US 3100980 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 20, 1963 J. B. HUMPHRIES LUGGAGE LATCH Filed Oct. 18, 1961 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR To/0&5. Ha,
1963 J. B. HUMFHRIES 7 3,100,980
LUGGAGE LATCH 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Oct. 18, 1961 INVENTOR ATTORNEYS United States This invention relates to an improved latch, and more specifically to a container latch having a unitary bolt and provided with resilient means for automatically open ing the latch and container when the bolt is depressed. The latch may be constructed with a keeper that engages the bolt and with an ejector that cooperates with the resilient means to automatically open the container on which the latch is mounted. The latch, constructed with a few moving parts and having an attractive, uncluttered appearance, is convenient and simple to operate. It is particularly suited for use on luggage and similar cases and containers, and its construction is substantially jamproof, providing trouble-free operation over a long useful life.
In the prior art, conventional luggage-type, automaticopening latches having hinged, spring-loaded catches are diflicult to close, since the container must be held shut at the same time that the hinged catch is swung downward to engage it in the keeper. In addition, these latches do not automatically open the container, as by raising the lid, when the latch is operated.
The automatically opening latch described in the Feinberg Patent No. 1,535,277, is restricted to a container having a resilient front wall, and the latch can be accidentally disengaged whenever the front wall is inadvertently depressed or struck.
Numerous prior latches manifest additional disadvantages, such as requiring a cut-out in the container for accommodating the latch. Furthermore, many prior latches can not be used on containers having different wall thicknesses, and are not suited for use on containers having thin walls.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved automatic-opening latch for luggage and similar containers.
Another object is to provide for a container an improved latch of the above character that opens the container lid automatically when the latch is actuated, and also automatically engages when the container is shut.
Still another object of the invention is to provide an improved latch for one-hand operation that can be opened and shut with ease.
Yet another object is to provide a latch having the foregoing advantages that is simple to construct.
A further object of the invention is to provide a lowcost, attractive latch that is compact and small in size. Thus the latch is suitable for use with small and mediumsized luggage-type containers.
A still further object is to provide a latch of the above character that can be readily used on'cont-ainers having different wall thicknesses, including containers having thin walls.
Another object is to provide an automatic-opening latch that can be accommodated on containers without requiring cooperating recesses and cut-outs in the container.
Yet another object it to prove a latch having the foregoing feature that can be locked.
Other objects of the invention M11 in part be obvious and will in part appear hereinafter.
The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combinations of elements, and arrangements of parts which will be exemplified in the constructions hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of atent the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a latch embodying the present invention, shown mounted on a container;
FIGURE 2 is a sectional side elevation view of the latch in the locked position, taken along line 2-2 of FIG- URE 1; 7
FIGURE 3 is a sectional side elevation view similar to FIGURE 2 with the latch in the unlocked and open position;
FIGURE 4 is a front elevation view, in section along line -4--4 of FIGURE 2 and partly broken away, of the locked latch shown in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 5 is a perspective view of the keeper housing of the latch of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 6 is an exploded perspective view showing the construction of the catch portion of the latch of FIG- URE 1.
Similar reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
In general, the present latch comprises a keeper having a shell that engages a notched bolt on the catch to hold the latch closed. Simultaneously, a spring, preferably secured in the keeper, co-acts between the catch and the keeper, urging the latch open. Thus, when an actuator button, formed on the bolt, is depressed, the bolt is disengaged from the shelf and the latch automatically pops open, raising the lid of the container to which the latch is secured.
.The latch opens with ease and automatically engages when the container is shut. In addition, it is readily constructed with a lock, as shown in the figures.
Referring to FIGURE 1, the latch indicated generally at 10 has a keeper 12 that may be fastened to the lid 14 of a container, such as a piece of luggage or the like. A catch indicated generally at 16 and fastened to the container bottom 18 includes an actuator button 20 that is depressed inwardly to open the latch. As explained in detail below, when the button 20 is depressed, the catch and 'keeper become disengaged and a spring, secured in the keeper urges the keeper away from the catch, thereby automatically raising the container lid 14. Although the latch is disposed entirely outside the container, it incorporates compact construction so that it projects less than one-third of an inch from the surface of the container.
Referring now to FIGURES 2 and 4, the catch 16 includes a housing 22 that retains a unitary bolt 24. The actuator button 20 is an integral portion of the bolt, which has a notched prong or barb 26 that extends above the button. The bolt is formed also with a recess 52 behind the button 20. A U-shaped leaf spring 28, preferably secured to a back plate 30, extends across the recess 52 and is compressed between the plate and the button 20 to urge the bolt and its barb 26 forward (rightward in FIG- URE 2) inside the housing 22.
. The keeper 12 has a housing 32 formed. with an aperture 34 that receives the barb 26 and earns 36 and 38, which extend upward from the catch housing 2 2 flanking the barb 26. The keeper housing 32 is formed also with an inwardly extending ledge 42, best seen in FIGURES 2 and 5, and houses a C-shaped leaf spring 40.
When the latch is closed, as illustrated in FIGURES 2 and 4, the ledge 42 engages the barb 26 to secure the container lid 14 firmly closed against the container bottom 18. The catch spring 28 resiliently urges the bolt 24 to aperture 34, opening the latch and popping the container 7 11d 14 up, as shown in FIGURE 3. As soon as the button;
20 is' released, the catch spring 28 returns the bolt 24 to the forward position, ready to re-engage the shelf 42 when the lid 14 is closed.
The latch may readily be equipped with a lock by pro-, vidmg a tumbler 53, shown as FIGURES 2', 3, and 4, that can be rotated to prevent the bolt 24 from being depressed. A keyhole 60, in the button 253 of the bolt, allows a removable key (not shown) to engage the tumbler to rotate it. As best seen in FIGURES 2 and 3, the tumbler 58 is disposed between the U-shaped spring 28 and the back plate 39 and has a forwardly extending tab &1 that is engaged by the key to rotate the tumbler.
When in the locked position, as shown in FIGURE 2 and with solid lines, in FIGURE 4, the generally oblong tumbler is oriented to extend beyond the recess 52, interposing between the bolt 24 and the backplate 3t} and thereby preventing the bolt from being depressed. As shown in FIGURE 3, and by dotted lines in FIGURE 4, when the tumbler is in the unlocked position, it is oriented to fit within the recess 52, allowing the bolt 24 to be depressed.
Referring now to FIGURE 6, the bolt 24 has peripheral walls 24a joining the face of the button to form the recess 52. A step having shoulder portions Zdband 24c extends beyond the wall 24a on the opposite side of the bolt recess 52 from the barb 26.
As best seen in FIGURES 4 and 6, the tumbler 58 can be rotated counter clockwise (in FIGURE 4) to the unlocked position, until the edge 58]) is stopped against the bolt step portion 24b. To lock the latch, the tumbler is rotated clockwise until the edge 58c is stopped against the step portion 24c.
As best seen in FIGURES 2 and 3, the enlarged bolt step portions 24b and 24c function also as a fulcrum about which the bolt pivots when the button is depressed. The pivoting motion of the bolt to open the latch produces translation of the barb 26 approximately perpendicular to the shelf 42.
As best seen in FIGURES 2 and 3, the bolt is formed with shoulders 24d and 24s to constrain the button 26) in a flush or slightly recessed position with respect to the front of the catch housing 22. Since the button 2t? does not project beyond the front of the housing, the latch cannot be inadvertently opened when the housing is jarred or bumped.
Referring now to FIGURE 5, the keeper housing 32 is preferably rectangular, with a gradually tapered or curved front surface 32a that presents an attractive, streamlined appearance. The keeper aperture 34 is sufficiently large to accommodate the catch cams 36 and 38, the bolt barb 26 and the keeper spring 40. The shelf 42, projecting into the aperture 34, has a substantially flat upper surface 42a against which the barb 26 bears when the latch is closed, and-a lower beveled surface 42b that slidably bears against a similarly beveled camming surface 26a on the barb 26 to deflect the bolt 24 during closure of the latch.
The cams 36 and 38 each have tapered cam surfaces a, b, and c, that can slidably engage the surfaces around the periphery of the keeper aperture to align the keeper with the catch during closure of the latch. For example, the cam surface 380 engages the beveled surface 42b to urge the keeper 12 forward with respect to the catch 16. The cam surfaces a and b similarly urge the keeper rearward and sideways respectively with respect to the catch.
This facilitatesthe use of the latch on non-rigid and softwalled containers. In addition, the base-portion ofthe cams 3d and 38 fit snugly within the aperture to achieve a snug latched construction that israttle-resistant.
The housing 32 is preferably formed with rearwardly extending lugs 48 and St) for mounting the keeper on the container. The hollow ends of the lugs remote from the housing may be upset or flared after the keeper is positioned on the container with the lugs extending through two small holes through the container. The flared portion of the lugs, similar to a rivet-head, secures the keeper in place. The lugs are readily formed with different lengths, allowing the latch to be mounted on containers having different thicknesses. An anchor plate 51 (FI URES 2 and 3) is preferably disposed inside the container over the lugs before they are flared, to strengthen the mounting on containers made of a yielding or deformable material.
The spring (FIGURES 2 and-4 may be formed of a single fiat resilient strip, bent into a flattened oval or C- shape, as shown, and is retained within the keeper aperture 34 by the ledge surface 420:, as best seen in FIG- URE 3. readily be incorporated within the keeper for use on containers of different weights. The substantially-fiat keeper back plate 46 (FIGURES 2 and 3) fits within a recess 32b FIGURE 5) in the housing 32 and is secured to the housing in a suitable manner, as by swaging or peenlng the edge of the recess 32b to overlap the edges of back plate 46. v
Referring again to FIGURE 6, the catch housing 22,
also having lugs 48 and 50 are secured with an anchor plate 53, forms a relatively large recess to accommodate the unitary bolt 24'. The housing is formed also with a Wnidow through its front wall 22a through which the actuator button 2%} protrudes and is accessible to open the latch. The earns 36 and 38, having a pyramid-like taper to align the catch with the keeper during closure of the latch, are formed integral with the housing 22 and extend upward from the wall 22b on either side of the opening through which barb 26 protrudes.
The U-shaped, bent catch spring 28 may be formed with an integral sleeve 23b (FIGURE 6) that is fitted through a hole 58d in the tumbler 58 to rivet-fasten the spring to the tumbler, which is similarly secured to the back plate 3th The back plate is fastened to the housing 22 in the same manner described above for the plate 46 of the keeper ltl, capturing the bolt 24 between the housing and the plate.
Bosses 54-54, and 5656 on the housing 26 protrude inwardly to provide runners for guiding and restricting the lateral motion of the bolt 24 when it is depressed and released;
In summary, the present latch, constructed with a minimum number of parts, disengages automatically, in a unique manner, for enhanced convenience. The details of construction described above and illustrated in the drawings, such as the spring-receiving recess 5-2 in bolt 24, allow the latch to be compactly assembled with minimum size. The housings 22 and 32 and the bolt 24 are readily formed by casting, and the plates 30 and 46 stamped from sheet metal, according to well-known techniques. Thus, the component parts for the improved latch can be inexpensively fabricated and are readily assembled to provide reliable operation.
Since the latch mechanism is disposed entirely without the container and operates independent of the container Wall thickness, it is suited for installation on a variety of containers having widely differing wall thicknesses. In addition, the container can be readily latched shut and unlatched with one hand.
It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above,
Springs having different spring constants canv ing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.
1. A latch for luggage or like containers having a lid and a bottom, said latch comprising, in combination, a bolt, a keeper secured to said lid and adapted to engage said bolt to hold said luggage closed, said keeper having a cavity formed with a protruding shelf, said bolt having a notched prong adapted to fit in said cavity and engage said shelf, a housing secured to said bottom and having a recess in which said bolt is retained with said prong extending from said recess through a first aperture in said housing, said housing having a cam extending therefrom toward said keeper, said cam being positioned to align said keeper cavity with said prong during the closure of said latch, said bolt being movable with respect to said housing to disengage said prong from said shelf, a first spring retained in said cavity and bearing against said cam when said latch is closed to urge said prong of said bolt out of said cavity so that when said prong is disengaged from said shelf, said container automatically opens.
2. The combination defined in claim 1 including a plate secured to said housing with said bolt positioned therebetween, and a second spring compressed between said plate and said bolt to resiliently urge said bolt forward to engage said shelf -when said latch is closed.
3. A latch for luggage or like containers having a lid and a bottom, said latch comprising, in combination, a keeper secured to said lid and having a cavity therein with a shelf protruding into said cavity, a bolt having a notched prong that is adapted to fit in said cavity and engage said shelf to hold said container closed, a housing secured to a first Wall of said bottom and having a recess in which said bolt is retained and a first aperture through which said prong extends, a button formed on said bolt,
a first Wall of said housing substantially parallel to said first container wall and having a second aperture exposing said button, said bolt being movable perpendicular to said first housing wall to disengage said prong from said shelf thereby to unlatch said container, means forming a recess in said bolt, a first spring disposed in said housing and extending across said bolt recess to resiliently urge said button against said first housing wall, an ejector secured to said housing and extending therefrom into said keeper cavity when said latch is closed, a second spring retained in said keeper cavity to bear against said ejector when said latch is closed thereby to open said container when it is unlatohed.
4. The latch defined in claim 3 including a lock tumbler rotatably mounted 'in said housing adjacent said first spring to fit within said bolt recess when in an unlocked position and rotatable to impede said perpendicular movement of said bolt and thereby prevent said bolt from being disengaged from said shelf when in a locked position, and means forming a keyhole through said button for inserting a key to engage and rotate said tumbler.
5. A latch comprising, in combination, a keeper having a ledge, a bolt having a prong adapted to engage said ledge to hold said latch closed, a housing retaining said bolt, said bolt having an actuator button surface and walls peripheral to said surface to form a recess behind said surface, a step extending away from said button surface on the peripheral wall disposed on the opposite side of said vbutton surface firom said prong, said step having first and second portions arranged along said opposite wall, said first portion being contiguous with said recess and said second portion being spaced therefrom, said bolt being piv'otable about said step in a direction substantially transverse to said button surface to disengage said prong from said ledge to open said latch, a lock tumbler construoted to fit within said recess in said bolt, said tumbler being rotatably supported in said housing for orientation in an unlocked position to lie within said peripheral walls said tumbler prevents said bolt from being moved to open said latch.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,311,298 Marsh Feb. 16, 1943 2,426,754 Thiele Sept. 2, 1947 2,664,735 Vahlstrom et al Ian. 5, 1954 r 2,880,603 Swanson Apr. 7, 1959 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,100,980 August 20, 1963 John B. Humphries It is hereby certified that error appears in the above numbered patent requiring correction and that the said Letters Patent should read as corrected below.
Column 1, line 63, for "it" read is column 2, line 23, for "shell" read shelf column 4, line 35, for "wnidow"' read "window" Signed and sealed this 11th day of February 1964.
EDWIN L. REYNOLDS ERNEST W. SWIDER Attesting Officer AC i g Commissioner of Patents