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Publication numberUS3908418 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 30, 1975
Filing dateFeb 11, 1974
Priority dateFeb 11, 1974
Publication numberUS 3908418 A, US 3908418A, US-A-3908418, US3908418 A, US3908418A
InventorsStoffel John F
Original AssigneeStoffel Seals Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Key holder
US 3908418 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 3,908,418

Stoffel 1 Sept. 30, 1975 [54] KEY HOLDER 3 3l8.354 5/1967 Borisof 150/40 3,464,244 9/1969 Hinkle 70/456 R [75] Inventor: John 3.503.235 3/1970 Field 70/456 R [73] Assignee: Stoffel Seals Corporation,

Tuckahoc, NY. Primary Examiner-Robert L. Wolfe [22] Filed Feb 11 1974 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-A. Yates Dowell, Jr.

21 A I. N .1 441,707 I pp 0 57 ABSTRACT 52 us. Cl 70/456 R- 70/457- 70/458 An apparatus having a body with One of a flexible 51 lm. c|. A476 29/10 retainer fixed herem and the "PWSite end such [58] Field of Search M 70/45 C 456 R 456 B tainer being removably secured to such body for hold- 7O/457 458 1 24/3 ing one or more articles. The body and the retainer are integrally formed of semi-flexible material and [56] References Cited such body includes a pair of side members which can UNTED STATES PATENTS be folded into facing abutting relationship and fastened together against accidental separation. 2,924.088 2/1960 Goldman 70/458 I 2,985,006 5/1961 Du Bois 70/458 8 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures US. Patent Sept. 30,1975 3,908,418

KEY HOLDER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to article holders of various kinds and relates particularly to a key holder on which one or more keys are removably mounted.

2. Description of the Prior Art Heretofore many efforts have been made to provide structures for mounting and retaining keys and other relatively small articles and these prior art structures have included key chains having opposite ends received within a connector, as well as many spring devices such as clips, split rings and the like which could be manipulated or spread apart to insert or remove the keys from the holder.

Some efforts have been made to provide key holders of flexible resilient materials of unitary construction or of two-piece construction which could be snapped together, such as exemplified by the patents US. Pat. Nos. to Olson 2,816,434, Borisof 3,318,354, and Field 3,503,235.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is a key holder of unitary construction which is made of flexible resilient material and which includes a pair of body members connected by integral hinge portions and such body members normally are in abutting relationship with each other and held in interference by intergerence fitting elements. The body members are provided with portions for receiving identifying indicia. One end of a flexible resilient key retainer is integrally connected to one of the body members and the other end of the retainer is removably connected to the same body member and is prevented from separation when the body members are in assembled relationship.

It is an object of the invention to provide a unitary key holder having a body with one end of a key retainer integrally formed therewith and the opposite end of such retainer is easily connected to the body and which is locked thereto when portions of the body are in abutting relationship.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a plan view of the key holder in open position.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary plan view similar to one end of the structure of FIG. 1 with the end of the key retainer in assembled relationship with the body.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With continued reference to the drawing, a body 10 is provided having a front member 11 and a rear member 12 connected together by one or more hinges 13. Each of the members 11 and 12 may be of any desired configuration; however, a generally rectangular configuration having inner and outer faces defined by side walls and end walls has been found satisfactory. As illustrated, the front and rear members are connected together in end-to-end relationship by the hinges 13; however, it is contemplated that such members could be arranged in side-by-side relationship and the hinges could connect adjacent sides. The front and rear members 11 and 12 of the body normally are folded about the hinges 13 so that the inner faces of such members are in abutting relationship with each other, as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 6. The body 10 preferably is formed of flexible and resilient thermoplastic synthetic organic polymeric resin material as an integral molding and such material normally is either transparent or translucent, although it is contemplated that an opaque material could be used. Both polyethylene and polypropylene are examples of materials which have been found satisfactory for molding the body.

In order to connect the front and rear members 11 and 12 in assembled relationship, the front member has a rib 14 extending outwardly from the inner face thereof and such rib is integrally connected to such inner face by a reduced neck 15. As shown best in FIG. 1, the rib 14 is spaced inwardly from the periphery of the front member 11 a short distance from the side and end walls of such member.

The rear member 12 is provided with a groove 16 in the inner face leading to an enlarged internal recess 17 of a configuration to cooperatively receive the rib 14 of the front member. Due to the resilient nature of the material, when the front and rear members 11 and 12 are forced toward each other, the rib 14 is compressed and the groove 16 is enlarged to permit the rib to pass through the groove into the recess 17 where it is held by an interference fit, as illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8.

Each of the front and rear members of -the body 10 is approximately 0.09 inch thick and has recesses defined by shoulders 18 extending inwardly from the inner and outer faces to provide a thin web 19 which is approximately 0.03 inch thick. Although each of the front and rear members 11 and 12 has been illustrated as having inner and outer recesses defined by shoulders 18, it is contemplated that inner recesses only could be provided in such members. Also it is noted that one of such front and rear members could have an inner recess while the other member has none.

With particular reference to FIGS. 6-8, when the front and rear members 1 l and 12 are in assembled relationship, the opposed webs 19 are in spaced parallel relationship and define a hollow central cavity 20 within the body and a central recess 21 in the outer faces of each of such front and rear members. When the material being used is transparent or semitransparent, an indicia bearing card 22 may be located within the cavity 20 in such a manner that the indicia can be readily seen through the web 19 to identify the objects carried by the key holder. When the material being used is opaque, a pair of cards 22 may be adhered or otherwise bonded to the web 19 within the recess 21 in each of the front and rear members 11 and 12. Also, if desired, the material on the interior or exterior of the front and rear members could be provided with a matte finish so that indicia could be applied directly thereto by a conventional writing implement such as a pen, pencil, crayon or the like.

A Key retainer or strap 25 is provided which has one end connected to one end of the front member 11 and the opposite end connected to a head 26. The retainer 25 may have any desired cross-sectional configuration such as round, oval, rectangular or the like, although a generally round cross-section has been found particularly satisfactory. Ideally the retainer 25 is molded as an integral unit with the body However, it is noted that the retainer could be molded separately and then fused or adhered to the body in any desired manner.

The head 26 includes an inner portion 27 having a width of approximately 0.125 inch and a thickness substantially equal to the thickness of the front member of the body. The inner portion 27 is connected by a reduced neck 28 to an outer portion 29 of substantially the same width as the width of the inner portion 27. The neck 28 and the outer portion 29 have a thickness less than the thickness of the inner portion 27 and are connected thereto by a shoulder 30. The head 26 and the retainer 25 are of a size to pass through the opening or hole of a conventional key so that one or more keys can be mounted on the retainer 25.

In order to removably connect the head 26 to the body 10, the front member 1 l is provided with a cutout 31 which extends downwardly from the upper end for a distance below the rib 14 substantially equal to the thickness of the outer portion 29 of the head. The cutout extends entirely through the front member 11; however, the rib 14 remains and spans such cutout for a purpose to be described later. A recess 32, which is complementary to the configuration of the neck and outer portion 28 and 29 of the head, extends inwardly from the inner face of the front member for a distance substantially equal to the thickness of the outer portion 29 of the head so that a thin web 33 remains in alignment with the cutout 31. A pair of opposed projections 34 are provided for receiving the neck 28. The cutout 31, recess 32, and projections 34 are complementary to the inner portion 27, outer portion 29 and neck 28, 'of the head 26 so that when the head 26 and the body 10 are in assembled relationship the inner and outer faces of the front member 11 and the head are substantially flush or coextensive, as illustrated in FIG. 5. When the front and rear members 11 and 12 are connected together with the inner faces thereof in abutting relationship, the rear member 12 abuts the head 26 and prevents the head from being removed from the recess 32.

As illustrated best in FIGS. 5 and 9, it is desirable for the axis of the retainer 25 to be located along the plane of the facing surfaces of the front and rear members 1 1 and 12 to enhance the appearance of the key holder. To do this approximately half of the retainer is molded or otherwise attached to the upper end of the front member 11 and the other half extends a short distance down the inner face of such front member to form a firm connection. The other end of such retainer is similarly molded to the top and face of the head 26. In order to accommodate the portions of the retainer which project inwardly of the front member 11 and the head 26, the rear member 12 is provided with cooperating grooves 35 (FIG. 6) which receive the retainer.

In the operation of the device, the front and rear members 11 and 12 are separated, as illustrated in FIG. 1, and one or more keys or other small articles having openings of a size to receive the head 26 are placed on the retainer 25. The retainer is flexed so that the outer portion 29 of the head 26 is disposed at an angle of approximately to the outer face of the front member 11 and substantially in alignment with the portion of the cutout 31 located below the rib 14 of the front member. The head is inserted through the cutout 31 until the shoulder 30 engages the outer face of the front member 11. The head 26 then is swung upwardly so that the outer portion 29 is received within the recess 32 in the inner face of the front member 11 and the retainer 25 extends upwardly. Thereafter the rear member 12 is swung about the hinges 13 and opposing forces are applied to the front and rear members to cause the rib 14 of the front member to be received within the recess 17 of the rear member so that such members will remain in assembled facing relationship. In this position the rear member 12 bears against the head 26 and prevents removal of the head until after the front and rear members have been separated. In the closed position the portion of the rib 14 which extends across the cutout 31 blocks any lateral force applied to the retainer 25 in the direction of the rear member 12 that would tend to cause accidental separation of the front and rear members.

If the key holder is made of transparent material, the identification card 22 is placed within the cavity 20 before the front and rear members are connected. If the material is opaque, the identification cards are adhered to one or both of the central recesses 21 of the front and rear members either before or after such members are assembled.

In order to remove the key from the retainer 25, the front and rear members 11 and 12 can be separated by applying opposing forces to such members and thereafter the inner portion 27 of the head 26 can be swung downwardly about the shoulder 30 to remove the outer portion 29 from the recess 32 and the head 26 can be withdrawn through the cutout 31 to free the head. When the key is removed, the indicia bearing card likewise is removed and destroyed and a new card is placed in the holder.

The key holder of the present invention has been found to be particularly useful with automobiles owned by rental agencies, as well as by automobile storage and repair establishments where the ignition key of the automobile is separated from the vehicle and kept in a safe place so that the automobile cannot be used by unauthorized persons when it is not being watched.

Although the holder has been described as holding keys on the retainer 25, it is noted that the holder could be used as a luggage tag by attaching the holder to a suitcase or the like in any desired manner, as by passing the retainer through the handle attaching ring.

I claim:

1. An article holder for removably holding at least one article comprising first and second members, hinge means swingably joining said first member to said second member, means for connecting said first and second members together in assembled relationship, a retainer having one end fixed to one of said members, a head fixed to the other end of said retainer, said one member having a recess cooperatively receiving said head, and the other of said members being in abutting relationship with said head when said first and second members are in assembled relationship, whereby said other member maintains said one member and said head in assembled relationship.

2. The structure of claim 1 in which said means for connecting said members together includes a rib carried by one of said members and the other member having a groove cooperatively receiving said rib.

3. The structure of claim 1 in which said first and second members and said retainer are formed as an integral unit of resilient material.

4. The structure of claim 1 in which at least one of said members is provided with means for receiving indicia.

5. The structure of claim 1 in which said members are made of transparent material.

6. The structure of claim 5 in which said members define a hollow central cavity when said members are in assembled relationship, and card means located in said hollow cavity.

7. The structure of claim 1 in which said head includes inner and outer portions connected by a neck portion.

8. A key holder for removably holding at least one key comprising front and rear members connected together by hinge means, said front member having a rib extending outwardly from one side, said rear member having a groove in one side which cooperatively receives the rib of said front member for holding said front and rear members in abutting relationship, a retainer integrally connected at one end to said front member, a head having inner and outer portions connected by a neck portion integrally formed at the other end of said retainer, said front member having a cutout portion and a recess for cooperatively removably receiving said head, and said rear member being in abutting relationship with portions of said head when said front and rear members are in assembled relationship, whereby said rear member prevents separation of said head and said from member as long as said front and rear members'are in assembled relationship.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2924088 *Dec 10, 1957Feb 9, 1960Harold GoldmanOne piece plastic key holder
US2985006 *Sep 9, 1958May 23, 1961Du Bois John HarryRetaining means
US3318354 *Aug 4, 1965May 9, 1967Lectro Stik CompanyKey cases
US3464244 *Nov 17, 1967Sep 2, 1969Hinkle Charles EAutomobile key case
US3503235 *Aug 15, 1968Mar 31, 1970J W Field Co IncSnap apart key holder
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4309883 *Jul 23, 1979Jan 12, 1982Attilio BrentiniRing for attachment to keys or other objects
US4358944 *Sep 17, 1980Nov 16, 1982Stoffel Seals CorporationUnitary key holder
US4870844 *Jun 21, 1988Oct 3, 1989Fashion Design Studio S.R.L.Object separator supported and hooked to a single ring-like component
US4901462 *Sep 18, 1987Feb 20, 1990Wrigley Marilyn FLuggage tag
US5181605 *Oct 25, 1991Jan 26, 1993Pliant Plastics CorporationKey cover
US5197316 *Nov 14, 1990Mar 30, 1993The Black & Decker CorporationLatchable retainer for keys and the like
US5291768 *Apr 10, 1992Mar 8, 1994Robert Rieffel AgPlastic key tag with a key bar
US5974845 *Feb 4, 1999Nov 2, 1999Ceramate Technical Co., Ltd.Key ring
US6408660 *Dec 29, 2000Jun 25, 2002The Sun Lock Company LtdCombined luggage tag and locking system
US6799389 *Jun 28, 2002Oct 5, 2004James R. WolfgangGame tag holder
US7458240 *Jul 24, 2007Dec 2, 2008Jin Tay Industries Co., Ltd.Combination padlock with a name card
US7966853 *Sep 3, 2004Jun 28, 2011“Durable” Hunke & Jochheim GmbH & Co. KGKey carrier
US20040000082 *Jun 28, 2002Jan 1, 2004Wolfgang James R.Game tag holder
US20040148988 *Jan 6, 2004Aug 5, 2004Taylor Mark RaymondLock key with head and blade
US20070022794 *Sep 3, 2004Feb 1, 2007Horst-Werner Maier-HunkeKey carrier
US20070151315 *Dec 29, 2005Jul 5, 2007Umbra Inc.Combination locket and key holder
USD737566 *Jun 19, 2013Sep 1, 2015Brynetta GaddisRetainer device
USD747603 *Jul 23, 2015Jan 19, 2016Brynetta GaddisRetainer device with a jacket
WO1979000703A1 *Mar 1, 1979Sep 20, 1979Brentini AttilioArticle,such as a turnkey,comprising an open ring
U.S. Classification70/456.00R, 70/458, 70/457
International ClassificationA44B15/00
Cooperative ClassificationA44B15/00
European ClassificationA44B15/00