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Publication numberUS3163268 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 29, 1964
Filing dateAug 23, 1962
Priority dateAug 23, 1962
Publication numberUS 3163268 A, US 3163268A, US-A-3163268, US3163268 A, US3163268A
InventorsCharles Leavell
Original AssigneeCharles Leavell
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wheel-equipped suitcase
US 3163268 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 29, 1964 c. LEAVELL 3,153,263

WHEEL-EQUIPPED SUITCASE Filed Aug. 23, 1962 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIG. I

IN VE N 70/? 38 27 CHA LE5 LEAVE L BY 7/ v A romvsr Filed Aug. 23, 1962 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 //v VENTOR CH mi; LE VEL' BY WW C. LEAVELL WHEEL-EQUIPPED SUITCASE Dec. 29, 1964 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Aug. 23, 1962 lNVE/VTOR CHARLES LEAVELL BYW ATTORNEY Dec. 29, 1964 c. LEAVELL 3,163,263

WHEEL-EQUIPPED SUITCASE Filed Aug. 25, 1962 4 SheetsSheet 4 FIG. 6 F/G. 6


INVENTOR CHARLES LEA VELL h B%@ MM A 77' ORA/E Y United States; Patent 3,163,268 wmnr-noumrun SUITCASE Charles Leavell, 2% S. Fairfield Ave, Lombard, Ill. Filed Aug. 23, 1%2, Ser. No. 220,591 19 Claims. (Cl. 190l8) This invention relates to a portable container structure,

and more'particularly to a portable container structure adapted 'to be manually carried as exemplified by a suitcase or by a trunk.

Some of the suitcases and certain of the trunks now in use are relatively large and are quite heavy when loaded. For example, such portable containers may be .used by salesmen to transport their merchandise or display samples; by travelers to transport clothing apparel, etc.; and in many instances, customized containers are constructed to accommodate particular articles or materials; but in any event, the loaded containers whatever their use are heavy and consequently are difiicult to carry even though they are equipped with handles for such purpose. Furthermore, if the container is relatively large in addition to being heavy, the problems involved in manual manipulation thereof are amplified.

All of these problems have been understood for some time, and efforts have been made to equip such portable containers with rollers so that in the majority of instances they can be rolledrather than carried. However, the prior efforts in this respect have been wholly unsatisfactory for the most part, for the reasons that the rollers have been in the nature of casters, and since of small diameter do not afford a good rolling action especially over irregular surfaces; the rollers have been detachable units which must be strapped or otherwise secured to the container when it is desired to roll the same, but otherwise must be removed therefrom to prevent damage to other containers during storage or vehicle transport; and such roller units have been unsightly, thereby seriously detracting from the otherwise esthetic appearance of the container. 7

I recognize the desirability of equipping suitcase and other portable containers of the same general type with a wheel arrangement to permit such containers to be rolled rather than carried during manual transport thereof, but also appreciate the inadequacies of the arrangements heretofore proposed; and, accordingly, state that an object of the present invention is to provide a wheelequipped, portable container that obviates the aforesaid deficiencies present in prior art arrangements.

Another object of the invention is that of providing a portable container permanently equipped with wheels which do not interfere with normal storage and vehicle transport of such container and which do not, consequently, damage containers stored adjacent thereto. Still another object of the invention is in the provision of a wheel-equipped container structure having wheels of relativelylarge diameter which, therefore, permit the container to be readily rolled over irregular surfaces.

Yet another object of the invention is to equip a manually portable container with wheels oriented and dis-' posed in a manner such that they are almost entirely con- 7 end of the containerythe radius of each suchwheel being approximately equal to the radius of curvature of each such transversely aligned corner, and the axes of rotation of the wheels being respectivelyoriented at about the origin ofthe radius of the cornerrassociated therewith ICC to provide a restricted circumferential-area'of each wheel for engagement with'a support surface to enable the container to be rolled therealongthe dimensional relationship of the wheels and container corners being so determined that the wheels'blend into the contours of the container yet have a relatively large diameter so that a good rolling action is aiforded over a rough or irregular support surface.

A further object is in providing the combination of a wheel-equipped container of the character described having rounded corners, and in which the wheels comprise a pair thereof respectively mounted interiorly of the container adjacent two of the transversely spaced corners thereof and within dust-proof compartments therefor; each of the wheels having a radius that corresponds essentially to the radius of curvature of the associated corner and being located so that the axis of rotation of each wheel is substantially coextensive with the origin of the radius of curvature of the related corner; the container having a slot or open ng extending along each of such corners in alignment with the wheel therein so that a portion thereof occupies the opening and is adapted to rollingly engage a support surface, and essentially replaces the container segments removed in providing the openings, whereby such ground-engaging portions of each wheel form a continuation of the container edges and are then inconspicuous and substantially concealed. Additional objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent as the specification proceeds.

Embodiments of the invention are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which FIGURE 1 is a side view in elevation of a suitcase embodying the invention;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged, fragmentary verticalsectional view taken along the line 22 of FIGURE 1, but in which a wall portion of the suitcase is broken away to show the wheel construction and mounting thereof;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged, fragmentary side view in elevation of the lower corner portion of the suitcase as illustrated in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged, broken vertical sectional view taken along the line 44 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 5 is a further enlarged, perspective view of the corner portion of the suitcase illustrated in FIGURE 4, and in Which-the various components are arranged in spaced-apart configuration;

FIGURE 6 is a broken front view in elevation generally similar to that of FIGURE 2, but showing a modified construction;

FIGURE 7 is a broken front view in elevation generally similar to that of FIGURE 2, but showing a further modification; and

FIGURE 8 is a broken front view in elevation generally similar to that of FIGURE 2, illustrating yet another modification. 7

A portable container embodying the invention is exemplified in the drawings in the form of ;a suitcase which-is denoted generally with the numeral 10. To a great extent, the suitcase 10 may be of conventional ponstruction and has two sections 11 and 12.that,are.secured to eachother by hinges. (not shown). The sections ll and 12 are adapted to meet along a perimetricfline' 13, v as shown in FIGURE 2, to define a closed compartment 14 therewithin. Access is afforded to the'compartment 14 when lthe sections 11 and 12 are opened or swung apart aboutthe hinge connections thereof in the usual I manner. As seen in FIGURE 1, the suitcase 10 maybe equipped withlatches 15 and 16 to lock the sections 11 and 12 in the. closed position thereof Witha handle 17- along the topthereof, and preferablyvvith a handle like strap assembly 18 at one end that enables the suitcase to'be hand-heldsat that end. The strap assembly" 3 V 18 may be of well known construction, as where the strap is longitudinally slidable through spaced-aparhdnverted U-shaped guides 19 and 20, but in which such longitudinal movement is limited in each direction by enlarged ends Hand 22 provided by the strap. Thus,

'the strap may be flattened against the surface of the. suit- 'case or may be drawnoutwardly, as shown in FIGURE 1, between the guides 19; and 20.

For purposes of the present invention, the suitcase may be regarded in its entirety ratherthan in terms of the sections 11-and 12 thereof; and so considered, hasside walls 23 and 24, end walls 25 and 26, a bottom wall 27 and" a top wall 28. The suitcase has a trim strip or band running perimetrically along the axis defined by the juncture of the end, 'top and bottom walls with respective sidewalls23 and 24, and such trim strips are denoted respectively'with the numerals 29 and 36. The trim strips are stitched or ornamented with stitch lines 31 and 32 with respect to the strip 29, and 33 and 34 with respect to the strip 30. Further,-the corners of the suitcase are arcuate or are rounded, and such rounding occurs along the common line of meeting or juncture between the respective end walls and 26 and bottom and top walls 27 and 28. For purposes of the present invention,

two of the corner portions of the suitcase are of importance, and for identification such corners are denoted respectively with the numerals 35 and 36;

' As 'is most apparent from FIGURES 4 and 5, the corner portions 35 and 36 are slotted along the marginal edges thereof defined bythe trim'strips 2? and 30, and a wheel is mounted within each of these corner portions so that an area thereof projects through the slots for surface engagement to rollingly support the suitcase thereonyand the wheels are respectively designated with the numerals '37 and 38. The construction of the corner.

portions 35 and 36 and the mounting'of the respective wheels 37 and 38 therein'are identical, and therefore in the further description of the invention, only the corner portion 35 will be considered in detail, audit will be understood that an identical structural composition :is

characteristic of the corner portion 36.

e The slot or channel through which the wheel 37 projects is indicated with the numeral; 39, and the ends thereof are defined by reinforcing strips and 41 secured, respectively, to the end wall 25 and bottom wall 27. The reinforcing strips have end portions 42 and 43, respectively, that are offset slightly by the thickness .of

the respective end and bottom walls 2 5 and 27' so. as to form essentially continuations thereof when the offset end portions are positioned in overlying juxtaposition "with the end and bottom walls of the suitcase. f Thesaine reinforcing strips have slightly'offset and tapered ends 44 and 45, respectively, that define the .actual limits of the slot 39,. and the trim strip 29 is beveledslightly to conform to the tapered configuration of the ends 44 and 45. The reinforcing strips and 41 are'secured to the associated walls of the suitcase and also to the trim strip Cir 29 by any suitable and appropriate means which will depend to some extent on the constructionof the suitcase. That" is to say," the reinforcing strips may 1 be welded, riveted, adhes'ively bonded,'etc. to the suitcase walls and trim strip.

Secured tothe side wall '23 is a mounting platej4 5 havraga laterally andririwardly extending hange 17.} The, Plat? 46, and-more particularly the flange 747, Qthereof, has a curvature such that it extends between the 'rhinforc-f ingstrips 10 and 411 and terminates in abutment therewith ;The plate;46 hasi a shaft seator-aperturefi cen- {trally disposed therein adapted to receive an end portion of an axle or shaft 549; that extends through-1the1hub '50 about the axle49 A correspondingmountingplate "51 'is adapted to support/the opposite,. end1 of Ethe axle 49,

engagement with a support surface, andwhen in engage- V ment with such surface elevates the walls 25 and 27' and for such purpose is provided with a support opening or aperture 52 that receives such .opposite end portion of the axle therein. The axle 49 must be constrained against axial displacement with respect to'the mounting plates 46 and 51 and such displacement may be prevented by any suitable means, such as by a cap 53 that extends over the aperture 52 and is welded or otherwise anchored to the mounting plate 51.

The mounting plate 51 is equipped with a laterally and outwardly extending fiange 54 having an arc of curvaturewhich corresponds with that of the flange 46,

extensive with the end and bottom walls 25 and 27 of the suitcase is an arcuate, L-shaped channel 57 having one leg thereof securedto the face of the plate 51 and the other leg thereof secured to the end and bottom walls 25 and 2'7 of the suitcase.

The mounting plates 46 and 51 in conjunction with the flanges 47 and 54 thereof and with the reinforcing strips 40 and 41, define a compartment or chamber 58 that is closed except for the channel 391 through which a circumferential portion of the wheel '37 projects. This chamber is sealed along all the edges thereof that lie within the suitcase compartment 14, and thus atfords a dust-proof housing containing the wheel 37 and thereby isolating the compartment therefrom .and from foreign materials which would soil clothing or other articles contained within the suitcase compartment. 14.

The wheel 37 is equipped with a tire 59 that is ornamented with stitch lines 6 0 and 61 that are respectively aligned with the stitchlines 31 and 32 of the trim band 29; Thus, as is seen mostclearly in FIGURE 2 in connectionwith the wheel 38 and stitch lines '62 and 63 thereof, such stitch lines give the appearance of being continuations of the stitch lines provided by the trim band.

If reference is made to FIGURES 3 and 4, it will be 'notcd that the radius of the wheel .37 (considering the tire 59 as a part thereof) is substantially the same as the radius of curvature of the'corner portion of the container or, more particularly, with respect to the radius of .curvature of the trim band 29 which, of course, has a slightly greater radius along the outer surface thereof than that of thefcontainer walls 25 and 27 along the line of junc- 'ture thereof. Further, the rotational axis of the wheel 37 which is the sameas the longitudinal axis of the axle 49 is substantially coincident with the origin of the radius 'of curvature of the corner portion of the container. That is to say, referring to FIGURE 2, the. origin of the radius of curvature of the corner port-ion 35 of the container,

which for the present purposes is the radius of curvature of the trim band 29, is located on the side wall 23;'and

if the $1549 were'extendedthrough theside vwall, the

longitudinal axis, of the axle wouldcontainthe origin of such radius of curvature as a point thereon. V t

. Consequently, aportion of the circumferential surface of the wheel 37 projects through the slot 39 forrolling along the line of juncture thereof above the support sur- 7 of the wheel37 androtatably supports the sametherein.

If dQSlItid lhQdVhCCl 37 maybe equipped' with anti friction bea-rings to implement the free rotation thereof face as shown in FIGUREZ; ,Also, since the radii of the wheeland corner portion are coextensive, the exposed 7. surface of the wheel replaces the material 'removedfrom the container in formingwthe slot 39 therein and forms a i continuation of the trimband 29'or container corner portionjn this area. Therefore, the wheel 37 is incon amazes Spicuous, and in fact completes the contour of the corner portion. This effect is implemented'by equipping the wheel with stitch lines 60 and 61 which are aligned, respectively, with the stitch lines 31 and 32 of the trim band. Another advantage in this construction is that the radius of curvature of the corner portion of a suitcase or similar container is relatively large, whereby wheels of relatively large diameter are provided; and as a result, the rolling action afiorded by the wheels is immeasurably superior to the rolling action afiorded by casters especially over rough or irregular surfaces. It will be apparent that the same general results can be obtained even though the radius of the wheel 37 is varied somewhat from precise correspondence with the radius of curvature of the corner portion of the container by simply appropriately locating the axis of rotation of the wheel in accordance with the direction and extent of any such variation from correspondence between the two radii.

Modified constructions embodying substantially the same inventive concepts are illustrated in FIGURES 6 through 8, and such modifications will now be described. In the construction shown in FIGURE 6, the suitcase 10a defines a compartrnent 14a therein, and has an end wall 25a that merges with a bottom wall 27a to define a a curved corner portion 35a. The end and bottom walls are secured to a side wall 23a which has an opening therein through which an axle 43a extends, that rotatably supports a wheel 37a disposed exteriorly of the side Wall. The axle 49a is carried by a mounting plate 4611 that is riveted or otherwise rigidly secured to the side wall 23a of the suitcase. Suitable washers or sealing elements may surround the axle 49a both interiorly and exteriorly of the side wall 23a to maintain the compartment 14:: in a dust and dirt-proof condition. The radius of the wheel 37a and the positioning thereof along the side wall 23a with respect to the corner portion 35:: is in accordance with the heretofore described embodiment of the invention. V

In the modification illustrated in FIGURE 7, the structural composition is identical with the one illustrated in FIGURE 6, but incorporated therein is a cover or shield' 64 that substantially encloses the wheel. For convenience, the components illustrated in FIGURE 7, except for the shield 64, are denoted with the numerals adopted to identify the parts shown in FIGURE 6, except that the letter b has been used instead of the suffix a. The cover 64 is equipped with a laterally turned flange 65 that extends along the outer surface of the side Wall 2312 and is secured thereto by any suitable means. Along the corner portion 35b, the cover 64 has a slot 66 through which a surface portion of the wheel 37b pro jects. Again, the dimensional relationship of the wheel 37b and curvature of the corner portion 35b are in accordance with the structures heretofore described.

In the modification of FIGURE 8, the suitcase 10c defines a compartment 14c therewithin and has an end wall 25c and bottom wall 270, both of which are secured to a side wall 230. The side wall 23 adjacent the corner .While in the foregoing specification embodiments of the invention have been set forth in considerable detail for purposes of making an adequate disclosure thereof,

it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that numerous changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit and principles of the invention.

6 I claim: 1. In combination, a suitcase or the like comprising a pair of cooperative casing sections defining an article-receiving compartment therein and being related'to'each other for selective opening and closing movements to provide access to such compartment, said suitcase having a pair of transversely spaced side walls, a pair of longitudinally spaced end walls respectively secured to said side walls, and a top wall and a bottom wall each secured to said side and end walls, said bottom wall and at least one of said end walls along the juncture common thereto having an arcuate configuration adjacent each of said side walls defining rounded corner portions thereat having the sarne radii of curvature, a pair of wheels respectively located adjacent said rounded corner portions in substantially parallel relation with the respectively associated side walls and in close proximity thereto, and .a pair of axle structures respectively supported adjacent said rounded corner portions by said casing sections and being constrained against displacements with respect thereto, said axle structures being transversely oriented and defining a condition of axial alignment approximately coincident with a transversely extending line defined by the origins of the radii of curvature of said rounded corner portions when said casing sections are in the closed position thereof, said wheels being respectively mounted upon said axle structures for rotation about the axes thereof and each wheel having a radius essentially equal to the radius of curvature of the associated corner portion to provide the wheel with a restricted circumferential surface area extending radially outwardly only very slightly beyond the dimensional limits of the associated corner portion for rollingly supporting said suitcase but without substantial interference with normal handling and storage thereof. 2. The combination of claim 1 in which each of said wheels is mounted within the interior of the associated suitcase section, and in which each of said suitcase sections is provided with a slot in the rounded corner portion thereof aligned with the associated wheel and passing the aforesaid surface area therethrough. 3. The combination of claim 2 in which each of said suitcase sections is equipped with support structure defining a substantially closed chamber about the associated wheel to isolate the same from the interior of said suitcase.

4. The combination of claim 2 in which said suitcase is equipped with a trim strip along each of the edges of the side walls thereof which extends about said rounded v corner portions, and in which each of said trim strips at said rounded corner portions is provided with a slot therein aligned with the slot in the'associated corner portion and passing the aforesaid surface area of" the associated wheel therethrough. I

5. The combination of claim 1 in which the axis of rotation of each of said wheels is coincident with the radius of curvature of the respectively associated corner portions, and in which the radius of each of said wheels is slightly greater than the radius of curvature of the respectively associated corner portions to provide the aforesaid restricted surface areas projecting radially outwardly beyond the 'dhnensional limits of said corner portions.

6. A portable container comprising side walls, end walls and a bottom wall defining a compartment for the receipt 7 of articles therein; said bottom wall and at least one of said end walls along the juncture common thereto defining an arcuate configuration to provide said container with a rounded corner port-ion adjacent each end of such I juncture; the origin of the radiusjof curvature of each of said rounded cornerportions being respectively located atthe opposite ends of a transverse line extending through said containerin generally parallel relation with a line defined by the juncture of the aforesaid bottom-walland one end wall and terminating at said sidewalls; and a pair v a lation with the respectively of said wheels having a circumferential surface area proassociated side walls and each jecting slightly beyond the dimensional limits of said container at said rounded corner portions for surface engagement to rollingly support said container. thereon; the radius of each of said wheels being approxtm'atelythe same as the radius of each of said corner portions and' the axes-of rotation of said wheels being generally located along the aforesaid. transverse line so that only a restricted surface area of each wheel projects very slightly beyondthe associated rounded corner of said container and causessubstantially no interference with normal ham-- dling and storage thereof. r a

7; In combination with a container such as a'suitcase restricted surface area of each wheel projects very sligh ly beyond the associated rounded corner of said container and causes substantially no interference with normal handling and storage thereof.

8. The combination of claim 7 in which each of said wheels'is mounted within the, interior of said container, and in which said container is provided with a pairof slots therein respectively aligned with said wheels and passing surface portions of the wheels therethrough to accomplish the aforesaid rolling support of said container.

'9. The combination of claim 8 in which said container is equipped with support structures for the respective wheels defining substantially closed chambers thereabout to isolate the wheels and slots therefor from the interior of said container. 1 1

10. In combination with a container such as asuitcas or the like having rounded corner portions and having a trim strip extending along the edge of each such corner portion, said container being provided with a pair of slots respectively located at transversely spaced corner portions thereof in substantial alignment with the trim strip. therefor and extending therethrough, a wheel'rotatably supported within said container at each of said transversely spaced corner portions in alignment-with the slot there.-

through and with a surface portion of each wheel extend ing through such aligned. slot for rolling engagement with a support surface that surface portion of each wheel extending at .any instant through the associated slot being effective to complete the surface of the container corner portion and trim strip thereat while maintaining the con tour of the rounded corner portion in which the wheel is mounted, whereby only a restricted surface area of each wheel projects very slightly beyond the associated rounded corner of said'suitcase'and causes substantially no interference with normal handling and storage thereof.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,463,391 Kanaley Mar. 1, 1949 FOREIGN PATENTS 138,218- Great. Britain Feb. 5, 1920 487,220 Italy Nov. 27, 1953 821,263 France Aug. 23, 1937 899,995 France Sept. 11, 1944 961,97 7 France Nov. 28,

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3805929 *Sep 8, 1972Apr 23, 1974Kuwayama YSuitcase having a cooperating wheel and handle assembly
US3997038 *Jun 23, 1975Dec 14, 1976Brooks WalkerWheeled suitcase
US4160495 *Feb 16, 1978Jul 10, 1979Conard Donald DSuitcase with transporting rims
US4244452 *Aug 21, 1979Jan 13, 1981Societe DelseySuitcase with rollers
US4321727 *Jul 14, 1980Mar 30, 1982Sheiman Samuel RLuggage roller
US4375847 *Jul 21, 1981Mar 8, 1983Picco William APortable golf equipment case
US4463840 *Feb 18, 1983Aug 7, 1984Societe DelseyWheeled suitcase
US4707881 *Sep 6, 1985Nov 24, 1987Samsonite CorporationLuggage case and wheel roller or caster assembly therefor
US5431263 *Nov 30, 1993Jul 11, 1995Lenox, IncorporatedMobile carry-on suitcase
US5515954 *Nov 23, 1994May 14, 1996Lenox, IncorporatedMobile carry-on suitcase
US5564805 *Jan 3, 1994Oct 15, 1996Contico International, Inc.Storage container with wheels
US5709008 *Jan 25, 1995Jan 20, 1998Contico International, Inc.Storage container wheel assembly
US6994193 *Jun 30, 2003Feb 7, 2006Chettha SaetiaCase with removable handle and wheel assembly
US20040011617 *Jun 30, 2003Jan 22, 2004Chetthia SaetiaBusiness case with removable handle and wheel assembly
US20050082776 *Jul 26, 2004Apr 21, 2005Mark NordstromWheel mount assembly for a towable baggage
US20100018821 *Sep 3, 2009Jan 28, 2010Minaker Victor YefimovichHand laggage carrying device
DE2940742A1 *Oct 8, 1979May 14, 1980Delsey SocKoffer mit rollen
EP0106906A1 *Oct 22, 1982May 2, 1984GŁnter SchneiderSuitcase with castors
WO1995022266A1 *Feb 15, 1995Aug 24, 1995Tumi Luggage, Inc.Wheel assembly for luggage
WO2008115095A1Mar 13, 2008Sep 25, 2008Victor Yefimovich MinakerCabin baggage carrying device
U.S. Classification190/18.00A, 190/18.00R, D03/279, 16/45, 16/29, 16/30
International ClassificationA45C5/14, A45C5/00
Cooperative ClassificationA45C5/14
European ClassificationA45C5/14