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Publication numberUS3656212 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 18, 1972
Filing dateJul 13, 1970
Priority dateJul 13, 1970
Publication numberUS 3656212 A, US 3656212A, US-A-3656212, US3656212 A, US3656212A
InventorsThomas H Velte
Original AssigneeThomas H Velte
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Universal clamp
US 3656212 A
Abstract
A universal clamp for securing flexible sheet-like material capable of being folded back upon itself includes a base plate disposable adjacent an edge or corner of the sheet-like material, a ring member pivotally mounted on the base plate for insertion into the folded portion of the sheet-like material, and spring clasps or the like mounted on the base plate for holding the portion of the sheet-like material in which the ring member is inserted against the base plate.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Velte 151 3,656,212 5] Apr. 18,1972

1 1 UNIVERSAL CLAMP [72] Inventor: Thomas H. Velte, 417 East 14th Street,

Kaukauna, Wis. 54130 [22] Filed: July 13, 1970 [21] App]. No.: 54,492

[52] U.S. Cl ..24/250, 135/15, 248/361 [51] Int. Cl. ..A44b 21/00 [58] Field of Search 135/15; 248/361; 24/265 EC, 24/248 L, 248 GC, 248 SL, 248 B, 248 HE, 246,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,121,932 2/1964 Grafstcin ..24/250 Primary Hammer-Bobby R. Gay Assistant Examiner-Garry Moore Attorney-Fitch, Even, Tabin & Luedeka [57] ABSTRACT A universal clamp for securing flexible sheet-like material capable of being folded back upon itself includes a base plate disposable adjacent an edge or corner of the sheet-like material, a ring member pivotally mounted on the base plate for insertion into the folded portion of the sheet-like material, and spring clasps or the like mounted on the base plate for holding the portion of the sheet-like material in which the ring member is inserted against the base plate.

11 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures UNIVERSAL CLAMP This invention relates to pivoted clamps, and, in particular, relates to a removable universal clamp for attachment to flexible sheet-like material such as blankets, canvas or plastic tarpaulins, heavy or reinforced paper, or the like without the necessity of puncturing of the sheet material.

It is frequently desirable to construct a temporary shelter or outdoor covering without permanent alteration of or injury to the covering material. Commonly, a canopy, shelter, tarpaulin, windbreak, or outdoor storage cover is constructed by forming eyelets or grommets along the edges of flexible sheetlike material and tying a rope or cord between each grommet and a fixture such as a stake or post or about an object to be covered. Although such a construction procedure may beemployed for a period of time, under normal use the grommet is easily pulled through the edge of the material, as a result of force exerted on the rope. Moreover, it is apparent that the grommets create apertures in the material so that the material can no longer be used when unaltered material is required and the grommets may be of the wrong size when a particular size is desired. Tarpaulin fasteners have heretofore been proposed as an alternative to locating grommets along the edges of the sheet-like material. However, these fasteners also damage the material when they are inserted therein and do not have sufficient strength to securely hold the sheet material.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide improved and universal apparatus for assembling a canopy, shelter, tarpaulin, windbreak, outdoor storage cover or the like in a quick and easy manner.

A further object of the invention is to provide apparatus for assembling a canopy, shelter or the like which can be reused indefinitely and which in normal use does not damage or alter the flexible material forming the canopy or shelter, such as by creating apertures therein.

These and other objects of the invention are more fully described in the following detailed description and in the accompanying drawings of which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a universal clamp in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a rear view of the universal clamp shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a universal clamp in accordance with the invention; and

FIG. 4 is a view showing the universal clamp of FIG. 1

. secured to flexible sheet-like material.

Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawings, there is shown a universal clamp generally designated by the reference numeral in accordance with the present structure. The clamp 10 is useful for attachment to flexible sheet-like material capable of being folded back upon itself to provide securing means to form a covering, canopy or the like. Generally, the clamp 10 includes a base plate 12 disposed adjacent an edge or corner of the sheet-like material, a ring member 14 pivotally mounted on the base plate 12 and engaging the sheet-like material and at least one clasp device 16 mounted on the base plate 12 for holding the sheet-like material engaged by the ring member 14 against the base plate 12. Desirably, a stop 18 is mounted on the base plate 12 in cooperating relationship with the ring member 14 for further securing the sheet-like material to the base plate 12.

In accordance with the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the base plate 12 is a substantially flat piece of material, such as polyethylene or similar plastic, approximately one-sixteenth inch to one-eighth inch thick. Preferably, the base plate 12 is sufficiently flexible so that heavy material can be engaged by the clamp 10 and so that one comer 12a thereof can be folded back against itself to form an eyelet 20 at the comer 12a. As shown in FIG. 1, the base plate 12 is preferably diamondshaped. This allows an angular portion of the base plate 12 surrounding a comer 12b thereof (opposite the corner 12a in which the eyelet 20 is located) to substantially correspond with the corner of the flexible sheet-like material to which the clamp is attached, the base plate being disposable in overlying relationship adjacent an edge of the sheet-like material. Other configurations for the base plate 12 can also be employed for the purpose of the present structure, as the shape of the base plate is primarily a matter of esthetics.

To improve the strength and rigidity of the base plate 12, it is advantageous to locate a reinforcing strip 22 between the diagonally opposing comers 12a and 12b of the base plate. This makes the base plate 12 substantially rigid while still permitting the base plate to be somewhat flexible. The reinforcing strip 22 is sufficiently long that it can be folded about the eyelet 20 at the comer 12a of the base plate 12 in order to also reinforce the eyelet 20. The reinforcing strip 22 is secured about the eyelet 20 by a rivet 23 or the like (the rivet 23 passes through two layers of the reinforcing strip 22 and two layers of the base plate 12). In order to further reinforce the base plate 12, it is contemplated to form a rib 22a in the reinforcing strip 22 between the comer 12a of the base plate and the stop 18. The rib 22a further serves the function of holding the flexible sheet-like material against the ring member 14, as explained in more detail below. Still another strip 24 is desirably located at the rear of the base plate 12 (as shown in FIG. 2) to reinforce the base plate when the base plate is relatively flexible. The rear reinforcing strip 24 is disposed transversely to the front reinforcing strip 22 between the diagonally opposing corners 12c and 12d of the base plate 12.

In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the ring member 14 is typically pivotally mounted upon the base plate 12 at one corner 12a thereof. The ring member 14 can be inserted into a folded portion of the flexible sheet-like material, so that upon pivoting the ring member 14 about the comer 12a the ring member will be substantially overlying relationship with the base plate 12 with the material being held therebetween. The ring member 14 is preferably fabricated of a material such as metal, hard plastic and the like and is desirably about oneeighth to one-fourth inch thick. Although the ring member 14 is substantially rigid, it should be somewhat flexible so as to accomodate heavy sheet material. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the ring member 14 is substantially diamond-shaped. Thus, one comer 14a of the ring member 14 is disposed through the eyelet 20 at the corner 12a of the base plate 12. The diagonally opposing comer 14b of the diamond-shaped ring member 14 is positioned and formed so that it can be disposed within a folded comer of the sheet material and such that it cooperates with the stop 18. The portion of the ring member 14 surrounding the comer 14b, i.e., the legs 14c and 14d of the ring member, is concentric to a portion of the periphery of the stop 18 with only a small clearance being present therebetween so that the ring member 14 fits about the stop 18. Thus, if the corner 14b of the ring member 14 defines a right angle, the periphery of the stop 18 has a similar configuration. Advantageously, the legs 14c and 14d of the ring member 14 are coated or covered with a material such as rubber, plastic and the like to retard slippage from the sheetlike material.

In order to maintain the ring member 14 in substantially overlying relationship with the base plate 12, clasp devices 16 are provided. Many forms of clasp devices 16 may be utilized, one form being flat spring clasps of the type illustrated in FIG. 1. Although at least one clasp device 16 is necessary, two such devices are preferred. The clasp devices 16 are mounted on the base plate 12 and secured thereto by rivets 26 or the like. As seen in FIG. 1 and 2, the rivets 26 pass through each of the clasp devices 16, the base plate 12 and the rear reinforcing strip 24, the strip functioning as an anchor for the rivets. Desirably, each clasp device 16 is disposed at substantially a right angle to the respective adjacent leg 14c or 14d of the ring member 14. Each clasp device 16 comprises a base 16a and a flap 16b pivotally mounted on the base 16a at an enlarged portion 16c of the flap 16b. The flap 16b can be moved from a first position (shown in dotted lines in FIG. 1) wherein it is substantially folded back toward the base 16a to a second position (shown in solid lines in FIG. 1) wherein the flap 16b engages and secures the respective leg 14c or 14d of the ring member 14, holding the ring member 14 against the base plate 12. In order to efficiently accomplish this securing function, the flap 16b of the clasp device 16 undulates such that a raised portion 16d fits about the respective leg 14c or 14d of the ring member 14 and an end portion 16c extends upwardly so that the flap 16b is engagable by the user.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the stop 18, which preferably is mounted on the base plate 12 and which cooperates with the angular corner 14b of the diamondshaped ring member 14 to secure the flexible sheet-like material therebetween, is fabricated of a substantially rigid material, such as metal, hard rubber or hard plastic. Preferably, the stop 18 has a rubber or soft plastic coating to provide a high coefficient of friction between the stop and the sheet-like material held thereagainst to retard slippage. Moreover, a coated stop 18 is less likely to tear or damage the sheet-like material. A rivet 28 or the like (passing through the stop 18, the front reinforcing strip 22, the base plate 12 and the rear reinforcing strip 24) secures the stop 18 to the base plate 12. The stop 18 has a periphery 18a of such configuration that it cooperates with the corner 14b of the ring member 14. The periphery 18a of the stop member 18 is in the form of a right angle when the corner 14b of the ring member 14 defined by the legs 14c and 14d is a right angle, so that the periphery 18a is concentric to the corner 14b. Preferably, the stop 18 extends from the base plate 12 a distance at least 50 percent greater than the thickness of the ring member 14, e .g., about three-eighths inch to one-half inch in height. As the stop 18 extends outwardly from the base plate 12 further than does the ring member 14, flexible sheet-like material disposed between the stop 18 and the ring member 14 will be securely held in position.

A grommet 30, useful in connecting the base plate 12 to a rope or cord 34 or other tie-down means, is desirably inserted in the base plate 12 at the corner 12b thereof which extends beyond the sheet material. The grommet 30, which is fabricated of metal or similar rigid material, is inserted through the reinforcing strip 22 and the base plate 12 at the opposite corner 12b from the corner 12a where the ring member 14 is pivotally mounted on the base plate 12.

In use of the universal clamp of the first-described embodiment of the present invention (as best seen in FIG. 4), flexible sheet-like material 32, such as a blanket, heavy cloth, canvas or plastic tarpaulin, heavy or reinforced paper or the like, is folded back upon itself at the edges thereof to form folded portions 32a approximately 2 to 4 inches in width. At the corners 32b of the material 32, the folded portions 32a overlap. The corner 14b of the diamond-shaped ring member 14 is inserted into the corner 32b of the material defined by the folded portions 320. As the corner 14b is formed by the legs 14c and 14d which define a right angle, the corner 14b will fit snugly into the right angle comer 32b of the material 32. The base plate 12 is pivoted about the comer 12a thereof so that it is substantially overlying the ring member 14 and extends adjacent the edge of the material. As the base plate 12 and the ring member 14 are both somewhat flexible, they can bend so that extra-heavy sheet-like material can be held therebetween. As the base plate 12 is moved into near contact with the ring member 14, the portion of the ring member 14 defining the comer 14b cooperates with the periphery 18a of the stop 18. The rib 22a of the reinforcing strip 22 engages the material on the side opposite the ring member 14. The flexible sheet-like material 32 is thus temporarily prevented from disengaging from the universal clamp 10. In order to secure the universal clamp 10 to the flexible sheet-like material 32, the flaps 16b of the clasp devices 16 are positioned such that the raised portions 16d respectively overlie the legs 14c and 14d of the ring member 14, holding the ring member 14 firmly adjacent the base plate 12. In this position, it should be apparent that material 32 is disposed between the base plate 12 and the ring member 14 and between the ring member 14 and the clasp devices 16. The cord or rope 34 is secured to the base plate 12 through the grommet 30 at one end and to a post or the object to be covered at the other end thereof. Inserting a universal clamp 10 in accordance with the described embodiment in each comer 32b of the flexible sheet-like material 32 allows the material to be securely fastened into position without damage thereto and without altering the material by creating apertures therein.

The ability of the universal clamp 10 to remain in a secure position in contact with the flexible sheet-like material 32 depends upon the force needed to return the flaps 16b of the clasp devices 16 to their initial open position. If a force is applied to the flexible sheet-like material 32 directed away from the front side of the base plate 12, the force will be exerted at something less than a 180 angle to the force applied to the rope 34. This forces the legs 14c and 14d of the ring member 14 against the flaps 16b of the clasp devices 16, causing the clasp devices 16 to release the ring member 14. Thus, it is desirable that the force applied to the cord or rope 34 be along substantially the same line (although in an opposing direction) and in the same plane as the force applied to the flexible sheetlike material 32. In such case, there will be no forces causing the clasp devices 16 to open and no danger that the universal clamp 10 will release the material 32.

A second embodiment 37 of the universal clamp is shown in FIG. 3. The clamp 37 of the second embodiment is useful for securing the edges 320 of the flexible sheet-like material 32 to a post or the like or to an object to be covered.

In the second embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the base plate 38, which is disposable adjacent an edge 320 of the material 32, is preferably substantially triangular in shape, rather than substantially diamond-shaped, as is the base plate 12 of the first embodiment of the invention. This configuration is more esthetically pleasing when the clamp 37 is used to secure the edges 32c of the sheet-like material 32, although other configurations may also be successfully employed. A front reinforcing strip 41 having a rib 41a therein and a rear reinforcing strip (not shown) are similarly provided to reinforce base plate 38, which desirably is substantially rigid for proper functioning thereof. Moreover, a grommet 44 disposed through the reinforcing strip 41 and the base plate 38 provides a place for connection of the base plate 38 to a post or the like by means of the cord or rope 34. In other respects, the base plate 38 is similar to the base plate 12.

As shown in FIG. 3, the ring member 40 in accordance with the second embodiment is substantially triangular in shape, rather than substantially diamond-shaped,, as is the ring member 14. This permits the clamp 37 to be used to fasten the edges 32c of the sheet-like material 32 rather than the comers 32b thereof of to a post or the like. Similarly to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the ring member 40 of the universal clamp 37 is advantageously pivotally mounted on the base plate 38 in an eyelet 39 at one corner 38a thereof. As the ring member 40 is substantially triangular in shape and as it is pivotally mounted at its apex in the eyelet 39, the base leg 40a of the triangular ring member 40 extends across the base plate 38 transversely to the reinforcing strip 41.

At least one, but desirably two, clasp devices 45, preferably of the spring type as described more fully in conjunction with FIG. 1, are similarly employed to secure the ring member 40 in overlying relationship with the base plate 38. The clasp devices 45 are disposed such that flaps 45b thereof are at right angles to the base leg 40a and serve to hold the base leg 40a adjacent the base plate 38.

In order to securely engage the flexible sheet-like material 32, it is desirable to provide a stop 42 having a configuration that cooperates with the base leg 40a. Thus, the stop 42 has a portion of its periphery 42a in the form of a straight edge to cooperate with the straight base leg 40a. It is presently contemplated to provide a reinforcing strip 41 that is greater in length than the corresponding portion of the base plate 38 to which it is secured, the additional length of the reinforcing strip 41 being formed into an upwardly bent portion in the central region thereof to define the stop 42.

In use of the second embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the base leg 40a of the ring member 40 is inserted into the folded portion 32a of the flexible sheet-like material 32 along one edge 32c thereof, the base leg 40a being of similar configuration as the edge 32c. The base plate 38 is pivoted about the eyelet 39 until it is substantially overlying the ring member 40, being separated from the ring member by the sheet-like material disposed therebetween. Then, the clasp devices 45 are positioned about the base leg 40a so that the flexible sheet-like material 32 is held both between the ring member 40 and the base plate 38 and between the ring member 40 and the clasp devices 45, the material 32 being further preferably engaged by the stop 42 and the rib 41a. The universal clamp 37 is connected to a post or the like by the cord or rope 34 inserted at one end through the grommet 44 in the base plate 38 and secured to the post at the other end thereof.

A plurality of universal clamps 37 of the second embodiment disposed along the edges 32c of the flexible sheetlike material 32 in combination with a plurality of universal clamps R of the first embodiment located at the corners 32b of the material provide a secure and safe method for constructing a fixed canopy, shelter, tarpaulin, windbreak, outdoor storage cover or the like. The present universal clamp, which is useful in forming a canopy, shelter, tarpaulin, windbreak, outdoor storage cover or the like, can be reused indefinitely and in normal use does not damage or alter the cover material. Moreover, the present invention provides improved apparatus for securing flexible sheet-like material such as a blanket, heavy cloth, canvas or plastic, heavy or reinforced paper or the like to a post in a quick and easy manner.

While two specific forms of the invention have been shown and described, it should be apparent that various modifications could be made without departing'from the scope of the invention. For example, instead of the clasp devices 16 and 45, independent U-shaped clasps could be removably mounted on the base plate.

Various of the features of the invention are set forth in the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus adapted to be secured to flexible sheet-like material capable of being folded back upon itself to form a flap, comprising a base plate disposable transverse a folded edge of the flap, a member pivotally mounted on said base plate for insertion into the flap with the terminus of said pivotal member adjacent the fold line of the flap means for constraining said pivotal member adjacent said base plate,

means for detachably securing the flap to said pivotal member and means for securing said base plate to an anchor.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said means for securing said base plate to an anchor comprises an aperture in said base plate.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1. substantially flexible and further means secured to said base plate.

4. Apparatus according to claim 3 wherein said reinforcing means has a rib formed therein along the length thereof.

5. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said pivotal member is a ring wherein said means for detachably securing the flap to said ring member includes stop means mounted on said base plate in cooperating relationship with said ring member for securely holding said sheet-like material therebetween.

6. Apparatus according to claim 5 wherein a portion of the periphery of said stop means is engageable with a portion of the inner surface of said ring member.

7. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said base plate is substantially diamond-shaped and fabricated of substantially flexible material.

8. Apparatus according to Claim 1 wherein said base plate is substantially triangular in shape and fabricated of substantially rigid material.

9. Apparatus according to Claim 1 wherein said pivotal member is a substantially diamond-shaped ring.

10. Apparatus according to Claim 1 wherein said pivotal member is a ring substantially trian ular in shape.

11. A metho of securing a fol able sheetike material to an anchor, said method comprising A. folding the material upon itself along a fold line adjacent an edge thereof to form a pocket,

B. providing a tie-down device formed of a rigid material reversed upon itself to provide a pair of generally parallel adjacent legs interconnected at a common end,

C. inserting one of said legs into said pocket with that edge of said one leg adjacent its free end bearing against the interior surface of that portion of the material defining said fold,

D. securing said material to said one leg,

E. and attaching said other leg to said anchor at a point on said other leg adjacent the free end thereof.

wherein said base plate is comprising reinforcing

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3121932 *Aug 3, 1962Feb 25, 1964Artisan Jewelers IncTwo position twin arm spring clip with lock
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3883933 *Apr 15, 1974May 20, 1975Gainesville Manufacturing Co ILocking apparel clamp
US4782846 *Nov 13, 1986Nov 8, 1988Ting Lawrence SFooting support for securement of tent
US4794660 *Nov 13, 1987Jan 3, 1989Hawkrigg William GSheet anchoring device
US5785471 *Jan 28, 1997Jul 28, 1998Godbersen; Byron L.Ski bar tie down device for a snowmobile trailer
US7837164 *Nov 23, 2010David GetgoodTarpaulin clamping assembly and associated method
US9174518Jun 25, 2013Nov 3, 2015Geary W. WilsonOmnidirectional gripping surface for sheet materials
US9267517Jun 25, 2013Feb 23, 2016Geary W. WilsonClosing actuator for sheet material clamp
US20040084913 *Aug 15, 2003May 6, 2004Pelkey John P.Hoist ring retainer
Classifications
U.S. Classification24/493, 135/119, 24/457, 248/500, D08/72
International ClassificationA44B99/00
Cooperative ClassificationA44B99/00
European ClassificationA44B99/00