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Publication numberUS3446520 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 27, 1969
Filing dateJul 12, 1967
Priority dateJul 12, 1967
Publication numberUS 3446520 A, US 3446520A, US-A-3446520, US3446520 A, US3446520A
InventorsGibson Clyde E, Peterson Don M
Original AssigneeGen Processing Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Coupler mechanism for ball-type trailer hitches
US 3446520 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

3,446,520 COUPLER MECHANISM :FOR BALL-TYPE TRAILER BITCHES Filed July 12, 1967 May 27, 1969 c. E. GIBSON ET AL Sheet INVENTORS V06 6. 6/880 004/ M. ersesau May 27, 1969 c; E. GIBSON ET AL 3,

I COUPLER MECHANISM FOR BALL-TYPE TRAILER BITCHES Filed July 12, 1967 Sheet 2 of z INVENTORS are: E. 6/880 m 07, Persian! Tenn.

Filed July 12, 1967, Ser. No. 652,787

Int. Cl. B60d 1/06, 1/04 7 US. Cl. 280-512 19 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A housing defining a generally spherical cavity which has a side opening communicating with a bottom opening of a diameter smaller than that of the cavity, with a latch element pivotally mounted within the housing so as to have a first pivotal position which surfaces of the latch element serve to at least partially close the side and bottom openings of the cavity, to entrap a ball inserted there-within. The latch element is pivotal to a second position in which it is removed sufliciently from the aforesaid side and bottom openings of the cavity to admit entrance of a ball thereinto. A spring-loaded plunger is mounted on the housing to engage the latch elements in its first or ball-entrapping position, to thereby lock this element in such position. An operating handle is attachedto this plunger for manually retracting it away from the latch element to permit movement of the latter toward its second pivotal position, and this handle may be indexed against the housing to hold the plunger in its retracted position. The latch element bears against the retracted plunger when the latch is moved to its second position and pushes on the plunger to move it at least a slight amount. This allows a spring to move the operating handle out of its indexed position against the housing, such that when the latch element is moved back from its second to its first position the plunger will automatically be biased into its locking position with respect to the latch element.

Background of the invention This invention relates to trailer hitch mechanisms of the ball and socket type, and more particularly it relates to coupling mechanisms defining the socket in which a ball-type hitch is seated and retained. v

The basic principle of the ball and socket-type trailer hitch is very well known and has been used for a considerable length of time. Many modifications of this basic principle have heretofore been provided in an attempt to improve on the basic mechanism itself, usually in order to make the retention of the ball within the socket more positive, or else to facilitate the ease of connecting and disconnecting the hitch. Generally speaking, these two factors are largely regarded as being mutually contradictory, in that hitches which provide the most secure retention of the ball are also the most diflicult or time consuming to operate, whereas hitches which are exceedingly easy to operate typically do not retain the ball as securely as might be desired.

Summary of the invention The present invention provides a novel form of a coupling mechanism for a ball-type hitch which not only entraps and retains the ball with utmost security and dependability, but which also is exceedingly easy and rapid to operate. The coupler mechanism of the invention is automated in certain respects, such that certain features of its operation occur automatically and without the necessity of any accompanying adjustments or manipulations whatever; further, the structural features of the 3,446,520 Patented May 27, 1969 mechanism are exceedingly uncomplicated and rugged in design, and will provide great reliability with an absolute minimum of maintenance and/ or repair.

Briefly stated, the coupler mechanism of the invention comprises a housing means defining a partial socket or chamber for receiving the ball hitch, with a movable latch means operable to securely entrap the ball within the socket or chamber. A lock is provided for engaging the latch means and preventing any movement thereof away from its ball-entrapping position, so that the retention of the ball is positive and absolute. The lock for the latch means is biased so that it always tends to engage the latch, and a manually operable handle is provided for retracting the lock away from the latch means to allow the ball to be withdrawn from the chamber. The handle is arranged to index and hold itself in the position wherein the lock is withdrawn from the latch means, so that the ball may be withdrawn at any time after the handle is moved to its indexing position. Upon withdrawal of the ball, however, a part of the latch means is moved into contact with the lock to thereby release the operating handle from its index position and restore it to its normal position, in which the lock may engage the latch means whenever the latter is moved back to a ball-entrapping position. Ordinarily, this will occur merely upon reinsertion of a ball into the socket or chamber, during which the ball itself contacts a portion of the latch means to move the same into its ball-entrapping position. Thus, only a single and exceedingly easy action is required to disengage the ball when it is locked into retention within the chamber, and no operation or manipulation whatever is required to reengage and lock the ball, except to merely insert the ball back into the chamber.

Description of the drawings FIG. 1 is a fragmentary plan view of a coupler mechanism embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged, fragmentary sectional elevation taken through the vertical plane IIII of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional end elevation taken through the plane 1IIIII of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional side elevation similar to FIG. 2 but showing relative changes of position of certain elements during operation of the coupler;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional side elevation similar to FIGS. 2 and 4, but showing other relative position changes of elements during operation;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary sectional side elevation'similar to FIGS. 2, 4, and 5, but showing other relative position changes of elements during operation; and

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary sectional side elevation similar to FIGS. 2, 4, 5, and 6, but showing other relative position changes of elements during operation.

Description 0 a preferred embodiment Referring now in more detail to the drawings, the coupler mechanism 10 is generally characterized by a housing 12 of rigid and relatively heavy sheet metal and which is basically channel-like in section, being open on its underside (FIGS. 1, 2, and 3). The housing 12 has a rearward extremity 14 (FIG. 1) with diverging sides intended to be connected to the conventional frame elements which typically form the tongue by which a trailer is pulled, and the housing also has a protruding forward portion 16 which houses the latching and looking components of the mechanism. Located atop the housing portion 16 is an operating handle 18, to be described in more detail subsequently.

The forward portion 16 of the housing is formed to define a generally spherical chamber 20 (FIG. 2) which is open at its bottom and at its rearwardly-facing side.

The housing should extend below the horizontal axis of the spherical chamber in an arcuate lateral constriction, seen at 21. Above the chamber 20, the forward portion of the housing rises vertically along a wall 22 and then smoothly curves rearwardly in a fiat, horizontal top wall 24.

Within the housing, a latching element 26 is pivotally mounted on a shaft 28 which extends between the two upright sides of the forward portion 16 of the housing (FIGS. 2 and 3). Latching element 26 preferably extends almost completely across the distance between the two side walls of the housing, so as to substantially fill the rearwardly-facing side opening of the chamber 20. The latch element 26 has a forwardly-facing spherical cavity 30 formed therein, and the pivot shaft 28 for the latch element, which is located above the horizontal axis of the spherical chamber 20, is positioned so that the concave surface of the latching element defining its cavity 30 falls on the spherical periphery of the chamber 20 when the latching element is in the position seen in FIG. 2, referred to herein as it first position. It is to be noted that the formation of the cavity in the latching element provides the latter with a shoulder or edge extremity 31 marking the upper boundary of the chamber 20 and a similar edge portion 32 marking the lower boundary of the chamber. Extending downwardly and rearwardly from the edge portion 32 is a generally fiat chamferred or bevelled surface 34 which is arcuate in lateral extent and which is in central vertical alignment with the cavity 30 (FIG. 3).

Directly above the latching element 26 is a locking means 36 for securing the latching element in its aforesaid first position. More specifically, locking means 36 includes the operating handle 18 noted previously as well as a spring-biased plunger or member 38 which is slidably fitted through an opening in the top wall 24 of the housing, so as to be reciprocable through the housing and with respect to the latching element 26 upon operation of the handle 18. The plunger member 38 is basically T-shaped (FIG. 3), having an enlarged head 39 at its lower extremity which preferably extends substantially completely across the forward portion 16 of the housing. The top portion of the latching element 26 has a generally vertical shoulder 40 extending thereacross, and this provides a seat against which the rearwardly-facing side of the plunger head 39 is directly abutted when the plunger is in its first position (FIG. 2). It should be noted that in this position, the forwardly-directed side of the plunger head 39 abuts the inner face of the vertical wall portion 22 of the housing. It will thus be apparent that in its aforesaid first position, the plunger positively blocks any counterclockwise pivotal motion of the latching element 26 away from its aforesaid first position. For purposes to be stated subsequently, the vertically disposed surface of the shoulder 40, as Well as the mating surface on the plunger head 39, should be at a slight angle to the true vertical, for example approximately seven degrees.

The locking means 36 also includes a leaf spring element 42 which is secured to the top wall 24 of the housing, as by a rivet 44 or the like, and which extends downwardly against the top of the plunger head 39, to continuously bias the plunger downwardly toward the latch element 26. Thus, whenever the latch element is in its first position seen in FIG. 2, the plunger head will bias into position between the shoulder 40 of the latch element and the vertical wall 22 of the housing. The operating handle 18 is pivotally attached to the upper extremity of the plunger 38 by a pin 46, and a torsion spring 48 entrained over pin 46 continuously biases the operating handle in a clock-wise direction, toward its normal posi tion seen in FIG. 2, in which its fiat bottom extremity lies flush against the top wall 24 of the housing.

It will be observed that the forward end 118 of the handle 18 is, like the bottom of the handle, flat in configuration, and that the handle is smoothly curved at 218 between its fiat end 118 and its fiat bottom extremity. The pivot pin 46 for the handle is offset from the center of curvature of the curved portion 218, so that when the handle 18 is raised, i.e., moved in a counterclockwise direction to a vertical position, the curved portion 218 acts as a cam against the top wall 24 of the housing to raise the plunger 38 vertically a sufficient distance to position the head 39 of the plunger above the shoulder 40 of the latch element 26, thereby unblocking the latch element and permitting counterclockwise rotation of the latter. Also, the flat configuration of the end 118 of the operating handle provides what is referred to as an indexing cam surface which will bear against the top wall 24 of the housing to hold the plunger 38 in the raised position just described.

In operating the coupler mechanism of the invention, assuming that the latchingelement 26 and locking means 36 are in the positions show nin FIG. 2, the operating handle 18 is initially raised to the position seen in FIG. 4, wherein the head 39 of the plunger is raised slightly above the latch element 26 and clear of the shoulder 40 of the latter, with the fiat indexing end surface 118 of the operating handle bearing against the top wall 24 of the housing and holding the plunger in its elevated or raised position.

Under these circumstances, the latch element 26 is free to rotate in a counterclockwise direction. The ball 50 of a typical ball-type hitch is then inserted into the spherical chamber 20 (FIG. 5), as by pushing the coupler mechanism downwardly over the ball. Upon initial insertion of the ball 50, the ball contacts the chamferred lower portion 34 of the latching element and pushes outwardly against the bottom of the latching element as the ball rides up the chamfer 34-. This rotates the latch element 26 in a counterclockwise direction, steadily admitting further entry of the ball. This rotation of the latching element brings the top surface thereof, located at the uppermost extremity of the vertical shoulder 40, into contact with the bottom surface of the plunger head 39 whereupon further rotation of the latch element, caused by further insertion of the ball, causes the plunger to be raised, due to the curved rearward surface 126 of the latch element, which thus acts as a cam against the bottom of the plunger head.

When the ball 50 has been inserted to the extent shown in FIG. 5 and is in central-bearing alignment against the lower edged extremity 32 of the latch element, the latter is pivoted sufiiciently to raise the plunger 38 enough to lift fiat indexing cam end 118 of the operating handle 18 above the upper wall 24 of the housing. At this point, the torsion spring 48 acting against the underside of the handle 18 causes the handle to rotate counterclockwise about its pivot pin 46, until it comes into contact with the top wall of the housing. At this point, the latch element 26 is the only thing holding the plunger 38 in a raised position, since if the latch element were not positioned beneath the plunger the leaf spring 42 would immediately push the plunger downward.

Upon final insertion of the ball 50 into the spherical chamber 20, the ball contacts the upper edge extremity 31 (FIG. 6) of the latch element and bears upwardly threeagainst. This rotates the latch element in a clockwise direction about its pivot pin 28, until at the point where the ball has fully entered the spherical chamber 20, the latch element 26 will have been rotated back to its aforesaid first position, wherein the ball 50 is entrapped within the chamber and the cavity 30 in the latch element (FIG. 7). In this position of the latch element, the cam surface-126 thereof is no longer beneath the plunger head 39. As soon as this occurs, the leaf spring 42 snaps the plunger downwardly into its blocking position with respect to the latch element, i.e., between the vertically disposed shoulder 40 of the latch element and the vertical wall portion 22 of the housing. This of course prevents any counterclockwise rotation of the latch element and retains the ball 50 snugly within the spherical chamber, thereby coupling the ball hitch. For utmost security in maintaining the engagement of the ball 50, a locking pin of a conventional type may be inserted through a pair of holes such as 52 located in the side walls of the housing 16 immediately behind the latch element 26 when the same is in its first position (FIG. 7), so that the pin 52 will restrain the bottom portions of thelatch element from any counterclockwise rotation in the event that the plunger 38 somehow becomes broken or inadvertently raised.

Disengagement of the present coupler mechanism from the ball hitch is rapidly and easily accomplished. Basically, all that need be done is to lift the operating handle 18 to a vertical position and withdraw the ball from the socket or chamber, as by lifting the housing away from the ball. When the operating handle '18 is lifted to the vertical position seen in FIG. 4, the plunger 38 is retracted away from the top of the latch element 26, and thehandle is held in its vertical position by the abutment of the fiat indexing cam surface 118 thereof against the top of the top housing wall 24, as noted previously. Since the latching element is then no longer blocked from pivotal movement in a counterclockwise direction, the ball 50 may simply be withdrawn from the socket or chamber 20.

As the ball 50 is drawn downwardly out of the chamber, it steadily pushes against the lower edge extremity 32 of the latch element, thereby pivoting the latch element in a counterclockwise direction toward its second position, in which the bottom opening of the chamber is sufficiently large to allow the ball to be drawn straight downwardly, out of the chamber. After a very brief initial counterclockwise movement of the latching element in this manner toward its second position, the top of the latching element and the curved cam surface 126 on the rear-ward side thereof move beneath the plunger head 39 as before, and as the ball 50 is progressively pulled downwardly with respect to the housing, the plunger is progressively raised until the flat indexing cam surface 118 of the operating handle is raised sufficiently above the top wall 24 of the housing to permit the torsion spring 48 to move the operating handle in a clockwise direction, until its end opposite the plunger rests against the top wall of the housing (FIG. 5). This occurs when the horizontal diameter of the ball is approximately in direct alignment with the lower edge portion 32 of the latching element, at which point the latching element need not be pivoted backward any further to allow the ball to freely move out of the chamber 20.

When the ball 50 is disengaged from the coupling mechanism in the aforesaid manner, the latching element 26 will remain in its second position, because the head 39 of the plunger is pressed firmly downward against the top of the latching element by the leaf spring 42. Thus, when it is desired to once again engage the ball hitch within the socket of the coupling mechanism, the lower extremities of the latching element are likely to be sufficiently pivoted to allow free entrance of the ball until the point is reached at which the ball bears upwardly against the upper edge portion 31 of the latching element. Further insertion of the ball from this point will thus serve to pivot the latching element in a clockwise direction, so that the lower edge extremity 32 of the latch is moved to the left to engage the bottom portion of the ball and entrap the same within the chamber, between latch element edge portion 32 and the arcuate lateral constriction 21 of the housing. When the ball is fully engaged within the chamber, the latching element will have pivoted sufiicielntly clockwise to allow the downwardly-biased plunger head 39 to be moved into its blocking position between the shoulder 40 of the latching element and the forward vertical wall 22 of the housing. At this point the operating handle once again lies flat against the top of the housing, even though it was never manually operated in any manner during the re-coupling of the ball.

From the foregoing, it will be observed that operation of the present coupler mechanism is substantially automatic, i.e., once a ball has been engaged for the first time within the coupler mechanism, the operating handle 18 need be actuated only a single time to permit both the full disengagement of the ball as well as the full reengagement thereof at a subsequent time. That is to say, the locking means 36 comprising the openating handle and the plunger only needs to be retracted to unblock the latching element; the locking means need not be manually operated at all in order to positively re-engage a ball within the chamber of the c-o-unpler.

Furthermore, the latching element itself is automatically moved by the insertion and the retraction of the ball hitch itself, and the proper movement of the latching element is entirely safe, accurate, and foolproof. Also, the blocking of the latching element in its ball-engaging first position is absolutely positive and secure due to the manner with which the plunger head blocks the latching element, i.e., by being inserted between the housing and the latch element. In this regard, the slight vertical angle preferred for the engaging surfaces of the plunger head 3? and latch element shoulder 40 are intended for the purpose of compensating for manufacturing tolerances in the exact size of the ball and for wear which may occur in either the ball or the spherical cavity 30 formed on.

the front face of the latching element, with a slight wedging operation which will be readily understood.

It is entirely conceivable that upon examining the foregoing disclosure, those skilled in the art may devise embodiments of the concept involved which differ somewhat from the embodiment shown and described herein, or may make various changes in structural details to the present embodiment. Consequently, all such changed embodiments or variations in structure as utilize the concepts of the invention and clearly incorporate the spirit thereof are to be considered as within the scope of the claims appended herebelow, unless these claims by their language specifically state otherwise.

We claim:

1. A coupler mechanism for hitching a trailer vehicle to a pulling vehicle by a ball-type hitch, said coupler mechanism comprising in combination: a housing securable to such trailer vehicle and defining a partial chamber with a laterally enlarged upper portion for accepting said ball and a laterally constricted lower portion for fitting about the lower extremities of said ball to partially retain the same Within said chamber; a latching element mova- 'bly carried Within said housing; said latching element having a portion for interfitting with at least the lower extremities of a ball located in said chamber when said latching element is in a first position, such that said latching element portion cooperates with said constricted lower portion of said housing chamber to prevent downward retraction of the ball out of said chamber; said latching element also having a second position in which its said portion is removed from said interfitting relation with said ball; said latching element further having an abutment surface thereupon; a locking means including a member having a first position wherein a part of said member lies adjacent said latching element abutment surface when said latching element is in its first position, to block said latching element and prevent movement thereof away from said first position; said locking means member also having a second position wherein said latching element is unblocked and movable to its second position; said locking means further including an operator component for moving said member between its said two positions; and said latching element having means for causing said element to be directly contacted by portions of a ball being inserted into said chamber and for causing such element to be pushed into its first position by said ball upon final insertion thereof into the chamber, whereupon operation 7 of said locking means blocks said latching element to retain the ball within the chamber.

2. The coupler mechanism of claim 1, wherein said latching element means when said element in its first position and not blocked 'by said locking means member, further causes said latching element to be contacted by portions of a ball being inserted into said chamber and moved by said ball upon further insertion thereof away from its said first position to its said second position, final insertion of said ball into said chamber pushing said latching element back into its first position.

3. The coupler mechanism of claim 1, wherein said locking means includes a biasing element for urging said member toward its said first position, in which the said portions of said member lie adjacent said latching element abutment surface to block movement of the element; said locking means operator component arranged to overcome said biasing element in moving said member to its said second position.

4. The coupler mechanism of claim 1, wherein said locking means member has a portion which, when said member is in its first said position, fits between a portion of said housing and the said abutment surface on said latching element, to thereby block movement of said element away from its said first position.

5. The coupler mechanism of claim 1, wherein said locking means includes releasable means for holding said locking means member in its said second position once the latter has been moved into such second position.

6. The coupler mechanism of claim 5, wherein said releasable means for holding said locking means member includes an indexing cam surface defined by portions of said operator component and arranged to contact and rest against said housing.

7. The coupler mechanism of claim 5, wherein said latching element is located and carried by said housing such that when in said first position and not blocked by said locking means member said latching element is contacted by portions of a ball being inserted into said chamher and moved by further insertion of such ball from said first position to said second position, final insertion of said ball into said chamber moving said latching element back into its first position.

8. The coupler mechanism of claim 7, wherein said latching element and said locking means member are located and positioned with respect to each other such that when said locking means member is in its second position, movement of said latching element toward its second position by said further insertion of said ball into said chamber brings a surface on said latching element into contact with a surface on said member to push said member beyond its second position; said releasable means for holding said member being released by such pushed movement of said member, such that said member may be returned to its first position blocking said latching element upon movement of the latter into its first position by said final insertion of said ball into said chamber.

9. The coupler mechanism of claim 8, wherein said locking means includes a biasing element acting upon said locking means member to urge the same toward its said first position, such that upon release of said means for holding said locking means member in its second position and upon said latch element being moved to its first position, said locking means member is *biased directly into its first position blocking said latch element.

10. The coupler mechanism of claim 9, wherein said locking means member has a portion which, when said member is in its first said position, fits between a portion of said housing and the said abutment surface on said latching element, to thereby block movement of said element away from its said first position.

11. The coupler mechanism of claim 10, wherein said means for releasably holding said locking means member includes an indexing cam surface defined by portions of said operator component and arranged to contact and rest against said housing.

12. The coupler mechanism of claim 11, wherein said locking means further includes a biasing member acting against said operator component to urge the same toward a position wherein said indexing cam surface is out of contacting alignment with said housing; said locking means member when pushed beyond its second position moving said operator component cam surface away from said housing; and said biasing member then moving said oper ator component such that the said cam surface thereof is moved out of contacting alignment with said housing.

13. In a coupler mechanism for hitching a trailer vehicle to a pulling vehicle, of the type wherein a ball secured to the pulling vehicle is mated with a socket means attachable to the trailer vehicle, the improvement comprising: a housing defining a generally spherical cavity having a side opening communicating with a bottom opening of a diameter smaller than that of the cavity, for admitting a ball thereinto; a latch element pivotally supported on said housing at the side opening of said cavity; said latch element having a portion near its bottom and below its pivotal axis for closing at least part of said bottom cavity opening at a first pivotal position of the latch element, to thereby entrap a ball inserted into said cavity; said latch element being pivotable to a second position wherein said entrapping portion is moved away from said bottom opening to allow insertion and withdrawal of said ball into and from said cavity; means engageable with said latch element in the first position thereof to prevent pivotal movement thereof toward said second position and thereby ensure the entrapment of said ball; said latch element having an angularly inclined surface beneath its said portion for initial contact with a ball being inserted into said chamber, such that during initial insertion such ball cams against said inclined surface to pivot said latch element toward its second position, to admit entry of the ball; and said latch element having an upper extremity spaced laterally from the pivotal axis of the element, for contact with said ball as the same is fully inserted into said cavity; said ball upon full insertion pushing against said upper extremity to pivot said latch element back to its said first position.

14. The improvement recited in claim 13, wherein said means engageable with said latch element to prevent pivotal movement thereof comprises a plunger and a spring biasing said plunger continuously toward said latch, such that said plunger will automatically engage said latch whenever the latter is in its first position; and means for retracting said plunger out of engagement with said latch, against the bias acting on said plunger.

15. The improvement recited in claim 14, wherein said means for retracting said plunger comprises an operating handle pivotally connected to the plunger and having a cam surface arranged to act on a portion of said housing when said handle is pivoted with respect to said plunger in a predetermined manner; at least a part of said cam action moving said plunger by its connection to said handle to retract the plunger away from said latch element against said bias.

16. The improvement recited in claim 15, wherein said cam surface includes an indexing portion for holding said handle in a fixed position wherein said plunger is retracted from said latch element.

17. The improvement recited in claim 16, further including a spring element acting on said handle to urge the same toward a position wherein said indexing portion of said handle cam surface is out of contacting alignment with said housing.

18. The improvement recited in claim 17, wherein said latch element has a cam surface arranged to bear against said plunger as said latch is moved toward its second position and thereby further retract said plunger to move said indexing portion of said operating handle cam away from said housing; said spring element acting on said handle then moving the handle upon such further plunger retraction to a handle position wherein said indexing portion is out of contacting 'alignment with said housing, such that upon movement of said latch element back into its first position said spring biasing said plunger will automatically bring the plunger into engagement with said latch element to hold the same in said first position.

19. In a coupler mechanism for hitching a trailer vehicle to a pulling vehicle, of the type wherein a ball secured to the pulling vehicle is mated with a socket means attachable to the trailer vehicle, the improvement comprising: a rigid unitary'housing wall defining a generally spherical cavity having a side opening communicating with a bottom opening of a diameter smaller than that of the cavity, for admitting a ball thereinto; a latch element pivotally supported on said housing at the side opening of said cavity; said latch element having a portion for closing at least part of said bottom cavity opening at a first pivotal position of the latch element, to thereby entrap a ball inserted into said cavity; said latch element being pivotable to a second position wherein said entrappingportion is moved away from said bottom opening to allow insertion and withdrawal of said ball into and from said cavity; and blocking means positioned above the pivot axis of said latch element and extending downwardly from the top of the housing wall to said latch element, said blocking means compressively engageable between said housing wall and said latch element in the first position thereof to block pivotal movement thereof toward said second position and thereby ensure the entrapment of said ball.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,347,033 4/1944 Daton 2805 10 2,693,970 11/1944 Coleman et al. 280-5 12 LEO FRIAGLIA, Primary Examiner.

R. R. SONG, Assistant Examiner.

Disclaimer 3,446,520.-0Zyde 15'. Gibson and Don M. Peterson, Crossville, Tenn. COU- PLER MECHANISM FOR BALLTYPE TRAILER HITCHES. Patent dated May 27, 1969. Disclaimer filed Nov. 4, 1969, by the assignee, General Processing Corporation. Hereby enters this disclaimer to claim 19 of said patent.

[Ofliez'al Gazette February 10, 1.970.]

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2347033 *Jul 19, 1941Apr 18, 1944Bay St JohnCoupler
US2693970 *Aug 14, 1953Nov 9, 1954Coleman Roy ATrailer hitch locking device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3888517 *Nov 16, 1973Jun 10, 1975Ray James DTrailer hitching coupler
US4657276 *Aug 16, 1985Apr 14, 1987Hamerl Arthur JTrailer hitch
US4817979 *Feb 8, 1988Apr 4, 1989Unique Functional ProductsTrailer coupler
US5257656 *Dec 26, 1991Nov 2, 1993Mcleroy James HWallet and card holder
US5725234 *Oct 24, 1995Mar 10, 1998Colibert; Floyd A.Ball-type coupler for trailers and the like
US6000710 *Jul 14, 1997Dec 14, 1999Fulton Performance Products, Inc.Trailer coupler lock
US8152120 *Sep 29, 2006Apr 10, 2012Barwall LimitedMultipurpose support for attachments mountable to the tow hitch of a vehicle
US8235411Feb 24, 2011Aug 7, 2012B&W Custom Truck Beds, Inc.Self-latching and locking trailer coupler
US8327982Jul 22, 2002Dec 11, 2012Titan International, Inc.Actuator/coupler for towed and towing vehicle combination
EP0369625A1 *Oct 27, 1989May 23, 1990Avonride LimitedA ball and socket coupling
EP0556541A2 *Jan 7, 1993Aug 25, 1993Firma Albert BerndesCoupling device
Classifications
U.S. Classification280/512
International ClassificationB60D1/06, B60D1/00
Cooperative ClassificationB60D1/065
European ClassificationB60D1/06B