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Publication numberUS3918753 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 11, 1975
Filing dateMar 15, 1974
Priority dateMar 15, 1974
Publication numberUS 3918753 A, US 3918753A, US-A-3918753, US3918753 A, US3918753A
InventorsMccormack Donald H, Svab James E
Original AssigneeNorthcutt Frank Eugene
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic gate latch
US 3918753 A
Abstract
A generally U-shaped latch yoke is pivotally mounted in a latch body which is then secured either to the gate or fence. The latch actuator handle is vertically spaced from the mechanism to render it inoperable by small children. An actuator rod is enclosed in an actuator tube to prevent operation of the mechanism at any point other than the operators handle. The actuator tube is supported from a bracket which permits free vertical movement so that the spring bias on the actuator tube retains the open position of the latch and relatching takes place properly. The spring bias is also utilized to force a latch pin into a bore through the latch body and yoke so that the mechanism automatically latches in the closed position.
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United States Patent McCormack et al.

AUTOMATIC GATE LATCH Inventors: Donald H. McCormack, El Cajon;

James E. Svab, San Diego, both of Calif.

Frank Eugene Northcutt, El Cajon, Calif.

Filed: Mar. 15, 1974 Appl. No.: 451,446

Assignee:

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Weintz 292/216 Primary E.raminerRichard E. Moore Attorney, Agent, or FirmBrown & Martin [57] ABSTRACT A generally U-shaped latch yoke is pivotally mounted in a latch body which is then secured either to the gate or fence. The latch actuator handle is vertically spaced from the mechanism to render it inoperable by small children. An actuator rod is enclosed in an actuator tube to prevent operation of the mechanism at any point other than the operators handle. The actuator tube is supported from a bracket which permits free vertical movement so that the spring bias on the actuator tube retains the open position of the latch and relatching takes place properly. The spring bias is also utilized to force a latch pin into a bore through the latch body and yoke so that the mechanism automatically latches in the closed position.

8 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures I U.S. Patent Nov. 11, 1975 AUTOMATIC GATE LATCH BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Chain link fences are used in many applications where it is. necessary to restrict access to a particular area. Gates are provided to permit authorized access. In those applications where it is necessary to permit an adult to easily enter and leave without the necessity of continually locking and unlocking the gate, there is usually some type of a latch to hold the gate in its closed position.

Latchesdesigned according to the prior art defeated much of the security purpose for the chain link fence in that anyunauthorized person, including small children are normallyable to operate these latches and thereby obtain access to the fenced area. For this reason variousdevices have been proposed which would be incorporated into the fence post or other gate associated structure, whereby the device will not operate from the positionof the latch itself but rather a latch actuator handle located remotely from the gate latch. Frequently the operation of such mechanisms may be circumvented by tampering with the latch associated structure. Injother instances the mechanisms are complex and designed so that they must be incorporated into the fence post as a part of the original construction thereof, thereby increasing the expense and difficulties in installation, Additionally, most prior art designs for remote actuated gate latches are not susceptible to use in an automatic latching installation. Accordingly, the expense and operatingcharacteristics of prior art gate latching devices have prevented them from obtaining wide acceptance.

It is therefore desirable to have a yoke type gate latch that is self latching and that is unlatchable only at a location spaced from the latch body.

SUMMARY or THE INVENTION An exemplary embodiment of the invention overcomes the deficiencies of prior art devices in a device which consistently latches upon closing and which may be operated only at a location spaced from the latch body. The latch body is secured to a vertical support, normally the post of the swinging gate. However, in some applications it may be desirable and the invention is adaptable to mounting on the fixed fence portion. In either case, the latch body and all of the other portions of the invention may be secured on a conventional gate and fence with no modification thereof.

The latch body provides a bearing for mounting a latch yoke for pivoting movement about a vertical axis. Spaced from the yoke mounting bearing there is a vertical here which penetrates the latch body. A latch bore on the generally U-shaped yoke member is aligned with the vertical bore in the latch body when the yoke member is in the gate latched position. A latch pin is received in the lower portion of the vertical bore in the latch body and is spring biased toward engagement with the latch yoke. The latch pin has a tapered end so that it engages and is received in the latch bore in the latch yoke as that bore is moved into alignment with the vertical bore by induced movement of the latch yoke.

Movement of the latch pin is controlled by a latch actuator shafLJThe actuator shaft is connected to the latch pin by a horizontal latch pin support section and then extends vertically upwardly through the latch body and yoke. The bore through the yoke is sized to closely fit around the actuator shaft and thus forms the bearing for pivotal movement of the latch yoke. The actuator shaft terminates at.a position vertically spaced from the latch body to the operator handle it is enclosed by a latch actuator tube. The tube is supported vertically by a bracket connected to the fixed support. The bracket permits free vertical movement of the tube, but secures it horizontally. A coil spring surrounds the latch actuator shaft and biases the operator handle and attached shaft away from the tube. The bias has the effect of having a relative upward bias on the latch pin and a relative downward bias on the latch tube. Since the latch tube rests on the upper surface of the latch yoke it provides a frictional biasing effect and thereby holds the latch yoke in any position in which it is left. Thus the latch yoke is retained in its open position ready to receive the post portion of the fence for the self latching operation. As the fence post engages the U-shaped portion of the latch yoke it causes a pivotal movement of the latch yoke until the latch yoke is in alignment with the gate and the latch bore is in alignment with the latch body. At this position the latch pin with its tapered upper end is biased into the latch bore, thereby holding the latch yoke against further pivotal movement. The latch is released by depressing the operator handle such that the actuator shaft draws the latch pin out of the latch yoke and the gate may then be swung open which causes the yoke to be engaged by the fence post and swung to the gate open position. The position of the yoke is retained so as to again receive the fence post upon gate closing by the spring bias transmitted through the actuator tube to the upper surface of the latch yoke.

It is therefore an object of the invention to provide a new and improved self latching yoke gate latch.

It is another object of the invention to provide a new and improved self latching yoke gate latch which automatically latches in a reliable manner.

It is another object of the invention to provide a new and improved self latching yoke gate latch which provides for remote actuation of the latch.

It is another object of the invention to provide a new and improved self latching yoke gate latch which is not easily operated by young children.

It is another object of the invention to provide a new and improved self latching yoke gate latch which is easily operated by adults without difficult manipulation.

It is another object of the invention to provide a new and improved self latching yoke gate latch that is relatively low in cost.

It is another object of the invention to provide a new and improved self latching yoke gate latch which requires relatively few parts.

It is another object of the invention to provide a new and improved self latching yoke gate latch that may be applied to existing gates.

Other objects and many attendant advantages of the invention will become more apparent upon a reading of the following detailed description together with the drawings in which like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout and in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevation view, with portions cut away, of the gate latch structure in closed position.

FIG. 2 is a view similar to portions of FIG. 1, showing the latch in unlatched position.

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a similar sectional view, but with the latch open.

Referring now to the drawings, there is illustrated a latch body having a latch yoke reception cavity 11. The latch yoke 12 has a generally U-shaped configuration producing extending arms 14. The latch yoke has a pivot bore 15 and a latch bore 18. The bore 18 is spaced from the pivot bore 15 and in the latched position aligns with a vertical bore 16 through the latch body 10. The latch bore 18 and vertical bore 16 are sized to receive a latch pin 20. The pin 20 has a tapered end 22 which aids in gaining access of the pin to the combined bore formed by bores 16 and 18.

The latch pin 20 is carried on a latch actuator shaft 24. Shaft 24 has a horizontal latch pin supporting portion 25 secured at one end thereof and an operators handle 26 secured at the opposite end thereof. Over the portion of the actuator shaft 24 extending vertically above the latch body 10 there is provided an enclosure in the form of actuator tube 28. The upper end of the actuator tube is retained against horizontal movement by a bracket which also serves as a limit stop for the depending skirt portion 27 of actuator handle 26 which is slidable over tube 28. A coil spring 36 surrounds the actuator shaft 24 and is under compression so that it tends to force the operators handle 26 relatively apart from the tube 28. The actuator tube 28 penetrates the upper surface of the actuator body and is engaged on the upper surface of the latch yoke 12 so that a frictional force is held on the latch yoke, tending to resist pivotal movement. The actuator body is secured to a vertical post, such as the gate post 50, through a clamp 32 and serrated clamping portion 34. In the closed and latched position illustrated in FIG. 3, the latch yoke may be locked to the latch body thus preventing latch yoke rotation and thereby preventing the gate post 50 from movement relative to the fence, whereby the gate 52 will be constrained against opening. The latch yoke is locked to the latch body by the application of a conventional padlock from either side of the fence and gate through the holes 38 on the latch body and 40 on the latch yoke.

OPERATION In use, the apparatus according to the invention is secured to a vertical gate post or alternatively may be secured on the fence post. Assuming an installation on gate post 50 as illustrated, the latch body is positioned so as to engage the fence post 46 at approximately the central portion thereof. Clamp 32 is then tightened to hold the latch body in position on the gate post 50. Bracket 30 is secured over the gate post 50 at a location that will enable the bracket to serve as a limit stop on the movement of actuator handle 26. The limit stop effect of the bracket 30 prevents the operator handle from being depressed a sufficient distance to completely withdraw the latch pin 20 from the latch body 10. The limit of the latch pin is sufficient to withdraw it from the latch yoke such as is illustrated in FIG. 2. After attachment as described, the device is ready for operation.

To operate the gate, an adult will merely press the operator handle 26 sufficiently to withdraw the latch pin 20 from the latch bore 18. With the latch pin 20 withdrawn the latch yoke is free to pivot as is illustrated in FIG. 4 whereby the arm 14 will be pivoted out of interfere'nce with the fence post 46 as the gate is pivoted in the desired direction. The force of the spring 36 will 4 cause the actuator tube to bear on the upper surface of the yoke sufficiently to produce enough friction that, the yoke will not move beyond its opened position even though the operator may maintain the operators handle depressed longer than required. Once the operators handle is released the additional frictional effect of the latch pin 20 bearing on the under surface of the latch yoke will further restrain the latch yoke from pivoting until closure is complete. Subsequent to passage through the gate and the release of the gate a spring closure mechanism (not shown) will cause the gate to move toward the closed position. The fence post 46 will engage the latch yoke 12 and begin to pivot it toward its aligned position illustrated in FIG. 4. As the tapered latch pin approaches the latch bore 18 it will be forced vertically by the bias of spring 36 into the latch bore and cause the gate to stop at the aligned position.

The device resists tampering particularly by infants not of sufficient age to climb the fence or to discern the necessity to use the operator handle. These infants will be prevented from access to the mechanism in that the actuator handle 24 is enclosed in the actuator tube 28 said latch body having a vertical bore horizontally spaced from the axis of said bearing for receiving a latch pin, said latch body including mounting means for securing said latch body on a first vertical support, said latch yoke being carried on said latch body for pivotal movement relative thereto on said bearing between gate latched and gate unlatched positions and having a vertical latch bore spaced from said bearing axis,

said latch bore aligning with said vertical bore when' said gate is in said gate latch position, resilient means for biasing said latch pin toward said latch yoke,

a latch pin actuator means for withdrawing said latch pin from said latch bore,

said latch pin actuator means comprising a latch operators handle accessible only at a location vertically spaced from said latch body,

a latch actuator tube enclosing said latch pin actuator means between said latch operator handle and said latch body,

a bracket supporting said latch actuator tube from said first vertical support,

said said latch operators handle including a depending flange arranged to engage the upper surface of said bracket.

2. A self-latching yoke gate latch for releasably latching a hinged gate relative to a fixed fence comprising:

a latch body having a bearing for rotatably mounting a latch yoke on a vertical axis,

said latch body having a vertical bore horizontally spaced from the axis of said bearing for receiving a latch pin,

said latch body including mounting means for securing said latch body on a first vertical support,

said latch yoke being carried on said latch body for pivotal movement relative thereto on said bearing between gate latched and gate unlatched positions and having a vertical latch bore spaced from said bearing axis,

said latch bore aligning with said vertical bore when said gate is in said gate latched position,

resilient means for biasing said latch pin toward said latch yoke,

a latch pin actuator means for withdrawing said latch pin from said latch bore,

said latch pin actuator mean comprising a latch operators handle accessible only at a location vertically spaced from said latch body,

a latch actuator tube enclosing a latch pin actuator shaft connected to said operators handle,

said latch actuator tube received through the upper portion of said latch body coaxial with said bearing and contacting the upper surface of said latch yoke",

and said latch actuator tube is carried on said first vertical support by a bracket which permits free vertical movement of said latch actuator tube.

3. The self-latching yoke gate latch according to claim 2, wherein:

said operators handle includes a depending flange arranged to engage the upper surface of said bracket carrying said latch actuator tube.

4. The selflatching yoke gate latch according to claim 2, wherein:

a coil spring surrounds said latch pin actuator shaft and resiliently biases said operator handle away from said latch actuator tube.

5. The self-latching yoke gate latch according to claim 2, wherein:

said latch pin actuator shaft extends through said yoke and latch body and is connected to a horizontal latch pin support on the undersurface of said latch body.

6. The self-latching yoke gate latch according to claim 5, wherein:

said latch pin extends vertically upwardly from said horizontal pin support.

7. The self-latching yoke gate latch according to claim 6, wherein:

said latch pin has a tapered upper end.

8. The self-latching yoke gate latch according to claim 1, wherein:

said yoke and latch body include cooperating lock bores extending vertically through said body and yoke.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US861406 *Jan 7, 1907Jul 30, 1907Daniel E StetlerGate-latch.
US1412154 *Oct 25, 1920Apr 11, 1922William F WollesenSash fastener
US1429389 *Jul 25, 1921Sep 19, 1922J E Porter CorpGate latch
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4111475 *May 19, 1977Sep 5, 1978Mccormick Donald HughSelf-latching yoke gate latch
US5964548 *Mar 27, 1997Oct 12, 1999Hi-Qual Manufacturing Ltd.Panel connector
US6253490 *Sep 21, 1998Jul 3, 2001Beldray LimitedNursery gate with pivoted latch
US6347819Sep 15, 1999Feb 19, 2002Shawn PlaxcoSafety latching mechanism
US7017958 *Jan 9, 2003Mar 28, 2006Clifford Allen BowersGate latch
US7334624 *Jul 6, 2004Feb 26, 2008Simplicity, Inc.Safety gate
US8690201 *Apr 26, 2012Apr 8, 2014James FrazierGate latch
US8708378 *Jun 10, 2011Apr 29, 2014James FrazierGate latch
US9157259 *Jun 24, 2011Oct 13, 2015Illinois Tool Works Inc.Vehicle hood latch assembly
US20050028947 *Jul 6, 2004Feb 10, 2005Simplicity, Inc.Safety gate
US20120274080 *Jun 10, 2011Nov 1, 2012James FrazierGate latch
US20120274081 *Apr 26, 2012Nov 1, 2012James FrazierGate latch
US20130193694 *Jun 24, 2011Aug 1, 2013Illinois Tool Works, Inc.Vehicle hood latch assembly
WO1996012080A1 *Sep 19, 1995Apr 25, 1996Beldray LimitedImprovements relating to nursery gates
WO2003067004A1 *Feb 7, 2003Aug 14, 2003D & D Group Pty LimitedLatching devices for gates and doors
Classifications
U.S. Classification292/216
International ClassificationE05C3/24, E05C3/00
Cooperative ClassificationE05C3/24
European ClassificationE05C3/24
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 20, 1985AS99Other assignments
Free format text: HICKEY, DAN 982 MAPLEHILL, S.E., GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN 49506; KOOISTRA, CALVIN * MCCORMACK, DONALDH. : 19851122 OTHER CASES: NONE; ASSIGN TO EACH ASSIGNEE 50% INTEREST
Dec 20, 1985ASAssignment
Owner name: HICKEY, DAN 982 MAPLEHILL, S.E., GRAND RAPIDS, MIC
Free format text: ASSIGN TO EACH ASSIGNEE 50% INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MCCORMACK, DONALD H.;REEL/FRAME:004491/0885
Effective date: 19851122
Owner name: KOOISTRA, CALVIN 918 MERITT, S.E., GRAND RAPIDS MI