US 3237257 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 3,237,257 PLASTIC BUCKLE William B. Forsberg, Medford, Mass, assignor to United- Carr Incorporated, a corporation of Delaware Filed Mar. 26, 1964, Ser. No. 355,013 3 Claims. (Cl. 24-77) This invention relates generally to adjustable buckles and more particularly to buckles embodying a snap fastener such as those commonly found on protective athletic equipment; for example, football, ice hockey, or lacrosse helmets.
Buckles heretofore employed in such applications have most generally been of metal construction comprising a metal frame or cross plate having openings adjacent its ends for receiving a strap, and a metal snap fastener socket riveted at its center.
The aforementioned construction presents several disadvantages of varying magnitude depending on the circumstances of its use.
For example, the metal construction most often presents sharp corners and edges which are likely to cut or lacerate an opponent who comes in contact with the wearer of the helmet.
From the wearers point of view, it is desirable that the snap fastener employed have a relatively easy snap action and yet possess substantial holding power. Thus the manufacturer must often provide different buckles or at least different fastener sockets depending on whether the helmet is to be used by professional or college player on the one hand, or by a-young boy playing sandlot football on the other. For example, the metal buckle which will provide the holding power that the professional desires is usually unsatisfactory for use on a youngsters helmet, since the snap fasteners action is so stiff that the boy has difliculty snapping and unsnapping the buckle while the helmet is on his head.
Another particular disadvantage of the metal buckle construction recited above has been the fact that the fastener socket is not mudpr-oof. That is, since the socket is attached to the frame or plate by a hollow, openend rivet, mud and other foreign matter may become lodged in the lower socket cavity, and in certain instances will be suflicient to prevent the wearer from securing the strap. This disadvantage is obviously more pronounced when the buckle is used on a football helmet than in other potential applications.
Thus an object of the present invention is to provide a single buckle and socket combination which possesses substantial holding power while retaining a relatively easy snap action.
Another object is to provide a buckle having relatively blunt corners and edges rendering it safe for use on athletic equipment for contact sports.
A further object is to provide a mudproof fastener socket in particular for use with the buckle of a football helmet.
A still further object is to provide an all-plastic buckle embodying a snap fastener having bracing means adapted to resist accidental disengagement of the fastener due to forces acting transverse or skew its normal line of engagement or disengagement.
Several other significant objects and advantages of the invention will become evident from a reading of the following detailed description in conjunction with a viewing of the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an installation depicting the invention securing one end of a strap to a support;
FIG. 2 is a section taken on line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side elevation of the installation shown in FIG. 1;
3,237,257 Patented Mar. 1, 1966 "ice FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the buckle;
FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the buckle;
FIG. 6 is a section taken on line 66 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is a section taken on line 77 of FIG. 4; and
FIG. 8 is a sectional view, including a strap, of a modified form of the invention.
The buckle 1 is shown in FIGS. 4, 5, 6, and 7 to be of unitary molded plastic'construction.
The base 2 is longitudinally integral with the outer frame 3 which is substantially rectangular and has rounded corners.
The latitudinal extremities of the base 2 are spaced from outer frame 3 to provide slots 4 and 5 for receiving a strap.
A series of teeth 6 shown to be integral with the base 2 and the outer frame 3 project into each of the slots 4 and 5 respectively.
A pair of base stiffening ribs 7, the purpose of which will be more fully explained hereinafter, are molded integral with one surface of the base 2, and extend lengthwise parallel the long dimension of the frame 3.
An upstanding hollow circular post 8 is molded integral with and extends transversely of the surface of the base 2 opposite the ribs 7 and co-operates with the base to form a stud receiving cavity 9 as best shown in FIGS. 6 and 7.
A pair of socket stiffening ribs 10 are molded integral with the base 2 and the post 8 and as shown by FIG. 7 are tapered in the direction of the free end of the post.
A further viewing of FIGS. 6 and 7 indicates that the outer frame 3 is generally tubular or semitubular in shape and that the opposite faces of each series of teeth 6 are slabbed off or beveled so as to be generally semiconical in shape and present a relatively sharp pointed vertex.
FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 depict an installation comprising a suport 11; for example, a portion of the side of a football helmet, having a metal snap fastener stud 12 riveted thereto. For orientation purposes the surface of the helmet 11 remote from the stud would be that surface abutting or adjacent to the face or head of the wearer. A web-like cloth strap 13 has been fed through the slots 5 and 4 respectively adjacent one end of said strap. The strap would of course pass under the chin of the wearer and its opposite end would be anchored at the opposite wall of the helmet, either permanently or by a corresponding buckle and stud arrangement. The socket or hollow post 8 has been snapped into engagement with the stud 12 to secure the strap 13.
The orientation of strap, buckle, and support shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 is the normal or usual arrangement such that the stress or pull on the strap would be exerted in a downward direction as shown in the drawings; that is, away from the free end of the strap. Thus, as one readily observes, each series of teeth 6 is formed and positioned to prevent the strap from slipping through the buckle 1 when the former is under tension.
The ribs 7 perform a dual function. Primarily, as previously stated, they provide increased rigidity to the base 2. Thus when a force which would tend to bend or twist the buckle is applied to the outer frame, either accidentally or intentionally as in unsnapping the buckle, the ribs 7 prevent transmittal of the entire force through the frame to the base 2. In this way the socket or post 8 is protected and will not become deformed over a period of continuous use.
A secondary function of the ribs 7 is best understood from a further viewing of FIG. 3. As is seen therein, the ribs cause that portion of the strap which is within the confines of the buckle to be thrown abruptly out of line from the remainder of the strap. This is evidenced by the sharp angle or bend the strap makes as it 3 enters and leaves the buckle. Thus when the strap is under tension it provides a readily available target for the teeth 6 to engage, and exerts a force on the buckle at a relatively large acute angle. Ergo, the possibility of slippage or loosening of the strap is further reduced.
In addition it would be Well to point out that the unitary construction causes downward forces exerted on the buckle through the strap to be applied in line with the socket or post 8. It is submitted that this substantially reduces rocking or cantilever-like rotation of the buckle on the stud 12 which might result in accidental disengagement of the two.
From a further viewing of FIG. 3 one observes that the usual manner of disengaging the buckle from the stud would be for the wearer of a helmet, etc. to grasp the free end of the strap 13 and pull downwardly and away from his face. Thus the force exerted to unsnap the fastener could be said to be in the normal line of use.
The reinforcing ribs have been added to the socket 8 at right angles to the normal line of use.
Thus since the ribs 10 restrict the lateral expansion of the socket, it requires a greater pull or force to twist the buckle away from the stud than if it is unsnapped in the usual manner.
This is then an additional safety feature and is of considerable merit in a football helmet application wherein the strap is subject to being grabbed and twisted by an opponent.
Optionally additional stiffening ribs might be added to further restrict the action of the socket.
FIG. 2 amply depicts the mudproof feature of the buckle when the socket 8 and stud 12 are engaged.
FIG. 8 depicts an alternative construction of the invention which is particularly adapted for use with a strap 14 fabricated from a more flexible, less perforate material than the strap 13 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
Tests have shown that a strap fabricated from a resilient plastic material, for example, vinyl, will tend to slip more readily with respect to the buckle than one made of coarser web-like material.
Thus in the alternative construction the teeth 6a have been formed to provide the sharpest point possible for bitingly engaging the strap 14. In addition, the series of teeth 60/ projecting from the frame 3a have been directed downwardly out of the plane of the base 2a, and the lower portion of the frame adjacent the slot 4a has been squared to provide a sharp corner 15. This construction forces the strap 14 to make a sharp bend of approximately 90, depending on the thickness of the material, as it enters and leaves the slots 50: and 4a respectively. Ergo, when the strap is placed in tension by a downward pull that portion within the confines of the buckle is pulled directly into the teeth 6a; biting engagement is immediate and the almost negligible.
possibility of slippage is With reference to the foregoing description it is to be understood that what has been disclosed therein represents only a single embodiment of the invention. For example, the reference to athletic helmets in conjunction with the invention represents only a convenient form of disclosure. Obviously the novel buckle could be used with any number of articles-some perhaps widely divorced from protective athletic equipment.
Thus the description should be construed as illustrative rather than restrictive or limiting in nature; the scope of the invention being best defined by the following claims.
1. A one-piece plastic fastener having substantially parallel side bars connected at opposite ends by end bars, a base extending between said side bars and spaced from said end bars to provide slots capable of receiving a strap, a hollow tapered post extending from only one surface of said base and being closed at its end adjacent the base, and reinforcing abutments disposed along opposite sides of said post and tapering from said base toward said post, said abutments providing a resistance to forces tending to flex said post in the direction of said side bars.
2. A one-piece plastic buckle fastener having substantially parallel side bars interconnected at opposite ends by end bars, a base extending between said side bars and spaced from said end bars thereby defining strap receiving slots at opposite ends of said buckle, a continuous upstanding wall on one side of said base to provide a socket capable of engaging a stud, reinforcing abutments extending from opposite sides of said wall and tapering from said base and said opposite side bars, providing resistance against forces tending to flex said wall in the direction of said side bars, and reinforcing ribs extending from the opposite side of said base parallel to said side bars providing means stiffening said base against forces tending to flex same.
3. A one-piece plastic fastener according to claim 1 wherein said fastener has a plurality of strap engaging teeth disposed adjacent said strap receiving slots.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,871,378 8/1932 Kimbell 24-77 2,693,625 11/1954 Van Buren 2477 2,990,595 7/1961 Van Buren 24208 3,020,611 2/1962 Perrochat 24-213 X 3,049,777 8/1962 Lewin 24-213 FOREIGN PATENTS 134,883 10/1933 Austria. 152,852 3/1938 Austria. 650,156 9/1937 Germany.
WILLIAM FELDMAN, Primary Examiner. E. SIMONSEN, Assistant Examiner.