US 3094799 A
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B- M. HlNES June 25, 1963 IDENTIFICATION TAG Filed May 31 INVEN TOR. BENJAMIN M. HINES NAME...
his ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,094,7 99 IDENTIFICATION TAG Benjamin M. Hines, 546 Old Academy Road, Fairfield, Conn.
Filed May 31, 1961, Ser. No, 113,877 2 Claims. c1. 40-2 This invention relates to identification tags for articles such as keys.
Identification tags have been used for various articles including keys. However, if keys lost with such an identifying tag are to be returned to the owner by a finder, the finder usually must deliver the keys personally to the owner or package them for mailing if the address has not been obliterated. In view of the inconveniences involved, and the illegibility of such tags after a short period of use, it often happens that keys even if found are not returned.
Attempts have been made to provide for the return of lost keys to their owners. One such solution practiced on a wide scale involves the distribution by an organization of key tags bearing the organizations address. Each such tag also bears a code number (replicas of automobile license numbers have been used) and the organization maintains an index of all such code numbers and the owners assigned that issued tag. An arrangement with the post oflice whereby the postage fee is prepaid facilitates their return to the organization. There the identification of the owner is made and the keys are finally packaged and mailed to the owner.
It is apparent that the above solution to the lost key problem entailed unnecessary complexity and expense and furthermore prevented the expeditious return of lost keys to their owner.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an identification tag construction which protects mailing information and yet facilitates prompt and direct return by mail of the identified subject matter with minimum effort and expense.
It is another object of the invention to provide an identlfication tag of the above character which is of such size that it may be conveniently carried in a pocket or purse and yet facilitate a prompt return of the article to which it may be attached.
Yet a further object of the invention is to provide an identification tag having the above characteristics which may be readied for mailing by a finder without removing the keys or other lost article from the tag and in which the entire tag is returned for reuse.
These and other objects of the invention are accomplished by providing an identification tag of flexible plastic, or other durable though light material, comprising cooperating casing and closure members which are capable of rapid assembly and disassembly. Assembling the two members forms a chamber wherein is carried a flexible mailing tag bearing instructions to the finder, a stamp and the owners address. A key chain or other suitable element, that may be locked, is passed through tongues extending from the two members and the mailing tag, thus securing all the parts of the tag together. The tag bears upon its outer surface instructions for unlocking the members, and the mailing tag is imprinted with a simple request to deposit the entire assembly in any mailbox for return to the owner.
In the accompanying drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an identification tag in accordance with the invention as adapted for use with a key chain;
FIG. 2 is an exploded view in perspective of the tag shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a section of the tag shown in FIG. 1 and 3,094,799 Patented June 25.1
2. taken along the line 3-3- looking in the direction of the arrows; and
FIG. 4 is a view in elevation of the identification tag as prepared for mailing.
Referring to an illustrative embodiment of the invention with particular reference to the drawings, an identification tag 10 includes a casing member 11 formed by a base 12 and peripheral walls 13 extending from the base. A closure member 14 fits within the walls 13- to form a chamber 15 that contains a flexible mailing tag 16. Each of the members 11 and 14 is preferably made of a flexible plastic or other suitable material.
In a preferred embodiment of the invention, indentations 17 formed in the walls 13 of the casing member 11 receive protrusions 17a extending from the edges of the closure member 14. The protrusions 1711 are adapted to fit within the indentations 17 so as to allow the members 11 and 14 to snap together in a fixed relationship with the tag 16 in the chamber 15. A first tongue 18, integral with the casing member 11, extends from a gap 19 in the end wall 13. A second tongue 20 extends from the closure member 14 so as to be in alignment with the first tongue 18 when the casing and closure members 11 and 14 are secured together.
Another gap 21 in the other end wall 13, opposite the gap 19, forms with an extension 1411 of the closure member 14 a slot 21a into which a fingernail, coin or other thin object may be inserted to pry open the identification tag 10.
The flexible mailing tag '15 is imprinted with instructions addressed to the finder on one side and has space on the reverse side for the owners address and a stamp. A tab 22 provided at one end of the tag .15 extends through the gap 19 when the identification tag 10 is assembled, in substantial alignment with the first and second tongues 18 and 20. Apertures 23, 24 and 25 are provided, respectively, in the casing member, mailing tag tab and closure member to receive a chain 26 to secure the identification tag 10 to a key 27.
When keys and the tag 10 are found, the finder reads instructions inscribed on the surface of the closure member 14 to pry the tag apart. A slight twist of a coin, fingernail or other element, inserted in the slot 21a, then separates the casing member 11 and the closure member 14. The flexible mailing tag 15 can then be withdrawn from the chamber 15, unfolded and the entire assembly mailed. Note that since the chain 26 need not be removed, the key 27 may be permanently secured to the tag 10 by a suitable locking link. With that arrangement there is no danger of losing one of several keys by having the finder inadvertently open the chain 26 and drop one or more keys. Furthermore, the tag 10 is returned and may be reused.
The above described embodiments of the invention are illustrative only and modifications thereof will occur to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the invention is not to be limited to the specific apparatus described herein but is to be defined by the appended claims.
1. An identification tag comprising a casing member formed by walls extending from a base to define a chamber open at one side, gaps in the walls at opposite ends of the casing member, a first tongue integral with and extending from one end of the casing member and in alignment with the gap in the wall at that end, a closure member adapted to lock with said casing member substantially closing the chamber, a second tongue integral with and extending from one end of the closure member adapted to pass through the gap in the one end of the casing member and be in substantial alignment with the first tongue on said casing member, a flexible mailing tag within said chamber, a portion of said tag extending from thefchamber in substantial alignment with the first andpsecond, tongues on the casing and closure members, a first aperture formed in said mailing tag portion, second and third apertures formed in the first and second tongues of the casing and closure members in alignment with the first aperture in the mailing tag portion, an attaching element passing through the three apertures, and a slot formed by the closure memher and the gap in the Wall at the other end of the casing member to facilitate separation. of the members.
2. An identification tag. as'described in claim 1, where- References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,066,129 Manasse July 1, 1913 1,713,153 Webber May 14, 1929 1,714,421 Goldworthy May 21, 1929 2,865,120 Hines Dec. 23, 1958