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Publication numberUS2596578 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 13, 1952
Filing dateMar 5, 1949
Priority dateMar 5, 1949
Publication numberUS 2596578 A, US 2596578A, US-A-2596578, US2596578 A, US2596578A
InventorsMalcolm Mcintyre, Mcintyre Grace H
Original AssigneeMalcolm Mcintyre, Mcintyre Grace H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wheeled suitcase
US 2596578 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

y 1952 G. H. MQINTYRE ET AL 2,596,578

WHEELED SUITCASE Filed March 5, 1949 5 Sheets-Sheet l I Imvento-rs 6194c: H Ma //vr 495 W, 7 MM y 13, 1952 G. H. M INTYRE ET AL 2,596,578

WHEELED SUITCASE Filed March 5, 1949 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Gttomegs Patented May 13, 1952 2,596,578 WHEEtED SUITCASE Grace H. McIntyre and Malcolm McIntyre, Riverside; Conn.

Application March 5, 1949, Serial No. 79,848

This invention relates to luggage of the type having wheels or casters thereon which enable the luggage to be easily moved about without --carrying-its'full Weight.

Though there have been several types of wheeled luggage suggested' in the past, none of these became-successful items of manufacture. *One of the difficulties inherent in these known ---forms 'ofwheeled-luggage was that they were awkward inmovementandrequired considerable attention to steer them around and great annoy- 1 ance; or even physical injury, when they encounter obstacles such as ridges, tracks or holes in a floor or pavement, or small articles lying thereon. Other difficulties in such devices are inherent cost and inefficiencies in retractablewheel devices and bulkiness,-general ungainli'n'ess, and unsightly ap- An' object of this invention is to provide improved rollable luggage.

" Amajor object of this invention isto provide wheel assemblies'for' luggage and the likeof such a character that the luggage can be tov ed along without requiring conscious effort to steer it.

Another-object isto provide wheeled-luggage which is easily and *natur allyliite'd overobstructions, and is easily shiftedfrom rolling to normal carrying and back.

It is a further object of this invention to provide wheelassemblies on luggage of such a character that the wheels have inherent stability as to direction of rolling and yet enable the direction-of movement of said luggage to be changed with ease.-- g

--A "further objectoi this invention is to provide di-rigiblewheel assemblies as described in y the preceding objects'that do not protrude objectionably beyond the adjacent face oi -the luggage when it is being carried in the normal manner and yet take up little space within the luggage. j A still further object of this invention is to proyidedirigible wheelasse'niblies' of the type as described that are compact, retractible, and yet sturdyand reliable in operation;

Other objects will in part be pointed outin the following specification of ouf'invention a'ndwill in part become apparent therefrom.

By providing both a wheel on a fixed axle to the rear of the gravitational axis '(i; e. the vertical axis through the center of gravity of the luggage) and a caster (i. e. a wheel on an axle swingableabout an axis' which extends upward i Yandto a distance'from the meridian through the eentrerthe axleiwhetherparallel to and spaced h the meridian irom it) in' front of the gravitational axis and then pulling the luggage along by a handle on the side opposite these wheels, with the fixed wheel to the rear,

' the caster enables the luggage to be easily and naturally steered around turns without conscious thought or'effcrt. The fixed rear wheel(or several'wheels, if mounted close to a common transverse axis) causes the rear or the luggage toiollow the fore-wheel 01' wheels (i. e.,v the caster), and'resist sidewise motion so as to allow parking the luggage by leaning it against a wall etc. In referringto a .fixed wheel it-is not, of course, meant thatit does not rotatejbut'that its axis oirotation remains fixed, during operation, with respect to the fore-and-aft axis 01" the luggage substantially perpendicular to it.

Although I have shown in these drawings and described in the following description, a preferred embodiment of our invention and have suggested various modifications thereof, itis to be understood thatthese are not intendedto be exhaustive nor limiting of'the invention, but on the contrary; are gi-Venfor purposes of illustration in order that others skilled in the art may fully understand the invention and the principles thereof'and themanner of applying thesame in practical use and may be enabled to modify andadapt itinvarious forms, each as may be best suited to the conditions of a-particular use.

Figure 1 is a side view of a piece of luggage, embodyingthe invention, shown in use;

Figure 2 is a side elevationof one embodiment of "this invention with the wheel and caster assembly in operative position, and the upper part of the luggage broken away;

Figure 3 is a bottom view of the device shown in Figure 2; i

Figures 4: and 5 are sectional views taken on theline 5- 4 ill-Figure 3,showing the wheels extended for use and retracted, respectively;

Figure dis a side sectional View ofthe caster assembly shown in Figure 5;

Figure 7 is a bottom view of a second embodiment of this invention.

Figure 8 is a sectional View taken on line e-B in Figure 7 with thewheel housings partially in section;

Figure 9 is an isometric view of the interior of a piece of luggage of Figures 7 and 8', open and partly broken away to show the wheel housings in the corners;

Figure 19 is a sectional view of a latch assembly used in either the first or the second embodi- Figure 11 is a fragmentary sectional view of a third embodiment of this invention;

Figure 12 is a bottom view of the embodiment shown in Figure 11;

Figure 13 is a view in side elevation of a suitcase with a removable roller gear embodying the invention;

Figure 14 is a fragmentary sectional view, taken on line I l-44 of Figure 13 of a novel caster assembly shown in Figure 13;

Figure 15 is a fragmentary view taken on line i-l 5 of Figure 13;

Figure 16 is a section on the line Iii-46 of Figure 13; and,

Figure 17 is a fragmentary view of a different adjustable handle with the lower part in section and the upper part in elevation.

In Figures 1 through 6 a fixed axis wheelassembly is shown generally at 2B in whichthe wheel is mounted rotatably about a fixed axis in 1 a support 22 and a caster assembly shown gen- "erally at "24, in which one or more wheels are mounted on one or'more axes in a swivel support or supports 25, free to swivel aboutone or more axes upwardly directed in a plane perpendicular to th axis of the wheel. These assemblies 28 and 24, respectively, are shown mounted on hinge plates 26 and '28, hinged at or near the edges of "openings 30, 3| respectively, in the end wall 32 of the suitcase 34 or other article of luggage.

' The caster assembly 24 as shown here isof the conventional type (best shown in Figure i) having a ball bearing 38 associated with a fork-type swivel support 25 for the caster wheel-and a caster base 28. The details of the caster design, and particularly the ball bearing 36, of course are not essential, but facilitate the swiveling of the casters.

The pivots'38, 39 of the hinge members 26, 23 enable both the wheel assembly 20 and the caster assembly, when not in use, to be folded into their respective ends--36, 3| of a housing recess,

as is shown in Figure 5. Any convenient locking device may be used to hold these assemblies in either position. As shown in Figure6, this takes the form of a spring 40 engaging a cam or latch member 62. Another suitable device as shown in 'Figure is a simple spring catch 49a mounted on the housing to engage the hinge member 28a at the edge of an opening 31a, the parts designated by the suffix a corresponding in function to the correspondingly numbered parts of Figures 1 to 6 inclusive. The hinge in this case i is of the spring type, urged toward the open, ex-

tended position, and is held against such urging by the latch 40a when closed.

Again referring to Figures 1 to 6 inclusive, a

handle 44 is secured to the small end wall 46 of 1 the suitcase opposite that on which the wheel and caster assemblies are mounted. This handle enables the suitcase to be easily pulled forward and laterally and thus it guides the rolling on said Wheel and caster assemblies. It is'also adapted, and at a height convenient, for lifting the suitcase;- so that if an obstacle is encountered, the natural reaction of an increased pull on the handle will have the required efiect of picking-up the suitcase until it is over the obstruction.

Advantageously, this handle is resistant against swinging from side to side, so that a lateral force applied to it will be transmitted to the luggage; but advantageously also itcan be swung down against the end oftheluggage so a s'to' save space when not in use.' To thisend, the handle. M is of molded plastic with squared clip enter precedes .the wheel assembly 23' in the direction in which the suitcase is moved. In operation it will be found that a suitcase so equipped and used "will follow one around corners as well as over obstacles, without any conscious attention on ones part; because the natural reaction of pulling the handle toward one, when the luggage tends to diverge, actually steers the caster so as to correct the divergence. Other types of casters such as are shown for example in Figures 13-16 can be used. In every such case, when the luggage tends to diverge, the natural pull on the handle, by swinging or tilting guides the front back toward th user. As the luggage moves over toward the user, it comes'again under'thehandle,

thus correcting any tilting'caused by thelateral pull, so that it again moves straight forward. Conversely, if the luggage creeps too close to the user the natural push and outward tilting causes the wheels to be guided away from the user until the luggage comes into the "natural and comfortableposition under the users' hand. With any of the caster devices here showngthe weight of'the luggage exerted on the swivelwhen'the luggage is tilted swivelsit so as to guide it toward the direction of tilting. 7

To assure that the caster will be thus at the front when the luggage isbeing' rolled, it is put in a front portion'of the end, i. e.,'adj'a'cent'the side which has the ordinary carryingha'ndle' (as clearly shown in' Figures 1 and 13). When the suitcase is being lifted down from a rack or a platform or'is set down on the floor 'or' ground, habit dictates that theordin'ary handle onthe long, narrow (front) side be used.- When it is desired to roll the luggage, it-ismost natural to pick it up by that handle and thenreach over with the other hand to grasp the handle 44fon the end. This naturally leaves the side with the V ordinary handle at the front-and assures'proper action of the caster.

In the'embodimentshown inFigures 7-9 the retractable wheel "and caster-assemblies ZOa-and 24a have the pivots 38a and 39a of their hinge members 26a, 28a, mounted withtheir axes parallel to the principal direction of movement of the suitcase. This makes a somewhat more sturdy construction and also *permitsthe receptacles 30a, 3 la to be locatedinthe-corners of the suitcase 3411 where theyleast interfere with its packing; see Figure 9. v

This lateral hinge arrangement allows the wheels to be folded into the corners'andyet when swung out for use, as'shown in Figure 7;- -tobe positioned substantially along 1 thecentral plane of the luggage A spring 50 in each hinge serves to hold the hinge plates 26a; 28min theirtopen positions'as shown in Figure 7." The slots52'are provided to receivespring latches' lllato hold the hinge against the spring pressure when the wheels'are retracted.

If retractible wheel and caster assemblies are icasterassernblyi lb and wheel assembly 201) are "rigidly"mounted in recessed housings 31b and 30b respectively, the caster housing SIb'niust' be large enough to allow the "caster to" 'swivelfreely aboutithe pivotal axis of its mounting. ..-The {housing 3lb as shown isaiiangedcup approxi- "l'natingin its form the surface iof revolution described'by swivelling of the caster, but having clearance therefrom sufficient to .allow free swivelling; Suchclearance is' advantageously not greateri than about the spacing .of, the swivel axis "from" the meridian .(i. e., .tl"le vertical axis) 'Lthroughthe centerofthe wheel....T.With. this embodiinent the suitcase will stand on.the wheels because it does not tilt beyond its limitof. stability whentheside edge contactshthe ground.

1 The housing. for,the rear wheel-can be even more economical of space and serves moreover aslth wheel support withthe wheel ,rotatably. "secured to an axle 56 mo unted in this housing, or even 1 directly to pivots formed in the housing itself.

. .In -the, embodiment .of Figures 1 1 V and ,12, H the housing cup.3.l b isformedsothat it also provides alball race, for the ball bearing 36b of the caster swivel andtheedgeofthe lower ball, race is. .qngage a, felt dust washer 54g which retains ,lubliflantjnthe bearing and excludes dust and grit therefrom. The flange 55 as shown providesniean's .for'mounting the assembly in the wallfofth'e suitcase.

This arrangement takes the least space from the interior 'ofithe luggage and has the virtue that it isalwaysready for immediate use, but

it cannot be wholly hidden as in the case of the other embodiments described above.

This invention is also applicable to standard luggage and to miscellaneous articles and packages, by embodying it in a removably attachable @device as is represented bYQFiguresQlB and 16. lAs'shoW'n the caster assembly 240 Qof a novel type), is mounted on ato'piece 58 constituting apart or an articuiate'rr ximj For m mb r fpart is turned up' to engage the .e dge of fth'e'fluggage 34c. ,At, the rear corners are heel members .I60L and 501 also "constituting" portions ofth'e' frame and each of these have turned up portions GI and 62 to engage the sides ,and back, respectively, of

ihelusse Eaplibf the heel members 60 carries a fixed wheel assembly 200; and, due to the positioning of the heel members on the rear face of the suitcase, these fixed wheels have their axes of rotation perpendicular to the fore-and-aft axis of the suitcase and approximately in line with each other.

In this embodiment, as in the others, as many fixed wheels as desired may be used so long as they are thus mounted close to a common axis of rotation so that, as the casters swing the luggage, the fixed wheels can roll along concentric arcuate paths, and so that the several wheels do not interfere with tilting the luggage for steering as above described. One fixed wheel has advantage over more in that it is wholly versatile to swing the luggage around to any angle as well as along an arc of longer radius. The number of casters which can be used is limited only by cost, convenience and space to locate them and their location is unlimited except that at least one should be under, or forward with respect to, the handle; while the fixed wheel should be behind it.

A strap 64 is secured at one end to each heel piece 69 (as best shown in Figure 16) and is carried through a fair lead 66 on the opposite heel plate. One of these straps carries a buckle or other fastening means; and one passes through thehandle'Mc so as to hold it in place on the 6 suitcase .340 and transmit the necessaryforces for guiding, pulling and/or, lifting it. .l The lateral'pullexertedon' each heel .plate by, the strap attached 'to it,1the turned up" edge .6] which en- 5 gages the suitcase to resist such pull, 'andthe upward pull "exerted by. the otherjstrap wrapped over. the'heel plate and :through its: fai'rlead 166 combine to'hold these heel plates positionedat 'fthe'corners of the luggage. Likewise, each hel plate has attached to its front edge'a strapjtlilwhich extends to. the toe 'plate 58 over a pulley or stanchion T2 and thence '="a'round the. sides of thesuitcase and through the handle with itheir' ends buckled or otherwise pulled tight and secured asqsho'wn'in. Figure v.13.

smooth twist inl'thestrap allowsit to pass smoothly o'ver thest'anchions or pulleysillwThe pull ofthese'straps betweenthe'heel .plates fifl and the toeplat :58 against. their turned up Eddges 6| and62 holdsithem tightly positioned "against the COrIlelS'Of the suitcase; While, the

"'upwardpull holds the toe plate positioned both laterally'a'nd vertically onthe bottom endgofythe suitcase; and their connection with the handle transmits the necessary'pull' for guiding; pulling 'andliftingthe suitcase. l

"""Since'thestraps'are adjustable and allow adjustment .of "spacing between 1' the several portions :of the-articulate frame" 58, :60), 60L? this to "device is adaptedfor useon a'ny luggage within the capacity of the straps to embrace:

The'casters itcsh'own in"this "embodiment of Fi'gures"1'3,"f14,' 116'; are "of a noveltypelybut that 'I"typeis'not tiedtdtheparticular embodiment. It "canbe usedid'ire'etly secured to; the suitcase or other luggage or to hinge plates *28 ;t "and other ""types'of casters may'be'" used'instead on the toe 'plateofFigures'13) 16.

As best shown' 'in Figure .14, a shaft .16 is 4%) mounted in bearings-'18 secured "to" plate 58. 1"R0lier arms 80 are individuallymountedon the "shaft? and between them on the "shaft; 16"is a '"springf82 the ends of'iwhich engagearms' 80 and urge. them downwar'diwhile" 'a' center loop pro- 5 j''cts' to engage and anchor on the plate58'. On

-' 'the outerends of'arms 80 is'mountedin universal t (self-aligned) bearings an axle shaft;84' and on thissh'aft is carried thecaster wheels.

In the case shown, the wheels are loosely mounted on the axis shaft 84 and held apart by spacers 85 and 88, but obviously this is not essential. The wheels could be rigidly and permanently secured to the shaft in the relation shown, and the shaft rotate in bearings (preferably ball bearings capable of accommodating the angular motion) in the arms 80.

So long as the suitcase is held upright, both arms 80 are swung down to the same extent against the resistance of spring 82; and axle 84 is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the suitcase; but when the suitcase is tilted to one side or the other, one arm is relaxed and extended farther, while the other is further compressed toward the bottom of the suitcase, with 5 the result that the axle is turned and the wheels guided for steering the suitcase toward the direction of leaning. As it is thus moved under the handle it is restored to an upright position which brings the wheels back straight.

The handle as shown in Figures 13 and 15 is designed to give rigidity to forward and sidewise forces, and yet be adjustable as to height. This is accomplished by the links 88 pivoted in the grip member 86 and on, the ears of the handle clip 45c. The bottom of each link 88 is radially ser- 1 rated andengages a similarly serrated block oneach side which is-brazed'or otherwise -'secured to the clip 450. The bolt 90 when tightened locks the serrations together, but when'it-is released the links88 can be swung up or down-to raise or lower the handle to the most convenient height; or, if "desired, handles with different length upright or link portions may be'substituted, with or without the swinging adjustment. Although Figures 13-16 show 'anembodiment utilizing apluralityof fixed wheels and likewise a pluralityof'casters may be used, there is'im- 'portant advantages in the use of only two wheels, a caster forward and a fixed wheel aft along the center of the lower end of the luggage.

' As shown in" Figure l, the length of the suitcase plus the extensionof thehandle at one end plus the extension of the wheel' 20-and caster-24 at the other end-equals'the height of a man's knucklesabove the ground" when he is walkingwith his elbow siightlyflexed. This'permits the most relaxed and comfortable handling of the luggage and leavesample'scope for movement of his arm to pick up the case when necessary to mount stairs or a curb or to *pass' over an-obstruction. I have found surprisingly little variation in this height'of a persons knuckles. Taller people in-general have longer'arms so that the height of the" knucklesv'aries-much less than their total height, and, moreover, so long as the handle is below' the level of'the elbow, one can tolerate a considerable difference in the extent to which the elbow is'flexed without discomfort in walking with the luggage and without seriously impairing the ability to lift-the luggage when necessary. The handle one the-end of the luggage may'be made adjustable-to give the most comfortable position for each user.- This is illustrated in Figures 13, '15 and'l'l.

In Figure 17 is shown a handle made of a double thickness of leather with a stiifening spring SI-between. The two ends'of the handle are as shown in Figure 17 with aconventional grip portion'between. The strap as shown is flexed to asmoothbend over the clip 45d which a has its 'upper' portion correspondingly curved. 'Its outer end is held against the suitcaseby the resilient force ofspring 92. A pin '94 secured on the clip 45d engages in' any'of the holes-95; and -by liftinglup -the endof the strap it can be released from pin 94 so as to'slide it through the clip 45d and' thus adjust the handle height.

" We claim:

An article of luggage defined by an opposite Y pair of faces of large surface area, an opposite of said intermediate faces being the top face of *pair of faces of 'small surface area and an opposite pair of faces of intermediate surface area, all of said'faces being substantially rectangular, one

the luggage when "carried, a carrying handle on i said one intermediate face, acaster Wheel and a fixed axis wheel on one of said'small faces, a carrying handle on'the other of said small faces,

said caster wheel lying between the center of the face to which it is'attached and the pl'aneof the intermediate face having the carrying handle thereonand the fixed axis wheel. lying between the center of thebottom of the face to which it is attached and the plane of the'other intermediate T "face; said wheels constituting the only wheelson "'saidone smallface and'being disposed on that face midway between theplanes-of the large faces.


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


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U.S. Classification280/47.17, 190/18.00A, 280/641, 280/652, 280/40, 16/18.00R, 190/18.00R, 280/37
International ClassificationA45C5/14, B62B3/02, B62B5/00
Cooperative ClassificationB62B2202/24, B62B3/02, B62B2205/14, B62B5/0083, A45C5/146
European ClassificationB62B5/00S, B62B3/02, A45C5/14R