US 3523596 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 11, 1970 H. G. DYKE 3,523,596
EXPANSIBLE CARRYING CASE WITH OPPOSED INTERLOCKING STRIP FASTENERS Filed Feb. 13, 1969 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Aug. 11, 1970 H. G. DYKE 3,523,596
EXPANSIBLE CARRYING CASE WITH OPPOSED INTERLOCKING STRIP FASTENERS Filed Feb. 13, 1969 3 Sheets-Sheet i3 H. G. DYKE Aug 11, 1970 EXPANSIBLE CARRYING CASE WITH OPPOSED INTERLOCKING STRIP FASTENERS Filed Feb. 13, 1969 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 United States Patent 3,523,596 EXPANSIBLE CARRYING CASE WITH OPPOSED INTERLOCKING STRIP FASTENERS Herbert Gordon Dyke, Kent, Del. (206 E. 35th St., New York, NY. 10016) Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 663,121, Aug. 24, 1967, which is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 500,942, Oct. 22, 1965. This application Feb. 13, 1969, Ser. No. 799,039
Int. Cl. A45c 7/00 U.S. Cl. 19044 19 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Carrying case expansible through an entire cross-section, utilizing bead-and-channel fastener tracks that run around the opposed edges at the expansion joint, one at least of the fastener tracks having either a partial gap, or a pull-tab, or both, to facilitate disengagement and re-engagement.
This application is a continuation-in-part of my US. patent application Ser. No. 663,121 filed Aug. 24, 1967 and now abandoned and which was a continuation-in-part of my US. patent application Ser. No. 500,942 filed Oct. 22, 1965 and now abandoned.
The purpose of this invention is to improve suitcases or similar articles of manufacture by making them expansible and contractible in accordance with the users changing needs. When a traveler starts on a trip he usually prefers to carry a suitcase no larger than needed for its contents. Yet durnig the course of the trip he may acquire additional articles that now make him need larger suitcase capacity. My expansible suitcase meets both his initial requirements and his later possible needs.
The same is true of dispatch cases. Even going from one office to another and returning, one may increase or decrease the load of papers to be accommodated. Generally it is preferable to carry a slim dispatch case when the papers carried will permit, yet on occasion (even during the course of a single business trip) a larger load will require a larger capacity. Hence expansibility is here also advantageous.
However, the construction of the carrying case to provide expansibility must itself meet a number of requirements. Among these are that the final product must be capable of being made highly neat and attractive, its portions should have the same height and length and not be telescoping boxes, it must be free of parts that would be likely to be damaged in use, and it must be convenient to operate quickly and simply.
The present invention is particularly adapted to cases that are somewhat stiff, for example molded cases. It utilizes a two-track bead-and-channel continuous extruded fastener about the opposed faces of the peripheral joint, and has a partial gap in one track to facilitate disengagement.
The drawings serve to illustrate and teach my invention which may be made use of in many variations and many diiferent embodiments.
FIG. 1 is an end view of a dispatch case, having provision for expansibility in each of two different planes.
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of a sub-assembly of this dispatch case, being approximately identified by the line 22 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a partial cross-section taken on line 33 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a partial cross-section taken on line 44 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 5 is a section corresponding to FIG. 3, but show- 3,523,596 Patented Aug. 11, 1970 ing the case enlarged, with the expansion joint in its opened-up condition.
FIG. 6 is an enlarged detail of the upper righthand corner of FIG. 2.
FIG. 7 is a top view of FIG. 6.
FIG. 8 is an end elevation of another molded carrying case incorporating my invention, having two enlargement joints, one being shown contracted and the other enlarged.
FIG. 9 is a side elevation of that carrying case.
FIG. 10 is a partial cross-section taken on the line 10-10 of FIG. 8.
11 is a partial cross-section taken on the line 11-'11 of FIG. 8.
FIG. 12 is a somewhat diagrammatic partial cross-section taken similarly to FIG. 10.
FIGS. 13 through 17 are somewhat diagrammatic partial cross-sectoins taken on the lines 13 through 17 respectively of FIG. 9.
FIGS. 18 through 21 are somewhat diagrammatic par tial cross-sections corresponding to FIG. 3 but illustrating other embodiments.
FIG. 22a is a diagrammatic fragmentary view of the stretchable lining as seen in FIG. 21 from underneath, and
FIG. 22b is a similar view of the lining stretched when the case is expanded.
FIG. 23 is a diagrammatic perspective of the lining in the configuration it has when installed in the case.
This invention is applicable to various kinds of carrying cases, including dispatch cases and suitcases, especially molded suitcases.
FIGS. 1 through 7 illustrate the invention incorporated in a dispatch case.
The dispatch case 10 has a lid 11 and a body 12. They are hinged together by hinge 13, and can be fastened shut together by a latch 14. Handle 15 is at the top.
Incorporated, for example once in the lid and once in the body, are expansion joints 16 and 17.
These expansion joints run all the way around the periphery of the case, but have a partial gap at the corner, as is indicated in FIG. 2 and will be detailed in connection with FIG. 6.
The expansion joint is at opposed edges 20, 22 of the case. These edges desirably have rims 21, 23 at the inner corners of the opposed edge faces. These rims make easier the positioning of the interlock elastomeric fastener strips which will now be described.
Two continuously extruded strips 30a, 30b of rubber or any suitable elastomeric material are provided, each having a base 31, a groove 32, and a lip 33. Preferably, the bottom of the groove slopes out from the base and the projection of the lip slopes back toward the base. Desirably, though not essentially, the same extrusion is used for the other half of the interlock fastener strip, it being rotated for a complementary fit and the two pieces making an interfitting bead and channel fastener that has a solid inetrlocking fit together.
At the interface of the expansion joint an expansion collar 40 is provided that runs completely around the case as a closed loop. It desirably is of flexible sheet material such as canvas, heavy nylon fabric, or suitable sheet plastic. In its folded up configuration it forms two reverse S curves, so it lies fairly flat. This collar can, if desired, be made of a continuous extrusion having the shape of two reverse S curves joined continuously where the tip edges of the two letter S configurations come together. If this collar is made of such an extruded strip of suitable elastomeric plastic and then cured while pressed folded flat (as over a hot drum) it will, when allowed to contract, lie flat and neat inside the case, while being able to expand, moving relative to both portions of the case or at least one of them, and pull out fiat as seen in FIG. 5 when the case is expanded to constitute or form part of a wall bridging the space between the portions of the case when the case is expanded.
Where two edges face each other at an expansion joint the bead-and-channel fastener has one of its members preferably continuous all the way around the peripheral joint, and it has the other one the same except for a peripheral gap.
In FIG. 2 a partial gap 42 is indicated in the upper righthand corner of an expansion joint. As shown in FIG. 6 the two ends of a bead strip meet in a butt joint 44 (this may or may not coincide with the location of the partial gap) at any desired location. However, for a short length of the joint the lip 33 is cut away from one of the coacting fastener strips. This is preferably at a corner, but if the case frame is fairly flexible it does not have to be at a corner.
FIG. 4 shows the cross-section at the region of its partial gap 42. It will be seen there that the two fastener strips 30a, 3012 do not interlock through that gap region.
-In use, it will be possible to press down the outer portion of the top fastener strip 30a in the region of the gap a indicated by the arrow in FIG. 4. This allows the fingers to obtain a purchase upon the outer part of the case at that point, and the user can initiate a parting of the fastening joint. He can move his fingers progressively down the length of the joint, pulling intermittently, and effect a progressive disengagement of the fastener strips, continuing until they are disengaged completely about the periphery of the case. This puts the case into its enlarged configuration with respect to this expansion joint and it now has an increased capacity. When two expansion joints are provided, as indicated in FIG. 1, the second expansion joint can be similarly opened up also if even greater capacity is desired.
When the increased capacity is no longer required the case can be closed back up to contracted state. This can be done by squeezing in one corner of the case and then squeezing the parts together progressively about the periphery until the entire joint is again closed up and secured together. In practice, the amount of undercut that the opposed faces of the lips of the fastener strips can have will be determined by the compressibility-across the jointof the pair of elastomeric fastening strips. If at the forces involved they are virtually incompressible, the inner meeting faces of the two lips will net angle back at all, being precisely in the plane of the joint or even sloping out a little. If the bands are readily compressible an undercut slope can be given, as shown in FIG. 3 for example, to give assurance against unintended opening of the joint.
This invention is applicable to molded suitcases as well as dispatch cases, and while the two constructions are interchangeable for the two articles, the molded suitcase preferably uses a slider with its bead-and-channel fastener. Throughout, bead-and-channel fastener is meant in the broad sense of two longitudinally continuous members or strips such as extrusions, which in cross-section provide, the one a groove or channel, and the other a lip or head, such that when the two are fitted within each other they rather strongly resist being pulled apart directly from their sides, though they can be parted relatively easily by progressivly spreading them apart perpendicular thereto.
FIGS. 8 through 17 illustrate the invention incorporated in a molded suitcase.
The molded suitcase 50 has two expansion joints 52, 54 which together give it two stages of expansion, both of which are through entire cross-sections parallel to the plane of the handle 56, cutting great peripheries of the suitcase.
FIG. 10 shows an enlarged cross-section through an expansion joint, showing the interlocked bead-and-channel fastener 60, 62 and showing a folded-back expansion collar 64 which runs about the entire periphery and when opened up in width as seen in FIG. 11 serves as the wall and bond between the portions of the suitcase to the two sides of it. This expansion collar and the bead-andchannel fastener and the channel bindings 61, 63 for the two opposed edges of the suitcase may advantageously all be extruded as a single integral extrusion of suitable elastomeric material, or if preferred the collar can be a web of canvas or the like and the bindings be as desired or be dispensed with.
The configuration of bead-and-channel fastener that is selected for use here should meet certain requirements. It should be capable of being changed from engaged to disengaged and vice versa without in that process significantly changing the joint width, because a molded suitcase can be quite stiff and may have rather little ability to spread and return locally as the slider passes. This means also that the slider should be of pretty much the same width from its engaging end to its disengaging end. Also the slider should always be held upon one of the tracks, even when the tracks are disengaged and the joint is opened up. This last is provided for here by grooves 66, 68 at the neck of track 62, on opposite sides thereof and each facing out; the slider can be designed to have opposed parts that always extend into these two grooves so the slider is thereby always held on that track.
To meet the foregoing fastener requirements I use an inter-convoluted bead-and-channel fastener: It locks together when interfitted as seen in FIG. 10, and resists rather strong pull. When it has been disengaged but the joint edges not yet moved apart, the fastener parts lie upon each other in disengaged relation as seen in FIG. 12. This makes possible progressive and lasting disengagement as the slider is run around the peripheral path even though the edges of the case do not move apart at the time and place that the local disengagement of the tracks has just occurred. Other fastener shapes may be selected, within considerable latitude.
The slider is on one track permanently, here track 62. Seemingly, the slider should disengage from the other track to enable the joint to spread open, yet should be engaged for the purpose of fastening the joint closed again. I resolve these conflicting requirements by providing a partial gap 70 in at least one, preferably both, of the track members so as that region they do not interlock but can move together or apart freely. I meet the other requirement by cutting back the interfitting part of the track member gradually; thus when the tracks are brought together and the slider is moved lenghwise along the tracks it fits between the tracks and moves them into engaged or disengaged relation (depending on the direction of travel of the slider) as it passes along them.
I can do this by taking that length portion of the extruded track which is to constitute the partial gap and uncurling it to lie out flat in terms of its cross-section. This can be done for example by pulling the extrusion over a wheel with a fiat peripheral face. Then I slice off a gradually increasing then decreasing Width of the uncurled .track, angling in, and then angling back out again, as I progress, making a slanting cut. When I do this to both the tracks at the same lengthwise location that leaves them so they appear in section as seen in the progressive crosssectional views of FIGS. 13 through 17.
Any suitable slider will be selected from the fastener art, or one could be generated to accord with the track members as shown here. When the slider has passed in the engaging direction, it leaves the fastener tracks interlocked as shown in FIG. 10. When the slider has passed in the disengaging direction, but before the portions of the suitcase to the two sides of the joint have moved apart, it temporarily leaves the tracks in the relation shown in FIG. 12. When the joint is opened up the track members are laterally separated as seen in FIG. 11.
When the suitcase is contracted, and the tracks are interlocked and are holding the suitcase in its contracted configuration, at the mid part of the region of the partial gap the track members do not interlock. Instead they leave a clear space between them as seen in FIG. 17. The
slider can be located at rest at this region, and here it neither engages nor disengages the tracks. They have an open space between them that the slider can extend through without effect upon them.
Desirably but not essentially, this open part of the partial gap is twice the length of the slider, and there is a stop 71 on the suitcase that prevents the slider from going past this midpoint. This positioning means could alternatively be a detent rather than a stop, and arrows with words such as OPEN and SHUT would indicate the proper direction of travel for the slider.
Now if the slider be moved in its disengage direction it will fit progressively into the tapered ends of the tracks and will move between them in relation to spread them apart to the configuration shown in FIG. 12. As the joint becomes parted far enough around the periphery the tracks will begin to move apart laterally, until the slider has traveled all the way around and the joint is fully open and the case can expand through the entire cross-section.
When it is desired to contract the case again, its parts are pushed together. As the fastener track members make contact they wedge upon each other and are deflected to the relation shown in FIG. 12. If the elastomer used for the tracks is relatively stiff, this pushing together into deflected position above and below each other will be facilitated by locating the gaps and the stop for the slider near a corner 72 of the suitcase. In either event the region of partial gap allows the track members to come together laterally there, so the slider can mesh with both when it is traveled longitudinally and re-engage the fastener tracks all the way around.
FIGS. 18 through 23 illustrate what may be further features or may be alternative embodiments of my invention. FIG. 18 illustrates a bead-and-channel interlocking fastener in which the expansion collar, that will move and bridge the area of enlargement to serve as a wall thereabout, and the bead member and the channel member, are all formed as a single integral extrusion and the wall or collar member is folded up within the height of the integral totality.
Specifically as seen in FIG. 18, an integral extrusion 80 is of generally rectangular form, at least at its bottom and sides, and preferably at its top also. It fits between the adjacent body portions of the case substantially flush with their outer and inner surfaces. An undercut bead or lip 81 depends from the fastener band 82 that extends from outer side member 83. Extending in and up from the lower edge of outer side member 83 is a two-piece pleat, 84a and 84b, whose two sides extend up and back down. Then the integral member extends on across as a bottom 85 with a stub 86 extending up constituting an undercut lip, or forming a channel, complementary to the lip 81. From the end of bottom piece 85 there extends up an inner side member 87.
The whole constitutes a compact generally rectangular section that can be of the same height as the adjacent peripheral wall members 12, 22 of the case body. With the excellent adhesives available today this rectangular extrusion may be adhesively bonded to the case body at both sides, or other securing means may be used if desired.
Some of the difiiculty of making an extrusion with section as shown in FIG. 18 can be avoided by extruding with the parts that are to be folded into each other opened up as seen in FIG. 18a, then folding them together into the shape seen in FIG. 18, as by running them into a tapered guide, and giving the final heat-cure to the extruded elastomer while it is held in the closed-in configuration.
The thickness of the case members 12, 22 may be rather little, in which case the pleat members 84a and b are of quite limited height. If this does not give enough expansibility to the carrying case, two pairs or more of pleat members 90a and b and 91a and b may be provided contiguously and still as part of one integral extrusion, as illustrated in FIG. 19. Thus the wall or collar 6 member is folded up and back more than once within the height of the integral totality. Whether folded up and back once or more times, this type of construction facilitates the making of a neat product which need not have any raised bands (unless the designer should on occasion choose to have them).
FIG. 20 illustrates a tab which can be pulled to start the opening up of the expansion bond. This opening means may be an alternative to the opening means that are illustrated in the drawings, or they may be used in combination.
A tab 92 is made of material such as strong fabric impregnated with curable elastomer. One or more of these tabs are placed along the expansion extruded member and they are bonded securely to one of the bead-and-channel members, preferably the lip 81 that extends in from the outer surface, as shown in FIG. 20. The tab fits between the bead and channel members when the case is contracted. The outer end of the tab is a graspable portion, and it is held down as shown when it is cured, so its memory configuration is lying flat against the top of the case.
FIG. 21 illustrates use of double pleated expansion collar and the opening tab and also an interior stretchable lining 93. This lining is thin fiat sheet material that will easily stretch laterally to about twice its original width or more, but which is highly resistant to stretch in a direction generally perpendicular thereto.
Preferably, as shown in FIGS. 22a and b, a one-way stretch woven fabric 93 is cut on a very slight bias, with the lines in these two figures and FIG. 23 representing the direction of no stretch or very little stretch the fabric stretching readily perpendicular to those lines. This stretch fabric is placed across the expansion extrusion, on the inner surface of the case, and is bonded to the inner surfaces of the case members 12, 22 as shown in FIG. 21 at 93a and 93b.
FIG. 23 shows in phantom how the non-stretch grain of the stretch liner material 93 is oriented, namely always slightly out as we trace it from top center to the end as at 94 and down the end as at 95 and back in along the bottom to bottom center as at 96, tracing toward either end on either of the two expansion bonds; out here means away from the center plane of the case (where a handle is illustrated in dash lines) out toward the respective main side faces of the carrying case. The arrows 97 indicate the expansion of the carrying case transverse to these lining tapes 94, 95, 96.
The several features disclosed herein may be used in various combinations and in Whole or in part, and it will be appreciated that many variation and different embodiments of my invention may be practiced within the teachings and scope of my patent.
1. A carrying case expansible at a peripheral joint between two of its portions through an entire cross-section, having a peripheral wall member all the way around the case and of at least approximately uniform width all the way around, said wall being movable relative to at least one of the two portions and bridging the space between opposed peripheral edges of the two portions when the case is expanded, said case having interlocking beadand-channel fastener members, the fastener bead member running around one edge of the peripheral joint and the fastener channel member running around the other, said fastener members running at least nearly all the way around the periphery but at least one of them having its full cross-section run a somewhat less distance than the entire periphery, leaving a partial gap for a short distance.
2. Carrying case of claim 1 in which the partial gap locally reduces the engagement of the bead-and-channel fastener members sufliciently there for manual starting of localized complete disengagement of the fastener members to make possible progressive disengagement manually about the entire periphery, the bead-and-channel fastener members being also capable of manual engagement by pressing the parts together progressively.
3. Carrying case of claim 1 in which one of the fastener members has a necked-down portion for holding a slider slidably mounted thereon, and the partial gap serves as a rest location for such slider when the fastener members are engaged and the edges of the fastener members are held close together.
4. Carrying case of claim 1 in which the bead-andchannel fastener members are adapted to be selectively engaged and disengaged by a slider and have sufficient freedom to flex laterally, and to spread within the plane of the joint, said fastener members being engageable and disengageable without need for the adjacent edges of the carrying case portions to have to yield locally upon passage of such slider.
5. Carrying case of claim 1 in which a fastener member that runs essentially all the way around the periphery has a continuous necked-down portion on which a slider can ride and be retained against coming off bodily.
6. Carrying case of claim 1 in which the channel and bead fastener members and said peripheral wall member are an integral extrusion strip.
7. Carrying case of claim 1 wherein said fastener members are secured to said case portions by channelshaped bindings and said fastener members, peripheral wall member and bindings are an integral extrusion strip.
-8. Carrying case of claim 1 in which at least one of the fastener members has a partial gap formed as a cutaway, said one fastener member having a lateral component beginning at a free edge of a convolute and extending helically to a maximum cut-back and then reverse.
9. Carrying case of claim 8 in which both fastener members are thus cut-away in the same region to form a partial gap and in part of that gap the sections of the fastener members are not interlocked.
10. Carrying case of claim 9 in which the cut-away members are cut back far enough to leave, at nearly rest position of the engaged fastener tracks, a slot that will allow a slider to be housed between them.
11. A carrying case expansible at a peripheral joint between two of its portions through an entire cross-section, having a peripheral wall member all the way around the case and of at least approximately uniform width all the way around, said wall being movable relative to at least one of the, two portions and bridging the space between opposed peripheral edges of the two portions when the case is expanded, said case having interlocking beadand-channel fastener members running about the peripheral joint, the bead fastener member being attached along one side of the peripheral joint and the channel member being attached along the other side of the peripheral joint, said fastener members being engageable in interlocking relationship to hold the case in contracted configuration and being disengageable to allow the case to assume expanded configuration.
12. An expansible carrying case having a peripheral joint between two of its portions, having a peripheral wall or collar member extending along the joint and movable relative to at least one of the two portions and bridging the space between opposed peripheral edges of the two portions when the case is expanded, said case having interlocking bead-and-channel fastener members, the fastener bead member running around one edge of the peripheral joint and the fastener channel member running around the other, the said fastener bead member and the said fastener channel member and the wall or collar member all being integral with each other and the whole being generally rectangular at least at bottom and sides, and the wall or collar member being folded up within the height of the integral totality.
13. Carrying case of claim 12 in which the integral totality referred to therein is rectangular and fits between the adjacent body portions of the case substantially flush with their inner and outer surfaces.
14. Carrying case of claim 12 in which the wall or collar member is folded up and back more than once within the height of the integral totality referred to therein.
15. An expansible carrying case having a peripheral joint between two of its portions, having a peripheral wall or collar member extending along the joint and movable relative to at least one of the two portions and bridging the space between opposed peripheral edges of the two portions when the case is expanded, said case having interlocking bead-and-channel fastener members, the fastener bead member running around one edge of the peripheral joint and the fastener channel member running around the other, and a tab secured to one of the bead-and-channel members and fitting between them when the case is contracted, said tab extending on out and having a graspable portion at the outer surface of the carrying case.
16. Carrying case of claim 15 in which the tab contains curable material and the tab is cured in configuration to lie acrossthe outer surface of the carrying case with a plastic memory tending to return it there and keep it there.
17. An expansible carrying case having a peripheral joint between two of its portions, having a peripheral wall or collar member extending along the joint and movable relative to at least one of the two portions and bridging the space between opposed peripheral edges of the two portions when the case is expanded, said case having interlocking bead-and-channel fastener members, the fastener bead member running around one edge of the peripheral joint and the fastener channel member running around the other and a thin flat transversely stretchable lining extending across the peripheral joint at the inner surface of the case and secured along the length of the edges of the joint to the two portions of the case.
18. Carrying case of claim 17 in which the lining is of one-way stretch material, being highly stretchable laterally but not longitudinally.
19. Carrying case of claim 18 in which the direction of maximum resistance to stretch of the liner is biased slightly outwardly as it is traced from top center to end and down the end and in to bottom center.
DONALD F. NORTON, Primary Examiner