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Publication numberUS20060157431 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/267,524
Publication dateJul 20, 2006
Filing dateNov 4, 2005
Priority dateJan 14, 2005
Also published asWO2006088540A2, WO2006088540A3
Publication number11267524, 267524, US 2006/0157431 A1, US 2006/157431 A1, US 20060157431 A1, US 20060157431A1, US 2006157431 A1, US 2006157431A1, US-A1-20060157431, US-A1-2006157431, US2006/0157431A1, US2006/157431A1, US20060157431 A1, US20060157431A1, US2006157431 A1, US2006157431A1
InventorsKeith Nagelski, Ronald Marsilio
Original AssigneeAlpha Security Products, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Display rod lock mechanism
US 20060157431 A1
Abstract
A lock mechanism is mounted on a merchandise display rod to prevent the removal of some items of merchandise from the rod. A pair of members are pivotally joined at one end and move between locked and unlocked positions. Each of the members is formed with a partial slot which align with each other when in the locked position to extend about the rod. A magnetically attractable plunger is mounted within one of the members and engages a recess formed in the other member to secure the members in a closed locked position on the rod. A magnetic key moves the plunger to an unlocked position to enable the members to pivot apart to an unlocked open position. The distal end of the rod is bent at an angle sufficient to prevent sliding removal of the lock mechanism from the rod when the members are in the locked position yet enable removal of merchandise items forward of the lock mechanism from the rod.
Images(5)
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Claims(20)
1. A lock mechanism for attaching to a rod extending outwardly from a merchandise display, said rod having a free end bent at an angle to an elongated portion of the rod; said lock mechanism comprising:
first and second members pivotally joined at one end for movement between locked and unlocked positions, each of said members being formed with a generally semicircular slot which align with each other when in the locked position to form a generally circular slot complementary to and adapted to receive the elongated portion of the rod therethrough to secure the lock mechanism on the elongated portion of said rod, and wherein said bent free end prevents removal of the lock mechanism from the rod when in the locked position; and
a magnetically attractable plunger for locking the members in the locked position about the rod.
2. The lock mechanism defined in claim 1 wherein each of the first and second members have an elongated body pivotally joined at upper ends thereof by a pivot pin; and in which the semicircular slots are formed in said body generally adjacent the pivot pin whereby said lock mechanism is suspended on the rod with a majority of the elongated bodies extending below the rod.
3. The lock mechanism defined in claim 2 wherein each of the elongated bodies of the first and second member have a generally semicircular cross sectional configuration.
4. The lock mechanism defined in claim 1 wherein the plunger is mounted in the first member and lockingly engages a locking projection located in the second member.
5. The lock mechanism defined in claim 1 wherein the locking plunger includes a generally cylindrical base moveably mounted within a pocket formed within the first member and a locking projection extending from said base; and in which said locking projection engages a recess formed in the second member to secure said members in the locked position.
6. The lock mechanism defined in claim 5 wherein a coil spring biases the plunger toward locking engagement with the second member.
7. The lock mechanism defined in claim 6 wherein the coil spring extends into a bottom opening formed in the plunger base.
8. The lock mechanism defined in claim 5 wherein the locking recess is formed in an inwardly extending ledge on the second member; and in which the ledge is formed with a tapered surface adjacent the locking recess for sliding engagement with the projection of the locking plunger.
9. The lock mechanism defined in claim 1 wherein the locking plunger is formed of a magnetically attractable metal.
10. The lock mechanism defined in claim 1 in combination with a key for moving the plunger to the unlocked position, said key containing at least one magnet for moving said plunger to the unlocked position.
11. A method of displaying items of merchandise on a display rod extending outwardly from a support, said method comprising the steps of:
providing the display rod with an elongated portion terminating in a bent end;
providing a lock mechanism having a pair of members pivotally joined at one end and moveable between locked and unlocked positions, said bent end preventing removal of the lock mechanism from the rod when in the locked position;
suspending a plurality of the items on the elongated portion of the rod;
placing the lock mechanism on the elongated portion of the rod and moving it to a closed locked position whereby at least one of the items is between the lock mechanism and bent end permitting removal of said at least one item beyond the bent end without interference from the lock mechanism and whereby a plurality of the items are located between the lock mechanism and support preventing their removal from the rod.
12. The method defined in claim 11 including the step of unlocking the lock mechanism and repositioning it on the elongated portion of the rod between the plurality of items previously located between the lock mechanism and support thereby providing at least one other item of merchandise between the lock mechanism and bent end for subsequent removal from the rod without interference from the lock mechanism.
13. The method defined in claim 1 1 including the steps of placing a magnet on at least one of the members, and moving a locking plunger located within said one member to an unlocked position.
14. The method defined in claim 13 including the step of pivotally moving the pair of members to an open position after the step of moving the locking plunger to the unlocked position.
15. In combination, a lock mechanism and a rod extending outwardly from a merchandise display, said rod having an elongated portion terminating in a distal end, and said lock mechanism being mounted on the elongated portion of the rod;
said lock mechanism comprising first and second members pivotally joined at one end for movement between locked and unlocked positions, each of said members being formed with a partial slot which align with each other when in the locked position to form a slot generally complementary to the elongated portion of the rod which extends through the slot to secure the lock mechanism on the elongated portion of said rod, said distal end of the rod having an irregular shape which prevents removal of the lock mechanism from the rod when in the locked position; and a magnetically attractable plunger mounted within a hollow interior of the members for locking the members in the locked position about the rod.
16. The combination defined in claim 1 wherein each of the first and second members have an elongated body pivotally joined at upper ends thereof by a pivot pin; and in which the partial slots have a semicircular configuration which are formed in the body generally adjacent the pivot pin whereby said lock mechanism is suspended on the rod with a majority of the elongated bodies extending below the rod.
17. The combination defined in claim 15 wherein the plunger is mounted in the first member and lockingly engages a locking projection located in the second member.
18. The combination defined in claim 15 wherein the locking plunger includes a generally cylindrical base moveably mounted within a pocket formed within the first member and a locking projection extending from said base; and in which said locking projection engages a recess formed in the second member to secure said members in the locked position.
19. The combination defined in claim 18 wherein the locking recess is formed in an inwardly extending ledge formed on the second member; and in which the ledge is formed with a tapered surface adjacent the locking recess for sliding engagement with the projection of the locking plunger.
20. The combination defined in claim 15 including a key for moving the plunger to the unlocked position, said key containing at least one magnet for moving said plunger to the unlocked position.
Description
    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority from U.S. provisional application serial No. 60/644,207 filed Jan. 14, 2005; the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Technical Field
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates to security devices, and particularly to a security device that prevents large numbers of items of merchandise from being rapidly removed from display racks, and in particular from display rods. Specifically, the present invention relates to the security device that is easily attached and locked on the display rod which allows one or several items of merchandise to be removed from the rack at any one time, but protects a number of the items from being removed from the rack by a shoplifter.
  • [0004]
    2. Background Information
  • [0005]
    Numerous items of merchandise are displayed for sale on long protruding rods that are supported from a piece of pegboard, slat board, or other type of supporting structure. These rods are commonly referred to in the art as pegboard rods or slat board rods. Many items of merchandise such as batteries, small tools, tool components, film, or other relatively expensive small items are displayed in areas where consumers may pick them up and take them directly to a checkout counter. These items usually are suspended on the rods by the rod passing through a single hole in the package. Unfortunately, such merchandise is an easy target for shoplifters and it has been found that shoplifters can rapidly empty all of the merchandise from a pegboard display rod and make off with merchandise without being detected, or even if detected upon passing through a checkout security gate, will be difficult to apprehend.
  • [0006]
    Various devices have been devised to prevent the removal of merchandise from these display rods such as shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,027,622, 5,275,027, 5,259,220, 5,689,978, 5,676,258, 6,622,979, and 6,474,748. The devices of these patents provide for some type of locking mechanism on the end of the rod preventing the removal of any items of merchandise from the rod. This has the disadvantage in that it requires the customer to contact a clerk who must unlock the lock mechanism from the end of the rod to enable the customer to remove the merchandise for purchase. It has been found that this reduces the amount of sales since many customers do not wish to wait or take the time to find a clerk to unlock the security device to enable the customer to secure the desired item.
  • [0007]
    Other types of display rods use irregularly shaped ends on the rod which enables the customer to remove the item therefrom by moving it through a circuitous route along the various bends at the distal end of the rod. This has proven satisfactory to some extent in that it increases the difficulty of a shoplifter from rapidly removing a large number of the items from the storage rack. However, it does not prevent the shoplifter from removing all of the items of merchandise from the rod if the shoplifter uses a large amount of force upon sweeping the items from the rod or bunches the items together enabling a plurality of the items to be removed in one motion from the rod.
  • [0008]
    Thus, it is desired in the art to provide a security device for these types of display rods so that large quantities of merchandise cannot be rapidly removed from the rods yet would allow legitimate customers to remove a limited number of the items from the rod without requiring a merchant or store clerk to assist the customer.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0009]
    The present invention provides the security device for display racks that prevents the rapid removal of a large number of the displayed items of merchandise from display rods extending outwardly from the rack by placing a simple, compact, yet highly effective locking device on a linear length of the display rod located between a number of the items stored thereon. This will enable those items located between the security device and the distal end of the display rod to be removed by a customer yet prevents any removal of those items between the display rack and locking device until a clerk unlocks the security device and repositions it behind a number of the already stored items, or places new items inbetween the security device and distal end of the rod for subsequent removal by the customer.
  • [0010]
    Another aspect of the present invention is to provide the display rod security device as a simple two-piece component pivotally joined at one end, each of which has a semicircular slot formed therein, which when in a closed locked position forms a circular opening through which the display rod extends, and which has a sufficient linear length or configuration to prevent it from being removed from a bent end of the display rod.
  • [0011]
    Another aspect of the present invention is to provide one of the body members of the security device with a spring biased plunger which automatically snaps into locking engagement in a locking recess formed in the other of the body members when the body members are moved to a closed position.
  • [0012]
    Another feature of the present invention is to form the locking plunger of a magnetically attractable material whereby a magnetic key when placed at a specific location on the lock mechanism will move the plunger to the unlocked position enabling the security device to be easily pivoted to an open position for removal of the device from the rack and subsequent reattachment thereto.
  • [0013]
    A further aspect of the present invention is to form the two half body members inexpensively of rigid plastic material which is strong enough to prevent a thief from easily prying the two lock body members apart, and which can be constructed of a minimum number of component parts thereby enabling the lock mechanism to be mass produced relatively inexpensive encouraging the use thereof by merchants to reduce shoplifting.
  • [0014]
    These features and advantages are obtained by the lock mechanism of the present invention which is attached to a rod extending outwardly from a merchandise display wherein the rod has a free end bent at an angle to an elongated portion of the rod, wherein the lock mechanism comprises first and second members pivotally joined at one end for movement between locked and unlocked positions, each of the members being formed with a generally semicircular slot which align with each other when in the locked position to form a generally circular slot complementary to and adapted to receive the elongated portion of the rod therethrough to secure the lock mechanism on the elongated portion of said rod, and wherein the bent free end prevents removal of the lock mechanism from the rod when in the locked position; and a magnetically attractable plunger for locking the members in the locked position about the rod.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0015]
    A preferred embodiment of the invention, illustrated of the best mode in which Applicant contemplates applying the principles, is set forth in the following description and is shown in the drawings and is particularly and distinctly pointed out and set forth in the appended claims.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the lock mechanism mounted on an elongated portion of a display rod extending outwardly from a supporting structure.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken on line 2-2, FIG. 1.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken on line 3-3, showing the lock mechanism in a locked position.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 4 is a fragmentary view of the display rod showing a magnetic key engaged with the lock mechanism for unlocking the mechanism.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view taken on line 5-5, FIG. 4, showing the locking plunger moving to an unlocked position.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken on line 6-6, FIG. 3.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken on line 7-7, FIG. 5 showing the lock mechanism in a closed unlocked position.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 8 is a sectional view showing the lock mechanism in an open unlocked position.
  • [0024]
    Similar numbers refer to similar parts throughout the drawings.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0025]
    The display rod lock mechanism of the present invention is indicated generally at 1, and is shown in FIG. 1 mounted on a merchandise display rod 3 which extends outwardly in a cantilevered-like fashion from a support surface 5 and is attached thereto by various types of attachment mechanisms 7. Attachment 7 is preferably some type of secure device which when attached to support 5 prevents removal of the rod therefrom without considerable manipulation or without sounding an alarm to prevent a shoplifter from completely removing rod 3 including all of the various items of merchandise indicated at 9, suspended therefrom. Rod 3 preferably is formed of a rigid round metal member having a generally straight elongated linear section 11 which terminates in a curved distal end 13. The items of merchandise 9 can be blister packs 15 or other type of containers in which certain merchandise is stored. The packs are suspended from rod 3 by a flat card-like section 17 having a hole 19 formed therein through which rod 3 extends. The particular configuration of merchandise 9 can vary considerably, but usually will have some type of slotted or rounded opening formed in the upper end thereof through which rod 3 extends, which will enable the merchandise to be slid in the direction of Arrow A for removal from the free distal end 13 thereof.
  • [0026]
    Lock mechanism 1 is shown particularly in FIGS. 3-8 and includes two half-body members 21 and 23 which are pivotally joined at an upper end by a pivot pin 25. This enables members 21 and 23 to be pivotally moved between a closed locked position as shown in FIG. 3 to a closed unlocked position (FIG. 5) and then to an open unlocked position as shown in FIG. 8. The body members preferably are formed of a rigid plastic enabling them to be produced relatively inexpensive and in various colors making them aesthetically pleasing when mounted on display rod 3 as shown in FIG. 1. Each of the body members has a generally elongated semicircular configuration as shown particularly in FIGS. 6 and 7. Pivot pin 25 is located adjacent the top ends of members 21 and 23 so that the majority of the elongated bodies extend downwardly from and below the rod. Body members 21 and 23 are formed with semicircular-shaped grooves 27 and 29 respectively, which when in the closed position, forms a circular opening generally complementary to the diameter of rod 3, and in particular to the cross-sectional diameter of elongated section 11. The diameter of the rod receiving hole 30 can vary and need not match the outer diameter of rod section 11 as shown in the drawings, to provide a tight clamping engagement therebetween, but could be larger in order to accommodate rod diameters of various sizes without affecting the concept of the invention.
  • [0027]
    Body member 21 is formed with a hollow semicircular upper interior 31 and has a semicircular lower wall 33 which forms a pocket 34 therein. Pocket 34 includes a top wall 35 in which is formed a hole 36. A cylindrical cup-shaped member 39 preferably formed of plastic, is complementary to and seated within pocket 34 as shown particularly in FIGS. 3, 5, and 8. A plunger indicated generally at 41, is mounted within cup-shaped member 39 and is formed with a cylindrical base 43 and an upwardly extending locking projection 45. The lower end of plunger base 43 preferably is formed with a socket 47 in which is located a coil spring 49 for slidably moving and biasing plunger 41 in cup-shaped member 39 toward a locking position as shown in FIG. 3.
  • [0028]
    Body member 23 is formed with a semicircular hollow interior or subchamber 51 extending generally throughout the longitudinal length thereof and includes a locking ledge or projection 53 which extends inwardly from semi-cylindrical wall 55 which forms much of body member 23 and which extends downwardly from the top pivotal end of member 23. Ledge 53 may have various configurations including the partial rectangular and semicircular configuration as shown in the drawings, and in particular FIG. 6. The important aspects of ledge 53 is the formation of a locking recess 57 in a bottom surface 59 thereof, which includes a tapered side wall surface 61 extending upwardly outwardly from bottom wall 59. When in the locked position of FIG. 3, locking projection 45 extends into locking recess 57 which retains members 21 and 23 in a secure locked position, and when placed on rod 3 will prevent its removal therefrom.
  • [0029]
    It is readily seen that when lock mechanism 1 is in the full open unlocked position as shown in FIG. 8, it can be easily moved to a closed locking position by pivotal movement of member 23 in the direction of Arrow A toward body member 21 with tapered wall portion 61 sliding along the top surface of locking projection 45 which will be in an extended position as shown in FIG. 3. This sliding camming movement of projection 45 along tapered surface 61 will compress coil spring 49 sufficiently to enable ledge 53 to move to the closed position of FIG. 3 afterwhich projection 45 will automatically snap into locking engagement within locking recess 57 to secure the members in the closed locked position.
  • [0030]
    To open and unlock lock mechanism 1, a magnetic key indicated generally at 65, is properly aligned with plunger 41 which is formed of a magnetically attractable material such as iron, steel, etc. by placement of a locating tab 67 in a positioning groove 69 formed in the outer surface at the lower end of body member 21 (FIG. 3). When placed in this position, an internal magnet 71 in key 65 will be properly aligned with plunger 41 and will have sufficient magnetic field strength to move plunger 41, and in particular, locking projection 45, from the locking position of FIG. 3 to the unlocked position of FIG. 5 as shown by Arrow B. Once in this unlocked position, body members 21 and 23 are easily pivotally moved in the direction of Arrow C (FIG. 8) to a full open position enabling lock mechanism 1 to be easily removed from rod 3.
  • [0031]
    In accordance with another feature of the invention as shown in FIG. 1, lock member 1 will be placed on the elongated linear section 11 of rod 3 between a number of merchandise items 9 so that one or more merchandise items will be between lock mechanism 1 and distal end 13 enabling the merchandise item or items to be easily removed from rod 3 by a customer without the assistance of a clerk. However, many of the merchandise items 9 will be between rod attachment 7 and lock mechanism 1 preventing their removal by a customer. Thus, the merchant will usually have a large number of merchandise items 9 in a secure locked position between support 5 and lock mechanism 1, with one or more of the merchandise items 9 being on the unsecured portion of rod 3 enabling a customer to easily remove the same from distal end 13. This enables the customer to take one or several of the items from the display rack for subsequent purchase at a checkout station, but will prevent a shoplifter from stealing an excessively large number of the items from rod 3 by a sweeping motion of the items therefrom. This limits the possible loss to only one or several of the displayed items, but not the entire displayed stock thereof.
  • [0032]
    The merchant upon seeing that the number of available merchandise items 9 unsecured on rod 1 not being sufficient to satisfy the current customer's demand, will easily unlock lock mechanism 1 by use of magnetic key 65, and then move lock mechanism 1 to another position between the remaining previously secured items 9, thereby making several more items available to the customer in an unsecured manner. Also, rod lock mechanism 1 can be easily removed enabling the entire rod to be restocked with items 9, afterwhich lock mechanism 1 is reapplied somewhere between the plurality of merchandise items permitting only one or several to be unprotected and permitting a customer to remove one or several of the items for purchase at the checkout counter.
  • [0033]
    As shown in FIG. 1, lock mechanism 1 will have a sufficiently large thickness or other configuration, which will prevent the lock mechanism from being removed from the bent end of rod 3. Thus, even though a shoplifter could slide lock mechanism 1 toward the distal end of rod 3, it cannot move it around the one or more bends or projections formed thereon to prevent removal of the lock mechanism from the rod without requiring it to be tightly clamped thereon. The end of rod 3 could have other types of bends than that shown in FIG. 1 or projections from thereon, without departing from the concept of the invention, so long as the bend or projection is sufficient to prevent removal of lock mechanism 1 from rod 3 by sliding it along the rod and off end 13. Likewise, the merchant after unlocking and moving lock mechanism 1, merely moves the two members 21 and 23 together whereupon plunger 41 will automatically snap-fit into locking engagement requiring very little manipulation of the lock mechanism. Likewise, lock mechanism 1 can be used with various diameters of rods since it does not require that it tightly grip the rod so long as it has sufficient length or diameter to prevent it from sliding off the end of the rod.
  • [0034]
    In the foregoing description, certain terms have been used for brevity, clearness, and understanding. No unnecessary limitations are to be implied therefrom beyond the requirement of the prior art because such terms are used for descriptive purposes and are intended to be broadly construed.
  • [0035]
    Moreover, the description and illustration of the invention is an example and the invention is not limited to the exact details shown or described.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification211/54.1, 211/59.1, 211/57.1, 211/7
International ClassificationA47F5/08
Cooperative ClassificationA47F5/0861
European ClassificationA47F5/08B5
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 4, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: ALPHA SECURITY PRODUCTS, INC., NORTH CAROLINA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:NAGELSKI, KEITH C.;MARSILIO, RONALD M.;REEL/FRAME:017195/0248
Effective date: 20051017
Nov 20, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: INVUE SECURITY PRODUCTS INC., NORTH CAROLINA
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:ALPHA SECURITY PRODUCTS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:020134/0669
Effective date: 20071101
Owner name: INVUE SECURITY PRODUCTS INC.,NORTH CAROLINA
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:ALPHA SECURITY PRODUCTS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:020134/0669
Effective date: 20071101