US 3656083 A
A faceplate with arcuate outlet apertures has oppositely directed flanges configured to the arcuate portions of the apertures. Safety guards having inturned projections are adapted to be engaged with the flanges for holding the guards in protective covering relation to the apertures. The guards are cup-shaped covers, each with a perforation permitting passage of an electrical cord and plug. The projections can be constituted by a resilient bead which snaps over the flanges, or a screw thread or a pair of lips engaged with the flanges by rotary movement.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Brook [451 Apr. 11, um
 ELECTRICAL SAFETY DEVICE  lnventorz Richard G. Brook, 4280 Kathy Avenue, Riverside, Calif. 92509  Filed: Sept. 1,1970  Appl.No.: 68,700
 US. Cl... ..339/39, 339/75 P  Int. Cl ..H0lr 13/54  Field of Search ..339/36, 39, 75 P, 82, 278
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,363,216 l/l968 Benedetto ..339/39 3,013,10512/1961 Craig ..l74/67 3,491,327 1/1970 Tait et al ..339/36 Primary Examiner-Joseph H. McGlynn Attorney-John H. Crowe and Peter H. F irsht  ABSTRACT A faceplate with arcuate outlet apertures has oppositely directed flanges configured to the arcuate' portions of the apertures. Safety guards having inturned projections are adapted to-be engaged with the flanges for holding the guards in protective covering relation to the apertures. The guards are cup-shapedcovers, each with a perforation permitting passage of an electrical cord and plug. The projections can be constituted by a resilient bead which snaps over the flanges, or v a screw thread or a pair of lips engaged with the flanges by rotary movement.
4 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures PATENTEDAPR 1 I 1912 SHEET 1 [IF 2 Fl G 4.
P/WMQO 6? aeoo/r w KM (1&56083 PATENTEDAPR 1 I ma SHEET 2 0F 2 F/GZ INVENTOR. 19/074420 a 5,00 0
m AIG M ELECTRICAL SAFETY DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION outlets are often within easy reach of small children, the children have a tendency to pull on such electrical cords, causing full or partial withdrawal of the plugs. A number of serious and fatal accidents have occurred in which children have inserted electrically conductive articles, such as hairpins, nails, forks, knives, screwdrivers, or other tableware or tools. In other cases, accidents have occurred to children as a result of contacting the terminal prongs of the plugs with their fingers before such prongs are completely out of contact with the electrical outlet. It is therefore necessary to safeguard such outlets to prevent persons from being shocked.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION A primary object of the present invention is to provide a safety device for electrical outlets which prevents persons from contacting the outlet, thereby avoiding electrical shocking or electrocution.
Another object is to provide a faceplate of simple construction to which a safety guard or protective cover can be easily attached in covering relation to the outlets, and which operate in a reliable manner to prevent contact with the outlet.
A further object is to provide a faceplate formed with projections with which a safety guard or protective cover can be engaged to cover the outlet by a snap-on action or rotary movement requiring a degree of muscular efiort, whereby the cover is easily attachable and detachable by an adult but not by a small child.
Still another object isto provide a new and improved faceplate having outlet apertures and oppositely directed projections associated with each aperture, and a safety cover for 7 each aperture having intumed projections engageable with the flanges for holding the cover tightly in covering relation to the outlets.
These and other objects and advantages are achieved by providing a faceplate for electrical outlets which has an exterior face and outlet apertures therein, a pair of flanges being associated with each of the apertures spaced slightly from the exterior. face and directed oppositely diametrically of the aperture, and a safety guard adapted to be engaged with the flanges, the guard being in the form of a cup-shaped cover having intumed projections disposable in the space between the flanges and the exterior face for holding the cover tightly in place. In one form of the invention, the cover is cup-shaped and provided with a pair of inturned projections or lips .disposcd on opposite sides of the interior wall of the cup, the
lips extending toward each other and adapted to be snapped over the exterior edges of the flanges or be engaged thereunder by rotary movement of the cup about an axis coax ial with the axis of the aperture. In the last-named type of cover, the projections cam take the form of a helical thread, for screwing the cover onto the flanges, which are sloped for the purpose, or the projections can be elongated arcuate lips cammingly attached to the flanges with a bayonet-like connectron.
, BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an electrical safety device embodying the principles of the present invention, with one of the safety covers thereof removed.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged elevational view of the device of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a side view of the device of FIG. 2 with the safety cover thereof broken away to show structural details.
FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of one of the safety covers showing the inturned lips thereof.
FIG. 5 is an elevational sectional view along line 5-5 showing the slope of one of the lips in FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is a sectional view of a modified form of safety cover which is provided with an internal helical thread for screwing the cover to the flanges of the faceplate.
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary elevational view of another form of the device which employs a snap-on type of safety cover.
FIG. 8 is an end view of the device of FIG. 7 with the safety cover broken away to show structural features of the cover and illustrating detachment thereof.
FIG. 9 is an elevational view of still another form of the device which employs a snap-on type of safety cover which is elongated to cover a plurality of outlet apertures.
FIG. 10 is an elevational view of a modified form of faceplate provided with a pair of parallel straight flanges to which the elongated cover of FIG. 9 is adapted to be attached.
DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS Referring to the drawings, there is shown in- FIG. 1 a perspective view of one form of electrical safety device 11 embodying the principles of the present invention which is mounted on a wall W, fragmentarily shown. The safety device and is provided with flanges 28 and 30 configured to the arcuate portions of the aperture 16.
Inviting attention to FIGS. 2 and 3, each of the flanges 28 and 30 has a portion 32-which projects from the exterior face of the faceplate 12 and disposes the associated flange in spaced relation thereto, as shown in FIG. 3. The faceplate and flanges can be made of a suitable material such as metal or appropriate plastic material. It is to be noted that the flanges 28 and 30 are sloped with respect to the faceplate and therewith define spaces 34 in which are received a pair of intumed projections or lips 36 on the safety cover 14, which is preferably made from a suitable plastic material.
As shown in FIG. 4, the lips 36 are formed on an interior side wall 38 of the cover 14 and are complementarily conthe lips 36 are sloped or pitched, as shown in FIG. 5, so as to engage the undersides of the flanges, as shown in FIG. 3. The
lips are brought into cooperative engagement with the flanges by about a quarter turn of rotary movement in the direction of the arrows 40 in FIG. 2, the lips initially being disposed along the straight sides of the aperture 16. Each safety cover is provided with an oval perforation 42 through which the plug 22 is passed and electrically connected with the terminal sockets 20 prior to attachment of the safety cover. The one-quarter turn of the cover disposes the plug crosswise of the long axis of the perforation 42, as shown in FIG. 1. This serves to avoid disconnection of the plug and prevent the introduction of fingers or other objects and precludes contact thereof with the prongs of the plug. If desired, the lips can be generally triangularly shaped, the lower side being coplanar with the edge of the cover.
The safety cover 14 is thus attached by a so-called bayonetlike connection in which the intumed lips 36 thereof are cammed by the under surfaces of the flanges 28 and 30 during turning, thereby forcing the lower edge of the cover tightly into engagement with the exterior face of the faceplate 12. Such engagement is ordinarily sufficient to preclude the disconnection thereof by a small child, although easily detached by an adult having considerably greater strength.
In FIG. 6, there is shown a safety cover 44 which is substantially similar to cover 14 but differs therefrom in that the interior side wall thereof is provided with a helical thread 46 adapted to enter into the spaces 34 and cam against the flanges 28 and 30 incident to rotary movement of the cover for tightly attaching the same in place. The cover 44 has a perforation 48 for the reception of an electrical plug.
FIGS. 7 and 8 are views of another form of the safety device of the present invention in which a safety cover 50 is used in place of the covers 14 or 44. The cover 50 is preferably of a plastic material having a degree of resilience so that it can be snapped on. To this end, as better seen in FIG. 8, the cover 50 is provided with an inturned rim or bead 52 on the lower edge thereof which is adapted to snap over the exterior edges of the flanges 28 and 30 and be received in the spaces 34 between the flanges and the faceplate 12. The top of the cover has a perforation 54 for the reception of an electrical plug and for passage of the cord associated therewith.
For detachment of the resilient cover 50, pressure is applied, as by the fingers or the like, to opposite sides of the cover in the direction of the arrows 56 FIG. 7, generally along a diameter disposed substantially midway between the flanges 30 and 28. Such inward pressure on the sides of the cover causes bulging along a direction transversely of the flanges and outward movement of the bead 52 to the dotted line positions shown in FIG. 8. The cover can then be lifted. To aid in ready separation, the pressure can be applied to maintain the bead engaged with one of the flanges, thereby disposing the head on the opposite side further from the adjacent flange. The cover is then tilted and finally disengaged from both flanges.
In FIG. 9 there is illustrated a form of snap-on cover 60 which is of similar material as cover 50 but is of elongated form so as to snap over both sets of flanges 28 and 30. Such cover is provided with an internal bead 62 adapted to snap into the spaces between the flanges and the faceplate at what might be termed the corners of the faceplate. The cover 60 has formed therein an elongated perforation 64 for the passage of electrical plugs and cords.
The safety cover 60 is also adapted to be attached to a modified form of faceplate 66 shown in FIG. 10. The faceplate 66 has formed therein an elongated aperture 68 along the sides of which are disposed a pair of parallel, oppositely directed flanges 70. The aperture 68 is adapted to receive a receptacle 72 having several pairs or a gang of terminal sockets 74. Screws 76 serve to secure the faceplate to the receptacle. The cover 60 is superimposed over the receptacle I and pressed downwardly to snap the bead 62 thereof over the exterior edges of the flanges 70. Pressure on the ends of the cover along the longitudinal axis thereof serves to bulge the sides of the cover for effecting disengagement of the bead from at least one of the flanges, after which the cover is readily detached.
It is believed that the operation of the device of the present invention is clearly apparent and is briefly summarized at this point. Considering first the bayonet-type cover 14, the electrical plug of the appliance to be electrically connected is passed through the perforation 42 and the prongs thereof are inserted in the terminal sockets 20. The cover is superimposed over the flanges 28 and 30 with the lips 36 of the cover disposed at the ends of the flanges and the lower edge of the cover in engagement with the exterior face of the faceplate 12. The cover is then turned clockwise in the direction of the arrows 40, causing the leading ends of the inturned lips 36 to enter the spaces 34 between the flanges and the faceplate and be cammed downwardly. About one-quarter turn of the cover provides sufficient frictional engagement to hold the cover tightly in place. The procedure with the screw-on type of cover 44 is substantially the same, the cover being turned as far as it can go for tight engagement. In the case of the snap'on type of cover 50, no rotary movement is necessary, downward pressure being applied to snap the bead 52 of the cover over the flanges. The cover 60 is engaged by snapping the head 62 thereof over the flanges 28 an 30 or the anges 70, as the case may be.
There has thus been provided an electrical safety device having a'safety guard or cover which is highly effective in preventing tampering with the electrical connections of appliances for avoiding the dangers of electrocution or other harm to small children and others.
Although the present invention has been herein shown and described in considerable detail in what are believed to be the most practical and preferred embodiments thereof, it is to be understood that many variations thereof are possible and that the present invention is not to be limited to such details but is to be accorded the full scope of the appended claims.
Having described the invention, what is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. A safety device for an electrical outlet fixture having a plug receptacle adapted to have connected thereto a pronged plug attached to the end of an electrical cord, said device comprising:
a faceplate having a receptacle aperture therein;
a pair of flanges mounted on the faceplate in spaced relation thereto, said flanges being disposed on opposite sides of said aperture and each flange having an outer edge laterally outwardly disposed from the associated side of the aperture; and
a safety cover of inverted cup-shaped form adapted to be disposed in covering relation to said aperture and flanges, said cover having a lower edge and means therewithin engageable with the flanges for holding the lower edge of the cover in tight engagement with the faceplate, said cover also having an elongated perforation with a long axis through which the pronged plug is passable for connection with the receptacle prior to said engagement of the cover with the faceplate, said perforation being narrower crosswise of its long axis and disposed, after said engagement of the cover with the faceplate, with its long axis crosswise of the connected plug for preventing disconnection thereof.
2. The device of claim 1 wherein the safety cover is of resilient material, and said means therewith includes an inturned bead adapted to be snapped over the flanges for hold ing the cover tightly on the faceplate.
3. The device of claim 1 wherein said flanges are sloped, and the safety cover has a pair of oppositely disposed inturned lips which are sloped for camming engagement with the flanges for holding the cover tightly engaged with the faceplate with a partial turn of the cover.
4. The device of claim 1 wherein the faceplate has a plurality of receptacle apertures each aperture having associated therewith a pair of flanges disposed on opposite sides of the aperture with the outer edges of the flanges on each side being substantially in line, and the safety cover is of a size to cover the apertures and flanges and has a pair of parallel inturned beads of resilient material adapted to be snapped over the lines of outer edges of the flanges for holding the cover in tight engagement with the faceplate.