Title:
TWO-WAY ENVELOPE
United States Patent 3558040


Abstract:
A two-way envelope that is particularly suitable for use with automatic envelope stuffing, or inserting equipment. The envelope includes a pair of panels joined by a common fold line which forms the bottom edge of the envelope. A foldable closure flap extends from the edge of each panel which is opposite said fold line. One of the panels has a pair of side flaps which are sealed to the other panel to keep the two panels in opposed relation. Both closure flaps are provided with adhesive, but one of the closure flaps initially is tucked into the envelope, without its adhesive being activated, and the envelope is sealed by the other closure flap. After the envelope is opened, it may be resealed by activating the adhesive of said one closure flap and applying it to the opposite panel.



Inventors:
KRUEGER LLOYD H (CA)
Application Number:
04/827768
Publication Date:
01/26/1971
Filing Date:
05/26/1969
Assignee:
LLOYD H. KRUEGER
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/68.1, 229/303
International Classes:
B65D27/04; B65D27/06; (IPC1-7): B65D27/06
Field of Search:
229/68,73,80
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3356285Envelope1967-12-05Greason
3270948Two-way envelope1966-09-06Donovan
2201538Envelope1940-05-21Holden



Primary Examiner:
Bockenek, David M.
Claims:
I claim

1. An envelope for two-way mailing, said envelope being formed from a one-piece blank and comprising:

Description:
This invention relates to an envelope of the type commonly known as a two-way envelope, in that it is adapted to be used after its first mailing to return an enclosure.

Several types of two-way envelopes already exist. However, such prior art two-way envelopes typically are relatively complicated in design and contain a number of flaps and projections. Large potential users of two-way envelopes are firms and companies that send out large mailings, such as statements or bills, for which a return is desired. These companies and firms usually use automatic envelope stuffing or inserting equipment to stuff their envelopes, and since the two-way envelopes presently available are unsuited to use in such automatic envelope stuffing equipment because of their many flaps and projections, two-way envelopes have not come into widespread use.

In addition, because of their rather complex design, the prior art two-way envelopes were usually relatively expensive to manufacture.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a two-way envelope, having a simple and inexpensive design, that may be used with automatic envelope stuffing or inserting equipment. This is accomplished by designing the envelope so that it contains only one loose extra flap, such flap being positioned in a manner such that it does not interfere with automatic envelope stuffing equipment.

Further objects of the invention will become apparent from the following disclosure, taken together with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the inner surface of a one-piece blank used to form an envelope according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective rear view, partly broken away, of the envelope formed from the blank of FIG. 1, folded except for its first closure flap and ready for initial use;

FIG. 3 is a front view of the envelope of FIG. 2, completely folded and stuffed and ready for mailing;

FIG. 4 is a front view of the envelope of FIGS. 2 and 3, showing the envelope after it has been opened and then reclosed;

FIG. 5 is a perspective diagrammatic view showing the envelope of FIG. 2 in position for stuffing by an automatic envelope stuffing machine;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a one-piece blank modified from that of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 7 is a rear view showing the one-piece blank of FIG. 6 folded and ready for initial use.

Reference is first made to FIG. 1, which shows a one-piece blank generally indicated at 2 and used to form an envelope according to the invention. The various parts of the blank have an inside surface A (which surface will face the inside of the envelope when the envelope is assembled) and an outside surface B (which surface will face the outside of the envelope when the envelope is assembled). Only the inside surface A of the blank is shown in FIG. 1.

The blank 2 includes a front panel 4 having a top border defined by a fold line 6, a pair of side borders defined by fold lines 8, and a bottom border defined by a fold line 10. The terms "top," "bottom," and "side" are used with reference to the position of the parts when the envelope is assembled and in upright position with its open end at its top and ready to receive an insert.

Extending from the top border 6 of the front panel is a first closure flap 12, for use in initial sealing of the envelope when it is first used. The flap 12 contains sealing means consisting of three small spots 14 of adhesive on its inside surface A.

A pair of side flaps 16 extend from the side borders 8 of the front panel 4. These side flaps are for use in forming the envelope, and for this purpose they contain a layer of adhesive 18 on their inner surfaces A.

Extending from the bottom border 10 of the front panel is a rear panel 20 of the same width and substantially the same length as the front panel. The rear panel 20 and the front panel 4 thus share a common bottom border 10. The rear panel 20 extends to a top border defined by a fold line 22.

Finally, extending from the top border 22 of the rear panel 20 is a second closure flap 24, for use in sealing the envelope after it has been mailed once and received. For this purpose, the second closure flap 24 contains a layer of adhesive 26 across the width of its inside surface A.

The one-piece blank just described is assembled into an envelope as follows. Firstly, the second closure flap 24 is folded about the fold line 22 so that the adhesive layer 26 lies against the inner surface of the rear panel 20. The adhesive 26 is not activated at this time, since the flap 24 is to be used later, after the envelope has been received by a recipient.

Next, the rear panel 20 is folded about the fold line 10 so that its inner surface lies opposed to the inner surface of the front panel 4. The side flaps 16 are then folded about the fold lines 8 and glued to the outer surface B of the rear panel 20. The situation is now as shown in FIG. 2, i.e. the envelope is completely formed (but not sealed) and ready for stuffing, for initial mailing.

Material may next be inserted in the envelope, after which the first closure flap 12 is folded down about the fold line 6, the adhesive 14 then being activated to seal the envelope. The final appearance of the closed envelope, as viewed from the front, is shown in FIG. 3 where it will be seen that the envelope appears completely conventional in form. A window 28 will usually be provided in the front panel to permit viewing of an address printed on an enclosure in the envelope.

When a recipient receives the envelope, he opens the same by gently lifting the first closure flap 12. The envelope will typically contain printed instructions on the outer surface of the flap 12 cautioning that this flap should be lifted carefully. Since the only adhesion of the flap 12 to the outer surface B of the rear panel 20 is by means of the three small adhesive areas 14, the flap 12 may quite easily be lifted.

When the recipient wishes to reuse the envelope for returning an enclosure to the original point of mailing, he either removes the flap 12 or else tucks it back into the envelope. Preferably the flap 12 is removed, and to facilitate this operation, a line of perforations 30 may be provided along the fold line 6. Next, the recipient pulls the second closure flap 24 out of the envelope, inserts his enclosure (such as a check), folds the closure flap 24 about the fold line 22 a down over the outer surface B of the front panel 4, and activates the adhesive 26 to secure the second closure flap 24 to the front panel. The appearance of the envelope is now as shown in FIG. 4. The closure flap 24 covers the original postage stamp and post mark and may contain a new postage stamp such as stamp 31. The flap 24 normally will be greater than 13/8 inch in height and will have relatively square corners, to assure that it will cover the original postage.

The envelope just described lends itself readily to stuffing by automatic envelope stuffing machines, because of the absence of loose flaps at the inside sides of the envelope and because of the convenient positioning of the second closure flap 24. As illustrated diagrammatically in FIG. 5, arms 32, 33 and 34 of a conventional automatic envelope stuffing machine (not shown) may enter the envelope through its open end, to distend the envelope and prepare the same for insertion of the desired enclosure material. Since there are no loose flaps at the side borders of the envelope, and since the second closure flap 24 extends downwardly into the envelope and thus will not tear as the arms 32, 33 and 34 are inserted, there is no unusual resistance to the entrance of these arms. In addition, the absence of loose projecting flaps facilitates automatic folding and sealing of the first closure flap 12 for initial mailing of the envelope.

In practice, recipients of the envelope just described may commonly open the envelope by a letter opener, instead of by lifting the flap 12. The letter opener will typically be inserted inside the fold line 6, between the first closure flap 12 and the rear panel 20. When this occurs, there is a possibility that the letter opener may inadvertently be inserted into the fold line 22 between the rear panel 20 and the second closure flap 24, thus resulting in inadvertent premature removal of the second closure flap 24. To reduce the likelihood of such an occurrence, the height of the front panel 4 and of its side flaps 16 (such height being indicated by dimension d1) is made at least equal to the height of the rear panel 20 (the height of the rear panel being indicated by dimension d2). Thus, when the envelope is folded for initial mailing, the side flaps 16 will cover and hide the edges of the fold line 22, reducing the likelihood that a letter opener will be inserted into the fold line 22. Dimension d1 may typically be slightly greater than dimension d2, e.g. it may be one sixty-fourth inch to one thirty-second inch greater than dimension d2. This increases the extent to which the side flaps 16 cover the edges of the fold line 22 and further reduces the likelihood of premature removal of the second closure flap 24.

An additional advantage of having dimension d1 slightly greater than dimension d2 is that this facilitates folding of the first closure flap 12 over the top border 22 of the rear panel 20 for initial sealing of the envelope.

Reference is next made to the embodiment of FIGS. 6 and 7, where primed reference numerals indicate parts corresponding to the embodiment of FIGS. 1 to 5. The embodiment of FIGS. 6 and 7 is the same as the embodiment of FIGS. 1 to 5 except that provision has been made for opening of the envelope by an automatic envelope opening machine of the type that cuts a thin strip (typically one-sixteenth inch or less) from the top of the envelope. Accordingly, the height of the front panel 4' has been increased by addition of an additional thin strip 36 of approximately one-eighth inch in height, the line between strip 36 and the remainder of the front panel 4' typically being marked by a line of perforations 38. The use of the envelope of FIGS. 6 and 7 is the same as that of FIGS. 1 to 5 except that after the envelope of FIGS. 6 and 7 is received after its initial sealing and mailing, it may be opened by cutting a strip from the top of the envelope. Such strip being no wider than the strip 36. Alternatively, a letter opener may be inserted under the fold line 6' between the flap 12' and the front panel 4' and used to separate the two, after which the strip 36 may be torn off and the inner closure flap 24 pulled out, or else flap 12' may be lifted and then torn off, together with strip 36, along the line of perforations 38. In the embodiment of FIGS. 6 and 7, the height of the side flaps 16' (such height being indicated by dimension d3) should be at least equal to the height of the rear panel 20' (the height of the rear panel being indicated by dimension d4). As in the previous embodiment this assures that when the envelope is folded, the side flaps 16' will cover the fold line 22' between the rear panel 20' and the second closure flap 24', to minimize the likelihood of premature removal of flap 24' by the first recipient of the envelope.

Various modifications may be made in the envelope described. For example, with reference to the FIGS. 1 to 5 embodiment, the side flaps 16 may be made so that they do not quite extend down to the fold line 10, in which event the side flaps 16 will be less in height than the front and rear panels. The side flaps 16 will still be positioned, however, so that they cover the edges of the fold line 22 between the second closure flap 24 and the rear panel 20.

If desired, the side flaps 16 may be placed on the rear panel 20 instead of on the front panel 4, or they may be divided, with all or part of one side flap being placed on the front panel and the remainder on the rear panel, and all or part of the other side flap placed on the front panel and the remainder on the rear panel. This would of course result in a somewhat unconventional appearance for the envelope.

In addition, the positions of the first and second closure flaps may be reversed, with the second closure flap placed on the front panel 4 instead of on the rear panel 20, and the first closure flap being placed on the rear panel 20.