US 3846876 A
A buckle for a seat belt, said buckle receiving a tongue, the buckle having therein a freely moving locking element moved to a locking position by a latch spring to lock the tongue in the buckle on insertion of the tongue into the buckle and into contact with the latch spring.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Weman 1 Nov. 12, 1974 BUCKLE WITH LATCH 1,218,612 1 1971 Great Britain 24/75  Inventor: Per Olag Weman, Haslah, Germany  Assignee: Sigmatex, A.G., Basel, Switzerland Primary Exami'wr 'D Onald Grlffin  F le d O t 1 1973 Attorney, Agent, or F1rmJ0nathan Plaut; Ernest A.
1 c Polin  Applr N0.: 402,499
52 us. (:1 24/230A  ABSTRACT [Sl] IIILCI ..A44b11/26 A buckle for seat be i hucklc rccciin 8 1 L g 81  Flew OfSearCh-"MHSBO Ae230 AL230 Av tongue, the buckle having therein a freely moving I l I 1 1 Refere-eeee Cieee $311255 351113328212'ffi l'lififl llfilniirilliil UNITED STATES PATENTS the tongue into the buckle and into contact with the 3,378,895 4/I968 Eberhart 24/230 A latch p g- FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 5 Claims 1 Dr win Fi u 1,205,462 9/1970 Great Britain 24/230 A a g g re 1o l6 1s 50 3 H i Ila i i I 4 L1n1'", j
I l a 2o 13 e BUCKLE WITH LATCH BUCKLE WITH LATCH This application relates to a seat belt buckle and more particularly to a push button seat belt buckle which is simple in construction and provides for positive latching with no false latching action by utilization of a freely moveable locking member thereinside.
Briefly, the invention provides for a buckle housing chamber with a release mechanism preferably activated by a push button, extending therethrough. The tongue of the buckle is received within the housing chamber and is itself apertured so as to receive a freely moveable element which latches the tongue in position inside the housing chamber. A latch spring inside the housing chamber is contacted by the tongue when it is inserted in the buckle to move the latching element into latching position with relation to the aperture of the tongue. When the tongue is not in place within the housing, the latching element (under the influence of gravity) moves the latch spring to a position where it is ready to be contacted by the inserted tongue. The insertion of the tongue moves the latch spring to move the element into locking position. Depression of the release mechanism, preferably a push button, pushes the latching element down against the latch spring to force the latch spring to a position where it ejects the tongue, the latching element having been depressed by the release mechanism to a position where it no longer holds the tongue (through its action with the aperture of th tongue) in locked position in the buckle.
In a preferred embodiment of the invention a sidewall surface of the housing is in contact with the latching element when the element moves to the locking position providing a detent which the element must pass and thus frictionally overcome when moving into its locked position on insertion of the tongue. This detent serves to keep the element in its unlocked position when the tongue is not within the housing.
Referring to the drawing for a more detailed description of the invention, there is shown a seat belt buckle assembly 1 which includes a tongue 2 and a buckle 3. The tongue 2 is connected to webbing 40 and the buckle 3 connected to webbing 50 in the usual manner, as shown. The tongue 2 is shown in locked position in the buckle 3. The buckle 3 is made up of a housing 4 forming a chamber 14, which includes within it a locking element 5, preferably in the form of a cylinder or ball, and a latch means or spring 6. The latch means 6 is preferably in the form of two arms 15 and 15a, as will be described hereinafter. A positioning extension 7 of the housing assures that the tongue will be inserted parallel to the base 8 of the housing. The housing is closed at its base by a plate 19 which in one embodiment is joined to the housing by screws 20. When the buckle is assembled the locking element and the latch spring 6 are inserted into the housing and then the plate 19 is attached to the base of the housing to close the housing off.
The tongue 2 is inserted through opening 9 in the housing and a release mechanism, preferably a push button 10, is mounted on the housing thereabove with an extension 11 extending into the housing so as to contact the locking element 5 when it is in its locking position with relation to the tongue.
The tongue is apertured at 12 to receive the locking element. The locking element 5 rests on the latch means or spring 6 so that when the tongue 2 is inserted it (the tongue) will contact the latch means or spring and pivot it about its pivot point 13 which rests on the housing base plate 8 so that the latch means arm 15 raises the locking element which rests thereon into position into the aperture of the tongue to lock the tongue in position when the tongue pushes against the arm 15a which rests thereagainst.
When the release mechanism 10 is depressed against the action of spring 16 mounted on the housing and bearing on the release mechanism, the extension 11 which reaches into the housing chamber 14, pushes on the locking element 5 and depresses it against the action of the latch spring 6. When the locking element is depressed by the extension sufficient to remove it from the aperture in the tongue, it pushes the latch spring (which the locking element is pushing down against) to eject the tongue from the buckle. The locking element and spring in the drawing is shown in phantom in its position in the housing when the tongue is not inserted in the housing.
Since the tongue can only be latched when latching element is supported in the opening therein by the latch spring, the tongue bears against, no false latching of the tongue is possible.
The detent 17 on the sidewall of the housing chamber 14 (also on the opposite parallel sidewall, if desired) keeps the locking element in its lower position (which it has assumed by gravity) when the tongue is so locked in the chamber, because the locking element normally does not have enough force to overcome the friction needed to pass up over the detent.
Pressure of the inserted tongue on the latch spring pushing the locking element upward provides the force necessary to overcome the friction of the detent and allows the locking element to move upward to locking engagement with the tongue. in one embodiment, the buckle and tongue are preferably dye cast and the locking element, the latch spring, the push button and the biasing spring for the button, are made of stainless steel. Because of the simplicity of the buckle design and the extremely small number of parts involved in this buckle, such an inexpensive but highly efficient buckle is possible. However, the method of making the buckle and tongue and the particular material for parts may be varied according to choice of one skilled in the art. The buckle shown may be assembled by loading the latching element and latch means thereinto and then closing the chamber with plate 8.
The operation of the buckle is as follows: The tongue of the buckle is received within the housing chamber and is itself apertured so as to receive a freely moveable element which latches the tongue in position inside the housing. A latch spring inside the housing is contacted by the tongue when it is inserted in the buckle to move the latching element into latching position with relation to the aperture of the tongue. When the tongue is not in place within the housing, the element under the influence of gravity moves the latch spring to a position where it is ready to be contacted by the inserted tongue. The insertion of the tongue moves the latch spring to move the element into locking position. Depression of the push button pushes the element down against the latch spring to force the latch spring to a position where it ejects the tongue, the latching element having been depressed by the push button to a position where it no longer holds the tongue (through its action with the aperture of the tongue) in a position in the buckle.
The invention has been described with relation to a particular embodiment shown in the drawing. However, it is intended that applicants invention be limited by the following claims.
1. Seat belt buckle with apertured tongue received therein for locking said tongue in said buckle, said buckle comprising a housing having a base, the housing forming a chamber, the tongue extending into the housing chamber to be locked therein, freely moveable locking element within said housing chamber for reception in the aperture of the tongue to lock said tongue in said housing chamber, pivotable latch means mounted on the base within said housing chamber, said locking element resting on said latch means, said locking element in contact with said tongue when said tongue is inserted in said housing, said latch means pivoting and moving said locking element into engagement with the aperture of the tongue when the tongue is inserted in position in the housing chamber, and release means associated with said housing for depressing the locking element against the force of the latch means so that the locking element is disengaged from its position in the aperture in the tongue and the latch means ejects the tongue from the chamber.
2. A buckle as claimed in claim 1, said pivotable latch means including two perpendicular arms, one in engagement with the latching element which rests thereon and one in engagement with the tongue when inserted in the housing chamber.
3. A buckle as claimed in claim 2, said housing chamber including detent means mounted thereon for keeping the locking element in a position away from that position which it assumes when the tongue is inserted, movement of the locking element to the lockingposition in engagement with the tongue aperture under the influence of the latch means overcoming the frictional force of the detent means.
4. A buckle as claimed in claim 3, said housing including positioning means within said housing for maintaining the tongue in a position parallel to the base of the buckle.
5. A buckle as claimed in claim 2, said release means being a push button mounted on the buckle on the side opposite the base and having an extension moveable with relation to the push button to extend into the housing chamber and depress the locking element when the push button is depressed.
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