US 3857640 A
An identification means is disclosed for an article such as an engine wherein a member permanently attached to or integral with the article to be identified is broken so as to provide a "breakprint," i.e., a surface identification formed at the point where the member is broken. A plurality of breakprints can be used to identify a single article or a plurality of elements on a vehicle or the like device can each be separately identified. Means can be provided for orienting and classifying the breakprint for matching purposes or for recording purposes. The part broken away may be used as a matching element or key to identify the breakprint, or suitable means for making photographic or other permanent record of the breakprint is also described.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Hilbon [451 Dec. 31, 1974 IDENTIFICATION MEANS FOR AN ARTICLE AND METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR RECORDING SAME  lnventor: Edward Hilbon, 1012 Field Rd.,
Union, NJ. 07083  Filed:
July 19, 1973  Appl. No.: 380,765 I  US. Cl. 356/162  Int. Cl. G09f 3/00  Field of Search 356/162  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,775,794 9/1930 White 356/162 3,102,459
9/1963 Zimberoff 356/162 Primary ExaminerRonald L. Wibert Assistant Examiner-Richard A. Rossenberger Attorney, Agent, or FirmDaniel l-l. Bobis [5 7] ABSTRACT An identification means is disclosed for an article such as an engine wherein a member permanently attached to or integral with the article to be identified is broken I so as to provide a breakprint, Le, a surface identification formed at the point where the member is broken. A plurality of breakprints can be used to identify a single article or a plurality of elements on a vehicle or the like device can each be separately identified.
- Means can be provided for orienting and classifying the breakprint for matching purposes or for recording purposes. The part broken away may be used as a matching element or key to identify the breakprint, or suitable means for making photographic or other permanent record of the breakprint is also described.
22 Claims, 17 Drawing Figures IDENTIFICATION MEANS FOR AN ARTICLE AND METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR RECORDING SAME BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to articles which require permanent identification; more particularly to characteristic surfaces produced on such articles, and even more particularly to identification surfaces created on such articles or a member thereon by breaking off a part of the article or the member.
Additionally, the present invention contemplates the use of such identification surfaces as a means from which a permanent record can be formed as by photographic or other recording apparatus.
It has been common practice to identify valuable articles by permanently marking them with a serial number, which serial number is then used where positive identification is required as for Insurance, Licensing or Transfer of Title. Such articles as automobiles, engines, aircraft, boats, firearms and office machines have usually been identified in this way.
The method has had a serious drawback in that the serial number could be removed and a different number applied to conceal the true identification and ownership of the article. Although some sophisticated metallurgical techniques have been developed to detect the fact that the serial number has been altered, they have not been completely successful.
Other methods of identification have been numerous in the past but all suffer from the disadvantage that the identification can be readily altered without detection.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention overcomes these problems of the prior art by providing an identification means for an article such as an engine, which includes means for forming at least one identification surface on the article having a fixed section, and meansfor randomly breaking a portion of the fixed section to establish an identification surface on the fixed section and means operatively associated with the identification surface to facilitate classifying and orienting the identification surface.
Additionally; the present invention contemplates apparatus for making a permanent record of an identification surface formed on an article including, a support means adapted for mounting at a point adjacent to the identification surface on said article, and means connected to said support means operative to make a permanent record of the identification surface on the article.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a permanent identification means on an article These and other objects will be more apparent from the following described embodiments and drawings in which:
FIG. I is a side view of one means for forming an identification surface on an article according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a top view of the means shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a side view partially. sectioned of the means shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, together with the adjoining portion of the article.
FIG. 4 is an exploded view, partly sectioned, of the means in the preceding figures showing a breakprint or identification surface being formed.
FIG. 5 is a side view of the identification surface formed according to the preceding figures with the protective cover sealed and the protective cover is partly broken away to show the relative position of the means on which the identification surface is formed and a longitudinal groove to aid in the identification surface.
FIG. 6 is a top view taken on line 6-6 of FIG. 5 to show the location of the identification surface formed on the means according to the preceding figures inside the protective cover.
FIG. 7 is an enlarged section of a fragment of the exposed identification surface coated with an adherent transparent film to prevent alteration of the appearance of the surface due to atmospheric or other corrosion.
FIG. 8 is a side view, partly sectioned, of a second embodiment for forming an identification means in accordance with the present invention with an alternate form of locking means. 7
FIG. 9 is a top view of the embodiment of the form of the invention shown in FIG. 8.
FIG. 10 is a sectioned side view of the embodiment in FIG. 8 to show another method of locking the cover by a set screw capped with sealing lead, and a longitudinal groove to aid in establishing identification of the position of the fracture.
FIG. 11 is a top view of the identification means in the second embodiment showing the location of the identification surface in the recess formed in the article.
FIG. 12 is a side view. partly in section, ofa third embodiment of means for forming the identification surface in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 13 is a top view of the form of the invention shown in FIG. 12.
FIGS. 14 and 15 are side views partly in section of the protective cover and the means forming the identification surface as shown in FIG. 12 before the identification surface is formed and after the identification surface is formed and the cover is sealed in position.
FIG. 16 is a top view of the sealed cover assembly shown in FIG. 14. j
FIG. 17 is a side view, partly sectioned, of an adaptor or support frame for a camera and illumination provisions for making a record of the identification by photography.
FIGURE 1 FORM OF IDENTIFICATION MEANS Referring to the drawings, FIGS. I to 4 show an identification means generally designated AS which projects above the surface of the article, a part of which is also generally indicated at l as having a boss 2 formed integral therewith. The article I may be an engine for an automobile, motorcycle, etc., or part of the chassis on a bike, or an airplane, or any other item a cover element 4 which covers and protects an ele-' ment or rod-like member on which an identification surface will be formed. The element orrod-like member projects from the article 1 -or boss 2, as is shown in FIGS. 1 to 4 of the drawings and the rod-like memher and the method of forming the identification surface thereon will now be more fully described.
The element Sas illustrated is an elongated cylindrical member of circular cross section and as will be understood by those skilled in the 'art,-this element may be square, rectangular, oval or other regular or'irregu- 'lar cross section without departing from the scope of the invention.
Element 5 is made of a material such as steel alloy, cast iron, aluminum, other metal or metal alloys, a frangible plastic or ceramic or any other material capable of being broken into at least two parts, a fixed section 5a which will remain permanently attached to the boss 2 or the article 1, and a detachable or removable section 5b which will be severable therefrom as by breaking or other similar technique and will be usable as the matching piece to the identification surface St or breakprint which is left on the upper surface of the fixed portion 5a of the element 5 remaining attached to the article 1. t
The severed or detached .section or portion 5b may be retained, if desired, for future use in proving identification by matching it with the breakprint surface.
The term breakprint" as used herein shall mean that surface which is exposed on the section or portion of the article or element which is permanently affixed to the article. The breakprint may be formed in a single plane horizontal or transverse, or may be a plurality of non-planar surfaces depending on how the breaking pattern is' established.
Additionally, while only one breakprint is illustrated, there could be a plurality or cluster of elements each of which would have a separate identification surface formed thereon or there could be a plurality of breakprints formed at spaced points or on different elements of the same vehicle,'each breakprint or identification surface serving to identify the associated element or the combination of breakprints or identification surfaces being used to identify a single vehicle, motorcycle, engine or article.
Referring further to FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the drawings, the elongated element 5 may be made about 5/16 inch in diameter and approximately inch long. The threaded boss 2 may be inch in diameter with a %l8 N.F. thread, and about inch high. All these dimensions may be varied to suit the physical characteristics of the material of which element 5 of the identification means AS is made or the type of article on which the identification means is used.
Element 5 is shown as including a peripheral break: ing groove 5d located medially along-the element 5 and preferably closer to the threaded boss 2 so that the fixed portion 5a of the element 5 cannot be easily rebroken to obtain a new and different breakprint, and thus falsify the identity of the article 1. This peripheral breaking groove St! is a V-groove about the circumference of element 5 about l/32 inch deep as shown at F IG. 3. It may be square or of any other shape which will provide a reduced cross sectional area on the element 5. Preferably, the groove 5d or other means to reduce the cross sectional area should have a sharp corner at the bottom of the groove to concentrate the breaking stress and cause the'element to break at the desired location, all of which will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art.
Alternatively, the reduced cross sectional area may be produced by one or more notches, or grooves which do not extend completely around the periphery of the element 5. It is also understood, that the element 5 may be broken by bending the removable or detachable section or portion 5b relative to the fixed section or portion 5a, or by an axial tensile pull directly away from the fixed portion 5a, or by any other means without departing from the scope of the invention.
The fracture or identification surface 50 on the fixed portion 5a of the element 5 when viewed from above as in FIG. 6, will show an array of minute randomly formed, generally sharp projections depending on the crystalline or other microstructure of the material. Because of the large number, irregular size, and random distribution of these projections, the identification surface 50 taken as a whole is specific to the particular element or article 1 and in that respect is analogous to a human fingerprint. It is an impossible task to duplicate the surface of breakprint, which thus can serve as positive identification of the article.
It is possible to change'the breakprint or identification surface 5c by filing the same flat and introducing man-made score lines, nicks and punch holes, i.e., a nickprint if it is necessaryas for example, after a vehicle is recovered or where a new record or change in record may require this. This man-made print would, however, likethe brands on animals have to be registered or certified and the identification means again protected as above described and rescaled if such additional nickprint or man-made identification surface is to again function for the objects and purposes as set forth herein.
A record of the breakprint may be made by photographing it under suitable illumination and the photograph may be preserved and identified in a central file where it will be available when identification of the article is to be confirmed. A new photograph of the breakprint can be made at any time after the record is established and compared with the original record in the central file, as is more fully described below.
Referring again to FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4, the breakprint or identification surface 5c is protected from damage or deterioration by means of the cap or cover 4. The cap or cover 4 includes, the usual inner cavity 6 and internal screw threads by which the cover 4 may be detachably connected to the threaded boss 2 on the article l. The cavity 6 is'preferably made large enough to clearthe element 5 before the element is broken. A gasket 7 between the cover 4"and the article I prevents entry of dirt, water andother substances which might alter the appearance of the breakprint or identification surface'Sc.
Groove 8 'in'element 5 will produce a notch in the ,breakprint or identification surface So which serves to help orient the surface when identification is being made. -A plurality of notches shown in phantomized form at 8a and 8b in FIG. 6 show that a plurality of irregularity spaced grooves in the outer surface of element 5 can be used not only for orientation purposes but also for identification thereof for record purposes.
A seal wire 9 as commonly used on electric meters, passes through a hole 10 in the ear 11 on the cover 4, and also through an opening or hole 12 on radial lug 13 on the article 1. The ends of the seal wire 9 are secured by a lead seal 14, to provide assurance that no tampering with the identification surface SC on the element 5 has occurred, all of which is shown at FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings.
As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 6, the cover 4 may be made with its outer portion of hexagonal section, to permit the cover 4 to be tightened in assembled position by means of a common open-end or adjustable wrench.
An additional protection means for the breakprint or identification surface 5c is shown in FIG. 7, comprising an adherent, transparent film 15 of corrosion-resistant material. This material is applied to the breakprint or identification surface 50 immediately after the removable portion 5b of the element 5 is broken from the fixed portion 5a to prevent the appearance of the freshly exposed breakprint or identification surface 50 from being altered by corrosion.
FIGURE 8 FORM OF IDENTIFICATION MEANS The embodiment described above and illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 6 represents a form of the invention in which the element projects above the surface of the article 2.
In a second embodiment, illustrated in FIGS. 8, 9, l0 and II, the identification means generally designated BS may be located in a recess 21 in the article 1.
In this arrangement the element or rod-like member 22 is formed integral or fixedly connected in the recess 21 so that it extends above the surface of the article 1. When the element 22 is broken in the same manner as above described for the projecting type form of the invention, the fixed section or portion 22a will remain in the recess21 and the removable or severable section or portion 22b when removed or severed will leave the breakpri-nt or identification surface 220 at or just below the surface of article 1. This construction, thus, has a relatively low profile and may be advantageous when questions of space or other reasons dictate a need for such arrangement.
Also as shown in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 a slot 26 in the cover 23 is provided to permit tightening the cover with a screwdriver for engagement with threaded means 24 in the recess 21. Other tightening means may be substituted for the screwdriver slot, as will be understood by those skilled in the art. j
A longitudinal groove 30 shown in FIG. 10 extends longitudinally in the peripheral wall of the element 22 across thereduced area of circumferential groove 220 where the element 22 will fracture. Thus, after element 22 is fractured, the longitudinal groove 30 will provide a notch in the periphery of the breakprint or identification surface 22c. The notch formedby the longitudinal groove 30 is used as a point of reference in comparing two records of breakprints. More than one longitudinal groove as shown in phantomized form at 30a and 30b at FIG. 11 may be provided each located preferably at unequal angular spacing around the periphery of the element 22 so that if desired records of breakprints or identification surfaces for various articles may be coded with the angular spacing the notches formed by the longitudinal grooves,'thus facilitating search of the master file to find the original record that matches a record taken to confirm identification.
After the cover is tightened into the recess 21, the cover 23 may be fixed to the article 1 as illustrated in FIG. 8, by drilling a hole 31 through the cover and a bore 31a into the article 1 and then driving a tapered locking pin 32 into the hole 31a. The length of the tapered locking pin 32 will be less than the depth of the hole 310 and will be driven into position so that it cannot be easily removed. The locking pin 32 has a threaded portion 320 which extends above the cover 23. This threaded portion has a release nut 32b and washer 32c thereon which when threaded onto the tapered lock pin will draw it out of the bore 31a. A sealing wire 33 can be applied through the opening 33a in the threaded positions 320 and 33b in a lug 23a on the cover 23 in assembled position.
Alternatively, as illustrated in FIG. 10, a set screw-34 may be driven through a tapped hole 35 in the cover 23 and into the article I. In this arrangement, the length of the set screw 34 will be less than the thickness of the cover 23 and the void remaining above the driven set screw 34 can then be filled with a sealing material 36 such as lead and an identifiying seal imposed in the same manner as above described to provide evidence when the identification surface on element 22 may have been tampered with.
FIGURE 12 FORM OF IDENTIFICATION MEANS In this third embodiment illustrated at FIGS. l2, l3, l4 and 15 of the drawings, the identification means generally designated CS may be located in a recess 37 centered in a depression 38 so that the recess will be concealed by some suitable type of sealing material 39 which can be impressed with a private or public registration mark or seal 40 after the sealing material 39 fills the depression 38.
In this form of the invention, the element or rod-like member 41 is formed integral or fixly connected in the recess 37. The element or rod-like member 41 has a heavy base portion 41a which becomes the fixed portion and a portion of lesser diameter 41b which becomes the removable portion when the identification surface 410 is formed by breaking off the removable portion 41b. 7
Due to the difference in diameter between the base section 41a and the removable section 41b, there will be a sufficient difference in structure to permit the identification surface to be formed at the shoulder 41d in lieu of the formation of a peripheral groove as in the earlier forms of the invention.
Since in this form of the invention, the cover 42 fits in the recess 37 and is covered by the sealing material '39 no sealing means is required to prevent tampering PHOTOGRAPI-IIC RECORD AND APPARATUS THEREFOR As described earlier, photography comprises a simple, inexpensive method of making a record of a breakprint or identification surface and offers the further advantage of ease of filing either in the form of photographic prints or microfilm.
Two breakprint photographs can be easily compared by superimposing projected images optically, as will be understood by those skilled in the art.
A feature of the present invention to facilitate making good photographic breakprint records quickly and inexpensively is illustrated in FIG. 12, in which an adaptor or support member 50 is removably attached at one end by screw threads 52 for engaging the corresponding threads onthe article 1 or 1 as above described. The adaptor or support member 50 isprovided at its opposite end with a camera-mounting flange 54 to support a camera 56 or other optical system suitable for copying as is well known in the art.
Also shown in FIG. 12 is an offset portion 58 on the adaptor for support member 50 which may be provided with an opening 60 at its outer end, or alternatively may include a socket 62 for a light bulb 64 or other lighting device to insure correct illumination of the breakprint or identification surface.
In operation the cover element 4 or 23 is unsealed and removed to disclose the breakprint 40 or 22c of the respective forms of the invention above described. The adaptor or support member 50 is threadably connected in position and the camera affixed to the end remote from the breakprint 40 or 22c. lf adequate light is available through the opening 60 a picture of the breakprint or identification surface may then be taken. If additional light is required a socket 62 and light 64 are attached in the'opening 60 and then the picture of the breakprint is taken.
After the picture is taken the cover element 4 or 23 is replaced and resealed in assembled position.
Thus, one method for recording the breakprint or identification surface for identifying the article is disclosed. Similar techniques can be devisedfor permanent identification records of the breakprint or identification surface associated with a given article.
The identification means AS and BS in the HO. 1 and H6. 8 forms of the present invention are merely illustrative and it is thought clear that the article itself may have a part or element that can be snapped or broken off to produce the required breakprint. The particular forms or shape of the element and the breakprint will be as random as the articles on which this type identification means can be used.
The breakprint or identification surface once established will not only serve to provide a permanent record but further can be utilized with any suitable form of Registry System so that 'Breakprint Registrations similar to license registrations can be issued on which the breakprint can be imprinted.
These Breakprint Registrations like fishing licenses, operators licenses and car licenses can be subject to production and inspection by inspectors similar to game wardens, sheriffs or even police officers once such a Registry System has been established.
Thus, devices in accordance with the present invention can provide a simple and specific plurality of identification patterns which can be formed into a vast system of records or registrations-and this system of records and/or registrations would serve as another expedient for preventing theft of articles utilizing or having this means of identification thereon.
While the foregoing description illustrates various preferred embodiments of apparatus and record systems in accordance with the present invention, it will be appreciated that certain changes and modifications may be made in the structure of these disclosed arrangements without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention and that the same is defined by the claims as hereinafter set forth.
What is claimed is:
1. An identification means for an article such as an engine and the like, comprising:
a. an element formed as an integral part of said article,
b. said element having a fixed portion and a portion removable by random breaking, and
c. means forming an identification surface on said fixed portion specific to each associated article on the area exposed by breaking said removable portion from said fixed portion.
2.. In an identification means as claimed in claim 1 wherein said element includes a transverse section of reduced area'to localize formation of said identification surface.
3. An indentification means as claimed in claim 1 wherein said element includes at least one longitudinal groove in its periphery to aid in orienting and classifying said identification surface.
4. The identification means claimed in claim 1 and further including, removable protection means operatively associated with said element to prevent alteration of said identification surface.
5. An identification means as claimed in claim 1 and further including an adherent transparent corrosionresistant film on said identification surface.
6. An identification 'means as claimed in claim 4 wherein said removable protection means is releasably connected to said article, and means sealing said removable protection means in assembled position on said article.
7. An identification means as claimed in claim 1 and further including,
a. threaded means connected to said article and disposed about said element,
b. removable protection means releasably connected to said threaded means,
c. and sealing means sealing said removable protection means in assembled position on said article after the identification surface is formed to indicate whether said removable protection means has been tampered with.
8. An identification means as claimed in claim 1 wherein the element projects above the surface of the article.
9. An identification means as claimed in claim 8 and further including removable protection means operatively associated with saidelement to prevent alteration of said identification surface.
10. An identification means as claimed in claim 9 wherein said removable protection means is releasably connected to said article, and means sealing said removable protection means to said article.
11. An identification means as claimed in claim 8 and further including,
a. threaded means connected to said article anddisposed about said element,
b. removable protection means releasably connected to said threaded means, and
c. sealing means sealing said removable protection means in assembled position on said article after the identification surface is formed.
12. An identification means as claimed in claim 1 wherein the element is recessed below the surface of 5 after the identification surface is formed to indicate whether said identification surface has been tampered with.
15. An identification means as claimed in claim 12 and further including,
a. threaded means connected to said article and disposed about said element,
b. removable protection means releasably connected to said means connected to said article and disposed threaded means, and
c. sealing means sealing said removable protection means in assembled position on said article after the identification surface is formed.
16. Means for recording identification of an article,
a. an element formed as an integral partof said article,
b. said element having a fixed portion and a portion removable by random breaking,
c. identification means on saidfixed portionspecific to the associated article on the surface exposed by breaking said removable portion from said fixed portion,
d. photographic means adapted to make a photographic record of said identification means, and
e, a frame to support said photographic means in correct relationship to said element.
17. The recording means claimed in claim 16 including, illumination means to provide light obliquely on said identification surface for recording the appearance of said identification surface by said photographic means.
18. The method of recording identification of an article comprising the steps of:
a. forming a breakable element integral with the article having a fixed portion and a portion removable by breaking,
b. breaking off the removable portion of said element to expose an identification surface on the fixed portion,
c. and making a photographic record of said identification surface.
19. The method of recording identification of an article as claimed in claim'l8 including, the step of preserving said photographic record in a master file for comparison with subsequent records of the identification surface on the same article.
20. The method of recording identification of an article as claimed in claim 18 and further including, the step of protecting said identification surface from accidental damage during use of the article.
21. The method of recording identification of an article as claimed in claim 20 and further including, the step of sealing the protecting means after the identifcation surface is formed on the element.
22. Apparatus for recording identification of an article, comprising:
a. an element integral with the article, said element having a fixed portion and a portion removable by random breaking to expose an identification surface on the fixed portion,
b. a frame having attachment means at one end for securing it to the article and a camera mount at the other end,
c. a camera fixed to said frame and coaxial with said element in a position to make a photographic record of said identification surface,
d. a light source mounted on said frame to provide correct illumination of said identification surface for the photographic record, and
e. a protective cover capable of being attached to the article in lieu of said frame to protect said identification surface from accidental damage after the photographic record has been made.
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