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Publication numberUS3717840 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 20, 1973
Filing dateFeb 3, 1971
Priority dateFeb 3, 1971
Publication numberUS 3717840 A, US 3717840A, US-A-3717840, US3717840 A, US3717840A
InventorsGraeme Noel B, Vaughan W
Original AssigneeInc Nv
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electrical circuit connection
US 3717840 A
Abstract
This disclosure is directed to an elastic circuit connector comprising a plurality of stacked alternately spaced conducting and non-conducting elements to define a terminal block interposed between complementary housing members. The conducting elements of the terminal block are formed with a flange portion having blanked therefrom a locking tongue to form a screwless electrical connection between a conducting wire and an electrical element. The arrangement is such that the connecting wires of like circuits are co-plannarily connected. The complementary housing member includes an opening formed therein to frictionally secure the enclosing sheath of a conducting wire or the like in the assembled position.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1 Vaughan et a1.

11 3,717,840 51 Feb. 20, 1973 [S4] ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT CONNECTION [75] inventors: William Lee Vaughan, Concord; Basil Graeme-Noel, Wellesley, both .of Mass.

[73] Assignee: N.V. Inc., Concord, Mass.

[22] Filed: Feb. 3,1971

[21] Appl. No.: 112,324

[52] US. Cl. ..339/198 R, 339/19, 339/95 D, 339/207 [51] Int. Cl. .1101! 9/00 [58] Field of Search ..339/198, 19, 36, 39, 95 D, 1 339/207, 208, 210; 174/59 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,373,398 3/1968 Kolinskie ..339/198 3,146,050 8/1964 Kozien et a1. ...339/198 R 3,005,180 10/1961 Dreher 339/198 R 3,189,866 6/1965 Lazar et a1. 339/198 P 2,884,613 4/1959 Chandler et al. 339/198 H 3,602,871 8/1971 Primary Examiner-Robert L. Wolfe Assistant Examiner-Robert A. Hafer Attorney-Philip G. Hilbert [57] ABSTRACT This disclosure is directed to an elastic circuit connector comprising a plurality of stacked alternately spaced conducting and non-conducting elements to define a terminal block interposed between complementary housing members. The conducting elements of the terminal block are formed with a flange portion having blanked therefrom a locking tongue to form a screwless electrical connection between a conducting wire and an electrical element. The arrangement is such that the connecting wires of like circuits are coplannarily connected. The complementary housing member includes an opening formed therein to frictionally secure the enclosing sheath of a conducting wire or the like in the assembled position.

It is also contemplated that the housing may include an outlet in the nature of a plug socket or toggle switch having contacts complementing a quick connect control formed integral to the conducting element of the terminal block.

' 18 Claims, 16 Drawing Figures v PATENTEU reazomm snail 20F 4 PAINTED-P58201975 3;717.e40

. suenuora I ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT CONNECTION PROBLEMS AND PRIOR ART l-Ieretofore junction boxes, terminal boxes and the like for making electrical connections generally in current use comprise a metallic box having a plurality of openings through which the end of a connecting wire or cable is inserted. Because most wires used in wiring house circuits and the like are encased in either a rigid or non-rigid sheathing, a connector, ferrule or clamp was generally employed to firmly secure the cable or wire sheathing to the terminal box to resist any pulling force being exerted on the cable or wire. With the cable or sheathing thus secured the stripped ends of the individual wires were then electrically connected by twisting the wire ends together as required to make a given circuitand securing the ends so joined by solderless connector. Electrical connections so made, even by experienced electricians, required considerable time because of the various manual operations required. For this reason the number of connections which a given electrician can make in a given period of time is limited. As a result of the high labor cost of electrical technicians, the cost and expense in wiring circuits in many instances can reach prohibitive limits.

In the event an incorrect installation is made when such metallic terminal boxes are used which causes the conductor wire to make contact with the box, a highly dangerous problem of shorting, overheating and/or fire may result. Because such terminal boxes are generally hidden in the wall of a structure, such faulty installation can not be readily detected until the damage has been done.

Another problem which can result with metallic boxes occurs when an aged insulation on a conductor cracks or.frays. When this occurs the metal box can heat up causing fire and/or electrical shocks or shorts. Also the use of metal boxes as a junction or terminal box presents a hazard to installers and/or electricians in the event power to the wire connected therein is not cut off.

OBJECTS An object of this invention resides in the provision of a terminal or junction. box constructed so that the stripped ends of a conducting wire can be simply inserted into an opening formed therein to form an electrical connection which is frictionally retained therein.

Another object resides in the provision of a junction box constructed of stacked alternately spaced conducting and non-conducting elements in which wires of like circuits are connected in a common plane to the respective conducting element.

Another object resides in the provision of a junction box or the like having a plurality of spaced apart electrically insulated conducting members constructed to frictionally secure and lock a plurality of conducting wires in electrical circuit.

Another object is to provide the maximum safety possible from electrical shock or fire during and after installation by electrically isolating all conductors by the use of non-conducting and non-burning materials.

Another object is the prevention of frayed conductor insulation or frayed cable insulation causing conductors to short out.

Another object is to provide an electrical receptacle or switch box in which the receptacle or switch is readily connected in contact to the connecting wires in a relatively simple and expedient manner.

Another object is to provide a junction box, switch box or outlet box with a terminal block in which the conducting wires and/or an electrical receptacle switch or appliance can be readily secured or connected in electrical circuit in a simple and expedient manner.

Another object of this invention resides in the provision of an electrical terminal block having improved friction locking tongues for locking conductor wires in electrical circuit.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The foregoing objects and other features and advantages are attained by a junction box or terminal box comprising of a plurality of alternately spaced conducting and non-conducting elements in the form of plates stacked one on the other to form a terminal block. Spaced about the sides of the block thus formed are openings for receiving the stripped ends of a conducting wire. Disposed in alignment with the openings are flange portions of the conducting elements in which a locking tongue is blanked out of the plane thereof and which cooperate with an adjacent edge portion to frictionally grip and lock the stripped wire conductors in electrical circuit with any other conductor similarlyv connected to a common conducting element. Thus electrical coupling of a plurality of electrical conductors is attained simply by inserting the stripped ends of a wire through an opening formed in the block. The opening for receiving and locking the respective wires of a particular cable are spaced so that wires of like circuits are connected to a co-plannar conducting element.

The terminal box is arranged to be disposed within a housing comprising a base member and a complementary cover member which are formed so as to define an opening for receiving the sheath in which conducting wires are encased. The arrangement is such that in the operative position the housing members co-act to frictionally secure the sheath of a wire cable therebetween in a manner-to resist any force or pull thereon. The housing members are constructed so as to frictionally lock or secure either a rigid and/or non-rigid sheath.

In the event the terminal block described is to be used as a junction for receiving a receptacle, e.g., an outlet socket, switch and the like, the conducting elements andthe complementary contacts of the receptacle are formed with complementary interlocking contacts whereby the electric connection is made simply by a snap type connection between the corresponding contacts.

FEATURES A feature of this invention resides in the provision of a terminal block or junction comprising of a plurality of alternating conducting and non-conducting elements alternately stacked one on the other with openings formed therein for frictionally securing the ends of a stripped conducting wire in electrical contact.

Another feature resides in the construction of a terminal block disposed within complementary housing sections constructed to frictionally secure the encasing sheath of a wire conductor with the respective stripped ends of the individual wire conductors frictionally secured and locked in a screwless connection in an electrical circuit.

Another feature resides in theprovision of a terminal block formed of stacked electrically insulated conducting elements in which the respective wires of like circuits are electrically connected in a common plane to one of the stacked conducting members.

Another feature resides in a terminal block of insulated stacked conducting elements having contacts arranged to be frictionally coupled to complementary contacts of an electrical appliance, e.g., a switch or outlet receptacle.

Other features and advantages will become more readily apparent when considered in view of the drawings and the detail description thereof in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective exploded view of an electrical terminal blockand housing therefor embodying the present invention.

FIG. lA is an assembled perspective view of a terminal block embodying the invention.

FIG. 2 is an assembled cross-sectional view of the terminal block and housing construction of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an elevation view of a detail of construction of the locking tongue formed on the internal conducting elements of the block construction of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the locking tongue tion of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 illustrates a detail of construction illustrating the manner in which a wire conductor is frictionally secured to the conducting element of the terminal block.

FIG. 6 is a view similar to that of FIG. 5 illustrating COBSIZI'UC- Y the manner in which a pull on the wire conductor is resisted by the locking tongue.

FIG. 7 is a detailed sectional view illustrating the manner in'which the sheath of a wire cable or the like is disposed between the housing sections of a terminal block of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a detailed view similar to that of FIG. 7 illustrating the manner in which the sheathing of a wire conductor is secured between the complementary housing sections asthe housing sections are assembled.

FIG. 9 illustrates a modified form of the invention in which the housing sections of the terminal block construction are constructed to accommodate av rigid sheath conductor showing the parts in the inoperative position.

FIG. 10 is a view similar to that of FIG. 9 but illustrating the housing sections in the operative locking position on a rigid sheath conductor.

FIG. 10A is a detail of a rigid sheath locking washer as employed in the construction of FIGS. 9 and 10.

FIG. 11 illustrates a modified embodiment of the invention illustrating the manner in which an electrical receptacle is disposed in electrical connection with a terminal block embodying the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a schematic illustration illustrating how a switch member may be connected to a terminal block embodying the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a perspective detail of construction of a conducting element of the terminal block of FIGS. 11 or 12.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a detail of construction of the non-conducting element of the terminal block of FIGS. 11 or 12.

DETAILED SPECIFICATION Referring to the drawings, there is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 1A an electrical distribution center or terminal block construction 20and housing 21 therefor embodying the present invention. As best seen in FIG. 1, the terminal block assembly comprises a base housing section 22 and a complementary cover section 29 which, in the assembled position, are adapted to mate with one on the other, for securing therebetween the terminal block 20. As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 2 the base housing member 22 has a bottom wall 22A which has formed along the circumferential marginal portion thereofat spaced intervals a means 23 for locating or receiving the sheath portion 24 of a conducting cable 25. The means 23 for receiving or locating the sheath portion 24 of a conducting cable 25, as viewed in FIG. 1 comprises an arcuate formed seat 23A in which a gripping means in the form of gripping teeth 26 are formed integral with the bottom portion of the seat. The corner portions of the base section or member 22 are provided with bosses 27 having an opening 28 formed therein for receiving a fastenerby which it can be supported on a wall or stand for vertical or horizontal mounting. Intermediate the respective side walls the base 22'is provided with openings 31A for receiving fasteners 32. In the illustrated form of the invention the base member 22 is provided with six seats 23A by I which six conducting cables 25 may be connected in circuit with one another as will be hereinafter described. However, it will be understood that a housing and terminal block embodying the invention may be found with more or less than six cable seats 23A for receiving cables which may be connected in circuit, if desired. 4

The cover member 29 of the housing 21 comprises a substantially rectangular member having a top wall receiving therein a fastener, as for example a screw or bolt 32, by which the housing members 22 and 29 may be secured in assembled position as seen in FIG. 2.

In the assembled position of the housing 21, as seen in FIGS. 7 and 8, the sheath portion 24 enclosing the wire conductors 24A is frictionally secured between the complementary housing members 22 and 29 whereby the clamping force effected by the complementary cable seats 23, 26 and 30 formed in the sides of the housing members 22, 29 cooperate to clamp and frictionally secure the sheath 24 of a wire cable 25 therebetween so as to resist any pulling force applied to the cable.

As best seen in FIGS. 1, 1A and 2, the terminal block construction enclosed between the complementary housing sections 22 and 29 comprises a plurality of alternately stacked electrical conducting elements 33, 34 and 35 and non-conducting elements 36, 37 and 38. In the illustrated form of the invention, the three electric conducting elements 33, 34 and 35, which are substantially similar are alternately stacked between the nonconducting members 36, 37 and 38. The respective conducting members 33, 34 and 35 comprise a metallic plate formed of suitable electrical conducting material, as for example, copper. The conducting elements 33, 34 and 35 are substantially rectangular formed with a circumscribing depending flange 33A, 34A and 35A. In the illustrated form of the invention the central portion of each conducting member 33, 34, 35 may be blanked out to conserve material. The depending flange portions have blanked out of the plane thereof, one or more locking tongues 39. As best seen in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, the locking tongue 39 of each element 33, 34, 35 is arranged to be hingedly connected along a hinge line 39A so as to be integrally formed as part of the depending flange with the free end 398 of the tongue 39 being slightly tapered so as to terminate in an arcuate or notched edged portion 40. The complementary adjacent edge 40A of the flange is also provided with a notched out arcuate cut-out, as indicated at 40A, whereby the notched-out portion of the tongue and flange are arranged to accommodate and frictionally grip therebetween the stripped end 24A of a conducting wire 24.

In the illustrated form of the invention it is to be noted that two such locking tongues 39 are blanked out of one-pair of opposed side portions of the conducting member, and one locking tongue 39 is blanked out of the other opposed pair of sides.

The first or lowermost conducting member 33 of the series of conducting members is arranged so as to be seated over a raised portion or table surface 42 located centrally on the bottom wall 22A of the base housing member 22. AS shown, the raised portion or table surface 42 of the base housing member 22 is integral with the base member and is formed of a suitable dielectric material, as for example, a non-conducting plastic, rubber, Bakelite and the like. The raised or table portion 42 is dimensioned so that the lowermost conducting member 33 may be snuggly fitted thereover. As best seen in FIG. 1 the raised or table portion 42 of the base member 22 is provided with a series of notched-out portions 42A which are arranged in alignment with an associated locking tongue 39 of the resistor or conducting member 33. As noted, the notched-out portions 42A are defined as an angle having one vertical wall 428 and its other wall inclined thereto to define an apex of an acute angle of 30 to 45 degrees. The arrangement is such that the vertical wall 42B of the angled notch 42 is disposed substantially normal to the adjacent edge 40A defined opposite the free end 39B of the associated locking tongue. Thus the edge 42C of the raised portion 42 parallel to the flange 33A of the resistor element seated thereon provides a stop or abuttment which prohibits the flexing of the vertical edge portion 40A which defines with the free end of the locking tongue 39, a wire receiving opening. As will be hereinafter described, the arrangement is such that the edge 40A and the free end 39 of the tongue 39 cooperate to frictionally lock and secure therebetween the stripped end of a wire in electrical connection with the associated conducting element.

Superimposed over the lowermost conducting element 33 is non-conducting member 36. Member 36 is in the form of a rectangular member having a depending flange 36A which, in the assembled position, is adapted to snuggly overly or embrace the depending flanges 33A of conducting member 33. The non-conducting member 36 is formed so that its depending flanges 36A are provided with one or more cut-outs or notches 44 to define an opening. In the assembled position the openings 44 are arranged to be disposed in alignment with the wire opening defined between the free end 39B of the locking tongue 39 and adjacent edge 40A opposite thereto.

The upper surface 368 of non-conducting element 36 is provided with a raised portion having circumferentially spaced thereabout angled notches 45 similar to those formed on the raised portion 42 of the base 22. Preferably the notches 45 formed in non-conducting element 36 are positioned so as to be slightly staggered with respect to the notches 42A formed on the bottom wall 22A of the base member 22. However, if desired the respective notches formed in the raised portions of the non-conducting members may be disposed in vertical alignment.

Superimposed on non-conducting element 36 is a second conducting element 34. Element 34 is substantially similar to element 33, except that the locking tongues 39 of element 34 are blanked so as to be slightly staggered relative to the locking tongues 39 of the lowermost member 33.

For a three wire junction box connector, another non-conducting element 37, similar to that of element 36, is fitted onto the second conducting member 34. Element 37 is also provided with raised portions 37A adapted to receive a third conducting member 35.

In a three wire circuit junction box or terminal 20 the middle conducting member 34 can be made the ground, with the upper and lower conducting members 33 and 35 being available to connect to current carrying conductors to one another electrically.

In the assembled position, the terminal block 20 is contained between the base and cover housing members 22, 29 as seen in FIG. 2. Also the cover members 22 and 29 frictionally maintain the sheath 25 of a wire conductor clamped therebetween. The respective stripped ends of the individual wires 24A of the cable 25 are frictionally connected or coupled in an electrical circuit simply by inserting the stripped end 24A of an secure the wire in position between the free end of tongue 39 and the adjacent edge portion 40A of the element to resist any tendency of the wire being pulled free.

With the junction box thus described it will be apparent that all wires of like circuit are electrically connected to a common co-plannar conducting member. Thus every wire connected to the bottom element 33 of the stacked conductor elements will be electrically connected or coupled together. Likewise all conductors connected to the middle element 34 will be grounded, if this element is made ground, to all other wires connecting thereto. Those conductors or wires connecting to the top member 35 will likewise be connected to like circuits.

If separate circuits are desired, it will be understood that the respective stacked conducting members may be modified, as seen in FIG. 15, with electrical insulat ing segments or portions 47 to electrically insulate one section 48A of an element 48 from another portion 483 so that connecting wires connected to portions 48A, 48B of element 48 may be in different circuits. With the element constructed as viewed in FIG. 15, wires connected to portion 48A are electrically connected in like circuits whereas wires connected to the other portion 48B of the conducting member 48 are connected into adifferent circuit. Thus with the construction described it will, be understood that various circuit combinations may be afforded by varying the arrangement and construction of the respective conducting members such as 33, 34, 35 in a manner herein described. It will be understood that the insulating portion 47 of the modified element 48 may be air, e.g., by merely effecting an air space or gap between portions 48A, 488, or any other dielectric material integrally mated with portion 48A, 483, or any other dielectric material integrally mated with portion 48A, 488.

With the terminal box described it will be noted that wires 24A can be readily joined into electrical circuit with one another simply by inserting stripped ends of I the wires in the appropriate wire openings 44, 37C, or 38A formed in the juncture box whereby like wires of like circuits are co-plannarlyconnected to a given common conducting element. Also the construction of the housing 21 encasing the terminal block 20, is such that the sheath 24 of a cable 25 is firmly secured in position.

FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate a modified housing construction 50 which is particularly adapted for securing or clamping therebetween cable or wire 51 having a rigid sheath 52, as for example, a BX cable or metallic encased wires, as in a pipe. In this form of the invention the complementary flange portions 53A, 54A of the base and cover housing members 53 and 54 respectively, adjacent the opening 55 defined thereby for receiving the cable sheath 52 are provided with an arcuate groove or notch 56 for receiving or seating a washer 57 through which a cable sheath 55 is inserted. The washer may be slightly bowed or flexed, as seen in FIG. 9, and the outer diameter of the washer 57, as best seen in FIGS. 9 and 10, is such that it is slightly greater than the diameter D of the notch 56 in the assembled posi tion as seen in FIG. 10. The washer 57 is also made of a resilient or readily flexing material which is free to flex when the respective housing sections 53, 54 are drawn together to assembled position as viewed in FIG. 10. The arrangement is such that when the respective housing sections 53, 54 of the modified embodiment, as seen in FIGS. 9 and 10, are drawn together, the washer 57 will be flexed causing the inner circumference thereof to grip or bind the rigid sheath 52, of the cable between opposed portions of the inner circumference to impart a clamping or securing force to the end of the rigid sheath cable. Thus the arrangement, as seen in FIG. 10, is such that the flexed washer 57, when compressed between the respective complementary housing member 53, 54 is such that it will tend to resist a pull on the sheath tending to separate it from the housing 50. The terminal block construction (not shown) disposed within the housing 50 of the modified embodiment of FIGS. 9 and 10 is similar to that described with respect to FIGS. 1 and 1A, and therefore need not be further described.

' FIG. 11 illustrates another modified embodiment 60 of the invention wherein the terminal block 61 is constructed and arranged so that an electrical appliance, as for example, a receptacle outlet 62, or switch means 63, may be quickly andeasily attached to the contacts of the junction block 61 by a screwless connection. As shown in FIG. 11 the housing 64 for the terminal block 60 comprises a bottom member 64A which is similar to the bottom member hereinbefore described with respect to FIG. 1. The cover member 64B of the housing 64 is similar to that described with respect to FIG.

l, with the exception that the central portion of the housing is provided with a cut-out 65 sized to receive a receptacle or switch housing 62A or 63A.

The terminal block construction 60 of FIG. 11 is similar to that described with respect to FIG. 1 with the exception that those conducting members, e.g., 67 and 68 or 67A, which are utilized to conduct the circuit to the contacts 69, of the connected receptacle outlet 62 or switch 63 are provided with integrally formed spring leaf contacts 71 or 71A which-are bent out of the respective planes of members 67 or 68 as seen in FIGS. 11 and 13. The respective leaf contacts 71, 71A are each provided with a reversely bent or hook-shaped end portion 72 on the free end thereof.

The electrical contacts 69 and 70 of the receptacle 62 or switch 63 are likewise provided with a depending spring finger having a reversely bent complementary hook end portion 69A, 70A adapted to mate or hook up with the hook ends 72, 72 of the conducting plate leaf contacts 71, 71A. As best seen in FIGS. 11 and 12, electrical contact between the contacts 69 and 70 of the receptacle 62 or switch 63, and the leaf contacts 71, 71A of the respective conducting member is effected simply by interhooking the hook ends thereof. With this construction it will be noted that a screwlcss connection is thus formed between the contacts 69, 70 of the outlet 62 or switch 63 and the leaf contact 71,

71A of the appropriate conducting members carrying the circuit thereto.

FIG. 13 illustrates a perspective detail of a conducting element 67 adapted for use as a terminal block adapted for use for connection with a receptacle outlet 62 or switch 63. The respective contacting members may be provided with the appropriate appliance, as for example a plug or switch to complete the required circuit. With the construction of FIGS. 11 and 12, the non-conducting member of the terminal block 60, e.g., member 73, is provided with a central cut-out portion 73A to provide an opening through which the leaf contacts 71, or 71A of the subjacent conducting element may extend.

In all other respects the construction of the modified junction assembly of FIGS. 11 and 12 is similar to that described with respect to FIGS. 1 and 1A.

FIG. 12 illustrates a schematic view similar to that of FIG. 11 but modified to illustrate a switch means 63 connected in circuit instead of anoutlet receptacle 62. Otherwise the construction of the embodiment-of FIG. 12 is similar to that of FIG. 1 l.

From the foregoing it will be noted that the terminal block construction comprises a readily simple and inexpensive device in which one or more wires may be connected in circuit in a simple and expedient manner simply by inserting the stripped ends of a connected wire through the appropriate opening formed therein, whereby the wires of the like circuit are connected to a common conducting member with a screwless connection. With the construction described, all wires connected into a particular layer, or conducting member are connected in circuit with one another, unless the particular conducting member, e.g., member 48 is electrically segmented as described with respect to FIG. 15. The terminal blocks, as described, greatly facilitate and reduce the amount of time otherwise required to make electrical connections utilizing conventionally known junction boxes. Also it will be apparent that the various circuits which'can be wired by conventional means can be attained by the terminal blocks of the present invention by appropriate selection of the appropriate block necessary for a given, installation as herein described. The construction is such that when a terminal block, as described, is utilized within a housing construction as described, the arrangement is such that the cable enclosing the conducting wires is securely clamped between the complementary sections of the housing to resist any pulling force applied thereto. In addition, the individual wires connected in electrical circuit are likewise frictionally secured within the terminal box to further resist any force or pull exerted on the respective wires. In this manner a very positive holding force is'attained to resist any pull imparted on the wires connected incircuit.

The invention described is" directed to a junction and/or outlet construction or a combination thereof having a conductor pate and/or ground plate internally of the unit. The described construction is applicable for use with electrical-mechanical switches, electricalmechanical panels, sub-panels, fuse boxes, switchboards, connectors, coils, plugs, control boxes, brakes, clutches, junction boxes, terminal boxes, and in general to any wiring application of electrical conductors.-

While the present invention has been described with respect to particular embodiments thereof it will be readily understood that variations and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.

What is claimed Is:

I. A terminal block comprising:

a plurality of stacked alternately spaced layers of conducting and non-conducting elements whereby the latter electrically insulate the former from one another,

complementary means formed on the adjacent layers of said conducting and non-conducting elements for receiving and frictionally securing the ends of -a conducting wire in electrical connection with the conducting element so that wires of like circuit are co-plannarily electrically connected, and

means for securing said elements in their respective stacked positions,

where each conducting element includes a plate member having a connected circumscribing flange angularly disposed relative to the plane of said plate member,

and said complementary means including flexible locking tongue blanked out of a portion of said flange.

2. A terminal block comprising:

a plurality of stacked alternately spaced layers of conducting and non-conducting elements whereby the latter electrically insulate the former from one another,

complementary means formed on the adjacent layers of said conducting and non-conducting elements for receiving and frictionally securing the ends of a conducting wire in electrical connection with the conducting element so that wires of like circuit are co-plannarily electrically connected, and

means for securing said elements in their respective stacked positions, I

each of said conducting layers includes a flange portion,

and said complementary means includes a locking tongue blanked out of a portion of said flange whereby said tongue is hingedly connected and adapted to flex inwardly of said block for receiving the end of a wire conductor.

3. A terminal block as defined in claim 2 wherein said locking tongue has its free .end formed with a notched-out portion adapted to frictionally engage the end portion of a conducting wire, and the adjacent portion of said flange from whence said tongue has been blanked having a complementary notchedout portion whereby said notched end of said tongue'and'notched adjacent portion of said flange cooperate to frictionally secure a wire conductor therebetween.

4. A terminal block as described in claim 2 wherein said non-conducting element is formed in an opening therein for receiving the end of an electrical conducting wire,

5. A terminal block as defined in claim 4 wherein the location of the spacing defined between the locking tongue and adjacent end portions of the respective layers of said conducting elements and the complementary aligned opening formed in the non-conducting elements are staggered.

6. A terminal block as defined in claim 4 wherein said non-conducting element includes a complementary notch associated with the locking tongue of an adjacent conducting member to limit the insertion of a conducting wire into said block.

7. A terminal block as defined in claim 2 including at least two spaced apart layers of conducting elements.

8. A terminal block as defined in claim 2 including three spaced apart layers of conducting elements.

9. A terminal block as defined in claim 2 and including means for electrically insulating a portion of one of said conducting elements from another portion of the same element.

10. A terminal block as defined in claim 2 wherein each said conducting element is defined an an endless member having flanged portions.

11. A terminal block as defined in claim 2 wherein each said conducting element includes a connector tab means blanked out of said element, and

an outlet means having complementary connecting tab contact means adapted to make electrical contact with said connector tab means.

12. The invention as defined in claim 11 wherein said outlet comprises a plug outlet.

13. The invention as defined in claim 12 wherein said outlet comprises a switch outlet.

14.'The invention as defined in claim 2 and including a housing for encasing said terminal block,

said housing including a cover member and a complementary base member,

said cover member and base member having complementary portions defining an opening for receiving ,a sheathed cable or circuit conducting wires, sheath securing means operatively associated with said defined opening to securely grip the sheath of said cable therebetween in the assembled position, and means for securing said housing members in the assembled position. v 15. The invention as defined in claim 14 wherein said sheath securing means includes integrally formed grip- 16. The invention as defined in claim 14 wherein said sheath securing means includes:

means defining complementary aligned recessed portions formed in said housing members adjacent the opening defined therein,

a resilient washer adapted to receive the sheathed cable deposed between the aligned recessed portion of said housing member,

said washer having a diameter slightly greater than the width of said recessed portion in the assembled position of said housing member whereby the compression imparted to said washer in the. assembled position of said housing members permits a flexing of said washer that results in frictionally securing the sheathed cable between said housing members.

17. An electrical circuit connector comprising:. a

housing including a base member and a complementary cover member,

said base member and cover member having complementary portions defining an opening for receiving a cable comprising ofa plurality of circuit defining wires,

means operatively associated with said defined openings to lock said cable between said members in the assembled positions thereof,

means defining a terminal block interposed between saidbase member and cover member,

said block including a plurality of conducting layers,

and a non-conducting layer interposed between adjacent conducting layers wherein said conducting planes are disposed in spaced apart planes,

means formed in each of said conducting layers for frictionally locking the ends of a conducting wire in electrical contact therewith so that wires of like circuits are co-plannarily connected,

and means for securing said .housing members together for encasing said laminated block therebetween.

18. The invention as defined in claim 17 wherein said cover member is provided with a cut-out opening,

and an outlet adapted to be received within said cutout opening,

and complementary contacts connecting conducting layers of said terminal block to said outlet,

and said complementary contacts'having quick con-' necting coupling means for making electrical contact therebetween.

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Referenced by
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US3774145 *Oct 19, 1972Nov 20, 1973Ass Motion Picture Tele Prod IStudio junction box
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US5756972 *Oct 25, 1994May 26, 1998Raychem CorporationHinged connector for heating cables of various sizes
EP0634812A1 *Jun 29, 1994Jan 18, 1995Molex IncorporatedWire connecting apparatus and terminal therefor
WO1998044611A1 *Apr 23, 1997Oct 8, 1998Elettroplus SrlMultiphase and multidirectional terminal box for connecting electric lines generally, especially for connecting pull boxes
Classifications
U.S. Classification439/466, 439/787, 439/438, 439/535, 439/658, 439/620.25, 439/714
International ClassificationH01R9/00, H01R4/48
Cooperative ClassificationH01R9/00, H01R4/4818
European ClassificationH01R9/00, H01R4/48B2