US 3816879 A
A fastener formed by an elongated member, such as a filamentary string, that is attached to a bidirectional locking head with longitudinally opposed openings. The elongated member is inserted into either of the opposed openings of the head, where it is engaged and locked in place by one or more longitudinally extending, internal locking vanes.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Merser et al.
[ June 18, 1974 FILAMENTARY STRING FASTENER Inventors: Francis G. Merser, Framingham Centre; Philip A. Kooistra, Northbridge, both of Mass.
Dennison Manufacturing Company, Framingham, Mass.
Filed: Oct. 4, 1972 Appl. No.: 294,854
US. Cl. 24/16 PB, 24/150 FP, 24/206 A, 292/318 Int. Cl. .1 865d 63/00, A44b 9/00 Field of Search 24/206 A, 208 A, 73 PB, 24/150 FP, 16 PB, 30.5 P, 17 AP, 11 CT, 10 A; 292/307 A, 307 R, 318, 321, 322, 325
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 7/1884 Gillmore 292/318 10/1902 Keeley l 24/10 A Jewett 292/325 Primary Examiner-Donald A. Griffin Attorney, Agent, or Firm-George E. Kersey 57] ABSTRACT A fastener formed by an elongated member, such as a filamentary string, that is attached to a bidirectional locking head with longitudinally opposed openings. The elongated member is inserted into either of the opposed openings of the head, where it is engaged and locked in place by one or more longitudinally extending, internal locking vanes.
12 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures PATENTEuJuu 18 m4 SHEET 1 0f 4 FIG.
PAIENTEmumw 3.816879 SHEET 3 BF 4 FIG. 3C
1 F ILAMENTARY STRING FASTENER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to the fastening of objects, either together or one to another, and more particularly, to the secure, simplified fastening of objects.
Devices which are used to fasten objects typically make use of a strap connected to a locking head. The free end of the strap is threaded through or around the objects to be fastened and then inserted into the head.
In order to achieve secure fastening and prevent unauthorized tampering, the locking head generally is in the form of an enclosure that houses a locking tang and prevents unauthorized access to it. Such a housing is typically mechanically complex, and the strap must be inserted in a particular way. This detracts from the efficiency of the fastener. It is necessary to provide instructions for use of the fastener, and the user needs to be certain that the strap is properly inserted into the locking head. I
Furthermore, the inserted end of the strap ofte tends to have a relatively massive configuration in order to achieve the desired locking effect. This makes the usual protected locking head fastener undesirable in use, for example, with control tags for items of merchandise. The massivity of the strap might damage the merchandise or leave an unsightly hole.
Another difficulty encountered with protected head fasteners is that the locking tang is a relatively weak member that can become separated from its position of connection to the head.
Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to achieve the secure fastening of objects without the need for special instructions in the use of the fastener. A related object is to facilitate the proper insertion of the free end of a strap into its locking head. Another related object is to achieve a locking head fastener that is able to accommodate the free end of its strap in a number of different ways. Another related object is to achieve a locking head fastener in which the strap can be used bidirectionally.
A further object of the invention is to achieve a fastener in which the strap that is inserted into a locking head does not require such massive proportions to achieve the desired locking effect.
It is still another object of the invention to achieve a fastener with a durable locking mechanism that is not likely to be damaged in use.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accomplishing the foregoing and related objects, the invention provides a fastener in which an elongated member, such as a filamentary strip or a strap, is attached to an apertured housing that serves as a locking head. The apertured housing contains at least one longitudinally extending, laterally deflectable locking mechanism.
In accordance with one aspect of the invention, the housing is open at opposed ends, and the locking mechanism is formed by two locking vanes, one for each direction of insertion of the free end of the elongated member. In accordance with a related aspect of the invention, the locking vanes are asymmetric and oppo sitely positioned.
For one particular embodiment, each locking vane adjoins one of the openings in the housing and is longitudinally attached. For another embodiment the locking vanes are included in a rectangular housing and are positioned on opposite side walls. For still another embodiment of the invention the locking vanes are included in a cylindrical housing and are parallel with each other.
In accordance with yet another aspect of the invention, a ramp effect is provided for facilitating the proper insertion of the free end of the elongated member into the apertured housing. The ramp is provided by a separate structure that extends longitudinally along an interior wall of the locking head, or is included as a portion of each locking vane.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Other aspects of the invention will become apparent after considering several illustrative embodiments taken in conjunction with the drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a fastener in accordance with the invention being used for attaching a tag to an item;
FIG. 1A is a side and sectional view showing the relationship between the free. end of the fastener and its associated locking head;
FIG. 1B is an end view of the locking head in FIG. IA showing the free end of the fastener in the process of being inserted;
FIG. 1C is a sectional view of the locking head of FIG. 1A with the free end of the fastener inserted into locking position;
FIG. 2 is a perspectiveview of an alternative fastener in accordance with the invention being used to bundle a group of items;
FIG. 2A is a cross-sectional view of the locking head of the fastener of FIG. 2;
FIG. 3A is a partially broken away perspective view showing the relationship between the free end and locking head of an alternative embodiment of the fastener of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3B is an end view of the locking head of FIG. 3A showing the free end of the fastener in the process of being inserted.
FIG. 3C is a side and sectional view showing the free end of the fastener of FIG. 3A completely inserted into position in its locking head;
FIGS. 4A and 4B are end views of an alternative locking head for the fastener of FIG. 3A; and
FIGS. 5A and 5B are side and end views of a further alternative locking head for the fastener of FIG. 3A.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Turning to the drawings, FIG. I shows a fastener 10 pursuant to the invention being used to fasten a tag to an item 60, such as an item of merchandise. It will be understood that the fastener 10 can be used in a wide variety of other ways, for example, in the bundling of objects.
The fastener 10 includes an apertured housing 11 in the form of a cylindrical locking head with longitudinally opposed circular openings C1 and C2. An elongated member in the form of a filamentary string or tie 15 is centrally attached to the housing 11 and has a free end or tongue 16 that is inserted into one of the circular openings Cl and C2, and irremovably locked in the housing 11.
In the use of the fastener with the tag 50, the tongue 16 of the tie is successively inserted through an opening 51 of the tag 50, through the object 60, and into either of the locking head circular openings C1 or C2. It is the bidirectional locking capability of the head 11 that gives increased versatility to the fastener 10 of FIG. 1. Thus, unlike conventional fasteners with protected locking heads, the fastener 10 may be used without regard to the direction of insertion of the tongue 16 into the head 11.
As is demonstrated in detail below, the tongue 16 of the tie 15 has a region of relatively reduced cross section and the locking head 11 contains at least one flexible member which is deflected by, and thereafter engages the tongue over its region of reduced cross section.
The particular tag 50 of FIG. 1 has a preformed hole 51 and is of the type sold and marketed under the trade name MERITAG, but it will be understood that the fastener 10 may be used with any type control ticket, including those without apertures that require the tongue to be driven through the ticket stock.
Details of the locking head 11 and its relationship to the tongue 16 of the tie 15 are set forth in FIG. 1A. The tongue 16 has a tip 16a, a locking region 16r of reduced cross section and a stop 16s. There is a weakened region between the stop 16s and the locking region 16r to permit severance of the tie when excess force is applied. The head 11 contains a first locking vane 12-1 which is disposed to produce a locking effect when the tongue 16 is inserted into the associated opening C1. A second locking vane 12-2 is disposed to produce a locking effect when the tongue 16 is inserted into the opposite opening C2.
The locking vanes 12-1 and 12-2 extend longitudinally within the housing 1] and are diagonally and dia metrically opposed. Each has a ramp 12r beginning at the respective openings 01 and 02, to assist in guiding the tip 16a of the tongue 16 as it is inserted into the locking head 11 from either longitudinal direction. Within the locking head 11, the vanes 12-1 and 12-2 have locking shoulders 12s. Each engages the interior edge 16e of the tip 16a, depending upon the direction of insertion of the tongue 16.
Regardless of the direction of insertion of the tongue 16, the tip 16a is guided by the nearest ramp 12r and causes the vanes 12-1 and 12-2 to deflect laterally from their equilibrium positions, as indicated by FIG. 1B. When, as shown in FIG. 1C, the tongue 16 is inserted to the point that the interior edge 162 of the tip 160 clears the nearest shoulder 12s, the associated vane 12-1 returns, by virtue of its resiliency, to its equilibrium position.
The longitudinal positioning of the vanes 12-1 and 12-2 gives them additional strength about their pivot positions. When the tongue 16 is in its locked position as shown in FIG. 1C, the region 16r extends along the vane 12-1 and the extent of insertion is controlled by the ball stop 16s.
In a tested embodiment of the invention the fastener 10 was fabricated of a nylon resin, but other materials may be used as well. It is to be noted that not only does the stop 16s limit the extent to which the tongue 16 can be inserted into the locking head 11, it also prevents tampering after locking engagement has taken place. In addition, the device is simple to manufacture and the size of the tongue is such that only small holes are made when it is pushed through an item to be tagged.
Another embodiment of the invention is the fastener 21) of FIG. 2 which is particularly suitable for the bundling of items 70. The fastener 20 is constituted by a rectangular locking head 21 with opposed rectangular openings R1 and R2. An elongated member in the form of a band or strap 25 is centrally attached to the locking head 21 and has a free end or tongue 26 that is inserted through the openings R1 and R2 where it is irremov- 'ably locked in position.
As in the case of fastener 10 of FIG. 1, the head 21 of of the fastener 20 has a bidirectional locking capability. This is achieved, as indicated by the cross-sectional view of FIG. 2A by the inclusion within the locking head 21 of locking vanes 22-1 and 22-2 on opposite lateral side walls. Each of the vanes 21-1 and 22-2 extend the approximate height of the locking head 21 and have ramp surfaces 22r. The strap 25 has successive regions 25r of reduced cross section between successive pairs of spurs 25s. In FIG. 2, the spurs on the band 25 beyond the opening R2 have been omitted for simplicity.
When the strap 25 is inserted into the locking head 21 through the opening R2 the spurs 25s engage the ramp portions of the locking vanes 22-1 and 22-2 and cause them to be deflected. The locking vane 22-1 associated with the particular direction of insertion shown in FIG. 2A, successively engages the spurs 25s in locking position because of their perpendicular back edges. Alternatively, when the strap 25 should be inserted into the locking head 21 in the opposite direction through the opposed opening R1, the other vane 22-2 will lockingly engage the spurs of the strap.
A further embodiment of the fastener of FIG. 1 is illustrated in FIG. 3A by the locking head 31 and associated tongue 36. The locking head 31 employs a ramp 31r on the interior wall of the locking head 31, opposite which two locking vanes 32-1 and 32-2 are centrally positioned and extend only over a part of the locking head length. The associated tongue 36 has an end formed by a cone 36a, followed by a region 36r of reduced diameter corresponding to that of FIG. 1A, followed by a cylindrical stop 36s. Beyond the stop 36s is a ball 36b. As in the case of fastener 11) of FIG. 1 the embodiment of FIG. 3A permits bidirectional locking. When the cone 36a of the tongue is inserted into either opening C1 or C2 of the head 31, as shown in FIG. 3B, the ramp 31r tends to guide the cone 36a into position between the two vanes 32-1 and 32-2, which are forced apart. When the tongue 36 is fully inserted as shown in FIG. 3C, the region 36r is between the vane 32-1 and 32-2, which have returned to their equilibrium positions, with the locking edge 362 of the cone in contact with the locking shoulders 32b of the vanes. When the tongue is inserted in the opposite direction, the locking edge 36e of the cone is in contact with the locking shoulder 32a. The cylinder 36s serves the same role as the stop 16s of FIG. 1. The ball 36b is included to facilitate the grasp of the free end 36 of the device by the user.
Still another embodiment of the invention is shown by FIGS. 4A and 48. For this embodiment a ramp 41r is employed corresponding to the ramp 31r of FIG. 3A, opposite which there is a single locking vane 42. When the end 46a of the tongue is inserted into either opening of the housing 41 it is guided to one side or the other of the vane 42 and causes it to deflect upon further insertion, allowing the end 46a to pass beyond the locking edge of the vane, which thereafter returns to its equilibrium position and the tongue is locked in place.
Locking heads in accordance with the inventions are intended to achieve tamper-proof locking of their associated tongues. lf the head becomes subjected to substantial compressive force, either inadvertently or by design, the tongue may become disengaged from the head.
Thus, if the locking head 31 of FIGS. 3A and 3C has a sufficiently thin wall, compressive force applied to it above the ramp 3lr may produce a deformation that causes a separation of the vanes 32-1 and 32-2 and permits the unauthorized withdrawal of the tongue 36a from the head 31.
For a locking head of the type shown in H0. 3A, disengagement of the tongue from the head is prevented,
as illustrated in H6. 5A, by the use of a protective band 57 shown in side view for an alternative head 51. The cylindrical wall of the head 51 is a thin shell to conserve material and to facilitate manufacture of the mold by which the head is formed. However, the central portion of the head 51 is girded and given transverse rigidity by the enlarged band 57. This limits the extent to which the head 51 can become laterally distended by compressive force applied to the head towards the direction of the stem 55. As shown in H6. 58, the band 57 has a relatively thick wall which gives it suitable rigidity and reinforces the head 51 over its entire periphery. In addition, the band 57 includes a projection 57p opposite the ramp 5lr and in general alignment with the stem 55. Since it is compressive force applied in the direction of the stem 55 that tends to cause lateral deflection of the head 51, and consequent separation of the vanes 52-] and 522, the position of the projection 57p is maximally positioned to discourage unauthorized compression of the head 51 by manual manipulation.
Although the projection 57p in FlGS. 5A and 5B is in the form of a ridge, it will be appreciated that other forms may be used as well. For example, the projection 57 may be made pointed to further discourage unauthorized compression of the head 51. Moreover, a protective band of the kind shown in FIGS. 5A and 58 may be used with other embodiments of the invention as well.
While various aspects of the invention have been set forth by the drawings and specification, it is to be understood that the foregoing detailed description is for illustration only and that various changes, as well as the substitution of equivalent constituents shown and described may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A fastener comprising an elongated member having a free end;
a housing having a channel extending therethrough from one opening to another; and
a vane comprising locking means, in said channel,
which is laterally deflectable by said member regardless of the opening into which said free end is inserted.
said vane having a free end which projects into said channel.
2. A fastener as defined in claim 1 wherein said housing is open at opposed ends thereof to permit the bidirectional entry of said elongated member therein.
3. A fastener as defined in claim 2 wherein said housing has longitudinally extending side walls and said locking means comprises first and second locking vanes oppositely mounted on said side walls.
4. A fastener as defined in claim 2 wherein a protective band girds said housing to limit the compression thereof.
5. A fastener as defined in claim 1 wherein the lock ing means comprises a locking vane that is longitudinally rooted in said housing.
6. A fastener as defined in claim 1 further including means associated with the locking means for guiding said elongated member into said housing.
7. A fastener as defined in claim 6 wherein the guiding means comprises a ramp.
8. A fastener as defined in claim 7 wherein said ramp is included as a portion of said locking means.
9. A fastener as defined in claim 7 wherein the locking means comprises a locking vane and said ramp is mounted on an interior wall of said housing opposite said locking vane.
10. A fastener as defined in claim 1 wherein the locking means comprises first and second locking vanes.
11. A fastener as defined in claim 10 wherein said first and second locking vanes are parallel to each other.
12. A fastener comprising a member having a free end;
a housing having a channel therein for receiving the free end of said member; and
a vane, in said channel, which is laterally deflectable by said member;
said vane being rooted in said channel substantially along the axis of insertion of said member and being deflectable thereby to hold said member in said channel.