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Publication numberUS3504652 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 7, 1970
Filing dateNov 2, 1967
Priority dateNov 2, 1967
Publication numberUS 3504652 A, US 3504652A, US-A-3504652, US3504652 A, US3504652A
InventorsJohn D Norman
Original AssigneePerfection Plastics Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sual indicator means for a container locking mechanism
US 3504652 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aprxl 7, 1970 J. D. NORMAN, JR 3,504,652

Y VISUAL INDICATOR MEANS FOR A CONTAINER LOCKING MECHANISM Filed Nov. 2, 1967 INVENTOR Jai/a /I/aW/We/fz? lill/[ 5: lgrlfl. /02 r Y@/7 l), I" y "-mmn BY M i M /Z J6 20 94 60 90 /a Z4 ATTORNEYS United States Patent O M 3,504,652 VISUAL INDICATOR MEANS FOR A CONTAINER LOCKING MECHANISM John D. Norman, Jr., Auburn, Ala., assignor to Perfection Plastics, Inc., Opelika, Ala., a corporation of Alabama Filed Nov. 2, 1967, Ser. No. 680,238 Int. C1. G01d 11/24 U.S. Cl. 116-114 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Two body portions of a container are held together by a locking mechanism including rotatable actuating means. Colored indicating portions are supported by one of the body portions and a light refracting and transmitting means is carried by the actuating means for transmitting the color from said indicating means to provide a visual indication as to whether the locking mechanism is locked or unlocked.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to containers and particularly to tape reel containers having two halves which are held together by a suitable locking mechanism, and wherein the present invention provides a visual indication of the condition of the locking mechanism.

Tape reel containers commonly have locking mechanisms including rotatable actuating means for moving the locking mechanism into locked or unlocked position. It is desirable to have an indicating means for readily indicating to personnel handling the containers whether or not they are in locked condition. U.S. Patent No. 3,074,546 discloses a container locking mechanism having visual indicating means wherein different colors are employed to inform personnel whether the locking means is in locked or unlocked position. In the arrangement shown in this patent, the handle means is provided with a hole therethrough through which the colored portions of a Washer therebeneath are viewed. Reflected light from the washer is employed to relay the desired image.

An arrangement such as shown in the aforementioned prior art patent is effective When the observer is viewing the locking mechanism in a direction extending substantially perpendicular to the plane of the associated body portion of the container, but the colored portions of the indicating means are not readily visible if the actuating means or handle of the locking mechanism is viewed from a relatively sharp angle. Additionally, the indicating means is not readily visible from a considerable distance, and accordingly, the utility of the indicating means is thereby restricted.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The actuating means of the locking mechanism in the present invention incorporates a light refracting and transmitting means, preferably in the form of acrylic plastic of one-piece construction which is adapted to be positioned adjacent colored indicating portions supported by an associated body portion.

Due to the light refraction and transmittance characteristics of the light refracting and transmitting means, the color of the indicating portion adjacent to the light refracting and transmitting means is readily discernible and is visible to personnel even when viewing the actuating means from a relatively sharp angle. Additionally, the color is also easily visible from a considerable distance.

3,504,652 Patented Apr. 7, 1970 FIG. l is a top view of a tape reel container incorporating the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of a portion of the structure illustrated in F IG. l;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view on an enlarged scale taken substantialy along line 3 3 of FIG. l looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken substantially along hne 4 4 of FIG. 3 looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 5 is a top perspective view partly broken away for the sake of clarity illustrating the light refracting and transmitting means of the present invention; and

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 6 6 of FIG. l looking in the direction of the arrows.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawing wherein like reference characters designate corresponding parts throughout the several views, the container comprises a first body portion indicated generally by reference numeral 10 and a second body portion indicated generally by reference numeral 12. These body portions may be formed of a suitable plastic material such as acrylanitrile, and the material used may vary as desired. The two body portions are adapted to nest together and include conventional outer flanges which telescope within one another, suitable means being provlded for sealing the two body portions together adjacent these outer flanges in the usual manner.

As seen most clearly in FIGS. 3 and 6, body portion 12 includes a side wall 16, and an inner flange 18 of annular coniiguration extending inwardly from the inner portion of side walls 16. This inner flange 18 includes an inturned portion defining an annular lip portion 20 which is adapted to cooperate with the locking mechanism hereinafter described for clamping the two body portions to one another.

Body portion 12 denes a central hole formed through the side wall 16 thereof, this hole being closed by a cover plate indicated generally by reference numeral 24, the cover plate being of generally disc-like conguration with the peripheral edge 26 thereof disposed in a recessed portion provided adjacent the inner ange 18. An annular flange 28 extends from cover plate 24 and is fitted within inner ange 18 and is suitably secured therein as by bonding it in place with a suitable bonding material such as glue or the like. In this manner, the cover plate serves to close off the hole formed through the body portion 12.

Body means 10` includes a side wall 30 including an inner ange comprising an integral inwardly extending portion 32 of generally frusto-conical configuration, this portion joining with an annular portion 34 disposed substantially parallel with side Wall 30 and defining an annular shoulder 36.

Portion 34 joins with a portion 40 of generally frustoconical conguration which in turn joins with an inner wall 44 disposed substantially parallel with side wall 30. This inner wall includes a integral generally cylindrical projection 46 having an annular portion 48 at the terminal end thereof and disposed substantially parallel with the side wall 30, this annular portion 48 dening a central hole 50 therethrough which may be generally circular in cross-sectional configuration.

The locking mechanism as well as the actuating means employed therewith is substantially identical with that disclosed in greater detail in copending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 680,170, led Nov. 2, 1967.

As seen most clearly in FIG. 4, the inner wall 44 of body portion 10 includes a rst pair of integral guide ribs 60 and 62 which extend upwardly from wall 44 as seen in this view. A similar pair of guide ribs 64 and 66 are provided at a position approximately 60 degrees from ribs 60 and 62, while a further pair of similar guide ribs 68 and 70 are provided further spaced 6() degrees from the other pairs of ribs as seen in FIG. 4 such that the ribs are disposed symmetrically about the Wall 44.

The guide ribs 60 and y62 are adapted to guide a locking member for movement through a hole 74 formed in the portion 40. Similar holes 76 and 78 are provided through portion 40 for receiving locking members hereinafter described.

Three substantially identical locking members 80, 82 and 84 are provided, each of these locking members being slidably supported upon the inner wall 44 of body portion and being movable through the respective holes 74, 76 and 78 into locking engagement as hereinafter described.

Referring now to FIG. 6, the construction of one of the locking members 80 will be described in detail, it being understood that the remaining locking members are of similar construction. As seen in FIG. 6, locking member 80 includes a pair of integra] upstanding lugs 90 and 92 defining a space therebetween for a purpose hereinafter described. The locking member also includes an end portion 94 defining a tapered surface 96 which is adapted to .engage the inner edge of the annular lip portion of body portion 12.

Referring again to FIG. 4, locking members 82 and 84 are provided with integral lugs 90 and 92 corresponding to the lugs 90 and 92 of locking member 80. These lugs are adapted to be engaged by cam means formed on the actuating means hereinafter described for moving the locking members inwardly and outwardly from locked to unlocked position and vice versa as desired.

Referring particularly to FIG. 3, the locking mechanism of the present invention includes an actuating means having a main body portion including a generally frustoconical side wall 100 which is adapted to fit within the frusto-conical portion 32 of body portion 10, this side wall 100 joining with an integral bottom wall 102 having a central hole 104 of substantially square cross sectional coniiguration formed therethrough.

The actuating means is held in place by means of a stud 106 having an enlarged head 108 adapted to tit within the projection 64 of body means 10, a pair of resilient leg portions 110 and 112 extending integrally from the enlarged head 108 and fitting through hole 104 and snapping into place as illustrated in FIG. 3 for retaining the actuating means in operative position with respect to the body portion 10, yet permitting relative rotation between these parts.

As seen most clearly in FIG. 4, three curved cam portions 120, 122, and 124 are disposed in depending relationship from the undersurface of the lower Wall 102 of the actuating means, these cam portions fitting between the lugs of the locking members 80, 82 and 84 respectively so that upon rotation of the actuating means with respect to body portion 10 and the locking members, the locking members will be urged either outwardly or inwardly, depending on the direction of rotation of the actuating means.

A handle portion indicated generally by reference numeral 130 is deiined by a pair of walls extending generally diametrically across the actuating means between opposite sides of the side wall portion 100, one of these walls 131 being visible in FIG. 3. A top wall 132 is supported along the upper edges of the two side walls of the handle portion and is suitably secured in place as with glue or the like.

A light refracting and transmitting means 140 comprises a one-piece separate insert formed of clear material such as acrylic plastic having the desirable light refracting and transmittance characteristics as hereinbefore described. As seen particularly in FIG. 5, a pair of rectangular cutouts 142 and 144 are provided in the upper and lower edges thereof for supporting means in place. As seen in FIG. 3, the upper wall 132 of the handle portion ts within the cutout 142, and the lower wall 102 of the actuating means ts within the cutout 144. It will be understood that suitable slots are provided in walls 132 and 102 for receiving the upper and lower portions of the light refracting and transmitting means 140.

It is apparent that the light refracting and transmitting means is accordingly supported by the actuating means and rotates therewith as the actuating means is rotated for moving and locking members of the locking mechanism into one position or another. While the indicator means of the present invention has been illustrated in connection with a specific type of locking mechanism, it is apparent that it is also suitable for use with various other types of locking mechanisms wherein a rotatable actuating means is provided for operating the locking mechanism.

As seen most clearly in FIGS. 4 and 5, the indicating means of the present invention includes spaced portions and 152 supported on the annular shoulder 36 of body portion 10. Each of these indicating portions may comprise in a typical example a piece of brightly colored paper or the like which is suitably secured to the shoulder as by adhesive means or the like. Obviously, any suitable brightly colored means may be disposed on the annular shoulder to serve the purpose of the present invention.

The indicating portions are of different colors, and typically the portion 150 may be green, while the portion 152 may be red. As seen in FIG. 5, which represents the position of the actuating means and light refracting and transmitting means as shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, the ap paratus is in its locked position and the lower portion of means 140 is disposed directly over indicating portion 150. Since the apparatus is in its locked positions, the container is in a safe go condition and accordingly, the green color will be visible at the upper portion of means 140 as seen in FIG. 5.

When the actuating means is rotated into the position shown in FIG. '2 wherein the apparatus is in its unlocked position, the light refracting and transmitting means 140 will be disposed directly over the indicating portion 152, and the red color will be visible at the upper portion L60 of means 140, indicating to personnel that the apparatus is unlocked, and is not ready to be picked up or handled, or for that matter to be left in such condition for extended periods of time.

It is apparent from the foregoing that there is provided according to the present invention new and novel visual indicator means for a container locking mechanism wherein due to the light refraction and transmittance characteristics of the light refracting and transmitting means a suitable color is readily visible to personnel to indicate the condition of the locking mechanism even when view-ing the actuating means from a relatively sharp angle, the coor being visible from considerable distances.

What I claim is:

1. Visual indicator means for a container locking mechanism comprising a container having a lirst body portion releasably locked to a second body portion, locking mechanism carried by one of said body portions for releasably locking said body portions together in operative relationship, elongate actuating means rotatably supported by said one body portion for actuating said locking mechanism, said actuating means having rst and second oppositely disposed ends, one of said ends having a channelshaped recess formed therein, a light refracting and transmitting Ameans disposed in said recess and carried by said actuating means, said one body portion including a narrow annular shoulder meas underlying the ends of said actuating means, a plurality of colored indicating means disposed in circumferentially spaced locations on said shoulder, said actuator and light transmitting means being rotatably movable to alternate positions with said light transmitting means disposed contiguous to one of said color indicating means to visually indicate the status of said locking mechanism.

2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said colored indicating means comprises colored tape adhesively secured to said annular shoulder.

3. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said spaced indicating means are of different colors.

4. Apparatus as dened in claim 1 wherein said light refracting and transmitting means includes an outer end portion presented to view, the opposite end portion of said light refracting and transmitting means being disposed so as to be positioned contiguous either of said spaced indicating means upon relative movement of said actuating means with respect to the associated body portion.

5. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said light refracting and transmitting means is formed of plastic material.

6. Apparatus as dened in claim 1 wherein said light refracting and transmitting means comprises a one-piece construction formed of acrylic plastic material.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS l/l944 1/1963 9/1963 1/1966 10/1967 11/1967 l/1968 12/1967 LOUIS R. PRINCE, Primary Examiner D. M. YASICH, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.

Patent Citations
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US3228026 *Aug 26, 1963Jan 4, 1966Robert J MillerMulti-color signal light button for panel mounting
US3345870 *Nov 24, 1964Oct 10, 1967Yoshinaga Prince Kabushiki KaiFuel level indicator
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3736777 *Nov 1, 1971Jun 5, 1973Minnesota Mining & MfgLocking attaching mechanism for disk-pack storage container
US4222487 *Apr 12, 1979Sep 16, 1980Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing CompanySingle disk cartridge
US4676370 *Sep 13, 1985Jun 30, 1987Eastman Kodak CompanyLocking mechanism for a reel storage container
US5027949 *Oct 31, 1989Jul 2, 1991Minnesota Mining And Manufacturing CompanyLock for magnetic tape reel shipping case
US5417319 *Mar 22, 1994May 23, 1995Hydrabaths, Inc.Security container for display of audio and video media
US5901840 *May 16, 1997May 11, 1999Sanei Co., Ltd.Security case for a recorded media container
US6202454 *May 10, 1999Mar 20, 2001Tomato Land Display Systems, Inc.Anti-theft security case
U.S. Classification116/309, 206/405, G9B/23.18
International ClassificationG11B23/027, G03B21/32
Cooperative ClassificationG11B23/027, G03B21/323
European ClassificationG03B21/32B2, G11B23/027