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Publication numberUS3336641 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 22, 1967
Filing dateJan 6, 1966
Priority dateJan 6, 1966
Publication numberUS 3336641 A, US 3336641A, US-A-3336641, US3336641 A, US3336641A
InventorsHunter Robert A
Original AssigneeHunter Robert A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Buckle structure
US 3336641 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Allg- 22, 1967 R. A. HUNTER 3,336,641

' l BUCKLE STRUCTURE Filed Jan. 6, 1966 United States Patent() 3,336,641 BUCKLE STRUCTURE Robert A. Hunter, 8 Hockahum Road, Westport, Conn. 06880 Filed Jan. 6, 1966, Ser. No. 519,150 5 Claims. (Cl. Z4-230) The present invention relates to buckles as for use on seat belts and more particularly t-o a buckle that is positive locking yet safe, economical and simple to use.

In recent years, public recognition of the protection provided by seat belts in automobiles, has accounted for very general use of such belts. Of course, such belts have also been in widespread use for many years in aircraft, speed boats and the like. As a result, a wide variety of different belt buckle structures have been proposed over the years. However, a need continues to remain for a buckle structure of universal acceptance.

A seat belt buckle should possess certain characteristic features. Specifically, it should be positive locking (not spring held), it should be simple to operate and of basically sturdy design. Furthermore, a snapping lock with an audible click n closure is desirable to signal the user. Still another desirable feature for `a seat belt buckle is that it be releasable by using only lone hand, as in an emergency. Of course, in addition to these features simplicity of design is always important both as related to reliability and t-o economy of production.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved fbuckle, as for seat -belt use, which generally possesses the desirable characteristics for such buckles as considered above.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved buckle structure which is positive locking, rugged, simple to operate and yet capable of being embodied in a unit which can be very economically manufactured.

Still another object of the vide an improved seat belt few parts, which can be tooling or the like.

One further objectl of the present invention is to provide an improved seat belt buckle which has a clean unobstructed appearance, and which is simple in use and manufacture, yet rugged and positive-locking.

Additional objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a consideration of the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which are presented by way of example only and are not intended as a limitation upon the scope of the present invention as defined in the appended claims, and in which:

FIGUREI 1 is a perspective view Iof a buckle structure constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is an exploded View of the structure of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a sectional view of the structure of FIG- URE 1 taken along line 3 3;

FIGURE 4 is a sectional view similar to FIGURE 3 illustrating engagement of the buckle structure;

FIGURE 5 is a sectional view similar to FIGURE 3 illustrating the buckle structure engaged; and

FIGURE 6 is a sectional view similar to FIGURE 3 illustrating disengagement of the buckle structure.

Referring now to FIGURE l, there is shown a female clasp 10 aixed to one belt end 12 and a male coupling 14 axed to another 4belt end 16. As shown, the clasp is simple and clean. To engage the coupling 14 to the clasp 10, the for-mer is simply inserted into the latter. Stress lapplied across the `belt ends 12 and 16 will then 4be supported present invention is to probuckle which has relatively manufactured without expensive -by the buckle structure remaining wedded. Disengaging Considering the structure in greater detail, the clasp 10 'includes a flat housing 18 (FIGURE 2) defining a flat space with opposed open ends. A pair of slidable members are then atlixed in the housing by rivet pins 20. Specifically, a hook member 22 an-d a latch member 24 are held slidable relative the open ends of the housing by receiving the pins 20 transversely through elongate slots. These pins are riveted in the housing 18.

The hook member 22 is of flat, generally-rectangular configuration with a belt-coupling integral loop 26. At the end of the member remote from the loop 26, there is formed a catch or hook 27 which is raised from the flat hook member 22. A pair of slots 28, through which the pins 20 extend are separated by a larger slot 30 in which a coil spring 31 dwells.

The hook member slides in flat surface engagement against one wall 32 (FIGURE 3) of the housing 18. The opposed wall of the housing 34 is contiguous to a slidably mounted latch member 36 (FIGURES 2 and 3). The latch member defines parallel slots 38 which re- ,ceive the pins 20 and a longer central slot 40 which mates with the slot 30 in the hook member to receivably contain the coil spring 31. The latch member 36 is of a flat U shape in section, lproviding a central section 42 carrying the spring 31, an-d extending flat end sections 44 and 46, of which the section 46 is somewhat beveled.

In the operation of the structure, the coil -spring 31 holds the hook member 22 and the latch member 36 in a central position, however, the spring is yielda-ble to permit the hook member 22 to be moved to the right as shown) and the latch member to be moved to the left. Thus, the coupling 14 is engaged to the clasp 10 by forcing the latch member 24 to the left relative the housing 18, and is released from the clasp by forcing the hook member to the right relative the housing 18.

The coupling 14 may take various forms; however, as shown it simply comprises a thickness of metal, for example, with the actual coupling section integrally formed with an elongate loop section 49 for attachment to a belt end as shown. The belt ends 12 and 16 can be attached to the loop section by stitching or otherwise as well known in the prior art.

In producing the Istructure illustratively described herein, the component parts may be relatively simply formed as by stamping from rather heavy sheet metal stock, for example. Specifically, the hook member 22 can be stamped or punched to simultaneously provide the slots and the hook Z7 therein. The coupling 14 and the latch member 36 can be similarly formed, as may the housing 18 by the addition of a forming step to form the housing into a rectangular closure. Grip surfaces 51 (FIGURE 1) at the sides of the housing can be for-med yas by grooves or other knurling either during stamping or forming of the housing.

The components of the clasp 10 can 4be easily assembled, simply by mating the hook member 22 to the latch member 24, with the spring 32 in the slots therein, then placing those units into the housing 18 and setting the rivet pins 20. Of course various other forms of pin fasteners can be employed rather than the rivet pins 20 as generally well known in the prior art.

Considering the operation of the buckle structure in detail, the unwed clasp 10 and mating coupling 14 are shown in FIGURE 3. To couple these members, Ithe coupling 14 is forced into the clasp 10, slidably displacing the latch member 36 to the left (FIGURE 4) against the force of the spring 32. When the latch member 36 is moved sufficiently to the left, the attachment coupling 14 drops downward with an audible snap receiving the hook 27 in a mating hook opening 50 in the coupling 14 (FIGURE 5). In this manner, the members are wedded and it is to be noted that forces applied as indicated by the arrows 52 and 54 in FIGURE 5, are unyieldingly supported by the buckle structure. This support results because of the positive engagement between the hook opening 50 in the coupling 14 and the hook 27 in the hook member 22. Therefore, the buckle can be `designed to support virtually any practical load.

To release the buckle, the coupling 14 is pulled or urged t-o the right, as shown in FIGURE 6, however, the force is applied not with respect to the -hook 27, but with respect to the housing 18. As a result, the hook member 22 is slidably displaced to the right, overcoming the force of the spring 32, so that the hook 27 is moved clear to the latch member 36 and the coupling 14 may easily slide out of engagement with the clasp 10.

In the operation of the :buckle structure, the engagement and disengagement occurs quite smoothly and is easily accomplished. In this regard, the beveled end section 46 and the somewhat rounded end of the coupling 14 assists in sliding the members together. In separating the members, it is to be noted that the hook 27 is slightly tapered to rearward, thus enabling the coupling 14 to raise therefrom.

Somewhat related to the ease with which the buckle can be mated and released, is the consideration that the releasing 4operation can be performed with one hand, as in the event of an emergency. This simply involves hold ing the housing 18 in the hand while urging the coupling 14 away from the housing, say with the thumb and one finger.

Another important feature of the invention resides in the simplicity with which structures embodying the invention can be produced. Specifically for example, the described clasp embodiment includes only four basic operating parts. With simplicity of this degree, the structure may be made very strong, durable and reliable.

Of course, as stated, various means can be employed with the basic structure hereof for attaching the buckle to belt ends and such devices can readily include adjustment means to vary the length of useful belt if desired.

These and other important features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art of buckles and the like, and furthermore various other structural embodiments hereof will also be apparent to such persons. Therefore, it is emphasized that the present invention is not to be limited in accordance with the foregoing illustrative example but shall be determined in accordance with the claims set forth below.

What is claimed is:

1. A buckle structure as for releasably locking two belt ends together, comprising:

a housing defining a channel of rigid walls with opposed open ends;

a hook member slidably aixed contiguous one wall in said channel for movement between said open ends of said channel;

a latch member slidably affixed contiguous another Wall in said channel -opposed to said one wall for movement between said open ends of said channel;

a coil spring means xed in a space defined by mating recesses in hook member and said latch member, for urging said first hook member and said latch member in closed relationship between said opposed walls of said channel; and

a hook engaging coupling member insertable into said channel -by forced displacement of said latch member relative to said hook member and releasable therefrom by forced displacement of said hook member relative said latch member.

2. A structure according to claim 1 wherein said housing comprises a substantially at rectangular closure defining external grip surfaces.

3. A structure according to claim 1 wherein said hook member comprises a substantially flat plate of somewhat rectangular configuration and said hook-engaging coupling member comprises a substantially flat plate defining an opening for engagement with said hook member.

4. A structure according to claim 3 wherein said hook member and said coupling member each include means for alxing a belt thereto.

5. A structure according to claim 1 wherein said hook member and said latch member are affixed to said housing by common pin means extending through elongate slots in said hook member and said latch member and xed in said housing.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,202,550 10/1965 Germany.

920,365 3/1963 Great Britain.

BERNARD A. GELAK, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3130466 *Feb 6, 1961Apr 28, 1964Andrew G CarterSimplified slide-action buckle mechanism
DE1202550B *Sep 25, 1961Oct 7, 1965Robert SchwartzkopffVerschlussschnalle, insbesondere fuer Sicherheits-gurte bei Kraftfahrzeugen
FR1330150A * Title not available
GB920365A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3897611 *Oct 2, 1972Aug 5, 1975Allied ChemEjection tongue for buckle
US4069558 *Nov 10, 1975Jan 24, 1978Ray EberhartLatch mechanism
US4567629 *Jan 31, 1984Feb 4, 1986Kabushiki Kaisha Toka-Rika-Denki-SeisakushoBuckle device
US4744134 *Nov 18, 1986May 17, 1988Aciers Et Outillage PeugeotSafety belt buckle, particularly for automobiles
US5426834 *Mar 26, 1993Jun 27, 1995Alliedsignal Inc.End release seat belt buckle
US9125458 *Jun 3, 2013Sep 8, 2015Illinois Tool Works Inc.Multi-directional buckle assembly
U.S. Classification24/653, D11/216
International ClassificationA44B11/25
Cooperative ClassificationA44B11/2534
European ClassificationA44B11/25B4