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Publication numberUS3203285 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 31, 1965
Filing dateDec 5, 1963
Priority dateDec 5, 1963
Publication numberUS 3203285 A, US 3203285A, US-A-3203285, US3203285 A, US3203285A
InventorsEdward Schmidt
Original AssigneeEdward Schmidt
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Selectively adjustable rigid handle for wrenches or the like
US 3203285 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aug. 31, 1965 E. SCHMIDT 3,203,285

SELECTIVELY ADJUSTABLE RIGID HANDLE FOR WRENCHES OR THE LIKE Filed Dec. 5, 1963 I N VEN TOR. fan 42o 50/44/07- F, 4 BY United States Patent 3,293,285 SELECT IV ELY ADJUSTABLE RIGID HANDLE FOR WRENCHES OR THE LIKE Edward Schmidt, 812 Mills Ave., San Bruno, Calif. Filed Dec. 5, 1963, Ser. No. 328,351 4 Claims. (Cl. 81-177) This invention relates to adjustable handles or shanks of wrenches and other hand tools, and is more particularly directed to a tool handle which is selectively adjustable to a variety of angular configurations and which may be thereafter rendered rigid in any of these configurations.

In modern machines and equipment there are numerous instances in which the required locations of nuts and bolts, and the like, afford but limited access to the particular parts such that conventional wrenches and other hand tools employed therewith cannot function efficiently, if at all. In order that nuts and bolts, and the like, may be readily manipulated in these situations where the part is awkwardly positioned, or working space is extremely limited, there have been heretofore advanced a variety of flexible tool handle or shank constructions. More particularly, these handles or shanks are flexible in at least one plane relative to the tool head such that the handle may be bent into a variety of curved or angular configurations to aid in getting the tool into hard to reach operating positions, or to facilitate tool manipulation under limited working space conditions. However, with these prior art arrangements, the handle is always to some extent flexible, even in planes normal to the direction of applied force. In other words, the handle, having been flexibly adjusted to a desired configuration, is by no means entirely rigid. Consequently, these flexible handle or shank arrangements are not particularly suitable where substantial force must be transmitted by the handle to the tool head, which condition persists particularly in the case of a wrench.

The invention hereof overcomes the foregoing difiiculties by providing a handle or shank which is selectively adjustable to a variety of beneficial angular configurations, but which, unlike prior art arrangements, may be rendered substantially rigid in any of the configurations to which it is adjusted. Consequently, the handle is particu' larly well suited for employment with a wrench where the torque which must be transmitted by the handle dictates substantial rigidity, although the handle may as well be employed with other types of hand tools. More particularly, in a preferred embodiment of the invention, a wrench is provided with a handle formed of a central flexible cable secured to the wrench head and extending through a plurality of handle segments adapted for interlocking end engagement with each other. The segments are each of such a configuration that the length of one side thereof is greater than the length of the diametrically opposite side therefrom, while the ends of each segment are interlockingly engageable with the ends of adjacent segments in a variety of rotational orientations relative thereto. Thus, depending upon the rotational position of the individual handle segments relative to each other, a variety of degrees of handle curvature may be obtained. For example, the segments may be all disposed with their long and short sides respectively together to provide a handle having maximum curvature. At the other extreme, the segments may be disposed with their long sides and short sides alternately together to provide a straight handle. In any of these angular configurations, the handle may be rendered rigid by tightening adjacent segments together on the cable so as to maintain their ends in interlocking engagement. In this regard, extensible coupling means may be provided at the opposite end of the cable from that secured to the wrench head to selectively exert force between the cable and outermost one of the handle segments. Upon extension of the cou- 3,203,285 Patented Aug. 31, 1965 pling, the respective segments are forced together into intimate interlocking engagement with each other in any of their respective rotational positions to thereby form a substantially rigid handle. However, upon retraction of the coupling, the force is removed and the segments may be disengaged from each other. The relative rotational positions of the segments may be then varied to provide a different handle configuration, whereupon the coupling may again be extended to provide a rigid handle. There is thus provided by the present invention an extremely simple handle or shank construction for a wrench or other tool which facilitates adjustment of the handle to numerous angular configurations while yet providing substan tial handle rigidity in any of its adjustable configurations whereby the handle is capable of transmitting substantial torques to the tool heads.

. The invention will be better understood upon consideration of the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a plan view with portions broken away of a wrench embodying a handle in accordance with the present invention, the handle being depicted in adjustable condition;

FIGURE 2 is a sectional view taken at line 2-2 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a plan view of the Wrench with the handle segments in rigid interlocking engagement and disposed to provide maximum handle curvature; and

FIGURE 4 is a View similar to FIGURE 3, but with the handle segments disposed to provide a handle of typical straight configuration.

Referring now to the drawing, FIGURE 1 in particular, there will be seen to be provided a selectively adjustable rigid tool handle or shank 11 in accordance with the present invention. The handle is illustrated in the drawing and hereinafter described in detail as being the handle of a wrench including an open wrench head 12, although it will become apparent in the ensuing description that the handle may be variously employed with tools other than wrenches. The handle 11 will be seen to include a plurality of handle segments 13 threaded upon a flexible cable 14 which is secured at one end to the wrench head 12. The cable 14 may be secured to the head 12 in a variety of ways, as for example by extension through a portion of same with an enlarged end preventing longitudinal cable movement. In the present instance, the wrench head is provided with a projecting portion 16 through which the cable extends, and the projecting portion is adapted to engage the innermost one of the handle segments 13. It will be appreciated, however, that in alterntaive arrangements the projecting portion 16 may be divorced from the head and provided as the innermost one of the handle segments 13 and may, for example, include means such as a plug provided with a spring detent adapted to laterally engage sockets of any one of a variety of tool heads. In any event, the handle segments 13 are adapted to engage each other at their ends while the projecting portion 16, or the like, is adapted to engage the end of the innermost handle segment. In addition, the handle includes means such as an extensible coupling 17 carried at the free end of the cable 14 for selectively tightening the handle segments 13 into intimate end engagement with each other and with the projecting portion 16 of the head 12. Of course, when the coupling 17, or the like, is loosened the segments may be disengaged from each other and are then free for rotation about the cable 14. In this regard, it is particularly important to note that the segments have tapered ends such that the length of one side of the segment is greater than the length of the diametrically opposite side thereof. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that where several adjacent segments are rotatably positioned upon the cable 14 with their short sides together and their long sides together, the portion of the handle defined by these segments will be curved and the amount of curvature will depend upon the number of the segments which are adjacently so positioned. Positioning of all of the segments with their short sides together and their long sides together, provides a handle of maximum curvature which has a configuration of the nature illustrated in FIGURE 3. Conversely, placement of adjacent segments with long sides and short sides alternately together, provides a substantially straight handle configuration, as illustrated in FIGURE 4. Accordingly, substantially any degree of handle curvature may be obtained by appropriately rotationally positioning the segments 13 upon the flexible cable 14. Indicator lines of different color or type may be provided longitudinally of the segments to facilitate align ment of the segments for predetermined angles. Thus, alignment of a blue line, for example, could be employed to establish a straight handle.

The handle segments are intimately tightened together in any of their rotational positions by means of the extensible coupling 17, or the like, to provide a substantially rigid handle of desired configuration. It will thus be appreciated that the handle 11 is quite unlike prior art handle arrangements in that the handle, while being adjustable to a variety of configurations, is yet rendered substantially rigid in any one thereof.

In the preferred structure of the handle 11, the handle segments 13 are each provided as slightly curved tubular cylinders with the arcuate extent of one side thereof exceeding that of the diametrically opposite side therefrom. Thus, the segment ends are not parallel, but instead taper toward each other. The opposite ends of each segment 13 are radially notched to provide circumferentially spaced longitudinally projecting teeth 18 with radially extending notches 19 therebetween adapted to receive the teeth 18 of an adjacent segment. Similarly, the projecting portion 16 of the head 12 is formed with a plurality of longitudinally projecting teeth 21 with radial notches 22 interposed therebetween adapted to engage the notches and teeth of the segments 13. Thus, at a plurality of rotational positions relative to each other, the teeth 18 and notches 19 of adjacent segments 13, as well as the teeth and notches of the other handle segment and notches and teeth of the projecting portion 16 of the head, may be inter-engaged to provide substantially rigid joints therebetween. With all segments held in intimate end engagement, a substantially rigid handle thus results and the handle configuration is determined by the rotational positions of the respective segments relative to each other.

The illustrated embodiment of the extensible coupling 17 Will be seen to include a bushing 23 having an internally threaded axial bore 24. One end of the bushing is provided with longitudinally projecting teeth 26 with radial notches 27 circumferentially interposed therebetween adapted to engage the teeth 18 and notches'19 of the outermost one of the handle segments 13. An externally threaded extension member 28 is received in the threaded bore 24 at the opposite end of the bushing. The member 28 is provided with an axial bore 29 through which the flexible cable 14 freely extends. The free, or outer end of the cable, is provided with an enlarged portion 31 which is engageable with the outer end face of the member 28, which end face is preferably outwardly flanged, as indicated at 32, to provide an enlarged bearing surface. Thus, the extensible member 28 may be screwed into the bushing 23 to disengage the flanged end face 32 from the enlarged portion 31 of the cable. With the member 28 thus retracted, the cable 14 is slack and the handle segments 13 may be moved longitudinally apart. The segments may then be rotated about the cable to positions commensurate with desired handle configurations whereupon the teeth and notches of the segments may be interengaged. The member 28 is then screwed outwardly from the bushing 23 to thereby extend the member into engagement with the enlarged portion 31 of the cable and thereby take up the slack in same. At this time, the

, member 28 bears against the enlarged portion 31 while the toothed end of the bushing 23 is in intimate bearing engagement with the outermost one of the segments 13, to in turn maintain the successively adjacent segments and the projecting portion 16 of the head 12 in intimate end engagement. As a result, the handle 11 is virtually rigid and is capable of transmitting substantial torque to the head 12.

It should be noted that although the handle is illustrated in the drawing as having varied degrees of curvature in a plane parallel to the faces of the wrench head 12, handle curvature may also be obtained in other planes if desired by appropriate rotational positioning of the segments 13. For example, the handle segments may be oriented to provide a handle having substantially S- shaped curvature in a plane perpendicular to the faces of the wrench head 12, which configuration is advantageous in situations where a nut or bolt is in a recessed location. Various combinations of handle curvature in angularly related planes are, of course, also possible with the handle structure of the present invention.

Although the present invention has been described hereinbefore with particular reference to a handle of a wrench, it will be appreciated that various variations and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, as noted hereinbefore, the integral projecting portion 16 of the wrench head 12 may be provided as a separate element of the handle and include a plug and spring detent, or the like, for interchangeable engagement with socket openings of a wide variety of tool heads. Similarly, a modified extensible coupling wherein the extension member and enlarged portion of the cable are entirely enclosed within the bushing and accessible, for example, through windows in the bushing may be employed as the coupling 17. The outer end of the coupling bushing may then be provided with .a projecting plug and spring detent, or the like, adapted for engagement with the socket of a ratchet mechanism, brace, or the like. Thus, it is not intended to limit the invention except by the terms of the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A selectively adjustable substantially rigid tool handle comprising a plurality of tubular handle segments, each of said segments having a first side of greater length than that of a second side opposite the first side and said segments each including pluralities of circumferentially spaced longitudinally projecting teeth and interposed radial notches at their opposite ends, said teeth and notches of the respective segments being interlockingly engageable with each other, a flexible cable loosely threaded through said segments in succession, said cable having an enlarged portion at a first end thereof, means secured to the second end of said cable engaging the end of the correspondingly adjacent one of said segments, and extensible coupling means disposed about said cable at said first end thereof including a first member engaging the end of the correspondingly adjacent one of said segments and a second member selectively longitudinally translatable relative to the first member engaging said enlarged portion of said cable.

2. A tool handle according to claim 1, wherein said first member of said extensible coupling means includes a plurality of circumferentially spaced longitudinally projecting teeth and interposed radial notches at only one end interlockingly engageable with said notches and teeth of one adjacent segment, and said second member threadably engages the second end of said first member and has an outer end face bearing against said enlarged portion of said cable.

3. A wrench with an adjustable substantially rigid handle comprising a wrench head having a projecting portion with a plurality of longitudinally projecting teeth and interposed radial notches, a flexible cable secured at one end to said projecting portion of said head, a plurality of short longitudinally curved tubular handle segments with one side having a greater extent of curvature than an opposite side thereof, said segments being threaded upon said cable and having pluralities of Iongitudinally projecting teeth and interposed radial notches at their opposite ends, said teeth and notches of the respective segments being interlockingly engageable with each other and with the teeth and notches of the project ing portion of said head, and extendible means at the second end of said cable for selectively exerting force between the second end of the cable and the end of the correspondingly adjacent one of said segments in a direction to urge said segments into end engagement with each other.

4. A Wrench according to claim 3, further defined by said cable having an enlarged portion at the second end thereof, and said extendible means comprising a bushing having a threaded bore, said bushing having a first end with longitudinally projecting teeth and interposed radial notches interlockingly engageable with the notches and teeth of said segments, and an externally threaded extension member engaging said threaded bore, said extension member having an axial bore, said cable extending through said threaded bore of said bushing and bore of said extension member, said extension member having an outer end face engageable with said enlarged portion of said cable.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,501,217 3/50 Hawn. 2,877,506 3/59 Almoslino 46-26 X 3,002,409 10/61 Jones.

WILLIAM FELDMAN, Primary Examiner.

MILTON S. MEHR, Examiner.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3446297 *Jul 15, 1966May 27, 1969Youngstown Sheet And Tube CoFlexible drill collar
US3507172 *Nov 28, 1967Apr 21, 1970Smith James HNut and bolt starters
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US4421432 *Sep 4, 1981Dec 20, 1983Honeywell Inc.Key switch cap mounting arrangement
US4483562 *Oct 16, 1981Nov 20, 1984Arnold SchoolmanLocking flexible shaft device with live distal end attachment
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US5102255 *May 15, 1984Apr 7, 1992Rockwell International CorporationFlex-joint assembly linkage for dynamic mirror mount
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Classifications
U.S. Classification81/177.6, 29/433, 29/425, 403/291, 464/149, D08/21, 403/4, 59/84
International ClassificationF16M11/40, B25G1/02, B25G1/00, F16M11/20
Cooperative ClassificationB25G1/025, F16M11/40
European ClassificationB25G1/02S, F16M11/40