US 3668607 A
An electrical socket device incorporating at least one spool constructed to receive the prongs of an electrical plug. The spool is rotationally displaceable and coacts with the remainder of the socket structure such that the plug prongs can be locked in place upon suitable rotational displacement of the spool, and this for the purpose of providing direct electrical connection as between the plug prongs and the electrical terminals or contact of a socket construction. A socket construction is made such that there is no electrical connection as between the plug prongs and the socket electrical contacts until the prongs of a particular plug are inserted in the aforementioned rotatable spool and the spool depressed and rotated. The construction affords many safety features for children so that metal items, inadvertently positioned through the prong holes of the spool, cannot make electrical connection until after the spool is both depressed and rotationally displaced.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Farnworth 1 June6, 1972  ELECTRICAL SOCKET Ivan A. Farnworth, 441 South State, Orem, Utah 84057 Jan. 25, 1971  Inventor:
- 21 Appl.No.: 109,097
 References Cited FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS Denmark ..339/4l France ..339/4l Primary ExaminerMarvin A Champion Assistant Examinerl'errell P. Lewis AttorneyM. Ralph Shaffer ABSTRACT An electrical socket device incorporating at least one spool constructed to receive the prongs of an electrical plug. The spool is rotationally displaceable and coacts with the remainder of the socket structure such that the plug prongs can be locked in place upon suitable rotational displacement of the spool, and this for the purpose of providing direct electrical connection as between the plug prongs and the electrical terminals or contact of a socket construction. A socket construction is made such that there is no electrical connection as between the plug prongs and the socket electrical contacts until the prongs of a particular plug are inserted in the aforementioned rotatable spool and the spool depressed and rotated. The construction affords many safety features for children so that metal items, inadvertently positioned through the prong holes of the spool, cannot make electrical connection until after the spool is both depressed and rotationally displaced.
9 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUH 6 I972 SHEET 10F 2 FIG. 2
IVAN A. FARNWORTH ATTCRMEY FIGS PATENTEDJUN 6 m2 3, 5 07 SHEET 2 OF 2 "I'll/Ill 5: l A] ELECTRICAL SOCKET The present invention relates to electrical sockets constructed to receive the prongs of electrical plugs and, more particularly, to a new and improved electrical socket incorporating a number of safety features relative to use in this position of the socket both for children and adults.
In the past, a number of different types of electrical sockets have been devised over the years. The standard electrical socket in homes and offices, for example, incorporates a fixed socket constructed to receive the prongs of an electrical plug in a straightforward manner. The conventional socket has no movable parts; rather, the electrical contacts of a socket are disposed immediately behind the prong holes of the socket.
The difficulty as to small children is the change of metal objects being inadvertently inserted by a child in one or both of the prong holes of the socket. Since, by virtue of the design of the socket, a direct electrical connection will thereby be made, serious injury and even death can be chanced to the childs inadvertent, playful use thereof.
Manufacturers heretofore have sensed this difficulty and certain ones have provided for a rotational plate which must be rotated in order for the prong to be inserted through aligned prong holes into the U or V-shaped contacts of the socket. But this operation is easily accomplished by a child through the use of hairpins or nails and other metallic objects. Hence, the degree of safety provided such sockets is not the best.
The inventor has conceived and herein discloses a new and useful electrical socket wherein the electrical prongs of an electrical cord plug, even though inserted through the prong holes of a socket, at a spool area designed therefore, will not make electrical connection. Rather, it is necessary both to depress the spool and subsequently to rotationally displace the same in order that the prongs can make electrical connection with the socket. In the invention, in a preferred embodiment thereof, means are provided for locking the prongs into electrical connection upon rotational displacement of a socket spool, which locking effect can be released only through a subsequent depression of the spool and a reverse or counterrotation thereof relative to the remainder of the socket structure. In one embodiment shown, cogwheels are provided so that the individual protrusions thereof can selectively engage and lock the plug prongs at the customary holes provided at the tips thereof.
Accordingly, a principal object of the present invention is to provide a new and useful electrical socket.
An additional object is to provide an electrical socket for receiving the prongs of the end plugs of electrical cords, such socket exhibiting a maximum of safety features.
An additional object of the invention is to provide inner electrical socket means for releasably locking in place the inserted prongs of electrical plugs.
An additional object is to provide an electrical socket pro vided with a prong receiving spool means, the latter being constructed to receive the electrical prongs of the plug, and the spool means being constructed with the remainder of the socket such that solely depression of the spool and subsequent rotation of the displacement thereof will enable the plug prongs of enter into electrical contact with the electrical terminals of the socket.
A further object of the invention is to provide an electrical socket having means for releasably locking in place the apertured prongs of the conventional electrical plug.
The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The present invention, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a front elevation of socket structure constructed in accordance with the present invention; for convenience of illustration the rotationally displaceable spool disposed at the upper half of the socket construction is deleted, this to illustrate representative, electrical prong receiving means.
FIG. 2 is a vertical cross-section of the structure of FIG. 1 and is taken along the line 2-2 in FIG. 1; for convenience of illustration the spool is deleted from the upper half of the structure and is broken away and sectioned at the lower half of the structure.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary detail taken along the line 33 in FIG. 2, and illustrates in horizontal configuration the horizontal electrical-contact detent for the spool electrical contact; additionally, there is shown the canted, non-conductive or neutral detents for such contact of the spool, used thereby before the spool is rotationally displaced from its neutral position.
FIG. 4 is a view, principally in schematic form, of a subject socket construction indicating the construction and disposition of the electrical terminals of the socket and so structure coacting therewith.
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary side elevation of the upper portion of a structure of FIG. 2, being a representative portion of the double socket construction, wherein is shown the insertion of an electrical plug with inner structures such that the prongs thereof may be locked in electrically conductive disposition.
FIG. 6 is a section taken along the line 66 in FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is similar to FIG. 5, but illustrates that after the spool of the socket had been depressed and turned, the same may be released for locking engagement of the prongs of the plug and for a receding of the detent of the spool.
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary view, principally shown in section and taken on the line 8-8 in FIG. 7, illustrating the manner in which the plug prongs become lockingly disposed in releasable engagement with the electrical contact of the socket.
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a device essentially identical to the structure of FIGS. 1 through 4, but now with the inclusion of additional electrical contact such that the socket may be used as an adaptor, plugging into an existing socket and provided with a case for an encompassing disposition thereover.
In FIG. 1 housing-half 10 is provided with upper and lower, circular indentations 11 and 12 which are dimensioned to receive and permit the rotational displacement of respective ones of the prong-receiving disks 13 of respective spools 14. For convenience of illustration, one of the spools is shown in FIG. 2, namely, at the lowermost half of the structure. It will be understood that an equivalent spool 14 will also be installed at the upper half proximate region 11.
Spool 14 is also provided with flange l6 and a shaft 15, journaled by housing-half central portion J. Each of the shafts 15 will be provided with an electrically conductive shorting bar 17 extending on opposite sides of shaft 15 and proximate flange 16in the manner shown in FIG. 5.
Housing-half 10 is provided with a semi-circular seat 18 at each of two places as indicated in FIG. 2, which seat receives a compression spring 19 backing flange 16.
FIG. 4 illustrates in diagramatic form a composite terminal 20 which is provided in a doubled-back configuration such that portion 21 thereof selectively engages in a conductive manner, the bar 17 of spool 14. It is noted that bar 17, integral with spool 14, serves not only as an electrical contact, but as a positioning means for the spool in a manner hereinafter described. In this regard, the contact 20, at portion 21 is configured to have a recess or detent 22 which selectively receives an opposite arm of the electrical bar 17.
It is noted that the left housing-half 22, when secured to the right housing 10 in the manner hereinafter described, will make contact with flange portion 23 of terminal 20 such that terminal 24 thereof, molded into left-hand housing 20, will provide a hot or positive connection for electricity supplied the unit. This is indicated by the plus" mark in FIG. 4.
If desired, each of the housing halves l0 and 20 of housing I-I may be provided with third prong, green ground terminal halves 25 and 26, which come together in a manner shown in FIG. 1. These terminal halves 25 and 26 are of course conductive and co-act with the third prong in a manner shown in FIG. 6 when the plug is initially inserted and, as seen in FIG. 8,
when the plug is rotated for prong engagement in a manner as hereinafter described. Third prong P is illustrated by the letter P in FIGS. 6 and 8.
A grounded terminal 29 includes an outer flange contact 30 and also an inner vertical member 31 provided with pivot means such as pins or rivets 32. The latter pivot respective cogwheels 33 in a manner shown in FIGS. 2 and 4. Thus, the single grounded terminal 2 1 provides the cogwheels 33 at both upper and lower halves of the housing on the righthand side thereof.
A corresponding construction is had in connection with housing half 20 wherein formed terminal 34 is provided with respective pivots 35 and cogwheels 36 pivotally secured thereto. The inner flange 37 of terminal 33 likewise includes an indentation at 38 for cooperatively engaging the contact 17 as in the case of portion 21 as heretofore described.
Thus, there will exist two cogwheels for each section of the combined housing R, one cogwheel on the left and another on the right.
Contacts 29 and 33 also include, proximate to cogwheels, respective fingers F which co-act with the remainder of the contact structure as to provide a receiving slot S. These receiving slots respectively receive the respective prongs of a plug. It is to be observed that common household electrical prongs of electrical plugs include holes proximate their extremities. See FIG. 5, by way of example, in connection with the holes H provided prongs T of plug V.
The operation of the structures thusfar described is as follows:
The two spools 14 will be installed in the manner shown relative to the lower spool 14 in FIG. 2, and this in conjunction with the respective compression springs 18. At this point the two housings l and will be secured together as by means of attachment means such as a screw and nut combination as seen in FIG. 9. The attachments here will simply be labeled as A. These attachments will procede through the common aperture 39, see FIG. 2, associated with each of the housing halves.
With electricity being supplied as shown by the plus and minus signs in FIG. 4, the plug unit will be available for use. It is noted that in the absence of the insertion of a plug, then the respective compression springs will press outwardly the respective spools 14. Upon such a condition the bar 17 will be disposed in a mutual non-conductive recesses N which are formed in the respective housing halves.
At this point the outer disks of the respective spools 14 will be in a position as shown in the lower portion of FIG. 1. Upon the user inserting the prongs of a plug V into prong slots 40, then he is in a position, after depressing the spool against its spool, to rotationally displace in a clock-wise direction the respective disk and spool. Thus, as the prongs are inserted in the slots 40 and the plug urged forwardly so as to compress spring 19, then the contact bar 17 comes out of engagement with the recesses or detents N of FIG. 3 so that the associated spool can be rotationally displaced in a clock-wise direction. Then the user will so rotate the spool such that the prongs come into engagement with the respective cogwheels 33.
Provision for alignment relative to the holes H and prongs of the plug and a respective cog of the cogwheel may be provided for by enlarging lengthwise the dimension of the cogwheel pivots and also by reducing size of the lugs or cogs relative to the holes in the prongs. In any event, once a final release is had relative to the plug, then the compression springs will urge the disk portions of the respective spools outwardly such that there will be a positive engagement of the cogs or lugs L cogwheel relative to the holes in the prongs. Thus, the prongs of the plug V are positively locked in position as the ends of these prongs are disposed within slots S.
FIG. 6 illustrates the configuration at the time of prong insertion, and FIG. 8 illustrates a configuration wherein the plug has been rotated and pressure released so that the prongs of the plug V are positively engaged by the cogwheels so that these cannot be inadvertently withdrawn.
The structure shown in FIG. 9 is essentially identical to the structure illustrated in the previous figures, with the exception that the same is now designed as an adapter for an existing wall plug installation. Thus, a pair of contacts 41, 42 and an additional pair of contacts 43 and 44 may be provided for insertion in the standard plug receptacles of a conventional wall installation. These contacts are configured in a manner illustrated in FIG. 9, with the forward ends at E thereof being secured as by screws W to the housing halves l0 and 20. Thus, these contacts will engage their respective positive and negative sides of the housing, see the plus and minus indications in FIG. 4, so that a complete, electrically powered receptical housing is provided. It is noted that where third or green ground prong plugs are used, then additional terminals 44 and 45 may be required to complete the construction. In such an event, there will be rearwardly oriented protrusions 46 and 47 for insertion into the green ground" or third prong holes of the plug. In such event, the green ground contacts as in 25 and 26 in FIG. 2 will simply be bent over and the hole eliminated so that contact halves 25 and 26 are engaged through rearward extremity of contact 44. Contact 45 will be constructed in the same manner, as will be green ground contact connections thereto.
Once the unit is installed in place to a conventional wall receptacle, then the cover C need only be provided with the conventional cover plate screw deleted; substituted for the latter will be a longate screw S which will be threaded into the conventional hole of a conventional wall plug receptical. Hence, the coverplate C encloses the plug unit, shown in exploded view relative to the cover plate C in FIG. 9.
In other regards, the structure shown in FIG. 9 operates identically to that shown and heretofore described in connection with FIGS. 1 through 8. The cover plate C will be apertured to accornodate, of course, the rotatable spools. For convenience of reference as to the claims, terminals 29 and 33, and composite terminal 20, shall hereafter be referred to as first, second, and third terminals, respectively.
While particular embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from this invention in its broader aspects, and, therefore, the aim in the appended claims is to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of this invention.
1. An electrical socket including a housing; a socket spool jounaled in said housing for rotational displacement, said socket spool including a disk, a flange, and a shaft interconnecting said disk and flange, said disk being provided with prong-receiving apertures and being constructed to permit the prongs of an external plug to pass therethrough and protrude therebeyond, said housing having a first terminal provided with an external connection and also second and third terminals, said first and second terminals being positioned to respectively engage said prongs upon rotational displacement of said spool away from its normal, inactive position and into its electrically operative position; and electrically conductive shorting bar affixed to said spool proximate the juncture of said shaft and said flange, a compression spring disposed between said housing and said flange, said shorting bar and said terminals being constructed and arranged such that, in the absence of spool depression and rotational dispencement, said shorting bar is disposed out of engagement with said second and third temiinals, but upon depression of said spool, as through plug insertion therein, and subsequent rotational displacement of said spool such that said prongs assume a position of alignment with said first and second terminals, respectively, followed by release of said spool, said shorting bar assumes a position across said second and third terminals and, under the spring pressure of said compression spring against said flange, engages said second and third temiinals to complete electrical connection therebetween, said third terminal also having an external connection.
2. Structure according to claim 1 wherein said housing comprises a pair of separable, electrically connected terminal member, one of said terminal members including said external connection of said third terminal.
3 Stnicture according to claim 1 wherein said first and second terminals include oppositely extending fingers defining oppositely extending slots for receiving respective ones of said prongs of said external plug.
4. Structure according to claim 1 wherein said housing includes a central portion provided with first and second detent means cooperable with said shorting bar, said first detent means being positioned to receive said shorting bar when said spool is in its normal electrically inactive position, said second detent means being positioned to receive said shorting bar when said spool is in its electrically active position, said second and third terminals extending into said second detent means for selective coaction with said shorting bar.
5. Structure according to claim 1 wherein said spool includes an aperture for receiving a green ground prong of an external electrical plug, said housing having a green ground terminal positioned for cooperative engagement with said green ground prong.
6. Structure according to claim I wherein said housing includes a pair of socket prong extensions respectively connected to said first and second terminals, comprising said extemal connections and extending to the rear of said housing, for plug-in connection to an installed socket.
7. Structure according to claim 3 wherein said first and second terminals each include respective cogwheels joumaled thereto for releasably locking said prongs in place.
8. Structure according to claim 5 wherein housing includes a pair of socket prong extensions respectively connected to said first and second terminals, comprising said external connections and extending to the rear of said housing, for plug-in connection to an installed socket, said housing also including an electrically conductive extension connected to said green ground terminal and extending rearwardly of said housing, for plug-in connection to said installed socket.
9. An electrical socket including, in combination an electrically insulative housing, an insulative spool joumaled for rotation in said housing, said spool being provided with prongreceiving apertures, spring means for urging said spool outwardly, said housing having a pair of electrical terminals, said terminals each being provided with rotatable means for releasably locking the prongs of an external plug to respective ones of said terminals upon the rotational displacement of said spool, and one of said terminals including a medial, shorting bar segment keyed to said spool.