US 3372836 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 12, 1968 T. E. SMITH 3,372,836
GAS CYLINDER CAP AND HINGE THEREFOR Filed April 18, 1966 FIG- I FIG-2 INVENTOR.
United States Patent Office 3,372,836 Patented Mar. 12, 1968 3,372,836 GAS CYLINDER CAP AND HINGE THEREFOR Troy E. Smith, 2018 Bishop Road, Belmont, Calif. 94002 Filed Apr. 18, 1966, Ser. No. 543,381 2 Claims. (Cl. 22085) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention provides a protective cap for attachment to the top of a high-pressure gas cylinder, or the like, and is embodied as upper and lower members with a substantial opening adjacent the bottom of the upper member, and two members mating along an inclined edge extending upwardly from the bottom of this opening to a hinge at the top of the inclination so that the top, or upper member, is pivotally mounted upon the lower member. The lower member is adapted to be attached, as by threaded engagement, onto the top of a gas cylinder, and a latch is provided for holding the two members of the cap together.
the cylinder is conventionally protected by a threaded cap, screwed upon the top of the cylinder to protect the valve during shipping and storage. These cylinders are re-usable; and, consequently, extensively handled during shipping and storage. Although gas cylinders of the abovenoted type are generally employed with a large variety of gases, particular attention is invited to the use thereof with oxygen which finds wide applicability both in industry and medicine.
In connection with conventional gas cylinders adapted to contain gases under high pressure, the present invention provides an improvement in the protective cap therefor. More specifically, the present invention removes the prior art difficulty of threading and unthreading the protective cap from a gas cylinder, so as to, thus, materially reduce the time and effort required in utilizing gas cylinders. It is to be appreciated that protection of the gas cylinder valve during storage and shipping, as well as during utilization under certain circumstances, is quite necessary. Any damage to this valve could allow highpressure gas to escape from the cylinder with disastrous results, or, at least, cause considerable difficulty in utilizing the gas Within the cylinder. It is furthermore noted in this respect that, inasmuch as a number of manufacturers produce gas cylinders, the protective caps thereof are not interchangeable, inasmuch as some are of different sizes than others; and, not all protective caps have the same thread thereon for threaded engagement with the top of the cylinder. Because of this non-uniformity, difliculty is often encountered in replacing the protective cap from an empty cylinder, as the proper cap may well have become misplaced or lost during the period in which the cylinder is in use. A further disadvantage of conventional gascylinder caps lies in the time and difiiculty often encountered in cap removal. Although this difficulty is apparent in industry, it is even more important in the field of medicine wherein extremely rapid access to highpressure oxygen in a new cylinder, for example, may be very important under emergency circumstances. It is commonly accepted that suflicient difficulty is involved in opening a new cylinder of oxygen that a mechanic, or the like, is necessary. In actuality the threaded engagement of conventional protective caps with gas cylinders normally requires a considerable amount of physical strength to unscrew the cap for use of the cylinder; and, thus, a nurse, for example, is often entirely unable to remove this protective cap without assistance.
The present invention provides an improved hinged cap construction which positively protects the cylinder valve at all times; and, yet, which may be moved out of covering relationship with the cylinder valve for attachment of appropriate gauges and lines thereto, in the preferred embodiment illustrated herein, for maintaining the cap in normally closed position during removal of gas from the cylinder. The cap hereof may also automatically return to closed position, wherein the valve is fully protected, but is yet to be connected to outlet lines, or the like. The improved cylinder cap of the present invention requires only simple unlatching and simple pivoting by wrist action to make the cylinder valve available. Furthermore, the spring hinge of the present invention provides for maintaining the cap locked in closed, protective position during utilization of the gas cylinder. This, then, not only provides the above-noted advantages, but, furthermore, prevents the loss or misplacement of the protective cap which need never be removed from the cylinder.
Considering now the present invention in connection with a single preferred embodiment thereof, reference is made to the accompanying drawing wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a side-elevational view of a gas cylinder cap in accordance with the present invention, and illustrating in dash lines the attachment of gas gauges;
FIGURE 2 is a front-elevational view of the cap of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a side-elevational view of the cap attached to a gas cylinder and pivoted into open position for valve operation; and,
FIGURE 4 is an elevational view of the cap hinge of the present invention.
Referring now to the illustrated embodiment of the present invention, it will be seen to be shown in FIGURE 1 a protective cap 11, having a hollow, generally cylindrical upper portion 12 and a lower cylindrical portion 13 that may be internally threaded as indicated by 14. Intermediate the upper and lower cap portions 12 and 13, the cap may be bellied outwardly, somewhat as illustrated at 16, to afford additional internal space for a valve of the gas cylinder, although this intermediate portion may also be cylindrical as an extension of the upper portion 12. The present invention provides for division of this protective cap 12 into two separate portions. denominated by the numeral 17 and 18 in the drawings. This division is accomplished by a cut 19 diagonally across the cap as illustrated in the drawing. This separation or dividing line 19 extends across the cylindrical cap at an angle with a hinge 21 connecting the upper and lower cap portion 17 and 18 at the upper end of the cut 19. The upper portion 17 of the cap may have a side cutout 22 as illustrated in FIGURE 2 so that pressure gauges 23 may be connected to a cylinder valve 24 within the cap while the cap is closed. it is to be appreciated that the valve and the gauges form no part of the present invention; however, the protective cap hereof does cooperate therewith in such a manner that the cap may be closed during release of gas from a cylinder upon which the cap is disposed.
Considering somewhat further the application of the present invention, it will be noted from FIGURE 3 that the cap 11 is affixed to the top of a gas cylinder 26 as desired. conventionally, gas cylinders are provided with a threaded top having a valve 24 extending upwardly therefrom. The cap 11 of the present invention is secured to the top of the cylinder about the cylinder valve 24, so as to provide for complete protection for this valve at all times. This protection is particularly important during shipping, handling and storage of the gas cylinder, for inadvertent, forceable contact of the cylinder valve with other objects, such as another cylinder, might render the valve inoperative or, even worse, might break off the valve so as to allow high-pressure gas to escape from the cylinder. With the cap secured upon the cylinder, the valve 24 is fully protected, for the cap hereof is normally maintained in closed position, i.e., the upper portion 17 rests upon the lower portion 18 in the manner illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 2. The relatively small opening 22 in the upper portion of the cap is not large enough to comprise any danger to the cylinder valve. This opening 22, is however, arranged for alignment with the outlet of the cylinder valve.
In accordance with the present invention, there is additionally provided means for maintaining the upper portion 17 of the cap in a normal, closed position. This may be accomplished in a variety of ways and a positive locking is preferably provided by a small latch 31 disposed interiorly of the cap adjacent the opening 22 and operable therethrough. In addition to this positive latch 31, the cap of the present invention is provided with the spring-loaded hinge 21 which locks with the upper and lower portions of the cap together.
Referring to FIGURE 4, there is illustrated the cap hinge of the present invention, and it will be seen by reference thereto that the hinge includes upper and lower hinge plates 41 and 42, respectively, with alternately hooked interlocking portions thereof defining a transverse cylindrical chamber within which is disposed a hinge pin 43. This hinge pin has a flanged end 34, and at least one laterally protuding lug 46 disposed longitudinally of the pin as illustrated. The hinge is spring loaded by means of a spring 47 compressed between the pin flange 44 and one end of the hinge plates. An additional spring 48 is maintained in compression between a hinge portion and the pin or lug 46. With regard to operation of this hinge, it will be appreciated that the springs 47 and 48 urge the hinge pin to the left; and, as shown, the hooked portions of the hinge plates 41 and 42 are slotted at 49 and 51 to receive the hinge pin lugs 46 as they are urged into the slot by the spring action. in this condition, the hinge is locked and the hinge is so arranged upon the cap portions 17 and 18 that the hinge-lock position is one in which the upper cap portion 17 is pivoted closed. In order to move the upper portion 17 of the cap, it is necessary then to press upon the flanged end 44 of the hinge pin, so as to move the pin lugs 45 out of the hinge plate slots by compression of the springs 47 and 48. When the hinge pin is so moved, the upper portion 17 of the cap may be rotated, as the hinge is free then to move. It is this position which is illustrated in FIGURE 3 for the purpose of showing the cap opened for attachment of outlet lines and pressure gauges to the cylinder valve 24. After such connection is made, the top portion 17 of the cap is rotated downwardly at the closed position, again covering the valve 24 for full protection thereof. If desired, the hinge itself, or an alternative spring member, may be employed to normally urge the upper cap portion 17 downwardly into closed position; however, it has been found, at least for many 4 applications of the present invention, that connection and disconnection of elements to the cylinder valve are most easily accomplished if the upper cap portion remains open, i.e., upwardly pivoted without the necessity of holding it there.
It will be seen from the foregoing that the protective cap of the present invention is easily operated for attachment of gauges and lines to the cylinder valve, and operation of the cylinder valve for releasing gas from the cylinder or cutting off the release of gas therefrom. Only gentle finger pressure on the flanged end of the hinge pin is necessary to release the upper portion of the protective cap so that it may be pivoted out of the way for connection of outlet lines and gauges to the cylinder valve; and, following this operation, the cap may be rotated back into protective relationship with this valve. Under no circumstances of use is it necessary to unscrew or unlock the protective cap from the gas cylinduring use of the cylinder. This, then, obviates the prior art difi'iculties of unscrewing the cap, as by means of a large wrench or the like, and possible damage to the valve threads upon cap removal. It also precludes the diificulties of cap misplacement or loss and materially simplifies the entire operation of gas cylinder utilization, at the same time retaining all of the desirable features of gas cylinder valve protection.
Although the present invention has been described above in connection with a single preferred embodiment thereof, it is to be understood that numerous variations and modifications therein are possible. It is, thus, not intended to limit the present invention to the precise terms of the foregoing description or details of illustration, but, instead, reference is made to the appended claims for a complete definition of the true scope of the present invention.
What is claimed is:
1. An improved protective cap for high-pressure gas cylinders comprising a lower hollow cylindrical member having open ends, the bottom end of said lower member having threaded means for attachment to the top of a gas cylinder and the top end thereof being inclined at a slant to the axis of the lower member, an integral upper hollow cylindrical member disposed atop the lower member and having a closed top end and an inclined bottom end mating with the inclined top end of the lower member, said upper member having a side opening adjacent the lower portion thereof, hinge means joining said upper and lower members at the uppermost engagement of the two members, and latch means disposed within the cap positively engaging said upper and lower members thereof and releasably locking said members together.
2. The protective cap of claim 1 further defined by said hinge means having a pair of hinge plates connected one to each cap part, and a spring loaded hinge pin extending through interlocking hinge plates exteriorly of said cap parts and at least one lateral lug thereon fitting into a hinge plate slot in spring positioned pin location for releasably locking said hinge in unpivoted cap part orientation.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,015,999 10/1935 Frank 220-35 2,080,728 5/1937 MacNeill et al. 220 2,593,533 5/1952 Cammarato 220-85 RAll-IAEL H. SCHWARTZ, Primary Examiner.