US 3917038 A
A suitcase having wheels as a rolling support, the suitcase having at one end two compartments spaced apart and separated from the main compartment of the suitcase, the compartments each having an access opening out through the suitcase wall for a complete wheel assembly housed within each one of the compartments, and being extensible and retractable, the shafts of the wheels being connected through a linkage to the walls of the compartments, and in the other end of the suitcase there is provided a handle which is slidably received in the main compartment of the suitcase.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Fdge et a1. Nov. 4, 1975 MOBILE SUITCASE 3,606,372 9 1971 Browning 190/18 A  Inventors: Helga Helene Foge, Agnetevej 20, FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS figgg g gz ggfiz ggfi 1,099,200 l/1968 United Kingdom 190/18 A Q 9 a Strand both of Denmark Primary Examiner-George E. Lowrance  Filed: Nov. 12, 1973 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Hill, Gross, Simpson, Van  Appl No 414 726 Santen, Steadman, Chiara & Simpson  Foreign Application Priority Data  ABS CT 13 1972 D e n m a rk 5631/72 A suitcase having wheels as a rolling support, the suit- Apr 6 1 Denmark 1872/73 case having at one end two compartments spaced apart and separated from the main compartment of  US CL 190/18 A the suitcase, the compartments each having an access  Int. CL ..A45c 5/14 p g out through the Suitcase wall for a complete  Field of 280/37, wheel assembly housed within each one of the com- 16/18 partments, and being extensible and retractable, the shafts of the wheels being connected through a linkage 11s of the com artments and in the other end  References Cited to the p of the suitcase there 18 prov1ded a handle which 18 slid- 8 02 UNITED STATES PATENTS ably received in the main compartment of the suit- 54,6 5/1907 Peterson 190/18 A I 2,510,754 6/1950 Norlin..... 190/18 A case 2,581,417 1/1952 Jones 190/18 A 11 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures US. Patent Nov.4, 1975 Sheetlof.4 I 3,917,038
US. Patent N0v.4, 1975 Sheet 2 of4 3,917,038
U.S. Patent N v.4, 1975 She'et3 of4 3,917,038
MOBILE SUITCASE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to suitcases, and more particularly to a suitcase having wheels as a rolling support.
2. Prior Art Various types of such mobile suitcases are known, since a steadily increasing desire to travel and increasing travel activity have arisen the problem of facilitating the transportation of suitcases by individuals, which has resulted in various solutions of said problem. However, the solutions proposed so far have not found the expected and desired acceptance, as the mechanisms have been too difficult to use and handle or too bulky, requiring a large area of the suitcase.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with this invention, the suitcase has at one end two compartments spaced apart and separated from the main compartment of the suitcase. The compartments have each an access opening out through the suitcase wall for a complete wheel assembly housed within each one of the compartments, the wheel assemblies being extensible and retractable, the shafts of the wheels being connected through a fork to walls of the compartments. In the other end of the suitcase, there is provided a handle slidably received in the main compartment of the suitcase.
It is a primary purpose of the present invention to provide a mobile suitcase of the type mentioned, which overcomes the inconveniences and drawbacks of previous models.
Another purpose of this invention is to provide a mobile suitcase, in which the mechanism for extending and retracting the wheel assemblies and for bringing these in a position for convenient transportation of the suitcase is far easier to operate and more dependable than any suitcase known in the art.
Still another purpose is to provide a suitcase with wheel assemblies, which in non-active position are placed within the suitcase compartment occupying a minimum of space, and at the same time the operative member is protruding very little from the suitcase wall.
The above-mentioned purposes are achieved by a mobile suitcase according to the invention in which the arms of said handle are connected to the wheel assemblies in such a way that extraction of the handle causes said forks with the wheel shafts to pivot, so that the wheels are placed in the position supporting the suitcase, and that releasable locking means are provided for locking the arms of the handle and their connection means as well as the forks of the wheel shafts in the desired positions.
Thereby, an extremely simple maneuvering of the wheel assemblies out of and back into the mentioned compartments is achieved.
According to the invention the wheel shafts are located each in its individual fork, which outside the circumference of the wheel is provided with two bearing bores placed along the circumference at a distance from each other. One of said bores receives a shaft pin secured in the walls of said compartment, and the other one has a pin rotatably connected to the coupling means in such a way that the straight movement of the handle is transformed into a pivoting movement of the forks holding the wheels.
The bearing bores in each fork are placed so that the wheel, when the centerline of the two bores coincides with the direction of action to the linkage from the coupling means of the handle, will be in that position where the periphery of the wheels abut the ground, when the end of the suitcase is placed on the ground.
This greatly facilitates the manipulation of the wheel assemblies, as the wheels can pivot without any hindrances, for instance owing to the weight of the suitcase.
In a specific embodiment of the invention, the arms of the handle are made of tubes of quadrangular, preferably square cross section, which are slidably arranged in a track formed by a U-shaped moulding attached to the suitcase bottom wall, and furthermore the coupling means is a U-shaped moulding slidably received inside said tubes, but which may be locked to the tube by locking means.
The locking means maybe pins fixed to flat springs, and the arresting of the wheel assembly is effected by a similar locking spring being fixed inside on the one leg of the linkage between the bearing fork of the wheel and the coupling means of the handle, so that the pin goes through a hole in said leg and through one of two holes in the sidewalls of the compartment and of the suitcase, while the locking of the handle is effected by placing the locking spring in the U-shaped coupling means, so that the pin goes through a hole in the coupling means and out through one of two or more holes in the arm of the handle.
This construction of the locking means enables an easy operation of the locking means from outside.
In another embodiment of the invention the arresting means for locking the wheel assemblies is a resilient bracket attached to the fork of the wheel, said bracket being joggled in such a way that the fork-shaped coupling means in operative position of the wheel assembly rests in a groove, which prevents swinging back of the wheel assemblies.
In a preferred embodiment of the mobile suitcase according to the invention, the bifurcated part of the linkage between the handle and the fork of the wheel encloses the fork, and at this end each leg of the bifurcated part is provided with. a hole oblong in the longitudinal direction, said hole receiving the shaft operating the wheel, and further with a groove at the end of the leg forming a longitudinal notch in which the pivot shaft of the fork engages when the wheel is in driving position, as the bifurcated part of the linkage is actuated against the fork of the wheel by a suitably placed spring.
Thus the locking of the wheel forks is easily released by pulling the handle linked to the fork of the wheel, which will cause the pivot shaft of the wheel to slide out of the notches, and thereby cause the wheels to pivot back into the suitcase compartment.
In order to facilitate this pivoting back of the fork, the lower one of the prongs adjacent to the groove at the end of the bifurcated parts is shortened in relation to the other.
Furthermore, to prevent unwanted retraction of the wheels, should they bump against an obstacle such as a curbing, the notch and the hole at each leg of the linkage are provided with small cuts at right angles to the longitudinal direction of the notch and the hole respectively. When the wheels are extended foruse, the two shafts will enter their respective cuts and lock the legs of the bifurcated linkage such that these cannot get displaced in relation to the mentioned shafts.
Many other advantages, features and additional objects of the present invention will become manifest to those versed in the art upon making reference to the detailed description and the accompanying sheets of drawings in which preferred structural embodiments incorporating the principles of the present invention are shown by way of illustrative example.
FIGS. 1 to 3 show the suitcase according to the invention, viewed from different angles and in different positions;
.FIG. 4 shows section of part of the suitcase, so that the mechanism for operating the wheel assembly can be seen;
FIG. 5 is a section of the mechanism of FIG. 4 taken along the line VV;
FIG. 6 is a section taken along the line VI-VI of FIG. 4; I
FIG. 7 is another embodiment of the mechanism shown in FIG. 4;
FIG. 8 is a section of the mechanism shown in FIG. 7 through the line VIIIVIII;
FIG. 9 is a view from the right side of the wheel fork of FIG. 7
FIG. 10 shows the wheel arrangement in another embodiment of the mobile suitcase according to the invention, partly in section; and
FIG. 11 is a section along the line XIXI of FIG. 10.
As shown On The Drawings FIG. 1 shows a suitcase assembly according to the invention, which externally appears as a conventional suitcase l with a usual handle 2. At the bottom wall of the suitcase at eachside there is a compartment 3 which is separated from the remaining part of the suitcase compartment by walls and which contains a wheel assembly movable out of the compartment. In FIG. 2, the suitcase 1 is placed on the one end surface, and a handle 5 with a pair of arms 6 is drawn out from the suitcase, whereby a pair of wheel assemblies 4 by means of the coupling between the arms 6 of the handle and the wheels 4 are pivoted to operating position. When transporting the suitcase 1, it is placed in the position shown in FIG. 3 by grippingthe handle 5. In FIG. 3 it is also shown how the handle 5 can be pulled out further from the suitcase for a more convenient driving position or for the placing of further luggage thereon.
In FIGS. 4 and 5 the maneuvering means for the wheel assemblies are shown. The wheel 4 is located on a shaft pin 7, which rests in bearing bores in a fork 8. The fork 8 formed as a bell crank has outside the circumference of the wheel further two sets of bearing bores, of which the one set receives another shaft pin 9, secured in opposite placed sidewalls in the compartment 3. In the other bore is likewise placed a shaft pin 10, to which a bifurcated linkage 11 is pivotably secured. The other end of the linkage 11 is by means of a pin 12 pivotably connected to a U-shaped coupling member 13 slidably connected to the handle arm 6, the
arm 6 in this embodiment being a tube of a square cross section, which can be slidably moved in a U-shaped guide rail 14 attached to the suitcase wall, as shown in FIG. 6. The coupling member 13 can be locked to the arm 6 by means of a pin 15 placed on a flat spring 16 attached at the inside of the coupling part 13, said pin going through a hole in the coupling part and a hole 17 in the arm 6 of the handle. At the inside of the bifurcated linkage 11 a similar flat spring 18 with a pin 19 is arranged, the pin 19 going through a hole in the linkage and a hole 10 or 21 in the side wall of both the compartment 3 and the suitcase l. The function of the two holes 20 and 21 is to arrest the wheel assembly 4 in the retracted and extended positions respectively. On the suitcase wall a supporting block 22 is secured for limiting the pivoting of the wheel assembly.
The mode of operation of the above mentioned construction is as follows: When the wheel assemblies 4 are retracted into the compartments 3, as indicated in FIG. 4 by dotted lines, the handle 5 is substantially flush with the sidewall of the suitcase, so that it practically causes no inconvenience when stacking the suitcase, for instance in the luggage compartment of an airplane. When the suitcase is to be transported by a person who wishes to bring the wheel assemblies into operation, the suitcase is placed on the end which is adjacent to the openings of the compartments 3, and the pins 19 are pushed to release the wheel assemblies 4, whereupon the handle 5 is drawn out to the position shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. The pulling force is transmitted to the coupling part 13 and the linkage 11 through the pin 15 and the hole 17 in the arm 6 of the handle, wherebythe wheel fork 8 rotates around theshaft pin 9in such a way that the wheel assembly 4 pivots through theppening of the compartment 3. When the .centerline of the two shaft pins 9 and 10 coincideswith the direction of action of the linkage 11, the top part of the fork 8 abuts against the supporting block 22, and the resilient effect of the flat spring 18 causes the pin 19 to enter the hole 21 locking the wheel assembly in proper position for rolling transport of the suitcase. Should it be desired that the handle be extended. further from the suitcase, for instance to obtain a more convenient driving position, the two pins 15 are pressed into the handle arms 6, so that the arms 6 are released from the coupling part 13, whereupon the handle 5 is pulled until the pin 15 enters the hole 23 in-the arm 6, as there may be one or more such holes in the tube of the arm at different distances from the handle 5.
When it is desired to retract the wheel assemblies the pins 19 are pushed anew, so that the fork 8 pivots freely again, whereupon the handle 5 is pressed toward the suitcase wall. The first part of the movement is helped by the weight of the suitcase until the linkage connection has passedthe dead point at the shaft 10. When the wheel assembly is in the position shown by the dotted lines the pin 19 will go through hole 20 and arrest the wheel assembly in this position.
In FIGS. 7, 8 and 9 show a different embodiment of the suitcase according to the invention. The principal difference from the above described embodiment is in the arresting mechanisms, and therefore most of the parts are designated by the same reference numerals. .Those component parts which are different from corresponding parts are designated by the same reference numeral, but followed by an a.
the bracket 24 so that.w;hen the wheel assembly 4 is in driving position, the linkage 11a has passed overthe formed portion and is res tingin a groove 26 of the bracket 24. When the wheel assemblies 4: are to heretracted, the bracket 24 is pressed thereby releasing the linkage 11a to move freely past the'formed portion.
Also the locking mechanism between the arms 6 of the handle and the coupling member 13 is ofa different construction as the pin and the spring 16 are replaced by a ball 15a and a coil spring 160 which presses the ball 15a into the hole 17 for locking.
The suitcase 1 shown in FIGS. 10 and 11 has a builtin compartment 3 for the wheels 4 in both sides. The wheels 4 are operated by means of the handle 5, the arms 6 of which are connected by a linkage to the wheel fork 8. This fork 8 is pivotably embedded around a fixed shaft 9, while another shaft 10 embedded only in the fork 8 is the seat for the leg 11b of the linkage, the last-mentioned leg being pivotably connected to the arm 6 of the handle by a third shaft 121;.
The leg 11b of the linkage is slidably embedded in an oblong hole 27, extending in the longitudinal direction of the fork. Furthermore, at the end of the leg 11b there is an open notch 28, and the distance between the hole 27 and the notch 28 is such that the shaft 9 engages the notch 28 when the wheel is in the extended position, as shown on the drawing, and with the linkage displaced against the end wall of the suitcase. One prong 29 of a pair of prongs appearing at the groove is shortened in relation to the other. The linkage is held displaced against the end wall by a spring 30, one end of which encircles the shaft 1212, while the other end of the spring 30 is secured to a lug 31 fastened to the bottom of the suitcase.
On account of the spring 30, the wheel 4 in extended position will be held in this position because the shaft 9 is and remains engaged in the notch 28. If the wheels 4 are not to be used any longer and it is desired that these should be retracted into the compartments 3, the handle 5 is pulled outwardly, by which the legs 11b are drawn against the spring force, and because of the oblong hole 27 the leg 11b is displaced until the shaft 10 abuts against the end of the hole. When the shaft 9 has passed the end of the short prong 29 at the notch 28, the weight of the suitcase on the wheel 4 will make the fork 8 press the shaft upwards, so that the notch 28 slides away from the shaft 9. The pull in the spring 30 will then make the leg 11b and the fork 8 with the wheel 4 move to the position shown with dotted lines. Thus, not only the extension of the wheels, but also their retraction takes place by operation of the handle lf the suitcase is moved with the wheels 4 in loadbearing position, the wheels may meet an obstacle such as a curbing. In order to avoid possible retraction of the wheels 4, small cuts or radial enlargements 32 and 33 are provided in the slot or hole 27 and the notch 28 respectively, and the shafts 9 and 10 can rest or be trapped in these cuts. Should the wheels 4 engage an obstacle, the fork 8 will pivot around the shaft 9, so that the two shafts 9 and 10 are pressed into the mentioned cuts 32 and 33, whereby the leg 11b is locked in relation to the shafts, and displacement to release position can be avoided.
What I claim is: l. A suitcase assembly comprising:
., a. :a. lsuitcase.=.having' wallsdefining a main compartt ment and pair ofwheel compartments spaced apart byesaid main compartmenqeach wheel compartmentrhaying an accessopening in a wall of the suitcase through which awheel may extend; a pair of pivotable wheel supporting forks on each of whic h a=wheel is rotatably carried, each fork having a-.first:pivotepiniradially.,remote from the wheel and secured to said suitcase in one of said spaced wheel compartments by which the fork is pivotable, and a second pivot pin radially remote from the wheel by which the fork is actuated, the axes of said pivot pins lying along a line substantially perpendicular to the radius of the wheel;
c. a handle having a pair of arms slidably disposed in said suitcase;
d. a pair of linkages respectively connecting said arms to said second pivot pins; and
e. first releasable locking means for selectably positively locking said forks in an extended position.
2. A suitcase assembly according to claim 1 in which said first releasable locking means is also adapted to selectably positively lock said forks in a retracted position.
3. A suitcase assembly according to claim 1 in which said arms telescope with a coupling portion of said linkages, and second releasable locking means for locking at least one of said arms to said portion of one of said linkages.
4. A suitcase assembly according to claim 1 in which said pivot pins are so arranged that when the axes of said pivot pins coincide with the direction of force from said handle, the adjacent end of the suitcase coincides with a tangent to the extended wheel.
5. A suitcase assembly according to claim 3 in which said arms have a rectangular cross-section, there being a pair of tracks of U-shaped cross-section secured to a wall of said suitcase and telescopically receiving said arms, and said portion of said one linkage being of U- shaped cross-section disposed within said arm.
6. A suitcase assembly according to claim 3 in which said second locking means comprises a spring blade secured at one end to said coupling portion of said one linkage, and a lock pin secured to said spring blade remotely from said one end of said spring blade and projecting through a hole in said coupling portion and receivable into at least one hole in said one arm.
7. A suitcase assembly according to claim 1 in which said first locking means comprises a spring blade secured at one end to an inside portion of said linkage, and a lock pin secured to said spring blade remotely from said one end of said spring blade and projecting through a hole in said portion of said linkage into at least one hole in the wall of said suitcase.
8. A suitcase assembly according to claim 1 in which said first locking means comprises a resilient bracket secured to at least one of said forks and having a groove therein, a portion of one of said linkages being receivable therein when said one fork is in the extended position.
9. A suitcase assembly according to claim 1 in which said first locking means comprises:
a. first slot means disposed in one of said linkages through which said second pivot pin projects; b. second slot means in said one linkage defining a notch receptive of said first pivot pin;
tate engagement with and disengagement from said first pivot pin.
11. A suitcase assembly according to claim 9 in which said first and second slot means are enlarged transyersely to said direction at corresponding ends thereof.