United States Patent 72] Inventors John A. Maul Lyndhurst; James T. Zofehak, Mentor; David D. Anderson, Richmond Hts., Ohio  Appl. No. 864,643  Filed Oct. 8,1969
Division 01 Ser. No. 698,871, Jan. 18, 1968, Pat. No. 3,508,488  Patented May 25, 1971  Assignee Addressograph Multigraph Corporation Cleveland, Ohio  SE'I'IABLE DRUM SERIES PRINTING WHEEL ARRANGEMENT 2 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.  U.S.Cl 101/110, 10l/99  Int. Cl B41j 5/02, B4 1 j 1/22  Field of Search 101/95, 99, 110, 45, 100, 79
[5 6] References Cited UNIT ED STATES PATENTS 1,049,908 I/ 1913 Pannier l0l/95X 1,746,516 2/1930 Boyer 101/99 2,482,420 9/1949 Keuper 101/95 2,687,692 8/1954 Kubovy et a1 101/110 3,011,358 12/1961 Moore 74/409 3,138,091 6/1964 Maul l0l/45 3,279,369 10/1966 Wight... lOl/282X 3,322,062 5/1967 Maul 101/45 3,334,582 8/1967 Mahoney 101/45 3,338,160 8/1967 Hell 101/99 3,363,477 l/1968 Curtiss et a1. 74/421 Primary ExaminerWilliam B. Penn Att0rneysRussell L. Root and Ray S. Pyle PATENTEUmzsmn 3580.169
SHEET 1 [1F 2 IN VI'SN'T 'ORS JOHN A. MAUL JAMES T. ZOFCHAK DAVID D. ANDERSON BYM A"! "TOP? NFIY PATENTEI] was I97! 3580.169
SHEET 2 [1F 2 lNl/E'N'T'ORS JOHN A. MAUL JAMES T. ZOFCHAK DAVID D. ANDERSON SE'ITABLE DRUM SERIES PRINTING WHEEL ARRANGEMENT CROSS-REFERENCES This invention is a division of application Ser. No. 698,871 filed Jan. 18, 1968, now Pat. No. 3,508,488.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Sales slips were once entirely handwritten with a carbon copy being made for the customer. Then the advent of the embossed metal plates for department store charge purposes eventually led to the more complete embossed plastic credit cards so widely known and used currently. Such cards contain various information in addition to the customer's name, and are employed as source-data in a printing machine which causes a roller to press an interleaved carbon set against the surface of the plate. Other information is handwritten onto the form before the transaction is completed.
Machines have been developed, such as the one shown in US. Pat. No. 3,138,091, wherein a series of wheels having a plurality of faces, each face carrying different indicia, are held in a group and aligned with the position in which the credit card is placed for printing. Thus variable information, such as the dollar amount of the transaction, can be added at the end of the printing stroke and be imprinted onto the form along with the fixed information. Use of a variable printing device along with fixed printing devices enables the printing of this necessarily exact information, in order to avoid errors due to illegible handwriting.
This type of data recorder is commonly used in oil service stations or other retail outlets to record name, address and account number of the customer as well as the amount of the sale. The variable print wheels may be provided with stylized numerals, or they may be provided with codes associated with each of the different numerals provided on the print wheels, or both. Subsequently, the codes or stylized numerals imprinted on the forms are machine read with automatic data processing equipment. These same codes and/or stylized numerals are also provided on the embossed card, in association with the account number, and are accordingly also imprinted on the form for subsequent machine reading.
The present invention provides an improved variable print wheel setting mechanism and incorporates in cooperative relation therewith a platen structure such as that of said Pat. No. 3,138,091, whereby to provide an improved data recorder capable of providing accurate impressions both from tokens and from settable wheels by a compact machine of enhanced performance capable of being manufactured at significantly reduced cost.
The data recorder of the present invention provides for imprinting onto a form fixed data from a customers credit card and variable data from selectively settable print wheels. The fixed data may include the name and address of the customer and an accounting number, and the variable data may pertain to, for example, the money amount of the transaction. Advantageously, the account number on the credit card and the numerals on the print wheels may be stylized characters of the kind used for optical character recognition or magnetic ink character recognition (MICR). In this way, the forms imprinted on the data recorder can be processed accurately and rapidly with automatic data processing equipment.
The data recorder of the present invention also includes a novel positioning means for setting the variable print wheels under control of thumb operated wheels. The positioning means provide for the construction of a compact machine wherein the thumb wheels are spaced only a short distance from the print wheels, even though the print wheels are nested in closely spaced printing relation and the thumb wheels must be spaced apart from each other to provide sufficient clearance to permit convenient manipulation thereof by the operator.
Other objects, features and advantages will appear hereinafter as the description proceeds.
IN THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a perspective view of a printing machine constructed in accordance with this invention, showing the printing head in an open, nonprinting position;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a variable data printing unit; and
FIG. 3 is a side elevation, partially broken away, of the variable data printing unit showing in detail components thereof when the printing head is in a closed position, the view being taken as though seen from the bottom in FIG. 2.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT As shown in FIG. 1, the printing machine is indicated generally by the reference numeral 10 and comprises a base 12 and a printing head 14. The printing head 14 is pivotally mounted on a square-ended pivot rod 13 provided on the base, and is adapted for movement into and out of a printing position on the base. The printing head also includes a roller platen carriage 15 manually movable in a path across the base to effect an imprinting operation when the printing head is closed.
In FIG. 1 the printing head is shown in an elevated, nonprinting position and in FIGS. 2 and 3 the parts may be considered to be in a printing position with the printing head closed or lowered.
With reference to FIG. 1, a bed or printing station, indicated generally by the reference numeral 16, is disposed generally medially between the sides of the base and somewhat above the central portion of the base. The bed is provided with comer guides 18 for retaining an embossed credit card CR, and side guides 20 are provided for retaining a carbon interleaved from F to be printed. The bottom edge of the form F is held and registered against a rail 22 provided at the front of the base 12.
Also included in the printing machine is a variable data print unit indicated generally at 24, comprising print wheels P1 to P5, and thumb or finger operated indexing wheels W1 to W5 for manually positioning the print wheels as will be further explained hereinafter.
Before proceeding with the description of the variable data print unit, it should be pointed out that while five variable print wheels are shown in the drawings of the present invention, the machinemay be provided with any number of such wheels. Also, since the set of mechanism comprising an indexing wheel, corresponding print wheel and associated mechanism related to each digit are identical in operation with those related to other digits, only one set will be described hereinafter.
As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the variable data print unit is a self-contained assembly in which all of the mechanismis supported by a pair of side plates 26 and 28 which are rigidly held in spaced apart relation by tie rods such as 23, 25 and 27. The complete assembly is resiliently mounted to the underside of the bed 16 (not shown in the drawings) such that the character on the selected face of the print wheel extends upwardly through an opening in the bed 16 to lie in a printing plane as shown in FIG. 1.
The indexing wheels WlW5 are also a part of the variable data print unit assembly, and are positioned at the front of the unit so that they are within easy reach and the characters selected for printing are in full view to the machine operator.
For purposes of this disclosure, the set of mechanism associated with the indexing wheel W3 will be described, it being understood that the other sets are similar as mentioned above. The indexing wheel W3 is preferably made of molded plastic to provide an integral unit comprising a hub 30, a
pinion 32 of reduced diameter relative to the indexing wheel, a knurled actuating flange 35 to provide for finger actuation of the indexing, and is rotatably supported on a shaft 34 provided in the side plates 26 and 28.
Digits 0 to 9 are provided on the periphery of the hub 30 and correspond to similar digits on the print wheel P3. A cover 31 encloses the indexing wheels such that only the knurled actuating flange of each wheel is exposed for manipulation by the machine operator. The cover 31 is also provided with suitable windows 33 to permit viewing of the digits on the hub 30 for selecting the characters to be printed by the print wheels.
The pinion 32 is in mesh with an idler gear 36, also preferably made of plastic, which is rotatably mounted on a shaft 38 supported in the side plates 26 and 28. The idler gear 36, in turn, is in mesh with a molded plastic detent gear unit indicated generally at 40 comprising an extension gear 41 of reduced diameter relative to the print surfaces of the print wheel P3, a gear wheel 42 having sharp pointed ogival teeth, and a detenting means which affords an initial or course setting of the print wheels as will be further explained below. The idler gear 36 overlaps the gear wheel 42 and the indexing wheel W3 to mesh with the extension gear 41 and the indexing wheel pinion 32.
Gear wheel 42 overlaps the print wheel P3 and meshes with a pinion 44 of reduced diameter relative to the print wheel, to provide for freedom from interference with printing operation of the print wheel, provided integral with the print wheel P3 as shown in FIG. 3, and wheel P3 is rotatably mounted on a fixed shaft 46 provided in the side plates 26 and 28. The detent gear unit 40, on the other hand, is rotatably mounted on a shaft 48 which is nonrotatably supported between the side plates 26 and 28 as will now be described.
As shown in FIG. 2, the shaft 48 is supported by a pair of retainer members 50 and 52, the retainer member 50 being fastened to the outside face of side plate 26 and the retainer member 52 being fastened to the outside face of the side plate 28. The ends of the shaft 48 are each provided with a blind hole 56 and 60, and the retainer members are each provided with projections 54 and 58 which extend through suitable openings in the side plates and into the holes 56 and 60 respectively of the shaft 48. The projection 58 is provided with a flat 62, and the hole 60 is provided with a corresponding flat, to prevent the shaft from rotating and, also, to maintain proper positioning and alignment of a detenting means which serves to provide a positioning function for the print wheels as will presently appear.
The detenting means is best shown in FIG. 3 and comprises a square-shaped, spring loaded plunger indicated generally at 61 which is positioned within a correspondingly shaped opening provided in the shaft 48. The plunger is made up of two complimentary cap members 64, 64 each provided with a sharp pointed nose 66, 66. The caps are hollowed out for the reception of a spring 65 which urges the cap members apart such that the pointed nose of each cap extends beyond the 7 diameter of the shaft 48.
The surface of the bore of the detent gear unit 40 is provided with a plurality of equally spaced detent notches 68 conforming in shape to the nose 66, 66 of the cap members 64, 64. Thus, the detent gear unit 40 is rotatable on the fixed shaft 48 and the plunger 61, as a result of the noses 66, 66 at each end thereof engaging diametrically opposed notches 68, serves to yieldably arrest and position the gear unit 40 at predetermined rotary positions. Accordingly, as the indexing wheel W3 is rotated to position the print wheel P3 for a selected character to be printed, the detent gear unit is also rotated and the plunger 61 coacting with the notches 68 provides the machine operator with a positive indication for each digit position on the indexing wheel which, of course, corresponds to a similar digit on the variable print wheel P3.
Because the print wheels Pl-P5 are positioned axially in such a compact array, the centerline spacing of adjacent print wheels is insufiicient to provide for effective individual working contact by the operators fingers. Although the setting of the print wheels is not intended to be made by finger contact and movement of the independent print wheels, the condition of close .spacing would not be improved if the actuating flanges 35 and the related gears and pinions provided for setting the print wheels were positioned in lateral alignment with the centerline spacing of the print wheels. Accordingly, the present invention provides a novel arrangement in which the indexing wheels Wl-WS jointly occupy a total axial distance substantially in excess of that occupied jointly by the print wheels, to allow for operator finger contact with the actuating flanges individually to effect independent movement thereof.
It is to be understood that each of the print wheels Pl-PS, and related indexing wheels WlW5, is associated with a detent gear unit such as the gear unit 40, and each gear unit includes an extension gear indicated at 41a, 41b, 41c and 41d similarto the extension gear 41 of the gear unit 40. Also, the detent gear units are not all of the same width i.e., and as shown in FIG. 2, the extension gears 41a and 41d at the ends of the shaft 48 are the same and have an axial length substantially greater than the centerline spacing of the print wheels, and the other extension gears 41, 41b and 410 are of a different width. This arrangement provides the required lateral spacing of the detent gear units so as to provide for driving the closely positioned print wheels -Pl,-P5 and, at the same time, to accommodate the wider spread of the indexing wheels W1- W5 required to obtain a workable spacing between each of the actuating flanges 35.
This novel arrangement of laterally spreading out the rotary gear train, from the closely positioned print wheels P1-P5 to the spread apart actuating flanges of the indexing wheels W1- --W5, is afforded by the extension gears 41, 41a, 41b, 41c and 41d. Thus, and as viewed from the left in FIG. 2, each of the pinions such as 44 on the print wheels is positioned to the right side of its corresponding print wheel, and the gear extensions 41d, 41c and 41 associated with the print wheels P1, P2 and P3 respectively are similarly positioned on the right sides of their corresponding integral gear wheels 42. However, the gear extensions 41b and 41a associated with the print wheels P4 and P5 respectively are positioned on the opposite or left sides of their integral gear wheels 42.
Additionally, the pinion 32 on the indexing wheel W3 is positioned on the side of the wheel opposite the hub 30, as are the pinions on the indexing wheels W4 and W5, while the pinions on the indexing wheels W1 and W2 are positioned on the same side of the wheel as the hub.
In this way, the extension gears 4l4lla' afford wide lateral spacing to accommodate the wide spacing between the idler gears, such as 36, corresponding to the spacing between the pinions on the indexing wheels and, also, permit close together positioning of the gears such as 42 which mesh with the corresponding print wheels.
Further, see FIG. 2, the spacing arrangement of the indexing wheels provides a wider space between the wheels W2 and W3 than between any other adjacent pair of wheels, thereby affording a distinct separation between the dollar amount and the cents amount to facilitate setting of the variable data printing wheels by the operator.
In order to accurately position the print wheels P1P5 and to hold them against movement during an imprinting operation, the machine is provided with a pawl member 70 comprising a plurality of teeth 72, one for each print wheel, adapted to engage and align notches such as 74 in the peripheries of the print wheels. The pawl member 70 is mounted on a shuttle 76 by screws 77 and 79, and the shuttle is pivotally mounted on a rod 78 supported in the side plates 26 and 28.
A pair of springs 75,75 are provided to bias the shuttle 76 in an anticlockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 3, to thereby urge the teeth 72 into engagement with the notches 74 in the print wheels. These springs are connected at one end to a pin 80 provided in the shuttle, and at their other ends to a pin 82 supported in the side plates 26 and 28.
The shuttle 76 is also provided with an extension or arm 84 adapted to be engaged by a cam portion 86 of a gear sector 88. The gear sector is rotatably mounted on a shaft 90 provided in the side plates 26 and 28, and is in mesh with a gear segment 92 fixed on the rod 13 such that it is rotated in either direction in response to opening and closing of the printing head 14. Thus, when the printing head is moved to open position, the gear segment 92 is rotated in a clockwise direction as viewed pinions on in H0. 3 and the gear sector 88 is rotated in a counterclockwise direction. This rotation causes the cam portion 86 of the gear sector to act against the extension 84, and pivots the shuttle 76 in a clockwise direction about the rod 78 and against the bias of the springs 75,75 to effectively withdraw the teeth 72 out of engagement with the notches 74 in the print wheels. It is to be understood that when the printing head 14 is moved to the closed position, reverse movement of the parts takes place such that the teeth 72 are urged into engagement with the notches 74 as the shuttle 76 is pivoted by the action of the springs 75,75.
A brief description will now be given by the overall operation of the data recorder of the present invention. As shown in HO. 1, an embossed token or credit card CR is positioned on the bed 16 of the machine and the form F to be imprinted is placed thereover. Next, the variable print wheels P1P5 are set through the facilities of the thumb wheels Wl-WS, to record data such as the money amount of the sale.
The operator then lowers the printing head 14 to closed position against the base. In response to closing of the head, the shuttle 76 is pivoted causing the pawl 70 to move into engagement with the substantially aligned notches 74 in the print wheels. Thereafter, movement of the carriage across the bed imprints the form from all of the printing devices provided on the bed of the machine.
When the carriage reaches the end of the printing stroke, the printing head is caused to open and is raised to its inactive position. As the head is being raised, the shuttle 76 is pivoted in the opposite direction to thereby withdraw the pawl 70 from engagement with the print wheels. On removal of the imprinted form and the credit card, the machine is in condition to receive a new credit card and a blank form for another printing operation.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that the present invention provides a data recorder which is admirably suited to imprinting form sets with fixed data from an embossed'credit card and variable data from selectively positionable print wheels. The easy manipulation and the positive detenting means provided by the indexing wheels for accurately positioning the print wheels, result in a data recorder that is reliable in operation, versatile in its use and relatively inexpensive to manufacture. I
While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been described and illustrated, it is to be understood that this is capable of variation and modification. Accordingly, the aim in the appended claims is to cover all such variations and modifications as may fall within the true spirit of the invention.
1. A data recorder having a variable data print unit designed for manual setting by an operator including:
five thin, settable print wheels of equal thickness dimension,
each having an integral pinion of lesser diameter than the print wheel on the same corresponding face to form five printwheel assemblies of equal thickness dimension, the assemblies being positioned in an axially compact array and located in positions designated by the ordinals first, second, third, fourth and fifth reading from left to right;
five coaxial equally spaced gear wheels, one meshed with each of said pinions and each designated by the same position ordinal as its corresponding print wheel assembly;
an extension gear of lesser diameter than said gear wheels integral with each gear wheel, the extension gear at each of the first and fifth positions being substantially longer axially than the thickness dimension of the print wheels and attached to the outer face of its gear wheel, the extension gear at each of the second and fourth positions being substantially equal in axial dimension to the thickness dimension of the print wheels and attached to the outer face of its gear wheel, and the extension gear at the third position being substantially equal in axial dimension to the thickness dimension of the print wheels and attached to eithe r face of its gear wheel; five indexing wheel units each including an indicator hub, a
pinion and an actuating flange, the indexing wheels being coaxial and jointly occupying a total axial distance substantially in excess of that occupied jointly by the print wheel assemblies and being designated by the same position ordinals as the print wheel assemblies and gear wheels with which they cooperate, the actuating flange being uniformly on the same side of the indicator hub at each position, the indexing wheel pinion in each of the first, second, fourth and fifth positions being at the opposite face of the indexing wheel unit as the corresponding extension gear in each case is with respect to its gear wheel, and, in the third position, the indexing wheel pinion being at the same face of the indexing wheel unit as the corresponding third position extension gear is with respect to the third position gear wheel; an idler gear meshing with the indexing wheel pinion and with the extension gear at each of the five positions; and
whereby the indexing wheels are spaced apart much more widely than the print wheels to allow for ready operator finger contact with the actuating flanges individually to effect independent movement thereof to position the corresponding print wheel to the desired setting.
2. A data recorder as set forth in claim 1 in which the extension gear at the third position is attached to the right-hand face of its gear wheel, the indexing wheel pinion at the third position is at the right-hand face of its indexing wheel unit, and the spacing between the operating flanges in the third and fourth positions being greater than that between operating flanges in other adjacent positions and thereby appropriate to indicate a division between the cents and dollars columns to assist the operator in setting money amounts.