US 3280831 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct- 25, AI MCCALL PARKER STEP WALKER Filed Aug. 31, 1964 v INVENTOR Alene McColl Parker 42 Illllllll M wf 43 f ATTORNEY FIG.8.
United States Patent O 3,280,831 STEP WALKER Alene McCall Parker, R.F.D. 1, Box 23, Laurinburg, N.C. Filed Aug. 31, 1964, Ser. No. 393,230 11 Claims. (Cl. 13S-49)` This invention relates to walking aids.
It is the chief purpose of the invention to provide a walking aid which is versatile in use, ysimple and safe to use by those who require such an aid because of temporary or permanent disablement, and adaptable to a large variety of different conditions of use.
Another object is to provide a walking aid which eliminates much of the danger of slipping in use, and affords an excellent sense of balance to the user, thereby encouraging needed exercise.
A still further object is the provision of an instrument of the kind mentioned which, by reason of a special shape and construction of its foot portion, makes good contact with the oor or other supporting surface, over a relatively wide range of angles of the aid with respect to the supporting surface.
Another object is to provide a walking aid which affords several hand grips at different elevations for regular walking, descending stairs and ramps, ascending stairs and inclines, to assist in sitting down and arising from chairs and seats, and to assist the user in maintaining balance while stooping over as in picking up articles from the iloor.
Yet another object is to provide a walking aid which, while light in weight, is strong, fabricated from readily available forms and parts, which may be used singly or in pairs and which, in general, -constitutes an advance over the `art of walking aids presently available.
A further important `object is to provide a foot assembly for a walking aid, which simulates the human foot in making a step and which provides'a ne sense of balance as it makes rythmic contact with the walking surface.
Still another object is to provide a lightweight compact walking aid which is of superior utility because of its ability to stand alone upon a supporting surface.
Other objects and advantages of my invention will become clear to those skilled in the art, after a study of the following detailed description, in connection with the accompanying drawings.
In the drawing:
FIGURE 1 shows in side elevation a walking aid embodying the invention;
FIGURE 2 is a view corresponding to FIGURE 1, showing the walking aid in end elevation;
FIGURE 3 is a detail cross sectional view to an enlarged scale, taken in a plane identied by line 3 3, FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a detail cross sectional view to the same scale as FIGURE 3, taken in a plane indicated by line 4 4, FIGURE l;
FIGURE 5 is a section to the same scale as FIGURES 3 and 4, taken in a. plane identified by line 5 5, FIG- URE 2;
FIGURE 6 is a vertical section through the toe or forward portion of the foot, as indicated by line 6 6, FIG- URE 2;
FIGURE 7 is a top view of the assembled foot portion removed from the uprights; and
FIGURE 8 is a detail plan view of a portion of the arch forming a part of the foot assembly.
Referring in detail to the drawing, 1 and 2 lidentify uprights `which may, for example, be of 5X1 aluminum tubing. As best shown upon FIGURE 3, these uprights are rigidly connected at their tops, by a handgrip generally identified at 3 and which, as shown, is of relatively thin,
light-weight metallic tubing 3a of about the same diameter as uprights 1 and 2. A convenient way to connect the ends of grip 3 with the respective uprights is by means of a pair of solid metallic substantially 90 elbows 4 and 5. Thus, referring to FIGURE 3, elbow 5 may have reduced straight ends or extensions 6 and 7 each sized for a -snug lit within grip 3 and upright 2, respectively. A pair of machine screws 8 and 9 are threaded into tapped holes in these ends. Conning attention to screw 8, this passes through a central aperture in a conical spring washer 10. A washer 11 of neoprene or like resilient material ts between the end 6 and washer 10. Thus as `screw 8 is turned its head engages and expands washer 10 to thereby cause its periphery to firmly engage the inner surface of grip 3 and unite it with elbow 5. The elbow is similarly united firmly with upright 2 so that it is suilicient to identify in addition to screw 9, spring washer 12 and neoprene was'her 13. Grip 3 and upright 1 are united with elbow 4 in the same manner as has just been described. Grip 3 is conveniently covered with a tubular layer 14 of rubber, plastic or like material. The ends of this layer lie flush with the circular shoulder formed by the reduced portions of the elbows. The edges may be smoothed with a file to give a neat and attractive finish. The uprights are of such length that grip 3 is positioned at the proper height to aid the user in descending stairs and ramps.
A second grip 15 below grip 3 has its ends supported by and between uprights 1 and 2 in a manner shown upon FIGURE 4. This grip preferably consists of a length of rigid copper tubing 15 of %s outside diameter and having therein and extending therethrough, a 5%" wooden dowel 16 whose ends abut and are shaped to lit smoothly about the uprights 1 and 2, as shown for upright 1. A wood screw 17 passes through diametrically opposite holes in upright 2 and is screwed into the contiguous end of the dowel. A cover 15a of rubber or plastic tubing lits snugly over tube 15 and may be secured thereto by adhesive. Tube 15 is connected at its other end with upright 1 in the manner just described. Since dowel 16 is of hard wood it aids in rigidly interconnecting the uprights in a functionally integral way. Hand grip 15 is at the proper height for regular walking. During such use top grip 3 acts at times as a steadying brace in contact with the users forearm.
FIGURE 5 shows a cross `section through one end of the next lower grip, shown as a length of metal tubing 18 having its ends abutting and shaped for a smooth fit about the cylindrical surfaces of uprights 1 and 2, and covered with a length of rubber or plastic tubing 19 fitting snugly thereabout and, if desired, secured to the tubing by adhesive. A machine `screw 20 passes through diametricallyv opposite holes in upright 2 and threads into a rethreaded turnbuckle or core 21 within the tube. A T-butt 21a tting the end of the tube assists in assuring a fit against the upright. Grip 18 is secured at its other end to upright 1 in the same way as has been described in connection with FIGURE 5 for upright 2, so that this grip is connected in a functionally integral manner between the uprights and assists in rigidifying the instrument. This grip, just described, is at the proper height for ascending stairs and ramps, sitting down and getting up 'from chairs.
The next lower grip generally identified at 22, FIGURE l, may be identical in construction and attachment to and between uprights 1 and 2, as has been described for grip 18 in connection with FIGURE 5, so that it is suflicient to identify metal tube 23 covered by rubber or plastic tube or elliptical toe plate 24. As shown upon FIGURE 2, the plate is connected with forward upright 2 so that its major axis extends transversely, that is perpendicularly to the common plane of the uprights. It is also noted that the plate is slightly arcua-te or curved along this major axis. At its respective ends the plate has .attached to its under side, a pair of rubber tips 25 and 26. When the walker rests upright on its foot assembly, all four tips 25, 26 37 and 38 are in contact with the floor. When the user leans or sways to one side or the other, tips 25 and 26 act to steady him to provide a sense of security and balance. These tips are conveniently secured to the plate in the same way as center tip 31 subsequently described. To reduce weight, plate 24 may be provided with a lightening aperture 27 whose exact shape is not critical.
A circular aluminum floor fiange 28 is mounted centrally above and in contact wit-h plate 24 and, as shown upon FIGURE 7, has a diameter a little less than the minor or fore-and-aft axis of toe plate 24. At their forward edges, in the common vertical plane of uprights 1 and 2 the plate and flange are provided with aligned holes receiving a bolt 30. As shown upon FIGURE 6, the axis of this bolt is inclined slightly forwardly and downwardly in the aforesaid plane. The bolt passes through a central aperture in rubber tip 31 and has its lhead fitting a counterbore therein. A wedge-shaped washer 32 is interposed between the tip and the lower surface of one end of a connecting arch 41, so that by turning down the domeshaped nut 34 on bolt 30 the tip is firmly attached to the foot and, at the same time plate 24, flange 28 and washer 32 are iixedly secured together. A washer 35 of neoprene or like material fits the counterbore in tip 31 yand is interposed about bolt 30, between its Ihead and the tip, to prevent the tip from pulling off the bolt head.
Due to the forward inclination of tip 31 it is in fullarea contact with the supporting surface .as the aid tilts forwardly in response to forward movement of the user and thus assists .in reducing the possibility of slipping -as the aid is inclined forwardly at its maximum angle in use.
A heel plate 36 is connected with upright 1 and, as shown upon FIGURE 7, may also be oval or elliptical in Shape. The major axis of plate 36 is .also transverse or normal to the common vertical plane of the uprights but is somewhat shorter than the corresponding axis of plate 24. Rubber -tips 37 and 38 are fixed to the under side of plate 36 adjacent the respective ends of its major axis, as clearly shown upon FIGURE 7. All tips 25, 26, 37 and 38 are secured to their platts in the same way as has been described for tip 31, except, of course, that no wedge such as 32 is used. A second circular aluminum flange 39 is used in superposed relation with heel plate 36. Tips 25, 26, 37 4and 38 provide four-point support so that the walker will stand by itself without tilting.
To maintain the toe and heel plates in correct relation and to prevent them from turning or quivering slightly I provide an arcuate or arched connector 41 between them. FIGURE 8 shows one end 40 of this arch in plan; and from this figure, in connection with FIGURES l, 6 and 7, it is noted that it consists of a relatively narrow arched central or body portion having widened ends 42 provided with central longitudinal slots 43 for a purpose subsequently described.
' Toe plate 24, flange 28 and lthe adjacent end of arch 40 are secured to the lower end of upright 2 by a machine screw 44 FIGURE 6, which passes through aligned central holes in the plate and flange, and through slot 43 in the arch. The bolt passes through and engages conical spring washer 45 in the manner previously described for washer in connection with FIGURE 3. A neoprene washer 46 is interposed between spring washer 45 and the adjacent end of block or plug 47 so that by turning the screw, the forward parts of the assembled foot are rigidly attached to upright 2. Heel plate 36, floor flange 39 and the other end of arch 40 are connected in the same way with upright 1.
One of the features of the invention is that it may be easily Iadapted for use by persons of different heights, merely by removal of the foot assembly as a unit, by removal of screw 44, etc., cutting olf the lower ends of the uprights to make them of proper length, and reconnecting of the foot assembly. Since as shown, uprights 1 and 2 are relatively inclined at a small Vacute angle, such a reduction in length of the uprights will slightly vary the separation of screw 44 from i-ts counterpart in upright 1. It is for this purpose that slots 43 are provided in one or both ends of arch 40, namely, to compensate for such variation in separation of the screws.
A bolt 48 passes through Valigned holes in the flange, plate and arch, FIGURE 6, to hold these parts together in proper relation when detached from the upright. A similar bolt 49, FIGURE 7, holds plate 36, flange 39 and arch 40 together at the heel portion of the instrument.
I have thus provided a walking aid which fulfills all of the objects stated. The walker has features and advantages not found in any like instrument presently available. It will stand by itself-a very great convenience considering the difficulty in keeping an ordinary crutch from slipping, sliding and falling fiat on the floor. The several grips at various elevations above floor enable the user to perform for himself, movements not practicable with ordinary aids. Thus, for those suffering from arthritis, grip 15 may be used when first arising in the morning when walking is more difficult. Thereafter as stiffness lessens during the day, top grip 3 may be used with a lighter hold for quicker walking, as along the street. The walker may be used in pairs or singly as dictated by requirements of the user. Or one walker may be used with a cane. Top hand grip 3 is also very useful for descending stairs and ramps. When climbing stairs or when sitting down, grip 18 is Very useful; and when the user desires to bend over, as in picking up an object from the floor, lower grip 22 has great utility.
The foot assembly is also an important feature of the invention. Since -tip 31 is inclined forwardly, it comes into full contact with the floor as the laid tilts forwardly with forward progress of the user and this acts to reduce the possibility of slipping. Should the user temporarily lose balance and lean or start to fall to one side or the other, the corresponding tip 25 or 26 acts immediately to shift the principal point of support in the direction of leaning or falling. The user is thus helped to regain balance and to avoid the possibility of a fall. The normal four-point support formed by tips 25, 26, 37 and 38 when the walker is upright, gives an added sense of balance and security, while the slight shift of support to tip 31 as the user advances and raises tips 37 and 38, acts to steady him and adds confidence to his stride. l
While I have disclosed the form of the invention presently preferred by me, numerous alterations, modiiications, and substitutions of equivalents will be clear to those skilled in the art, after a study of the foregoing disclosure. Hence the disclosure should be taken in an illustrative rather than a limiting sense; and it is my desire and intention to reserve all modifications, yalterations and substitutions within the scope of the subjoined claims. In these claims the term ground is used to denote any surface which may be Walked on.
Having now fully disclosed the invention, what I claim y'and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
1. In a walking aid, first `and second elongated uprights, first and sec-ond parallel discrete hand grip means rigidly interconnecting said uprights in substantially parallel spaced relation at their top ends, and lat horizontally spaced points below said top ends, respectively, said elongated uprights being spaced apart by a distance at little greater than the maximum width of the human hand, and aground-engaging foot assembly connecting said uprights at'their lower ends.
2. A walking aid comprising first and second elongated uprights, means'rigidly interconnecting said uprights in substantially parallel spaced relation to define a first plane, said means comprising first and second vertically spaced parallel hand grips each connected at its ends to a respective one of said uprights at and adjacent the upper ends thereof, respectively, and a foot assembly fixed with and interconnecting the lower ends of said uprights and including a toe plate and a heel plate, each having ends offset from said first plane on respectively opposite sides thereof, and four ground-engaging tips each fixed to a respective one of said offset ends of said plates.
3. In a walking aid, a pair of tubular uprights, first and second discrete vertically-spaced grips rigidly interconnecting said uprights at and adjacent their upper ends respectively, said grips being in substantially parallel ver tically coplanar relation, a foot including a plurality of ground-engaging tips, means detachably connecting the lower end of each said upright with said foot and cornprising a pair of screws each passing through said foot and into a respective one of said tubular uprights, and expansion means within each said upright, each said expansion means being threadedly engaged by a respective one of said screws, turning of said screws expanding said means to releasably fix said foot to said uprights.
4. For use in a walking aid, a Hoor-engaging foot assembly including generally elliptical discrete toe land heel plates, means adjustably connecting said plates in foreand-aft coplanar relation with their minor axes substantially in a common horizontal line and their major axes horizontally parallel and spaced along said common line, normal thereto, a first floor-engaging tip secured centrally to said toe plate at the forward edge thereof, second and third floor-engaging tips secured to said toe plate at the respective ends of the major axis thereof, and fourth and fifth floor-engaging tips secured to said heel plate at the ends of the major axis thereof all of said tips being of resilient, friction material.
5. The assembly of claim 4, the major axis of said toe plate being arcuate and said toe plate being concave upwardly along said major axis.
6. The assembly of claim 4, said first tip having its central axis inclined forwardly and downwardly.
7. In a walking aid, first and second tubular uprights, a plurality of normally horizontal grips each connected at its ends with said uprights, respectively, and rigidly connecting the same in coplanar, spaced, substantially parallel relation, a foot assembly comprising elongated toe and heel plates, means connecting said plates to the lower ends of respective -ones of said uprights with their longitudinal elongated axes normal to the plane of said uprights, and four ground-engaging tips each secured to a respective end of said plates in and along the axes thereof, a fifth tip secured to the forward edge of said toe plate in said plane, the axis of said fifth tip extending downwardly and forwardly with respect to said toe plate, and a strip secured at its ends to and interconnecting said plates.
8. In a walking aid, first and second elongated spaced, generally parallel uprights, first, second, third and fourth hand grips each connected at its ends to a respective one of Said uprights to rigidly interconnect the same, said grips and uprights being in a common plane and vertically spaced in said plane, top to bottom, a ground-engaging `foot secured to and interconnecting said uprights at their lower ends, said first grip being at a height to be gripped by the user in descending stairs, said second grip being spaced below said first grip at a height to be gripped for normal walking, said third grip being spaced below said second grip at a height suitable for use in sitting down and arising from a seat, said fourth grip being spaced below said third grip at a height for use in bending over to pick up articles at or near ground level.
9. A walking Iaid comprising first and second elongated uprights, means rigidly interconnecting said uprights in substantially parallel spaced relation to define a first plane, said means comprising first and second vertically spaced parallel hand grips each connected at its ends to a respective one of said uprights, `and a foot assembly fixed with and interconnecting the lower ends of said uprights and including a toe plate and a heel plate, each having ends offset from said first plane on respectively opposite sides thereof, four ground-engaging tips each fixed to a respective one of said offset ends of said plates, said toe plate being transversely curved concave upwardly, and a fifth ground-engaging tip secured to said toe plate at the forward edge thereof, in said plane.
10. The aid of claim 9, said fifth tip having a central axis inclined downwardly and yforwardly in said plane.
11. In a walking aid, first and second elongated uprights, first and second parallel discrete hand grip means rigidly interconnecting said uprights in substantially parallel spaced relation at their top ends, and at horizontally spaced points below said top ends, respectively, a groundengaging foot assembly connecting said uprights at their lower ends, said foot assembly including a forward and forwardly-inclined ground-engaging tip in the plane of said uprights, and a pair of ground-engaging tips rearwardly of said forward tip and spaced from and upon opposite sides of said plane, respectively.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS D. 180,867 8/1957 De Gignac.
346,286 7/ 1886 Holland 272-70 892,218 6/1908 Brumberg et al. 211-182 X 1,039,928 10/1912 Gray 272-7-70 2,195,034 3/1940 Miller 13S-49 2,782,796 2/ 1957 Blue 13S-47 2,811,978 11/1957 Russell 13S-47.5 X 2,889,842 6/1959 McCauley 135-45 3,092,408 6/1963 Berman 287-2 X FOREIGN PATENTS 541,451 5/ 1922 France. 958,706 5/ 1964 Great Britain.
RICHARD C. PINKHAM, Primary Examiner.
A. W. KRAMER, Assistant Examiner.