US 3095908 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 2, 1963 w. A. PLUMMER 3,
COMBINED JACKET AND SUSPENSIO EANS FOR CONDUCTORS AND THE LI Filed March 23, 1959 2 Sheets-Sheet 1' W 7Z5? 1Q. 1 5/14/1459 INVENTOR.
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July 2, 1963 A PLUM E 3,095,908
w. M R COMBINED CKET AND PENSION MEANS FOR c UCTORS A THE LIKE Filed March 25, 1959 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Ill III
W 74. 7E? 10. 1 A (/MMEQ INVENTOR.
United States Patent 3,095,908 COMBINED JACKET AND SUSPENSION MEANS FOR CONDUCTGRS AND THE LIKE Walter A. Plnmmer, North Hollywood, Calif. (3546 Crownridge Drive, Sherman Oaks, Calif.) Filed Mar. 23, 1959, Ser. No. 801,146 3 Claims. (Cl. 138107) The present invention, is related to protective jackets for conductors, pipes and the like, and more particularly to an improved combined protective jacket and suspension means for a plurality of electrical conductors and the like and including a longitudinal seam which can be readily opened to provide access and thereafter be closed.
This application is closely related to and forms a continuation-in-part of my c-o-pending application for United States Letters Patent Serial No. 687,399, filed October 1, 1957, now abandoned, entitled Plastic Tubing Product and Method of Making Same, as well as of my application for United States Letters Patent Serial No. 777,817, filed December 1, 1958, entitled Method of Fabricating Articles From Plastic and the Article Formed Thereby.
There are numerous situations and environments in which it is desirable to provide a protective moisturetight jacket and enclosure for a group of electrical conductors designed and arranged for application to and removal from the conductors as well as opened along any selected portion thereof to provide access to the conductors. It is also highly desirable to provide such a jacket of this type in combination with simple and effective means for supporting the wires off the ground and in a safe location affording a minimum hazard to the wires. For example, in construction areas of all kinds there is need for power, light and communication wires leading to various parts of the project from the time work is initiated until construction work has been completed. Haphazard expedients of various kinds have been tolerated and utilized to hold such wires together and as dry as possible. However, it has long been recognized that these expedients are quite unsatisfactory and fail to provide adequate safeguards to the equipment with which they are connected as well as to the safety of workmen and property in the area.
With these shortcomings and disadvantages of prior practice in mind, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a simple, rugged and inexpensive protective jacket designed to be applied, removed from or opened for inspection, servicing and the like, and additionally featuring means integral therewith by which the jacket and its contents may be easily and securely suspended from any suitable supporting means. The jacket may be formed from any suitable thin, flexible material, preferably impervious to moisture, and having its opposite lateral edges provided with fluid-tight interlocking slide fastener means openable in part or in Whole at any time. A pliant thermoplastic material is particularly suitable for both the main body of the jacket and for the closure tapes since these materials possess numerous desirable characteristics and are readily fused or heat sealed together.
The suspension means for the jacket may comprise one lateral edge portion of the main body of the jacket or a separate strip of plastic or the like material may be heat sealed to the exterior of the main body and employed in various ways to suspend the jacket from walls, rafters, joists, studding, as well as from railings and the like extending about the grounds. The suspension flap may be so located and mounted on the supporting structure as to overlie and shield the access seam from the weather as well as from view, or the suspension strip may be spaced circumferentially from the seam and a separate protective flap may be provided for shielding the seam from rain water or the like. In heavy duty jacket constructions the Patented July 2., 1963 suspension strip can be provided with suitable reinforcing therealong effective to distribute the load and to reinforce the suspension strip itself.
These and other more specific objects will appear upon reading the following specification and claims and upon considering in connection therewith the attached drawings to which they relate.
Referring now to the drawings in which a preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated:
FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of one preferred embodiment of the combined protective and suspension jacket secured to the edge of a supporting member;
FIGURE 2 is a view similar to- FIGURE 1 but showing an alternate mode of securing the jacket to a supporting member such that the suspension strip serves to shield and conceal the enclosure seam for the jacket; and
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary perspective view of another preferred embodiment and the mode of suspending the same from a supporting member.
Referring first to FIGURE 1, there is shown one preferred embodiment of the invention designated generally it) and comprising a continuous, thin, flexible strip 11 of plastic material as, for example, vinyl chloride polyethylene. Separable closure tapes 12 and 13 have webs heat fused or otherwise sealed lengthwise of body strip 11 with tape 12 preferably secured to the strip parallel to one lateral edge but spaced inwardly suliiciently to provide a jacket suspension strip 15. The Web of the second tape 13 may be similarly secured to the other lateral edge 16 of body strip 11.
The free edges of tapes 12 and 13 have interlocking tongues and grooves so disposed as to interlock with one another to form a high-strength fluid-tight closure seam 18 extending the full length of body strip 11. It is pointed out that the nature of the interlocking construction of these tongues and grooves may take various forms, that shown in the aforementioned co-pending application being a preferred construction and known to provide an unusually strong seam which is moisture-tight and capable of rough handling and abuse Without danger of opening.
Suspension flange or strip 15 projects outwardly from the main body of the tubular jacket and may be readily secured to any supporting structure, such as a joist or rafter indicated at Zll. Nails, tacks, screws, or the like 22 may be distributed at frequent intervals and driven through the flange into support 2ft. If the load of the conductors enclosed within jacket 10' imposes a strain on suspension flange 15, reinforcing may be desirable such as that provided by a flat strip of fiber or the like stiff material and through which fasteners 22 are driven to avoid danger of the fastener head cutting into the plastic material and otherwise aiding in distributing the load on the suspension flange.
Slide fastener tapes 12 and 13 are preferably fitted with a closure aid or pull device of any well known construction, not shown, having a pull tab adapted to be grasped between the thumb and fingers and effective in closing and opening seam 18 depending upon the direction in which it is pulled therealong. Electrical conductors indicated by dot-and-dash lines 23 may be enclosed within jacket ll either before or after the jacket is secured to support 2%). Usually it is more convenient to lay the open jacket on the floor or ground beneath the conductors 23 to be enclosed. The opposite edges of the jacket are then pulled about the wires as the interlocking tongues and grooves of tapes l2 and 13 are pressed together at one end and thereafter closed to form seam- 18 lengthwise of the jacket. When so assembled, it is a simple matter to elevate the assembly as suspension flange 15 is held against the supporting member 29 while fasteners 22 are being driven home. Should it be desirable thereafter to gain access to the jacket to service the conductors or to inspect them, it is merely necessary to pull the closure device lengthwise of the seam opening seam It} to the extent required to perform the service or inspection task.
Referring now to FIGURE 2, it is pointed out that the same jacket construction 16; is shown secured to the supporting joist or rafter 2b in a manner permitting suspension flange 15 to overlie jacket seam 13 thereby concealing the same from view as well as providing a guard flap preventing moisture from gaining access to seam 13. Furthermore, a somewhat more secure and stronger suspension is provided for the jacket and its contents.
When installing jacket In for this purpose, the jacket and its contents are closed as described above in connection with FIGURE 1 following which the jacket is held pressed against the side of support member 2 1i with suspension flange 15 directed downwardly and against member 20. While so held in this position, fasteners 22 are driven into the supporting member, use preferably being made of a reinforcing strip 24- lying flush against the outer surface of flange 15 and through which the fasteners 22 are driven. Once the fasteners have been driven, jacket 1t and. the enclosed wires 23 are allowed to droop forwardly about the upper edge of reinforcing strip 24 and against supporting member 2% in the manner clearly illustrated in FIGURE 2a As Will be appreciated from this showing, flap 15 is not only effective to hold the jacket securely suspended from member 2t but it also overlies jacket seam 1,8 concealing it from view and safeguarding it against all possibility of moisture entering. The jacket is also reasonably safeguarded against tampering by unauthorized personnel since the closure seam 18 is concealed from view.
Referring now to FIGURE 3, there is shown another preferred embodiment of the invention wherein the same or similar parts as in the first described embodiment are identified by the same reference characters distinguished by the addition of a prime. One of the distinguishing characteristics of this embodiment is the securement of slide fastener closure tapes I2, 13 at the opposite lateral edges of the main body 11 1' in such manner as to provide guard flaps 36* and 31 having a free edge sufficiently wide as to bridge closure seam '18. This may be accomplished by the simple expedient of securing the attachment webs of tapes 12', 13' along areas parallel to the opposite edges of the main body and spaced inwardly to provide guard flaps 30 and 31 of the requisite width. Note that flange 30 bridges seam 18' on the interior side of the jacket whereas guard flap 31 performs the same function on the exterior of scam '18.
Despite the structural similarities of guard flaps 3t) and 31, their functions are quite different. Thus, inner guard flap 39 serves to prevent the conductors 23 from pressing into the joint between the interlocking grooves of seam 18 from the inner side thereof to force the same open. Additionally, flap 3t) bridges the seam and prevents the conductors from interfering with the closure of the seam during the assembly operation. The outer guard flap 31 serves quite different and distinct objectives. Thus, flap 3-1 is so positioned as to drain rain water and other moisture from the upper portions of the jacket past seam '18" without allowing the moisture to come in contact with the mating seam surfaces. A further function is to conceal the seam and add to the neat appearance of the jacket.
Another feature of difierence of the FIGURE 3 jacket is the use of a suspension strip d which may and prefer-- ably does include a reinforcing layer between its opposite surfaces adding considerably to the strength of the material. For example, suspension flange 15 may have embedded therein a fabric layer or other reinforcing material. Its lower lateral edge 33 is heat sealed, fused or otherwise suitably secured to the exterior of jacket body 11' along a strip spaced circumferentially from seam l8 and preferably so that seam 18' is located along one side of the jacket when in its installed position on support 20".
The opposite or free edge of suspension flange 15 may be wrapped about a reinforcing cord or cable 35 and securely sealed therewithin as by heat sealing indicated at 36. It is to be understood that the reinforcing cord 35 extends the full length of suspension flange 15' and that its opposite ends may be anchored and sealed against the entry of Water by pressing the plastic stripping material together and heat sealing it in this condition as is indicated at 37.
Jacket 10 may be suspended in various ways. One mode of suspension is to secure the reinforced free edge of flange 15 to a fioor joist, rafter or other supporting member 2% as by clips 38 and nails or screws 39. In an alternate mode, a rigid strip of fiber or the like 24 may be applied against the outer surface of the flange and held in place against support 2% by nails 22, the upper edge of strip 24 bearing directly against the underside of the reinforcing cord 35. In still another mode of suspension, the ends as well as intermediate portions of cord 35' may be suitably supported on hooks, clamps or other devices without need for the use of the wooden supports 2d extending the full length of the jacket. Various other Ways in which the suspension flange I5 and cord 35 may be employed to suspend the jacket and its contents temporarily will suggest themselves to persons skilled in this art.
Still another feature of the FIGURE 3 construction which will be understood as applicable to the jacket shown in FiG-URES 1 and 2 is the use of a pair of right hand and left hand slide fastener devices 42, 43 assembled to embrace the mating edges of slide fastener tapes 12 and 13' to facilitate opening and closing of seam 18'. As is shown in FIGURE 3, pull devices 42 and 43 are positioned in closely spaced end-to-end relation on seam 18' in which position of the pull devices seam 18 is closed throughout its length. Each pull device is provided with a fingerpieoe or pull tab 44, 4-5, respectively, by which devices 42, 43 may be slid lengthwise of seam 18. When the seam is fully closed as it is in FIGURE 3, the separate pull devices will lie in end-to-end abutting engagement. If pull device 43 is pulled to the right as viewed in FIGURE 3, a portion of seam 18 over which the device is pulled will be opened. Likewise, if device 42 is pulled to the left a corresponding portion of seam 13 will be opened. Thereafter, if either device is pulled into abutting relation, the open portion of the seam will be reclosed.
Let it be assumed that it is desired to gain access to some intermediate portion of jacket 10' without exposing the jacket contents elsewhere. To achieve this objective, the operator grasps finger tabs 44, 45 of the two devices and pulls both simultaneously along seam 18' to the area to be opened for inspection. As this simultaneous movement takes place, the opening of the seam by the leading device is immediately nullified by the action of the trailing device in closing the seam with the result that the seam as a whole remains closed so long as both pull devices are maintained in abutment and moved simultaneously. However, when the area to be opened is reached, the operator releases one of the pull devices and moves the other away from it to open the seam for the required distance. When the servicing operation has been completed, the two pull devices are moved into abutment to lock the seam closed.
It will be apparent from the foregoing that pull devices 42 and 43 provide a convenient means by which the contents of the jacket may be serviced or opened for changes in the internal connections or for the addition of branch or other connections to the Wiring system enclosed by the jacket.
While the particular combined jacket and suspension means for conductors and the like herein shown and disclosed in detail is fully capable of attaining the objects and providing the advantages hereinbefore stated, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of the presently preferred embodiments of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown other than as defined in the appended claims.
1. An inexpensive, fluid-tight, lightweight, one-piece tubular jacket formed entirely of electrically nonconductive components having a readily opened and reclosed seam extending from end-to-end thereof and adapted to be suspended from temporary supports on construction projects to provide a weather-tight temporary housing for electrical conductors, said unitary tubular jacket comprising a thin-walled elongated main body strip with longitudinal edges of flexible impervious plastic material free of stiffening and reinforcing elements, a pair of seam forming members interlocking to provide a fluid-tight seam extending from end-to-end of said main body and formed of flexible electrically nonconductive plastic material, the first said seam forming member being secured in a fluid-tight manner along one longitudinal edge of said main body strip and the second said seam-forming member being secured inwardly of the other longitudinal edge of said main body strip sufiiciently to provide an exterior guard flap wide enough to bridge said seam in the closed position of said seam, and a continuous jacket suspension strip of flexible plastic material projecting outwardly on the opposite side of said main body strip of said jacket from said second seam forming member, said suspension strip being so spaced from said guard flap that said seam is located along one lateral side of said jacket when the latter is supported by suspension from said suspension strip and whereby said guard flap overlies and conceals the closed seam and is eifective cave-fashion to drain rain water and the like from the jacket without permitting the water to contact the mating portions of said seam forming means, said continuous seam being open able from the side of the suspended jacket and from end-to-end thereof to admit additional conductors and the withdrawal of conductors previously installed.
2. A tubular jacket as defined in claim 1 characterized in that the outer free lateral edge of said suspension strip is overturned and sealed about a flexible cord-like reinforcing suspension member coextensive in length With said strip and facilitating mounting said jacket along rafters, joists and the like of a building.
3. A tubular jacket as defined in claim 1 characterized in that said seam forming means includes a pair of independent slider devices mounted between the interlocking portions of said seam and concealed by said guard flap, said slider devices being shiftable in either direction along said seam and so arranged as to open the portion of the seam therebetween as either slider is pulled away from the other from a starting position wherein said sliders are close to one another, and said sliders being efi'ective to reclose the seam as either is pulled toward the other, and one of said sliders also being operable to open said seam and the other being operable to immediately reclose said seam as both of said sliders are pulled simultaneously in either direction while positioned closely adjacent one another.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Re. 24,613 Hageltorn Mar. 3, 1959 1,086,442 Cornelius Feb. 10, 1914 1,794,102 Comins Feb. 24, 1931 1,861,675 Wol'fson et al June 7, 1932 2,012,624 Calcutt Aug. 27, 1935 2,371,042 Fogg Mar- 6, 1945 2,469,949 Cantrell May 10, 1949 2,536,863 Widman Jan. 2, 1951 2,585,054 Stachura Feb. 12, 1952 2,680,087 Sundback June 1, 1954 2,756,172 Kidd July 24, 1956 2,937,664 Plummer May 24, 1960 FOREIGN PATENTS 598,079 Great Britain Feb. 10, 1948