Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS2448992 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 7, 1948
Filing dateJun 16, 1947
Priority dateJun 16, 1947
Publication numberUS 2448992 A, US 2448992A, US-A-2448992, US2448992 A, US2448992A
InventorsLove Homer, Cecil E Britain, Bowen D Langton, Ralph E Van Gundy, Charlie E Van Gundy
Original AssigneeLove Homer, Cecil E Britain, Bowen D Langton, Ralph E Van Gundy, Charlie E Van Gundy
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Propelling power unit for invalid wheel chairs
US 2448992 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 7, 1948. H. .LOVE ET AL PROPELLING POWER UNIT FOR INVALID WHEEL CHAIRS 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed June 16, 1947 Bu Y. vmmw m 0 T N LI nvE H A u V BBL ma m m m a fi @Bmm RC l I I I l I I I I I I II Sept. 7, 1948. H. LOVE ET AL 2,448,992

PROPELLING POWER UNIT FOR INVALID WHEEL CHAIRS Filed June 16, 1947 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Fig .3 /4

A 21 17 60 27 23 19 o 9 16 /Z 24 "28 A 26' I 57 .7 3/ I 44 g 1 I D v F [9C4 D 56 13 I 5 M HOMER LoVE 39 CECIL. E. BRITAIN BOWEN D. LANG' RALPH E-VAN Gun m! CHARL- IE! ENAMGuNDY mmvroxs.

Sept. 7, 1948. H. LOVE ET AL PROPELLING POWER UNIT FOR INVALID WHEEL CHAIRS 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed June 16, 1947 N m WMMUG flwNm n mm M E omwHu MO CBM M Patented Sept. 7, 1948 NlTED STATES PATENT I OFFICE PROPELLING POWER UNIT FOR INVALID WHEEL CHAIRS Homer Love, Cecil E. Britain, Bowen D. Langton, and Ralph E. Van Gundy, Wichita, and Charlie E. Van Gundy, Valley Center, Kans.

Application June 18, 1947, Serial No. 754,970 1 Claim. (01. 180-23) This invention relates to a propelling power unit for an invalid wheel chair, and has for its principal object the provision of propelling and guiding power means for a conventional wheel chair.

Another object of this invention is to arrange electric switch and steering controls accessible to the invalid of a wheel chair, whereby the chair may be power propelled by the invalids own manipulation of the controls.

A still further object is to provide a propelling power unit having one power actuated wheel, whereby the same may beturned on its vertical diametrical axis for affecting the guiding or directional movement of the chair.

A still further object is to drive the power wheel by a reversible motor having storage batteries to energize the motor.

A still further object is to rockably attach the power unit rearwardly of the wheel chair in such a way so that the chair is not altered or affected, other than being conveyed by the power unit, in which case, should the power unit be temporarily detached, the chair may be operated in the usual manual manner.

A still further object is to provide a one wheel power actuated unit that has a compartment for storage batteries and having rockabie struts to normally retain the unit upright when disconnected from the chair.

wheel chair,

A still further object is to choose a conventional motor for actuation of the power unit that may be reversed for a backward motion of the chair, and furthermore said motor being of a type that has embodied therein an automatic brake to stop rotation of the motor when de-energfzed, whereby action is imparted on the power wheel to retain the same against rotation, which in turn serves as a brake for the wheel chair.

A still further object is to arrange the electric switch control for the motor adjacent the wheel chairs arm rest so that the power may be controlled by a momentary touch of the invalids fingers for aflecting a backward movement and a low or high speed forward, selectively; and imthermore a steering wheel likewise being conveniently placed to the invalid for turning the power wheel on its vertical diametrical axis to guide the wheel chair, it being understood that the chair has its usual trailing caster wheels to permit turning of the wheel chair.

A still further object is to provide a noiseless power unit for the purpose above stated and having sufllcient stored-up energy to provide an appreciable amount of traveling; however, while at rest the storage batteries may be charged by a suitable battery charging equipment, which may be supplied by the manufacturer of this invention.

A still further object is to construct a power unit for a wheel chair that is inexpensive to manuiacture, eillcient in its performance, and easily and readily operated by an invalid in the chair.

These and other objects will hereinafter be more fully explained, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part of this specification, and in whichlike characters will apply to like parts in the different views.

Referring to the drawings:

Fig. 1 is a side elevation, illustrating our invention coupled rearwardly of a conventional wheel chair.

Fig. 2 is an enlarged sectional view or the power unit taken on line 22 in Fig. 3.

Fig. 3 is a top view of the power unit, the housing lid being partially shown, and the wheel chairs frame being fragmentarily illustrated.

Fig. 4 is an enlarged horizontal section through the power unit housing, and other parts broken away for convenience of illustration Fig. 5 is a vertical sectional view of the steering arm, parts being broken away for convenience of illustration.

Fig, 6 is a sectional view of the power unit taken on line 6-6 in Fig. 4.

Fig. "I is a preferred wiring diagram for electricaliy controlling the power unit of our invention.

The invention herein disclosed consists of a power unit'to propel and guide a conventional wheel chair 8 by coupling the power unit to the chairs frame 9 rearwardly thereof, said chair having its usual caster wheels ill for supporting the rear end of the chair and permit turning thereof.

It will be understood that no claim is made to the wheel chairs frame and its caster wheels Ill, except in combination with our invention for affecting an operative device.

The power unit or our invention comprises a housing having straight vertically positioned side and front walls II and I2, respectively, and a semi-circular rear wall l3. Said housing has a lid I 4 suitably hinged,as at A, to close the same at its upper extremity, and a bottom II to partially close the housing adjacent its lower extremity. The bottom is secured to the sides and front wall a short distance upwardly from the lower extremity of said housing, and has a vertical wall l6 connecting the edge of the bottom,

opposite the front wall and the sides of the housto the sleeve by a shaft 2| extending through the ears and sleeve and having pins 22 to lock the shaft with the ears for turning the same. Integrally joined to the sleeve and extending downwardly therefrom is a rod 23, or the like, the lower end of which is joined to a right angle frame 24. Within the' frame 24 is mounted a reversible motor 25 having connected thereto a gear case 26 for actuation of a power drive wheel 21, which is rotated and carried by the gear case, as at 28, and suitably retained against longitudinal movement.

It will be understood that the gear case and motor are of standard construction already being manufactured and are rigidly secured in the frame by bolts 29 as shown in the drawings.

The arrangement of the rockable hinge as above described provides an offset so that the power wheel may be positioned centrally between the sides of the unit housing, and also places the vertical diametrical axis of the wheel in axial alignment with the shaft 2| to be turned thereby, as later described, in which case, side tipping tendency of the power unit during turning is eliminated.

The motor 25 may be actuated to rotate the power wheel for moving the wheel chair two speeds forward and one speed backward, and the motor has embodied within its construction a conventional, automatic brake to stop rotation of all parts when current is disconnected to the motor in which case, said motor as arranged will serve as a brake for the wheel chair.

The guiding means for the wheel chair is as follows:

Rigidly secured to the upper end' of the shaft 2i is a sprocket wheel 30 over which engages a chain C. The ends of the chain are adjustably secured to the corresponding ends of a pair of cables 3| and 32, said cables extending through an opening in the housing and engaging with their respective pulleys 33 and 34 that are rotatably mounted on a bolt 35 that extends through the lower end of a steering wheel arm comprising a 'ube 36. Said arm is hollow and rectangular in cross section to provide suflicient working space for the pulleys and cables, as well as to receive an electric conductor 31 therethrough as later described. The cables 3| and 32 extend forwardly in the arm to connect to their respective ends of a chain 38 that engages on a sprocket wheel 39 as shown in Figs. 4 and 5. Cable 3i is provided with a pulley so mounted on a bolt 4| 4' adiacent\ the pulleys 33 and 34, said pulley 40 serving to direct the cable II to its respective inner side of the arm. To actuate the cables and chains, it will be seen that sprocket wheel 38 is rotatably carried at the forward end oi the arm by any suitable bearing 42, in which shaft 43 is iournalled 1'or rigidly connecting the sprocket wheel to a steering wheel 44 as shown in Fig. 1, the forward end of the arm terminating a short distance forward from the wheel chair arm rest 45 so that the steering wheel may be conveniently reached by an invalid in the chair. By turning the steering wheel, the power wheel is turned on a vertical line taken through the diametrical axis of the wheel, which in turn propels the chair in a desired direction, the turn being controlled by stops ll secured to the sleeve i8 as shown in Figs. 2 and 6; and as shown in Fig. 3, a sector portion of the steering wheel being removed at its outer side with respect to the chair to permit passage of the chair and power unit through an average sized door opening.

' The cables and chains as connected in Fig. 4 will require a clockwise turn of the steering wheel to affect a left hand turn of the chair, however by reversing the connections of the cables at one of their corresponding ends will affect a right hand turn of the wheel chair as the steering wheel is rotated clockwise by the invalid.

The forward end of the arm is closed by a plate 46 as shown in Figs. 4 and 5. The steering wheel arm 'is adjustably secured to a side of the housing accommodating the invalid by the provision of a pair of angle brackets 48 and 49 as shown in Figs. 1 and 4. Bracket 49 is inwardly positioned from the lower end of the arm and has an elongated slot 50 in its horizontal leg to permit inward and outward movement of the arm at' its forward end as adjusting means for the steering wheel, while the housing has an arcuate slot 5! to permit a vertical rock of the arm, whereby to connect the batteries, the motor, a relay I2,

and switches 53 and 54 for their respective function. The electric switches are mounted adjacent the steering wheel so that the same are easily approachable by the invalid in the chair. The switch 54 is a momentary switch to actuate the relay for closing a selected circuit as controlled by the switch 53. The momentary switch 54 is secured inwardly of the arm-to be closed by a stem 55 engaging therewith, said stern having on its upper end as shown in Fig. 5 a disc 56 which is pressed to close the relay 52.

Referring to the wiring diagram as illustrated in Fig. '7, it will be understood that by directing a current through point R, the upper battery will be connected to the motor for a backward motion of the chair at a slow speed as only one battery is employed in this circuit. By running a current through point L a slow speed forward will be provided as only one battery is connected, however by closing a circuit through point H an increased speed forward will be the result as both batteries are connected into the circuit. The slow speed is suitable for movement of the chair in congested places and the high speed when plenty of room is available. The switch 53 is any conventional make, wherein the same provides for three independent circuits for producing a reverse, and a low and high speed forward.

As shown in Figs. 2 and 4, the power unit housing is rockably coupled to the frame of the wheel chair rearwardly thereof by a pair of spaced bearings. Each bearing comprises an upper leaf 5! rigidly secured to the front wall of the housing, and a lower leaf 58 rockably connected to first said leaf as at 59 to retain the frame between the upper and lower leafs of the bearings. as the same are provided with arcuate portions to coincide to the circumference of the frame with respect to cross section but having sufficient clearance to permit rockability of the bearings on the frame. The two bearings are for the purpose of retaining the power unit against side rock and to definitely control the chair in a desired path of movement while the rocking feature of the bearings likewise permit independent rock of the char and power unit when traveling over irregular ground surfaces.

In some instances, the power unit may be temporarily stored, in which case, the same may be easily detached from the chair by loosening wing nuts 60 which permits separation of the leafs of the bearings and allowing removal of the frame therefrom. When the power unit is stored, a pair of the struts 61 are rocked downwardly-to retain the forward end of the power unit in its normal position, each strut having one end rockably secured to its respective side of the housing by a bolt D, while its other end has a rubber sleeve 62 to function as a foot when the strut is engaged.

It will be understood that suitable battery charging equipment will be provided with the invention so that the storage batteries may he charged when the chair is at rest, said charging equipment not being shown in the drawings.

While the present embodiment as shown in the drawings is of a preferred construction of the invention, we desire to emphasize that various changes in construction, proportion and location of the components of this invention may be resorted to as is commonly practiced by manufacturers during the process of improvement, and other modifications may be made as lie within the scope of the appended claim.

Having fully described our invention what we believe is new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:

In a propelling power unit for a wheel chair comprising one wheel and housing for the same, means to connect the housing rockably to a conventional wheel chair without disconnecting any parts of the wheel chair, a motor and gear means to drive the wheel, hinge means to rockably attach the wheel to the housing centrally thereof, a sprocket wheel mounted on the rockableportion of the hinge means to turn the wheel on its diametrical axis to guide the wheel chair, an arm adjustable secured to the housing and extending forwardly to terminate adjacent the side of the wheel chair, a sprocket wheel rotatably mounted in the forward end of the arm, a steering wheel to affect rotation of last said sprocket wheel. chains engaging over their respective sprocket wheels, cables to connect the chains with each other for imparting rotation of the steering wheel to the hinge means, switches mounted on the forward end of the arm and electric wirin to connect the batteries and motor for reversed and forward motion of the chair and struts for the housing to retain the housing upright when disconnected fromthe wheel chair.



REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:

UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 860,603 Hopper July 16, 1907 2,370,866 Lewis Mar. 6, 1945 FOREIGN PATENTS Number Country Date 167,092 Great Britain Aug. 4, 1921 326,880 Italy June 25, 1935

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US860603 *Apr 11, 1907Jul 16, 1907Lewis StubblefieldMotor attachment for vehicles.
US2370866 *Jul 5, 1943Mar 6, 1945Salsbury CorpIndustrial truck
GB167092A * Title not available
IT326880B * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2635703 *May 19, 1950Apr 21, 1953Norman V GrimesWheel chair adapted for optional operation by power or manually
US2706008 *May 14, 1954Apr 12, 1955Robert H VoigtPowered golf bag carrier
US2978053 *Oct 21, 1957Apr 4, 1961Arthur O SchmidtDriving and steering apparatus for wheel chairs
US3023825 *Nov 17, 1958Mar 6, 1962Rabjohn Rodney RobertPower operated wheel chair
US3690397 *Dec 16, 1970Sep 12, 1972Louis W ParkerElectric automobile
US4503925 *Jun 13, 1983Mar 12, 1985Amigo Sales, Inc.Detachable steerable power unit for occupant-propelled wheelchairs
US5121806 *Mar 5, 1991Jun 16, 1992Johnson Richard NPower wheelchair with torsional stability system
US5135063 *Aug 30, 1990Aug 4, 1992Smucker Manufacturing, Inc.Power unit for driving manually-operated wheelchair
US5145020 *Nov 14, 1990Sep 8, 1992Invacare CorporationSuspension for seat of powered wheel chair
US5244051 *Nov 4, 1991Sep 14, 1993Wu Kung HsiungCentral steerable driving means of wheelchair
US5351774 *Jun 2, 1992Oct 4, 1994Quickie Designs Inc.Powered wheelchair with a detachable power drive assembly
US5531284 *Oct 3, 1994Jul 2, 1996Quickie Designs Inc.Powered wheelchair with a detachable power drive assembly
US5727802 *Sep 3, 1996Mar 17, 1998Everest & Jennings International Ltd.Suspension wheelchair and wheelchair frame
US6050593 *Sep 2, 1997Apr 18, 2000Golden Technologies, Inc.Personal mobility vehicle
US6129165 *Apr 14, 1998Oct 10, 2000Pride Mobility Products, CorporationCurb-climbing power wheelchair
US6176337Feb 24, 1999Jan 23, 2001Golden Technologies, Inc.Personal mobility vehicle
US6360836 *Sep 29, 2000Mar 26, 2002Seitz CorporationAdd-on drive assembly for baby strollers and carriages
US7886854 *Jul 18, 2008Feb 15, 2011Wu's Tech Co., Ltd.Wheelchair
US9398990Jul 6, 2012Jul 26, 2016W Mark RichterMotion-based power assist system for wheelchairs
US20070261905 *May 12, 2006Nov 15, 2007Macauto Industrial Co., Ltd.Electrically operated three-wheeled pushcart
US20100012404 *Jan 21, 2010Wu's Tech Co., Ltd.Wheelchair
US20110308880 *Jun 17, 2010Dec 22, 2011Wu's Tech Co., Ltd.Wheelchair structure
WO1993024342A1 *May 18, 1993Dec 9, 1993Quickie Designs Inc.Powered wheelchair with a detachable power drive assembly
U.S. Classification180/23, 180/65.1, 180/13, 180/907
International ClassificationB62M7/14, A61G5/10
Cooperative ClassificationB62M7/14, A61G2005/1081, B60K2001/0444, A61G2005/1051, A61G5/047, B60L2200/34, A61G2203/14, B60L2200/46, Y10S180/907
European ClassificationB62M7/14, A61G5/04D