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Publication numberUS3243979 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 5, 1966
Filing dateJan 24, 1964
Priority dateJan 24, 1964
Publication numberUS 3243979 A, US 3243979A, US-A-3243979, US3243979 A, US3243979A
InventorsSilvern Reed G
Original AssigneeSilvern Reed G
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Variable key
US 3243979 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 5, 1966 R. G. SILVERN VARIABLE KEY Filed Jan. 24, 1964 NMN S Q0 N.

INVENTOR.

BY Ms flrmenlsys United States Patent 3,243,979 VARIABLE KEY Reed G. Silvern, North Hollywood, Calif. (207 Carolina St., ()lean, N.Y.) Filed Jan. 24, 1964, Ser. No. 339,968 4 Claims. (Cl. 70-411) This invention relates to lock and key mechanisms and more particularly to an improved key which can be varied in configuration to fit diiferent lock arrangements.

The variations in numbers of locks about a household or business establishment makes it necessary to retain or carry a large number of keys. Additionally, when a key is lost it is necessary for security to change all of the locks which the key will fit.

The present invention has as a principal object the provision of a single key which can be adjusted by the user to fit a large number of looks.

it is another object of the present invention to provide a key construction in which the teeth or bits of the key can be placed in various positions along the shank of the key to enable the key to fit locks with various pin arrangements.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a key construction in which the bits of the key can be placed in varying sequence along the shank of the key to increase the number of variations of bit locations upon a single key.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a key which can be utilized to open many locks but which is useless for the opening of any locks when the bits upon the key are not arranged in a sequence or location known by the user.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a variable key which is simple and efiicient in operation and which is more compact than variable keys of the type heretofore known to the art.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a key in which the locations of the bits can be varied quickly and easily by the user to adapt the key to open a specified lock.

The present invention relates to keys for looks of the pin tumbler type or other types in which a key has a plurality of teeth or bits which operate upon pins or other moveable members spaced longitudinally within the lock to move the pins and subsequently allow the key to turn the lock and thereby move the bolt into a locked or unlocked position. A key in accordance with the present invention comprises an elongate shank having a longitudinally extending slot therethrough into which a plurality of bits are mounted and within which the bits are slidably moveable longitudinally of the shank. Retaining means are provided along the length of the wall forming he slot to retain the teeth at specified longitudinal locations and to affix them to the shank of the key in such manner that when the key is inserted into the lock the bits are mounted upon the shank to thereby turn the pins within the lock. Means are provided to vary the sequence in which the bits are retained along the shank of the key.

The novel features which are believed to be characteristic oi the invention, both as to its organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof will be better understood from the following description considered in connection in connection with the accompanying drawing in which a presently preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated by way of example. It is to he expressely understood, however, that the drawing is for the purpose of illustration and description only, and is not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a view in elevation of a presently preferred embodiment of a key in accordance with the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a sectional view in elevation taken along line 2-2 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged view showing the manner in which a bit is moved into engagement along the shank of the key;

FIGURE 4 is a view in perspective of a bit removed from the key; and

FIGURE 5 is a partial view of an alternative embodi ment of the present invention.

Referring now to the drawings, a presently preferred illustrative embodiment of a key in accordance with the present invention is shown and utilizes a key blank of the type commonly known to the art which includes a head portion 10, and a shank portion 11 having a plurality of longitudinally extending grooves therein. A single longitudinally extending groove 12 is shown in the illustrative embodiment for simplicity of drawing. It is to be understood that variations in the size, location and number of longitudinal grooves such as the groove 12 may be utilized in the key blank to allow its insertion into various locks. A permanent tooth 14 or hit is shown on the key blank and it is to be understood that similar bits can be permanently located along the shank of the key. The number and location of permanent teeth or bits along the shank of the key adapts the key for a family of locks having a pin at a particular longitudinal location within the lock. That is, it four variable bits are employed and one permanent bit is positioned along the shank of the key, the key will be adapted to open looks into which the key blank will fit by reason of the longitudinal grooves 12 and which have a common pin at the location operated by the permanent bit on the shank. The other bits can then be varied longitudinally to operate the other pins within this family of locks. In the embodiment shown, four moveable bits are employed although a greater or lesser number can be used.

Along the shank of the key and extending rearwardly partially into the head 10 thereof there is provided an elongate slot 15 extending through the key. The slot 15 is defined by an upper wall 16, a lower wall 17, a first end wall 18 within the head of thekey and a second end wall 19 proximate the outer end of the shank. This slot extends through the thickness of the key and is of sufiicient height to accommodate the bits positioned therein as described more fully hereinafter. In the embodiment shown, four hits are shown in locations along the shank and are indicated respectively as 20, 21, 22 and 23. In dotted lines the bits are shown in a non-operative position near the rear end of the slot within the head of the key. That is, the bits when positioned as shown in dotted lines are non-operative and the key It can not be used to open the locks to which it is adapted. The bits may be of diifering heights below the shank of the key and may be of various configurations in the same manner as bits formed permanently upon keys of the type well known to the art. Illustrative heights and configurations of the bits are shown in the figure.

At spaced apart locations along the lower wall 17 of the slot 15 there are provided a plurality of inwardly eX- tending protrusions for locating and retaining the bits in position along the shank. In the embodiment shown the protrusions are in pairs such as shown at 24 and 25. Each of the pairs are similar in dimension and are spaced apart by a common distance to define an indentation 26 therebetween. The height to which the protrusions 24 I and 25 extend above the wall 17 of the slot are dependent upon the overall height of the slot, i.e., the distance be tween the Walls 16 and 17, and also upon the thickness of the end wall of the bit as described more fully hereinafter. The relationship between the height of the protrusions, the height of the slot 15, and the thickness of the end walls of the bit, is such that the bits can be moved to, and positioned between, the protrusions and when so positioned will not be movedby the insertion of the key in the lock and the subsequent turning of the key.

Referring particularly to FIGURES 2, 3 and 4, each of the bits contain a side wall 27 which forms the operating portion of the bit, a second side wall 28 which serves to retain the bit on the shank of the key, and an end wall 29 which positions the bit at the proper longitudinal position along the shank by mateably engaging into the space 26 between the protrusions 24 and 25. In the presently preferred embodiment the slot 15 is provided with an additional undercut portion 31 at the second side 32 of the key, the first side 33 being the side against which the hit wall 27 is engaged. As shown in FIGURE 2 the thickness of the key blank at the portion beneath the slot is less than at the portion above the slot and is sufiiciently thinner that the combined thickness of the key in the portion beneath the slot, together with the thickness of the first side Wall 27 of the bit is substantially equal to the overall thickness of the key blank alongits shank andespecially at that portion above the slot. The height of the second wall 28 of the bit is such that it extends downwardly from the slot 15 past the lower edge 17 toward the lower edge 39 of the shank as shown in FIGURE 2. Thus, when the bit is engaged on the shank the second wall 28 is in abutting relationship with the shank in the indentation 31 while the first wall is in abutting relationship with the shank at the wall 34 of reduced thickness along the shank. Thus, when engaged on the shank the portion of the shank which includes the bit is not wider than the overall thickness of the shank. It can be seen by reference to FIGURES 2'and 3 that the bits are thus slidably engageable with the slot 15 when the end wall 29 is not engaged in the space 26 between the protrusions 24 and 25. Additionally it can be seen that when the bit is in the position as shown in FIGURE 2 at which the end wall 29 is engaged in the space 26 the engagement of the walls 27 and 28 with the shank of the key prevents rotation or movement of the bit by force exerted against the bit in the manner of turning the key within the lock. That is, the bit will not rotate about the longitudinal axis of the shank when a force in the direction of the arrow F is exerted upon the bit.

The height to which the protrusions 24 and 25 extend above the lower wall 17 of the slot and the overall height of the slot is such that the bits cannot be moved longitudinally in the slot except by a purposeful tilting or rotating movement of the bit. That'is, referring to FIGURES 2 and 3, the height of the end wall 29, that is between the edges 35 and 36 is greater than the distance between the upper edge of the protrusion and the wall 16. The width of the end wall 29, i.e., the distance between the edges 37 and 38 is less than the distance between the upper edges of the protrusions and the end wall 16. Thus, the bit can be moved longitudinally when it is tipped or rotated about an axis extending transversely through the bit as shown in dotted lines in FIGURE 3. Accordingly, it can be seen that when the bit is engaged on the shank as in FIGURE 2 the bit cannot be rotated about a longitudinal axis relative to the shank of the key, but that due to the interrelationship of the height of the end wall 29 and the slot 16 above the protrusions, the bit can be tipped about a transverse axis and moved along the shank to the proper position.

In order to assure retention of the bits in their proper locations when positioned to unlock a specific lock it is sometimes desirable to utilide a retention bar such as shown in FIGURE 1. The retention bar 50 is pivotally mounted in the head of the key in such a manner as to close the slot 15 above the upper edges of the bits when the bits are positioned between the protrusions along the shank. In order to allow free movement of the bits along the slot an otfset pivoted arrangement can be provided such that when the bar is pivoted outwardly from the slot the slot is left completely uncovered for free movement of the bits. That is, in the illustrative embodiment shown in FIGURE 1, the retention bar 50 has an enlarged bear the upper wall 16 and the length such that it extends proximate to the end wall 19. An ofiset 54 is provided beneath the pivot point to allow the retention bar to be pivoted clear of the slot for ease of movement of the bits.

In order to allow freedom of sequential arrangement of the bits provision is made for the movement of one bit past another. In the illustrated embodiment this is accomplished by making the portion of the slot within the head part of the key of greater height than the slot extending along the shank. Thus, as shown in FIGURE 1 the upper wall 55 of the slot within the head is of sufiicient height that the bits can be lifted and removed from the key and replaced in different orientations. It is in this location that the bits are stored in the inoperative orientation of the key.

In FIGURE 5 there is shown an alternative embodiment in which a permanent tooth or bit 56 is positioned between two moveable bit locations. As discussed hereinbefore one or more permanent bits can be formed on the key shank to define a family of locks operable by a key in accordance with the present invention.

It can be seen that the key of the present invention can be used to operate a variety of locks and the key is especially adapted. to operate a family of locks which include one pin in a common position. Thus, for example, without changing the sequence of the bits the key can be utilized to open a lock having two pins operated by the permanent bit 14 and the fourth bit 23. The second lock can have three pins operated by the permanent bit 14, the fourth bit 23 and the third bit 22, while the third lock is operated by bits 14, 23, 22 and 21 and so forth. To increase the number of locks to be operated by [the key the sequence of pins and bits can be varied as can all of the combinations of bit locations. That is, without changing sequence combination'such as 14, 23, 20; 14, 21, 20 etc., can be used. The sequence can be changed in obvious manners. When not in use the bits can be moved into the storage part of the key and it is not possible for one not familiar with the -combination of keys and locks to determine the position at which the bits should be placed to open any particular lock. 1

What is claimed is:

1. A variable key for operating a plurality of looks from said head within said opening to predetermined longitudinal positions, means for retaining said hits at said positions, I

said bits each being of generally inverted U-shaped configuration with a first leg thereof extending beneath the lower edge of said shank adjacent one side thereof at said positions whereby when engaged in said lock said bits are positioned to be operable against the spaced members of said lock.

2. A variable key for operating a plurality of locks with differing predetermined radially movable members spaced longitudinally within the lock comprising:

a shank portion and a head portion of said key, said shank being elongated and of generally rectangular cross-sectional configuration, mateable with said locks, said shank extending from said head and defining an elongate longitudinally extending opening therethrough with a lower wall proximate the lower edge of said shank,

a plurality of bits slidably movable longitudinally from said head within said opening to predetermined longitudinal positions, means for retaining said hits at said positions,

said bits each being of generally inverted U-shaped configuration with a first leg thereof extending beneath the lower edge of said shank adjacent one side thereof and a second leg in bearing engagement with the opposite side of said shank whereby when engaged in said lock said bits are positioned to be operable against the spaced members of said lock.

3. A variable key for operating a plurality of locks with differing predetermined radially movable members spaced longitudinally within the lock comprising:

a shank and a head portion of said key, said shank being elongate and of generally rectangular crosssectional configuration mateable with said locks, said shank extending from said head and defining an elongate longitudinally extending opening therethrough with a lower Wall proximate the lower edge of said shank,

the first side of said shank beneath said opening being inset to decrease the thickness of said portion beneath said opening, said portion of said shank beneath said opening at the second side thereof defining a recess extending from the lower wall of said opening toward said lower edge;

a plurality of bits slidably movable longitudinally from said head within said opening to predetermined longitudinal positions along said shank, said bits each being of generally inverted U-shaped configuration with a first leg thereof in abutting engagement with said inset side and extending below said shank, the thickness of said leg being substantially equal to the depth of said inset, the second leg of said bit being mateable in sliding engagement with said re cess at said second side thereof;

means for retaining said bits at said predetermined positions whereby when engaged in said lock said bits are positioned to be operable against the spaced members of said lock.

4. A variable key for operating a plurality of locks with differing predetermined radially movable members spaced longitudinally within the lock comprising:

a shank and a head portion of said key, said shank being elongated and of generally rectangular crosssectional configuration mateable with said locks, said shank extending from said head and defining an elongate longitudinally extending opening therethrough with a lower wall proximate the lower edge of said shank, the first side of said shank beneath said opening being inset to decrease the thickness of said portion beneath said opening, said portion of said shank beneath said opening at the second side thereof defining a recess extending from the lower wall of said opening toward said lower edge;

a plurality of bits slidably movable longitudinally from said head within said opening to predetermined longitudinal positions along said shank, said bits each being of generally inverted U-shaped configuration with a first leg thereof in abutting engagement with said inset side and extending below said shank, the thickness of said leg being substantially equal to the depth of said inset, the second leg of said bit being mateable in sliding engagement with said recess at said second side thereof;

protrusions extending upwardly from said lower wall of said opening at opposite sides of said bit at each of said predetermined positions and a retention bar insertable into said opening above said bits when said bits are at said predetermined positions whereby when engaged in said lock said bits are positioned to be operable against the spaced members of said lock.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 195,118 9/1877 Gerard 411 X 939,679 11/1909 Freud 7O411 2,022,070 11/1935 Williams et a1. 70364 X 2,147,061 2/1939 Rice 70364 PATRICK A. CLIFFORD, Primary Examiner.

ALBERT H. KAMPE, P, TEITELBAUM,

Assistant Examiners.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US195118 *May 1, 1877Sep 11, 1877 Improvement in locks and keys
US939679 *Dec 26, 1908Nov 9, 1909Isadore C FreudKey for locks.
US2022070 *Mar 13, 1933Nov 26, 1935Knox M BroomLock
US2147061 *Sep 26, 1934Feb 14, 1939Hamilton Rice FrankPickproof lock
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3810416 *Aug 21, 1972May 14, 1974Nelms DKey-mode apparatus and system
US4875352 *May 11, 1987Oct 24, 1989Schlage Lock CompanyConstruction keying
US5211044 *Jan 14, 1992May 18, 1993Kim Kwon WUniversal lock and key
US7634930Oct 6, 2005Dec 22, 2009Strattec Security CorporationLock apparatus and method
US20110271722 *Jan 19, 2010Nov 10, 2011Bernt AdolfssonLock and binary key therefor
US20130091910 *Apr 5, 2012Apr 18, 2013Moshe DolevCylinder lock assembly with non-rotating elements
US20130298623 *May 7, 2013Nov 14, 2013Schlage Lock Company LlcVariable section key and lock
WO1993014290A1 *Jan 13, 1993Jul 22, 1993Kwon Woo KimUniversal lock and key
Classifications
U.S. Classification70/411, 70/398, 70/406, 70/401
International ClassificationE05B19/00, E05B19/18
Cooperative ClassificationE05B19/18
European ClassificationE05B19/18