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Publication numberUS3618346 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 9, 1971
Filing dateJul 22, 1970
Priority dateJul 22, 1970
Publication numberUS 3618346 A, US 3618346A, US-A-3618346, US3618346 A, US3618346A
InventorsHumphrey David H
Original AssigneeHumphrey David H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Key holder and key
US 3618346 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 9, 1971 D. H. HUMPHREY KEY HOLDER AND KEY Filed July 22, 1970 INVI-QN'IUR DA V/D HUMPH/PEY I ATTOR/Vf YS United States Patent US. Cl. 70-408 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An improved key holder and a novel key designed for use with the improved key holder. The novel key includes a conventional shank portion and a head portion having opening means including a hole and a groove therein, with the groove extending from the hole to the outer margin of the head portion and with the width of the narrowest part of the groove being less than the diameter of the hole. The improved key holder includes a resilient tube which extends through the hole in the key when the key is held in the key holder. A bar extends through the tube and normally prevents keys from being added to or removed from the tube because the combined maximum dimension of the bar and tube, even when the tube is radially compressed, is greater than the width of the narrowest part of the groove. However, when it is desired to add or remove a key from the key holder, the bar is withdrawn fromthe tube to permit the tube to be radially compressed to an extent that the key may be pulled or passed over the tube.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an improved key holder and a novel key for use with the improved key holder.

In the past, it has been recognized that for satisfactory commercial acceptance, a key holder should prevent the keys from protruding from the holder so as to protect the lining of the pocket in which the holder is being carried, should permit facile addition to and removal of keys from the holder, should provide a neat, compact and commercially attractive appearance, and should be capable of relatively inexpensive manufacture. The improved key holder of the present invention, in cooperation with the novel key of the present invention, satisfies these requirements in a unique and unobvious manner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The novel key of the present invention has a conventional shank portion which is adapted to have teeth formed thereon and a head portion which includes opening means comprising a hole and a groove. The groove connects the hole with the outer margin of the head portion, and the width of the groove, at its narrowest part, is less than the diameter of the hole in the head portion of the key. The improved key holder of the present invention is designed to hold a plurality of these novel keys and includes two end panels with axially aligned holes therein for receiving a transverse bar. A tube of resilient, compressible material is positioned about the bar and extends between the end panels. The bar and tube are arranged so that when the keys are being held by the key holder, the bar and tube extend through the holes in the head portions of the keys. The exterior of the tube is complementary to the interior of the hole in the key and the diameter of the tube may be slightly greater than the diameter of the holes in the head portions of the keys so that the keys cannot rotate freely about the longitudinal axis of the bar and tube.

Individual keys may be easily and quickly added to or removed from the holder by means of a novel key retention arrangement. In the preferred embodiment, the bar has opposed flats formed on the portion thereof which is disposed between the aligned holes in the end panels 3,618,346 Patented Nov. 9, 1971 so that the dimension of the bar, in a plane perpendicular to these flats is substantially less than the width of the narrowest part of the groove formed in the head portion of the key. When the bar is rotated, about its longitudinal axis, to a position where the planes of these flats are parallel to the longitudinal axis of the groove, individual keys can be pulled off or pushed onto the bar and tube since the portion of the tube adjacent to these flats can be compressed so as to permit the bar and tube to be squeezed through the grooves in the keys. When the bar is rotated from this position, keys cannot be pulled off or pushed onto the bar and tube since the combined transverse dimension of the bar and tube, even when the tube is compressed, will be greater than the width of the narrowest part of the groove.

In an alternative key retention arrangement, the bar has a circular cross-section and the bar is removed from the holder, and thus from within the tube, when it is desired to add or remove keys from the holder. In other words, after the bar is removed, a key may be added to or removed from the holder by the simple expedient of pulling or squeezing the unsupported resilient tube through the groove in the head portion of the key.

The improved key holder of the present invention also includes a cross-member which is positioned between the end panels adjacent to their lower margins and which is spaced from the bar. The cross-member and the end panels are arranged so that keys being held by the holder will not project above the plane including the upper margins of the end panels and so that the teeth formed on the shank portion of the keys will be in contact with the upper surface of the cross-member during the time the keys are not being used. This insures that the keys in the holder will never protrude from the holder while the holder is being carried in a pocket. The cross-member also includes a shoulder formed adjacent to the bar, and the shoulder and the upper surface of the cross-member are designed to serve to limit the are through which the keys may be rotated about the longitudinal axis of the bar.

The improved key holder of the present invention has the additional advantages, from the standpoint of commercialability, of having a relatively compact, neat and commercially attractive appearance and of being capable of being manufactured inexpensively with relatively unskilled labor.

Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide an improved key holder and a novel key for use with the improved holder.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel key for use with the improved key holder of the present invention wherein the key includes a shank portion adapted to have teeth formed thereon and a head portion having a hole and a groove therein, with the groove extending from the hole to the outer margin of the head portion and with the width of the narrowest part of the groove being less than the maximum dimension of the hole.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved key holder wherein a key is held in the holder by means of a resilient tube and a rigid bar which extends through the tube and wherein the key may be easily and quickly added to and removed from the key holder by the simple expedient of moving the bar to a position where it will not prevent the tube from being radially compressed to an extent that the compressed tube may pass through the groove in the head portion of the key.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide an improved key holder wherein when the keys are not in use, they will be retained completely within the holder and wherein the key holder may be inexpensively manufactured by relatively unskilled labor.

' 3 These and other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will be more fully set forth in the detailed description which follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the detailed description which follows, reference will be made to the drawings comprised of the following figures:

FIG. 1 is an exploded, perspective view of an improved key holder and the novel key constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged, elevation view of a novel key constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a vertical, cross-sectional view of an improved key holder constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention showing a key in an open position, i.e., a position in which it may be used;

FIG. 4 is a vertical cross-sectional view of an improved key holder constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention showing a key in a closed position, i.e., positioned within the key holder;

FIG. 5 is a partial vertical, cross-sectional view of an improved key holder constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention showing the bar utilized to support the resilient tube positioned so that it will prevent removal or the addition of keys from the holder;

FIG. 6 is a partial vertical, cross-sectional view of the improved key holder constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention showing the bar utilized to support the resilient tube positioned so that it will permit the removal or the addition of keys from the holder;

FIG. 7 is a partial vertical, cross-sectional view of an improved key holder constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention showing a key being removed from the holder; and

FIG. 8 is a partial vertical, cross-sectional view of an improved key holder constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention utilizing a bar having a circular cross-section as the support for the resilient tube used in the holder.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown an improved key holder 11 including a pair of end panels 12 and 13 joined by a cross-member 14 that is deposed between the end panels and is secured to the end panels 12 and 13 adjacent to their lower margins 15. The cross-member 14 is generally rectangular in shape and maintains the end panels 12 and 13 parallel to each other and spaced at a preselected distance from one another. The panel 12 has a hole 16 formed therein adjacent to its end 17 which hole 16 is axially aligned with a hole 18 formed in the end 19 of the panel 13. The key holder may be fabricated from metal or plastic, and can be made from separate pieces joined together or from a unitary memher.

A rigid, transverse bar 21 has a diameter slightly less than the diameter of the holes 16 and 18, and is longer than the preselected distance between the panels 12 and 13 so that it extends through the holes 16 and 18 in the end panels. A head 22 is integrally formed of one end of the bar 21. The other end 23 of the bar 21 has an axially internally threaded bore, not shown, formed therein. A cap 24 having a threaded projecting portion 25 integrally formed thereon is adapted to be threaded into the bore formed in the end 23 of the bar 21 in a conventional manner. The outer diameters of the heads 22 and 24 are larger than the diameters of the holes 16 and 18' in the panels 12 and 13 so that when the cap 24 has been threaded onto the end 23, the bar 21 cannot be moved, relative to the holder, in a direction parallel to the longi- 4 tudinal axis of the bar, although it may be rotated about its longitudinal axis.

As best shown in FIGS. 5-7, the bar 21 is flattened so as to have two parallel fiats 26 and 27 formed thereon. The planes of these flats 26 and 27 are parallel to each other and to the longitudinal axis of the bar 21. The function of the flats 26 and 27 will be more fully described hereinafter.

A tube 28 is disposed between the end panels 12 and 13 and is made of a resilient, compressible material, such as for example resilient plastic. The bar 21 extends through the tube 28. The tube 28 has a length equal to the preselected distance between the panels 12 and 13 so that the tube 28 completely surrounds that portion of the bar 21 disposed between the panels 12 and 13 and so that the ends of the tube abut the end panels. The outer diameter of the tube 28 is greater than the diameters of the holes 16 and 18.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the novel key 29, which may be utilized with the holder 11, includes a shank portion 31 and a head portion 32. The shank portion 31 is of conventional design and has a plurality of teeth 33 cut on one side thereof, as shown, or if desired, on both sides thereof. Conventional protrusions 34 and 35 are integrally formed as a part of the key 29 between the shank portion 31 and the head portion 32. These protrusions 34 and 35 are similar to the protrusions typically found on most keys.

The head portion 32 of the key 29 has opening means therein comprising a hole 36 and a groove 39. The hole 36 may be circular as shown. The diameter of the hole 36 is preferably slightly smaller than the outer diameter of the tube 28 so as to prevent free rotation of the key about the tube due to the compression of the tube by the key when the parts are assembled. The head portion 32 includes shoulders 37 and 38 which define a groove 39 which extends from the hole 36 to the outer margin 40 of the head portion 32. The end portion of the shoulder 37, i.e., the portion defining the groove 39, is smoothly curved so that the groove 39 is of a varying width. The shoulders 37 and 38 are spaced relative to each other so that the width of the narrowest part of the groove 39 in a plane parallel to the plane of the head portion is less than the diameter of the hole 36. The shoulder 38 has a slightly projecting end portion 41 which, as shown in FIG. 2, is formed on the side of the key opposite from the side of the shank portion 31 that normally has the teeth 33 cut therein for reasons hereinafter described.

As illustrated best in FIGS. 3 and 4, the cross-member 14 has a shoulder 42 which is disposed adjacent to the bar 21 and which is designed so that when a key is mounted on the bar 21 and tube 28 and is disposed in an open position, as in FIG. 3, the end portion 41 of the head portion 32 will abut the shoulder 42. Thus, the shoulder 42 acts as a stop and limits the are through which the key 29 may rotate relative to the longitudinal axis of the bar 21. In other words and with specific reference to FIG. 3, the shoulder 42 prevents further counterclockwise rotation of the key 29 from the position shown in FIG. 3.

The upper surface 43 of the cross-member 14 is recessed below the upper margins 44 of the panels 12 and 13 so that when the key 29 is in a closed position, i.e., in the position illustrated in FIG. 4, no part of the key 29 projects above the plane defined by the top margins 44 of the panels 12 and 13. Also, as in FIG. 4, the upper surface 45 of the shoulder 42 is disposed a sufiicient distance below the surface 43 so as to receive the protrusion 34.

Another advantage of the improved holder 11, from the standpoint of commercial appeal, is that the surface 43 of the cross-member 14 may receive labels, such as shown at 46. These labels 46 can be utilized to identify the keys which are disposed immediately above the label.

As best shown in FIGS. 5-7, the key 29 is held on the key holder 11 by the novel key retention arrangement comprising the shaft or bar 21 and the tube 28. More particularly, when the shaft 21 is positioned so that the planes of the fiats 26 and 27 are not parallel to the longitudinal axis of the groove 3-9, i.e., is positioned for example as in FIG. 5, the key 29 cannot be slipped or pulled off the shaft and tube since the combined diameter or maximum dimension of the shaft and tube is greater than the width of at least the narrowest part of the groove 39. This will be true even though the sides of the tube 2 8 may be compressed. However, as illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7, when the shaft 21 is positioned so that the planes of the flats 26 and 27 are parallel with the axis of the groove 39, the key can be pulled from or pushed onto the shaft and tube since the tube may be radially compressed, as shown best in FIG. 7, such that the combined dimension of the shaft and tube, in a plane perpendicular to the axis of the groove 39, is less than the width of the narrowest part of the groove 39. Thus, the use of the shaft 21, with the flats 26 and 27 formed thereon, provides an easy and quick means for adding and removing keys from the key holder 11. Moreover, keys will remain securely held on the key holder unless pulled therefrom even if the shaft inadvertently is moved to the position shown in FIG. 6 since in order to get the keys off the holder, force must be exerted on the key to compress'the tube 28. The key outer diameter could be the same as the hole inner diameter; however, the advantages resulting from compression of the tube 28 upon assembly of the key and tube would be lost.

In FIG. 8, an alternate key retention arrangement is shown which includes a bar 47 which is identical in all respects with the bar 21 except that the portion thereof disposed between the panels 12 and 13 has a circular cross-section, i.e., it does not have flats, such as flats 26 and 27, formed thereon. Otherwise the key holder 11 and key 29 shown in FIG. 8 are identical, structurally and functionally, to those shown in FIGS. 1 through 7 and described hereinabove. When the shaft 47 extends through the tube 28, keys cannot be added to or removed from the combined bar and tube since the combined diameter of the bar and tube, even when the tube 28 has been compressed, is greater than the width of the narrowest part of the groove 39. Keys may be added to or removed from the holder 11 illustrated in FIG. 8 by the simple expedient of removing the bar 47 from the holder 11 and thus from within the tube 28. Thereafter, a key can be squeezed off or onto the tube 28 since the tube 28 may be relatively easily, radially compressed so that the compressed dimension of the tube will be less than the width of the narrowest part of the groove 39 in the key. After the desired keys have been added to or removed fromthe holder 11, the bar 47 is again inserted through the tube 28 and is secured in the holder by threading a cap, similar to the cap 24, into the projecting end of the bar 47.

In view of the foregoing, it is apparent that the improved key holder of the present invention provides an improved and unique means for holding the novel keys of the present invention. The improved key holder of the present invention has a clean, compact and commercially attractive appearance and can be manufactured relatively inexpensively by unskilled labor. In addition, the improved key holder is designed to protect pockets and the like from wear resulting from contact with the teeth of the keys. The key holder of the present invention also permits the facile addition or removal of keys from the holder while preventing inadvertent loss or removal of keys from the holder.

It should be noted that while the improved holder 11 of the present invention has been described as having three separate parts, i.e., the end panels 12 and 13 and the cross-member 14, the holder could be integrally formed. In addition, while the head portion 32 of the novel key of the present invention is different from the generally conventional key, the head portion 32 can be easily cut from a conventional key by, for example, a small hand die cutting press. Further, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that the bars 21 and 47 could be secured within the holder 11 by means other than cap 24. Therefore, while the foregoing is a detailed description of the preferred embodiment, it should be understood that all of the present invention embodiments which would be obvious to persons skilled in the art and all those embodiments equivalent to the claimed subject matter are to be included Within the scope of the appended claim.

What is claimed is:

'1. An improved key holder adapted to hold a plurality of keys, each key having a shank portion adapted to have teeth out therein and a head portion including a hole and a groove formed therein, with said groove extending from the outer margin of the head portion to said hole and with at least the width of the narrowest part of said groove, in a plane parallel to the plane of the head portion, being less than the maximum inner dimension of said hole, the improved holder comprising; a body including end panels which are spaced apart a preselected distance and which have openings formed therein that are axially aligned; a bar extending through said aligned openings in the end panels, the 'bar having a length greater than said preselected distance and having at least a portion thereof which has a maximum cross-sectional dimension, in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the bar, greater than the width of the narrowest part of said groove in the key; securing means for selectively preventing the bar from being moved parallel to its longitudinal axis relative to the end panels; and a resilient member having a length substantially equal to said preselected distance and being disposed about the bar and between the end panels, the resilient member also being compressible, in a plane perpendicular to its longitudinal axis, so that its compressed maximum dimension is less than said width of the narrowest part of said groove.

2. The improved key holder described in claim 1, wherein the bar is a solid member having a circular crosssection, in a plane perpendicular to its longitudinal axis; and wherein the resilient member is a tube.

3. The improved key holder described in claim 2, wherein the securing means can be selectively released so as to permit the bar to be moved parallel to its longitudinal axis relative to the end panels and withdrawn from said openings in the end panels; and wherein the tube has an outer diameter which is greater than the diameter of said openings.

4. The improved key holder described in claim 1, wherein the resilient member is a tube and wherein the bar has at least one flat formed thereon, with the plane of the flat being generally parallel with the longitudinal axis of the bar; and wherein the bar and the tube, when radially compressed, have a maximum combined crosssectional dimension, in a plane perpendicular to the plane of the fiat, of less than the said width of the narrowest part of said groove.

5. The improved key holder described in claim 4, wherein the ends of the tube contact the sides of the end panels so as to prevent movement of the tube relative to the end panels; and wherein the maximum cross-sectional dimension of the tube, in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the bar, is slightly greater than the maximum dimension of the hole in the key whereby as a result of the compression of the tube by a key, the key will be prevented from freely rotating about the longitudinal axis of the bar.

6. The improved key holder described in claim 1, wherein the holder includes a cross-member positioned between the end panels and spaced from the bar, the crossmember having a shoulder thereon adjacent to the bar, which shoulder is positioned so as to limit the are through which keys held in the holders may rotate about the longitudinal axis of the bar.

7. The improved key holder described in claim 6, wherein the resilient member is a tube and wherein the bar has at least one fiat formed thereon, with the plane of the flat being generally parallel with the longitudinal axis of the bar; wherein the bar and the tube, when radially compressed, have a maximum combined cross-sectional dimension, in a plane perpendicular to the plane of the flat, of less than the said width of the narrowest part of said groove; wherein the ends of the tube contact the sides of the end panels so as to prevent movement of the tube relative to the end panels; and wherein the combined maximum cross-sectional dimension of the bar and the tube, in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the bar, is slightly greater than the maximum dimension of the hole in the key whereby as a result of the compression of the tube by a key, the key will be prevented from freely rotating about the longitudinal axis of the bar.

8. A key adapted to be held in an improved key holder which includes a bar surrounded by a compressibly resilient member, the bar and resilient member having a maximum cross-sectional dimension of a first preselected width and a minimum cross-sectional dimension of a second smaller width, the key comprising: a shank portion adapted to have teeth out therein and a head portion ineluding opening means comprising a hole and a groove, said groove extending from the outer margin of the head portion to said hole and having a minimum width, in a plane parallel to the plane of the. head portion, of less than the diameter of said hole, with the width of the narrowest part of the groove being greater than the second smaller width of the combined bar and resilient member but less than the first preselected width of the combined bar and resilient member.

9. A key as described in claim 8, wherein the resilient member is tubular and the hole is circular and has a diameter slightly less than the diameter of the resilient member, whereby the key is prevented from rotating freely about the longitudinal axis of the resilient member.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,634,599 4/1953 Nicholson 70456 R 3,315,504 4/1967 Billings 70-40 B 3,481,169 12/1969 Rossi 70-40 B ROBERT L. WOLFE, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 70-456 R

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4043203 *Jun 23, 1976Aug 23, 1977Dart Industries Inc.Spoon holder and measuring spoon set
US4637238 *Dec 23, 1985Jan 20, 1987Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki KaishaFolding key for vehicles
US4646913 *Apr 29, 1985Mar 3, 1987Wing Russell TKey pack
US4792253 *Aug 31, 1987Dec 20, 1988Jacobson Ralph SBinder ring having slip-on folio stops
US5038590 *Feb 15, 1990Aug 13, 1991Sawyer Virginia EKey identification cover
US5123579 *Jun 13, 1990Jun 23, 1992Toshiichi SugiyamaKey holding apparatus
US5177989 *Jul 2, 1991Jan 12, 1993Stillwagon Applied Technology IncorporatedKey holder with swivel cartridge
US5209090 *Jun 20, 1991May 11, 1993Stillwagon Applied Technology, Inc.Object retention apparatus
US7966853 *Sep 3, 2004Jun 28, 2011“Durable” Hunke & Jochheim GmbH & Co. KGKey carrier
US8146736Sep 19, 2007Apr 3, 2012Keyport, Inc.Key organizing device
US8225696Sep 27, 2010Jul 24, 2012Keyport, Inc.Method of manufacturing a pocket tool
US8322523Sep 30, 2010Dec 4, 2012Palmer David HOblong object holder
US8418843Sep 30, 2010Apr 16, 2013David H. PalmerOblong object holder
US8485007Dec 15, 2008Jul 16, 2013Keypoint, Inc.Key organizing device
EP0348246A2 *Jun 22, 1989Dec 27, 1989Robert M. BroadwayModified key retaining device
WO2011040964A1 *Sep 30, 2010Apr 7, 2011Palmer David HOblong object holder
Classifications
U.S. Classification70/408, 70/456.00R
International ClassificationA45C11/32, A45C11/00
Cooperative ClassificationA45C11/324
European ClassificationA45C11/32P