US 3656637 A
Apparatus to enable wheel-chair invalids to be transferred into and out of an automobile, comprising an overhead track reaching all the way through the open door and opposite window to hook onto the rain gutter on both sides, and a wheeled carriage that rides on the track. The carriage has a winch and wire rope tackle that hooks onto a canvas sling in which the invalid sits. Cranking the winch raises the sling clear of the wheel chair, and the carriage is pushed inwardly along the track until the invalid is over the desired seat location. The sling is then lowered, and is disconnected from the tackle. The track is removed and divides into sections that fit into the car trunk. The folded-up wheel chair is placed on a pallet having wheels at its front end which run on tracks in the trunk. Hooks on the underside of the pallet engage limit stops mounted on the rear bumper, to limit rearward movement of the pallet, and these cooperate with pallet-supporting wheels on the bumper to serve as pivots to lower the rear end of the pallet to the ground.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Lynn et a1.
 INVALID CAR LIFT  Inventors: Ray E. Lynn, 5172 Acacia, San Bernardino, Calif. 92407; Dwane P. Simmons, 7465 Olive Tree Lane, Highland, Calif. 92346 221 Filed: J une30, 1970 21 Appl.No.: 51,115
52 us. 01. ..214/75 11, 214/450 511 1111.01 ..B60p 1/02 58 Field of Search .214/75 R, 75 11, 38.42, 450,
[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,094,401 9/1937 Girl ..214/450 [151 3,656,637 51 Apr. 18, 1972 Primary Examiner-Gerald M. F orlenza Assistant Examiner-Lawrence J. Oresky Attorney-Herbert E. Kidder  ABSTRACT Apparatus to enable wheel-chair invalids to be transferred into and out of an automobile, comprising an overhead track reaching all the way through the open door and opposite window to hook onto the rain gutter on both sides, and a wheeled carriage that rides on the track. The carriage has a winch and wire rope tackle that hooks onto a canvas sling in which the invalid sits. Cranking the winch raises the sling clear of the wheel chair, and the carriage is pushed inwardly along the track until the invalid is over the desired seat location. The sling is then lowered, and is disconnected from the tackle. The track is removed and divides into sections that fit into the car trunk. The folded-up wheel chair is placed on a pallet having wheels at its front end which run on tracks in the trunk. Hooks on the underside of the pallet engage limit stops mounted on the rear bumper, to limit rearward movement of the pallet, and these cooperate with pallet-supporting wheels on the bumper to serve as pivots tolower the rear end of the pallet to the ground.
4 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures I Fig.
PATENTEDAPR 18 1972 3. 656, 637
sum 3 OF 6 Fig. 4
The track 16 is adapted to be clamped to the roof of an automobile 44 by means of clamps 45 and 46, each of which consists of a plate 48 of heavy gauge sheet steel having a curled-over lip 50 at the top edgethereof, which seats in the rain gutter 51 of the car top, as best shown in FIGS. 6 and 8. Plate 48 of clamp 45 is welded or otherwise fixed to the track section 16a so that its lip 50 seats in the gutter 51 on the righthand side of the automobile directly over the seat 52. Clamp 46, on the other hand, is adjustable clamped to track section 16b so that it can be shifted along the length of the latter to enable it to be secured to the car roof, and also to accommodate itself to the varying widths of different automobiles.
To this end, clamp 46 is provided on its plate 48 with an aperture surrounded by a rectangular collar 53, through which track section 16b passes loosely. A clamping screw 54 is screw-threaded through a flange 55 projecting horizontally inward from the inner side of plate 48 directly below collar 53, and the top end of the screw bears against the bottom of track section 16b to lock the clamp 46 to the track.
The wheeled carriage 17, which runs on track 16, is best shown in FIG. 3, where it will be noted that the carriage comprises an elongatedbody member 56 in the form of an inverted T-shaped bar, that is preferably machined or extruded of aluminum alloy. The vertical web of the bar 56 is of a width to pass freely between the up-standing edges 30 of the track 16, and fixed to the top edge of the webare two journal blocks 58 in which axles for two pairs of wheels 60 are held. The wheels 60 run on the track flanges 28 of the track 16, as best shown in FIG. 4. It will be noted that one of the pairs of wheels 60 is located at one end of the bar 56, while the other pair is located a little more than half-way toward the other end. The reason for this will become apparent hereinafter.
Mounted on the bottom of the bar 56 at the said other end thereof is the winch 18, the inverted U-shaped frame 62 of which is secured by bolts 63 extending downwardly through the web 56 from the top side thereof. Disposed between the side flanges of the frame 62 and rotatably supported thereon is r a cylindrical drum 64 which is connected by gearing (not shown) to ahandcrank 65. The wire rope l9 isattached at one end to the drum 64 and is wound thereon when the crank 65 is turned. The winch 18 is self-locking so that if the handcrank 65 should be released, it will not allow the invalid in the sling 22 to drop.
The wire rope 19 extends inwardly from the drum 64 along the bottom side of the bar 56, and passes over a pulley 66 which is rotatably supported between two bracket plates 68 fixed to opposite sides of the bar 56 and extending downwardly therefrom. The wire rope passes under a pulley 70 rotatably supported between the arms of a U-shaped strap 72, and back up to an anchorage attachment 73 on the underside of the bar 56. Hook 20 is connected to the U-shaped strap 72 by a ring 74. The hook is adapted to hook onto loops 75 at opposite sides of the canvas sling 22 in which the invalid sits, and when the hook is raised by the winch 18, the sling, and'the invalid sitting in it, are raised from either the car seat 52 or the wheel chair 76, as the case may be. When the invalid is thus supported by the sling, his weight is more or less centered between the wheels 60, so that each pair of wheels carries approximately the same weight. The carriage 17 is prevented from running off the outer end of the track 16 by means of a limit stop pin 78, which passes through alignedholes in opposite sides of the track section 16a at the outer end thereof, said pin being located in the path of the carriage so that the latter runs into the pin at the outer end of its travel.
The operation of the hoist is as follows: Assume first that the 70 invalid is seated in the wheel chair 76, with the canvas sling 22 passing under his buttocks and thighs The two track sections 16a and 16b are joined together at 32, and the track is passed laterally through the passenger compartment of the automobile, through the open door on the near side and the open window on the far side. Usually, this will be through the door on the right-hand side of the car and the window on the left-hand side. The clamps 45 and 46 are then secured on the rain gutters 51, using the screw clamp 54 on the clamp 46. Carriage 17 is then shifted to the outer end of the projecting portion of track 16 and the wheel chair 76 is maneuvered to place it directly under the hook 20. Winch handle 65 is then cranked in the direction to lower the hook until it can be hooked through loops on the sling. The winch handle is now cranked in the direction to raise the invalid clear of the wheel chair, after which the carriage 17 is pushed inwardly along the track 16 until the invalid is positioned above the desired point on the car seat 52. The winch is next operated to lower the sling and invalid to the car seat, where the hook 20 is disengaged from the loops 75. The track is then removed from the car roof, broken down into the two separate sections 16a and 16b, and stored in the car trunk. To transfer the invalid from the car seat to the wheel chair, the entire procedure is reversed. j
The second aspect of the invention has to do with loading the folded-up wheel chair 76 into the car trunk after the invalid has been transferred into the seat 52. This is best shown in FIGS. 1, and 9 to 13, inclusive. The wheel chair 76 is a conventional folding chair of well-knbwntype, which folds into a relatively flat, compact bundle for storage or for transport in a car.
The folded-up wheelchair is laid flat against a tilted pallet 80, as shown in FIG. 1, with the bottom of the wheel chair resting on a shelf 81 projecting perpendicularly from the bottom edge of the pallet. The pallet is preferably made of a plywood panel, and fixed to the underside of the panel at its top, or front end, is a pair of laterally spaced wheels 82. The wheels 82 are adapted to run on a pair of laterally spaced, fore and aft extending tracks 83, which are mounted on a plywood platform 84 that rests on the bottom 85 of the trunk companment. The platfonn 84 is braced by transverse cleats 86 fixed to the underside thereof. The tracks 83 may conveniently be formed by lengths of angle iron, one flange of which is parallel to the topsurface of the platform 84, and the other projecting upwardly, perpendicular to the platform, on the outside of the wheels 82.
The pallet 80 is also supported in part during the loading and unloading operation by a pair of laterally spaced wheels 88 which are rotatably supported by brackets 90 that are clamped to and project upwardly from the rear bumper 92. Wheels 88 run on tracks 94 fixed to the underside of the pallet 80. Tracks 94 are also conveniently made of angle irons, with their vertical flanges lying outside of the wheels 88.
To limit rearward movement of the pallet 80 when it is being pulled out of the trunk compartment, so that it will not come out altogether and drop its front end onto the ground, the pallet is provided with two laterally spaced, rearwardly facing hooks 95, on its under side alongside the tracks 94, and these are adapted to engage limit stop projections 96, which extend laterally inward from the brackets 90 on the axes of the wheels 88. When the hooks 95 catch on the limit stops 96, the rear end of the pallet is lowered to the ground, and the pallet swings about the limit stop 96 as a pivot. Wheels 88 also serve as pivots for the pallet, as their axes are aligned with the axes of the limit stops 96.
The folded-up wheel chair is placed on the pallet 80 when the latter is positioned as shown in FIG. 1. The bottom edge of the pallet is next raised up until wheels 82 touch the tracks 83 on platform 84, as shown in the intermediate position in FIG. 10. The pallet is then pushed forwardly into the trunk compartment, riding on wheels 82 at its front end and on wheels 88 which support its rearward end. As the pallet reaches the forward end of its travel, the rear end runs off the wheels 88 and drops (or is lowered) into the trunk well. The trunk lid can now be closed. While we have shown and described in considerable detail what we believe to be the preferred embodiment of the invention, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to nvvxun CAR LIFT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention pertains to apparatus for transferring wheelchair invalids into and out of an automobile seat, and more particularly to a device of this kind that can be folded up and carried in the trunk of the automobile, along with the foldedup wheel chair. Another aspect of the invention has to do with a related apparatus for loading the wheel chair into the car trunk.
Polio victims, paraplegics, and others who have lost the use of their legs and are therefore confined to wheel chairs, have a difficult time getting into and out of automobiles, and there has long been need for a portable apparatus that could be carried in the car trunk to enable an invalid to be quickly and easily transferred from his wheel chair into a car seat, and vice versa. There are hydraulic hoists on the market having caster wheels that run on the ground, but these have many disadvantages, such as: (1) they are incapable of being broken down into small sections that can be carried in the car, and therefore provide for transferring the invalid into our out of the car only at the one location, which is oftentimes extremely inconvenient; (2) they cannot be used to transfer a patient into or out of a car when the latter is alongside a curb; (3) they often cannot be used in certain places due to the unsuitable condition of the ground; and (4) they are expensive and require frequent maintenance. Another invalid hoist on the market attaches to the car top and remains more or less permanently affixed thereto, but this latter type of hoist is relatively expensive, and is inconvenient and awkward to transfer from one car to another, making it virtually impossible for the patient to travel in any car other than the one to which the hoist is attached.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The primary object of this invention is to provide a simple, inexpensive, light-weight, compact apparatus for transferring patients from wheel chair to automobile seat, or vice versa, and which is efficient, convenient to use, and capable of being handled easily by a woman, with no one to help her.
Another object of the invention is to provide aninvalid transfer device of the class described, which can be broken down into small sections and stored in the car trunk. An advantageous feature of the invention is that it can be quickly and easily transferred from one automobile to another, and is adaptable to be mounted on any car model having a solid roof, such as sedans and hard tops."
Another object of the invention is to provide an invalid transfer device of the class described, having a mechanical actuating mechanism, which is extremely durable and has nothing to get out of order, in contrast to prior invalid lifts using hydraulic mechanisms, which are frequently subject to malfunctioning and require a considerable amount of maintenance to keep them in good working order.
Still a further object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for conveniently and easily loading the folded-up wheel chair into the car trunk, or unloading it therefrom, whereby even a relatively frail person of extremely limited strength can handle the loading and unloading of this relatively heavy and awkward load without difficulty. This object is achieved by means of a pallet having wheels at its front end which run on tracks in the trunk. For convenience, these tracks may be mounted on a removable platform, or panel, that merely rests on the fioor of the trunk. The pallet is provided on its underside with rearwardly facing hooks which engage limit stops mounted on the rear bumper when the said pallet has been drawn rearwardly as far as it is to go, and the said hooks and limit stops cooperate with pallet-supporting wheels on the bumper brackets to serve as pivots to lower the rear end of the pallet to the ground.
These and other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment thereof, with reference to the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an automobile, as seen from behind on the right-hand side, showing the apparatus of the invention installed and ready to take an invalid;
FIG. 2 is a transverse sectional view through the automobile, looking rearwardly, showing the invalid lifted clear of the wheel chair in readiness to be transferred into the car;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the wheeled carriage that runs on the overhead track;
FIG. 4 is an end view of the track, showing the wheeled carriage positioned on the track;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken at 5-5 in FIG. 2, but drawn to about four times the scale of the latter;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the outer end of the track on the left-hand side of the automobile, showing the manner of securing the track to the rain gutter;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary perspective view of the telescoping ends of the two sections of the track, showing how they are joined together;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary perspective view of that part of the track which projects laterally fromthe right-hand side of the automobile, the said track being broken to shorten its length for convenience of illustration;
FIG. 9 is a view, as seen from the rear of the automobile, showing the rearbumper with its upstanding brackets, and the wheeled pallet upon which the folded-up wheel chair is laid when it is loaded into the car trunk;
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary sectional side view of the trunk compartment and rear bumper of the automobile, showing the wheeled pallet in three positions;
FIG. 11 is a perspective view, as seen from below and to one side of the front edge, showing the underside of the wheeled pallet;
FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the platform having tracks for the wheels of the pallet, which is placed on the floor of the car trunk; and
FIG. 13 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of a structural detail, showing how the rearwardly facing hook on the underside of the pallet engages a limit stop on the bumpermounted bracket, to limit the rearward movement of the pallet and serve as a pivot, about which the pallet swings when its rear end is lowered to the ground.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In FIGS. 1 to 8 of the drawings, the invalid car lift of the invention is designated in its entirety by the reference numeral 15 and comprises an overhead track 16, upon which a wheeled carriage 17 runs. Mounted on the carriage is a winch 18, to which a wire rope 19 is attached, and the latter raises and lowers a hook 20 that hooks onto a canvas sling 22, in which the invalid sits.
The track 16 is preferably in the form of a straight, elongated steel beam of the cross-sectional configuration shown in FIG. 4, having a top wall 24 parallel side walls 26, inwardly turned track flanges 28, and upturned edges 30. The beam 16 is preferably made in two pieces so that it can be broken up into shorter lengths that can be stowed into the car trunk, one of the pieces being a relatively long section 16a, and the other a relatively short section 16b, which are joined together at 32. As best shown in FIG. 7, the joint 32 is made by a solid plug 34 which is inserted into the inner end of section 16b and projects therefrom, the said plug being solidly fixed to section 16b. The projecting end of the plug is inserted into the adjacent end of section 160, and fits snugly therein. A transverse hole 36 in plug 34 registers with a corresponding holes 38 in opposite side walls 26 of section 160, and a locking pin 40 is inserted through the aligned holes 36, 38, to lock the two sections 16 0, 16b together. Plug 34 has substantially the same outside width and height dimensions as the inside of sections 16a and 16b, less a few thousandths to allow them to telescope together easily. A lengthwise-extending groove 42 in the underside of plug 34 provides clearance for the upturned edges 30 of sections 16a, 16b. Track section 16a is of a length that will fit such details, but may take various other forms within the scope of the claims that follow.
1. Apparatus for transferring an invalid from a wheel chair to the seat of an automobile, and vice versa, said automobile having a passenger compartment in which said seat is located, a roof enclosing said passenger compartment from above, said roof having rain gutters running along both sides thereof, a window opening on one side of the passenger compartment, and a door opening on the other side thereof, said apparatus comprising:
an elongated track extending through said door opening and said window opening, and passing transversely through said passenger compartment above said seat, said track on said door opening said projecting laterally beyond the side of the automobile;
first clamping means on the end of said track projecting through said window opening for securing the track to said roof, said first clamping means having a hook portion engageable with said rain gutter to support said track therefrom;
second clamping means for securing said track to said roof at the point where it passes through said door opening; said second clamping means having another hook portion engageable in said rain gutter to support said track therefrom;
a carriage movable along the length of said track;
a winch on said carriage connected to a rope depending from the carriage;
a sling in which said invalid sits; and
means on said rope connectable to said sling, said winch being operable to raise said invalid from said wheel chair and to lower him into said automobile seat or vice versa, said carriage being movable with said invalid between a first position on the laterally projecting portion of said track directly over said wheel chair, and a second position inside saidpassenger compartment.
2. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said first clamping means has an aperture provided therein, through which said track passed, said clamping means being slidable along the length of said track to accommodate variations in the width of automobiles, and a clamping device for securing said first clamping means to said track in adjusted position thereon.
3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said track is separable into two shorter sections that can be stowed in the trunk compartment of the automobile, one of said track sections extending from said laterally projecting end to a point slightly beyond the midpoint of said automobile seat, whereby said carriage is able to travel from said first position to said second position without leaving said one section; said track sections having adjoining portions that telescope together; and means for locking said sections together.
4. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said winch is mounted on the end of said carriage remote from the automobile, said winch including a drum around which said rope is wound, and said rope passing over a pulley on said carriage and down to a second pulley journaled on a hook, thence around said second pulley and up to a point of attachment on said carriage, said hook being engageable with said sling to support the latter from said rope.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3656637 Dated April 18, 1972 Inventor(s)' Ray E. Lynn and Dwane P. Simmons It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
should read -on said door opening side projecting Claim 1, line 15,
laterally beyond the--.
EDWARD M.FLETGHER,JR. Attest'ing Officer ROBERT GOTTSCHALK Commissioner of Patents USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 fi' U,S GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: I969 0-366-334 FORM PO-1050 (10-69)