US 3812556 A
A buckle for fastening safety belts, having two components each secured to a length of safety belt length and carrying teeth and holes respectively adapted to be mutually engaged and disengaged. One of the components is in the form of a casing wherein the other component can be inserted and engaged, such casing housing a locking element for the other component, adapted to be shifted into locking and releasing positions and that can be controlled through holes in the locking element and the casing-shaped component.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent I III! Colombo May 28, 1974  FASTENER' FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLlCATIONS  lnvemorl Artur" Colombo, Milan, Italy 1,294,259 4/1962 France 24 230 AK ssigneez Societar Industriale Telai Great Bl'ltall'l Automatici Milano S.r.l. Milan,
ltaly Primary Examiner-Bernard A. Gelak Attorney, Agent, or FirmWenderoth, Lind & Ponack  FIled: Oct. 10, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 296,208 ABSTRACT A buckle for fastening safety belts, having two compo-  U S Cl 24/230 AK nents each secured to a length of safety belt length T51] In. .Cl ..A44b 11/25 and y g teeth n holes respectively adapted to  Fie'ld 230 AM be mutually engaged and disengaged. One of the components is in the form of a casing wherein the other  References Cited component can be inserted and engaged, such casing housing a locking element for the other component, UNITED STATES PATENTS adapted to be shifted into locking and releasing posi- 3,399,431 9/1968 nk 24/230 AK tions and that can be controlled through holes in the i 1 g l f 2;: locking element and the casing-shaped component. 0 In..... 3,127,655 4/1964 Carter 24/230 AK 4 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures F ASTENER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention concerns a fastener device and in particular a fastening buckle for safety belts, of the type comprising two components that can be mutually engaged and released at will, and that are secured to related ends of two belt lengths.
Many types of safety belts are already known, wherein a fastening action is exerted by means ofa frictional force acting on one belt length, engaged in a buckle attached to the other belt length. Such safety belts show many drawbacks, mainly due to their rather limited fastening action, to being susceptible to damage, and to possible unintentional opening of the buckle.
An improved type of known safety belt comprises a buckle formed by two mutually engageable components, that are secured to the ends of two belt lengths, one of which is adjustable. The components usually engage with each other by insertion of one or more teeth or hooks into corresponding orifices, while a releasable locking element maintains the engagement of the teeth in the orifices, usually by pressing the component carrying the orifices against the component carrying the teeth or hooks.
Lever means, usually in the form ofa plate that covers the one buckle component, are provided for releasing the locking means through a lifting action carriedout thereon against spring means, until the other buckle component is released. These lever means, which are not described more detailedly since they are universally known and utilized, result in various drawbacks, in particular due to the need for a component thereof to project from the buckle in order to allow for a quick and easy buckle opening when required. Such projecting component may cause substantial ill-effects, as e.g., unintentional openings, damages to clothing and injury to the user, in particular under emergency conditions. Moreover, the production of such buckles and in particular of the components thereofis relatively difficult and expensive, due to a necessary selection and design of materials and components in order to attain required strength and operating reliability under emergency conditions wherein their action may be required.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of this invention is to provide a fastening buckle for safety belts, of the hook-fastening type as above stated, wherein the disadvantages of heretofore known buckles, i.e., any possibility of wounding the user, damaging the clothing thereof, unintentional openings and the like, are positively avoided, while a quick and easy controlled opening thereof may be accomplished under any stress condition of the buckle components.
Another object of this invention is to provide a buckle of the type as above stated, showing an unusually simple and inexpensive design, while ensuring highly reliable operation thereof under all stress conditions.
These and other objects are achieved in accordance with the present invention by providing a hooking buckle essentially characterized in that its locking element is fitted within a casing formed by a first buckle component and acts on a second buckle component in order to maintain an engagement between retaining hooks or teeth and related orifices or holes. The locking element is shiftable, against the action of a spring means, toward a release position, by control means fitted within the same casing. In a preferred embodiment of the above stated belt fastening buckle, the locking element is in the form of a plate that can be moved in the direction of buckle component mutual engagement and has a shoulder adapted for the engagement of the second buckle component, preferably formed with hooking orifices. The plate further has a suitably camshaped portion directly above the shoulder, adapted to be urged by the second buckle component when engaged with the first component, in order to shift the plate against a return spring till the hooks are allowed to enter into the couplementary orifices. Said plate or locking element can be operated at will in order to release the fastening buckle by means of a suitable tool or a finger that can be inserted through a hole formed in said casing and plate to impart a plate releasing shifting movement to the plate.
The plate can be annularly shaped and wholly enclosed within a casing forming the first buckle component, the inner walls of which are adapted to engage and guide the plate. Coincident with the center hole of the annular plate, the casing has elongated holes to allow for the plate releasing shifting movements.
The buckle can be easily operated and released without any difficulty and under whatever stress conditions on its components, without levers or like operating means jutting therefrom, such as are necessary in known belt fasteners. Moreover, the buckle and locking element design is unusually simple, since hinges and other similar complex structures necessary in heretofore known buckles are completely avoided.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a cross-section of a fastening buckle according to this invention, before the engagement of the components thereof.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the buckle of FIG. 1, with parts broken away.
FIGS. 3 and 4 are cross-sections of the buckle in two successive engagement steps.
FIG. 5 is a cross-section of the buckle in a releasing or opening condition.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring now to the drawings and firstly to FIGS. 1 and 2, a fastening buckle according to this invention comprises two buckle components 10 and 11, having seats 12 and 13 at one of their ends, wherein two safety belt lengths l4 and 15 can be adjustably inserted and fastened in an already known manner. The buckle com ponent 11 is in the form of a flat or substantially flat plate having one or more suitably positioned holes, e.g., two through holes 16 and 17, while at the plate end opposite to the belt length 15 an arc-shaped edge 18 is provided in a position centrally of the width of the plate.
The buckle component 10 comprises a base member 19 and a cover member 20, that can be secured to each other e.g., by rivets 21 and 22 (see FIG. 2) in order to form a casing having an inner seat 23 into which component 11 can be inserted through an opening 24 formed in the end of component 10 opposite to that carrying belt length 14'. Near opening 24 and within seat 23, the base member 19 has teeth or hooks 25, 26 having sizes corresponding to those of holes 16 and 17 in plate 11 and preferably having a slanting wall 27 (see FIG. 1) directed downwardly toward opening 24 as well as a sharp-cornered step 28 in a diametrically opposite position, in order first to facilitate the insertion of plate 11 and then exert a retaining action on the inserted plate, due to the engagement of teeth 25 and 26 in holes 17 and 16.
Once plate 11 is inserted and teeth 25, 26 are properly engaged in holes 16 and 17, the two buckle components 10, 11 are firmly kept in their fastened position by the action of a locking element 29, housed within casing seat 23.
The locking element is cylindrical and, in order to exert its locking action, has an annular ridge with a lower annular shoulder 30 adapted to retain outer edge 18 of plate 11 when inserted below shoulder 30, as shown in FIG. 4. Such insertion may be attained during the engagement of plate 11 by element 29 being moved in a direction X by edge 18, acting on a cam-shaped annular portion 31 of the ridge of element 29. Element 29 is moved in the direction X, as shown in FIG. 3, and teeth 25 and 26 are made free to be engaged by holes 17 and 16.
Locking element 29 is preferably cylindrical with an annularly shaped. Shoulder 30 is defined by the cylindrical surface of element 29 below the ridge and by annular cam-shaped portion 31 which'has a frusto-conical shape. Edge 18 is arc-shaped to cooperate both with frusto-conical surface 31 and the cylindrical surface below shoulder 30.
In order to allow locking element 29 to return in its operative locking position, (see FIG. 4), spring means, e.g. a leaf spring 32, urges element 29 toward opening 24. Leaf spring 32 advantageously abuts against rivets 21, 22 by which casing members 19, 20 are fastened to each other.
The ridge of element 29 has an upper annular surface 33, and cylindrical element 29 has a lower annular surface 34 adapted to guide element 29 along inner walls of casing members 19, 20 during the sliding motions of element 29 in direction X and in the opposite direction.
A buckle opening or release operation from the position of FIG. 4 can be performed by shifting -manually or by any suitable toolthe locking element 29 in direction X against the action of spring 32, as shown in FIG. 5, and then lifting plate 11. The element 29 can be operated by acting thereon through a central hole 35 thereof and one or preferably two elongated holes 36, 37 in casing members 19,-20. Moreover element 29 is additionally guided and retained in its end-stroke positions by the upper cylindrical portion 38 thereof that engages with the end wall of hole 36 formed in casing cover member 20. However, locking element 29 is at any rate wholly enclosed within the contour of casing 19, 20 in order to prevent any unintentional shifting thereof.
It is to be understood that, while this invention has been described in terms of a preferred embodiment,
4 many changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of .the invention.
1. A safety belt buckle comprising:
a first buckle component in the form of a plate having at least one hole therethrough and an edge with an arc-shaped recess therein;
a second buckle component in the form of a casing with a mouth opening into one end thereof to receive said first buckle component, said casing having therein at least one tooth shaped to extend through said at least one hole in said first buckle component when said first buckle component extends into said casing;
a releasable locking element mounted within said casing to slide therein in a direction toward and away from said mouth, said locking element being in the form of a tubular cylinder, the axis of which is perpendicular to the direction of movement thereof, said tubular cylinder having extending completely therearound at a position intermediate the ends thereof an annular ridge having a flat annular lower shoulder;
said annular lower shoulder engaging the top of said plate in the area of said arc-shaped recess thereof when said first buckle component has said at least one hole thereof engaged with said at least one tooth of said second buckle component, said arcshaped recess being dimensioned to receive the peripheral shape of said cylinder below said ridge when said buckle components are in the thus engaged position;
spring meansfor urging said locking element toward said mouth; and
said casing having in the upper surface thereof an elongated opening providing access for said locking element to be moved against said spring means and away from said mouth.
2. A safety belt buckle as claimed in claim 1, further comprising an annular frusto-conical surface on said ridge extending upwardly and outwardly from the outer extremity of said annular lower shoulder, said areshaped recess in said plate being dimensioned to receive the peripheral shape of said frustoconical surface.
and extending into said elongated opening in the upper surface of said casing.
4. A safety belt buckle as claimed in claim 1, wherein said spring means comprises a leaf spring in contact with said tubular cylinder at a position thereof opposite said arc-shaped recess of said first buckle component. l=