US 2547524 A
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April 3, 1951 G. E. GROSS 2,547,524
KEY CONTAINER Filed April 9, 1947 Patented Apr. 3, `1951 UNITED STATESrPATENT OFFICE KEY CONTAINER,
George E. Gross, Chicago, Ill. Application April 9, 1947, Serial No. 740,389 (ci. 741-456) 4 Claims.
This invention relates to a key container, and more particularly to a key kcontainer of especially simple construction from which keys are `extruded and retracted by simple manipulation of a iinger or thumb of one hand, preferably in conjunction with a spring.
Heretofore there has not been a key container on the market which has combined the advantages oI" spring operation with such simple construction that extremely low cost mass produotion is possible.
In accordance with my present invention, I provide a key container comprising a pair of identical key housing portions, each housing portion having ya central longitudinal slot therein. A pair of studs having heads or buttons without the housing and Shanks extending through the slots engage the holes in the key handles for manipulation thereof. Each housing portion preferably has a spring associated therewith for acting with and against the stud and only a single key therein.
The keys serve to hold each other in engagement with their respective studs so that the keys are freely removable upon separating the housing portions. At the same time, each key is individually and selectively extrudable from the housing for rapid and sure use.
4 It is therefore an important object of the present invention to provide a key container which represents the ultimatein a structure combining extreme simplicity and durability with facile and expeditious key manipulation. A, Itis a further important object of this invention to provide a key ,container which combines simple construction with simple rapid key removal and replacement.
ItY is a still further object of the invention to provide a key container which permits individual and selective extrusion and retraction of the keys for` swift and sure use thereof.
Other and further objects of Ythis invention will be apparent from the disclosures inT the specication and accompanying drawings.
'1, On the drawings: i Figure 1 is a perspective view of a key container embodying the principles of my present invention;
Figure 2 is a` plan view of the bottom housing portion of my invention;
`Figure 3 is a sectional view taken substantially along the line III-III of Figure 1;
..Figure 4 is a longitudinal sectional View taken substantially along the line IV-IV of Figure l with parts partially in elevation;
Figure 5 is a sectional view taken substantially alongthe line V-V of Figure 4;
Figure 6 is a reduced plan view of the insert plate of my invention; and
Figure 7 is a side elevational view of the insert plate. v fr The key container or housing I9 of my invention comprises a pair of identical housing portions iI and I2, preferably made of a suitable plastic. The upper and lower housing portions ii and I2 are adapted to be held together by means o spring clips I3 and I4 on either side of the housing. Each housing portion has a slot at one end thereof, together'forming an opening I5 in the housing. The opposite ends of the housing portions II and I2 may be curved as indicated by the reference numeral I6.
In the central portions of the upper and lower housing portions are cut longitudinal slots I'I and i3. As seen in Figures 3 and 4, studs I9 and- 2I'I are slidably disposed in these slots indicated I by reference numerals I1 and VIt and comprise a head or button 2i without the key housing and a shank 22 extending through the slot into the housing where a disk 23 is formed thereon to prevent displacement of the button 2I from the slot. A stud portion 24 extends from the shank 22 and is adapted to engage a hole 25 in the handle of a key 2S. Referring to Figure 4; it will be seen that the two keys are positioned by means of flanges 2l oi larger diameter than the key hole 25 in such a way that the opposed studs 24 cannot project through one key hole 25 to engage the second key in any manner. understood that each key serves to hold the other. in engagement with its respective stud portion 24. Thus each key is individually extrudable from the housing I0 through the opening I5 therein for operation of a lock.
In the illustrated embodiment of my invention, a pair of springs 28 and 29 oppose the extrusion of the keys 26 and serve to retract the same afterv use. At one end, the springs 28 and 29 engage an intermediate shank portion 39 between the disk 23 and the flange 2l of the studs I9 and 20, and are slidable relative thereto as the spring is compressed. The forward ends of springs 28 and 29 engage in an upper slot (not shown) and a slot 3i in the lower housing portion I2 (Figure 2). A ledge 32 at the forward end of'each housing portion serves to support the keys 26 between the adjacent springs 28 and 29 and the keys are therefore free from'inte'rference by the spring. The springs may, for examplabe made of a music wire spring steel. V
It Will further be.
As illustrated in Figures 2 and 5, in addition to the spring clips I3 and I4 for securing the housing portions together, a tapered dowel hole 33 and tapered dowel pin 34 are formed on the respective side walls of each housing portion adjacent the open end thereof. These dowels serve to rapidly align the two housing portions and to prevent relative sliding thereof while the spring clips I3 and I4 prevent separation thereof. As best seen inFigure 2,1 the spring clips I3 and I4 engage with inwardly inclined recesses 35 on the housing portions II and I2 so that the spring:
clips I3 and I4 are held against sidewaysrelative displacement with respect to the housing portions and are restrained against lateral, disengagement and will lie substantially iiush with the outer` surfaces of the housing, For' strength.
and also for ensuring that the keys willbe extruded through the openings I5, the forwardpart in Figure 2. Bayonet portions 31 of the slot I'I :f
and'38 of the slot I8 extend' at right angles to the main slotV portion and are adapted to hold the'studs I9 or 2li-in extruded position, in which position it will be understood that the kkey 2S is exposed for use.
If it is desired to employ my key case with shorter shanked keys; auxiliary" forwardly extending slots 39 and Mlmayl be provided to' accommodate either one or two smaller shanked keys.
The majority of'key's which it might be desired to use ,inV my container are of a'substantially'uniform thicknessof nine-hundredths of an inch However, if keys of materially less thickness are to beused, the auxiliary insert plate 4I shown in Figures 6 :and '7 mayv be" placed withinthe con'- tainer. For this purpose'recesses 42 and lf3V are formed in the side walls of the housing portions as indicated in Figures 2, 3 and 4; each to receive one-half the thickness of the plate. The configuration of theplate* 4I conforms to that of the housing portions andisofsuch length as to terminate just short of the' dowel hole 33' and pin 34 of each housing so'as ,not to interfere therewith; The thickness ofthe plate issuchas-to vfit intheV gap'between the "opposed study portions 24l (Figure. 3) and not interfere with' movement thereof, at the Sametime eliminating any possibility of keys of lessthan the' usual thickness becoming disengagedy from-the studs.
When-the stud I9 orZIlis removed from'its'rev` spective bayonet portion 3T or 38,I either manually, directly, or by rotative movement of the housing while the key'is inthe'lock, the spring28 or 279' will serve to rapidly retract the key into the housing. Eitherstud I9or"2'can, ofcourse, operate independentlyof-'theother so that'onlyv thekey which is to be usedis extruded from the housing from manipulation in the lock; Even when one keyY isv projected,l the two keys cooperate to retain eachother upon their respective studs. The key containerv is shown housing apair of identically sized keys. However, of course, the container will operate effectively with diierent sized keys and dissimilarA keys therein,
4 and the adjustments set forth above of providing auxiliary slots 39 and 4G and insert plate 4I may be made, if desired.
When a key is in the exposed position with its associated stud in the bayonet slot portion 31 or 38, the key is held substantially rigidly and may be directed toward the lock merely by directing the casing at the proper angle toward the lock. The bayonet slot portion can be as near the main slot portion as desired so that the key may be exposed from the casing exactly 1ongitudinally thereof, the key handle opening being of sufficient diameter to permit movement of the stud portion 24 therein without aifecting the alignment of the key. After a key has been manipulated in the lock, in order to retract the key it is, merely necessary to rock the casing slightly, thereby rotating the stud associated with the key out of its bayonet slot portion and into the main slot portion, whereupon the associated spring-will sei-ve rapidly to retract the-key. Thus no handling of the key is necessary, but merely the manipulation of the button 2I of the stud associated with the key desired to be used by either a thumb or nger of one hand while said hand is grasping the key housing. The entire operation of extruding, locking or unlocking, and retracting may bev readily accomplished' with but one hand and withoutvactual contact with the key to be used.
In assembling keys within the key housing, spring clips I3 and I4 are rst removed and the housing portions separatedl The two keysto be inserted may be simply alignedwith a stud of-o'nof 4| is employed, a first-key: is placed on the upf... Vlaldly projecting portion and the secondI key' positioned on-the second stud, also held in an upwardlyprojecting position. The plate 4I is then placed in positionon one housing portion', and that portion inverted-upon-the other, the closed end of the inverted housing portion being engaged with the other housing portion rst, toprevent the key from becoming' disengaged from it'svstudi These spring clips arevr preferably so constructed" that they will require no effortv to be clamped on either side of the housingportion. To accomplish this it will be notedthat the edges of the recess 35 are preferably rounded as` indicated at 44 in Figure 3. The spring legs 45 of the spring' clips I3 and Illl preferably converge very slightly, forexample, sim-hundredths" of an inch in three-i tenths vof an inch, so Vthat very little expansion of the leg portions is'nec'essaryV iniasseinbling they spring clips in the' inclined recesses 35i Itis ap'- parent, therefore, that this method of assembling the keys in a key container will 'be simpler than many previous methods which often required considerable force inassembling.-
To separate the housing portions to remove and replace keys, it is simply necessary to remove the spring clips I3 and I4 and the keysA are freeto be removed without further' manipulation. The springs 28 and 29 are shown with'an endfportioii' 45 merely resting in a' slot 3| and with the other end 4l engaging an intermediate shank portion 30, The spring in this position would be preferably' 5.-. under a slight compression with the stud in its furthest rearward position so that the spring would tendto remain in the housing portion even though the housing portions were separated and inverted.
Attention is called to the fact that the diameters of disk 23 and flange 21 are slightly-less than the diameter of the bayonet portion 38 of each slot. Hence during factory assembly the inner end of each stud may be inserted through such bayonet portion, after which the spring end 41 engaged between flange 21 and disk 23 effectively Vprevents accidental escape of the stud from its slot.
The key container of my invention is preferably made of a plastic and may have incorporated therein phosphorescent material distributed Aover the entire container for illuminating a lock when there is otherwise insufficient illumination. Alternately the surfaces adjacent the opening I might be coated with a phosphorescent material or a pair of capsules of calcium sulfide or other phosphorescent material might be so placed.
Alternately the springs, of course, may be arranged, for example, to be in greatest tension when the keys are in the retracted position, and the bayonet slots may be arranged to hold the keys in retracted position against this tension. It will be appreciated that the key handle opening usually would be of sufficient size to permit lateral movement of the studs for locking thereof in a bayonet slot, even when the key is in retracted position, without material alteration of -my key housing. Additional keys could, of
course, be carried in my key container either by increasing the length of the studs or by increasing the width of the container so that it might contain another housing somewhat similar to the one shown. The container could be made square, for instance, and have a key adapted to project from either end thereof if such were desired.
Any means well known in the art might be usedfor identifying the two housing portions so that their associated keys could be readily selectively employed, as for instance, by altering the conguration of one of the buttons, or placing some sort of a'slot or groove on one surface of one of the housing portions.
It will, of course, be understood that the details of construction may be varied throughout a wide range without departing from the principles of this invention, and it is, therefore, not the purpose to limit the patent granted hereon otherwise than necessitated by the scope of the appended claims.
I claim as my invention:
1. A key container comprising a housing consisting of two opposed separable housing members and means for releasably securing them together, each member havingfa narrow longitudinal slot in its outer side wall and a key projection slot in one of its end edge walls, a key manipulating stud for each member having an enlarged outer head overlying and slidable on the side margins of said longitudinal slot, a shank of said stud extending inwardly through said slot and having guide means thereon engaging the inner marginal surfaces of said slot, a further inward projection of said stud being adapted for entering the handle aperture of a key for propelling the same, a zigzag shaped wire spring lying in a flat plane associated with each stud and having one end anchored in said housing member adjoining said key projection slot,
the other end of said spring being operatively connected with said stud under compression and held against displacement longitudinally of the stud, and a ledge on each housing member adjoining said key projection slot slidably engageable by the shank of a key for spacing such key somewhat inwardly from the inner surface of the housing wall providing thereby clearance space for the movementl of said spring.
2. A key container comprising a housing consisting of two opposed separable housing members and means for releasably securing them together, each member having a narrow longitudinal slot in its outer side wall and a key projection slot in one of its end edge walls, a key manipulating stud for each member having an enlarged outer head overlying the side margins of said longitudinal slot on the outer side of said member, a shank on each said stud extending inwardly through said slot from said head, a pair of closely spaced flanges on said stud inside said housing and overlying the side margins of said longitudinal slot, a further inward projection of said stud being adapted for entering the handle aperture of a key for propelling the same, a zigzag shaped Wire spring for each stud having one end thereof .anchored in the associated housing member adjoining said key projection, slot and having its other end engaged with the stud under compression between said flanges, each housing member having a laterally offset slot connected with its longitudinal slot near that A slot, whereby either of two keys when associatedy end thereof whichl adjoins said key projection in propellable relation with said studs may be selectively projected partially from said housing against the compression of its associated spring into operative position and held projected by movement of its associated stud into said offset slot and returned by reverse movement and held in fully retracted position within the housing by expansion of its spring.
n 3. A key container comprising a housing consisting of two opposed separable housing members and means for releasably securing them together, each member having a narrow longitudinal slot in its outer side wall and 4a key projection slot in one of its end edge Walls, a key manipulating stud for each member having an enlarged outery head'overlying the side margins of said longitudinal slot on the outer side of said member, a `shank on each said stud extending inwardly through said slot from said head, a pair of closely spaced flanges on said stud inside said housing and overlying the side margins of said longitudinal slot, a further inward projection of said stud being adapted for entering the handle aperture of a key for propelling the same, a zigzag shaped wire spring for each stud having one end thereof anchored in the associated housing member adjoining said key projection slot and having its other end engaged with the stud under compresison between said flanges, each housing member having a laterally offset slot connected with its longitudinal slot near that end thereof which adjoins said key projection slot, whereby either` of two keys when associated in propellable relation with said studs may be selectively projected partially from said housing against the compression of its associated spring into" operative position and held projected by movement of its associated stud into said offset slot and returned by reverse movement and held in fully retracted position within the housing by 7o expansion of its spring, each housing member having' inwardly extending ledge adjoining its key projection slot forengagement with thev side of a key shank to hold the latter spaced' in# w'aifdly slightly from' the plane of the associated spflig 4". Akey container comprising a housing con` sisting of two opposed separableV housing members-` and* means for releasably securingY them together, each member having a narrow longii tudinall slotin` itsf outei` side wall and a key projection slot in one" of its endedge walls, a key manipulating stud for each member-5 havingrf. an enlarged outer head! overlying the side margins ofv said! longtudinal'slot on the outer side of said memberfa shank on each said stud extending inwardly throughsaid'slot'from said'headya pair of closely spaeedanges on said stud insidey said housing and' overlying the side margins of said longitudinal:- slot,v a further inward projection'of said stud b'eingadapted for entering the handle aperture of a key for propelling the same, a zigzag. shaped Wire spring for each stud'having one. end thereof anchored in the-associated house ing?- member adjoining said key projection slot andl having itsl other end engaged'with the stud under compression between said flanges; each housing member having a laterally offsety slot connected with its longitudinal slot near that end thereofwhich adjoins said key projection slot-whereby either of two keys when associated prope'll'able relation with said studs may be selectively projected partially from said housing- 8T against the compression of its associated spring intov operative position' and held projected'. by movementiof its associated stud. into said offsetslot and returned' by Y reverse movement anddheld in fully retracted position within the housing by expansion of itsspring, each' housing member having an inwardly extending ledge adjoining its key projection slot-for engagement with the side'Y of afkey shank to hold the latter spaced inwardly slightly from the plane of the associated spring',V each of saidfpifset slots having aportion with a diameter slightly greater than the diameter of saidflanges whereby said 4flanges may beAintro-gq duced into said housing through said portion of the offset slots, thefengagement of the' springbetweensaid flanges serving to retain` said flanges within the housing during normal use of the'- devioe.-
GEORGE E; GROSS: 'V
RFRENCES" CIT'ED The following references are o'f record in'tli iile ofthis patent.
NITE' STATS PA"I"E'N"IS"`