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Publication numberUS3263823 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 2, 1966
Filing dateOct 20, 1964
Priority dateOct 20, 1964
Publication numberUS 3263823 A, US 3263823A, US-A-3263823, US3263823 A, US3263823A
InventorsGobrecht George W
Original AssigneeWalton Products Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic coupler
US 3263823 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aug. 2, 1966 G. w. GoBREcHT AUTOMATIC GOUPLER 4 Sheets-Sheet l Filed 0G11. 20, 1964 In v e nto r:

George W. Gobrecht FIG. 6

his Attorney Aug. 2, 1966 G. w. GoBRr-:CHT

AUTOMATIC COUPLER 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Oct. 20, 1964 Ilm ILmN

vGeorg@ W Gobrecht his Attorney Aug. 2, 1966 G. w. GolRcl-- AUTOMATIC COUPLER 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Oct. 20. 1964 FIG. 4

his Attorney Aug. 2, 1966 G. w. GoBRl-:CHT 3,263,823

AUTOMATIC COUPLER Filed oct. zo, 1964 4 sheets-sheem TRAIN GONTROL COUPLER CENTERIN UPLER U CKIN Il Ik Invenor'.

George W. Gobrecht,

lBy

his Attorney United States Patent O 3,263,823 AUTOMATIC COUPLER George W. Gobrecht, Broomall, Pa., assgnor to Walton Products Inc., Newtown Square, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed Oct. 20, 1964, Ser. No. 405,115 Claims. (Cl. Z13-1.6)

This .invention relates to automatic couplers for connecting electric and air lines of railway vehicles incident to their mechanical coupling.

Subway cars, generally, and some passenger car-.s are now equipped for automatic coupling, not only mechanically, but electrically and pneumatically as well, with the electric .and pneumatic couplers for connecting the electric and air train lines ordinarily mounted on the mechanical couplers. In such cars, the mechanical couplers are -of the Tomlinson or other suitable type that, when coupled, is substantially locked against relative movement to the mated coupler. The coupling of the mechanical couplers in turn is depended upon for contacting and connecting the associated electrical and pneumatic couplers. Due to the arcing that otherwise would occur because of the high amperage required, Vat least in some of the electric lines, it is customary to bring electric couplers into Contact with their contacts dead and only apply current thereto after the mechanical or physical coupling has been completed. This is accomplished by equipping a car at each end with a drum switch interposed in the electric lines through the car in advance of the electric coupler or couplers at that end for making the circuits to the couplers after the latter have been physically connected to those of the adjoining car and breaking those circuits in an uncoupling operation to ready the coupler for the next coupling.

The primary object of the present invention is to provide an automatic electric coupler for a railway vehicle which requires no drum switch for connection Without arcing to a like coupler.

Another object of the invention is to provide an automatic electric coupler which not only requires no drum switch to prevent arcing but `supplies the current required to operate a like coupler immediately on physical contact therewith.

A further object of the invention is to provide an automatic electric coupler in which, by having all but the contacts for supplying current for operating a mated coupler retracted until after physical contact between the couplers has been established, all of the contacts are enabled to be live during the coupling operation without causing arcing.

An -additional object of the invention is to provide .an automatic electric coupler in which all but certain contacts are retracted during physical coupling of the coupler and thereafter are so projected into end contact with like contacts of a mated coupler as to insure positive electrical connections therebetween despite grease, dirt or other foreign matter on the adjoining ends of the contacts.

Another object of the invention is to provide an automatic electric coupler which not only requires no drum or like switch to prevent arcing during a coupling operation but in an uncoupling operation automatically connects within-car lines to a cars battery or other individual electrical source for enabling certain of its electrical facilities yto be operated when it is disconnected from a 'train or other outside source.

A further object of the invention is to provide an automatic assembly including an improved electro-pneumatic system for operating electric couplers and, :as re- ICC quired, related mechanical couplers .in coupling and uncoupling operations.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will appear hereinafter in the detailed description, be particularly pointed out in the appended claim-s and be illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a plan view of a typical installation of preferred embodiments of the automatic electric coupler of the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a front elevational view on lan enlarged scale of one of the electric couplers of FIGURE 1 with its weather shield removed;

FIGURE 3 is a rear elevational view of the coupler of FIGURE 2, with portions broken away and shown in section to more clearly illustrate certain of the details of the construction;

FIGURE 4 is a vertical sectional view taken along lines 4-4 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 5 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view on a further enlarged scale taken along lines 5-5 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 6 is a fragmentary horizontal view on the scale of FIGURE 5 taken -along lines 6 6 of FIGURE 2; and

FIGURE 7 is a wiring and piping diagram of a preferred embodiment of the improved electric and pneumatic system for operating the improved electric and, as necessary, related mechanical couplers in coupling and uncoupling operations.

Referring now in detail to the drawings in which like referenced characters designate like parts, the improved lautomatic coupler of this invention depends for locking it to a mated coupler on a mechanical coupler and is adapted for mounting on the latter in position to couple with its counterpart on another car. According to the electric line requirements of the train consists in which it is to be used, one or more of the electric couplers will be mounted, usually at one or both sides or t underneath, on a mechanical coupler of a type capable of locking against substantial relative movement to a mated mechanical coupler. In keeping, in the typical instal-lation shown in FIGURE l, a pair of the improved electric couplers, designated las 1, are mounted on the sides of a tight-lock mechanical coupler 2 vof Athe socalled Tomlinson type generally used on subway cars. As do mechanical couplers of that type, the illustrated coupler 2 has a ilat front face 3 through which projects a spring-urged pivoted hook 4 and which has at one side of the lock a centering pin 5 land 'at the other a socket (not shown) for receiving the pin of a mated coupler. Air couplers 6, of which there usually are two, project from the face 3 above and below the lock 4. As illustrated, each of` the electric couplers 1 will usually have -a pivoted weather shield 7 which in its uncoupled position protects it from elements and is automatically swung out of the way in the course of a coupling operation.

The improved electric coupler is comprised of a housing or box 8 closed at the rear by a rear wall 9 and mounting at the front a stationary front insulator block 10 of hard rubber or like insulating material. Mounted o r seated in the stationary insulator block 10, inv laterally spaced apertures 11 extending longitudinally therethrough, are a plurality of brass or other electrically conductive contacts or contact pins of a number and multi-row or other arrangement suited for the particular installation. Certain of the contacts, ordinarily a pair and designated as 12, preferably are xed in the sense that they continuously project or extend beyond or forwardly of the usually tlat face or front end 13 of the block and, except when covered by the weather shield 7, are available or presented for end or butt cont-act with corresponding conta-cts of a mating electric coupler on another car. The remaining Acontacts 14, while also projecting forwardly beyond the insulator block when the coupler 1 is electrically coupled to another coupler, otherwise are retracted or withdrawn rearwardly into the block to the point where they are inside or to the rear of the face 13 or at least out of range of arcing with the corresponding contacts of a mating coupler on physical coupling of the couplers.

The retractable contacts 14 are moved or shifted, longitudinally or axially, between their projected and retracted positions by a movable insulator block 15 mounted, rearwardly of the stationary block 10, inside the housing 8 and movable, shiftable or reciprocable longitudinally in thev housing. Although only the retractable contacts 14 are connected for movement in unisony to the movable block 15, they and the fixed pins 12 preferably extend or project rearwardly therethrough for connection.` to the leads 16 of their respective electric lines, as by screw connectors 17 on the contacts bevelled rear ends 18, with the fixed pins desirably sliding in Teflon or like lubricious inserts 19 in the block for non-interference with the latters movement.

While movable or drivable by other suitable means, the movable block 15 preferably is moved or driven forwardly against yieldable resistance to project the contacts 14 by flui'dv pressure and returned by the resistance to` retracted or normal position on release or shutting off of the pressure. Instead of applying the forces of the pressure and.y resistance directly to the movable block 15, the latter, in the illustrated embodiment, is part of a carriage 20 having, rearwardly of the block, a force or pressure platey 21 toywhich the pressure and resistance are applied.

With the block and plate 21 as transverse members of considerably smaller size or area than and centered laterally or transversely on the interior 22 of the housing 8, the carriage Ztl-has as longitudinal members four or a plurality of guide rods 23 extending through the block andv plate adjacent their corners. Spaced longitudinally by enlarged intermediate or spacer portions 24 of the guide rods 23, the block 15 andplate 21 are fixed or secured theretoV inwardly ofthe rods ends by appropriate means, such as welding for the plate and snap rings 25 for the block. Formed as part of, rather than as slides for the carriage 20, the illustrated guide rods 23, themselves, are slidably mounted inthe housing 8, at the front in rearwardly opening sockets 26 in the stationary block 10. At the rear, the guide rods 23 slide in and extend through bushed apertures 27 in a mounting, backing or crossplate 28 narrower than the housing 8 and fixed or secured: at top and bottom to the corresponding sides 29 thereof, as by instandingy lugs 30 screwed to the housing to which the mounting plate in turn is screwed.

Spaced forwardly of the rear wall 9 and, of course, rearwardly of the force plate 21, the mounting =plate 28 mounts centrally at the front a fluid pressure applying means preferably in the form of a bellows or diaphragm piston 31. The preferred bellows 31 has a cylinder 32 on andprojecting forwardly from the mounting plate 28, in which is loosely received a piston 33 onvand projecting rearwardly from theA force plate 21'. The actuating fluid, usually air, is applied to the piston- 33 through a rubber or like diaphragm or boot 34 lining the cylinder'32 and clamped at the sides to the mounting plate 28. The pressure chamber` 35, within the diaphragm 34, into which the actuating air is introduced, conveniently is fed and exhausted through a nipple 36-fixed to and projecting rearwardly through the mounting plate 28 and coupled rearwardly thereofv to a exi-ble supply hose 37 led through the rear wall9.

Y Shiftedvforwardly by air pressure in the bellows 31', the carriage is resisted in such shifting and returned on release or shutting off of the pressure to retracted-position by return springs 38 mounted, forwardly of the force plate 21, on-double-ended bolts 39 anchored to the mounting plate 28 andl extending forwardly therefrom through the force plate. The return springs 38, of which two mounted adjacent the upper and lower ends of the force plate 21 laterally. between the adjoining guide rods 23, will usually sufiice, are contained longitudinally between spring caps 40 on the bolts 39 and act thereagainst in exerting a yieldabfle rearward force on the carriage 20 through the force plate 21. Required to move longitudinally only to the extent necessary to project and retract the retractable contacts 14, respectively for and against electrical contact, the carriage 20 is limited in its longitudinal movement, rearwardly, by spacer sleeves 41 xed to and projecting forwardly from the mounting plate 28 and receiving the bolts 39 and, forwardly, by stopy collars or rings 42 fixed to they guide rods 23 rearwardly of the mounting plate.

As in the electric coupler of my copending application Ser. No. 305,604, filed August 30, 196-3, it is preferred that the stationary insulator block 10 be removably mounted in the housing 8 and that the contacts 12 and 14 be spring-urged forwardly for maintaining electrical contact with the Icontacts of a mated coupler. For the removable mounting, the stationary 'block 10* seats against a backing ange 43 extending around rand instanding laterally into the interior 22 of the housing 8, rearwardly of the latters front end 44, and is clamped between the flange and a` retainer plate 45 by keys or wedges 46 driven radially into posts 47 fixed to and projecting forwardly from the ange. Although the flange 43 reduces somewhat the cross-sectional area of the interior 22 of thel housing 8 adjacent the latters front end 44, the opening 48 it bounds is still of sufficient area to pass the carriage 20, as well as a face plate liner 49 on which the bellows 31 and the spacer sleeves 41 are directly mounted to facilitate assembly and disassembly. Whenever necessary, access to the interior of the housing can be had through an access opening 50 normally closed Iby a removable panel 51.

The. preferred spring-urging of the contacts 12 and 14 is obtaineda by providing each contact at the outer end of its stem 52 with an enlarged head 53 that slidably fits the related aperture 11. About the stern 52 within the aperture 11 is a coil spring 54 which acts between the head 53 and a shoulder or stop 55 sli-daibly fitting the stem rearwardly of the head. In the case of the fixed contactsV 12, the abutments 55 are on the stationary block 10= and formed` by reducing the diameter of the related aperture I1 adjacent or toward the rear of the block. However, for the retractable contacts 14, the shoulders 55 are the front ends of bushings or ferrules 56v screwed or otherwise' secured to and projecting forwardly from the movable block 15 and projecting into the related apertures 11i in the projected or coupled position of those contacts. Since their springs 54 urge them forwardly, the cont-acts 12 and 14 require, to complete their connectionsfrespectively tothe -stationary block 10' and the movable block 15, only means for limiting their forward movement relative to the particular block. Due to the close proximity of the blocks 10` and 15 in the projected position of the latter, snap rings 57 on their stems 52 between the blocks and engageable with the rear of the stationary block are used for limiting t-he forward movement of the fixed contacts 12. Sin-ce in their case there is no such space problem, the retractable contacts 14 have, as their limiting and connecting means, washers 58 encircling their stems 52 rearwardly of the movable block 15 and held in place by cotter keys 59.

All o-f the contacts 12 and 14 preferably have substantially flat frontv ends 60 for end or butt contact with the contacts of a matingvcoupler and these ends are of such area as to accommodate a lateral misalignment, due to manufacturing or assembly tolerances,on the order of l/s-t inch. The leads 16 connected to the opposite or rear ends 18 of the contacts 12 and 14, are led past the sides of rather than through the force plate 21 and mounting plate 28, thanks to the narrowness of the plates relative to the interior of the box, and in one or more bunches are passed through a corresponding number of grommete-d apertures 61 in the rear wall 9.

While the current required in most of the train lines is of high amperage, that for operating electric and mechanical couplers in coupling and uncoupling operations is of too low amperage to cause arcing, particularly if, as in this invention, the work is done mainly -fby compressed air. It is for this reason that the fixed contacts 12 in the coupler operating circuits can be electrically coupled in the course of or during the physical coupling of the electric couplers and mechanical couplers 1 and 2. The electro-pneumatic or fluid system from or to which current is made available through the fixed contacts 12 during mechanical or physical coupling for thereafter electrically coupling the retractable contacts 14, must be capable, at least for subway cars, of shifting the retractable contacts to their projected positions for electrically coupling them to the corresponding contacts of the mated coupler after the couplers have been physically coupled an-d also of unlocking an associated coupler centering device. In an uncoupling operation, the operating system must be capable of retracting the retractable contacts 14 and also of displacing the spring-urged hook 4 of the mechanical coupler 2 to released or unlocked position.

In the improved electro-pneumatic or nid operating system of this invention, of which a preferred embodiment, designated as 62, appears in FIGURE 7, cornpressed air is depended on for operating not only the retractable contacts 14 and the hook 4 but also a number of the valves for controlling lor regulating the air, with the work of electricity reduced to the operation of a few solenoids. It is this miserly use of electricity that in the main is responsible for the low current requirements and consequent ability of the fixed contacts 12 tor couple electrically without arcing in a coupling operation. In the preferred air and electric operating system 62, which, with the adjoining electric and mechanical couplers 1 and 2, constitutes a coupler assembly 63, the operating and, as necessary, actuating compressed air is obtained from a reservoir 64 on the car on which the assembly is installed. The air from the reservoir 64 is led through a one-way valve 65 and normally open manually operated shut-off or cut-olf valve 66, to a dou- |ble solenoid pilot valve 67, which in the coupling position of its double-headed piston 68, shown in dot-anddash line, passes both actuating and operating air to an air-actuated differential control valve 69'. When opened by the pressure of the actuating air, the control valve 69 in turn passes operating air to the pressure chamber 35 of the bellows 31 of the electric coupler 1 for shifting the retractable contacts 14 to projected position and, as actuating air, to two air-actuated differential shut-off or cut-off valves, one 70, in the main air brake pipe 71 and the other 72, in the reservoir air pipe 73, through which the reservoirs of the cars in the train are supplied, for opening these pipes to the air couplers 6 mounted on the coupler 2. This action, while obtainable by a suitable time-delay switch responsive to the electric coupling of the fixed contacts 12, is obtained in the illustrated system by the 'momentary closing of a coupling button or like spring switch 74 which usually will be in an operating cab or at some other convenient location on or off the train. This sends current to energize the coupling solenoid 75 and shift the piston 68 of the pilot valve 67 to the open position shown in dot-and-dash line. In a coupling operation this is the sole function performed by electricity in the system 62.

Particularly suited for use on subway cars, the system 62 includes a conventional coupler centering device for such cars, which is shown in FIGURE 7 by a box so labelled and designated herein as 76. Conventionally, the centering device Iis slidably mounted on a radial carrier bar (not shown) and is free to slide on that bar to accommodate swinging of the mechanical coupler 2 when the latter is coupled, but otherwise is locked to the bar, particularly to prevent free swinging of the coupler, when it is the last on =a train, in rounding curves. The locking is by a spring-urged lock (not shown) which is releasable by air pressure and it therefore is essential that air pressure be available to the device 67 throughout the intervals in which the coupler 1 is coupled. This effect is produced in the illustrated system by connecting the centering device 76 to the reservoir l-ine 73, beyond the air actuated cut-off valve 72, so that the device will be unlocked by the opening of that valve in a coupling operation and remain unlocked until the Valve is closed in an unlocking operation.

In an uncoupling operation the operator momentarily closes an uncoupling button or like sW-itch 77, which energizes the uncoupling solenoid 78 of the pilot valve 67 to shift its piston 68 to the closed or uncoupling position shown in solid line and also the solenoid 79 for an airbalanced operating valve 80, the latter to admit operating air to the unlocking device 81 for displacing the hook 4 to unlocked position. The shifting of the piston 68 of the pilot valve 67 to closed position shuts off the flow of air to the control valve 69, thus permitting the latter to be closed by its spring 82 and shutting off air to the bellows 31 in the electric coupler and the shut-off valves 70 and 72 in the air brake and reservoir lines 71 and 73. To bleed the line beyond the valve 69 so that the retractable contacts 12 can be retracted and the valves 70 and 72 closed by the related springs, the control valve should be delayed in its closing and this is accomplished by leading the actuating air from the control valve, in the closed position of the pilot valve 67, to a restricted atmospheric bleed 83 'in the pilot valve.

The system of FIGURE 7 includes a very desirable adjunct to the electric coupler 1 in the form of a microswitch 84 which is open when the coupler is electrically coupled but otherwise closed to complete a within-car circuit 85 from the cars battery 86 to its electric facilities, such as the lights 87, required to be operated when the car is standing alone. To operate as intended, the microswitch 84 conveniently is mounted in the housing 8 on the mounting plate 28 facing toward and in position to be closed by the force plate 21 after the carriage 20 returns to retracted position in an uncoupling operation.

A feature of the system 62 is its ability, in the intervals' in which the electric and mechanical couplers 1 and 2 are coupled, to hold the air pressure required to maintain this condition, despite a break in the line through which air is fed into the system from the reservoir line 73 at some point in advance of the pilot valve 67. In an uncoupling operation, in which the piston 68 of the pilot valve is shifted to the position shown in solid line, the operating air line 88 beyond that valve isfree to bleed to atmosphere through the main bleed port 89, while the actuating air in the control valve 69 is bled slowly through the actuating air line 90 and the restricted bleed oriiice 83 to delay closing of the control valve until the operating air is fully bled. However, on a break in the feed air line to the inlet port 91 of the pilot valve 67 with the piston 68 in its coupled or coupling position shown in dot-and-dash line, both the operating air from the line 88 and the actuating air from the line 90 will be dumped through the inlet port. Consequently, since there is comparatively little actuating air to be dumped and its dumping will be unrestricted, the control valve 69 will close, immediately upon the break, under the force of its spring 82 and effectively block bleeding of air in the line therebeyond, thus insuring maintaining of the operating pressure in the bellows 31 of the electric coupler 1 and of the actuating air pressure in the cut-olf valves 70 and 72 in the air brake and reservoir lines 71 and 73.

With the positive electric line 92 alternately connectable by the switches 74 and 77 to the coupling electric' line 93 and the uncoupling electric line 94 and the coupling and uncoupling lines connected by the related of the leads 16 to the fixed contacts 12, operation of either switch from the cab or other control point in which it is located, will operate the adjoining or physically mated coupler assembly in the same manner and at the same time, if that assembly is operated by a like system. However, if the adjoining assembly is of the type using a drum switch for energizing and de-energizing the contacts of its one or more electric couplers, the action will not be substantially instantaneous, as in the improved system, but will take from 1A-% minute, depending on the type of the switch. In installations in which the improved system 62 must be adapted for `use both with like systems and with systems using drum switches, it therefore Will be necessary to insert inl the improved system suitable time-delay devices, indicated at 95, for holding the coupling and uncoupling circuits of the-lines 93 and 94 closed during the interval required for operation of the drum switch and also thermal or other time-delay devices 96 in the leads to the solenoids 75 and 78, to delay operation of the pilot valve 67 for the same interval. As in a conventional system, a train control trip cock, ind-icated at 97,. is connected to the cut-olf valve 70 for dumping the air in the brake line 71 and setting the car brakes (not shown) independently of a normal braking operation.

Whether or not the system 62 incorporates the timedelay devices 95 and 96, the retractable pins 14, when they are shifted forward to coupling position in a coupling operation, are so shifted with such force, by the application of pressure to` the bellows 31, as to apply in effect hammer blows tothe ends of the corresponding contacts of the electric coupler to which the coupler 1 is then physically mated. As a consequence and as opposed toa conventional electric coupler, the improved coupler 1 not only responds instantaneously to the application of air to the bellows 31, but insures that its retractable contacts will couple electrically with those of the physically mated coupler, despite oil, dirt or other foreign matter on the ends of the contacts. The use of the preferred bellows 31 for driving the retractalble pins 14 into coupling position, also has the advantage that the diaphragm 34 is substantially proof against leakage during the intervals in which the coupler 1 is coupled,

From the above detailed description it will be apparent that there have been provided improved automatic electric coupler and an operating system therefor, which have numerous advantages over those heretofore employed on subway and other railway vehicles. It should be understood that the described and disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention and that all modifications are inten-ded to be included that do not depart from the spirit of the invention and the scope of the appended claims.

Having described my invention, I claim:

1. In a coupler assembly for a railway car mechanically couplable to a mating assembly, an electric coupler comprising an insulator block, a plurality of contacts mounted in said block for direct end surface contact in electric coupling position with corresponding contacts of an electric coupler of said mating assembly, said mounted contacts being connected directly to electrical leads and energized prior to physical contact with said corresponding contacts, at least certain of said mounted contacts being retractable in said block out of arcing range of said corresponding contacts, and means connected to said -certain contacts for holding said certain contacts retracted during mechanical coupling of said assemblies and thereafter projecting said certain contacts to said coupling position.

2. In a coupler assembly for a railway car mechan` ically couplable to a mating assembly, an electric coupler comprising an insulator block, a plurality o-f contacts mounted in said block for direct end surface contact in electric coupling position with corresponding4 contacts of an electric coupler of said mating assembly, said mounted contacts being connected directly to electrical leads and energized prior to physical contact with said corresponding contacts, at least certain of said mounted contacts being 4retractable in said block out of -arcing range of said corresponding contacts, and means connected to said certain contacts for holding said certain contacts retracted during mechanica-l coupling of said assemblies and thereafter projecting said certain contacts to said coupling position.

3. In a coupler assembly for a railway car mechanically couplable to a mating assembly, an electric coupler comprising 4an insulator block, a plurality of contacts mounted in said block for direct end surface contact within predetermined transverse limits in electric coupling position with corresponding contacts of an electric coupler of said mating assembly, said mounted contacts being connected directly to electrical leads and energized prior to physical contact with said corresponding contacts, at .least certain of said mounted contacts being retractable in said block out of arcing range of said corresponding contacts, :and means movable relative to said stationary block and connected to said certain contacts for holding said certain contacts retracted during mechanical coupling of said assemblies and thereafter .projecting said certain contacts to said coupling position.

4. In a coupler assembly for a railway car mechanically couplable to a mating assembly, an electric coupler comprising an insulator block, a plurality of contacts andV mounted in said block for direct end surface contact in electric coupling position with corresponding contacts of anV electric coupler of said mating assembly, said mounted contacts being connected direct-ly to electrical leads and energized prior to physical contact with said corresponding contacts, at least certain of said mounted contacts being retractable in said block out of arcing range of said corresponding contacts, and means including an insulator block movable relative to said stationary lblock and connected to said certain contacts for lholding said certain contacts retractedv during mechanical coupling of said assemblies and thereafter projecting said certain contacts to said coupling position.

5. In a coupler assembly for a railway car mechanically couplable to a mating assembly, an electric coupler comprising a housing7 a stationary insulator block in said housing, a plurality of contacts connected directly to electrical leads and mounted in said block for direct end surface contact in electric coupling position with corresponding contacts of an electric coupler of said mating assembly, at least certain of said mounted contacts being retractable in said block out of arcing range of their corresponding contacts, :and means in said housing including an insulator block rearward of and movable relative to said stationary block, said movable block being connected to said certain contacts for holding said certain cont-acts retracted during mechanical coupling of said assemblies and thereafter projecting said certain contacts to said coupling position.

6. In a coupler assembly for a railway car mechanically couplable to a mating assembly, an electric couconnected to said certain contacts for retracting and` projecting said -certain contacts from and to said coupling position, spring means acting through said movable block for yielda-bly holding said certain contacts re- 9, tracted, and duid-actuated means acting through said movable b-lock and against said spring means for projecting said certain contacts to said coupling position after mechanical coupling of said assemblies.

7. In a coupler assembly for a railway car mechanically couplable to a mating assembly, an electric coupler comprising a housing, -a stationary insulator block in said housing, a plurality of contacts connected direct- 'ly to electricalleads and mounted in said block for direct end surface contact within predetermined transverse limits in electric coupling position with corresponding contacts of an electric coupler of said mating assembly, at least certain of said mounted contacts being retractable in said block out of arcing range of their corresponding contacts, an insulator block in said housing rearward of and movable relative to said stationary block and connected to said certain contacts for retracting and projecting said certain contacts Ifrom and to said coupling position, spring means acting through said movable block for yieldably holding said certain contacts retracted, and a fluid-actuated bellows in said housing acting through said movable block and against said spring means for projecting said certain contacts to said coupling position after mechanica-l coupling of said assemblies.

8. In a coupler assembly for a railway car mechanically couplable to a mating assembly, an electric coupler comprising a housing, `a stationary insulator block in said housing, a plurality of contacts connected directly to electrical leads mounted in said block for direct end surface contact within predetermined transverse limits in electric coupling position with corresponding contacts of an electric coupler of said mating assembly, at least certain of said mounted contacts being retractable in said block out of arcing range of their corresponding contacts, a carriage in said housing rearward of and reciprocable toward and away from said stationary block, said carriage including an insulator block connected to said certain contacts for retraction and projection thereof firom land to said coupling position, spring means acting on said carriage for normally holding said certain contacts retracted from coupling position, and a fluid-'actuated bellows acting on said carriage for projecting said certain contacts to coupling position after mechanical coupling of said assemblies.

9. In a railway coupler assembly mechanically couplable to a mating assembly, an electric coupler comprising a Ihousing, a stationary insulator block in a front end of -said housing, a movable insulator block in said housing rearward of and reciprocable toward and away from said stationary block, a plurality of contacts shiftable axially and extending through said blocks and individually connected rearwardly thereof to corresponding electric lines, spring means for yieldably projecting each of said contacts forwardly from said stationary block for end contact in electric coupling position with a corresponding contact of an electric coupler of said mating assembly, certain of said first-named contacts being connected to said movable block for retraction and projection thereby from and to said coupling position, spring means in said housing and acting through said movable block for yieldably holding said certain contacts in retracted position, and fluid-actuated means in said housing and acting through said movable block and against said spring means for projecting said certain contacts to said coupling position after mechanical coupling of said assemblies.

10. In a railway coupler assembly mechanically couplable to a mating assembly, the combination of an electric coupler comprising an insulator block, retractable and fixed contacts mounted in said block for end contact in electric coupling position with corresponding contacts of an electric coupler of said mating assembly, means yieldably holding said retractable contacts retracted in said block from said coupling position, and electro-fluid means for energizing said retractable and fixed contacts '10 prior lto a coupling operation and projecting said retractable contacts into said coupling position on mechanical coupling of said assemblies.

11. In a railway car coupler assembly mechanically couplable to a mating assembly, the combination of an electric coupler comprising an insulator block, retractable and fixed contacts mounted in said block for end contact in electric coupling position with corresponding contacts of an electric coupler of said mating assembly, means yieldably holding said retractable contacts retracted in said block from said coupling position, and electro-Huid means effective in a coupling operation for energizing said retractable and fixed contacts prior thereto and projecting said retractable contacts to coupling position on mechanical coupling of said assemblies, said electro-fluid means in an uncoupling operation being effective to retract said retractable contacts from said coupling position and mechanically uncouple said assemblies.

12. In a railway car coupler assembly mechanically couplable to a mating assembly, the combination of an electric coupler comprising an insulator block, retractable and fixed contacts mounted in said block for end contact in electric coupling position with corresponding contacts of an electric coupler of said mating assembly, means yieldably holding said retractable contacts retracted in said block from said coupling position, means for projecting said retractable contacts into said coupling position on mechanical coupling of said assemblies, and switch means connected to said first-named electric coupler and closed by retraction of said retractable contacts for closing within-car circuit means on uncoupling of said assemblies.

13. In a railway coupler assembly mechanically couplable to a mating assembly and including mechanical and air couplers, the combination of an electric coupler comprising an insulator block, retractable and fixed contacts mounted in said block for end contact in electric coupling position with corresponding contacts of an electric coupler of said mating assembly, means yieldably holding said retractable contacts retracted in said block from said coupling position, electro-Huid means effective in a coupling operation for energizing said retractable and fixed contacts prior thereto land after mechanical coupling of said assemblies by fiuid pressure opening air lines to said air couplers and projecting said retractable contacts to said coupling position, said electro-fluid means in an uncoupling operation being effective to retract said retractable contacts, close said air lines and mechanically uncouple said assemblies, and said electro-duid means including valve means operative on breaking of a fluid supply line in advance thereof with said assemblies coupled for holding said contacts in said coupling position and said air lines open.

14. In a Irailway coupler assembly mechanically couplable to a mating assembly and including mechanical and air couplers and centering means for the mechanical coupler, the combination of an electric coupler comprising an insulator block, retractable and fixed contacts mounted in said block for end contact in electric coupling position with corresponding contacts of an electric coupler of said mating assembly, means yieldably holding said retractable contacts retracted in said block from said coupling position, and electro-fluid means effective in va coupling operation for energizing said retractable and fixed contacts prior thereto and on mechanical coupling of said assemblies projecting said retractable contacts to said coupling position, opening air lines to said air couplers and unlocking said centering means, said electro-fluid means in an uncoupling operation being effective to retract said retractable contacts from said coupling position, mechanically uncouple said assemblies and lock said centering means.

15. In a railway car coupler assembly mechanically couplable to a mating assembly and including a mechanical coupler, the combination of an electric coupler comprising an insulator block, retractable and xed contacts mounted in said block for end contact in electric coupling position with corresponding contacts of an electric coupler `of said mating assembly energized prior to said end contact, means operative when said fixed contacts are in Contact with corresponding contacts of said mating assembly for projecting and retracting said retractable contacts without arcing respectively into and out of contact with corresponding contacts of said mating assembly, and electric switch means electrically connected to said fixed contacts and drawing non-rcing amperage for controlling operation of said projecting and retracting means.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS ARTHUR L. LA POINT, Primary Examine.

B. PAUST, Assistant Examiner.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent N6. 3,263,823 August 2, 1966 George w. Gebreeht It ie hereby Certified that errer appears in the above mmbered patent requiring correction and that the said Letters Patent should read as corrected below.

Column 7, line 71, beginning with "2. In a coupler strike out al1 to and including "coupling position," in column 8, line 10; column 8, line 11, for "3" read Z line 28, for "4" read 3 line 44, for "5" read 4 line 60, for "6" read 5 column 9, line S, for "7" read 6, line 25, for "8" read 7 line 45, for "9" read 8 line 67, for "10" read 9 column 10, line 4, for "11" read 10 line 19, for "12" read 11 line 33, for "13" read 12 line 54, for "14" read 13 line 73, for "15" read 14 in the heading to the printed specification, line 7, for "15 Claims" read 14 Claims Signed and sealed this 28th day of November 1967.

(SEAL) Attest:

EDWARD M. FLETCHER,JR. EDWARD J. BRENNER Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1353557 *Jul 7, 1917Sep 21, 1920Ohio Brass CoMultiple electric air and car coupling
US1412384 *Apr 4, 1917Apr 11, 1922Westinghouse Air Brake CoCombined car and electric coupling
US1442241 *Feb 19, 1921Jan 16, 1923Alexander AdamsonClutch
US2132977 *Jan 26, 1937Oct 11, 1938Westinghouse Air Brake CoControl switch for automatic couplers
US3067883 *Feb 25, 1957Dec 11, 1962Westinghouse Air Brake CoAutomatic coupler for railway cars
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3499545 *Nov 29, 1967Mar 10, 1970Dresser IndAutomatic electric coupler
US4049128 *Nov 18, 1976Sep 20, 1977Westinghouse Air Brake CompanyControl system for automatic railway car coupler
US4892204 *Jun 2, 1988Jan 9, 1990General Signal CorporationAutomatic coupler control system
US4957208 *May 24, 1989Sep 18, 1990American Standard Inc.Multiple contact electrical connector portion for an automatic railway coupler
US6290079Mar 16, 2000Sep 18, 2001Sharma & Associates, Inc.Coupler for railroad cars
Classifications
U.S. Classification213/1.6, 213/212, 213/12
International ClassificationB61G5/00, B61G5/06
Cooperative ClassificationB61G5/06
European ClassificationB61G5/06