US 3635106 A
A key or wrench for turning sprinkler valve handles has a body formed at the top with a socket in the shape of a hollow Greek cross complementary to the conventional valve handle. Below the socket is a thin-walled annular skirt dimensioned to fit within the tube usually surrounding the valve. Internal, rounded protuberances in the skirt guide the valve handle into the socket. The key has an elongated handle twisted to facilitate turning the key and the valve handle seated in the socket thereof.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unite 111 Horns [451 Jan. 18, 1972 541 KEY FOR SPRINKLER VALVE 169,489 11/1875 Smeaton ..8l/l2l  Inventor; Douglas Hams 1538 Industrial way 2,895,363 7/1959 Cox ..s1/125 Belmont. Calif- 94002 FOREIGN PATENTS 0R APPLICATIONS 1221 i -1 1 561,996 11/1957 Belgium ..81/121 211 Appl.No.: 885,916
Related [1.8. Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 772,751, Nov. 1,
 US. Cl. ..8l/l2l R  Int. Cl ....B25b 13/06  FieldofSearch ..81/l2l,3.4
[ 5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,282,028 10/1918 Bellows ..81/l2l 499,814 6/1893 Williams Primary ExaminerJames L. Jones, Jr. A ttorney-J ulian Caplan [5 7] ABSTRACT A key or wrench for turning sprinkler valve handles has a body formed at the top with a socket in the shape of a hollow Greek cross complementary to the conventional valve handle. Below the socket is a thin-walled annular skirt dimensioned to fit within the tube usually surrounding the valve. Internal, rounded protuberances in the skirt guide the valve handle into the socket. The key has an elongated handle twisted to facilitate turning the key and the valve handle seated in the socket thereof.
2 Claims, 4 Drawing fi ures PATENTEDJANIBIBYZ 3.1535106 I NTOR.
/ ATTORNEY DOUGLAS HOMS llfilElI son SPKLEM VALVE This application is a continuation-in-part of copending application, Ser. No. 772,751, filed Nov. 1, 1968.
This invention relates to a new and improved lawn sprinkler valve key. More particularly, the invention relates to a metal or plastic wrench shaped and dimensioned to fit within the tube which conventionally is placed in the ground above a sunken sprinkler valve to prevent dirt from blocking access to the valve handle. The upper portion of the key body is formed in a thin-walled hollow socket of the Greek cross shape of a conventional sprinkler valve handle, with its inside dimensions slightly larger than such handle. Thus the socket portion receives the valve handle and when it is turned, turns the valve to open or closed position.
A further feature of the invention is the provision of a skirt having a circular exterior below the socket portion which is dimensioned to fit inside the aforementioned tube and thereby to center the key relative to the valve handle. lntemally of the skirt the walls are rounded so that the valve handle is guided into the socket portion when the key is placed over the valve.
A principal feature and advantage of the invention is the fact that whether the valve is located below ground or above ground, a convenient tool is provided for turning the handle. Because of the shape of the body, the handle is located in the socket with very little manipulation required. Conventional rod-stock sprinkler keys require considerable effort in order to properly locate the wrench relative to the handle and this is particularly difficult because the handle is frequently not visible. When the sprinkler is located near the valve, it is quite essential that the key be installed and removed rapidly so that the attendant is not unnecessarily dampened. All of these desirable features are achieved by the present invention.
A principal feature of the invention is the fact that the interior is formed with rounded corners. The hollow skirt receives the handle and the rounded comers direct the handle into the socket. Hence the seating of the valve handle within the socket requires very little, if any, manual dexterity.
Another feature of the invention is the provision of holes in the top walls of the socket portion for escape of water, mud or other debris which may be standing in the sleeve surrounding the valve handle. When the key is withdrawn from the sleeve, it tends to clean the latter of mud and debris.
Another feature of the invention is the provision of means whereby the valve handle is firmly engaged by the key so that considerable torque may be applied to the valve handle in the event that it is stuck in open or closed position and also to enable the valve to be tightened when it tends to leak.
Other objects of the present invention will become apparent upon reading the following specification and referring to the accompanying drawings in which similar characters of reference represent corresponding parts in each of the several views.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the key of the present invention showing portions of the valve and surrounding tube with which it is used.
FM]. 2 is a bottom plan view of the key body.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken substantially along the line 33 of FIG. 2.
FIG. l is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of a portion of the skirt of the key showing the rounded comers thereof.
A conventional sprinkler valve has a body (not shown) on top of which is a bonnet 111 from which projects a stem 12 to the upper end of which is attached a handle !3 in the shape of a Greek cross having four relatively thin radial arms l4 spaced equidistantly, held on stem 12 by nut 15. Frequently such a valve is located below ground and it is common in such installations to use a thin-walled sleeve 16 having its inside diameter greater than the diameter of handle 13 extending up to and usually slightly above the surface of the soil. Sleeve 16 prevents dirt from obstructing access to the valve but sometimes tends to collect water, mud and other debris.
The present invention provides a key for turning handle 13 which is considerably improved over conventional keys of this type. The body 21 has an annular sleeve 22 at the top formed with a transverse hole 23. Below sleeve 22 is a downwardly outwardly curved bonnet 24 from which extend four radial, equiangularly spaced top socket walls 26. Upwardly tapering substantially vertical walls 27 depend from the outer edges of top walls 26 and the sides are closed off by walls 28. Thus the space enclosed by tops 26, sides 28 and outer walls 27, as is best shown in FIG. 2, is in a shape complementary to a Greek cross and is dimensioned to receive the arms 14 of handle 13. The upper end of the socket is provided with clearance 30 for nut 15. Hole 29 may be formed in top wall 26 for escape of water, mud and other debris when the body 211 is inserted in tube 16 and pressed down towards bonnet 11. On the other hand, when the key is lifted out of tube 16 it tends to clear out whatever mud and other debris may have collected therein.
Merging with the lower ends of outer walls 27 is a thinwalied annular skirt 31 having an external dimension sufficient so that it will fit easily within tube 16 but center the body 211 relative to stem 12. The exterior ofskirt 31 and the interior walls 32 taper slightly upwardly. Between walls, 28, the top wall 34 closes off skirt 31. The internal corners 33 where top wall 34 merges with walls 28 is rounded as indicated by reference numeral 33. Further, the bottom edge 27 of skirt 31 is chamfered and an ogee curve 36 connects the chamfered edge 37 with wall 34. The shape of the edge 37, curves 36 and 33 is such as to guide the arms 14 into the socket of the upper portion of body 21 without any considerable effort or manipulation being required.
The turning handle 41 for the valve may be made in various shapes. The preferred shape shown in FIG. 1 is formed of round bar stock. It has a vertical stretch 40 of extended length which is received in the hole of tube 22. A handgrip is preferably formed on the upper end of handle 41 by bending the stock upwardly outwardly in a stretch 42 at an obtuse angle and then horizontally backwardly in a stretch 43. A hole 44 is formed adjacent to bottom of stretch 40 which is aligned with hole 23 and a roll pin 46 is inserted therein to secure handle 41 to body 21.
In use, where sleeve 16 is employed, the user inserts skirt 31 within the sleeve and the dimensions tend to center the skirt relative to the valve stem 12. Top wall 34 rests upon the top of handle 13 and only a slight twisting of body 21 by manipulation of handle 41 causes the arms 14 to be directed by means of the curves 37, 36, 33 into the socket in the upper socket portion of the key. When the handle 13 has seated in the socket portion, slight twisting of handle 41 turns the handle 13 to open or close the valve.
Although the foregoing invention has been described in some detail, by way of illustration and example for purposes of clarity of understanding, it is understood that certain changes and modifications may be practiced within the spirit of the invention and scope of the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A sprinkler valve key comprising a body formed at the top with a socket portion shaped in the form of a hollow Greek cross with the four arms of the cross closed by top walls, the interior of said socket portion shaped to receive the four arms of a conventional valve handle, said body formed with an annular thin-walled skirt below said socket portion, said skirt being closed off in a substantially horizontal skirt top between the arms of said cross and said skirt top being open at each said arm, whereby a valve handle received within said skirt may seat within said socket portion, the internal comers where said skirt top and socket portion merge being rounded to direct said valve handle to seat in said socket portion when said skirt is placed over said handle and turned slightly, and a twisting handle attached to the top of said body.
2. A key according to claim 1 in which said top walls are formed with apertures dimensioned for passage of water, mud and debris.
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