US 2524819 A
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Oct. 10, 1950 J. D. MGKEAN RETRACTABLE cAsTER 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 nventor' JAMES D. MG KEAN w w v Filed Feb. 25, 1949 Oct. l0, 1950 J. D. MCKEAN RETRACTABLE cAsTER 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Feb. 23, 1949 MN w A Mu m c M Patented Oct. 10,1950
' UNITED STATES PATENTYAY OFFICE n i 2,524,819
RETRAOTABLE CASTER J ames D. McKean, Seattle, Wash. Application February 23, 1949,l Serial No. 777,771Y
My present invention relatesto wheel casters, Y
caster and have the objectsupported solidly on too heavy or bulky to be handled by one person,.
excepting by sliding or preferably rolling. Then,
to'o, there are such items as billiard tables andA other game apparatus. Further, in industrial plants and particularly in the home shops of amateur mechanics, it is often necessary to move machine tools and such equipment about and when the new position is reached, it is very essential that the machine be carefully and xedly deposited on the supporting floor. I am Well aware that many attempts have been made in the past to achieve this general end result. I-Iowever, those observed have taken advantage of the peculiarities of design of equipment to which they were attached and where bulk or appearance was immaterial. There are many cases, however, where it is most desirable to avoid any visual showing of' such equipment. This is particularly true on the nicer pieces of equipment, such as pianos and the like that are used in the home. There are further considerations: namely, that casters of the type referred to are normally only employed with heavy equipment, and then it is desirable that tracks or marking from the rolling surface be prevented, in order that oors and carpets and the like will not be disfigured as the heavy weight is rolled across them. It is under such conditions that the majority of the devices observed fail, in that, in order to achieve a retractabie mechanism, the diameter of the caster wheel itself has been reduced to such a `small dimension that they either fail to roll, as over carpets and the like, or if they do, the small wheel area presented, does cause disgurement on the floor covering. In my present invention, I believe I have overcome many of the deciencies noted, in that I provide for a caster wheel of substantially the size the loading requires, and which the manufacturer would have used on his equipment were he supplying a conventional form of casters.
. 2 InV order, however, to supply a large caster Wheel and still have it retractable, a general form of construction, not observed in any of the prior" equipment, must be employed.
The principal object of my present invention, therefore, is to provide a retractable caster which can be applied to any legged piece of furniture or equipment and which will be substantially unobservable when the caster is not being used.
Afurther object of my invention is to provide a retractable caster which can be housed as in a piano leg, for instance, and still employ a caster'wheel of adequate diameter and face to carry the loading'placed upon it.
A further object of my invention is to provide a simple, sturdy, retracting mechanism, which will be self-locking in either its retracted or using position and to achieve this with mechanism that is simple, to the end that the cost of same may be kept within the range requiredv on an item that must be used in considerablevquantities.
A furtherobject of my invention is to provide a caster and'its actuating mechanism, allv disposed within a tubular housing, so that the same can be sold and installed as a complete unit and can be easily installed by the simple procedure of forming a ycylindrical recess into which the cylindrical housing will seat.
Further objects, advantages and capabilities will be apparent from the description and disclosure inthe drawings, or may be comprehended orare inherent in the device. i
It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for purposes of illustration only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention, reference for this purpose beingv Figure 2 is a perspective view, showing Van enlarged portionof the lower piano'leg. l
Figure 3 is a cross-sectional view thru a piano 4leg with one of my casters in place and in its rolling or supporting position.
Figures 4, 5 and 6 are views taken the sameV sense as Figure 3 and showing different features in the operation of myretractable caster.
Figure 7 is a view taken the same general sense as Figure 3J but showing the same in enlarged detail,
Figure 8 is a View similar to Figure '7, with the cutting plane revolved ninety degrees.
Figure 9 is a perspective view showing the mounting block used with my retractable caster.
Referring more particularly to the diclosure in the drawings, throughout which I have shown one form of my invention, the numeral ID designates the housing for my retractable caster. This I prefer to form of metal tubing and to provide the same with a closed upper end l2. When so arranged, the end I2 provides an adequate bearing surface for any reasonable load that may be placed upon the caster.
gularly disposed open slot I6, disposed .at a small angle to the axis of the block. At its lower end,
the two sides of the preferably round block, Ais
relieved as at I8 and 20, thus forming two parallel sides, so as to better accommodate the op"- eratingycrank for the'same, as illustrated in Fig ul'e8.-
At what is normally the lower end of block i4, I provide-a transversely disposed closed slot 22, andfat 24 I provide a preferably drilled hole, w-hichissubstantially parallel to slot` I6, and, as will-.Abefobserved in Figures 3, 4, and 6, is angularly.- disposed with the longitudinal axis of block I4; Hole 24 is adapted to accept' the shank 2530i Acaster assembly 2B. This may be suitably arranged to iixedly secure a deformed caster shank in' which the'head or yolk portion 3B is revolvably mounted :independent of shank 26; or
ifr the simple caster is used, it mayform the bearing eforthe -same, in. whichbcase, the hole must be round.
Block I4 -hasa dual purpose. It must securely support the caster assembly and-it isfone con-V venient means for providing that the caster spin; dle -26-1willbe vertically disposed whenthe'caster wheel is down in its rolling position, and-will' beangularly disposed when the caster assembly is 'in its retracted position. This is a prerequisite ifi'the maximum diameter of caster wheel is 'goingfto be-usedwith aminimum diameter housing bore.
Block'l visheld'in position within the bore of housing Hl'zby'the co-'action vot a pin or rivet 32,
whichi'slidably vengages slot i6, and by crank 34,
which:islidablv'engages-slot'225 Crank 34 mav operate in" bearings formed in the wall of tbehousing I FJ, :although `I'have-,foun'i it desirable inncertainV instances to providJ additional been ing surface as the bearing members 36 and 31 which are normallv xedlv secured within the housing?y Bearing 31' I prefer to form with an enlarged bore. so that crank 34 may have an. enlargedf'end 39, which is Vprovided with a socket asili),rv either square or hectagon orA o-therwise formed,` so as to provide a suitable seat for a key; or'ipreferablya.. crank having a reasonable leverage, as when used with heavy equipment considerable leverage is required if the lifting of the eouiprnent to be'moved Vis vtoibe achieved, asby a/-housewifa for instance.'
In-its.lowest supporting position,A the caster wheel, of course. must assume its full proportion' of the loadofy the equipment it is used with, andvin order to-y provide a simple lockjso that no exteriorratchets or latches will be required, Iprovide that :crank 34'swing past' the vertical, sozthat'loadingcomingon the caster will force the lower` corner of block I4 againSfi hQWau Disposed for iongi'widi-`v I nal movement within the bore of housing Ii), is.-
of housing I0. This condition is illustrated in Figures 3 and '7. In Figure 6v it will be noted that the crank is in a relativen7 similar position but in the upward limit of its swing. Consequently, the caster is held in its upper position again without any special locking equipment.
To overcome certain disadvantages of previously observed retractable casters, it is very desirable that the maximum diameter and width of caster wheels be used, and this I have illustrated throughoutmy drawings. It is this req-uirernent that makes it necessary to have shank 26 angularlydisposed with the longitudinal axis 'of block I4, and it is believed that its funcbes-inthe-retracted position as shown in- Figure 6.'
Then to operate as intended, a lever having a formedendwhich will iit socket 49, is inserted in the socket and the crank A34 revolved substantially This will appear to force the-caster wheel down. Actually what will occur is that the caster wheel whichis, in Figure 6, already resting substantially upon'the floor, engages theI-i'ioor and the action of crank 34 is to actually raise the-:entire -leg an'dfin they case ofl the piano, it would-:have to raise one-third of thefweight of the piano. The user wouldY then follow the same procedure-.with-thel other two legs. Then all three would appear after the showing vof Figure 3,. andthe fpian'o could be moved in any direction,due tothe fact vthat the casters axes 26,' as viewed'in Figure 3 -or 'Figure 7, are vertically disposed and the casters free to swing in any direction. Whenlthe new position is reached, a reversal of thezcrankfoperation will lower the legs again to thefioor and retract thecaster 'assem` bliesup into their respective housings vi0.-
It is.;belieVed that'it will be clearly apparent from'thefabovedescription and the disclosure in the'drawings -that Ythe invention comprehends a novel construction of a retractable caster.
Having thus disclosed the invention, I claim:
l.' A-retractable caster, consisting of: a cylindrical housing adapted to be secured to a supportedy object; a mounting block disposed for longitudinal movement within said housing; guide means for said block positioned in'said housing adapted tovary'the axial alignment of said block with respect vto said housing; means positioned in said housing and connected to said blockrfor longitudinal positioning of said block; a caster secured to said block with its axis of revolution disposed at a smallY angle with the axis of said block.
2:. A retractable caster, consisting of a housing adapted'to be secured to a supported object; a mounting block disposed for longitudinal movement within said housing; guide means for said block positioned in said housing adapted to vary the axial alignment of said block with respect tosaid housing; crank means positioned in said housing andconnected to said block for longitudinal positioning of said block within said housto said block for longitudinal positioning of said block; a castersecured to said block with its axis of revolution olif the axis of said block and said block adapted to engage said housing when the caster is in a load supporting position and limit the rotation of said crank.
4. A retractable caster, consisting of a cylindrical housing having a cylindrical bore, adapted to be secured to a supported object; a mounting block disposed for longitudinal movement Within said housing; a guide pin xedly positioned in said housing; said block having a guide slot l Vthrough which said guide pin runs to Vary the axial alignment of said block with respect to said housing; crank means secured to said housing and said block for longitudinal positioning of said block; a caster pivotably secured to said block with its axis of revolution disposed approximately parallel to said guide slot; and the lower edge of said block adapted to engage said housing when the caster is in a `supporting position and limit the rotation of said crank.
JAMES D. MCKEAN.
REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the le of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS 2o Number Name Date 1,019,302 Butcher Mar. 5, 1912 1,973,098 Pride Sept. 11, 1934