US 3626556 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 14, 1971 J. w. sTRucK 3,626,556
BUCKLE MECHANISM Filed Nov. l0, 1970 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 s -nl INVENTOR Joseph W Sfruc/r BY MMM ATTOR NEYJ Dec. 14, 1971 q. w. STRUCK 3,626,556
BUCKLE MECHANISM Filed Nov. lO, 1970 (o 62 y 3.5 J3 70 .50 jd 37 f4 4, .29 at; 33
66 J3 29 fa 33 .24
2 Sheets-Sheet 2 I NVENT( )R Joseph W Sfruc/r mgm/JM ATTORNEY;
United States Patent O 3,626,556 BUCKLE MECHANISM Joseph W. Struck, East Detroit, Mich., assignor to Irvin Industries Inc., Lexington, Ky. Filed Nov. 10, 1970, Ser. No. 88,303 Int. Cl. A44b 11/25, 17/00 U.S. Cl. 'Z4-203 10 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A coupling for a safety seat belt system including at least rst and second buckle members, one buckle members, one buckle member including connector means and the other buckle member including a pocket portion for receiving said connector means and latch means for releasable retention of the connector means of one buckle member in the pocket portion of the other.
This invention relates to improvements in buckle mechanism.
Many of the asfety seat belt systems in present day use, particularly for the driver, include a pair of buckle members attached to seat belt ends for interconnection over the lap of the occupant and another pair of buckle members for interconnection of a shoulder harness about the occupant. When not in use, there are thus four buckle members lying about and the same have a tendency to become tangled, and are generally a nuisance to properly locate and interconnect. The present invention has been primarily developed to provide a three point connector buckle mechanism whereby the shoulder harness buckle member may be directly attached to one of the seat belt buckle members, providing a three point connector instead of the previous four point connector system. However, it is to be borne in mind that although the invention was primarily developed in connection with a three point connector system, the same could also be used in connection with a two point system. Thus, although the invention is shown and described in connection with such three point system, its use is not to be construed as being so limited.
A further object of the invention is the provision of a buckle mechanism which requires positive action on the part of the occupant in order to release the same.
A further object is the provision of buckle mechanism having improved latch means, which latch means has eX- tremely few parts, providing economy in manufacture and facilitating assembly, and 'which also includes protective ribs which will serve to prevent accidental release.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent during the course of the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, forming a part of this disclosure, and in which drawings:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a three point connector safety seat belt system which embodies my improved buckle mechanism.
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the frame of my improved buckle mechanism.
FIG. 3 is a transverse sectional view taken substantially along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the latch means of my improved buckle mechanism.
FIG. 5 is a transverse sectional view taken substantially along the line 5-5 of FIG. 4.
FIGS. 6, 7 and 8 are transverse sectional views taken substantially along the line 6 6 of FIG. l and showing dierent positions of operation or" my improved buckle mechanism. FIG. 6 shows the latch means of the buckle mechanism in a position that it will normally assume as the buckle members are being attached and interconnected about an occupant; FIG. 7 shows the fully connected position; and FIG. 8 shows operation of the latch means of the buckle mechanism in disconnection of one buckle member from another.
In the drawings, wherein similar reference characters designate corresponding parts throughout the several views, and wherein is shown a preferred embodiment of the invention, the letter A may generally designate a safety seat belt system which may include `buckle -members B, C and D. As shown, buckle members B and C may be parts of a seat belt and buckle `member D may be for attachment of a shoulder harness to a seat belt buckle.
Buckle member B preferably may comprise a conventional safety belt buckle 20 which may be attached to one end of a lap strap 21. Buckle 20 may, for instance, be of the type as disclosed in the copending application of Louis Romanzi, Jr. and Robert C. Pfeiffer, Ser. No. 781,016, tiled Dec. 4, 1968.
Buckle member C may comprise a conventional tongue connector plate 23 which may be attached to an end of a lap strap 24.. Connector plate 23 may, for instance, be of the same type as disclosed in the aforementioned application Ser. No. 781,016, which cooperates as shown and described therein for interconnection of a lap belt about a vehicle occupant. Attached to connector plate 23 may be an anchor pin 26 which may have a shaft portion 28 and an enlarged head portion 29. Anchor pin 26 cornprises connector means of buckle member C for interconnection of buckle members B and C, as will be subsequently described.
Buckle member D may include a main frame 30 to which may be attached latch means 31.
Frame 30 preferably includes a main body portion 32 having an extended portion 33 at one end thereof, to which may be attached a shoulder harness 34, the same being looped through slot 35. The other end of the main body portion 32 may be provided with a flange portion 37 which cooperates with latch means 31 in attachment thereof to frame 30, as will be subsequently described. Main body portion 32 preferably has an offset central portion 40 which denes a pocket 41. Pocket 41 may have an enlarged portion 43 for receiving enlarged head 29 of anchor pin 26, a slot 145 for receiving shaft 28y of anchor pin 26, and may have a mouth 47 opening thereinto for insertion of anchor pin 26 into pocket 41 with enlarged head 29 of anchor pin 26 received by enlarged portion 43 of pocket 41, and shaft 28 of anchor pin 26 extending through slot 45. Main body portion 32 may be provided with a flange portion 50 which may extend over a part of mouth 47 of pocket 41, such extension 50 comprising a fulcrum which may cooperate with latch means 31 in operation thereof, as will be subsequently described.
Latch means 31 is preferably of integral one piece construction and may, for instance, be made of molded polypropylene. Of course, it is within the purview of this invention to provide a latch means of other than an integral construction.
As shown, latch means 31 preferably includes a main body portion 53 having a front retaining tab 54 and a rear retaining tab 55, front retaining tab 54 receiving flange 37 of frame 30 and rear retaining tab 55 being engageable with one side of slot in attachment of latch means 31 to frame 30.
Latch means 31 also preferably includes a blocker means which may comprise a tab-like member 60 which may be hingedly connected at one end thereof to main body portion 53. The hinge connection may be made by reducing the thickness of main body portion 53 at such as an integral connecting point 61. Tab 60` may have a cup-shaped tang 62 dependent therefrom. Tang 62, in normal position, depends at least partially over mouth 47 of frame 30, for releasable retainment of anchor pin 26 within pocket 41. Lever means 65 is preferably hingedly connected to tab 60 such as by a living hinge 66. Bottom portion 67 of lever 65 is of a configuration to abut with flange 50 of frame 30 in lifting blocker tang 62 out of mouth 47 of pocket 41, to permit removal of anchor pin 26 therefrom, as shown in FIG. 8.
In interconnection of buckle member `D to `buckle member C, anchor pin 26 may be slid into pocket 41, as shown in FI-G. 6, anchor pin 26 abutting against blocker tang 62 of latch means 31 and lifting the same out of the way to permit full insertion of anchor pin 26 to within pocket 41.
The locked position of the buckle is shown in FIG. 7, blocker tang 62 having dropped down behind anchor pin 26, after it is inserted in pocket 41, retaining anchor pin 26 in pocket 41. As shown, protective ribs 70, which extend along the uppermost surface of latch means 31 to each side of both tab 60 and lever 65 will serve to protect the latch means against accidental release.
IWhen it is desired to release buckle `member D from buckle member C, the shoulder harness strap 34 and the extension 33 of frame 30 provide a convenient handle which may be grasped by the occupant, so that he may use his thumb to engage lever 65, pulling the same back, as shown in FIG. 8, bottom portion 67 thereof engaging extended portion 50 of frame 30 as a fulcrum, which will serve to lift blocker tang 62 out of mouth 47 of pocket 41 so that anchor pin 26 may be removed from pocket 41. Since the anticipated operation of applicants improved buckle mechanism is as shown in FIG. 8, member 65 has been described as a lever. However, it is obvious that member 65 could be otherwise provided to lift blocker tang 62 out of mouth 47, for instance, by pulling member 65 in the opposite direction from that as shown in FIG. 8, in a slightly upwardly direction, or grasping member 65 and pulling it straight up. Accordingly, in the use of the word lever as applied to member 65, it is to be understood that same should be interpreted as designating any type of member for raising tab 60 in lifting blocker tang 62 out of mouth 47.
Various changes 4may be made to the form of the invention herein shown and described without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the following claims.
1. In a coupling for a safety belt system, the combination of at least rst and second buckle members releasably connectable with one another, one said buckle member including a frame having connector means, the other of said buckle members including a frame having pocket means, said pocket means including a relatively narrow portion for receiving said connector means in a cooperative relationship for attachment together of said buckle members and an enlarged portion for ingress and egress of said connector means with respect to said narrow portion thereof, and one said buckle members including latch means, said latch means including a main body portion, blocker means, said blocker means including a tab member having a keeper tang adjacent one end thereof, means for hinged attachment of said tab member to said main body portion at the other end thereof from said keeper tang for reciprocable movement of said keeper tang into and out of said enlarged portion of said pocket means for releasable retention of said connector means in said narrow portion of said pocket means when said buckle members are connectably positioned, and a release lever for manipulation of said tab member, abutment means positioned for engagement by said release lever, hinge means for attachment of one side of said release lever to said tab member adjacent the end thereof having said keeper tang with the other side of said release member positioned for abutment against said abutment means so that a force exerted on said lever means in urging said other side of said release lever into abutment with said abutment means raises said keeper tang out of said enlarged portion of said pocket means.
2. The combination as specied in claim l, wherein said main body portion of said latch means includes means for attachment thereof to said frame of said buckle member having the same, said means for hinged attachment of said tab member to said main `body portion including means for supporting said tang for extension into said enlarged portion of said pocket means in releasable retention of said connector means in said narrow portion of said pocket means when said buckle members are connectably positioned.
3. The combination as specified in claim 1 wherein said coupling for a safety belt system includes three buckle members, one buckle member comprising a tongue connector plate for a seat belt portion of the system, one buckle member comprising a buckle member for a shoulder harness portion of the system, and one buckle member comprising a buckle for another seat belt portion of the system that is releasably connectable to said tongue connector plate.
4. The combination as specified in claim 3 wherein said tongue connector plate includes said connector means, said connector means comprising an anchor pin attached to said tongue connector plate, said anchor pin including a shaft provided with an enlarged head, said second mentioned buckle member including a frame having an offset portion defining said pocket means, said pocket means having an enlarged portion for receiving said enlarged head of said anchor pin therethrough and a slot for receiving said shaft of said anchor pin.
5. The combination as specified in claim 4 wherein said main body portion of said latch means includes means for attachment thereof to said frame of said buckle member having the same, said means for hinged attachment of said tab member to said main body portion including means for supporting said tang for extension into said enlarged portion of said pocket -means in releasable retention of said connector means in said narrow portion of said pocket means when said buckle membesr are connectably positioned.
6. The combination as specied in claim 1 wherein said keeper tang comprises a cup-like projection and said lever means comprises an upstanding member extending from said tab member at the same end thereof as and ir. a direction opposite said cup-like projection.
7. The combination as specified in claim 1 wherein a portion of said frame of the buckle member having said latch means extends beneath said release lever and cornprises said abutment means providing a fulcrum for engagement by said release lever in lifting said keeper tang to permit removal of said connector means from said pocket means.
8. The combination as specified in claim 2 wherein said latch means comprises a one piece member having a main body portion including a hinge portion integral with said blocker and said main body portion for hingedly supporting said blocker with respect to said main body portion and a hinge portion integral with said blocker and said release lever for hinged attachment of said release lever to said blocker.
9. The combinati-on as specified in claim 8 wherein said one piece latch means is comprised of polypropylene.
10. The combination as specied in claim 1 wherein said latch means includes spaced apart rib means on both sides of said lever means for preventing accidental operation of said lever means.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS BERNARD A. GELAK, Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.