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Патент USA US3056235

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Oct. 2, 1962
s. P. CRANE
3,056,223
INSULATED FRINGED BRANCH FOR ARTIFICIAL TREES AND METHOD
Filed June 2'7, 1960
E9. 2
SLIT ALUMINUM F'OIL
/0
/.9
ADHESIVE
P0 LYETHYLENE
IN VEN TOR.
5007091 F Gran e
MIME
A TTOR/VEY
llnited
hire
l
3,tl‘56,223
INSULATED FRENGED BRANCH FOR
ARTIFitIliAlL TREE? AND METHOD
Samuel P. Crane, 1 Warwick Road, Great Neck, NY.
Filed June 27, 196i}, Ser. No. 38,941
14- (Ilaims. (Ci. 41-15)
This invention relates to the foil fringe material such as
is used in making branches for arti?cial Christmas trees,
as Well as to the branches and the method of making the
fringe and the branches.
Defective Wiring to the electric lights frequently strung
3,056,223
Patented (let. 2, 1952
2
erably formed of aluminum foil of the desired width, and
may be colored on one side or back with colored paper
part way or entirely across its width.
Non-severing cuts
11 are made in a well known manner to extend from one
side edge 12 of the foil strip toward the other edge 13, the
cuts terminating along a line in transverse spaced relation
to the edge 13 to leave an uncut edge portion 14 connect
ing the inner ends of the resulting fringe ?ngers 15. In
the present invention, the foil strip is cut during the fringe
forming operation so that it can readily and economically
be ruptured into electrically independent sections which
are longitudinally separated and insulated from each other.
on such trees, gives rise to the danger of the occurrence
of a short circuit permitting current to pass through the
In one form of the invention, the cuts 11 are separated
trically of the foil fringe between adjacent relatively short
FIG. 1. In another form of the invention, all cuts 11 are
of substantially the same length. The fringe is not rup
at desired intervals with longer cuts 16 extending quite
uncut connecting part of the metallic foil fringe through 15 close to the edge 13, and almost, but not quite, severing
the foil strip. Such cuts to weaken the otherwise uncut
out the length of the branch, with consequent likelihood of
injury by electric shock to one touching the branch or
?nger-connecting part 14- of the fringe strip to such an
perhaps other branches which may be in electric contact
extent that the strip may readily be torn apart at the uncut
part 14 along a line forming an extension. of the cut 16,
with each other.
The present invention is directed to the insulation elec 20 as by tensioning the strip in the direction of the arrows of
sections thereof throughout the length of the branch cov
ered by the fringe, whereby a short circuit, if it occurs, is
con?ned to such short section and the shock hazard is so
greatly decreased as to be substantially eliminated.
The invention contemplates the provision of a foil fringe
made up of longitudinally spaced apart sections of pre
determined length held together by a backing strip or sheet
of electrically non-conductive flexible and stretchable ma
terial such as polyethylene, whereby current accidentally 30
applied to one section, is con?ned to that section and does
not enter any other section of the same foil fringe.
tured until it is suitably backed as by the insulating back
ing strip 18 which is bonded to the uncut edge part 14
as by the adhesive layer 19 which may be a hot melt, or
of a solvent type or a quick tack adhesive. Or the insu
lating strip may be heat sealed or welded to the metallic
fringe or extruded directly thereon while hot in a manner
well known in the extrusion art. The backing strip is
made of a suitable flexible and elastic, non-conducting
plastic suitably colored if desired, and capable of being
set to retain permanently its increased length after stretch
ing, such as for example, polyethylene. When the at
tached backing strip is tensioned and thereby stretched,
nently stretching the insulating backing therefor, and 35 only enough stress is put thereon to complete the rupture
thereby separating the sections mechanically and electri
of the foil strip at each cut 16, or at a selected cut 11,
cally.
thereby to separate the fringe strip into sections separated
The various objects of the invention will be clear from
by the gaps 17 therebetween where the breaks occurred.
the description which follows and from the drawings, in
The strip 18 thereby joins the sections of fringe together
The invention further contemplates the provision of a
simple method of making the sectional fringe by perma
which
FIG. 1 is an elevational view of part of a length of foil
fringe as it appears assembled to its insulating backing
and insulates them from each other.
The width of the backing strip 18 may be considerably
varied depending on the density of the fringe desired, the
strip and prior to the separation of the sections thereof.
type of support for the foil, the resiliency of the ?ngers
FIG. 2 is a side elevation view thereof.
and other factors determining the appearance of the
FIG. 3 is a view of the assembled fringe unit similar to 45 wound branch and the likelihood of the ?ngers of the
FIG. 1 but showing the sections separated preparatory to
winding the fringe into helical form.
various sections coming into electrical contact with each
other. The density of the fringe ?ngers in turn depends
FIG. 4 is a view of the edge of the fringe unit of FIG. 3.
on the diameter of the permanent support as 20 of FIG. 5,
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary elevational view of an imita
or as the temporary mandrel or support 21 of FIG. 7 on
tion tree branch showing the fringe unit wound into a 50 which the combined fringe unit is to be wound to form
helix of large pitch on a support of relatively small diam
the imitation branch, also on the pitch of the helix along
eter, the fringe ?ngers of the lower turns being cut off to
which the unit is wound and on the number of layers or
expose the gaps in the uncut connecting part of the fringe.
plies of the backing strip it is desired to build up on the
FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 3 of a modi?ed fringe
temporary or permanent support for the unit, as will be
unit showing a relatively wide insulating backing strip and 55 explained in more detail ‘hereinafter. The backing strip
also showing in dash-dot lines how the strip may be moved
may extend a short distance inwardly from the side edge
up to overlie the ?ngers to a substantial extent before it is
13 of the fringe, past the inner ends of the cuts 11, or it
attached to the foil fringe, as when it is to be wound in a
may extend a substantial distance inwardly as shown by
helix of large pitch on a support of relatively large di
the dash-dot lines of FIG. 6. In either case, the strip 18
60 preferably projects transversely and outwardly past the
ameter.
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary elevational View of a branch
side edge 13 of the foil fringe.
with the greater part of each of the ?ngers removed, show
As seen in FIG. 8 showing a machine capable of
ing the fringe unit of FIG. 6 wound on a temporary sup
carrying out the method above described, adhesive is
port in overlapping position to form a self-supporting in
applied by the roller 22 to the connecting part 14 only
sulating tube with the fringe ?ngers projecting therefrom. 65
of the foil strip 10‘, the roller being narrow enough for
FIG. 8 is a diagrammatic view of a machine for assem
that
purpose and receiving adhesive from a roller ro
bling the foil and strip and for permanently stretching the
tating in the gum box 23. The fringe strip 10 may
be fed to the roller 22 directly from the fringing ma
FIG. 9 is a top plan View of the stretching part of the
machine.
70 chine or from a roll of fringe. Rollers 2.4, 25 advance
the strip without coming into contact with the adhesive,
FIG. 10 shows another form of the stretching machine.
backing strip.
In carrying out the invention, the foil fringe 10 is pref
the foil being suitably supported during its advance. The
3,056,223
3)
plastic backing strip 18 is fed from the roll 26 thereof
in between the rollers 27, 28 where it is pressed against
the adhesive 19 on the fringe part 14 and adheres thereto.
the combined foil fringe and backing strip until the
stretching and foil rupturing operation has been com
pleted and until the stretching ?nger has been retracted by
To rupture the fringe only at each long cut 16, advance
of the combined foil and backing strips is resisted by one
of the advancing rollers as 29 which cooperates with the
the spring acting on the armature for said ?nger. There
after, the spring for the armature of the solenoid 50
becomes effective to raise the holding ?ngers and to free
the work for further advance thereof by the roller 34.
Said roller 34 is rotated by the same means as in 'FIG.
9 to permit the arcuate rotating contact members 52 and
10 53 to close the circuits to and to energize the solenoids
50 and 51 respectively, for the required time interval
roller 34) for that purpose and is mounted on the shaft 31.
Said shaft carries a suitable rotatable brake member 32
which engages the ?xed brake member 33 and constitutes
a suitable drag resisting rotation of the rollers 29 and
30 which are urged to rotate by the moving strip. How
ever, the roller 34, which is driven by a motor, coacts
with the roller 35 to advance the forward part of the
combined strip, and exerts such tension on the strip as
to complete the severing of the foil fringe at that long
only, just sufficient to enable the ?ngers to perform the
‘stretching and tearing operations. During the operation of
said ?ngers, the Work remains stationary, and the roller
34 is permitted to rotate and to slip on the work to the
cut 16 which has just passed the roller 29. At the same
extent necessary to allow the contact members to en
time, the rollers 34 and 35 tension and stretch the back
ing strip. In order to prevent the foil strip from being
gage and to pass the corresponding brush members 54,
55. The slip clutch 36 also permits said roller to take
up the slack in the combined foil and backing strip, re
torn at a cut 11 when cuts 16 are provided for such
sulting from the operation of the ?ngers.
tearing, the slip clutch 36 on the shaft for the roller
As will be seen from FIGS. 3 and 6, the amount of
is provided. The clutch prevents initial tension of too
overlap of the backing strip on the foil fringe may be
great an amount from being exerted on the fringe
considerably varied and depends on a number of factors
strip, by slipping under such excessive tension as might
which will now be discussed. The extent of the inward
sever the foil strip at the ?ngers other than at the cuts 16.
To set and permanently maintain the backing strip in its 25 overlap of the backing strip on the fringe should be such
that the upper edge of the backing strip as 43 does not
stretched and increased length, a suitable heater as 37 is
arranged to warm said strip and to relieve the internal
encroach, when wound into a helix to form a branch, on
the inner ends of the ?ngers, though it may overlap the
stresses generated therein during the stretching operation.
uncut part 14 partly or entirely.
In this manner, the fringe strip is permanently separated
Where the pitch of the helix along which the upper
into the sections 38 having the gaps I7 therebetween 30
edge 43 extends, is large as in FIG. 5, and the backing
and joined only by the permanently stretched polyethylene
strip is narrow, a rod as Ztl' of relatively small diameter
backing strip at the uncut edge part 14, as shown in
may be used as the support without danger of the ?ngers
FIGS. 3, 4 and 6. The thus sectioned strip unit may be
of the various sections coming into contact with each
wound up into the coil or roll 39? or it may be fed to a suit
other and becoming electrically connected. In FIG. 5,
able winding machine for winding it on a rod as 20‘ (FIG.
5) to form the branch 40. ‘Or the sectioned unit may be
wound on a removable mandrel 21 (FIG. 7) to be formed
the backing strip could indeed be widened upward to a
considerable extent without interfering with the ?ngers of
into a self-supporting tubular branch 42.
In the form of the apparatus shown in FIG. 10, which
operates on a foil strip having only cuts 11 of uniform
length, the brake 32, 33 is omitted and is replaced by the
trough 45 extending across the width of the backing strip
and serving as part of the means to stretch the backing
the turn above. It could also be widened downwardly if
‘?nger 48, which has a dull or rounded edge inclined up
wardly and forwardly, moves down between the holding
with insulated sections on the removal of the temporary
edge of the stretching ?nger 43 which serves as a
functions of an insulating connector for the sections and
a reinforcing tubular supporting member for the fringe
a multi-ply thickness of ply of the wound backing strip
is desirable.
However, when the pitch of the helical curve becomes
rather large for economy or to attain considerable spac
ing apart of the fringe ?ngers, it is preferable to employ
a support or mandrel of larger diameter as shown in FIG.
strip sufficiently to rupture the foil fringe at the point
where the backing strip is stretched. The ?xed trough 45 7. On reducing the pitch, the permissible amount of in—
Ward overlap of the backing strip on the ?ngers is lessened,
coacts with a pair of vertically reciprocating holding
but the amount of overlap of each turn on the previous
?ngers 46, 47 preferably spaced apart slightly more than
turn is increased in area. The pitch can be selected to
the width of a fringe ?nger 15‘. Said holding ?ngers
attain as many plies of material as is desired to form a
move downwardly and press the combined strip against
the side ?anges of the trough. Thereafter, the stretching 50 self-supporting tube and a complete fringe-carrying branch
support or mandrel 21, provided that the pitch is not
reduced to the extent which might carry the fringe ?ngers
?ngers and presses the combined strip downwardly into
of different sections into contact with each other.
the recess of the trough 45. The backing ‘strip being
elastic, that part thereof between the holding ?ngers 55 It should now be clear that the gaps 17 between the
sections 38 con?ne any short circuit to the particular sec
stretches, but does not rupture. However, the foil fringe
tion affected and that the insulated backing performs the
does break under the tearing action of the inclined end
combined shearing and tearing tool, by engaging the
especially when wound with a short pitch and overlapped.
While certain speci?c forms of the invention have here
in been shown and described, various obvious changes
wardly. When the holding and stretching ?ngers move
may be made therein without departing from the spirit of
upwardly, the strip is released and forwarded by the
the invention de?ned by the appended claims.
rollers 34, 35 and the stretched part ?attened, the opera
I claim:
tion being repeated at the desired intervals.
65
1. A fringe strip comprising a plurality of longitudi
The holding and stretching ?ngers are operated by the
nally spaced apart metallic fringe sections each having an
spring-retracted armatures of suitable solenoids as St), 51
uncut edge portion and having ?ngers extending trans
respectively, to which the circuit is closed at intervals by
versely from the edge portion, and a supporting strip of
suitable switches as by the rotatable arcuate conduc
tors 52, ‘53 carried by the roller 29, and brushes 54, 55 70 smooth ?exible insulating sheet material secured only to
a limited width of the edge portions of the sections and
respectively coacting with the conductors. The switch
arranged to bridge the gaps between said edge portions
contact or conductor 52 is shorter than the contact or
thereby to maintain the sections out of contact with each
conductor 53 so that the armature for the holding ?ngers
other.
46, 47 moves down on to the work before the stretching
?nger moves down. The holding ?ngers stay down on 75 2. The fringe strip of claim 1, the supporting strip
foil strip ?rst near the end of a cut 11 and then moving
across the uncut part of the fringe as it moves down
In‘.
3,056,223
5
6
being wider than the uncut edge portions of the sections
prising an elongated support and a plurality of spaced
apart metallic fringe sections, each section having a mar
and narrower than the material of the sections and ex
tending transversely outwardly beyond said edge portions.
ginal fringe ?nger free of the adjacent marginal ?nger of
3. The method of making an insulated fringed branch
for a Christmas tree comprising weakening a metallic
the adjacent section throughout the entire length of the
?nger and out of electrical contact with said adjacent
foil strip by making cuts at intervals completely through
?nger, the bases of the sections being wound helically
the strip and almost but not quite completely across the
around the support and each section being insulated from
strip while cutting fringe ?ngers in the strip, then se
the adjacent sections by the spaces between marginal
curing a stretchable insulating strip to the foil strip at the
?ngers of the sections.
bases of the ?ngers and across the weakening cuts, stretch 10
11. The branch of claim 10, the support being tubular
ing the insulating strip sufficiently to rupture and to create
and comprising a continuous initially independent strip
gaps in the fringe strip at the weakening cuts, and wind
of ?exible insulating material secured to the fringe sec
ing the stretched strip into helical form.
tions adjacent a side edge of each section and maintain
4. The method of making an imitation of a Christmas
ing and securing together the sections in longitudinal
tree branch comprising making a sectional metallic fringe 15 spaced relation and insulated from each other, the strip
in which the adjacent sections are electrically insulated
bridging the spaces between sections.
from each other, by ?rst cutting metallic foil into fringe
12. A fringe-holding branch for arti?cial trees, com
?ngers to leave an uncut ?nger-connecting part on the foil
prising a sectional fringe of electrical conducting ma
at the bases of the ?ngers while making a cut longer
terial having gaps throughout the entire width thereof
than the ?nger-forming cuts at selected intervals to ex
at selected intervals therein, and a continuous backing
tend into the otherwise uncut part of the fringed foil and
strip of ?exible insulating sheet material narrower than
thereby to weaken the foil at said longer cuts, then ad
the fringe bridging the gaps and adhesively secured to
hesively securing a strip of stretchable, ?exible, insulat
and overlapping an edge portion of the fringe, the fringe
ing material to the uncut connecting part of the fringe at
and the backing strip constituting a combined stem and
the bases of the ?ngers and to extend across the longer 25 leaf unit helically wound in a plurality of turns to form
cuts, permanently stretching the strip sufficiently to rup
a self-supporting tube constituting the stem of the branch
ture the uncut part of the fringe at the longer cuts and
with fringe ?ngers projecting therefrom and constituting
to separate the fringe into sections joined only by the strip
the leaves of the branch.
and otherwise free throughout the width thereof, and wind
13. ‘The method of making a metallic fringe com
ing the stretched strip into helical form.
30 prising weakening at intervals the normally uncut ?nger
5. The method of making a metallic fringe having con
connecting part of a fringe having such part and having
ducting sections insulated from each other, each section
otherwise ‘free completely cut ?ngers projecting from
having an uncut continuous relatively narrow ?nger-con
such part, the weakening being performed by spaced
necting part and cut ?ngers projecting from such part,
cuts longer than and parallel to the ?ngenforming
comprising attaching an insulating strip to the ?nger-con 35 apart
cuts, adhering an insulating strip to and adjacent the
necting part of the fringe, and then stretching the strip
connecting part of the fringe, and then stretching the
at spaced intervals thereof sufficiently to rupture the con
strip
su?’iciently to rupture ‘said part at. such intervals
necting part of the fringe at such intervals and to separate
and to separate the fringe into sections free of each other
the fringe into spaced apart sections.
along substantially the entire width thereof except where
6. The fringe making method of claim 5, and setting
joined by said strip, and insulating the sections from
the stretched parts of the strip by heat and pressure to
each other by creating spaces between the sections.
maintain the strip permanently stretched.
14. The method of making an insulated fringed branch
7. A safety metallic fringe for a Christmas tree branch
for a Christmas tree comprising weakening at intervals
comprising adjacent foil fringe ?ngers completely apart
from each other and a continuous ?exible plastic strip of 45 the normally uncut ?nger-connecting part of a fringe
having such part and having otherwise free completely
insulating material connecting only the bases of said
cut ?ngers projecting from such part, the weakening be
?ngers and thereby forming the connecting means for
ing performed by spaced apart cuts longer than and par
the ?ngers incapable of transmitting current between ad
allel to the ?nger-forming cuts, adhering an insulating
jacent ?ngers which are apart, said strip being adapted to
be wound helically to spread further apart those parts of 50 strip to and adjacent the connecting part of the fringe,
and then stretching the strip suf?ciently to rupture said
the ?ngers which are free of the strip.
part at such intervals and to separate the fringe into
8. A fringe strip for winding about a support, com
sections free of each‘ other along substantially the entire
prising a plurality of metallic fringe members, each com
width thereof except where joined by said strip, insulat
pletely out of contact with the adjacent members, and
ing the sections from each other by creating space be
means for maintaining the members out of electrical con
tween the sections, winding the strip helically, and over
tact with each other comprising a continuous strip of ?ex
lapping the strip on itself during the winding thereof to
ible insulating sheet material attached to the bases of
form a self-supporting tube with the fringe sections pro
the members and of lesser width than the Width of the
jecting therefrom.
members, the members being free of each other and un
supported except at said bases.
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
9. The fringe strip of claim 8, each of the fringe mem 60
bers having a plurality of transverse continuous cuts com
UNITED STATES PATENTS
pletely therethrough forming fringe ?ngers, and having an
uncut edge portion, the supporting strip being of a
stretchable plastic material and being attached only to
the edge portions.
10. A fringe-holding branch for an arti?cial tree com
65
2,020,928
2,639,532
2,735,426
2,889,650
Asnes ______________ __ NOV. 12,
SeeWald ____________ __ May 26,
Claydon ____________ __ Feb. 21,
Hankus ______________ __. June 9,
1935
1953
1956
1959
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