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Publication numberUS2985334 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 23, 1961
Filing dateNov 21, 1958
Priority dateNov 21, 1958
Publication numberUS 2985334 A, US 2985334A, US-A-2985334, US2985334 A, US2985334A
InventorsSlater Saul I
Original AssigneeSlater Saul I
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Weatherproof electrical outlet
US 2985334 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

May 1961 s. l. SLATER 2'985'334 WEATHERPROOF ELECTRICAL OUTLET Filed Nov. 21, 1958 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INV ENT OR.

T SAUL SLATER United States Patent l WEATHERPROOF ELECTRICAL OUTLET Saul I. Slater, Westland Drive, Glen Cove, NY.

Filed Nov. 21, 1958, Ser. No. 775,410

10 Claims. (Cl. 220-443) The present invention relates to electrical outlets and more particularly to a cover plate for such outlets which makes it possible to install outlets on the exterior of buildings, for example, in a situation where the outlet is exposed to the weather and to close the outlet against moisture, etc. except for those periods when the outlet is in use.

In the past cover plates were provided for exten'orly mounted outlets which cover plates had hinged thereto individual caps covering the individual outlets. in some instances these caps were spring-urged 'to their closed position. This arrangement, although satisfactory from the viewpoint that the outlet was sealed against ingress of moisture during periods of non-use, was unsatisfactory in that the outlet cap closed against the plug or the Wire fixed to that plug and movement of the wire tended to ab'r'ad'e the insulation. Additionally,of course, the cover had to be moved toit s open position in order to remove the plug from the o utlet. I

Some attempts were made to overcome this problem and in at least one instance this was done by providing a shoulder on the outlet cap which cooperated with a shoulder made integrally with the hinge support for the cap in such manner that as the cap was moved into its open position the spring urged the cap in a sidewise direction causing the two shoulders to engage, thus retaining the cap in its open position. This arrangement, however, was very costly to manufacture and not satisfactory since frequently the user, not realizing that the cap must be moved sidewise to disengage the shoulder members mentioned in order to release it for return to its closed position, closed the cover or cap forcefully and as a result broke one or both of the shoulders.

In addition to the problems set forth above, in the past no weatherproof outlet cover plate and cap has been available for use in connection with both a standard outlet and a standard switch. In order that the outlet cap be automatically self-closing in the event of failure of the spring-retaining means it is essential that the hinge on which the cap is mounted extend horizontally. Moreover, frequently it isdesirable that the outlet or switch be mounted in an outlet box which is positioned with its long dimension in a vertical plane. When this is done the mounting strapon the outlet or switch, as the case may be, likewise extends with its long dimension in a vertical direction. I

As will be readily seen, the fact that the hinge must extend horizontally means that the hinge will -extend across the outlet or switch mounting strap. As a practical matter the resultof this is that the tapped holes in the mounting strap which are utilized to hold the plate in position are not accessible since one of these holes lies directly under the hinge. The spring-retaining means of my present invention is formed in one embodiment thereof so that a vertically mounted switch or outlet may be permitting the use of standard switches and outlets.

Patented May 23, 1961 My present invention provides a closure cap for exposed electrical outlets hingedly supported on a wall plate and provided with a spring means so arranged as to hold the cap in either of its adjusted positions, that is either open or closed as desired. Furthermore, my invention provides such a wall plate and outlet cap or closure which is extremely simple in design and which is produced extremely economically.

It is an object of the invention to provide a closure means for sealing exposed electrical outlets against the weather which comprises a wall plate having a hinged cap or plate thereon together with resilient means for retaining the cap in one position until manually placed in the other position.

It is another object of the invention to provide such an outlet closure means consisting of a wall plate to which a cap is hinged, the hinge being extremely simple in construction and readily assembled without the necessity of adjusting a multitude of small parts.

'It is anotherobjec't of the invention to provide such a structure as defined above wherein no special movement of the cap member is required in order to close it and where, therefore, the danger of breakage or improper operation is eliminated. V I

It is another object of my invention to provide a weatherproof cover plate for a single outlet or switch so arranged that the plate may readily be mounted in the usual manner by passing a screw through the plate into the standard switch or outlet mounting strap having threaded openings therein spaced apart a standard distaii'ce, the cap of the mounting plate being hinged on 'a horizontal axis so that when 'in open position the cap tends to shield the outlet or switch from rain or snow and 'so that if the spring fails the cap will drop-by gravity into its closed position.

Other objects and features of the invention will be apparent when the following description is considered in connection with the annexed drawings, in which,

Figure l is ai front elevational view of the cover plate of my invention utilized with a duplex outlet;

Figure 2 is aside elevational view of the device of Figure l;

Figure 3 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the device, the view being taken on the plane of the line 33 of Figure 1. In this view the cap is shown in its closed position; v e

Figure 4 isa view 'similar to that of Figure 3, but showing the ca'p'in its open position;

Figure 5 is an enlarged detailed view showing the mode of hinging'the cap to'the plate;

Figure 6 is a front elevational view of a second embodiment ofmyiinvention in which theJcap is hinged on a horizontal axis "on a vertically extending cover plate intended of c'ourse'to be utilized with a vertically mounted outlet box; I i

Figure 7"is a rear elevation of the device of Figure 6;

,Figure 8 is a vertical cross-sectional view showing the cover platejof Figures 6 and 7 utilized with a vertically extending outlet box and a standard switch moun'ted so that its operating handle moves in a vertical plane; and

Figure 9 is'a side elevational view showing the weatherproof outlet box cover of Figures 6-8.

The present application is a continuation-in-part of my prior application Serial No. 764,652, filed October 1, 1958 'for Weatherproof Electrical Outlet, 'now abandoned.

Referring 'now to' the drawings, there is shownatlll the usual wall plate which is made of metaland which, in this instance, hasprovided thereon and made integral therewith, the upstanding ears -11,'each of these ears being bifurcated and forming the' seat for hinge pins'12 which pins'ar'e' formed integrally with thebody of arespective cap 13. Although not necessarily so formed, it is preferable that the plate and the cap 13 be diecastings incorporating respectively the ears 11 and the pins 12.

As seen particularly in Figures 3 and 4 the cap 13 is hollow and is comprised of the central rib 14, the substantially circular closure member proper 15 and the downwardly extending operating handle 16. Mounted in the cap 13 and specifically in the circular portion thereof is a rubber gasket member 17 which seats against an upturned generally circular flange 19 formed on the plate 10 and prevents moisture from entering into the outlet. It is to be noted that a rubber gasket member is provided which has substantially the shape of the wall plate 10 and which is placed between the wall plate and the outlet box thus assuring that moisture does not enter into the outlet box due to any opening between the box and the plate.

The portion 14 of cap 13 has a rearwardly extending flange 18 thereon. Mounted in any suitable manner, as by means of the rivet 20, on the plate 10 is a leaf spring 21 which extends upwardly, thence follows the bevel 22 on the edge of plate 10 and thence runs sharply forwardly and bears against the corner at which flange 18 meets rib portion 14 of cap 13. This leaf spring thus exerts a pressure which tends to rotatethe cap 13 in a counterclockwise direction about its hinge pins 12 as seen in Figure 3.

When cover 13 is raised it rotates in a clockwise direction about the pivot pin 12 and when the cover is fully open spring 21 bears against the flat surface of the portion 14 of the cover thus holding the cover in its open position.

Referring now to Figure 5, it will be seen that the upstanding ears 11 are bifurcated as heretofore stated and terminate in the portions 11a and 11b. As shown in dotted lines these portions 11a and 11b extend perpendicularly of the surface of the plate 10, as the plate 10 is initially made. In assembly, however, after the covers are placed with the pins 12 extending between the bifurcations 11a and 11b, the bifurcations are moved in wardly by a simple punch press operation, thus causing them to partially encircle the pins 12 and hold the cover permanently but hingedly fixed to the plate 10. As will be seen, this provides an extremely simple structure from the viewpoint both of simple parts and ease of assembly of these parts.

As stated hereinabove, in another form of my inven tion a cap is mounted on the long axis of the cover plate making it possible to utilize the cover plate with an outlet box mounted in the more common manner, that is, with the long axis thereof extending in a vertical direc tion, this arrangement being utilized when a single receptacle or switch, particularly the latter, is mounted in the outlet box.

In Figures 6 through 9 the arrangement of cover plate and cap for a vertically mounted outlet box containing a switch is shown. In these figures the various portions of the device have been given the same reference characters as in the foregoing figures because the construction is generally similar.

Thus the cap 13 is again provided with the central rib 14 which, as before, extends upwardly forming a chamber in which the handle 28 of a switch 27 (see Fig. 8) is positioned. Also, as in the foregoing construction, the central rib has side flanges with which the pins 12 are made integral, these pins fitting into the bifurcations of the ears 11 and thus providing for rotation of the cap about the axis established by the pins. Likewise the spring 21 is provided to exert pressure on either the face of the portion 14 or the rearwardly extending flange of that portion to hold the cap respectively in the open and closed positions. 7

The construction is modified by forming the spring 21 with a cutout portion leaving the portions 21a and 21b to bear against the face of the rib 14 or the flange 2,985,384 q p 7 f a 4 extending rearwardly therefrom. Additionally, instead of fastening the spring 21 to the plate 10 by means of a solid rivet such as shown at 20 in Figures 3 and 4, spring 21 is fastened to the plate 10 by use of a hollow rivet 25. A further modification is that the face and rear flange of the rib 14 are cut away in a semicircle as indicated at 24, Fig. 6, thus giving access to the hollow rivet 25.

Figure 8 shows a switch 27 mounted in the normal manner to an outlet box 30. As is usual, the switch 27 is mounted upon a strap 26 which strap is in turn provided with mounting ears at its ends which, by means of screws such as indicated at 33, mount the strap to ears formed on the outlet box. Switch mounting straps such as shown at 26 are provided with two tapped holes spaced a standard distance apart to which a cover plate is fastened by means of screws such as those indicated at 34. As is readily seen, the location of the upper one of these two mounting screws 34 is such that were the old cover plate having a hinge pin mounted in upstanding ears on the plate utilized, it would be impossible to fasten the cover plate 10 to the switch strap 26. Due to this fact, electricians have in the past found it necessary to utilize special switches and in many instances special single receptacles when weatherproof covers and caps were desired.

In my present arrangement, as described above, a weatherproof cover plate has a cap fixed thereto hinged about a horizontal axis so that in the event of failure of the retaining spring 21 the cap will nevertheless fall under the influence of gravity into the closed position and will, when in the open position, form a partial shield for the opening and prevent water from entering the outlet box. This cover plate thus satisfies the requirement of protecting the switch or outlet even when the cover is open and thereby assures that water will not enter the conduit which leads the wires to the outlet box.

Additionally, and of course most importantly, the construction described provides a weatherproof plate and cap for an outlet box which can be utilized with a standard switch or single outlet and which requires no special switch or outlet or any special drilling and tapping of the switch mounting strap to permit fastening the cover plate thereupon. a

As shown in Figure 7 depressions are formed in the rear surface of the plate 10. These depressions designated 32 provide space for the heads of the mounting screws 33 by means of which the switch mounting strap 26 is fixed to the pins of the outlet box 30. As shown in the drawings, Fig. 8, a rubber sheet gasket 31 is provided which seals against the forward edges of the outlet box 30 to prevent moisture from entering that box.

As in the first described embodiment of the invention the bifurcated ears 11 are caused to partially encircle the pins 12 after the cover or cap has been assembled to the plate 10 thereby holding the cover permanently but hingedly fixed to the plate 10.

Although the plate illustrated in the drawings of Figures 1 through 5 is intended for use with a duplex receptacle it will be understood that the arrangement of these figures may also be utilized for a single receptacle. It will further be understood that although in Figures 6 through 8 a single plate is provided with a single cap 13 it may, in some instances, be desirable to provide a double size plate 10 for use with a double outlet box and to have a pair of openings in that plate each provided with a cap or cover 13.

While I have described preferred embodiments of my invention, it will be understood that many other modifications may be made without deviating from the principles thereof; therefore I wish to be limited not by the foregoing description, but solely by the claims granted to me.

What is claimed is:

1. A weatherproof cover for an electrical outlet comprising, in combination, a wall plate, a generally circular opening in said plate adapted to register with a wiring device mounted in a box to which said plate is fixed, a flange extending outwardly about said opening, a cover for said opening, said cover being generally circular, a gasket mounted in said cover and adapted to seal against said outwardly extending flange, a rib on said cover extending to one side of said opening, a pair of outwardly extending rigid ears mounted on said wall plate and spaced apart thereon, said ears being bifurcated, rigid pins formed integrally with said cover extension, said pins being on portions of said extension perpendicular to said wall plate, said pins extending parallel to said wall plate, said pins lying in said bifurcations of said ears, said bifurcations extending around a major portion of the circumference of corresponding pins thereby mounting said cover permanently to said wall plate for pivotal movement with respect to said wall plate, said cover extension extending beyond said ears and having a portion at the end thereof lying at a right angle to the plane of said wall plate and to said portion of said extension on which said pins are formed, and a leaf spring fixed to said cover plate and bearing against said extension adjacent said right angle to thereby maintain said cover in either its open or its closed position.

2. A weatherproof cover for an electrical outlet box comprising, in combination, a generally rectangular wall plate, an opening in said plate adapted to register with an electrical wiring device mounted on the box to which the plate is fixed, a cover for said opening, a bifurcated extension on said cover, hinge pins on said extension, means on said plate to receive said hinge pins to mount said cover on said plate for pivotal movement from an open to a closed position, said pin receiving means being spaced apart transversely of the longitudinal axis of said plate, resilient means comprising a bifurcated leaf spring for retaining said cover in either of said positions and means comprising a rivet fixing said resilient means to said cover plate, said rivet lying on the longitudinal center line of said cover plate and between said spaced apart pin receiving means, said bifurcations of said spring cooperating with respective bifurcations of said extension, said rivet being accessible through the opening between the bifurcations of said extension and said leaf spring.

3. A device in accordance with claim 2 wherein said rivet is hollow whereby said wall plate may be fixed in position by means of a screw passing through said hollow rivet and engaging the threaded hole in a standard wiring device mounting strap.

4. A weatherproof cover for an electrical outlet box and a wiring device mounted therein comprising a wall plate, an opening in said plate adapted to register with the electrical wiring device in said box, a closure for said opening, said closure comprising a tubular member having a closed end including an upstanding hollow rib, said rib extending beyond said tubular portion at one side thereof, hinge pins extending outwardly from the sides of said hollow rib, means on said wall plate receiving said hinge pins to mount said closure for pivotal movement from an open to a closed position, a cutout portion centrally of the end of said hollow rib, a leaf spring having a substantially right angle bend therein, means mounting one end of said leaf spring on said wall plate between said hinge receiving means, and a bifurcation in the portion of said spring extending substantially perpendicular to said wall plate, said bifurcated ends bearing against the top or sides of said hollow rib extension adjacent said cutout portion to hold said closure in either its open or its closed position.

5. A device in accordance with claim 4 wherein said means for mounting said leaf spring comprises a hollow rivet.

6. A device in accordance with claim 5 wherein said hollow rivet lies on the longitudinal center line of said wall plate and registers with a tapped hole in the standard mounting strap of a wiring device mounted in the outlet box.

7. A weatherproof cover for an electrical outlet and the Wiring device mounted therein comprising, in combination, a wall plate, an opening in said plate adapted to register with an electrical wiring device, a closure for said opening, said closure comprising a cover plate registering with said opening, a rib on said cover plate extending beyond said plate at one side thereof, hinge pins extending outwardly from the sides of said rib adjacent the extended end thereof, means on said wall plate receiving said hinge pins to mount said closure for pivotal movement from an open to a closed position, a cutout portion centrally of the end of said rib, a leaf spring having a substantially right angled bend therein, means mounting one end of said leaf spring parallel to and against said wall plate, between said hinge receiving means and a bifurcation in the portion of said spring extending substantially perpendicular to said plate, the bifurcated ends bearing against the top or sides of said rib extension adjacent said cutout portion to hold said closure in either its open or its closed position.

8. A device in accordance with claim 7 wherein said means mounting said spring comprises a hollow rivet.

9. A device in accordance with claim 7 wherein said pin receiving means comprises a pair of bifurcated ears fixed to said wall plate, said pins being received between said bifurcations and wherein said bifurcations are bent slightly inwardly to retain said hinge pins.

10. A device in accordance with claim 9 wherein said hollow rivet lies on a longitudinal center line of said plate and registers with the standard tapped hole of a standard mounting strap on which a wiring device is mounted in the outlet box.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 219,552 Wilson Sept. 9, 1879 1,131,093 Sperry Mar. 9, 1915 1,212,792 Mantel Jan. 16, 1917 1,494,165 Hall May 13, 1924 1,815,319 Lawrence i July 21, 1931 2,037,172 Lelfert Apr. 14, 1936 2,404,558 Yellin July 23, 1946 2,765,094 Ryan Oct. 2, 1956 2,867,345 Bellek Jan. 6, 1959

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US219552 *Apr 10, 1879Sep 9, 1879 Improvement in hinges
US1131093 *May 12, 1913Mar 9, 1915Waterbury Mfg CompanySwitch-plate.
US1212792 *Mar 10, 1914Jan 16, 1917Crouse Hinds CoHinge construction.
US1494165 *Jul 12, 1922May 13, 1924Robert S HallRadiator or other cap
US1815319 *Apr 18, 1928Jul 21, 1931Lawrence Stanley OSealing device for soft metal tubes
US2037172 *May 20, 1935Apr 14, 1936Julius LeffertSnap cap closure
US2404558 *Jul 7, 1944Jul 23, 1946Edward YellinContainer
US2765094 *Mar 18, 1954Oct 2, 1956Robert B RyanClosure
US2867345 *Apr 9, 1956Jan 6, 1959Bell Electric CoWeatherproof outlet
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3140344 *Feb 27, 1962Jul 7, 1964Slater Electric IncWeatherproof receptacle cover
US3189212 *Jul 11, 1961Jun 15, 1965Bell Electric CoWeatherproof outlet with reciprocably movable closure pivot pin
US3198373 *Jun 8, 1964Aug 3, 1965Sicrra Electric CorpElectrical device cover plate seal
US3439108 *Jul 25, 1966Apr 15, 1969Bell Electric CoHooded weatherproof extension adapter and junction box construction
US3892309 *Oct 18, 1973Jul 1, 1975Ncr CoReplaceable currency or bill holder for a till tray
US5430253 *Oct 29, 1992Jul 4, 1995Thomas & Betts CorporationElectrical outlet cover assembly
US5621192 *Jun 21, 1993Apr 15, 1997Thomas & Betts CorporationHousing for electrical outlets
US5779083 *Mar 29, 1996Jul 14, 1998Thomas & Betts CorporationElectrical receptacle cover assembly including dual acting spring
US5936199 *Jul 17, 1997Aug 10, 1999Lutz; George P.Insulating covers for an electrical outlet box
US6417450 *Aug 31, 2000Jul 9, 2002Walker Systems, Inc.Cover assembly for in-floor devices
US7470858 *Jun 30, 2006Dec 30, 2008Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Communication wall receptacle cap retaining system and method
US7666010 *Feb 29, 2008Feb 23, 2010Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc.Modular wiring system with locking elements
US7955096Jan 11, 2010Jun 7, 2011Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc.Modular wiring system with locking elements
US8058552May 28, 2010Nov 15, 2011Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Electrical wiring system
US8096818Jan 18, 2010Jan 17, 2012Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc.Modular wiring system with locking elements
US8371863Jul 29, 2011Feb 12, 2013Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc.Modular wiring system
US8602799Jan 14, 2013Dec 10, 2013Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc.Modular wiring system
US8613624May 2, 2011Dec 24, 2013Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc.Modular wiring system with locking elements
US20070012474 *Jun 30, 2006Jan 18, 2007Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Communication wall receptacle cap retaining system and method
US20080207046 *Feb 29, 2008Aug 28, 2008Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc.Modular wiring system with locking elements
US20100227484 *Jan 11, 2010Sep 9, 2010Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Modular wiring system with locking elements
US20100240249 *May 28, 2010Sep 23, 2010Applied Technology And SolutionsElectrical wiring system
US20110205698 *May 2, 2011Aug 25, 2011Leviton Manufacturing Company IncModular wiring system with locking elements
USD616831Nov 5, 2008Jun 1, 2010Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc.Modular connector
USD618627May 20, 2009Jun 29, 2010Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc.Quick connect receptacle
USD666472 *Feb 17, 2011Sep 4, 2012StayConnect, LLCCover for an electrical outlet
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/242, 220/3.8
International ClassificationH01R13/44, H01R13/447, H01H23/00, H01H23/06
Cooperative ClassificationH01H23/06, H01R13/447
European ClassificationH01R13/447, H01H23/06