numeric indicia in ascending order along said row.
3. The structure of claim 2, and said numeric indicia including the numerals zero through nine, there being l0 aperture rows in said field in one direction and five aperture rows in said field in the other direction which is parallel to said numeric indicia and parallel to one of said envelope positioning edges.
4. A device to assist in applying coded indicia to mailing envelopes of varying sizes and the like comprising a pair of plates in side-by-side spaced relation forming therebetween an envelope-receiving slot. spacer elements between marginal edge portions ofthe plates and fixedly secured thereto, said spacer elements having straight envelope positioning edges disposed at right angles, means for accommodating envelopes having imperfect corners that do not meet at right angles. said means comprising a corner formed at said right angle, said corner being formed by said spacer elements that terminate short of said corner thereby providing a space for receiving said imperfect envelope, one of said plates having a coded field consisting of apertures formed through said plate and said apertures arranged in multiple parallel spaced rows with said rows of apertures in the field extending at right angles, the rows of apertures in one direction being parallel to one of said envelope positioning edges and the rows of apertures extending in the other direction being parallel to the other envelope positioning edge, wherein said plates are rectangular, said spacer elements being spacer strips extending along one pair of corner forming marginal edges of the plates, thereby allowing said envelope receiving slot to be open and unobstructed over the remaining areas of the said plates.