US 3805988 A
Releasable clamping means for securing one or more pressurized gas cylinders or like containers within an enclosure. A retainer having toggle link clamping members at its ends is captively held within an enclosure and adapted for releasably clamping about containers such as liquid petroleum "bottles". When clamped, the strap, enclosure, and containers are fixedly secured together to thereby prevent movement of the containers within the enclosure.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Apr. 23, 1974 Walker et al.
[ 1 MOUNTING MEANS FOR GAS CYLINDERS AND THE LIKE  Inventors: Dean E. Walker, Bristol, 1nd.;
Charles E. Young, 111, Three Rivers, Mich.
[731 Assignee: Ventline, lnc., Bristol, Ind.
 Filed: Jan. 21, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 219,799
 U.S. Cl. 220/15, 24/68 T, 24/170,
217/52, 220/17, 248/146, 248/231, 292/256.69  Int. Cl. B65d 25/00, B65d 45/34  Field of Search 220/15, 12, 69, 1.5, 17;
24/55 T, 270, 271, 68 R, 68 T; 248/313, 311, 231, 146, 361 A; 312/270; 297/188, 217, 284; 137/259, 351; 206/16 R, 52 F; 217/52, 53, 54; 292/256.69
1,930,285 10/1933 Robinson 220/15 814,608 3/1906 Johnson r 24/70 T 3,180,607 4/1965 Lee 206/46 FR 2,452,195 10/1948 Johnson 220/17 723,649 3/1903 Clifford 217/54 473,047 4/1892 Worden 217/52 2,326,481 8/1943 Meyer 217/66 1,785,665 12/1930 Aseltine 217/52 Primary Examiner-William 1. Price Assistant Examiner-Allan N. Shoap Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Price, Heneveld, l-luizenga & Cooper [5 7] ABSTRACT Releasable clamping means for securing one or more pressurized gas cylinders or like containers within an enclosure. A retainer having toggle link clamping members at its ends is captively held within an enclosure and adapted for releasably clamping about containers such as liquid petroleum bottles". When clamped, the strap, enclosure, and containers are fixedly secured together to thereby prevent movement of the containers within the enclosure.
14 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures MOUNTING MEANS FOR GAS CYLINDERS AND T E LIKE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to an enclosure and a clamping means within the enclosure for securing containers to vehicles such as mobile homes, recreational vehicles and the like. Such vehicles generally have provision for heating, cooking, and the like which utilize containers filled with liquid petroleum, water, compressed air, and the like. These containers are normally fixed to the vehicle at the front portion on the tongue, or at a rear portion or within the vehicle and having an external access opening. Since the containers are so psitioned, it is desirable to place them within an enclosure to protect them from the environment and from damage. In addition, from a purely aesthetic stand point when the container is mounted externally of the vehicle, it is desirable to have such containers enclosed. When so placed within the enclosure, the container must be securely fixed therein to prevent loss or damage, especially to the tubing by which they are connected to inside appliances and which will fatigue and crash under continuous vibration, and in addition to meet certain governmental safety standards with respect to the securement of such containers on vehicles. The containers must be periodically removed for service or replacement; therefore, it is necessary that the securing means should allow removal with ease and without the use of special tools. Yet, at the same time, it is necessary to rigidly restrict the movement of the container within the enclosure during normal use.
Container-retaining means known in the prior art do not meet these requirements. Conventionally, the containers are fixed in place on the vehicle by means of special clamp members and bolted into place, thereby requiring special tools for removal. Spring clamping mechanisms have also been proposed, although they have met with only limited success since the severe environment to which such vehicles may be exposed may shake the container loose from the springs, or may shake the containers so severely as to cause damage. If springs heavy enough to guard against such effects are utilized, special tools are required to relieve the tension on the springs so the container can be removed forservice.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a container-retaining means which is not subject to the above described deficiencies.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a combined enclosure and retaining means for the container.
More particularly, it is an object of the invention to provide an enclosure and retainer wherein the container is securely fixed within the enclosure yet releasably secured therein for ease of removal and replacement of the container, without the requirement of any tools.
It is a further object of this invention to provide an enclosure having retaining means therein for one or more containers wherein the retaining means is captively held within the enclosure.
These and other important objects, advantages, and features of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the following specification and with reference to the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a frontal perspective view illustrating a container fixed within an enclosure according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged cross-sectional plan view taken along the plane 11-11 of FIG. 1, with portions thereof eliminated for clarity;
FIG. 3 is a slightly enlarged detailed view of the latching mechanism, taken along the plane III-III of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view taken along the plane lV-IV of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged detailed view of one form of holding means for the retainer within the enclosure;
FIG. 6 is a side view of the holding means shown in FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged detailed view of another alternate holding means for the retainer;
FIG. 8 is a somewhat simplified schematic-form, plan view similar to FIG. 2 but on a reduced scale and showing an embodiment wherein a pair of containers is retained; and
FIG. 9 is a plan view similar to FIG. 8 but showing another embodiment wherein a pair of containers is retained.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings and, in particular, to FIGS. 1 and 2, the invention will be described in detail. Basically, the invention includes an enclosure 10 having a plurality of wall members forming a box-like structure opened at the front thereof. The enclosure may be formed of sheet metal or the like and includes a pair of side walls 12 and 14, a back wall member 16, a top 18, and a bottom 20. The walls are fixed to each other as by welding to form the open front enclosure. A door member 22 (FIG. 1) is hinged at one side of the frontal opening to close the same. Suitable vents or louvers 24 are provided in the face of the door to ventilate the enclosure. A container or cylinder 30 of the type normally utilized for liquid petroleum (LP) gas is positioned within the enclosure and rests on the bottom wall member 20. A pair of spacer blocks 32 are positioned on the side walls 12 and 14, in the approximate center thereof, to captively hold a retaining means 40, as will be more fully described hereinafter. Basically, the retaining means of the present invention includes an elongated strap 42 preferably formed of spring steel. The strap has an overall effective minimum length which is essentially the same as (or preferably, just slightly shorter than) the circumference of the container, and is provided at the ends with a clamping mechanism 44.
The clamping mechanism includes two basic parts, a generally C-shaped buckle 46 pivotally fixed to one end of the strap 42, and a latch 48 pivotally fixed to the buckle and cooperatively engagable with the opposite end of the strap.
Referring now additionally to FIGS. 3 and 4, the C- shaped buckle 46 is formed of rigid wire stock, preferably cadmium or zinc-plated, and includes a back portion 50, a pair of extending arms 52 and a pair of short inwardly-facing legs 54. The back portion 50 of the buckle is fixed at one end 56 of the strap 42 by rolling pair of the holes 64, such that the latch is pivotally mounted on the buckle legs 54. The openings or holes 64 are provided for adjustment purposes, since the diameter of the container to be fixed within the enclosure may vary somewhat from a nominal standard dimension.
The opposite end of the strap 42 is rolled over or curvedto form a hook 68 which is engageable with an inner end 70 of the latch 48. As best illustrated in FIG. 2, the clamping mechanism is shown in two positions, with the released position being illustrated in phantom lines and the closed or locked position in solid lines. To service a container within the enclosure, the inner end 70 of the latch is positioned within the hook 68'and the latch is pressed toward the container 30 and the strap 42. This pivots the latch about the legs of the buckle, with the strap 42 fitting between the side walls 62 of the latch.'The hook 68,'fitting over the end 70 of j. the latch, moves slightly outwardly from the container asthe la'tch'snaps in toggle fashion into a locking position', -to thereby securely hold the ends of thestrap tightlytogether and about the container. v v g a In the embodiment'of'FIG. 2,-the strap 42 .is securedby means of bolts or machine screws 72 and'lock nuts strapare secured together by the clamping mechanism 44 about a' container, the container is firmly fixed to the walls of the enclosure, and no movement of the container, whether lateral or vertical within the enclosureQwill occur/To remove the container for replace rnen t or refilling, the latch is simply grasped'at'the end oppositethe end engaging the hook 68in the strap and lifted outwardly and away fromthe' container. The two ,endsof the strap may then be separated,'spread apart 'and'the container30 easily removed.
One alternate'holding means for the strap 42 is illustrated in' FIGS. and 6. In this embodiment, a U- shaped channelmember or clip 80 having'a pairof out- 'wardly extending flanges 82 is fixed to the side walls 12 and 14. The bracket 80 is secured by means of rivets 84 passing through its flanges 82'and through the side walls 12 and I4. Alternately, the bracket may be spot welded or fixed in any other convenient manner to the side walls.
The strap may be fixed directly to the rear wall of the enclosure asshown in FIG. -2, but rather than being fixedly secured to the side walls 12 and 14, it is simply inserted slidably through the opening formed by the channel member 80, i.e., between the center portion of ments; for the'reasons just stated."
the latter and the side walls. This embodiment has the advantage that as the latch 44 is closed, the steam applied to the strap about the container is evenly distributed along the length of the strap and over the entire surface of the container. In addition, in. the event the strap ever requires replacement, only onescrew 74 need be removed and a new strap slipped into place.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIG/7, the strap 42 is formed for direct connection to the side walls 12 and 14. In this embodiment, a pair of U-shapedbends are formed along the length of the strap at opposite sides of the enclosure. The bent portions 90 each include a pair of side walls 92 and a bottom wall 94,'ancl cooperatively form a biasing means for extension of the container within the enclosure. An opening is provided in the central portion of the bottom wall 94 through which a rivet 96 or other suitable fastening means is passed to fix the strap to the side walls. In this embodi-' ment, as the ends of the strap are pulled toward one another and connected together by the previouslydescribed toggle-type latching mechanism 44, a slight resilient deformation of the strapside walls 92 may occur as the walls spread outwardly, against the bias of the strap material to embrace the container; There may be, additionally,'a' slight bowingorbending (i.e., oilcanning) of the side walls 12 and 14 of' the enclosure as the latch mechanism 44 is closed. This bowing of the side walls "is not at all undesirable and in fact serves to even more securely hold the container within thee nclosure; furthermore,- suc hbowing of the enclosure sides may also occur in-any of the other embodiments described above, and is desirable in all'such'embodi- Referring again to FIG. 2, it 'mayjalso be notedthat the sidewalls l2 and 14'taper outwardly with respect to each other from the back 16 of the enclosure toward the frontal opening. This feature isfor convenience in "the manufacturing, storage, and shipping of the enclowithin the other to conserve space until such time as the enclosures are installed on or in a vehicle. I It should not be assumed from the foregoing description that the apparatus of the invention is effective .in
retaining only a single cylinder or' other container member 30. On the contrary, as illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9, thesame basic apparatusis readily usable in em bodiments'wh'ere two"(or more) cylin'de'rs aojare retained together within an enclosure or 210. In the embodiment'of FIG. 8-, the enclosure 1101a very similar scribed or indicated,: including only a. direct boltor rivet. The embodiment of FIG. 9 is directly comparable, except than-asshown, the enclosure 210 is wider (but not deeper) than'that illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, thus permitting a pair of cylinders to be laterally aligned in direct side-by-side relation, with the same basic strap 142 and clamping means 44 being used (the strap 1.42, of course, being longerthan the strap 42 of the earlier figures, but essentially the same in other respects).
From a study of the foregoing description and drawings, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the present invention provides a simple and extremely effective means for mounting and retaining gas cylinders or like containers, and at the same time provides an enclosure as a part of the retaining means. In addition, the latching mechanism for the retaining apparatus is held within the enclosure and yet is readily releasable, such that the containers may be removed for replacement.
While the invention has been illustrated showing an LP gas container, it will be readily apparent that the concepts taught herein are equally applicable to other types of containers which must be securely fixed in place, and in fact the broader aspects of the inventive concepts are usable either with or without an enclosure. It will be also observed by those skilled in the art that the construction of the enclosure and the number of straps positioned therein may be varied to suit varying sizes and shapes as well as varying numbers and arrangements of containers. A plurality of straps and locking members may be positioned within the enclosure to secure one or more containers at one or more positions, depending upon the size.
While a number of embodiments of the invention have been described, together with minor modifications thereof, it will be recognized by those skilled in the art that other embodiments and modifications incorporating the teachings hereof may be readily made in the light of this disclosure. Accordingly, all modifications employing the principles disclosed herein are to be considered as included in the appended claims unless these claims by their language expressly state otherwise.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. Apparatus for retaining gas cylinders or other such containers upon a vehicle or the like, comprising: a plurality of upright side members secured together to form a peripherally encircling enclosure of a size to receive such containers therewithin; retaining means for fixedly connecting said containers within said enclosure, said retaining means including at least two portions, each extending from a different side area of said containers to a different side member of said enclosure located directly adjacent the respective side areas of the containers and latching means for cooperative engagement with said retaining means to secure said retaining means in place and under tension directly between said containcr side areas and said enclosure side members.
2. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said retaining means is an elongated strap extending around said containers, and wherein said latching means is secured on one of the ends of said strap and the other end of said strap is adapted for cooperative engagement with said latching means.
3. The apparatus as defined in claim 2 wherein said latching means comprises a toggle linkage mechanism.
4. The apparatus as defined in claim 2 wherein said latching means includes a buckle member fixed to one end of said strap and a latch pivotally mounted on said buckle, the other end of said strap having a hook therein for engagement with said latch.
5. The apparatus as defined in claim 4 wherein said latch is an elongated member having side walls; means on said side walls to receive portions of said buckle and thereby attach said latch pivotably with respect to said buckle.
6. The apparatus as defined in claim 5 wherein said means on said latch side walls includes a plurality of aligned openings in said side walls positioned along the length of said latch, said buckle portions being adjustably positionable within a pair of said aligned openings to thereby vary the effective length of said strap.
7. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said enclosure includes at least back and side walls, and wherein said retaining means comprises an elongated strap, and including captive positioning means on said side walls for holding said retaining means strap.
8. The apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein said retaining means strap is secured to said back wall and freely held within said captive positioning means on said side walls.
9. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said enclosure includes at least back walls and side walls and wherein said retaining means comprises a strap which is fixed at three or more points to said back wall and said side walls.
10. The apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein said captive positioning means includes a pair of U-shaped channel members fixed to said side walls, said retaining means strap being secured to said back wall and freely passing through said channel members.
11. The apparatus as defined in claim 9 including means formed'on said retaining means strap for biasing the latter toward tight encirclement of said containers, said biasing means being fixed to said sidewalls.
12. The apparatus as defined in claim 11 wherein said biasing means formed on said retaining means includes a generally U-shaped bend in said retaining means, said bend having a bottom wall and a pair of side walls, said bottom wall being fixed to said side walls of said enclosure.
13. In an apparatus for mounting gas cylinders or like members upon a support, of the general type having a strap which is cinched about the member to be mounted, the improvement comprising; a plurality of wall members secured together to form an enclosure for receiving such containers therewithin, said enclosure having a size and shape with respect to said containers such that at least a pair of diametrically opposite side portions of containers within the enclosure are disposed closely adjacent to, and substantially in contact with a pair of oppositely-disposed side walls of the enclosure; elongated retaining means for extending around the complete circumference of said containers, and means for securing said retaining means within said enclosure by attaching the same to at least two of said oppositely-disposed side walls of said enclosure; and latching means for cooperative engagement with said retaining means to fixedly secure it around the circumference of said containers and to said enclosure side walls, to thereby secure the containers within said enclosure by binding them to, and between, said pair of wall members, while at the same time rigidifying the enclosure structure.
14. The improvement of claim 13, wherein said means for securing said elongated retaining means comprises a guide secured to each of said enclosure side walls and slidably engaging said retaining means for relative movement therebetween.