US 3861814 A
A tubular housing is attached to a first line member. It includes a key hole opening in its side wall through which a head member on a second line member can be inserted and moved into said housing as the second line member is moved into a slot formed in an end wall of the housing. An elongated coil spring is housed within the housing. It is retractable to open the key hole opening and when at rest its convolutions encircle said head member and block inadvertent removal of said head member out of said housing and said first line member out from said slot.
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United States Patent [191 Fisher Jan. 21, 1975 COUPLER FOR LINE MEMBERS 21 Appl. No.: 395,223
52 vs. C] 403/300, 24/224 LS, 24/230 AM, 43/4498, 403/316, 403/353, 403/229, 403/309 51 1111.131. F16g 11/14 581 Field 61 Search 403/300, 301, 165, 166, 403/229, 315, 316, 353, 354, 360, 325;
24/224 R, 224 LS, 224 ss, 201 A, 115 R,
116 R, 115 A, 115 o, 239, 230 AM, 128;
[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,552,338 9/1925 Munro ..403/353 2,305,234 12/1942 2,449,167 9/1948 2,576,563 ll/195l 3,332,163 7/1967 Stewartetal ..24/223 22 1 U' 2 4 0 2Z- I I 3,447,777 6/1969 Carlson 403/300 3,464,093 9/1969 Laharty 403/301 3,570,078 3/1971 Neumann et a1. 24/230 AM Primary Examiner-Werner H. Schroeder Assistant Examiner-Conrad L. Bermanv Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Graybeal, Barnard, Uhlin & Hughes  ABSTRACT A tubular housing is attached to a firstline member. It includes a key hole opening in its side wall through which a head member on a second line member can be inserted and moved into said housing as the second line member is moved into a slot formed in an end wall of the housing. An elongated coil spring is housed within the housing. It is retractable to open the key hole opening and when at rest its convolutions encircle said head member and block inadvertent removal of said head member out of said housing and said first line member out from said slot.
1 Claim, 9 Drawing Figures PATENIEB JANZI I975 SHEET 10F 2 COUPLER FOR LINE MEMBERS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to couplers for line members, and in particular to the provision of a coupler having noelements which must be detached from the coupler proper in order to use it for connecting and disconnecting two line members.
2. Description of the Prior Art It is sometimes necessary to connect or disconnect two line members under conditions in which serious problems would result if a detachable portion of the coupler was accidentally dropped. As an example, it is sometimes necessary to connect and disconnect line members to and from each other at elevated locations. If the coupler includes a lock pin, a bolt, etc. which must be removed, and if such element were to be inadvertently dropped from such elevated location, it could not be easily retrieved. Such loss would make the coupler inoperative and might place the workmen in danger or impair their ability to continue working until aided by others.
The coupler of this invention comprises a tubular body which is connected to one of the line members and which includes a side located key hole opening through which an enlarged end portion on the other line member can be inserted into said tubular body, and the line member itself into a slot formed in the end wall of the tubular body. Examples of prior art couplers comprising a tubular body having a key hole opening position to provide side entry of a head member affixed to the end of a length of cable are shown by US. Pat.
Nos. 1,547,195; 1,552,338; 1,666,272; 1,752,367; 2,591,925; 3,100,323; 3,332,163; 3,343,858 and 3,464,093.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The connector of this invention is provided with an elongated coil spring having convolutions which normally block, and in that manner close, the side key hole opening in the tubular body. The coil spring is easily retracted to open the key hole opening so that the headed end portion of a line member can be moved into or out from the tubular body. When the headed end portion of the line member is inside the tubular body, and the coil spring is retracted, the coil spring encompasses the head member and its convolutions, which extend generally laterally across the key hole opening, prevent accidental and unwanted removal of the head member out from the tubular body.
The coil spring is retracted while it is trapped within the tubular body. Such spring can be rotated for the purpose of screwing it into or out from the tubular body. However, it cannot be accidentally ejected out from the tubular body.
These and other features and objects of the invention will become apparent from the following description of a preferred embodiment of the invention in which reference is made to the accompanying drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a fragmentary side elevational view of an elevated staging platform which includes sections of cable which must be connected and disconnected, sometimes while the platform is elevated above the ground;
FIG. 2 is an isometric assembly view of an embodiment of the coupler of this invention being used to connect together two line members;
FIG. 3 is an exploded isometric view of the coupler and the end portions of the two line members;
FIG. 4 is a longitudinal sectional view taken through the coupler;
FIG. 5 is a view similar to view 4, but showing the spring retracted and the headed end portion of the line member being moved relative to the coupler;
FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIGS. 4 and 5, but showing the coil spring being retracted for the purpose of screwing it out from the key hole opening;
FIG. 7 is an end elevational view taken substantially from the aspect of line 7-7 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 8-8 of FIG. 4; and
FIG. 9 is another cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 9-9 of FIG. 4.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT FIG. 1 is a fragmentary view of a sectional staging platform. In use it is supported at each end for vertical travel up and down along suspension cables. The platform 10 comprises a plurality of sections 12 which are pinned together at 14 and are stabilized by a sectional underslung cable 16. The coupler 18 of this invention is especially adapted for connecting together the sections of cable 16. However, it has general utility and can be used wherever it is desirable to connect together two line members which in use are in tension.
Referring now to FIGS. 2 9, the coupler 18 is shown to comprise a tubular body or housing composed of a cylindrical side wall 20 and circular end walls 22, 24.
Wall 24 includes a circular opening 26 for receiving a first cable 28. An enlarged head member 30 is connected to the end portion of line member 28. Head member 30 is normally housed within the tubular body 20, 22, 24 and serves to hold such tubular body 20, 22, 24 onto the line member 28.
A radial slot 32 is formed in the opposite end wall 22. It communicates with a relatively narrow slot portion 34 of a key hole opening formed in the side wall 20. The key hole opening also includes a relatively large opening 36. The relatively large opening 36 is sized to receive a head member 38 attached to the end portion of a second line member 40. The end wall slot 32 and the key hole slot 34 are sized to receive the line member 40 but are too small to accommodate passage of the head member 38.
According to the invention, an elongated coil spring 42 is provided within the tubular body 20, 22, 24. As best shown by FIG. 5, the spring 42 can be retracted by use of a finger or a tool T (e.g., a screw driver) inserted through the opening 36. Spring 42 is retracted until it is clear of the opening 36, so that the head member 38 can be inserted through opening 36 into the interior of body 20, 22, 24, and the adjacent portion of line member 20 moved through the slot 34 into the slot 32. Then, spring 42 is released so that it will extend itself into a position about the head member 38 (FIG. 4). When spring 42 occupies such extended position its convolutions extend laterally across the opening 36 and effectively block inadvertent movement of head member 38 out through opening 36.
The spring 42 is normally trapped within body member 20, 22, 24 and there is no way it can be inadvertently forced laterally through the key hole opening 34, 36. However, one can compress the spring 42 enough to bring its end convolution 44 into registry with opening 36. Then, the convolution 44 can be twisted for the purpose of distorting the spring 42 enough to start the end convolution 44 sideways through the opening 36. This places the portions of side wall 20 bordering opening 36 between adjacent convolutions and makes it possible to remove spring 42 from housing 20, 22, 24 by a mere rotation of the spring 42. The spring 42 is rotated to in effect screw it out from the housing 20, 22, 24, the line 28 may be moved endwise inwardly for the purpose of registering end member 30 with opening 36. End member 30 can be moved laterally out of the housing through opening 36. Then, the line member 28 can be pulled endwise through the opening 26 for the purpose of disconnecting housing 20, 22, 24 from line member 28. Of course, this procedure can be reversed for installing housing 20, 22, 24 onto line member 28, and for locating spring 42 inside of housing 20, 22, 24.
As will be apparent, the spring 42 is the only movable part of the coupler. It is wholly trapped within housing 20, 22, 24, both while it is being moved for the purpose of permitting insertion or removal of the head member 38 and line member 40 into or out from the housing 20, 22, 24 and the slot 32, and while it circles the head member 38 and blocks removal of head member 38 from the housing 20, 22, 24 via opening 36. Thus, the coupler includes no separable part which could be inadvertently lost or removed from the coupler body 20, 22, 24.
It is to be understood that the illustration of the preferred embodiment and the foregoing description of the preferred embodiment are presented for the purpose of communicating a thorough understanding of the invention, but that the invention is to be defined and limited not by them but rather by the claims which follow.
What is claimed is: r
1. A coupler for connecting together first and second line members which in use are in tension, said coupler comprising:
a tubular body to be carried by a first of said line members, including a pair of end walls and side wall means together defining an inner chamber;
a slot in one of said end walls for receiving said second line;
a key hole opening in said side wall means formed by a relatively large opening and a relatively narrow opening connecting said relatively large opening with said slot;
said key hole opening being adapted to receive a head member carried by the second line member, said head member being sized to pass through said relatively large opening but not through either said relatively narrow opening or said slot; and
a coil spring being contained within said inner chamber and normally occupying a position in which a portion of its convolutions extend laterally across the key hole opening, said spring being retractable so that said head member and attached second line member being adapted to be inserted through the relatively large opening into the inner chamber, and adapted to be moved through the relatively narrow opening into said slot, and said spring being adapted to be extended to enclose said head member and serve as a guard, preventing the inadvertent removal of said head member out from the key hole opening, with the coil spring diameter being substantially larger than the width of said relatively large opening, so that a lateral force on the coil spring by said second end member in the direction of said relatively large opening will not push said coil spring out through said opening, and with said coil spring being sufficiently distortable so that it can be retracted and its end convolution pulled out through said relatively large opening, and the coil spring being adapted to rotate for the purpose of screwing it out from said inner chamber through said key hole opening.
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