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Publication numberUS20050052100 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/936,595
Publication dateMar 10, 2005
Filing dateSep 9, 2004
Priority dateSep 9, 2003
Also published asCA2481045A1, CA2481045C
Publication number10936595, 936595, US 2005/0052100 A1, US 2005/052100 A1, US 20050052100 A1, US 20050052100A1, US 2005052100 A1, US 2005052100A1, US-A1-20050052100, US-A1-2005052100, US2005/0052100A1, US2005/052100A1, US20050052100 A1, US20050052100A1, US2005052100 A1, US2005052100A1
InventorsJack Horning
Original AssigneeJack Horning
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sports equipment storage device
US 20050052100 A1
Abstract
A storage device for transporting equipment includes a housing, a pair of retractable wheels, and an actuator for retracting and extending the wheels from the housing. The housing defines at least one compartment for storing the equipment. The housing has an open front defining an opening into the housing, and a door for selectively closing the open front. The actuator is coupled to the housing and the wheels so as to displace the first and the second retractable wheels between a retracted first and an extended second position. The actuator includes a handle which is extended from the housing when the wheels are extended and which is retracted flush with the housing when the wheels are retracted.
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Claims(20)
1. A storage device for transporting equipment, the device comprising:
a housing defining at least one compartment for storing the equipment, said housing having an open front, a door for selectively closing said open front;
a first and a second retractable wheel mounted on a first and a second end of a shaft, respectively, said first retractable wheel mounted to a first side of said housing and said second retractable wheel mounted to an opposite second side of said housing, said shaft extending through said housing from said first side to said second side; and
an actuator for displacing said first and said second retractable wheels between a retracted first and an extended second position, said actuator coupled with said housing;
wherein each wheel of said first and said second retractable wheel is disposed within a wheel receiving recess when in said first position, said recess defined by said housing at said first and said second side of said housing; and
wherein each wheel extends outwards from said recess so as to extend outwardly from said housing when in said second position whereby said housing may then be translated on said first and said second retractable wheels.
2. The device of claim 1 wherein said first and said second retractable wheels are large diameter wheels adapted to support said housing and any equipment disposed within said housing while providing mobility to transport said housing over a plurality of surfaces.
3. The device of claim 2 wherein said actuator is a hand actuated mechanism, said mechanism in operable communication via a mechanical linkage with said first and said second retractable wheels such that said first and said second retractable wheels are disposed within said wheel receiving recesses when said linkage is in a first position and such that said first and said second retractable wheels extend outwards from said recesses when in said linkage is in a second position.
4. The device of claim 3 wherein said actuator includes a handle which retractably extends from said housing when said wheels are in said second position and wherein retraction of said handle so as to be flush with an outer surface of said housing coincides with actuation of said wheels into said retracted first position.
5. The device of claim 4 further comprising at least one detachable hook coupled with a wall of said housing opposite from said door for hanging the device on a support.
6. The device of claim 5 further comprising at least one vent positioned on said housing to permit circulation of air within said housing.
7. The device of claim 6 wherein said door comprises a pair of hinged opposed doors and a latch means for securing said opposed doors together to close said open front of said housing.
8. The device of claim 7 wherein said at least one compartment further comprises a plurality of securing means mounted within said compartment to releasably secure the equipment mounted within said compartment.
9. A storage device for transporting sporting equipment, the device comprising:
a vertically elongated housing defining a plurality of compartments for storing the sporting equipment, said housing having opposing horizontal top and bottom walls, opposing vertical side walls, and a vertical back wall opposing an open front, a door for selectively closing said open front;
a plurality of securing means mounted within said plurality of compartments to releasably secure the equipment stored within said plurality of compartments;
a first and a second retractable wheel each mounted on a shaft, said first retractable wheel mounted to a first side wall of said vertical side walls and said second retractable wheel mounted to a second side wall of said vertical side walls opposite said first side wall, said wheels mounted at a lower end of said housing;
an actuator mounted to said housing for displacing said first and said second retractable wheels between a first and a second position; and
at least one vent mounted in said housing for circulation of air within said housing;
wherein each wheel of said first and said second retractable wheels is disposed within a wheel receiving recess when in said first position, said recess defined by said housing at said first and said second side of said housing; and
wherein each wheel of said first and second retractable wheels extends outwards from said recess so as to extend outwardly from said housing when in said second position whereby said housing may then be translated on said first and said second retractable wheels.
10. The device of claim 9 wherein said actuator includes a handle which retractably extends from said housing when said wheels are in said second position and wherein retraction of said handle so as to be flush with an outer surface of said housing coincides with actuation of said wheels into said first position.
11. The device of claim 10 wherein said first and said second retractable wheels are large diameter wheels in the range of substantially six to ten inch diameter and adapted to support said housing and any equipment disposed within said housing while providing mobility to transport said housing over a plurality of surfaces.
12. The device of claim 11 wherein said actuator is a hand actuated mechanism, said mechanism in operable communication with said first and said second retractable wheels such that said first and said second retractable wheels are disposed within said wheel receiving recess when said mechanism is in a first position and said first and said second retractable wheels extend outwards from said recess when in said mechanism is in a second position.
13. The device of claim 12 further comprising at least one detachable hook coupled with said vertical back wall of said housing for hanging the device on a support.
14. The device of claim 13 wherein said door comprises a pair of hinged opposed doors and a latch means for securing said opposed doors together to close said open front of said housing.
15. A storage device for transporting baseball equipment, the device comprising:
a vertically elongated housing defining a plurality of compartments for storing the baseball equipment, said housing having opposing horizontal top and bottom walls, opposing vertical side walls, and a vertical back wall opposing an open front, a door for selectively closing said open front;
said plurality of compartments for storing the baseball equipment including a bat storage having means to secure a plurality of bats, a ball storage having means to secure a plurality of balls, a helmet storage having means to secure a plurality of helmets, a protective pad storage having means to secure a plurality of protective pads;
and a first aid storage having means to secure a first aid kit, said housing having an open front wherein a door closes said front;
a first and a second retractable each wheel mounted on a shaft, said first retractable wheel mounted to a first side wall of said vertical side walls and said second retractable wheel mounted to a second side wall of said vertical side walls opposite said first side wall, said first and second retractable wheels mounted at a lower end of said housing;
an actuator mounted to said housing for displacing said first and said second retractable wheels between a first and a second position;
at least one vent mounted in said housing for circulation of air within said housing; and
at least one detachable hook coupled with said vertical back wall of said housing for hanging the device on a support;
wherein each wheel of said first and second retractable wheels is disposed within a wheel receiving recess when in said first position, said recess defined by said housing at said first and said second end of said housing;
wherein each wheel of said first and second retractable wheels extends outwards from said recess so as to extend outwardly from said housing when in said second position whereby said housing may then be translated on said first and said second retractable wheels;
wherein said actuator includes a handle which retractably extends from said housing when said first and second retractable wheels are in said second position; and
wherein retraction of said handle so as to be flush with an outer surface of said housing coincides with actuation of said of said first and second retractable wheels into said first position.
16. The device of claim 15 wherein said handle is rotatably mounted to said back wall and is coupled to a rod so that rotation of said handle translates said rod and such that retraction of said handle by rotation of said handle into a corresponding recess in said housing handle causes said rod to rotate a bell-crank rotatably mounted to said back wall at a lower end of said housing in a first direction said rod and said retractable wheels mounted at opposite ends of said bell-crank, said rotation of said bell-crank in said first direction thereby causing retraction of said retractable wheels into said first position.
17. The device of claim 16 wherein rotation of said handle so as to extend said handle causes said rod to rotate said bell-crank in a second direction opposite to said first direction thereby causing extension of said retractable wheels into said second position.
18. The device of claim 17 wherein said first and said second retractable wheels are large diameter wheels adapted to support said housing and any equipment disposed within said housing while providing mobility to transport said housing over a plurality of surfaces.
19. The device of claim 18 wherein said actuator is a hand actuated mechanism, said mechanism in operable communication with said first and said second retractable wheel such that said first and said second retractable wheels are disposed within a wheel receiving recess when said mechanism is in a first position and said first and said second retractable wheels.
20. The device of claim 19 wherein said door comprises a pair of hinged opposed doors and a latch means for securing said opposed doors together to close said open front of said housing.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/501,076 filed Sep. 9, 2003 entitled Sports Equipment Caddy.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a transportable storage device, and more particularly, it relates to a device for storing, transporting and dispensing sports equipment.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

For many coaches, transporting equipment to and from games for any sport that requires a multitude of protective gear and equipment may be fairly cumbersome and unwieldy. Baseball and softball are examples of sports that involve a plurality of equipment needed for proper team play. Typically, coaches haul one or more large canvas bags from their vehicle to the dug out for each game, and back from the dug out to their vehicle after each game. The equipment loosely packed into such canvas bags usually end up in a disorganized mess due to movement from transport and can be when the equipment collides with each other. The bags may be very heavy and cumbersome to carry and they do not provide proper storage for the equipment as they do not provide ventilation to allow wet or sweaty equipment to dry out, thereby causing damage due to mold.

It is therefore desirable to provide an equipment carrier that keeps virtually all equipment required for a particular sport together such that the equipment may be easily transportable to and from games.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a device for transporting equipment to and from a location.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a device that fits easily in most automobiles and is easy for a user to manipulate to transport equipment to and from a location.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a device for storing and transporting virtually all equipment required for a particular sport to and from a location.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a storage device for equipment such that the equipment disposed within the device may properly ventilate while the device keeps inclement weather out,

In accordance with the present invention, the device includes a housing defining at least one compartment for storing equipment, a first and a second retractable wheel mounted to a bottom end of the housing, and an actuator for displacing the first and the second retractable wheel between a first recessed position and a second extended position. In an embodiment of the present invention, the housing defines a plurality of compartments for storing sports equipment such as baseball or softball equipment. The compartments may include a bat storage compartment, a ball storage compartment, a helmet storage compartment, a protective pad storage compartment, and a first aid storage compartment. Securing means are provided within each of the plurality of compartments to secure the equipment. A vent positioned on the housing allows circulation of air within the compartments to maintain the humidity within the housing. At least one hook mounted on the housing so as to extend therefrom allows the housing to be hung on a support such as the mesh of a baseball back-stop. The first and second retractable wheels are advantageously of large diameter so as to support the device while providing mobility to transport the device over a variety of surfaces such as wet or rough or loose ground. The first and the second retractable wheels may be recessed when not in use and thus disposed within wheel receiving recesses or cavities or wells defined in the lower-most end of the housing. The first and second retractable wheels may extend from the wheel receiving recesses when required to be used. An actuator, which is in operable communication with the first and the second retractable wheels displaces the first and the second retractable wheels between the recessed first position and the extended second position. The actuator may be a hand actuated mechanism or a foot actuated mechanism, preferably a mechanical linkage. The mechanical linkage may consist of a handle on a first lever, wherein rotation of the first lever about a first shaft drives a push/pull rod. The rod is pivotally connected to a bell crank mounted on a second shaft. Rotation of the bell crank correspondingly rotates the wheels about the second shaft between the extended and recessed positions.

In summary, the storage device for transporting equipment according to the present invention may be characterized as including a housing, a pair of retractable wheels, and an actuator for retracting and extending the wheels from the housing. The housing defines at least one compartment for storing the equipment. The housing has an open front defining an opening into the housing, and a door for selectively closing the open front. First and second retractable wheels are mounted on opposite first and second ends of a shaft, respectively. The first retractable wheel is mounted to a first side of the housing. The second retractable wheel is mounted to an opposite second side of the housing. The shaft may be a pair of stub shafts, pins, axles or the like (collectively referred to herein as shafts), or may be a single unitary shaft extending through the housing from the first side to the second side. The actuator is coupled to the housing and the wheels so as to displace the first and the second retractable wheels between a retracted first and an extended second position. Thus each wheel of the first and second retractable wheels is disposed within a wheel receiving recess when in the first position, and each wheel extends outwards from the recess so as to extend outwardly from the housing when in the second position whereby the housing may then be translated on the first and the second retractable wheels. Advantageously, the first and second retractable wheels are large diameter wheels adapted to support the housing and any equipment disposed within the housing while providing mobility to transport the housing over a plurality or variety of surfaces. The recesses are defined by the housing at the first and second sides of the housing.

In one embodiment, the actuator is a hand actuated mechanism, in operable communication via a mechanical linkage with the first and the second retractable wheels such that the first and the second retractable wheels are disposed within the wheel receiving recesses when the linkage is in a first position and such that the first and the second retractable wheels extend outwards from the recesses when in the linkage is in a second position. The actuator may include a handle which retractably extends from the housing when the wheels are in the second position and wherein retraction of the handle so as to be flush with an outer surface of the housing coincides with actuation of the wheels into the retracted first position.

In a further embodiment, at least one detachable hook is coupled with a wall of the housing opposite from the door for hanging the device on a support. Where a pair of such hooks are provided they are spaced apart, for example laterally or vertically, to provide stability. At least one vent may be provided, positioned on the housing to permit circulation of air within the housing. The at least one compartment may further include a plurality of securing means such as hooks, clips, ball-retaining tubes, bat racks, etc mounted within the compartment to releasably secure the equipment mounted within the compartment. The securing means is intended to be appropriate to the specific equipment to be secured within the compartment, and will vary from sport-to-sport or upon the use put to the device. For example, in the specific instance of the use of the device for baseball, bat-racks are convenient if mounted into a pair of clam-shell opening doors so as to symmetrically spread out the weight. The door may thus include a pair of hinged opposed doors and a latch means for securing the opposed doors together to releasably close the open front of the housing.

In a preferred embodiment, not intended to be limiting, the housing may be characterized as vertically elongated and defines therein a plurality of compartments for storing the sporting equipment. The housing has opposing horizontal top and bottom walls, opposing vertical side walls, and a vertical back wall opposing the front opening aperture in an open front of the housing.

In a further preferred embodiment, again not intended to be limiting, the actuator handle is rotatably mounted to the back wall and is coupled to a rod so that rotation of the handle translates the rod and such that retraction of the handle by rotation of the handle into a corresponding recess in the housing handle causes the rod to rotate a bell-crank rotatably mounted to the back wall at a lower end of the housing in a first direction the rod and the retractable wheels mounted at opposite ends of the bell-crank, the rotation of the bell-crank in the first direction thereby causing retraction of the retractable wheels into the first position. Rotation of the handle so as to extend the handle causes the rod to rotate the bell-crank in a second direction opposite to the first direction thereby causing extension of the retractable wheels into the second position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various other objects, features and attendant advantages of the present invention will become fully appreciated as the same becomes better understood when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters designate the same or similar parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an embodiment of the device according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of the device shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the device shown in FIG. 1 depicting storage of the baseball equipment;

FIG. 4 a is a front perspective view of the device shown in FIG. 3 hanging on a chain link fence;

FIG. 4 b is a rear perspective view of the device shown in FIG. 3 hanging on a chain link fence, as seen through the fence;

FIG. 5 a is a plan view of the device shown in FIG. 3 depicting a top latch means to secure the door;

FIG. 5 b is a front view of the device shown in FIG. 3 depicting a front latch means to secure the door;

FIG. 6 a is a side view of the device shown in FIG. 3 depicting a hand actuated mechanism in operable communication with a first retractable wheel such that when the hand actuated mechanism is in a second position, the first retractable wheel extends from the housing;

FIG. 6 b is a rear view of the device shown in FIG. 6 a;

FIG. 7 a is a side view of the device shown in FIG. 3 depicting the hand actuated mechanism in operable communication with the first retractable wheel such that when the hand actuated mechanism is in a first position, the first retractable wheel is disposed within a wheel receiving recess; and

FIG. 7 b is a rear view of the device shown in FIG. 7 a.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

With reference to FIGS. 1 to 8 b wherein similar characters of reference denote corresponding parts in each view, the device according to the present invention includes a housing 10, compartment 20, a door 30, first and a second retractable wheels 40 and 50 respectively, and a wheel actuator 60.

Housing 10 is typically a vertically elongated casing having opposing horizontal top and bottom walls 12, 13, opposing vertical side walls 15, 16, and a vertical back wall 18. Opposing door 30 closes the open front of housing 10. Door 30 may be single door but in one embodiment of the present invention, door 30 includes a pair of hinged opposed doors 32, 34 having securing means such as a latch, lock, or the like to releasably secure the doors 32, 34 closed together. Preferably securing means includes a front latch 35 and a top latch 37 to secure doors 32 and 34 together, as seen in FIGS. 6 a and 6 b although any securing means known in the art such as locks may be used. When doors 32 and 34 are closed and secured by front latch 35 and top latch 37, housing 10 is preferably sized to fit into bed of a pickup truck or an automobile trunk so that the device may be conveniently transported. Housing 10 may be made of a rigid lightweight and durable material. Without intending to be limiting this may include plastic, or the housing may be made of a durable nylon exterior shell wrapped around a lightweight and strong frame construction.

Housing 10 defines at least one compartment 20 which is configured to store a plurality of equipment. In an embodiment of the invention, housing 10 defines a plurality of compartments 20 configured to store baseball or softball equipment. As seen in FIGS. 1, 3, and 4, storage compartments 20 may include a bat storage 22 having means to secure a plurality of bats, a ball storage 24 having means to secure a plurality of balls, a helmet 26 storage having means to secure a plurality of helmets, a protective pad storage 27 having means to secure a plurality of protective pads, and a first aid storage 28 having means to secure a first aid kit. In one embodiment of the present invention, bat storage 22 may store up to six bats, helmet storage 26 may store at least one helmet having a conventional protective mask such as used by a back-catcher, protective pad storage 27 may store up to two belly pads and two sets of shin pads, and first aid storage 28 may store a Level 3 First Aid Kit. Securing means 29 for each of the storage compartments include conventional securing means such as releasable fasteners to secure the bats, and hooks and clips to hang and secure the protective pads.

In one embodiment of the present invention, doors 32, 34 are used for bat storage 22. Ball storage 24 may include first and second ball tubes each having an upper inlet to receive a plurality of balls and a lower outlet for dispensing the balls. A retaining means such as a flap prevents the balls from exiting the tube until needed. Housing 10 may further define additional compartments 20 to store additional equipment and miscellaneous items such as for example baseball gloves, score books, lineup board, towels, tools, and a tape measure.

Detachable hooks 25 may be mounted on any surface of housing 10 such that housing 10 may be hung on a support. In an embodiment of the present invention, hooks 25 may be attachable to vertical back wall 18 to enable a user to hang the housing onto a chain link fence 38 as found at or near the dugout on most baseball or softball playing fields. As illustrated in FIGS. 5 a and 5 b, when the device is hung on a chain link fence, the front surfaces of doors 32 and 34 and vertical back wall 18 are all visible through the fence from the side of the fence opposite to the housing, and may be used for displaying team logos, sponsor advertising or other similar graphics.

Vents 39 to allow circulation of air through housing 10 may be provided at various locations on housing 10. By allowing adequate air flow through housing 10, the humidity within housing 10 may be balanced thereby preventing elemental damage to the equipment inside for example mildew due to un-vented moisture. In an embodiment of the present invention, vents 39 are provided on doors 32 and 34 and on vertical back wall 18.

First and second retractable wheels 40, 50 are preferably large diameter wheels such as 6 or 8 or 10 inch diameter wheels that are capable of supporting the weight of housing 10 and the equipment disposed within housing 10 while enabling transport of the device on a variety of surfaces, including uneven surfaces such as playing fields, rocky or sandy terrain, or curbs and stairs. Large diameter wheels provide superior mobility and ease of operation over uneven surfaces.

First and second retractable wheels 40, 50 are mounted on corresponding first and a second ends of a shaft 45. Shaft 45 extends horizontally through a bottom or lower end of housing 10 such that the first and second retractable wheels are positioned at the bottom of housing 10 on laterally oppositely disposed first and second sides of the housing. The bottom end of housing 10 defines wheel wells or receiving recess 47, 48 wherein first and second retractable wheels 40, 50 may respectively be recessed and wholly disposed within. When first and second retractable wheels 40, 50 are in the retracted first position, the device is easier to handle and store in an automobile trunk or other storage location. When first and second retractable wheels 40, 50 are in the extended second position, the device may be transported by rolling on the wheels.

Actuator 60, which may for example be hand operated as shown or a foot operated mechanism mounted in the lower end of the housing, is in operable communication with first and second retractable wheels 40, 50 such that actuator 60 when actuated causes or urges first and second retractable wheels 40, 50 to extend outwards from wheel receiving recess and retract into wheel receiving recess. In the illustrated embodiment of the present invention, actuator 60 is a manually operated handle. As best seen in FIG. 6 a, when the handle is rotated downwardly in direction A from its raised position, rod 64 is driven downwardly in direction B causing rotation of bell-crank arm 66 in direction C. Bell-crank arm 66 is rigidly mounted to shaft 67 so that rotation of the bell-crank arm also rotates lever arms 68. Rotation of crank arm 66 causes lever 68 to rotate in thereby causing first retractable wheel 40 to retract in direction D into the wheel receiving recess. When as seen in FIG. 7 a handle 60 is raised from its lowered position first retractable wheel 40 rotates outwards in direction E from the wheel receiving recess. The same mirror image linkage operates on second retractable wheel 50. Handle 60 also operates as a lifting handle and a handle to pull or push the device when first and second retractable wheels 40, 50 are extended. When the wheels are extended, a helical coil spring 62 is compressed by a stop 63 on rod 64 pushing up against spring 62. Upward movement of the upper end of the spring is prevented by rigid guide block 65 a mounted to the housing. Rod 64 is journalled through co-axial apertures in guide blocks s65 a and 65 b. As the wheels are retracted, spring 62 de-compresses and acts to urge the wheels into the wheel wells and to assist in holding them there.

Moreover, in interpreting both the specification and the claims, all terms should be interpreted in the broadest possible manner consistent with the context. In particular, the terms “comprises” and “comprising” should be interpreted as referring to elements, components, or steps in a non-exclusive manner, indicating that the referenced elements, components, or steps may be present, or utilized, or combined with other elements, components, or steps that are not expressly referenced.

As will be apparent to those skilled in the art in the light of the foregoing disclosure, many alterations and modifications are possible in the practice of this invention without departing from the spirit or scope thereof. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is to be construed in accordance with the substance defined by the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7841467 *Feb 3, 2009Nov 30, 2010John SlaytonPortable storage device with bat holder
US20110247911 *Apr 13, 2011Oct 13, 2011Reno John FTeam equipment bag
WO2011130364A1 *Apr 13, 2011Oct 20, 2011Bagley Patrick JTeam equipment bag
Classifications
U.S. Classification312/249.13, 211/14, 312/290
International ClassificationB62B3/02, B62B1/12, A63B71/00, A47B81/00
Cooperative ClassificationB62B2202/40, B62B2205/14, A63B71/0045, A47B81/00, B62B1/12
European ClassificationA63B71/00K2, B62B1/12, A47B81/00