US 3782654 A
An article of manufacture for storage of electric power cords and the like and for removal of excess slack therein for safety and aesthetic purposes consisting of a semi-rigid plastic housing having a winding shaft releasably secured therein with a plate retained by the shaft, dividing the housing into upper and lower sections, the electric cord adapted to be passed through the housing and to be wound about the shaft in adjacent coils of concentric turns. Another embodiment of the invention is in a single coil layer form with slightly greater dimensions to accommodate substantially the same length of wire slack.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Kasa 1 Jan. 1, 1974  POWER CORD SLACK TAKEUP REEL FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1 lnventorl Joseph K85, 3615 Rocky River DP, 127,608 4/1948 Australia 242/1001 Cleveland, Ohio 441 1 l  Filed: Sept 1 971 Primary Examiner-George F. Marutz Assistant Examiner-John M. Jillicms  PP NOJ 1791855 Attorney-Oberlin, Maky, Renner & Otto [52 U.S. c1. 242/100.1, 191/122 R ABSTRACT Int. An article of manufacture for torage of electric  Field Of Search 242/l00.l, l07.l, power ords and the like and for removal of excess R slack therein for safety and aesthetic purposes consisting of a semi-rigid plastic housing having a winding References Cited shaft releasably secured therein with a plate retained UNITED STATES PATENTS by the shaft, dividing the housing into upper and lower 1,199.790 10/1916 Holcomb 242/60 Sections, the electric cord adapted to be Passed 1 1g 3 6/1916 Repoglcnm 2 00 through the housing and to be wound about the shaft 2,635,828 4/1953 Lacy 242/100 in adjacent coils of concentric turns. Another embodi- 2,865,071 12/1958 Clemens 242/100.l ment of the invention is in a single coil layer form with 2,952420 9/!960 242/100-1 slightly greater dimensions to accommodate substan- 2,956,758 lO/l960 Pleiss 242/1001 tially h Same length of i Slack 3,203,l21 9/l965 Price .1 242/lOO.l X 3,587,991 6/1971 Stark t. 242/55.16 7 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTED 1 4 INVENTOR. JOSEPH X4 54 WMQWM WW ATTORNEYS 1 POWER CORD SLACK TAKEUP REEL This invention relates to reels, wire winding devices and the like and more particularly to a very simplified low cost article of manufacture suitable for removal of slack in the power cords of conventional appliances and extension cords, preventing dangling wires and the like and promoting a more aesthetic appearance.
Many different forms of cord storage and winding devices are known in the prior art, most being suited for industrial applications with little consideration given to devices of this type which are suitable for domestic use primarily for obviating the inconvenience of dangling wire cords and the like. One form of such apparatus has been noted consisting of a two piece structure with relatively rotatable upper and lower housing sections, formed of rigid bakelite or the like and which may be utilized with extension cords or the power cords for lamps or other household appliances. Little consideration however has been given to the attractiveness of such device nor to the convenience of operation of same, requiring that the housing members be completely separated so that the power cord can be inserted therein, requiring the maneuvering of the components into proper location for reassembly of the device. Such item is bulky, relatively heavy and formed of rigid material subject to fracture when stepped upon for example, presenting almost as much interference and distraction as the dangling cords which it has replaced.
lt is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide a new form of cord reel apparatus which is especially suited to domestic utilization in being lightweight, readily applicable to existing power cords and the like and attractive in appearance.
lt is another object of this invention to provide improved cord reel apparatus which consists ofa two part structure of relatively inexpensive components, suitable for mass manufacture at low cost and which in use accommodates a great length of cord slack without introducing an additional hazard in use.
It is a still further object of this invention to provide improved cord reel apparatus which is more convenient to use than known devices of this type requiring only a partial disassembly of same for insertion of a power cord and the like and in which the components are readily in view for easy reassembly of same.
To the accomplishment of the foregoing and related ends, the invention, then, comprises the features hereinafter fully described, the following description and the annexed drawings setting forth in detail certain illustrative embodiments of the invention, these being indicative, however, of but a few of the various ways in which the principles of the invention may be employed.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a first embodiment of the invention shown in association with a section of a power cord;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the first embodiment of the invention taken along the lines 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view taken along the lines 33 of HG. 2 showing the coils of the power cord about the winding shaft;
HO. 4 is a sectional top view of a second embodiment of the invention showing the divider plate and the threading of a power cord therethrough; and
FIG. 5 is a sectional side view of the second embodiment of the invention taken generally through the center of the structure.
Referring now to FIGS. 1-3 there is shown a first embodiment of the invention consisting of the cord reel 10 shown in association with a power cord 11 which might be the conventional zip cord usecl for extension cords or for appliance power cords having a male plug 12 attached at one end 14 and an outlet receptacle (not shown) at the other end 15, the latter alternatively leading to a utilization device such as a household lamp and the like. While the plastic covered zip cord type of power cord 11 is indicated in the drawings it will be apparent that the apparatus of the invention is suited to practically any type of electric power cord and in fact to wire, rope and the like which are sufficiently flexible to be wound about a shaft for takeup or pay-out purposes.
The housing l6comprises a length of semi-rigid plastic conduit of generally rectangular cross-section having an upper wall 18 and the lower wall 19 and a pair of side walls 20, 21 the latter being, of a dimension only slightly greater than the width of the power cord 11 to be accommodated. The housing 16 is preferably made of polyethylene being sufficiently rigid to maintain its shape but being flexible enough so that when deformed the passage therethrough may be sufficiently wide to accommodate the passage of the male plug 12 of the power cord and/or the outlet portion thereof. This type of conduit is commercially available in extended lengths and need only be selected for appropriate dimensions and cut to a proper length, preferably being only slightly longer than wide as the coils of the power cord 11 therein will assume substantially circular configuration.
Circular apertures 22, 23 are formed in the upper and lower walls 18, 19, one above the other, for receipt of the winding means 24 of the apparatus, such winding means 24 consisting of a shaft 25 with a knob 26 thereon, the latter being shaped for grasping and turning to wind the power cord 11 into the housing 16. The shaft 25 and knob 26 are preferably formed of rigid acrylic plastic in a one piece configuration, the shaft 25 being long enough to extend through the upper and lower walls l8, 19 of the housing, serving both to retain the desired configuration of the housing 16 and to form an arbor for winding of the power cord 11.
The shaft 25 further includes upper and lower annulus grooves 28, 29 adjacent either end to seat the upper and lower walls 18, 19 respectively to allow rotation of the shaft 25 and to maintain separation of the walls 18, 19 of the housing. The remainder of the shaft 25 therefore is of slightly greater diameter than that of the circular apertures 22, 23 in the upper and lower walls l8, 19. The housing 16 is preferably of thin wall construction so as to be readily deformed in order to be slipped out of or into the annular grooves 28, 29 for insertion or removal of the power cord 11 from the cord reel 10. The lower surface 30 of the knob 26, which is preferably circular, is contiguous with the upper annular groove 28 of the shaft 25 serving to engage the upper wall 18 of the housing.
A diametrically extending slot 31 is included in the shaft 25 having an open lower end and extending ap proximately to the upper annular groove 28 being of a sufficient width to readily receive various sizes of power cords therein while not substantially affecting the strength of the shaft. As noted previously the dimension of the side walls 20, 21 of the housing 16 is such as to restrict the turns of the power cord 11 about the shaft 25 into a concentric coil, the upper and lower walls 18, 19 of the housing serving as guide means for such purpose.
Thus in operation of the cord reel the bottom wall 19 of the housing 16 may be disengaged from the lower annulus groove 29 by pressing inwardly on the side walls 20, 21 of the housing and deforming the aperture 23 in the lower side wall 19 to allow the latter to be slipped over the lower portion of the shaft 25 whereby the housing may be further deformed to provide a relatively large passage therethrough for threading of the power cord plug 12 and the like. For most purposes the cord reel 10 is slipped over the power cord 11 associated therewith to approximately the central portion of the latter or to any point therealong at which the slack is desired to be removed. The power cord 11 is then merely placed into the slot 31 within the shaft 25 and the lower wall 19 of the housing depressed over the bottom end of the shaft to reengage with the lower annular groove 29, to be retained thereby, assuming the general shape depicted in FIGS. 1-3. While holding the housing 16 stationary the knob 26 may be rotated manually so as to wind the power cord 11 about the shaft 25 in a concentric coil as depicted in FIG. 3 with the oppositely extending lengths of the power cord 11 interleaved with one another, the ends 14, of the power cord preferably extending in opposite directions as depicted in FIG. 1. In this manner then, the power cord 11 may be wound within the housing 16 until the full capacity is attained, that is when the side walls 20, 21 engage the power cord and restrict the further winding of same, a housing 16 of only several inches in width between side walls 20, 21 providing sufficient capacity for taking up a full extension cord and easily the usual amount of slack encountered with conventional appliances.
It will be clear also that the pay-out of the power cord 11 from such coiled condition may be readily accomplished by means of this cord reel 10 merely by relatively extending the two ends 14, 15 of the power cord either by manually grasping both and pulling away from the housing 16 or by fixing one end of the power cord and pulling on the other. In either event engagement of the side walls 20, 21 of the housing 16 with the power cord 11 will prevent rotation of the housing but will allow a rotation of the shaft and thus an unwinding of the power cord therefrom. Preferably the seating of the upper and lower walls 18, 19 of the housing in the upper and lower annular grooves 28, 29 is of a sufficiently tight friction fit so as to prevent inadvertent or undesired uncoiling of the power cord.
Referring now to FIGS. 4 and 5, the second embodiment of the cord reel 34 is depicted in which a housing 35 of slightly smaller dimensions than the first embodiment is utilized to accommodate substantially the same length of slack of power cord 33 by means ofa side-byside disposition of concentric coils 36, 37 of the power cord. In this embodiment of the invention the side walls 38, 39 of the housing are of relatively greater dimension to accommodate the two coils 36, 37 of power cord together with a divider plate 40 which separates the housing 35 into upper and lower sections. A similar shaft 41 and knob 42 arrangement is employed as in the first embodiment of the invention, the shaft 41 again being long enough to extend through the upper and lower walls of the housing 35 for retaining the shape of same and for winding of the coils 36, 37 of the power cord thereon.
The divider plate 40 as seen most clearly in FIG. 4 is a circular plate of semi-rigid plastic material dimensioned to fit loosely within the housing 35. The divider plate 40 includes a central aperture 44 therein, the diameter of the aperture being only slightly greater than the diameter of the shaft 41 so as to be readily slipped thereover but to be retained in place thereby with little or no movement. The divider plate 40 further includes a slit 45 extending radially from the aperture 44 to the edge of the plate allowing the latter to be flexed into a spiral configuration for insertion of the power cord or for passage of a plug or the like. Within the housing 35, however, the divider plate 40 assumes and retains a flat configuration.
Thus it may be seen that the power cord 33 is threaded through the upper section of the housing 35, into the slot 46 in the shaft 41 and the aperture 44 in the divider plate 40 downwardly into the lower section of the housing 35, emanating therefrom as indicated in phantom lines in FIG. 4. Such threading of the power cord 33 is most expeditiously performed by dismantling the reel by slipping the lower wall 48 of the housing 35 over the bottom end of the shaft 41 followed by sliding the divider plate 40 over the lower portion of the shaft 41 and subsequent removal from the housing 35. The power cord 33 may then be inserted through the aperture 44 in the divider plate via the slit 45 and simultaneously through the passage of the housing 35 to the desired point along the cord at which the slack is to be removed, the divider plate 40 and the power cord 33 therewith then reinserted within the housing and slipped over the shaft 41 allowing the power cord to pass through the slot 46 therein. The lower wall 48 of the housing is then simply popped back into place in the lower annular groove 49 of the shaft 41 although the cord reel assembly may still then be slipped along the power cord.
Turning of the winding knob 42 while holding the housing 35 stationary then causes the power cord 33 to be wound into two adjacent concentric coils 36, 37, the left-hand end of the power cord 33 as viewed in FIG. 4 forming the upper coil 36 and the right-hand end forming the lower coil 37 with the divider plate 40 therebetween and the upper and lower walls of the housing 35 guiding the power cord. Pay-out of the power cord 33 is accomplished in a similar manner as the first embodiment merely by pulling apart the ends of the cord, the side walls 38, 39 of the housing 35 preventing rotation of the latter.
It will be clear that all of the components of either of the cord reels 10, 34 are easily in view and the partial disassembly and reassembly of same can be readily performed with a highly simplified threading procedure. Similarly, it will be appreciated that with the many colors available in the plastics art the housings 16, 40 may be selected to be compatible with various interior designs of domestic dwellings and may in fact be translucent to allow some view of the interior of the housings 16, 40 for appreciation of the length of power cord available for different applications. Various configurations of the winding knobs 26, 42 are also possible depending on the aesthetic effect desired.
if desired a rectangular divider plate may be employed in place of the circular plate 40, in this arrangement preferably including an angled slit therein rather than the radially oriented slit 45 of the circular plate. This has been found to present less interference with and abrading of the power cord 33 and it will be clear that rotation of the rectangular plate is prevented by abutment with the side walls of the housing.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. Apparatus for taking up slack in electric power cords and the like, comprising a housing in which the slack in the cord is to be wound, said housing comprising a one piece length of semi-rigid, flexible plastic conduit of generally rectangular cross-section having substantially parallel upper and lower walls separated by two opposed side walls, the space between said upper and lower walls being of a dimension only slightly greater than the width of the cord, each said upper and lower wall having a centrally located aperture therein, a shaft extending through said apertures and rotatably supported in said housing, said shaft having a larger diameter than said apertures except for a pair of spaced annular grooves therein that releasably engage said upper and lower walls at said apertures, said shaft having a slot therein for receipt of the power cord intermediate its length and within said housing, said plastic housing being capable of inwardly directed manual flexure to deform said upper and lower apertures whereby at least one of said upper and lower walls may be disengaged from said shaft and the dimension between the upper and lower walls increased to permit threading of the cord through said slot in said shaft and out of the housing with the disengaged wall then being reconnected to said shaft, and means for rotating said shaft to wind the threaded power cord thereabout, said upper and lower walls being operative dimensionally to guide said cord into a coil of concentric turns about said shaft.
2. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said rotating means comprises a knob rigidly attached at one end of said shaft, being disposed outside said housing and adapted to be grasped for manually turning said shaft.
3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2 wherein said knob and said shaft are an integral plastic member, said knob being contiguous with one of said annular grooves for retaining said upper housing wall.
4. Apparatus for taking up slack in electric power cords and the like, comprising a housing in which the slack in the cord is to be wound, said housing comprising a one piece length of semi-rigid, flexible plastic conduit of generally rectangular cross-section having substantially parallel upper and lower walls separated by two opposed side walls, each said upper and lower wall having a centrally located aperture therein, a divider plate disposed within said housing between said upper and lower walls to divide the housing into two sections, the space between said divider plate and each said upper and lower wall being of a dimension only slightly greater than the width of the cord, a shaft extending through said apertures and rotatably supported in said housing, said shaft having a larger diameter than said apertures, said shaft having a slot therein for receipt of the power cord intermediate its length in said housing, said housing being capable of inwardly directed manual flexure to deform said upper and lower apertures whereby at least one of said upper and lower walls may be disengaged from said shaft and the dimension between the upper and lower walls increased to permit threading of the cord sequentially from one section of said housing through said slot into said other section of said housing and out of the housing, with the disengaged wall then being reconnected to said shaft, and means for rotating said shaft to wind the power cord thereabout, said divider plate in conjunction with said upper and lower walls being operative dimensionally to guide said cord on winding into adjacent coils in said two sections of said housing.
5. Apparatus as set forth in claim 4 wherein said divider plate includes an aperture therein, said shaft projecting through said divider plate aperture for retaining said divider plate within said housing, the power cord adapted to be threaded through said divider plate aperture.
6. Apparatus as set forth in claim 5 wherein said divider plate is circular and includes a slit therein adapted to be deformed to accommodate threading therethrough of electric power cord plugs and the like, and is dimensioned for rotation upon said shaft within said housing.
7. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein said housing is of thin wall construction and is sufficiently flexible to allow the threading of electric power cord plugs and the like therethrough.