US 3289685 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1 1966 A. MCCALL PARKER STEP STICK WALKING AID 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Oct. 5, 1964 T Q QGOOQQQU v rv I A @XYQOOQ mvsmon Alene McCall Parker BY EM 7pm 2% FIG.5.
ATTORNEY Dec. 6, 1966 A. MOCALL PARKER 3,239,655
STEP STICK WALKING AID A 19 E \--|o INVENTOR Merle McCall Parker BY 22a) ATTORNEY Patented Dec. 6, 1966 3,289,685 STEP STICK WALKING AID Alene McCall Parker, Laurinburg, N.C. (Rte. 1, Box 23, Windsor, N.C.) Filed Oct. 5, 1964, Ser. No. 401,452 2 Claims. (Cl. 135-45) This invention relates to walking aids. Some persons who are temporarily or permanently disabled and who require an aid in walking, find it more helpful and satisfactory to have an aid provided with a grip or grips which can be adjusted in elevation or effective height above the floor, to meet various conditions of walking as they arise.
It is the chief object of this invention to provide a walking aid which is extremely versatile due to the fact that it can be extended or shortened in effective length, quickly and without the use of tools and, when adjusted is firmly and certainly, but releasably, held in adjusted position.
Another object is to provide a walking aid which aifords two vertically-spaced hand grips each correctly positioned in elevation for corresponding uses, and which cooperate in certain conditions of use.
Yet another object is to provide a walking aid which can be quickly and easily shortened to minimum overall length for convenience in packing or storage, as in an automobile, and which can be quickly extended for immediate use. Still another object is to provide a walking aid which enables the substitution, in a quick and eificient manner, of one form of ground-engaging element for another, as the user may desire.
Another object is to provide a walking aid which may be fabricated of relatively simple parts, which is efficient and highly satisfactory to the user, particularly in its means of rapid and certain height adjustment, which can be made in weights suitable to the individual user and, in general, which is useful as a part of physical therapy programs because of its great versatility.
Other objects and advantages will become apparent to those skilled in the art, after a study of the following detailed description, in connection with the accompanying drawing.
In the drawing:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevation of the step walking aid adjusted for minimum height of hand grips above ground, and equipped with a novel foot ring;
FIGURE 2 is a view in rear elevation of the walking aid of FIGURE 1, extended to its maximum height of hand grips and equipped with a rubber tip;
FIGURE 3 is a detail longitudinal sectional view, to an enlarged scale, of the assembled upper and extension tubes in relative positions of maximum extension and with the adjustable grip assembly omitted;
FIGURE 4 is a view corresponding to FIGURE 3 but showing the tubes in relative position of minimum exten- S1011;
FIGURE 5 is a detail shown upon FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 6 is a detail broken longitudinal section taken in a plane identified by line 66, FIGURE 2, to an en larged scale, showing the top grip assembly;
FIGURE 7 is a broken detail view taken in a plane identified by line 77, FIGURE 8, showing the locking bolt in released position;
FIGURE 8 is a detail broken longitudinal section taken in a plane identified by line 88, FIGURE 2 and showing in full size the lower grip and construction embodied therein for releasably holding the parts in various heights of adjustment;
FIGURE 9 is a detail section taken in a plane identified plan view of the foot ring also by line 9-9, FIGURE 8 showing the thrust plate with central opening to guide the locking bolt;
FIGURE 10 is a detail elevation of the adjustment control button for the locking bolt; and
FIGURE 11 is a detail section as identified by line 11-11, FIGURE 8.
Referring in detail to the drawing, 1 identifies a lower tubular section preferably of light weight .metal such as aluminum. The lower end of this section is adapted for removable attachment of a foot ring or plate 2, FIGURE 5, or a conventional rubber tip 3, FIGURE 2.
An extension tube 4 has its lower end fitting within and integrally connected with section 1, as by soldering or brazing. The extension tube 4 extends upwardly and has a smooth sliding fit within upper tubular section 5 which may be of the same cross sectional form as lower section 1. Suitable means are provided to prevent relative rotation of extension tube 4 and upper section 5. In the model shown, such means takes the form of a bar 6 fixed within and extending longitudinally along the inside wall of tube 5 and having a smooth sliding fit within an elongated slot 7 in extension tube 4. Bar 6 may be secured to tube section 5 by a pair of bolts 8 passing through aligned holes in the bar and tube section. Alternatively the bar may be fixed in place by soldering, welding or brazing; or it may be formed integrally with the tube. A coupling or sleeve 9 fits about and is secured to the lower end of upper section 5. FIGURE 1 shows the collapsed or minimum-length adjustment of the parts wherein coupling 9 covers the upper end of lower section 1. FIGURE 2 shows the invention with the sections extended to maximum extent wherein, as will be noted, sleeve 9 is elevated to a spaced relation above lower section 1 so that the lower end of extension tube 4 is exposed.
In the model shown, the difference in effective lengths of the step walking aid, between minimum and maximum positions of upper section 5 on and with respect to extension tube 4, is about six inches.
At its top, section 5 is capped by a attached thereto. A tubular top handgrip 12 end fixed within the L, as by welding, soldering, epoxy adhesive, etc. In the model shown the various tubular and coupling parts are of standard A1" copper. The exposed portion of grip 12 is covered'with a rubber or plastic tubular sheathing 13 fixed thereto for improved frictional grip and appearance.
A second handgrip generally identified at 14, is located about six inches below and in parallel relation with grip 12. This second grip includes a T fitting 15 having its head portion disposed about and fixed to tube section 5. The leg portion of the T has a thrust plate or washer 17 fixed therein at its junction with the head portion of the T. Following this, a section of tubing 18 has one end fixed within the leg portion of the T and abutting the thrust plate. A rubber or plastic sheathing 19 covers tube section 18. Both sheathings 13 and 19 may be plastic bicycle handlebar grips, each secured to its tube by adhesive if desired.
A locking bolt 20 is longitudinally slidable axially of and within tube 18. Reference to FIGURES 7 and 8 shows that the bolt has a reduced inner end 21 sized for a smooth accurate guided fit in the central hole in thrust plate 17 and in each of the holes 10 in extension tube 4. FIGURES 3 and 4 show nine equally-spaced holes. Adjacent the reduced end 21 the lock bolt has a threaded portion to receive nuts 22 and 23 which coact to clamp between them a release button generally identified at 24, FIGURES 1, 2, 8 and 10. Especially from FIGURE 10 it is seen that the button consists of an annular ring 25 through which bolt 20 passes with a free fit, a neck portion 26 extending radially of the ring, and an arcuate external finger piece 27 sized and shaped for a L 11 rigidly has its inner smooth fit about the external surface of the leg of the T 15. Neck portion 26 extends with a smooth sliding fit through coextensive slots in the leg of the T and in tubular grip 14, so that, in an obvious way, the bolt may be reciprocated axially by force exerted upon finger piece 27, from a first position show upon FIGURE 8, to a second or release position shown upon FIGURE 7.
When in the first position of FIGURE 8, the reduced end 21 of bolt 20 is within a selected one of the holes in extension tube 4 and thus releasably locks upper section 5 and its grips 12 and 14, in adjusted position on and with respect to extension tube 4. A spring washer 32 between the annular portion 25 of release button 24 and nut 23 effectively maintains the button and bolt in unitary relation.
A sleeve 29, FIGURE 8, has a press fit within the outer end of tubular grip 14. The sleeve has a threaded bore 30 engaged by the threads of a spring-tension adjusting screw 31. As clearly shown, the exposed outer end of screw 31 is slotted so that it may be turned by a screwdriver. The inner end of sleeve 29 is counterbored at 32a, to receive a flange integral with and adjacent the inner end of screw 31. The flange is peripherally grooved to receive a washer 33 of neoprene or like material and which has a frictional fit within the counterbore of the sleeve, so thatit acts to hold the screw in any position of rotational adjustment to which it has been turned. A coil compression spring 34 surrounds bolt 20 and abuts at its inner end against nut 23 and at its other end against the flange of screw 31. The spring thus acts to urge bolt 20 into its locking position of FIGURE 8. By turning of screw 31 it may be advanced or retracted in and relatively to sleeve 29 to thereby vary the force with which the spring urges bolt 20 into locking position. The end of the screw within grip 14 is slotted since, in assembly this screw is inserted and turned into sleeve 29 from the forward end of the grip. As shown upon FIGURES 7 andll, the aligned slots in the leg of T fitting and in tubular grip 14, are of such length that when bolt is fully retracted its end 21 is substantially flush with thrust plate 17. Thus this plate acts at all times to guide end 21 into any selected one of holes 10 when the two are aligned. Thumb piece 27 of button 24 may be made separable from neck portion 26 to facilitate assembly of the instrument, then rigidly but detachably secured to portion 26 by a set screw or other suitable means, not shown.
FIGURE 5 shows foot plate 2, previously mentioned. This may be of generally fiat or concave dish-shaped circular form with four radial, equiangularly-disposed projections 36. Lightening holes 37 may be provided if desired. Four rubber tips 38 are attached to the bottom of the plate, each centered relatively to a respective one of projections 36. These tips are shown as attached each by a bolt 39 countersunk within the lower end of its tip. A floor flange 40 of conventional construction receives the lower end of lower tubular section 1, with a smooth fit. The two are united by a bolt 41. Of course, the foot assembly is easily detached from tubular section 1 by removal of bolt 41, following which a conventional rubber tip 3 may be substituted, as may be preferred by the user.
The operation and use will be generally clear from the foregoing description. When the user wishes, for any reason, to adjust or vary the elevation of hand grips 12 and 14 above ground, he grasps grip 14 with his fingers and uses his thumb to slide finger piece 27 back to its outward limiting position against the urge of spring 34. This withdraws reduced end 21 of bolt 20 from the hole 10 in which it has been engaged. The user is now able to slide grips 12, 14 and tubular section 5 upwardly or downwardly as a unit, to the desired new elevation. He then releases button 27 and with a slight additional movement of the grips and tube assembly, bolt end 21, under urge of spring 34 snaps into the nearest adjacent hole 10 to positively lock the grips at the selected elevation. When t.e device is to be transported, the foregoing procedure is repeated except that the grips and tube 5 are slid downwardly to the position of FIGURE 1 wherein bolt end 21 enters the lowermost hole 10 in extension tube 4, so that the instrument is in a compact condition for storage, packing, or placement in an automobile.
Thus the invention provides one or more grips at any of a number of selected positions of elevational adjustment to suit the height of the user, his preference as to the most convenient and useful heights of grips, and the conditions or surface of walking as, for example, along a highway where a shoulder on the pavement may make a greater or lesser effective length of the aid desirable. For walking under normal conditions, grip 12 with the aid in fully closed or telescoped position will be found very useful. The invention would then be used in the manner of an ordinary stick or cane. In going up steps, ramp or other inclined surface, lower grip 14 with the aid fully telescoped as in FIGURE 1, will be of great utility. This grip is also useful for getting up or sitting down. To go down steps or an incline, the extension feature may be used to increase the effective length of the aid to provide greatest assistance and safety for the user. The aid may be used in either hand, singly, or in pairs according to the wishes and needs of the user. When the device is fully extended and the user is gripping lower grip 14, upper grip 12 acts at times as a brace against the forearm, to thus afford added stability and sense of balance.
Foot ring 2, FIGURE 5, is at times very useful in giving the user a sense of added stability and balance. In using this foot in normal walking, a first pair of the four tips will first engage the ground. As the walker advances, all four tips come into contact with the ground as the aid passes through the vertical; and, as the walker advances, the second pair of tips become effective as the first pair leaves or is elevated from the surface. Any tendency to tip or fall to one side is immediately sensed by the user and a corrective force couple is applied automatically by the two tips on the side toward the incipient fall or tilt.
It is intended that adjustments to obtain a basic height for the individual user can be obtained by cutting off a measured length from the lower end of tubular section 1. When the parts are in the position shown upon FIGURE 1, sleeve 9 fits part way down over tubular section 1 and thus acts to keep out dirt and moisture when the invention is used in the adjustment shown upon FIGURE 1, that is, as a regular walking aid. It should be noted from FIG- URE 5 that lower section 1 is attached to foot plate 2 at a point offset forwardly from the geometrical center thereof. This offset or eccentric connection is so selected that when the instrument is lifted by grip 12 or grip 14 it is substantially in stable equilibrium and has little or no tendency to tilt. Furthermore, as the result of this feature, the aid will stand alone upon a horizontal surface.
The invention is useful as an aid in a program of physical therapy, as in taking passive exercise, because a satisfactory effective height of the grips is available quickly and easily, for persons over a wide range of heights, conditions of use and requirements of users of various kinds and types of disablements.
Having now fully disclosed the invention, what I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
1. An aid for walking comprising, a lower tube section, an extension tube having its lower end fitting within and fixed with said lower tube section, there being a plurality of vertically-spaced, longitudinally-aligned apertures in said extension tube above said lower tube section, an upper tube section slidably fitting over and about the upper end of said extension tube, a first hollow hand grip fixed with and extending radially from said upper tube section, a bolt slidable within said grip, from a firstposition wherein the inner end of said bolt fits within any selected one of said apertures, to a second position free and clear of said apertures, a release button fixed with the inner end of said bolt and extending through a longitudinal slot in said grip closely adjacent said upper tube section, whereby a user in gripping said grip with his fingers may engage said button with this thumb to retract said bolt to said second position, a coil spring within said grip and surrounding said bolt, first abutment means fixed with said bolt and engaged by said spring at its radially inner end, second abutment means in and secured to said grip and engaged by said spring at its radially outward end, said spring acting to urge said bolt into said first position, said second abutment means comprising a nut fixed to and within said grip and having a counterbore in its inner end, a screw threadedly engaging said nut in alignment with said bolt, and friction means fixed with said screw within and engaging the walls of said counterbore, said screw being turnable from the radially outward end of said grip, the radially outward end of said spring fitting within said counterbore in said nut.
2. In an aid for disabled persons in walking, a lower tubular section including an extension element having its lower end fitting and fixed within said lower section, there being a plurality of vertically-spaced apertures in said extension element, an upper tubular section slidably fitting over and about said extension element, first and second hand grips fixed with said upper section in verticallyspaced relation therealong, lock bolt means slidably fitting within the lower one of said grips and having an end adapted to enter any selected one of said apertures in said extension element, operating means connected with said bolt and engageable exteriorly of said lower grip closely adjacent said upper tubular section, to slide said lock bolt means from a first position wherein the end thereof is engaged within a selected aperture of said extension element, to a second position free and clear thereof, means interconnecting said extension element and said upper tubular section, and operating to limit them to relative longitudinal movement only, and a foot plate detachably secured to the lower end of said lower tubular section at a point offset forwardly from the geometrical center of said plate Whereby the instrument when lifted by either of said first and second hand grips, has substantially no tendency to tilt, and four tips of resilient material secured to the lower surface of said foot plate in equiangularly-spaced relation about and radially of said point.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 768,452 8/1904 Hennessy 13550 X 2,590,607 3/1952 Grimball 135-50 2,630,128 3/1953 Slater 13550 2,811,978 11/1957 Russell l50 X 2,960,095 11/1960 Smith 50 X 3,163,437 12/1964 Phillipson l3554 X HARRISON R. MOSELEY, Primary Examiner.
L. I. SANTISI, W. E. HEATON, A. I. BREIER,