US 3412436 A
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R m w o 2 m R 6 4 I 4 A w 5 6 v 6 w I V D x o M T I -ll ll h R W I MN E A ||l|| B l ll-Ill m 4 8 W. O 4 Q 5 4 Nov. 26, 1968 Filed Feb. 27, 1967 United States Patent O 3,412,436 POCKET CLIP Robert John Darst, Fort Madison, Iowa, assignor to Textron Inc., Providence, R.I., a corporation of Rhode Island Filed Feb. 27, 1967, Ser. No. 618,924 6 Claims. (CI. 24-11) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE In the illustrated embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a fountain pen cap or the like, having a generally rectangular clip mounting slot formed therein. Mounted on the cap is a clip unit including a rigid arm having a lower contact end, and a generally coextensive resilient arm. The rigid arm is provided intermediate its ends with an assembly portion which is positioned forwardly in and fulcrumed on the lower edge of the slot, whereby the rigid arm is pivotally movable between predetermined limits as defined by abutting contact between the ends of the arm and the cap. The forward positioning of the assembly portion is effected by the resilient arm which extends between and operatively engages the contact end of the rigid arm and the upper edge of the mounting slot. Further, the resilient arm is bowed inwardly to yieldably bias the contact end of the rigid arm toward the cap while simultaneously maintaining the arms in operative engagement with one another and the cap.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field the invention This invention relates to a pocket clip and has special reference to a pocket clip unit of the type employed on articles such as fountain pens, pencils, clinical thermometers, and the like.
Description of the prior art Prior to this time, two basic types of pocket clips have been used for writing instruments and similar articles. The first type includes a resilient arm, generally formed of polished or plated brass, and means for rigidly attaching one end of the arm to the instrument. United States Patent No. 1,970,611 illustrates a representative clip of this type.
The second basic type of clip assembly utilizes a rigid arm which is mounted resiliently on the instrument by means of a separate spring member, such as the structure illustrated in United States Patent No. 1,808,045.
While the resilient arm clips have been used over the years with all but a small percentage of writing instruments, they present one particularly serious problem, in that a large percentage eventually become inoperative either because of breakage or distortion. After the arm has been flexed a large number of times, frequently it will develop stress cracks which rapidly lead to breakage usually adjacent the mounting means because of a concentration of bending stress in that area. Or if the arm should be extended beyond its elastic limit, as by being clipped to a pocked made of unusually thick material, it will take a permanent set, subsequently failing to squeeze a thinner material with enough pressure to prevent inadvertent loss of the instrument.
In an effort to reduce these problems, some manufacturers have formed clips of heat treated steel, and these generally are less prone to breakage than those formed of brass. Nevertheless, they can easily be flexed beyond their elastic limit. In addition, they are subject to corrosion and other finishing problems, and thus their use generally is limited to very low-priced implements that Patented Nov. 26, 1968 are not expected to give a long service life, such as the so-called throw-away ballpoints.
The rigid arm type of clip generally is not subject to the above discussed problems, as the necessary arm movement is provided by a separate spring which can be formed of a high quality spring material capable of withstanding without damage relatively severe deflection as well as an almost unlimited number of flexures. However, this type of clip assembly has given rise to yet additional problems that have severely restricted its use. Of the many specific structures proposed in the past, most have been too complicated, expensive, unreliable or space consuming within the instrument to permit any appreciable commercial usage.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a clip unit for a writing instrument or the like, having a rigid arm and a resilient arm which .are readily assembled with one another and with the instrument and which support and supplement one another in operation, the resilient arm biasing the rigid arm while the rigid arm simultaneously reinforces and limits deflection of the resilient arm. This unique and novel structure and arrangement thus provides the advantages of but eliminates the problems heretofore encountered with the prior structures discussed above.
Accordingly, it is a principal object of this invention to provide a clip unit having a rigid arm and a resilient arm which support one another in operative position on a writing instrument or the like, and which supplement and reinforce one another in operation.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a clip unit having a pair of generally co-extensive arms 'which are rotatably displaceable together relative to the instrument on which they are mounted, one of the arms being resilient and the other rigid, the rigid arm being pivotally movable on the instrument between predetermined limits, normally adequate to permit desired clipping action, preventing deflection of the resilient arm beyond its elastic limit.
A still further object of the present invention is the provision of a clip unit which is mounted from the exterior of the instrument on which it is used, the unit including a pair of displaceable arms which support one another in operative engagement with opposed edges of a clip mounting slot. r
Yet a further object of this invention is to provide an inexpensive yet durable and efficient clip unit which has a minimum number of parts and which is not subject to breakage or permanent distortion as a result of normal use or reasonably expected abuse.
Still further objects of the present invention will be apparent readily from the following description and appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the accompanying drawing:
FIG. 1 is an enlarged longitudinal sectional view of a fountain pen cap having a pocket clip unit constructed in accordance 'with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a longitudinal sectional view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, wherein the clip arm is shown in a rotated or distended position;
FIG. 3 is an exploded view, on a reduced scale and partially in cross section, of the upper portion of the embodiment of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 4 is a front plan view of the anchoring plug of the embodiment of FIG. 1.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now more particularly to the drawings, there is shown a fountain pen cap of the type adapted for use with a standard fountain pin barrel assembly (not shown), the cap consisting of a molded plastic or drawn metal shell 12 having an open lower end 14 and a closed upper end 16. As will be understood, the shell 12 may be generally circular in cross section and provided with an attractive exterior surface finish, as by polishing, plating, or the like. Formed in the shell 12 adjacent the upper closed end 16, is a clip mounting slot 18 (best shown in FIG. 3) which is generally rectangular in configuration to define a first or upper edge 22 and a second or lower edge 20, these edges being disposed generally parallel to one another.
For purposes of attaching the cap 10 to a coat or shirt pocket, or the like, there is provided a pocket clip unit, including a first rigid clip arm 24 which may be fabricated in a well-known manner from flat malleable sheet metal, such as brass, and subsequently plated or otherwise finished to provide an attractive appearance. Preferably, the arm 24 is generally channel-shaped in cross section to define a flat outer face 26 and generally parallel edge walls 28. As will be understood by those in the art, however, other cross sectional shapes may be utilized in this invention, so long as the arm 24 is substantially rigid along its longitudinal axis.
At the lower or free end of the clip arm 24 there is provided an inwardly projecting contact 30 which is formed in the usual manner by an inturned extension of the outward face 26, with the sides of the contact 30 being closed by extensions of the edge walls 28. Further,
for a purpose to be described in more detail hereinafter, an upwardly facing aperture or space 32 is provided between the inner surface of the face 26 and the terminal edge of its inturned extension.
Disposed intermediate the ends of the clip arm 24 is a transversely extending mounting portion which may comprise a pair of substantially parallel side walls 34 formed as a continuation of the edge walls 28. The side walls 34, slightly shorter in axial length than the clip mounting slot 18, are spaced apart a sufiicient distance to snugly but slidably fit within the slot, whereby the clip arm 24 will be maintained in a substantially parallel relationship with the longitudinal axis of the cap 10. Means for mounting the assembly portion 34 pivotally on the lower edge of the clip slot 18, is provided in the illustrated embodiment by an indented surface defining a. flared recess 38 in the forward edge of each of the side walls 34. As will be noted, these indents are aligned with one another and dimensioned to straddle and pivot on the slot edge 20. Edge 20 thus provides a pivot point or fulcrum as long as the assembly portion 34 is positioned forwardly in the slot 18 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings.
"Projecting upwardly from the mounting portion 34 is an extension 40 formed as an integral part of the clip arm 24. This upper extension or end serves two functions. First, generally speaking, the average user will find it more convenient to actuate the arm 24 simply by pressing on the extension 40, as opposed to using a thumb or finger nail to lift the contact in the manner required by the usual pocket clip. Secondly, as explained in more detail herebelow, the extension forms a stop to limit pivotal movement of the rigid clip arm 24, as illustrated best in FIG. 2.
The clip arm 24 is held in an assembled relationship with the shell 12 by a second clip arm 42, which is resilient and formed preferably of a carbon steel spring material or the like. In reference particularly to FIG. 3, it will be noted that the intermediate portion 44 of the arm 42 has a definite elliptical bow, this bow being tensioned sufficiently to maintain the contact 30 under constant but yieldable pressure when the various parts are assembled as shown in FIG. 1. Thus, even if a very thin material is disposed between the contact 30 and shell 12, it will be gripped adequately to prevent inadvertent loss of the instrument.
The inner end 46 of the arm 42 is biased into contact or close proximity with the interior of the shell 12, and provided with an angular offset portion 48 which extends through the slot 18 between the side walls 34 to a position approximately midway of the height of the side walls. The elbow or apex 50 (see FIG. 3) formed by the offset portion 48, preferably is relatively sharp and adapted to abut the upper edge 22 of the clip slot 18 when the arm 42 is in operating position. As will be amplified herebelow, this abutment between the elbow 50 and edge 22 prevents rearward movement of the arm 42 whereby the recesses 38 of the mounting portion 34 are maintained in pivotal engagement with slot edge 20 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
The outer end 52 of the resilient arm may be provided with a bight portion 54 sized to enter the contact 30 through the upwardly facing aperture 32. The bight portion 54 as will be noted, FIGS. 1 and 2, is positioned in engagement with the forward interior surface of the contact 30, whereby the clip 24 is maintained against rearward movement relative to the cap 10.
Extending between the offset 48 and the outer end 52 of the spring 42 is the intermediate portion 44, a substantial portion of which is spaced from the inside surface of the clip arm 24. Thus, when the clip is moved manually from the position shown in FIG. 1 to that of FIG. 2, a major section of the intermediate portion 44 is available for flexing, whereby such fiexure and the resultant stresses are distributed over a fairly long area. The spring arm 42 accordingly is capable of withstanding an exceedingly large number of fiexures without danger of breakage. Also, because of the above described stop formed by abutment between the upper extension 40 and cap 10 when the clip arm 24 is opened for the reception of a pocket edge, the maximum fiexure of the arm 42.is limited to a magnitude which it can readily accommodate without exceeding its elastic limit.
In the illustrated embodiment, the inner end 46 of the arm 42 is maintained position contiguous to the inner surface of the shell 12 by means of a plug 56, as best shown in FIG. 4. The plug 56, preferably molded from a rigid or semirigid plastic resin, is provided with a recess 58 running from its upper end to a position slightly below the clip mounting slot 18. This recess 58 should be of such depth and width that it will clear the side walls 34 of the mounting portion while still maintaining a biasing or tensioning presure on the inner end 46 of the arm 42.
Disposed forwardly of the plug 56 is a retainer member 60 of a type well known to those in the art, having a plurality of inwardly bowed spring fingers 62 adapted to slidably grip the fountain pen barrel (not shown) intended for use with cap 10.
One of the advantages of the present invention is the small amount of space occupied within the cap 10 by the mounting portion 34 and the inner end 46 of the arm 42. Thus, the plug 56 may serve the added function of an inner cap adapted to receive and seal the point of the pen with which the cap 10 may be used. This dual function is accommodated by the bore 64, which extends substantially to the upper end of the plug 56 and which is dimensioned to receive and closely fit a point of a pen in a well-known manner.
The assembly of the above described embodiment is quite simple and rapid, the worker merely (1) inserting the bight portion 54 of the resilient arm 42 into the upwardly facing opening 32 in the contact 30, (2) positioning the mounting portion 34 and inner end 46 in the slot 18, and (3) moving the arm forwardly to engage the recess 38 within the lower edge 20. The plug 56 is then pushed into the shell 12, the recess 58 being aligned with the mounting portion 34. As the plug 56 is pushed rearwardly in the shell 12 the rounded end thereof will engage the inner end 46 of the resilient arm 42 and cam it outwardly whereby the elbow 50 will be brought into engagement with the upper edge 22 of the clip mounting slot 18 to hold the two arms in an operative relationship on the cap 10.
As will be evident from the above description, the clip unit provided by the present invention requires no special attention or care on the part of the user. Its operation is extremely simple, merely involving a simple pinching action on the rearward extension 40 to distend the arms for the reception of a pocket edge, whereafter the arms are permitted to move toward the cap to pinch the fabric of the coat or shirt pocket. Accordingly, there is provided not only a greatly simplified and improved clip unit, but one which can be disassembled very readily in the event adjustment should be required. Such disassembly is effected merely by removing the plug 56 with an appropriate tool, whereafter the rigid arm 24 and resilient arm 42 are lifted from the clip mounting slot 18.
As will be apparent from the foregoing description, the present invention provides an improved clip unit which may be manufactured inexpensively but which is quite rugged and durable. Further, it will be evident that the unit may be utilized with various types of implements such as the illustrated fountain pen cap, as well as thermometer cases, ballpoints and pencils, scribing tools and other implements which may be adapted for carrying in the pocket of the users coat or shirt. It will be further understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the true spirit and scope of this invention. Therefore, the invention is not to be limited to the embodiment described above, and it is contemplated by the appended claims to cover any modifications falling within its true spirit and scope.
1. In combination with an article having a clip mounting slot defining generally opposed first and second edges, a clip unit including:
(A) a first clip arm disposed externally of said article and provided intermediate its ends with an assembly portion removably disposed in said slot in rotatable engagement with said second edge;
(B) a second clip arm having (1) one end fixed within said article in engagement with said first edge,
(2) another end disposed externally of said article for rotatable displacement with said first arm, said other end abutting said first arm and simultaneously restraining said first arm and said assembly portion against movement longitudinally away from said second edge and said second arm against movement longitudinally away from said first edge, and
(3) a tensioned intermediate section yieldably biasing one end of said first arm toward said article.
2. The combination according to claim 1, wherein said assembly portion includes an indented surface adapted to straddle said second edge of said mounting slot.
3. The combination according to claim 1, wherein said first clip arm includes a lower contact end and an upper extension, and said assembly portion comprises a pair of generally parallel side walls extending transversely from said first arm intermediate its ends, each of said side walls including an indented surface defining a flared recess releasably straddling said second edge, said second arm being releasably connected to said first arm.
4. The combination according to claim 3 wherein said lower contact end comprises an inward projection having an aperture facing said assembly portion, wherein said one end of said second arm is releasably fixed within said article and extends through said slot in engagement with said first edge, and said other end is disposed within said inward projection through said aperture.
5. The combination according to claim 4, including a plug disposed within said article in releasable engagement with said one end of said second arm, said one end including an angular offset extending through said slot between said side walls and defining an elbow abutting said first edge to restrain said second arm against rearward movement relative to said first edge.
6. In combination with a writing instrument cap having a substantially rectangular clip mounting slot adjacent its upper end: a pocket clip unit including:
(A) an elongate substantially rigid clip arm disposed externally of said cap and provided with (1) a lower contact end and an upper free end,
(2) an inward projection formed adjacent to said contact end and provided with an upwardly facing aperture, and
(3) an assembly portion removably disposed within said slot in engagement with the lower edge thereof, said assembly portion including side walls extending transversely from said rigid arm intermediate its ends;
(B) an indented surface formed in the forward edge of each of said side walls, each of said indented surfaces defining a flared recess straddling said lower edge and movable thereon to permit rotative displacement of said arm around said lower edge;
(C) a resilient arm having (1) an inner end releasably fixed within said article and provided with an offset portion extending through said slot in engagement with the upper edge thereof,
(2) an outer end removably and shiftably disposed within said projection and simultaneously restraining said rigid arm and said assembly portion against movement longitudinally away from said lower edge and said offset portion against movement away from said upper edge, and
(3) an intermediate section slidingly engaging said clip arm and tensioned to yieldably bias said outer end and said contact end concomitantly toward said cap; and
(D) an innercap removably positioned within said cap, said innercap maintaining the inner end of said resilient arm in said fixed relationship within said p,
(E) said outer end shifting within said projection and said intermediate section sliding relative to said clip arm as said arm is rotatably displaced relative to said cap.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,939,199 12/ 1933 Bienenstein 24-11 2,473,688 6/ 1949 Martin 241l 2,538,294 1/ 1951 Claret 24-11 FOREIGN PATENTS 535,894 2/1922 France. 947,066 1/1949 France.
DONALD A. GRIFFIN, Primary Examiner.