US 2920365 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. l2, 1960 s. coLANGELo GRIPPING DEVICE Filed Aug. 27, 1958 IFIG.6
llvl/Els/Tole. GA BR/EL COLANGELO BY i ATTORNEY United States ,Patent O GRIPPING DEVICE Gabriel Colangelo, Lynn, Mass. Application August 27, 1958, Serial No. 757,577
'5 Claims. (Cl. 24-137) This invention relates generally to gripping devices and more particularly to a clothespin for securely holding clothes and like articles on a line.
Many types of clothespins have heretofore been available, but all of which applicant is aware have one or more characteristics which makes them less than satisfactory. One-piece bifurcated wooden pins, which receive the clothes and the line between the fingers, are subject to splitting, and when heavy tension is placed on the clo-thes the pin has a tendency .to pop oif the line and release the clothes. Similarly, pins having two wooden gripping arms and a coiled spring as a fulcrum for the arms and to provide a gripping force at the gripping ends of the arms, open up when the clothes are pulled, and these likewise, receive both the clothes and the line in their grip. Other known types are variations of these two basic forms, and havesimilar disadvantages, most important being their lack of holding power and the need for removing the pin from the line when the clothes are taken from the line. Attempts have been made to overcome the latter disadvantage by securing a hook to one arm of the coiled spring type of pin for securing the pin to the line, the clothes only being held by the gripping end of the pin. When subjected to a heavy load, however, the rivets by which the hook is secured to the pin tends to crack the wooden arm, and the holding power of this type of pin being limited, they have proven quite unsatisfactory.
It is a general object of the present invention to provide an improved gripping device.
A more specific object of the invention is to provide a clothespin which has a stronger gripping action than that possessed by pins heretofore available, and in which the gripping force on an article is increased when the tension or pull on the article is increased.
Another object of the invention is -to provide a clothespin which is adapted to secure clothes to a line without gripping the line with the clothes, and which may be left on the line at all times if desired.
Another object of the invention is to provide a clothespin which is inexpensive to manufacture and simple to assemble, yet capable of long and effective service.
Briey, the foregoing objects are achieved in accordance with the invention by a gripping device consisting of three uniquely cooperating parts; two gripping arms arranged to pivot on each other and a single spring securing the gripping arms together. The spring serves a plurality of functions, among them; holding the two arms together to provide an assembly which is secure under all conditions of use, but which can nonetheless be easily disassembled, if desired; providing a spring force for holding the gripping ends of the arms together, which force must be overcome to release an article of clothing from the grip; and providing a hook for receiving a clothesline, the line cooperating with a portion of the spring, regardless of the size of the line, to increase the gripping force of the pin as the pull on clothing is increased. The arms may be formed of metal, as by machining or molding, or of plastic, as by molding or extruding, making the pin inexpensive to manufacture.
Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will Vbecome apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, in which:
Fig. 1 is a side view of the pin in the normal closed position;
Fig. 2 is an edge view of the spring, illustrating its shape when unstressed;
Fig. 3 is a cross-section view of the clothespin,`in position on a line, illustrating the coaction of the line and spring to effect an increase in the gripping force on an article of clothing;
lFig. 3A is a cross-sectional view of the clothespin in the open position and illustrating the pivotal action of the arms;
Fig. 4 is a top plan view of one of the gripping arms;
Fig. 5 is a right-end view of the arm of Fig. 4; and
Fig. 6 is a top plan view of the other of the gripping arms.
Referring now to the drawings, the clothespin according to the invention comprises an assembly of three parts, a first gripping arm 10, a second gripping arm 12, and a shaped flat ribbon tempered steel spring 14. The arms 10 and 12 are preferably formed of relatively rigid and strong material, capable of laffording adequate strength although portions are cut away for reasons which will presently become apparent. From the standpoint of ease of manufacture, and minimum cost, a plastic material which may be molded, extruded, or machined is particularly suitable. It is to be understood, however, that metal or wood may be used if desired.
As best shown in Figs. 3, 4 and 5, arm 10 is formed of a single elongated piece of material, the outer side of which is flat, and by way of example, may be one-half inch wide and about two and three-quarters inches long. An elongated rectangular slot 10a is formed in the arm 10 forming, in effect, two side rails 10b and 10c joined at one end by an integral cross-piece 10d, at the gripping end by a heavier cross-piece 10e, and near the mid-po-int, at the inner side by a shaped cross-piece 10]. The inner surface of cross-piece 10d is tapered at 10g from the end of slot :1 to the extremity of the arm, the thickness of 10d at the extremity being slightly less than the thickness of arm 10 to provide a shallow channel 10h (Fig. 5) for spring 14. The inner surface of cross-piece 10e is formed with a step 10k which cooperates with a similar step in arm 12 securely to grip an article of clothing.
As shown in the full side view of Fig. l, the arm 10, at about its mid-point, is formed with a generally V-shaped protuberance 10m extending across the width of the arm. The cross-piece 10) conforms in shape with the apex portion of the V-shaped protuberance, the outwardly directed surface being rounded as shown to receive the shaped spring 14.
Arm 12 is similar to arm 10, having the same width and about an inch greater length in the example chosen. As best seen in Figs. 1, 3 and 6, the arm is formed of a single piece of material and has a V-shaped protuberance 12a spaced from the gripping end about one-third the length of the arm which engages and rocks with a cam action on the protuberance on arm 10. Slots 12b and 12C are formed in the arm on either side of 12a for receiving spring 14, and in effect, forming a pair of side rails connected by cross-pieces. As best seen in Fig. 3,.
the side rails are connected at the gripping end by anl integral cross-piece 12d stepped at 12e as shown, and' near the other end by a thin integral cross-piece 12]" positioned at the inner surface of thearm. This location;
of piece 1Zf provides a channel 12g of considerable depth between the side rails to hold spring 14 in place. In the region of protuberance 12a, the side rails are integrally joined with a cross-,member 12h having a cross-sectional shape as shown.
The two arms are joined together by a single ternpered steel spring 14, the shape of which, in its unstressed condition, is illustrated in Fig. 2. The spring is formed of ribbon stock, and in the present example of half-inch wide gripping arms may be one-quarter inch wide. As shown, the spring is formed, starting one end, with a short hook 14a oriented substantially perpendiculariy to a straight portion Mb. At the terminus of the straight portion the spring is shaped into a U at 14e with relatively abrupt changes in direction at 14d and 1de. The spring is again straight from 1de over iiight idf to an abrupt turn at 14g, to another flight 14h, and terminates in another hook 14k disposed substantially perpendicularly to flight 14h after turn 141'. It will be noted that in the unstressed condition there is considerable space between the hook 14k and the straight flight lib, a condition important to the assembly and operation of the device.
Having described the elements of the pin, the assembly and operation thereof will not be considered. The pin is easily assembled by first fitting spring 14 onto arm i2 with the U-shaped portion 14e encircling cross-piece 12b and the abrupt turn 14g passing around cross-piece 12j, the spring being held against transverse movement by the channel 12g. The spacing between cross-pieces 121i and 12g is so related to the length of the spring between and 14g that when the spring is assembled on arm 12 alone it fits very loosely around the cross-pieces.
With the spring in place on arm 12, arm 1Q* is assembled therewith by passing the end 14n of the spring through slot a, over cross-piece idf, and sliding arm forward until steps 10k and 12e mate and protuberance ihm engages protuberance 12a. During this sliding step, the hook 14a slides along the incline 143g, bending the spring inwardly toward portion 14k about point 14d, and when the cooperating parts of the two arms are in contact, the hook 14a snaps into place and engages the outer end of arm 10. The length of ight 141 is such that when hook 14a engages the free end of arm 1i?, the U-shaped portion 14C engages the contoured surfaces of cross-pieces M and 12h facing the gripping ends of the arms, with the abrupt turns 14d and "de disposed toward the free ends of the arms from the point of contact of the protuberances 10m and 12a. The U-sbaped portion is diinensioned to maintain the protuberances in hrm contact with each other, yet allows pivotal action of one on the other. Moreover, with the U-shaped section engaging the cross-piece, and the loop 14h; engaging crosspiece tlight 14b is bent inwardly about point 1dr! during assembly to thereby exert an outwardly directed force on the free end of arm il@ causing a tende f to pivot about the point of contact of protuberances and 12a to urge the gripping ends of the arms togethe.. in addition to the gripping force resulting from a tion on arm it@ due to the bending at idd, the spring is bent about the latter point sufficiently that the inner surf e of fright Mb engages the curve lidi and bends the s, ring inwardly about 14g. This bending about p ".ig causes an additional outwardly directed force to be exerted on the free end of arm l@ (at the point oi c 'tact or' turn idf) which is added to the force due to be at idd. Thus, in the closed position of the pin, tspring 143- is stressed at two points to provide two operating forces which urge the gripping ends of arms into Contact with each other. Flight i1/ib of sprint7 is constrained by channel 11S/1, the channel bei ntly deep to also constrain the cured portion t ..2 point or" contact, flight 14] is constrained by channel i231, and U-shaped section 14C being held between the side rails of both arms, the assembly is very secure and has insignicant sidewise motion. However, by deliberately overstressing the spring to release hook 14a from the end of ann 10, the pin can be readily dis assembled.
It will be noted that when the pin is in the closed position, the straight portion 14j of the spring is spaced from cross-piece 12g and the looped portion dg exextends beyond the cross-piece (Fig. l). When in this condition, the gripping ends may be opened by grasping arm 12 with the pointer and index iingers and applying pressure with the thumb to the outer surface of the free end of arm 1G. With force thus applied, the curved portion of the spring at 141' slides along the inner surface of portion 14]) toward the pivot point, with slight bending of portion 14h occurring where it contacts cross-piece One inclined surface of V-shaped protuberance iim rocks with a cam action on the mating surface of protuberance 12a, and the gripping ends of the arms are separated. Thus, it will be seen that the pin may, if desired, be used in the same manner as conventional pins to grasp an article of clothing folded over a clothesline.
It is preferable, however, to hook the pin over a clothesline and grasp only the clothing by the gripping ends of the arms, for when used in this manner the pins may be left on the line, and more importantly, the line coacts with the pin, without detracting from the action earlier described, to increase the gripping force on the clothing. As shown in Fig. 3, the pin may be conveniently attached to a line by slightly depressing portion .714k of the spring to allow a line 16 to pass between t end and the inner surface of: portion tib. V line is inside the spring, portion 14h springs back into position and the line is slid into the position shown at i6. The line 16 pressing against the inner surface of portion 14h draws the inner surface of portion idf against crosspiece 12g, wedging the line between arm i2 and tbe spring, and increasing the force of the curve against the inner surface of portion Mb. it wiil be apparent that the latter increase in force tightens the grip of portions Ptc and 12d of the arms on an article of clothing 1% inserted therebetween. Indeed, it is important to note that the harder the clothing 18 is pulled, the harder the line 16 is pressed against portion 14h of the pin, and the tighter the arms grip the clothing. It is emphasized, also, that point 141' of the spring engages portion 14b sufciently far in from the end that even under heavy loading of the pin and wedging of line i6 between 14h and arm 12 the portion 14h does not become disengaged.
Although the pin holds clothing very securely, the clothing nonetheless is easily removed from the pin. Even with the line 16 wedged into the pin as shown in Fig. 3A, a slight pressure applied to the free end of arm 19 will cause the portion 14h of the spring to bend over the line suihciently to permit the gripping ends of the arms to be opened. When the pin is opened with line 16 in place, portion 14j of the spring also bows out slightly as shown in Fig. 3A, but if the line is first unwedged, as by pushing the pin upward relative to the line, the spring assumes the position substantially as shown in Fig. l, and portion 14f remains essentially straight.
While the pin has been illustrated as used to hold an article of clothing on a line, it is also eminently satisfactory for suspending articles from a rod, wire, or the like. For example, a pair of the pins hooked over the bar of a wire or wooden coat hanger provides an excellent hanger for skirts or trousers. By virtue of the spacing between portion idf of the spring and crossiece 12g in the closed position of the pin, a variety of sizes of lines or wires may be used while retaining the favorable coaction between line and pin described earlier.
While a preferred forni of the gripping kdevicehas been described it will be apparent that modifications of certain of the features may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. The dimensions may, of course, vary from those given by way of example, and the cross-sectional area of the cross-pieces of the arms, and the shape of the arms themselves, are subject to some variation, dependent largely on the material used. It is therefore desired that the disclosed embodiment be considered illustrative, reference being had to the appended claims to indicate the scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A gripping device comprising first and second elongated, substantially flat members each having a free end and a gripping end and each having a transverse substantially V-shaped protuberance thereon spaced by substantially the same distance from the gripping end, said members each having first and second openings formed therein extending from its respective protuberance toward the free end and gripping end, respectively, and each having a shaped cross-piece at its protuberance, said members being arranged at an acute angle relative to each other with their gripping ends in contact and one inclined surface of the protuberance on said rst member engaging an opposite inclined surface of the protuberance on said second member for rocking cam action one on the other, and a pre-formed tempered iiat spring detachably secured at one end to the free end of said rst member and extending therefrom to a portion shaped to engage both said shaped cross-pieces about the surfaces thereof facing the gripping ends of the members to maintain said protuberances in engagement, and' loosely extending from said portion around the free end of said second member to slidably engage said first member at a point inwardly from its free end to urge the gripping ends of said members together.
2. A gripping device comprising first and second elongated, substantially at members each having a free end and a gripping end and each having a transverse substantially V-shaped protuberance thereon spaced by substantially the same distance from the gripping end, said members each having first and second openings formed therein extending from its respective protuberance toward the free end and gripping end, respectively, and each having a shaped cross-piece at its protuberance, said members being arranged at an acute angle relative to each other with their gripping ends in contact and the inclined surface of the protuberance on said first member facing the gripping end thereof engaging the inclined surface of the protuberance on said second member facing the free end thereof and arranged for rocking cam action one on the other, and a pre-formed tempered iiat spring detachably secured at one end to the free end of said first member and extending therefrom through the first opening in said first member to a portion shaped to engage both said shaped cross-pieces about the surfaces thereof facing the gripping ends of the members to maintain said protuberances in engagement, and loosely extending from said portion around the free end of said second member to slidably engage said first member at a point inwardly from its free end to urge the gripping ends of said members together.
3. A gripping device comprising first and second elongated, substantially at members each having a hee end and a gripping end and each having a transverse substantially V-shaped protuberance thereon spaced bysubstantially the same distance from their gripping end, said members each having iirst and second central elongated slots formed therein extending from its respective protuberance `toward the free end and gripping end, respectively, and each having a shaped cross-piece at its protuberance and cross-pieces at the free end and gripping end, said members being arranged at an acute angle relative to each other with their gripping ends in contact and with the inclined surface of the protuberance on said first member facing the gripping end thereof engaging the inclined surface of the protuberance on said second member facing the free end thereof and arranged for rocking cam action one on the other, and a pre-formed tempered at spring having a width substantially equal to the width of said slots detachably secured at one end to the crosspiece at the free end of said iirst member and extending therefrom through the first slot in said first member to a U-shaped portion engaging both said shaped cross-pieces about the surfaces thereof facing the gripping ends of the members to maintain said protuberances in engagement, said spring having a first substantially straight portion extending from one leg of the U-shaped portion to the point of attachment to the free end of said first member, a second substantially straight portion extending from the other leg of the U-shaped portion to the outer side of the cross-piece at the free end of said second member, and a third substantially straight portion joined to said second straight portion by an abruptly curved portion extending loosely around said last-mentioned cross-piece, said third straight portion being terminated by an abrupt turn slidably engaging the inner surface of said first straight portion at a point inwardly from the free end of said first member, said spring being pre-formed so as to be stressed when assembled with said members such that said first straight portion and said third straight portion engaging the inner surface of said rst straight portion exert outwardly directed forces on the free end of said first arm to urge the gripping ends of said members together.
4. The gripping device of claim 3 wherein the cross'- piece at ythe free end of said first member has greater thickness at the extremity of the member than at the terminus of said first slot to provide an inclined surface on the inner side of said cross-piece.
5. The gripping device of claim 4 wherein the crosspiece at the free end of said second member is of lesser thickness than said member and disposed at the inner side of said member to provide a channel for said second straight portion of said spring in the outer surface of said second member, said second straight portion of said spring being normally spaced outwardly of said crosspiece and adapted to be urged thereagainst by a clothesgline or the like inserted between the inner surface of said third straight portion of said spring and the inner surface of said second member in the vicinity of the cross-piece.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 148,088 Reid et al Mar. 3, 1874 2,255,467 Kabrel Sept. 9, 1941 FOREIGN PATENTS 456,659 Canada May 17, 1949 610,897 Great Britain Oct. 21, 1948