US 3915208 A
Toner supply apparatus for use in a magnetic printer in which toner is maintained in a substantially closed reservoir, new toner being introduced to the reservoir by means of a sealed container which can be opened only after installation in a cooperative receptacle in the reservoir. The supply apparatus can include a mechanism for applying toner from the reservoir onto a recording surface of a record medium.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
' Unite States atent [1 1 Anderson [4 1 Oct. 28, 1975 TONER SUPPLY APPARATUS WITH REPLENlsHiNG CONTAINER  Inventor: Larry H. Anderson, Southbury,
 Assignee: Inforex, 1nc., Burlington, Mass.
 Filed: July 24, 1973  Appl. No.: 382,155
 US. Cl 141/363; 222/D1G. 1  Int. Cl. B65B 1/06  Field of Search 222/DIG. 1, 325, 326, 327,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,668,642 2/1954 Johannesen 222/537 X 2,670,105 2/1954 Huhn 1. 222/547 X 3,237,809 3/1966 Daragan et a1. 222/325 X 3,325,844 6/1967 Lampe 1. 141/364 X 3,382,887 5/1968 Erickson.... 222/DIG. 1 3,526,341 9/1970 Johnston 222/325 X Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Francis J. Bartuska Attorney, Agent, or FirmWeingarten, Maxham & Schurgin  ABSTRACT Toner supply apparatus for use in a magnetic printer in which toner is maintained in a substantially closed reservoir, new toner being introduced to the reservoir by means of a sealed container which can be opened only after installation in a cooperative receptacle in the reservoir. The supply apparatus can include a mechanism for applying toner from the reservoir onto a recording surface of a record medium.
3 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures US. Patent Oct. 28, 1975 TONER SUPPLY APPARATUS WITH REPLENISHING CONTAINER FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to magnetic printers and more particularly to toner supply apparatus for use therein.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In magnetic printing systems, magnetic images of information to be printed are recorded on a magnetic tape or other magnetizable surface, and magnetic toner is applied to the recorded areas for adherence thereto for subsequent transfer to a writing surface. Such a system is shown, for example, in US. Pat. No. 3,735,416, entitled MAGNETIC PRINTING SYSTEM, and assigned to the assignee of this invention. The toner is usually in fine powder form and is contained within supply apparatus which includes a reservoir and a mechanism for applying toner onto the recording surface. The toner powder is extremely messy and unless properly handled, can contaminate the printing apparatus and the writing surface as well as dirtying personnel working with the printer. Contamination can most readily occur from spillage when the reservoir is being replenished with toner. Conventionally, toner has been supplied to the reservoir from a manually operable bottle from which toner is poured. Spillage can easily occur, however, and such conventional supply technique does not permit clean and efficient toner handling.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, toner supply apparatus is provided in which toner is maintained in a substantially closed reservoir, with toner introduced therein by means of a sealed container which is automatically opened only after installation in the reservoir. The toner container includes an outlet spout cooperative with an associated inlet receptacle in the toner reservoir, the spout being moveable to an open position only after insertion in and retention by the receptacle. Thus, the container cannot be readily removed from the toner reservoir without closure'of the outlet spout, the toner being sealed within its closed container when the container is separated from the supply apparatus. It will be appreciated that the invention is also useful for other inking materials such as electrostatic toner powder employed, for example, in copying and printing machines. The toner supply apparatus can include means for directing toner powder from the reservoir onto a recording surface for retention by the recorded images and subsequent transfer to a writing surface.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will be more fully understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a partially cutaway pictorial view of toner supply apparatus according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a pictorial view of a toner container according to the invention; and
FIGS. 3 and 4 are cutaway elevation views of the toner container of FIG. 2 shown in closed position and open position, respectively.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The toner supply apparatus embodying the invention is shown in FIG. 1 and includes a substantially closed housing 10 defining a chamber 12 for containing a supply oftoner powder 14, and an inlet port 16 of predetermined configuration which is cooperative with a toner container for introducing toner to the reservoir in a clean and efficientmanner. The inlet port 16 in the illustrated embodiment is of semi-circular configuration, and a plate l8-supported in raised disposition on wall 19 of housing 10 is provided in spaced relation to port 16 for retaining an associated toner container, as will be described A cover plate 20 is affixed to one edge of housing 10 by means of a spring-loaded hinge 22, and includes a resilient pad 24 which is dimensioned to seal port 16 when the cover is in its closed position. An aperture 26 is provided in wall 19 of housing 10, across which a magnetic recording tape 28 is caused to move in a direction indicated by arrow 30. The tape 28 is disposed with the recording surface thereof confronting aperture 26 and is maintained in engagement with aperture 26 by means of guide rollers or other means which are part of tape transport apparatus (not shown) for moving the tape in the printing system between recording and printing positions. A i Y A wheel 32 is mounted within housing 10 for rotation about its axis 34 to convey toner particles from the reservoir 12 onto the recording surface of tape 28. Wheel 32 has a circumferential surface which is magnetized to attract toner particles which remain adherent thereto to provide a circumferential layer 38 of toner powder. The layer of toner is disposed in contact with the recording surface of tape 28 confronting aperture 26. As the tape moves along its travel path, particles of layer 38 become attracted to the recorded areas of tape 28 and define patterns of information which are transferred to a writing surface at a subsequent location in the printing apparatus. The layer 38 of toner particles thus'serves as a source of toner for the recorded areas of tape 28. This layer also serves to minimize the spurious attraction of electrostatically attached toner particles to the recording surface of tape 28. The mass of toner particles comprising layer 38 is of relatively higher conductivity compared to the toner adhered to tape 28, and this higher conductivity path serves to discharge the electrostatically attracted particles on the recording surface.
The toner container is illustrated more particularly in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 and includes a cylindrical housing 50 having at one end thereof a wall 52 with a semi-circular opening 54 therein, and a gasket 56 disposed over and affixed to wall 52 and having a semi-circular opening in alignment with opening 54. A circular plate 58 having an integrally formed semicircular spout 60 is disposed over gasket 56 and is retained for rotational movement thereon by means of an annular retaining element 62. The container is typically formed of a plastic material, with gasket 56 being resilient foam material. The spout 60 is, in one position as shown in FIG. 4, in alignment with opening 54 to provide an outlet for the toner contained within housing 50. The outlet port is sealed by rotation of spout-60 to its closed position, illustrated in FIG. 3, which in the illustrated embodiment is accomplished by rotation of housing 50 relative to spout 60.
A semi-circular flange 64 is provided as part of element 62 and extends radially outward from housing 50 by an amount sufficient to cooperate with plate 18 on housing for retention of container 50, as seen in FIG. 4. A partition 66 is provided within housing 50, extending from the straight edge of opening 54 to the portion of the interior circumferential wall away from opening 54 to serve as a guide for flow of toner from the housing out through the spout 60 when in its open position.
When the toner container is separated from the toner supply, the outlet port is closed, as seen in FIG. 3, to provide a sealed container from which toner particles cannot spill. A supply of toner provided in container 50 can therefore be handled in a clean manner with little chance for contamination of apparatus or the dirtying of operating personnel. The toner container is installed in the supply apparatus by insertion of spout 60 into port 16 and rotation of housing 50 by one-half revolution to capture flange 64 beneath plate 18 (FIG. 4) and thereby retain container 50 in position on housing 10. In this retained position, spout 60 is open and toner can flow from the container into reservoir 12. The toner container cannot readily be removed from housing 10 without rotation of housing 50 to free flange 64 from plate 18, in which position port 60 is fully closed to prevent further flow of toner particles from container 50.
It will be appreciated that the invention can be implemented in many different ways to suit particular operating requirements. Accordingly, it is not intended to limit the invention by what has been particularly shown and described except as indicated in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
l. Toner supply apparatus comprising:
a substantially closed reservoir for containing a supply of toner powder and having an inlet port of predetermined configuration in a wall of said reservoir;
a substantially planar retaining plate supported in spaced relation to said wall of said reservoir and in partially surrounding cooperative association with said inlet port;
a toner container adapted to be secured in association with said inlet port for dispensing of toner powder from said container to said reservoir, said toner container including:
a circular end wall having an opening therethrough of a configuration conforming to the predetermined configuration of said inlet port;
a circular plate containing a spout having a configuration conforming to and cooperative with said inlet port, said circular plate being disposed for rotation in sealing contact with said end wall;
an annular ring affixed to and rotatable with said toner container having a circumferential portion in surrounding relationship to said end wall and an annular flange portion in engagement with the periphery of said circular plate to permit rotation of said circular plate and spout with respect to said toner container from a closed position to an open position;
a second flange portion radially extending outwardly from said annular ring about a predetermined segment thereof and movable therewith, said second flange portion being operative for retention by said retaining plate of said reservoir when said spout is in the open position;
said spout being insertable into and removable from said inlet port only in its closed position and being retained therein in its open position by cooperative action of said retaining plate and said second flange portion.
2. The invention according to claim 1 wherein said toner container includes an inclined partition extending from an edge of said opening in the end wall of said container to the portion of said cylindrical wall opposite to said opening and operative to guide toner within said container through said opening when said spout is in the open position.
3. Toner supply apparatus according to claim 1 further including a resilient gasket between said circular plate and said end wall and affixed to said end wall and having an opening therethrough in alignment with the opening in said wall and providing a seal to prevent leakage of said powder from said container.