|Publication number||USRE38832 E1|
|Application number||US 10/292,575|
|Publication date||Oct 18, 2005|
|Filing date||Nov 12, 2002|
|Priority date||Jan 11, 1999|
|Also published as||US6145356|
|Publication number||10292575, 292575, US RE38832 E1, US RE38832E1, US-E1-RE38832, USRE38832 E1, USRE38832E1|
|Inventors||Randy L. Thwing|
|Original Assignee||Thwing Randy L|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (29), Non-Patent Citations (6), Referenced by (8), Classifications (23), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention generally relates to the field of key operated locks. More particularly, the present invention is directed to locks, and subassemblies therefor, which can be converted between key-retaining and non-key-retaining functions. Accordingly, the general objects of the present invention are to provide novel and improved methods and apparatus of such character.
2. Description of the Related Art
Key operated locks are broadly classified into two mutually exclusive lock types. Locks of the first type are known as key-retaining locks because in such locks the lock mechanism prevents the key from being removed from the lock while the lock is in an unlocked condition. Locks of the second type are known as non-key-retaining locks because in such locks the lock mechanism permits the key to be removed from the lock while the lock is in the unlocked condition. Most conventional locks only offer one of these lock functions and, hence, are known as single-function locks.
There are practical, functional and security advantages to both types of single-function locks. Since most manufacturers produce single-function locks, lock purchasers normally need to first determine the lock function which meets their particular requirements, and then purchase the single-function lock of the appropriate type. Therefore, locksmiths and other lock suppliers are typically required to stock inventories of both key-retaining and non-key-retaining locks in order to satisfy the needs of all potential lock purchasers.
In order to eliminate the need for locksmiths and other lock suppliers to stock unnecessarily large inventories of both key-retaining locks and nonkey-retaining locks, dual-function locks have been developed. Some exceptionally innovative dual-function padlocks are shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,174,136. Other highly similar dual-function padlocks are shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,363,678. The contents of these two patents are hereby incorporated by reference. Both of these patents represent examples of padlocks which can be readily converted between key-retaining and non-key-retaining functions by the introduction and/or disposal of components between the rotator bolt and the actuator of a lock cylinder. Thus, these locks offer the ability for the purchaser to select the desired lock function at the time of installation or later.
However, none of the dual-function padlocks of the related art can be converted between key-retaining and non-key-retaining functions (i.e., inter1 function lock conversion) without the introduction of and/or the disposal of additional lock components.
It is, accordingly, an object of the present invention to provide an improved dual-function lock which may be readily converted between key retaining and non-key-retaining lock functions without the introduction of and/or disposal of additional lock components.
It is another object of the present invention to provide improved dual-function lock sub-assemblies which can be used in dual-function locks to facilitate more efficient inter-function lock conversion.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide dual-function locks sub-assemblies which can be used to retrofit single-function locks to thereby permit these locks to achieve inter-function lock conversion.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide improved dual-function locks which offer an optimal combination of (1) simplicity; (2) reliability; (3) economy; and (4) versatility.
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention are provided in one embodiment in the form of an axis-defining lock subassembly comprising first and second axially aligned rotator members having confronting first end faces and oppositely facing second end faces. At least one lost-motion recess and at least one anchor recess are disposed in one of the confronting end faces such that these recesses are radially offset from the rotation axis. At least one recess-engaging member extends from the other of the confronting end faces. This recess-engaging member cooperates with the recesses to permit lock function selection by placing the recess-engaging member into a particular recess. Specifically, the recess-engaging member can be placed into the anchor recess to prevent relative rotation between the first and second rotator members and to thereby select the key-retaining function. In order to select the non-key-retaining function, the recess-engaging member can be placed into the elongated lost-motion recess, thereby permitting limited motion between the first and second rotator members.
In embodiments utilizing a set-screw, inter-function conversion can be achieved by advancing or retracting the set-screw and by rotating the first and second rotator members relative to one another. In embodiments where the recess-engaging member is a fixed protrusion, the first and second rotator members can be axially displaced from one another, rotated a predetermined distance, and replaced adjacent one another once again. Still further embodiments utilize a spring-loaded pin which can be depressed while rotating the first and second rotator members relative to one another and then released.
In some alternative embodiments of the present invention, the dual-function lock sub-assembly comprises a unitary rotator bolt and a companion actuator. The rotator bolt has a release-mechanism-engaging portion at one end thereof and an actuator-engaging portion at an opposite end thereof. While a first section of the actuator-engaging portion prevents lost-motion between the rotator bolt and a companion actuator, a second section permits limited lost-motion. Thus, in such embodiments, the lock function can be selectively determined by placing the companion actuator into the desired first or second section of the actuator-engaging portion.
In still other embodiments of the present invention, the dual-function lock sub-assembly includes a rotator bolt of one of the types described above and an integral actuator which can be received by a lock cylinder. In this manner, the invention is compatible with an even wider variety of locks and lock cylinders.
Another important feature of the present invention lies in the formation of radial cuts in multiple predetermined locations of the rotator bolt in order to permit the rotator bolt to cooperate with a still wider variety of locks and/or cylinders. For example, if the rotator bolt of the present invention is utilized with a padlock of the type having two oppositely disposed locking balls, forming four radial recesses in the rotator bolt permits a dual-function rotator bolt to accommodate vertical and horizontal tailpieces alike. Other embodiments of the present invention can accommodate both horizontal and vertical tailpieces with fewer radial cuts.
Still other embodiments are compatible with other styles of lock release mechanisms.
Still another advantage of the present invention is that the inventive lock sub-assembly can be utilized to easily retrofit a variety of locks presently in inventory or actual use. Specifically, in accordance with the present invention, dual-function rotator bolts can be crafted to the dimensions of conventional rotator bolts, thereby permitting replacement of conventional rotator bolts with dual-function rotator bolts. Such substitution, thus, offers still greater versatility in the lock art.
Finally, other embodiments of the present invention encompass dual5 function locks which utilize the inventive lock sub-assemblies briefly noted above. While such locks are preferably dual-function padlocks, the present invention is not so limited. In particular, the present invention offers significant advantages when utilized in locks with removable cylinder mechanisms whether they be used in door knobs or padlocks. Similarly, specialized cylinder configurations can also be accommodated with the present invention.
Numerous other advantages and features of the present invention will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art from the following detailed description of the invention, from the claims, and from the accompanying drawings.
The preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described below with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein like numerals represent like structures and wherein:
Dual-function locks, and lock sub-assemblies therefor, in accordance with the preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described with joint reference to the Figures. Throughout this description, however, it is to be understood that, to facilitate understanding of the drawings, only enough structure of the apparatus has been illustrated to enable one skilled in the art to readily understand the underlying principles and concepts of the invention.
As shown in
First rotator member 24 comprises confronting end face 44 and second end face 45 from which actuator-engaging protrusions 36a-36d extend. As shown, protrusions 36a-36d preferably extend in a direction which is at least substantially parallel to the rotation axis and are located in four positions arcuately located around the rotation axis at 90° intervals.
Protrusions 36a-36d, thus, are particularly well-suited to engage both horizontal and vertical actuators such that they remain stationary relative to protrusions 36a-36d. Naturally, protrusions 36a-36d could, alternatively, be oriented in many other ways to engage tailpieces of any orientation without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
First member 24 also preferably includes an internally threaded bore 32 which is offset from the rotation axis and into which an externally threaded screw (the preferred form of recess-engaging member 34) may be threaded. This arrangement permits recess-engaging member 34 to be accessed from the bottom of a padlock with an appropriate tool for adjustment of the axial position of member 34. It is also possible to rearrange the various elements of this embodiment so that the axial position of member 34 may be adjusted through an aperture through padlock body 12.
Second rotator member 22 is preferably a generally cylindrical member with diametrically opposed radial cuts 26 for engagement with and operational control over release-mechanism 16. As best seen in
When sub-assembly 20 is installed in padlock 10, a second end face 43 of member 22 abuts against an end wall of padlock body 12 (FIG. 1a). As shown in
With primary reference now to
Sub-assembly 20 can also be configured to prevent lost-motion between first and second members 24 and 22 by aligning bore 32 with recess 30 and axially advancing recess-engaging member 34 into the lower depths of recess 30 as shown in
One small variation of the embodiment of
Another preferred embodiment of a dual-function lock sub-assembly is illustrated in
As shown in
Accordingly, first rotator member 24a is resiliently biased against first rotator member 22a. First and second members 24a and 22a can, however, be separated to a limited extent by simply pulling them away from one another along the rotation axis.
Sub-assembly 20a also differs from sub-assembly 20 in the particular configuration of recesses 54 and 56 and of a cooperating recess-engaging member 52 (preferably an immovable protrusion). As shown in
When recess-engaging member 52 is disposed within anchor recess 54, lost-motion between first and second members 24a and 22a is prevented and sub-assembly 20a can be used in a key-retaining lock. By contrast, when member 52 is received within elongated recess 56, lost motion about the rotation axis is possible. Thus, sub-assembly 20a can be utilized in a non-key-retaining lock. In order to convert sub-assembly 22a between these lock functions, a user merely needs to axially separate first and second members 24a and 22a, rotate these members relative to one another by the desired amount and permit members 24a and 22a to retract toward one another. As with the embodiment of
As best shown in
In use, rotator bolt 20b can be disposed within a padlock such as lock 10 such that actuator 15 is trapped in a first section between adjacent protrusions 36a and 36b or between protrusions 36b and 36c. Since lost-motion is not possible in such a configuration, actuator 15 is held stationary relative to rotator member 24b.
Recesses 64 and 66 and recess-engaging mechanism 58, 60 and 62 have also been modified in this alternative embodiment. As best shown in
The recess-engaging mechanism of the embodiment of
Naturally, when pin 62 is received within recess 64, lock sub-assembly 20b is configured to perform a key-retaining function. By contrast, when pin 62 is received within recess 66, lock sub-assembly 20b is configured to perform a non-key-retaining function. As with the earlier embodiments described above, inter-function conversion procedure can be repeated as desired.
Still another dual-function padlock embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 4a. As indicated by the use of like reference numerals, padlock 10a of
Rotator bolt 20c is best illustrated in FIG. 4b. As shown therein, rotator bolt 20c comprises a structure 26 for engaging release-mechanism 16 of padlock 10a at a second axial end 43c thereof. Rotator bolt 20c also comprises an actuator-engaging portion 45c at an opposite axial end which includes three protrusions 36a, 36c and 36d disposed at three of four positions arcuately located about the axis at 90° intervals. As shown, these protrusions preferably extend substantially parallel to the rotation axis.
In use, the rotator bolt 20c can be disposed within a padlock such as lock 10a such that actuator 15a is trapped in a first section between adjacent protrusions 36a and 36d. Since lost-motion is not possible in such a configuration, padlock 10a, as thus configured, operates in a key-retaining mode. Alternatively, rotator bolt 20c can be rotated 180° from the orientation shown in
Yet another preferred dual-function padlock of the present invention is shown in FIG. 5a. As indicated by the use of like reference numerals, much of padlock 10b (
Still another preferred dual-function padlock of the present invention is shown in
Key-retaining operation (i.e., with no lost-motion) of padlock 1Oc can be effectuated by orienting actuator 15b relative to rotator bolt 20e such that, upon insertion of cylinder 13 into padlock body 12, at least a part of protrusion 36a′ is snugly received within recess 73 (i.e., by placing actuator 15b into the first section). By contrast, non-key-retaining operation of padlock 10c can be effectuated by orienting tailpiece 15b relative to rotator bolt 20e such that tailpiece 15b lies to one side of protrusion 36a′ (i.e., by placing actuator 15b into the second section).
Thus, lost-motion between rotator bolt 20e and actuator 15b is provided so that padlock 10c can operate in the non-key-retaining mode. Naturally, repeated inter-function conversion can be effectuated by reversing and/or repeating the processes described above.
One variation of the embodiment of
Rotator bolt 20f of
Yet another variation of the embodiment of
Turning now to
Second rotator member 22c preferably includes a release-mechanism-engaging portion 26a comprising radial cuts through an inner section 76 and larger end walls 74. Second member 22c also includes a confronting end face 42c and an oppositely disposed second end 43e. An optional axial stud 88 can also be provided along the rotation axis of second member 22c. Similarly, a recess-engaging protrusion 90 is provided at a radial distance from the rotation axis. Protrusion 90 is designed for engagement with complementary recesses 92 and 94 disposed on confronting end face 44c of first rotator member 24c. An aperture 78, or any other suitable affixation means, can be provided on wall 74 of second member 22c in order to fixedly receive one end of spring 19a. The other end of spring 19a will be affixed to the lock within which sub-assembly 20h is used and provides for automatic locking of the lock. As shown in
First rotator member 24c includes an enlarged diameter portion 82 at the actuator-engaging portion 45g and a reduced diameter portion 80 near confronting end face 44c. Reduced diameter portion 80 permits first member 24c to receive spring 19a without increasing the overall diameter of sub-assembly 20h and without interfering with actuator-engaging portion 45g. Confronting end face 44c includes an elongated lost-motion recess 92 and an arcuately spaced anchor recess 94 which are designed for selective engagement with recess-engaging member 90. As an optional feature of sub-assembly 20h, arcuate recess 92 traverses less than 90°, but still permits sufficient rotation of second rotator member 22c during use to lock and unlock a lock. However, other suitable arrangements of recesses 92 and 94 (such as permitting recess 92 to traverse 90° and to locate anchor recess 94 approximately 90° from one end of recess 92) are also within the scope of the invention. An optional bore 86 extends through first member 24c along the rotation axis and cooperates with member 88 to assist in appropriate alignment for rotation. A rotator stop groove can be provided on first rotator member 24c to prevent over-rotation of engaging actuator. Sub-assembly 20h is preferably maintained within a padlock with an axially oriented screw having a head which rides within rotator stop groove 18a. Thus, rotation of first member 24c is limited by engagement of the screw head with end walls of groove 18a.
This arrangement eliminates the need for a separate rotator stop component such as rotator stop 18 of
Actuator-engaging portion 45g of sub-assembly 20h preferably includes a cross-shaped recess 84 for engaging the actuator of a lock cylinder. As shown, recess 84 is designed to accommodate both horizontal and vertical tailpieces. However, recess 84 can be rotated to accommodate tailpieces of any angular orientation between horizontal and vertical orientations. Similarly, many other recess and/or protrusions can be utilized on actuator-engaging portion 45g as appropriate to accommodate the many styles of actuators available in the lock industry.
Still another dual-function lock sub-assembly in accordance with the present invention is shown in FIG. 7b. As indicated by the use of like reference numerals, much of sub-assembly 20i of
Naturally, sub-assemblies 20h and 20i will operate equally effectively if the location of recess-engaging member 90 and recesses 90 and 94 are reversed or otherwise reoriented. These sub-assemblies are capable of providing both key-retaining and non-key-retaining lock functions in the same general manner as the embodiment of
While the present invention has been described in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, but is intended to cover the various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
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|US8919156 *||Feb 21, 2014||Dec 30, 2014||Federal Lock Co., Ltd.||Core replaceable hockey lock|
|US8978426||Oct 10, 2007||Mar 17, 2015||Pacific Lock Company||Hidden shackle lock incorporating a “key-in-knob” (KiK) cylinder|
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|U.S. Classification||70/389, 70/384, 70/371, 70/51, 70/379.00R|
|International Classification||E05B11/00, E05B9/08, E05B17/04, E05B63/00, E05B67/24|
|Cooperative Classification||E05B67/24, E05B11/00, Y10T70/774, Y10T70/7768, Y10T70/7706, E05B9/084, E05B63/0065, E05B17/04, Y10T70/7661, Y10T70/487|
|European Classification||E05B67/24, E05B17/04, E05B9/08C|
|May 26, 2008||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Nov 16, 2008||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|