US 3715900 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 [1 1 3,715,900
Sherman Feb. 13, 1973 1 KEY RETAINER 3,126,729 3/1964 Leopoldi ..70/459 Inventor: Alan E. Sherman, Maryland 2,129,436 9/1938 Murray ..70/459 Helghtrs Primary ExaminerRobert L. Wolfe  Assignee: Aranar Marketing Services, Inc., Attorney-Dominik, Knechtel and Godula Chicago, Ill. 22 Filed; Nov. 9, 1'970  ABSTRACT A key retainer comprising generally a loop of resilient  APPLNO" 87789 material having only one discontinuity provided by substantially facing adjacent ends thereof. This loop  US. Cl. ..70/456R normally is slidably disposed within a sleeve, in a  Int. Cl. .;.A47g 29/10 fashion such that one end thereof forms a relatively  Field of Search ..70/456 R, 456 B, 457, 458, large ring for holding several keys whose ready 70/459; 24/3 K, 238, 239 removal normally is not required, and the opposite 1 end thereof forms a smaller ring for holding a key or v  References Cited keys whose ready removal is desired.
UNITED STATES PATENTS 4 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures 1,114,289 10/1914 Rittenhouse ..59/85 2,482,386 9/1949 Vaisey ..24/239 PATENTEUFEBIB I973 3,715,900
lN VE/VTOR Alan E. Sherman JAM/M4 @41 4 [0M 12 ATTYS.
KEY RETAINER This invention relates to key retainers and is particularly concerned with such retainers which are effective to provide quick and easy insertion and removal of the key.
Numerous different types of key retainers for retaining one or more keys already are well-known and are extensively used. One such well-known key retainer simply comprises a ring of metal or alternative resilient material formed to provide a circumferentially extending discontinuity providing access between opposite sides of the ring. In use, a key is inserted by expanding the outer end of the discontinuity sufficiently to receive a key which is worked through the length of discontinuity until free at the other end whereby to be held captive on the ring itself. Withdrawal of the key is affected by a reversal of the insertion process, with the exception that the key is offered to the said other end of the ring discontinuity.
Due to the high degree of ring resilience which is essential to insure that the key is firmly and safely held captive, the insertion and removal of a key can be difficult. This difficulty is accentuated by the need for the ring to be free of projections or abrupt discontinuities which could present a hazard, and this together with the ring resilience often makes initial expansion of the circumferential discontinuity extremely difficult.
Another type of key retainer is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,129,436, and includes an elongated loop of resilient material having a hook at each end thereof, and a flat sleeve for receiving the loop therein in a fashion such as to normally close both hooks. By slidably manipulating the sleeve, one or both hooks can be released for inserting and removing keys.
The key retainer of this patent is generally satisfactory, however, it does suffer from several objectionable features. In particular, it may be noted that the keys retained by the large hook at its one end are subject to being lost when the sleeve is manipulated to insert or remove a key from the smaller hook at its opposite end.
The key retainer of the present invention, however, on the other hand, comprises generally a loop of resilient material having only one transverse discontinuity provided by substantially facing adjacent ends thereof. This loop normally is slidably disposed within a sleeve, in a fashion such that one end thereof forms a relatively large ring for holding several keys whose ready removal normally is not required, and the opposite end thereof forms a smaller ring for holding a key or keys whose ready removal is desired. For example, the keys on the larger ring may be household or business keys while the keys on the smaller ring may be car keys.
To place keys on the larger ring, the loop is removed from the sleeve, the keys threaded on to it, and the loop then is slidably extended through the sleeve until a first or a second locking position is engaged. In the first locking position, the keys on the larger ring are locked thereon, and the discontinuity in the loop is concealed, thereby preventing any additional key or keys being placed on or removed from the smaller ring.
To place or remove keys from the smaller ring, the loop is slidably extended further through the sleeve to the second locking position. In this latter position, the discontinuity in the loop is exposed, thereby permitting an additional key or keys to be threaded onto the smaller ring. In this position, the keys on the larger ring are maintained locked thereon and cannot be removed.
To lock the keys on the smallerring, the loop is slidably extended through the sleeve in the opposite direction to the first locking position. The discontinuity is again concealed by the sleeve, hence removal of the keys on the smaller ring is prevented, as is removal of the keys on the larger ring.
This construction of the key retainer is such that placement of a key or keys on the smaller ring and locking it thereon by slidably extending the loop through the sleeve to engage the first locking position effectively locks the key retainer so that it cannot come apart in the pocket or purse, spilling the keys. Furthermore, the key or keys on the smaller loop can be easily and readily removed, without fear of spilling the keys on the larger loop, since they are lockingly retained thereon by the sleeve and cannot be removed unless and until the loop is fully removed from the sleeve. Accidental removal of the loop is virtually impossible because of the two locking positions which are engaged during its removal.
Accordingly, it is an object of the presentinvention to provide new and improved key retainers which are effective to provide quick and easy insertion and removal of a key or keys.
It is another object to provide improved key retainers having a construction such that the key retainers can be effectively locked so that they cannot come apart in the pocket or purse, spilling the keys.
Other objects of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part appear hereinafter.
The invention accordingly comprises an article of manufacture possessing the features, properties, and the relation of elements which will be exemplified in the article hereinafter described, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a key retainer exemplary of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the resilient loop portion of the key retainer of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side plan view of the sleeve of the key retainer of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along lines 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a plan view generally illustrating the manner in which keys are threaded onto the loop portion of the key retainer;
FIG. 6 is a top plan view generally illustrating the key retainer with the loop thereof in a first locking position whereat keys on the larger ring portion thereof are effectively locked thereon;
FIG. 7 is a similar plan view of the key retainer, illustrating the loop engaged in the second locking position whereat the discontinuity in the loop is exposed permitting keys to be inserted or removed from the smaller ring portion thereof; and 7 FIG. 8 is a top plan view generally illustrating the manner in which keys are effectively locked on both the smaller and the larger ring portions thereof.
Similar reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
Referring now to the drawings, the key retainer comprises an elongated loop 11 of resilient material, preferably a chrome finished steel wire, which is frictionally and slidably retained within a tubular body or sleeve 12. The loop 11, as can be best seen in H6. 2, is generally rectangular-shaped and has a single discontinuity 14 at its one end, formed by the spaced adjacent ends 15 and 16 which are in substantially facing relationship. The end of the loop 11 having the discontinuity 14 in it preferably and advantageously is of a different shape than its opposite end so that this one end can be easily identified as the end in which the discontinuity 14 is provided. In other words, the different shape readily identifies or indicates the direction in which the loop 11 is slidably moved to insert or remove keys from the key retainer 10, as will be apparent from the description below. In the illustrated embodiment, this end of the loop 11 is generally triangular-shaped, however, however, it also could be almost any shape so long as the loop 11 functions in conjunction with the sleeve 12 in the manner described herein.
The sleeve 12 has a slot 23 extending through it, of substantially the same width as the loop 11. The sleeve 12 can be formed as an integral unit by, for example, molding it of plastic, however, preferably and advantageously, it is formed of two halves which are affixed together in suitable fashion, such as by adhesively affixing them together. A two-piece construction permits numerous different sleeves to be employed. For example, the two halves can be of different colors, or one half can be embellished with a name, a symbol or a legend of an advertising nature and easily affixed to another half of a selected color or design.
The opposite edges 21 and 22 of the slot 23 within the sleeve 12, as can be best seen in FIG. 4, each have a projection formed on them, substantially centrally between the ends of the sleeve and in opposed facing relationship; These projections 20 cooperate with the respective pairs of convolutions 24 and 25 formed in the longer sides 26 and 27 of the loop 11, to form a first and a second locking position for the loop 1 1 within the sleeve 12. The inherent resiliency of the loop 11 frictionally and snap-actingly engages the pairs of convolutions 24 and 25 with the projections 20, to thereby effectively lock the loop 11 in either the first or second locking positions.
The sleeve 12 is shorter in length than the loop 11, and the one end of the loop 11 forms in conjunction with the end of the sleeve 12 a relatively large ring 30 for holding several keys such as household or business keys whose ready removal is desired.
To place keys in the larger ring 30, the loop 11 is removed from the sleeve 12 and the keys threaded onto it through the discontinuity 14, as illustrated in FIG. 5. Thereafter, the loop 11 is slidably extended through the sleeve 12 until the first or the second locking position is engaged. In the first locking position, the keys on the larger ring 30 are effectively locked thereon since the loop 11 is lockingly retained in the sleeve 12 by the cooperative action of the projections 20 and the convolutions 24. in this position, it may be noted that the discontinuity 14 of the loop 11 is concealed so that keys cannot be placed on or removed from the smaller ring 31.
By slidably extending the loop 11 through the sleeve 12 until the second locking position is engaged, the
discontinuity 14 in the loop 11 is exposed so that a key or keys now can be threaded onto the smaller ring 31, In this position, it may be noted that the keys on the larger ring 30 still are lockingly retained thereon and cannot be removed.
After the key or keys have been threaded onto the smaller ring 31 they are effectively locked thereon by slidably extending the loop 11 through the sleeve 12 in the opposite direction until the first locking position again is engaged. in this position it may be noted that the discontinuity 14 is concealed by the sleeve 12, thereby preventing any keys from being removed from the smaller ring 31.
As indicated above, the key retainer 10 is effectively locked so that it cannot come apart in the pocket or purse, when there are keys on at least the smaller ring 31 and the loop 11 is in the first locking position. The
keys on the smaller ring 31 can be easily and readily removed, without fear of spilling the keys from the larger ring 30 since they are locked thereon by the sleeve 12 and cannot be removed unless and until the loop 11 is fully removed from the sleeve 12.
While the key retainer 10 has been described above with one pair of projections 20 provided on the side edges 21 and 22 of the slot 23 within the sleeve 12, and
with two cooperating pairs of convolutions 24 and 25 on the loop 11, the sleeve 12 may be provided with two pairs or two single projections or depressions adapted to mate with a single or pair of convolutions on the loop itself. Indeed, the loop 11 may well be retained within the sleeve 12 only with the discontinuity l4 concealed, requiring only one projection or depression and only one cooperating convolution provided on the loop 1 1.
It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained and certain changes may be made in the above article. Accordingly, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
What is claimed is:
1. A key retainer comprising, in combination: a sleeve having a slot therein, said slot having spacedapart, parallel side walls; and a loop of resilient material which is substantially rectangular-shaped having opposite longer sides which slidably and frictionally engage respective ones of said side walls of said slot, the opposite ends of said loop extending from said sleeve forming a first and a second ring, respectively, for receiving keys, the opposite free ends of said loop being in spaced-apart, facing relationship so as to form a discontinuity in said loop for permitting keys to be inserted onto said loop, said discontinuity being disposed in said loop such that it normally is concealed by said sleeve and such that said loop must be removed from said sleeve to remove keys from said first ring and keys on said second ring must be removed before said loop can be removed from said sleeve, said keys on said second ring being removable by slidably extending said loop through said sleeve to expose said discontinuity, cooperating locking means comprising at least one projection on said side wall of said slot which matingly engages a convolution in said opposite longer side of said loop, the resiliency of said loop releasably lockingly engaging said convolution and said projection to releasably lock said loop within said sleeve in at least one locking position, said discontinuity being concealed by said sleeve when said loop is releasably locked in said sleeve in said one locking position.
2. The key retainer of claim 1, wherein said slot in said sleeve has spaced-apart, parallel side walls and said loop of resilient material is substantially rectangularshaped having opposite longer sides which slidably and frictionally engage respective ones of said opposite side walls of said slot, cooperating locking means on both said opposite side walls of said slot and on both said opposite longer sides of said loop for releasably locking said loop within said sleeve in at least one locking position, said discontinuity being concealed by said sleeve when said loop is releasably locked in said sleeve in said one locking position.
3. The key retainer of claim 2 wherein said cooperating locking means comprise at least on projection on each of said opposite side walls of said slot which matingly engage a convolution in each of said opposite longer sides of said loop, the resiliency of said loop releasably lockingly engaging said convolutions and said projections to releasably lock said loop in said locking position.
4. The key retainer of claim 3, wherein each of said opposite longer sides of said loop has a pair of convolutions which matingly engage said projections in said opposite side walls of said slot to thereby define a first and a second locking position for said loop within said sleeve, said discontinuity being respectively concealed by said sleeve and exposed when said loop is releasably locked in said first and second locking positions.