US 3714616 A
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United States Patent 1191 Sample 1 1 Jan. 30, 1973  ELECTRICAL WALL RECEPTACLE COVER  Inventor: Donald W. Sample, 2262 Vistamar Road, Toledo, 01110 43011 22 Filed: on. 12, 1970 211 Appl.No.:79,924
 U.S.Cl. ..339/l59 R, l74/67,339/119 C, 339/170  Int. Cl. .1101! 13/50  Field ofSearch ..339/20,36, 39, 119 C, 121, 339/123,154 R, 154 A, 156 R, 156 A, 157 R,159,163,166,170,l47 C; 174/66, 67,
50 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,054,074 9/1953 Lancelot ..339/92 M 2,255,336 9/1941 Seghers 2,508,770 5/1950 OShinsky .559/15/ R 1,831,809 11/1931 Hertzberg ..359/159 0 2,619,516 11/1952 Schneider ..339/l59 R Primary Examiner-Marvin A. Champion Assistant Examiner-Lawrence J. Staab Attorney-William P. Hickey  ABSTRACT A cover for electrical wall receptacles. The cover has prongs which fit into the sockets of the wall receptacle to hold the cover in place and provide electrical connections to sockets provided on the inside of the cover for receiving the usual electrical cord plugs. The
sockets are positioned in a pedestal having clearance with respect to the sides of the cover, so that the electrical cords can be wrapped around the pedestal inside of the cover. The sockets are preferably formed by slits in the side edge of the pedestal so that the prongs of the electrical plug can he slid edgewise into the sockets, and so that the pedestal need have a height substantially no greater than the thickness of the usual I electrical cord plug.
11 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures Patented Jan. 30, 1973 3,714,616
2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. Dam/7w H4 SAMPLE A 1ramvev Patented Jan. 30, 1973 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 E2 A-rTaRA/cv ELECTRICAL WALL RECEPTACLE COVER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The usual electrical wall receptacle has a pair of open face sockets into which the plug of the usual electric appliance cord is inserted. The cords come in standard lengths, and when the electrical appliance connected thereto is positioned closer than this length, the
excess cord is left randomly looped on the floor. The looped cords and the plugs are unsightly, as is the wall receptacle, and numerous accidents have occurred when children have partially withdrawn the plugs and touched the partially withdrawn plug prongs.
An object of the present invention is the provision of a cover for the usual wall receptacle which will obscure the unsightly appearance of the wall receptacle, while preferably also increasing the number of outlets.
Another object of the present invention is the provision of a cover having receptacles therein to which contact is made by prongs which project into the usual wall receptacle, and which is further constructed so that the cover must be removed and the electrical continuity broken before the cord plugs are installed in the cover receptacles.
A further object of the invention is the provision of a cover having a central pedestal with cord clearance between the pedestal and the sidewalls of the cover around which excess cord can be wound.
A still further object of the invention is the provision ofa cover having a new and improved edge socket slots for receiving the prongs of the electricalplugs, so that the plugs can be inserted sideways and so that a minimum depth is required for receiving the cord plugs.
A still further object of the invention is the provision of a new and improved connector for receptacles wherein two identical members can be nested to provide at least one pair of prongs and at least two pair of sockets contacts.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF TI-IE DRAWINGS .stamped electrical connectors as nested in the cover shown in FIGS. 1-4;
FIG. 6 is a contoured metal sheet which can be suitably bent to provide one of the connectors shown in FIG.
FIG. 7 is an isometric view of another embodiment of stamped electrical connector, a pair of which can be nested andused in the cover shown in FIGS. 1-4; and
FIG. 8 is an isometric view of another embodiment of stamped electrical connector, a pair of which can be nested and used in the cover shown in FIGS. 1 -4.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The embodiment of cover plate shown in the drawings generally comprises an open face box 10 having a central pedestal 12 projecting outward from the center of the bottom of the box with the face 14 of the pedestal 12 being slightly depressed from the face 16 of the sidewalls 18 of the box. The box shown in the drawings is rectangular in shape, and has plug clearance between the pedestal and the top and bottom sidewalls of the box. The embodiment shown in the drawings also has cord clearance between the lateral sides of the pedestal 12 and the vertical sidewalls 18 of the box. The box 10 and pedestal 12 can be made of any suitable material, but is preferably made of a nonconductive material as for example a plastic. The pedestal 12 may be fastened to the cover in any suitable manner,but is preferably cemented to the box 10.
The cover is adapted to be secured into position over a wall receptacle by means of at least one pair of prongs, and preferably two pair of prongs 20 which are inserted in the sockets of the wall outlet. The pedestal 12 is provided with at least two pair of sockets 22 having contacts therein which are connected with the prongs 20, and into which the prongs of the usual electric cord plugs are adapted to be positioned. The prongs 20 are preferably constructed and positioned so that fingers cannot be inserted underneath the cover in contact with the prongs 20 while the prongs 20 are in electrical contact with the connectors of a wall receptacle. In the preferred embodiment shown in the drawings, electrical contact between the prongs 20 and the sockets 22 is provided by a pair of electrical conductors made from metal stampings 24 the individual ones of which are identical. The stampings 24 are such that they can be nested without contacting each other when rotated from each other. The nested stampings are then inserted into recesses 28 in the face of the pedestal which is attached to the bottom 26 of the box. The pedestal 12 is then cemented onto the bottom 26 to lock the stampings 24 in place.
The stampings 24 have two longitudinally extending vertical strips 30 and 32 that are connected together at the bottom thereof by an integral laterally extending strip 34. The longitudinally extending vertical strip 30 has two vertically extending projections, or prongs 36, on opposite ends thereof. Each prong 36 has a longitudinally extending fold 38 which stiffens the prong and assures engagement with the contacts of a wall receptacle.-The ends of the longitudinal strip 30 are also provided with socket contacts 40 that are spaced apart from the strip 30 by laterally bent portions 42. The
ends of the laterally bent portions 42 are bent vertically in arcuate fashion to provide spring contacts 44. In some instances the contacts 44 may be made as a bent over upper edge portion of the strips 30 offset from the prongs 36. v
The other longitudinally extending strip 32 is similarly provided with socket contacts by bent over upper edge projections 46 which face in the same direction as the bent over projections 44. The lateral strip 34 is positioned just inwardly of the projections 40 and 46 and a recess 48 is provided in the bottom edge of the strip 30 inwardly of the strip 34 to provide clearance with respect to the strip 34 of a nested stamping 24. In the nested condition of a pair of stampings 24, the spring contacts 44 of one strip 34 will face the spring contacts 46 of the other stamping 24 to provide four socket contacts. The recess 28 extends through the pedestal in the regions accommodating prongs 36 and contacts 40 and 46. The pedestal has portions 50 which bear against the lateral portions 42 and other portions which bear against the lateral strips 34 to securely hold the stampings 24 in place. It will, therefore, be seen that in the preferred embodiment wherein plastic is utilized for the box and pedestal 12, only four separate pieces are required to produce the cover. In the preferred embodiment, the portions of the recesses 28 forming the sockets 22 communicate both with the exposed face of the pedestal and the adjacent side edge of the pedestal so that the prongs of a plug can be either pushed sideways into the sockets 22 to the position shown by the dot-dashed line of FIG. 2, or can be pushed endwise into the recess 22 and then rotated into' the position shown in FIG. 2.
As previously explained, the electrical conductors 24 are made of stampings. In the stamping process, a flat sheet is contoured into a generally I-I-shaped configuration the longitudinal legs of which form the strips 30 and 32 and the lateral leg of which forms the strip 34. The prongs 36 are formed by projections which extend outwardly from the strip 30 to the opposite side from the strip 32, while the socket contacts 40 are formed by portions which extend from the inside edge of the strip 30 towards the other strip 32. The socket contacts 46 are formed by projections which extend laterally from the edge ofthe strip 32 that is positioned away from the strip 30. The opposite ends of the lateral strip 34 are bent upwardly to bring the strips 30 and 32 into upright position, and the ends of the prongs 36 and the projections 42 and 46 can then be bent backwardly upon themselves to produce the finished connector configuration.
Suitable openings are provided in the side edges of the cover for the electrical cords to project out of. In the preferred embodiment, the side edges of the box are scored as at 52, and sections of the side edges between the scores 52 are broken out to provide recesses 54 for electrical cords. In the embodiment shown in FIG.'1, portions between score marks'were broken off at the bottom of the box to provide the openings 54 shown.
The embodiment of electrical connector shown in FIG. 7 is generally similar to the connector shown in FIGS. 2-6; and the portions of FIG. 7 which correspond to portions of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 2-6 are designated by a like reference numeral characterized further in that a suffix a is affixed thereto. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 7, the contacts 46a are produced by a folded over portion which extends from the top edge of the longitudinally extending portion 32a. Similarly, the contacts 44a are made by a folded over portion which extends from the top edge of the longitudinally extending portion 30a. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 7, the prongs 38a have a folded over portion 56 at their top edge to provide a spring bias for engagement with the contacts of a wall receptacle. In addition, the top portion of each prong 38a is provided with an opening 58 positioned to receive a detent that is sometimes provided in wall receptacles.
The embodiment of electrical connector shown in FIG. 8 is generally similar to that shown in FIG. 7 but differs principally therefrom in the manner in which the prongs are made. Those portions of the embodiment shown in FIG. 8 which are similar to corresponding portions of the previous embodimentsare designated by a like reference numeral characterized further in that a suffix b is affixed thereto. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 8, the prongs 36b are made from separate pieces which are fastened to the longitudinally extending strips 30b as by rivets 60.
While the invention has been described in considerable detail, I do not wish to be limited to the specific embodiments shown and described, and it is my intention to cover hereby all novel adaptations, modifications, and arrangements thereof which come within the practice of those skilled in the art to which the invention relates.
1. A cover for an electrical wall outlet receptacle comprising: an open face box having a bottom surrounded by sidewalls, a pedestal inside said box having a side spaced from the sidewalls of said box to provide plug clearance and having a top end face spaced from said bottom, at least two prongs on said pedestal projecting out of the open face of said box and spaced apart by a predetermined distance for insertion into the socket of a wall outlet receptacle; and at least one pair of apertures in said side of said pedestal spaced apart by said predetermined distance for receiving an electrical plug.
2. The cover of claim 1 wherein said apertures are ends of slots opening outwardly of said top end face of said pedestal.
3. The cover of claim 1 having cord clearance between all sides of said pedestal and the sidewalls of said box. I
4. The cover of claim 1 having four prongs projecting out of said end face of said pedestal and by which the cover is secured to a wall receptacle.
5. The cover of claim 4 having plug clearance between opposite sides of said pedestal and the sidewalls of said box.
6. The cover of claim 1 wherein said pedestal has top I and bottom end faces with the bottom end face being fixed to the bottom of said box, said pedestal having contact receiving recesses opening outwardly of said bottom end face of said pedestal and which are covered by the bottom of said box.
7. The cover of claim 6 wherein said bottom end face of said pedestal is cemented to said bottom of said box.
8. The cover of claim 6 having electrical connections between said prongs and contacts formed by a pair of identical stamped sheets, each sheet having a pair of longitudinally extending vertical strips connected at their bottom by a lateral strip, one of said longitudinally extending strips having spaced prongs projecting vertically therefrom, said strip having said prongs also having a first pair of longitudinally spaced contacts thereon, and said other strip having a second pair of contacts thereon correspondingly spaced relative to said first pair of contacts.
9. A cover for an electrical wall receptacle for receiving two pronged plugs the prongs of which have a predetermined spacing, said cover comprising: a shallow open face box having a bottom surrounded by sidewalls; a pedestal inside said box on said bottom having a top major surface and a side spaced from the sidewalls of said box to provide plug clearance, said pedestal being of a height substantially no greater than the thickness of a plug and said side and top forming a corner edge; a pair of slots extending downwardly from said top major surface through the corner edge and into said side of said pedestal adjacent said plug clearance, said slots being spaced apart by said predetermined distance for receiving an electrical plug; and an electrical contact in each of said slots for engaging an electrical plug, with respective ones of said contacts being connected to respective ones of said prongs.
10. An electrical receptacle comprising: a housing having a bottom surface with two pair of apertures for receiving prongs of an electrical plug therein, said pairs of apertures being spaced apart by a predetermined distance, a pair of prongs projecting downwardly from said housing, and a pair of identical electrical connectors connecting said prongs with contacts in said apertures, each connector having a pair of longitudinally extending vertical strips integrally connected at the top of said vertical strips by a laterally bent strip, one of said vertical strips having a prong projecting vertically downwardly therefrom, said strip having said prong also having a first pair of contacts spaced apart by said predetermined distance, and said other vertical strip also having a pair of contacts spaced apart by said predetermined distance, one of said connectors being positioned with the contacts of said one of its strips in respective apertures of said pairs of apertures and the other of said connectors being positioned with the contacts of its other vertical strip positioned in the respective remaining apertures of said pairs of apertures, each identical electrical connector being bent out of a single piece of metal with the vertical strips and contacts being portions thereof that are bent generally at right angles to the plane of said laterally bent strip.
11. The cover of claim 1 wherein said sidewalls terminate in a first plane and said pedestal terminates in a second plane beneath said first plane, and whereby said sidewalls can seat against the portion of a wall which surrounds the wall outlet receptacle on which the cover is to be mounted.