US 3662489 A
In a coupling of the so-called "jaw" type for miniature railway rolling-stock the two shafts to be mutually coupled are pivoted to the ends of cars or trucks, and each is provided with a male portion and a substantially V-shaped female portion, and with a hook adapted to pivot in a horizontal plane and urged towards the relevant shaft for engagement behind a lateral projection carried by the companion shaft; said hook further being mounted for axial sliding movement in relation to its shaft on a rod carrying a coil spring having the dual function of urging said hook towards its shaft and downwards, to ensure the automatic coupling, so that when said rod is pushed upwards by suitable uncoupling means provided on the track the two cars involved are uncoupled in the traction direction but still capable of being pushed on the track.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent I Terrier [451 May 16, 1972 Primary ExaminerLouis G. Mancene Assistant Examiner-D. L. Weinhold Attorney-Waters, Roditi, Schwartz & Nissen  ABSTRACT In a coupling of the so-called jaw" type for miniature railway rolling-stock the two shafts to be mutually coupled are pivoted to the ends of cars or trucks, and each is provided with a male portion and a substantially V-shaped female portion, and with a hook adapted to pivot in a horizontal plane and urged towards the relevant shaft for engagement behind a lateral projection carried by the companion shaft; said hook further being mounted for axial sliding movement in relation to its shaft on a rod carrying a coil spring having the dual function of urging said hook towards its shaft and downwards, to ensure the automatic coupling, so that when said rod is pushed upwards by suitable uncoupling means provided on the track the two cars involved are uncoupled in the traction direction but still capable of being pushed on the track.
4 Claim, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTEDMM 16 I972 SHEET 2 [IF 2 AUTOMATIC COUPLING FOR ROLLING STOCK OF MINIATURE RAILWAYS FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to automatic couplings fitted to the ends of rolling-stock of miniature or toy railways.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Presently known couplings currently used in this field comprise as a rule a loop or ring carried by one end of each car or truck and a hook adapted to engage the loop carried by the other end of the car or truck involved.
These known couplings are attended by various inconveniences, mainly that resulting from the fact that it is not possible to pick up manually a car or other railway vehicle from a made up train or a plurality of coupled cars without interfering with the other vehicles.
Another inconvenience of these conventional couplings is that their operation is based on vertical movements of the hook and/or loop which are difficult to lift along curved track sections and which, in any case, interfere with the fitting of concertina vestibules joining successive coaches, because during their operation they project more or less above the upper plane of the buffers.
Moreover, known couplings leave an abnormally large clearance between the cars and coaches so that during the traction the relative axial spacing of the buffers remains constantly excessive. 7
Finally, when one or a plurality of cars have been uncoupled it is not possible to drive them properly to sidings without recoupling them.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is therefore the essential object of the present invention to avoid the inconveniences broadly set forth hereinabove while providing a relatively rigid coupling. To this end, this invention provides a jaw type coupling comprising two shafts or poles each pivoted to one end of a freight or passenger miniature car and having at its free end a male portion and a female portion adapted to engage the female and male portions of the adjacent shaft, respectively, each shaft further comprising a lateral hook of which the catch element is adapted to recede in a horizontal plane so as to position itself behind a projection formed laterally on the other shaft, this coupling being characterized in that each hook is carried by a vertical rod adapted to pivot and slide in a journal means formed in the relevant shaft, said rod having an extension beneath said shaft so that it can be moved vertically through means, such as a ramp or an uncoupling rail, provided to this end on the track, at the uncoupling stration, the stroke of this vertical movement being sufficient for bringing the corresponding hook to a position above the upper plane of the shafts, stop means being provided for limiting its permissible angular movement towards its shaft, under the control of a return spring, to a value corresponding to its normal inoperative position before the coupling operation.
Thus, when these rods are actuated at an uncoupling station the two hooks bear with their free ends upon the upper face of the other shafts, in a retracted or pro-release position. In fact, the car or cars can thus be driven or pushed to a turnout or marshalling siding without causing the undesired coupling thereof, since the hooks remain in their upper position.
It is only when the two shafts are moved away from each other that the hooks can drop freely to their lower position in which they are ready for another coupling up.
This dropping of the coupling hooks to their lower position may also be obtained by simple gravity, but for additional safety a return spring urging the hook downwards is associated with each hook.
According to a preferred form of embodiment of this invention the spring means provided to this end urge the hook for pivotal movement towards its shaft and the spring means provided for urging this hook to its lower position are merged into a single coil spring found on the sliding rod acting as a pivot to said hook, said spring having one end anchored to the rod and the other end attached to the relevant shaft.
On the other, hand, to warrant a positive coupling even in curves of relatively short radius each shaft carries at its front end a guide-forming extension disposed obliquely in relation to the longitudinal axis of the shaft, said oblique extension forming in conjunction with the male portion of the same shaft a V of which the bottom constitutes the female portion and of which the branches are adapted properly to guide the male portion of the other shaft to be coupled with the shaft considered.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In order to afford a clearer understanding of this invention reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings illustrating diagrammatically by way of example a typical and preferred form of embodiment of the automatic coupling constituting the subject-matter of the invention. In the drawings FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing two shafts alone, about to be coupled to each other FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 but showing the two shafts in their mutually coupled condition FIG. 3 is a view similar to the preceding ones showing the hooks in their retracted or pre-release positions FIG. 4 is a plan view from above illustrating the mutual engagement of the shafts of adjacent cars about to be coupled and FIG. 5 is a side elevational view with parts in section showing the coupling with the hooks raised to their released positrons.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT FIG. 1 illustrates a coupling according to this invention. This coupling comprises a pair of opposite shafts 2, 3 each adapted to be pivoted to one end of a car or truck in a miniature railway system, by means of one of the plurality of aligned vertical holes 1 formed through the rear end of the shaft.
This pivotal mounting comprises preferably resilient means permitting a slight angular movement of the shaft on either side of the longitudinal center line of the car or truck supporting same, said means however being designed with a view to normally hold the shaft in alignement with this axis.
The front end of each shaft 2, 3 has substantially the shape of a horizontal V with two branches 2a, 2b and 3a, 3b respectively.
The branches 2a, 3a are adapted to permit a mutual imbrication thereof and their shapes are designed to accomodate each other. Thus, the branches 2a and 3a constitute the male element of their corresponding shaft, the female portion consisting of the bottom of the V formed by the two branches 2a, 2b, or 30, 3b.
On the other hand, the branches 2b,3b act as guide members facilitating the interpenetration of elements 2a and 3a in their corresponding female portions, and these members prove particularly useful notably in case the cars or coaches to be coupled lie on a curved track section and the shafts are not exactly aligned with each other.
Each shaft 2, 3 further comprises a hook designated by the reference numerals 4 and 5 respectively each hook is pivotally mounted on the corresponding shaft and secured to the upper end of a cylindrical rod 6, 7 extending through the relevant shaft.
Under these conditions the rods 6, 7 guided by bearings or journals formed in the relevant shaftsare adapted to rotate and slide freely in these bearings or joumals, so that the hooks 4, 5 can both slide upwards by actuating these rods and pivot horizontally about the axes of these rods.
Each rod has its lower portion (i.e. the portion underlying the relevant shaft) surrounded concentrically by a coil return spring 8, 9 having one end anchored to a stud 10 or 12 carried by each rod 6, 7 at its lower end, the other end of said spring being anchored to the lower face of the corresponding shaft. Thus, each hook 4, is resiliently urged on the one hand vertically downwards and on the other hand angularly in a horizontal plane, in a counter clockwise direction as seen in FIG. 4), whereby the catch 41: or 5a of each hook is urged against the shaft, i.e. in the direction shown by the arrows l3 and 14 in FIG. 4.
Moreover, in its inoperative position each hook engages a recess or notch formed substantially in the central portion of the shaft and extending laterally along the front portion of the shaft so as to terminate short of the free end of the corresponding branch lb or 3b.
As a result of this particular arrangement, in the lower position each hook 4 or 5 is level with its shaft 2 or 3 respectively, whereby the catch 4a or 5a partially engages the female portion of the shaft considered. FIGS. 1, 2 and 4 clearly illustrate this arrangement.
On the other hand, the outer edge of each male element 2a, 3a comprises a recessed portion 15 or 16 adapted to co-act with the catch of the hook carried by the other shaft.
It may also be seen that the horizontal angular movement of each hook, produced by its return spring 8 or 9, is limited by a stop 17 consisting of a pin carried by each hook and projecting from the lower face thereof this pin is adapted to engage a suitable portion of the corresponding shaft.
This automatic coupling operates as follows As already explained in the foregoing the shafts 2 and 3 to be coupled are carried by cars 18 and 19 respectively and are initially in the positions shown in FIG. 1.
To couple up these two cars it is only necessary to bring them together so that the male element 2a, 3a of each shaft will unavoidably penetrate into the opposite female portion.
During this action the catch of each hook 4, 5 is pushed laterally outwards by the side face of the male portion carried by the opposite shaft, before snapping automatically into the recess 15 or 16 formed on said male portion, due to the elastic action exerted by spring 8 or 9. Upon completion of this movement the coupling is effective and the two cars are rigidly interconnected in the longitudinal direction, as illustrated in FIG. 2.
As also shown in FIG. 2 it will be seen that the two coupled shafts can move vertically in relation to each other, the coupling being effective only in the longitudinal direction. This constitutes one of the characteristic features of the present invention since it permits of picking up any desired car or coach from a train of coupled elements, by simply lifting it vertically.
The shafts 2 and 3 are adapted to be disengaged with the same facility as the coupling thereof, since the uncoupling action is obtained when the device travels past a retractable ramp 20 or any other similar device provided on the track of the miniature railway system on which the cars or coaches are operated.
In fact, this ramp 20 may when desired be raised to a sufficient level above the track, so as to engage the studs 10 and 12 of rods 6 and 7, that it causes the hooks 4 and 5 to be lifted. Under these conditions, the longitudinal interconnection of the shafts is effective only in the pushing direction and any action tending to move the previously coupled cars away from each other is attended by the full disengagement of said shafts.
As a consequence of this vertical movement the hooks 4 and 5 are furthermore caused to move angularly by their springs 8 and 9 in the direction of the arrows 13, 14 of FIG. 4, within the limit permitted by the relevant stops 17.
As a result of these two combined movements the catch 40, 5a of each hook overlies the male element 3a, 2a of the opposite shaft and eventually bears upon this element when the shaft involved has cleared the ramp 20 and the rods 6 and 7 are therefore allowed to drop back to their normal position.
This specific feature constitutes one of the essential advantages of the present invention, for it permits of presetting" the release of the whole or part of the couplings included in a train by simplyl causing these couplings to travel past the ramp 20, re, wit out having to stop the train each time one of the couplings is positioned just above the ramp or similar device. However, it is obvious that this preliminary or preset uncoupling may also be obtained when he cars are stopped.
Moreover, as will clearly appear from the foregoing and the attached drawings, it is nevertheless possible, after the release of the couplings, to drive or push the train for example to a turnout or other track section, such as a marshalling siding.
Besides, when two previously uncoupled cars are separated from each other, the movement of the male elements 2a and 3a away from the corresponding female portion causes the hooks 2 and 3 to drop back to their initial or lower positions in which they are ready to complete another coupling operation.
Moreover, with the device of this invention the conventional bufi'ers hitherto fitted to rolling stock of miniature trains can be dispensed with.
Of course, and as clearly apparent from the foregoing, this invention should not be construed as being strictly limited to the single form of embodiment of the automatic coupling described and illustrated herein, since various modifications may be brought thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed as new is:
1. Automatic coupling for miniature railway rolling-stock, which is of the so-called jaw" type comprising two shafts each pivoted to one end of a car or truck, said shafts being adapted to be detachably coupled to each other through coupling means permitting a "preset release or uncoupling," said means comprising on each shaft at the free or outer end thereof, a male portion and a female portion adapted to be releasably engaged with the female portion and male portion respectively of the companion shaft carried by another car or truck, and a lateral hook pivoted to said means about a vertical axis and provided with a catch adapted to be retracted in a horizontal plane and to position itself automatically behind a projection carried by the other companion shaft, said coupling means being characterized in that each hook is carried by a vertical rod adapted to pivot and'slide axially in journal means formed in the relevant shaft, said rod having an extension beneath said shaft to permit the vertical actuation of said rod through known means provided to this end on the underlying track, such as a ramp or an uncoupling device located at an uncoupling station, the stroke resulting from this vertical actuation being sufficient to move said hook to a position in which it emerges above the upper plane of said shafts, and stop means for limiting the permissible angular movement of said hook towards its shaft to a value corresponding to the normal inoperative position of said hook before the mutual coupling of said shafts, and spring means constantly urging said hook towards said shaft.
2. Coupling as set forth in claim 1, wherein each hook has return spring means associated therewith for constantly urging same downwards.
3. A coupling as set forth in claim 2, wherein said spring means urging said hook for pivotal movement towards its shaft and to its lower position consist of a same and single coil spring surrounding concentrically said pivot-forming sliding rod and having one end anchored to said rod and its opposite end attached to the corresponding shaft.
4. Coupling as set forth in claim 3, wherein each shaft has a lower outer portion constituting a guide member disposed obliquely in relation to the longitudinal axis of said shaft so as to constitute with the male portion of said shaft a substantially V-shaped element of which the bottom constitutes said female portion, the branches of said V ensuring the proper guiding of the male portion of the other shaft to be coupled with the one considered.