Sept. 26, 1967 H. H. LOEFFLER LABEL PRINTER AND DISPENSER HAVING RECIPROCABLE PRINT CARRIAGE 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Feb. 5, 1965 ATTORNEYS Sept. 26, 1967 H. H LOEFFLER LABEL PRINTER AND DISPENSER HAVING RECIPROCABLE PRINT CARRIAGE Filed Feb. 5, 1965 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 liq/ml III II II II FIG. 4
INVENTOR HERBERT H. LOE FLER BYZ/ ATTORNEYS Sept. 26, 1967 H. H. LOEFFLER LABEL PRINTER AND DISPENSER HAVING RECIPROGABLE PRINT CARRIAGE 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Feb.
INVENTOR HERBER H. L FFLER li'llllll'llllllllllllllllli /l I 2 G 4 H ATTORNEYS Sept. 26, 1967 H. H. LOEFFLER 3,343,435
LABEL PRINTER AND DISPENSER HAVING RECIPROCABLE PRINT CARRIAGE Filed Feb. 5, 1965 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR HERBERT H. FFLER BYM,W"
ATTORNEYS United States Patent Ofitice 3,343,485 Patented Sept. 26, 1967 3,343,485 LABEL PRINTER AND DISPENSER HAVING RECIPROCABLE PRINT CARRIAGE Herbert H. Loefller, Brooklyn, N.Y., assignor to Nashua Corporation, Nashua, N.H., a corporation of Delaware Filed Feb. 5, 1965, Ser. No. 430,565 8 Claims. (Cl. 101288) ABSTRACT OF THE DIS CLOSURE Apparatus for printing selected data on labels and dispensing them from a length of stock strip. The feed stroke of a hand lever withdraws a print carriage from a platen, swings an ink pad against type on the carriage, and drives a pawl feeding element over a ratchet to feed the strip through a full stroke and discharge a previously-printed label. Printing out of register by an incomplete stroke and release of the lever is prevented by the pawl and ratchet. Release of the hand lever Withdraws the ink pad, prints a label on the platen, and returns the feeding element to a starting position.
Brief description of the invention It is the general object of this invention to provide an improved label printer and dispenser of the portable handoperated type. It is a more specific object to afford an improved operating mechanism of reduced complexity which serves, through a single stroke and release of a hand lever, to feed a length of label stock strip forwardly, to ink a type font, and to print a label, while delivering a label printed on the preceding stroke for attachment to any desired article. It is a further object to afiord a positive feeding mechanism which prevents the printing of label blanks out of register, prior to the completion of a feed stroke.
The improved label printer is intended primarily for use with a two-ply label stock strip, having a gummed label ply and a backing ply for covering the gumrned sur face until the individual label is printed and ready for dispensing. It is a further object of the invention to provide a label printer with a compact mechanism for printing labels serially while simultaneously breaking away the backing ply from previously-printed labels. Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent as the following detailed description proceeds.
Briefly stated, according to a preferred embodiment thereof, the improved apparatus includes a housing having a pivotal hand lever and containing a print carriage bearing a type font; the print carriage is pivotally connected to the hand lever for reciprocation by the stroke of the latter, for printing successive labels on a platen surface. Intermittent forward feeding of the label stock strip is performed by means of a pawl or feeding element which is pivotally mounted in the lever for sliding movement on a ratchet or cam element mounted in the housing. These elements cooperate in such a fashion that the pawl engages and feeds the stock only upon a feed stroke of the lever, and is disengaged from the stock during a return stroke, when the printing action takes place. If the feed stroke of the lever is not completed, printing of a partially-advanced lavel out of proper register is prevented by the ratchet element locking the lever against return movement.
According to a feature of the invention, the printing platen surface and the guide surface are formed on opposite sides of a jaw which has a sharply rounded edge joining these surfaces. The backing strip is given a reverse band about this edge, so that the printed label strip breaks away and feeds forwardly to a discharge station, from which it can be directly applied to a desired article without manual handling. The backing strip passes from the tip over the guide surface in a reverse direction, and is there engaged by the pawl or feeding element, to draw the stock forwardly over the printing platen surface on the feed stroke of the lever. This arrangement is advantageous in that it permits all of the various desired functions to be carried out by a compact device, which is conveniently portable and operable with one hand.
As an additional feature, an ink pad is mounted in the hand lever in a position to strike the type font at the conclusion of the feed stroke, while the font is withdrawn from the platen surface. Movement of the lever through the printing stroke clears the path of the print carriage to the platen. Self-inking action is thus secured without the addition of any further moving parts.
While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out the subject matter which I regard as my invention, it is believed that a clearer understanding may be gained from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof, referring to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a view in side elevation of the improved apparatus;
FIG. 2 is a view in front elevation;
FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectiona1 view in side elevation, showing the positions of the parts at the conclusion of a printing stroke;
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4, but showing the positions of the parts at the conclusion of a feed stroke;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view on an enlarged scale, showing a feeding element at the commencement of a feed stroke;
FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along line 7-7 in FIG. 6, looking in the direction of the arrows;
FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 6, but showing the feeding element as it approaches the end of the feed stroke; and
FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken along line 9-9 in FIG. 8, looking in the direction of the arrows.
Referring to the drawings, the apparatus includes a housing 10, having a shell 12 hinged thereon by a pin 14 near the top, and having a hand grip surface 16 near the bottom. A hand lever 18 is pivotally mounted in the shell by means of a pin 20. All of the operations of the apparatus are performed by squeezing this lever from a rest position, shown in dotted lines at 18', to a depressed position 18, and then releasing the lever, which is returned to the rest position by a hair-pin spring 22 (FIGS. 4 and 5). Feeding of the label stock is performed by the squeezing action, and printing occurs at the conclusion of the return stroke.
A roll 24 of label stock strip is carried in the upper portion of the housing by a spool 26, which is rotatably mounted in mating cut-outs 28 in the shell and housing.
The stock strip has two plies, including a backing strip 30 which emerges as Waste material at one end of the bottom surface, and a gummed label strip 32 which is dispensed near the opposite corner. The backing strip serves to protect, the gum during the printing operation; and after separation from the label strip, is also used to feed the composite stock strip forwardly.
The assembly is normally held in a closed position by a cover 34 which is hinged on a roller axle 38 in upstanding ears 36 (FIGS. 4 and formed in the shell 12. A dispensing roller 40 is mounted on the axle by means of a bushing 42, to position the printed labels for direct attachment to a desired article without handling. The cover 34 is formed with keyhole openings 44 to permit opening of the housing, and is normally retained in position by a detent ball 46.
The housing is formed at its lower end with a transversely extending jaw 48, having an upper platen surface 49 formed by a cushion 50 of resilient plastic e.g. Teflon or other material, and a lower guide surface 52. These surfaces are joined by a sharply rounded edge 54. The twoply stock strip is guided from the spool 2.6 onto the platen surface by a transverse member 56. After the label strip is printed, the two plies are separated by bending the backing strip 30 in a reverse direction about the edge 54, causing the label strip to break away. The backing strip passes outwardly through a discharge slot 58, formed between the cover 34 and a transverse bar 60 aifixed therein. The label strip continues in its forward path and passes out of the apparatus between the cars 36 and over the dispensing roller 40. Pressing the dispensing roller against an article would aifix the leading edge of the protruding label, after which a movement of the apparatus to the right would separate an individual label from the strip and roll it into position on the article. The label strip is preferably severed into individual labels.
In the position shown in FIG. 4, a label resting on the platen surface 49 is impressed by type faces 74, borne by two or more flexible belts 66 for printing selected price information, and by a type slug 68 for printing a standard legend, such as the store name. These elements are supported in a print carriage 72, the slug being mounted in a clip 70. Each type band has a series of faces 74 separated by indentations 76. The required number of bands are mounted in laterally-spaced relation, each on an individual pair of square tubular bushings including a lower bushing 78 and an upper bushing 79. The square form of the bushings serves to advance each type face through a complete step as the bushings are turned, thereby to bring the faces into parallel registration with the platen surface; a corresponding face also comes to rest in parallel relation on the upper bushings. It is preferred that these opposed parallel faces bear duplicate characters, so that the particular type set at the lower bushings will be visibly indicated at the upper bushings 79, through window openings 80 in the side of the shell 12. The lower bushings are freely rotatable upon shafts 82, while the upper bushings are rotatable upon hollow shafts 84. Each of the latter shafts has a longitudinal slot into which a bit 86 of a price-set key 88 is longitudinally slidable, and engageable in any of four corresponding recesses in any one of the upper bushings, which recesses may comprise the interior corners of said bushings, for resetting an associated type band. To reset any type face, the corresponding price-set key is simply pushed or pulled until its bit engages in the appropriate upper bushing, after which a rotation of the key alters the type setting.
The print carriage 72 is reciprocated by the stroke of the hand lever 18 between the printing position shown in FIG. 4, and a withdrawn position shown in FIG. 5; the carriage is guided in this motion by a pin 90 carried by the hand lever in slots 92, and a guide pin 94 fixed in the carriage. The guide pin is slidable in a pair of opposed slots 95 (FIG. 4, one only is shown) formed in a pair of parallel carriage guide arms 96, which comprise trans verse extensions supporting the channel member 56, and lie against the sidewalls of the shell 12. The withdrawn position is defined by the abutment of the guide pin 94 with a pair of upstanding flanges 98 formed in the portion 16 of the housing.
Resilient driving connection between the hand lever 18 and the print carriage 72 is provided by extending a pin into a pair of elongated slots 100 in the walls of the print carriage, and through transverse slots 92 in the lever. Thus there is no direct transmission of lever motion at the slot 100, which merely serves to guide the print carriage in a substantially rectilinear path in cooperation with the guide pin 94 and slot 95. Driving connection is made between the pin 90 and the guide pin 94,
which is afiixed to the print carriage by means of a tension spring 102 which stretches when 94 strikes 98. Continued motion of the hand lever closes the clearance between ink pad and type.
Inking of the type faces in performed automatically through operation of the hand lever, by means of an ink pad 104, which is carried in an ink pad holder 106 at the lower end of the lever, and positioned to strike the pre-set type faces at the conclusion of the feed stroke, as shown in FIG. 5. The print carriage is spaced sufficiently far from the jaw 48 in its withdrawn position to permit interpositioning of the ink pad. Terminal motion of the hand lever closes the clearance between pad 104 and the type face.
The feeding mechanism will now be described, with particular reference to FIGS. 4-9. A label-feeding or pawl element 110 is pivoted on a pin 112 in a pair of.
downwardly-extended arms 114 formed in the hand lever. The arms 114 also serve to limit the movement of the hand lever on its release, to the position shown in FIG. 4, by the abutment of these arms against the roller bushing 42. The pawl element is formed with a slide 119, which is extended into a pair of flexible inclined guide fingers 116. The slide has a plurality of struck-up tangs 118. These tangs are slidable in grooves recessed into the guide surface 52 of the jaw, being received through perforations 122 which are pre-punched in the backing strip 30 as shown in FIG. 3. The pawl element thus grips the backing strip to carry it forwardly during the feeding stroke of the hand lever. Pivotal displacement of the pawl element into the strip-engaging position is obtained during the feed stroke by means of a cam track or ratchet element 124, which cooperate with the guide fingers 116. The ratchet element is formed in the cover 34 and has a generally H-shaped cross-section, of which one leg comprises a series of inclined ratchet teeth 126. A web portion 128 and the remaining leg 130 provide a channelfor a return movement of the fingers, out of engagement with the guide surface and the strip, to secure a one-way feeding action. The leg 130 is planar throughout the channel, but terminates at the end shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 in up-turned cam flanges 132. In the rest position of the hand lever, the flanges 132 pivotally displace the pawl element to align the flexible fingers 116 with the ratchet teeth 126.
As the feeding commences, the ratchet teeth engage and deflect the fingers as shown in FIG. 9, biasing the slide 119 against the guide surface, and forcing the tangs 118 to enter the grooves 120 through the backing strip. This engagement continues to the end of the feed stroke. If the hand lever is released before the feed stroke is completed, the ratchet teeth lock the lever against a return movement, and so prevent the printing of a label which is not yet registered with the platen surface.
As the fingers pass the last of the ratchet teeth, they deflect downwardly as suggested by the arrows in FIG. 8, thus withdrawing the tangs 118 from engagement with the strip 30. The fingers assume undeflected positions as shown at 116', now being aligned with the lower surfaces of the ratchet teeth. As the hand lever is released, the
pawl element 110 is withdrawn through the channel between the ratchet teeth and the leg 130, to the starting position shown in FIG. 6.
To aid in holding the strip 30 in a flat condition on the guide surface, and to overcome any tendency it may have to buckle and jam in the discharge slot 58, an antireverse pin 134 (FIGS. 4 and 9), is mounted in the jaw 48 to engage in perforations 122. This pin has an inclined tip to allow the strip to pass only in a forward direction.
While I have illustrated and described a preferred embodiment of my improved apparatus, it will be understood that various changes and modifications may occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention, which I therefore intend to define in the appended claims without limitation to the details of the foregoing embodiment.
What I claim is:
1. Apparatus for printing and dispensing labels from an indefinite length of label strip, comprising, in combination:
a housing having a printing platen surface;
a hand lever pivotally mounted for pivotal movement about an axis in said housing for oscillatory movement through a feed stroke and a return printing stroke;
a print carriage bearing a type font and being reciprocably slidable in said housing between a printing position in which said type font is positioned to engage said strip resting on said platen surface, and withdrawn position spaced from said platen surface;
said lever and said carriage having pivotal connection at a point spaced from said axis to effect movement of said carriage to the withdrawn position during said feed stroke, and movement of said carriage to the printing position during said printing stroke;
a pawl element pivotally mounted in said lever for travel therewith, said housing having a ratchet element spaced from said platen surface to provide passage for said pawl element therebetween, said ratchet element being constructed and arranged to engage with and deflect said pawl element during said feed stroke into position to engage and feed said strip over said platen surface and to release said pawl element from engagement with said strip at the conclusion of the feed stroke, said housing further providing a channel for return movement of said pawl element disengaged from said ratchet element during said return printing stroke; said ratchet element blocking a reverse movement of said pawl element and said lever through the feed stroke prior to completion thereof, whereby said strip is fed in one direction over said platen surface, and printed only upon completion of a full feed stroke.
2. Apparatus as recited in claim 1, in which said pawl element includes flexible fingers, and said ratchet element is formed to slidably engage and deflect said fingers to engage said pawl element with said strip during the feed stroke, and to release said fingers for pivotal disengagement of said pawl element from said strip to enter said channel at the conclusion of the feed stroke.
3. Apparatus as recited in claim 2, in which said ratchet element includes cam means for pivotally moving said pawl element at the conclusion of the return printing stroke to a position for re-engaging said fingers with said ratchet element.
4. Apparatus for printing labels from an indefinite length of label strip, comprising, in combination:
a housing having a printing platen surface;
a hand lever mounted pivotally about an axis in said housing for oscillatory movement through a forward stroke and a return printing stroke;
a print carriage reciprocably slidable in said housing between a printing position in which said type font is positioned to engage said strip resting on said on said platen surface, and a withdrawn position spaced from said platen surface;
said lever being drivingly connected with said carriage to efiect movement of said carriage to the withdrawn position during said forward stroke, and movement of said carriage to the printing position during said printing stroke;
at least one flexible type band having duplicate series of print faces, corresponding faces being spaced apart half the length of the band; and a pair of spaced apart shafts rotatably mounted in said carriage; said band being reeved about said shafts for movement of a selected type face to a position resting on one shaft and confronting said platen surface, and for movement of a corresponding type face to an opposed position resting on the other of said shafts for displaying the setting of said band.
5. Apparatus as recited in claim 4, said band being formed with indentations between adjacent type faces; and said shafts having a squared cross-sectional form the the width of whose faces corresponds to the width of a print face, whereby upon adjustment, said band comes to rest with a print face aligned substantially parallel to said platen surface.
6. Apparatus as recited in claim 4, said housing being formed with a window opening adjacent said other shaft for visibly displaying the setting of said type band.
7. Apparatus as recited in claim 4, in which there is a plurality of flexible type bands reeved about said shafts in laterally-spaced relation; each of said shafts comprising a series of rotatable bushings mounted on a common shaft element, each bushing engaging a corresponding one of said bands, one of said shaft elements being hollow and having a longitudinal slot therein; and a band-setting key slidably received in said hollow shaft element and having a bit extending through said slot to engage a selected one of said bushings; whereby the bands are individually adjustable by sliding said key to engage said bit with a selected bushing, and by turning said key to position a selected print face to confront said platen surface.
8. Apparatus for printing labels from an indefinite length of label strip, comprising, in combination:
a housing having a printing platen surface;
a hand lever mounted pivotally about an axis in said housing for oscillatory movement through a forward stroke and a return printing stroke;
a print carriage bearing a type font and being reciprocably slidable in said housing between a printing position in which said type font is positioned to engage said strip resting on said platen surface, and a withdrawn position spaced from said platen sur face;
said lever and said carriage having pivotal lost-motion connection to guide the reciprocation of said carriage; first spring means drivingly connecting said lever with said carriage and operative to bias said carriage toward the withdrawn position during the forward stroke of said handle; further spring means biasing said lever toward the printing position, for driving said carriage through said lost-motion connection; said lost-motion connection being formed by a pin carried by said lever and slidable in an elongated slot, said slot being formed in said carriage and extending in the direction of carriage reciprocation; together with a guide pin carried by said carriage and slidable in a further elongated slot, said further slot being formed in said housing and extending in the direction of carriage reciprocation; said first spring means interconnecting said pins.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,621,334 3/1927 Reichman 22667 X 1,863,754 6/1932 Lissaur et a1 74-17.5 X 1,955,606 4/1934 Pitman 7417.5 2,004,202 6/1935 Horton 101-288 X (Other references on following page) UNITED STATES PATENTS Mossbach 101-111 X Hedinger 101288 Henry 101288 Machechnie 101 288 X Kafka 156-384 Adshead 74-175 X MacDonald 101111 X McCarty 7417.5
8 Thompson 101111 Keck -1 :101-105 X Pittman et a1. 101288 Norden 22667'X Satas 101288 X McRas et a1. 101105 X ROBERT E. PULFREY, Primary Examiner.
E. S. BURR, Assistant Examiner.