US 3582044 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent James M. Gardner Milwaukee, Wis. 832,173
June 11, 1969 June l-, 1971 Ga rdner Bender, Inc. Milwaukee, Wis.
inventor App]. No. Filed Patented Assignee FISH TAPE REEL 6 Claims, 5 Drawing Figs.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 11/1967 Schinske 1/1969 Niemann n 13,ss2,044
Primary ExaminerRobert C. Riordon Assistant ExaminerDavid R. Melton Alt0rneysArnold J. Ericsen and Chester W. Brown ABSTRACT: An annular reel for storing electricians fish tape, and comprising a pair of interfitting, substantially identical sections joined together near the central opening of the reel to permit access of the fish tape at the outer periphery of the reel between the sections. Each of the sections have a continuous groove defined by an inturned peripheral flange and an inwardly, radially spaced, concentric web. An elongated strip of relatively stiff material is slidably received in the groove to prevent unintentional escape of the tape between the opposed outer peripheral flanges. A tape feeder handle slidably received in the groove between the ends of the strip, and is arranged to guide and feed the tape, and further includes a finger-operated brake shoe adapted to apply pressure to the tape as it is forced into a conduit or the like.
PATENTEDJUN Han 3582.044
' SHEEY 1 [IF 2 INVENTOR JAMES M. GARDNER ATTORNEY n PATENTED JUN 1 |97l SHEET 2 0F 2 52 I 52 I I 30 33 33 INVENTOR JAMES M. GARDNER ATTORNEY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. FIELD OF THE INVENTION .The present invention relates to reels for storing fish tape used by electricians, and particularly to reels molded of insulating plastic sections, which when joined together near the inner opening of the generally annularly configured reel provide access for the tape between the joined sections at the outer periphery of the reel, and which further include feeder handle means for retaining and guiding the tape into and out of the reel between the mating sections.
2. DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Aside from containers for holding rules, surveyors measuring-tapes and plumbers *snakes," each of which provide either a slotted opening transversely of the container for removal or insertion of the tape, or in the case of the plumbers sriakesf very loosely retaining the snake for removal from the inner opening, there have been several efforts made to provide containers for tapes, such as electricians fish tapes which are relatively small and of uniform cross section when compared to the transverse width of the storage feel. The latter mentioned tapes are usually of relatively stiff, highly resilient material, such as spring steel which is random wound on the inner hub portion of the reel. Such tape is difficult to contain within the confines of the reel, particularly if the free end hits anobstacle when being fed into a conduit. As will be apparent, should a portion of the tape emerge between the insulating sections of thereel, it may expose the electrician to contact with the metal tape, should the tape inadvertently come into contact with a hot wire during installation thereof.
One" of the first efforts in providing an electricans tape storage reel was disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 1,811,945granted to Lange on June 30, I931. The Lange reel utilized a pair of spaced, flat parallel ring members secured to a supporting hub disposed thereb'etween'. No attempt was made to provide an enclosed housing for the fish tape, in order to prevent it from electrical contact with the hands of an electrician. A braking member is disclosed, which did not act directly upon the tape, but upon the hand support for purposes of retaining the tape in the reel, and not necessarily for providing a braking means on the'tape as it is being fed into a conduit. In other words, there is nothing to prevent the tape from emerging from between the parallel ring members should the tape hit an obstruetion, such as a sharp bend in the conduit.
In 1954, U.S. Pat. No. 2,689,709was granted to Waldschmidt, which disclosed a relatively elaborate and complicated construction including a handgrip riding upon a track with rollers bearing agaihst the peripheral surface of the reel. An additional pair of rollers was provided to support the outer extremities of the handgrip. Thumb pressure against? a wedge acted to hold the tape in place. Although the construction did provide a braking action directly upon the tape, no provision was provided for preventing the tape from passing between the ring halves, should the tape hit an obstruction.
The art later developed to provide a reel including an external U-shaped channel member which acted as a cover for the outer periphery of the reel sections. This was disclosed in the Kuzara U.S. Pat. No. 2,913,222. The construction also required additional ball bearings to provide frictional support between the cover and the ring. The latest development in the artis illustrated in U.S. Pat. No 3,355,123granted to Schinske on Nov. 281967. The Schinske patent discloses the provision of an annular fish tape reel comprising a pair of substantially identical, interfitting sections of high-impact, dielectric material which are connected together near the center opening of. the annular ring. The construction further provides a means of forcing the outer peripheral flanges towards one anotherto prevent escape of the tape from between the section, -except when it is being fed through a handle member held slidably between the outer flanges. The handle also is providedwith a rearwardly extending portion to act as a brake against the inner wall of the reel. There is no positive assurance, however, that the tape will not escape between the outer flanges of the sections.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a fish tape reel comprising two mating sections molded of insulating material. The sections are substantially identical and of generally annular configuration and arranged to be joined together in the proximity of the central opening of the annular reel. Each of the sections further define a groove, which when mated with the groove of the opposite section receives a slidable handle member and a fiat, relatively rigid strip which is of a length that substantially fills the remaining circumference of the groove between the ends of the handle member. The flat strip lies on a plane parallel to the axis of the reel. The strip acts as a positive means for prevention of egress of the tape between the mating sections of the' reel, and is of such material and dimension that will permit the strip to freely slide in the groove as the handle is moved circumferentially of the reel to either pay out or take in the tape supported by the handle. The handle also is provided with a finger-operating brake member to retain the tape as it is being fed into a conduit.
It will be apparent from the following description that the reel constructed in accordance with the present invention will overcome the various disadvantages enumerated in connection with prior art devices, and has as one of its objects the provision of a tape reel manufactured of a minimum number of parts which are facilely assembled to provide a housing for a fish tape. It is another object of this invention to provide a reel housing constructed to more positively act to maintain the springlike tape within the housing and which is further provided with a simplified handle or tape support cooperating with the reel housing to guide and support the tape as it is being fed from or returned to the confines of the housing. his a further object of this invention to provide a handle for 'supporting and guiding the fish tape with a braking mechanism which acts directly upon the tape to retain the tape in place as it is being forced into a conduit.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of a fish tape reel incorporating the invention;
FIG. 2 is an exploded elevational view, in section, taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1 with the fish taken removed for clarity of illustration;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line 33 of FIG. 1 illustrating the complete assembly components of the reel;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along line 44 of FIG. 1, illustrating the relationship of the braking element of the supporting handle and its cooperationwith the tape;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view, partly in section, of the handle member, and more clearly illustrating the braking components.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIGS. 1-3, inclusive, the invention is illustrated in an embodiment comprising an electricians fish tape reel, designated generally by the reference numeral 10, which houses a fish tape having the general reference numeral 11.
The tape 1 1 is of conventional configuration, usually of spring steel having a rectangular cross section. The reel 10 comprises,
which is of greater depth relative to that of the web 14. And having its marginal inner edge arranged to abut the marginal inner edge of the web 16 when the sections 12 are rotated 180relative to one another. This arrangement provides an interlocking engagement when the marginal edges 17 of the webs are in abutting contact with one another. The webs 15, when joined together, provide a-hub for receiving the tape 11 and are notched at 18 to receive the inner end loop 19 of the tape 11, which is retained by a clampingbolt 20. The sections 12 are secured together in facing relationship, as shown in FIG. 3, in the proximity of the opening 13, by means of the radially spaced bolts 20 and cooperating nuts 21. The outer surface of each section 12 is preferably countersunk in a configuration matching the surface of the nuts 21 in order to retain the nuts during threading assembly of the Bolts 20.
Referring again to the molded construction of each of sections 12, it will be observed that a circular groove 25 is provided and defined by an intumed peripheral flange 26 and a concentric, continuous web 27, radially spaced inwardly of the flange 26. Groove 25 is arranged to receive a strip 28 of flat, relatively rigid, electrically insulating material, which is slidable in the groove 25. An example of such material may be reinforced nylon, although other conventional materials may be used. The transverse strip 28 is substantially coextensive with the circumference of the groove 25, but terminates at each end in the proximity of the opposite ends of the laterally extending fins 30 molded integrally at opposite sides of the handle or tape support member, designated generally by the reference numeral 31. The laterally extending fin portions 30 are also slidably received in the continuous groove 28 with laterally extending, oppositely disposed, integral fin portions 32 of the handle 31 supported on the outer periphery of the flange 26. The handle is further stabilized as best seen in FIGS. 1 and 3 by laterally extending foot portions 33 disposed on the opposite side of the web 27 of each of the sections 12.
The foot portion 33 is angularly formed at its right end, when viewed relative to FIG. 1, to provide a guiding surface for the tape 11, which in turn is received in a channel or slot 35 molded in the handle 31. The tape is retained from sidewise movement by upstanding ribs 36 molded integrally with the handle 31. A loop is usually formed at the free end (not shown) of the tape 11 for receiving a wire to be pulled through the conduit after the tape is fed therethrough.
As will be apparent from FIGS. 1, 4 and 5, the handle is supplied with a braking mechanism. That is, the forward end of the handle is formed with a hollow chamber 40 for receiving a braking lever 41 pivoted at 42 and including a finger-operated trigger 43 at one side of the pivot 42 and a tape-engaging brake shoe 44 at the opposite side of the pivot. Thus, when finger pressure is applied to the trigger 43, the lever 41 will be rotated in the clockwise directive relative to FIG. 5 to force the head 44 against the tape and retain the same as it is being forced into the conduit.
When the handle is moved relative to the reel 10 in a clockwise direction relative to FIG. 1, the tape will thereby be reeled into the handle. counterclockwise movement of the handle permits the tape 11 to be paid out. Also, as the handle is being moved counterclockwise relative to FIG. 1, the brake shoe 44 is released from contact with the tape 1 l to permit the tape 11 to freely slide through the chamber 35 of the handle. The finger-operated trigger 43 is pulled upwardly relative to FIG. 1 to press the shoe 44 against the tape 11 and retain it in place as it is being pushed through the conduit. The reel 10 is rotated to pay out the tape 11 with the opposite hand of the electrician as he grasps the generally annular member in his hand with a grip on the corrugations of the sinuous web 14.
It will be apparent that a simplified construction of a fish tape reel containing a minimum number of parts has been provided by the present invention and a construction which overcomes the defects and disadvantages of reels of the prior art. The construction provides a positive assurance that the tape will not be forced between the reel sections as it is being paid out and should it meet with an obstruction in the conduit. Such undesirable occurrence is prevented by the transverse slidable strip 28 actin to enclose a]? gags resulting between the mating surfaces 0 the flanges 2 o e sections 12. If so desired, the strip 28 may be attached directly to the ends of the fins 30 of the handle 31 by sonic welding or other known means. (Not shown) In view of this and other possible modifications, the invention is not intended to be limited to the showing herein or in any other manner, except as may be specifically required.
1. In a fish tape reel including a housing comprising a pair of interfitting, substantially identical sections of generally annular configuration and molded of insulating material;
a tape in said housing;
means for securing said sections in said interfitting relationship proportionate to the inner marginal opening defined by said annular housing;
said sections including intumed, continuous peripheral flanges, a handle for supporting and guiding said tape between said flanges and in slidable engageable relationship with said flanges;
the combination therewith of a continuous inwardly facing concentric web in each section, radially spaced from said intumed flanges to define a continuous groove between said webs and said flanges;
a relatively flat, rigid elongated strip of electrically insulating material positioned substantially parallel with the axis of said reel and slidably received in the said grooves of said mating sections; and
said handle further including laterally extending, oppositely disposed fins slidably received in the mating grooves of said sections.
2. The reel of claim 1, wherein said slidable strip is substantially coextensive with the circumferential length of said grooves and terminating at both ends thereof in the proximity of said fins.
3. The reel of claim 1, wherein said handle includes at least two spaced-apart pairs of oppositely disposed, laterally extending, integral fins, one pair of said fins slidably received in said groove and another pair slidably supported by the marginal edges of the respective inturned flanges of each of said sections.
4. The reel of claim 1, wherein said handle includes an integral guiding support for said tape and finger-operated braking means cooperating with said support to clampingly engage said tape between said support and said braking means upon application of finger pressure thereto.
5. The reel of claim 4, wherein the said braking means comprises a lever pivotally supported by said handle having a finger-engaging lever arm at one side of the pivot and a brake shoe at the other side for directly engaging said tape upon application of finger pressure to said lever arm.
6. The reel of claim 1, wherein the generally annular housing defines a central opening, the margins of said opening being configured to define a continuous sinuous surface.