Title:
LOCK ASSEMBLY FOR LITTER BINS
United States Patent 3722236


Abstract:
A litter bin having a hinged door is provided with a lock assembly comprising a bar mounted for vertical sliding movement along an inner surface of the door and having a pair of vertically-spaced latch members which extend through corresponding slots on a confronting wall portion of the litter bin. A spring biases the bar downwardly to a locking position in which the latch members overlap said wall portion and prevent the door from being opened. A small circular keyhole is located in the door and is spaced beneath a release pin which projects from the bar. The lock may be opened by a key having a shank formed with an angular terminal portion which is sized to be inserted through the keyhole, and is sufficiently long to engage and raise the release pin when the shank of the inserted key is turned downwardly.



Inventors:
ZELENKO H
Application Number:
05/199289
Publication Date:
03/27/1973
Filing Date:
11/16/1971
Assignee:
ZELENKO H,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
70/156, 70/403, 292/161, 292/DIG.68
International Classes:
E05B35/00; E05C9/02; (IPC1-7): E05B65/52; E05B35/00
Field of Search:
70/63,70,71,78,79,80,142,145,169,289 292
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3103114Latch and lock mechanism1963-09-10Atkinson
2608085Locking device1952-08-26Castle
1677278Locker latch1928-07-17Foehrenbach
1642501Latch and lock mechanism1927-09-13Knell
1590441Door and locking means therefor1926-06-29Piggot



Foreign References:
NL287341A
Primary Examiner:
Craig Jr., Albert G.
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. A lock assembly for a litter bin having a door hinged thereto, said door having an outer wall panel, said lock assembly comprising an elongated bar mounted for longitudinal sliding movement along an inner surface of the outer wall panel of said door, at least one latch member projecting inwardly from said bar and having a latch tooth positioned to overlap a wall portion of said litter bin when said door is in closed position, spring means biasing said bar to a locking position in which said latch tooth overlaps said wall portion, a release pin projecting laterally from said bar, a keyhole in said outer wall panel in alignment with said release pin and spaced a substantial distance therefrom, and a key including an elongated shank having a terminal portion extending angularly from said shank, said terminal portion being sized for insertion through said keyhole and having a length longer than the distance between said release pin and said keyhole, whereby when said terminal portion is inserted through said keyhole and said shank is pivoted in a selected direction, the terminal portion engages said release pin and moves the latter and said bar against the tension of said spring means to a release position in which said latch tooth is clear of said wall portion.

2. A lock assembly according to claim 1 which also includes a cover plate mounted on said door and spaced behind the inner surface of said outer wall panel, said bar being mounted in a vertical position between said cover plate and said outer wall panel for downward movement to its locking position and upward movement to its release position.

3. A lock assembly according to claim 2 in which said keyhole has a circular cross-section and is spaced below said release pin, and in which said key has a curved bend joining said terminal portion to said shank, said terminal portion being sized to be inserted fully through said keyhole with said curved bend located within said keyhole and serving as a pivot to lift said terminal portion into engagement with said release pin when said shank is turned downwardly.

4. A lock assembly according to claim 2 in which a pair of vertically-spaced latch members project inwardly from said bar, said cover plate having a pair of elongated slots positioned to register with said latch members, said latch members extending through said respective slots with said latch teeth spaced out-wardly of said cover plate, said spring means biasing said bar downwardly to a position in which said latch members rest upon the bottom ends of said slots.

5. A lock assembly according to claim 4 in which said wall portion of said litter bin has a pair of elongated slots positioned to register with the respective slots of said cover plate when said door is in closed position, said latch members being of sufficient length to extend through said wall portion slots with said latch teeth located behind and overlapping the wall portion beneath said slots.

6. A lock assembly according to claim 5 in which each of said latch members has an inclined forward surface positioned to engage with said wall portion when said door is brought to its closed position, for camming said latch members upwardly to a position in which said latch teeth are in alignment with the respective slots in said wall portion.

7. A lock assembly according to claim 5 in which a pin is mounted on the outer surface of said wall portion immediately beneath each of said wall portion slots, and in which said cover plate has a respective aperture positioned to receive each of said pins when said door is in closed position.

Description:
The present invention relates to a novel and improved lock mechanism for closed waste recepticles such as litter bins.

The lock mechanism is particularly intended for use in litter bins of the type which are located on street corners and are available to the public for the depositing of waste materials therein. Such litter bins are completely enclosed except for relatively small access openings through which litter may be deposited, and normally have a door which may be opened for the collection of the accumulated litter. Many of these bins also have transparent advertising material mounted in the walls thereof, and electric lamps located within the interior of the bin for illuminating the advertising material.

In order to prevent removal and scattering of the accumulated litter by vandals, as well as to prevent theft of the advertising material and lamps within the bins, it is desirable to provide the litter bin with a lock mechanism which will prevent unauthorized persons from opening the door, and which may be easily opened by an authorized litter collector.

It is an object of the present invention, therefore, to provide a lock assembly for litter bins of the type described which includes a lock mechanism formed of a few simple parts which are substantially jam-proof in operation, and which may be economically manufactured and installed in the door of the litter bin.

Another object of the invention is the provision of a lock assembly of the character described which is of rugged construction which will withstand rough and continuous use.

A further object of the invention is the provision of a lock assembly of the character described which can be easily and rapidly opened by use of a key having a straight shank and an angularly-bent terminal portion, but which has a keyhole located at a point remote from any moving mechanism parts, so that the lock will withstand picking by insertion of a straight instrument through the keyhole.

In accordance with the invention there is provided in a litter bin having a door hinged thereto, a lock assembly including an elongated bar mounted for longitudinal sliding movement along an inner wall surface of said door, at least one latch member projecting inwardly from said bar and having a latch tooth positioned to overlap a wall portion of the litter bin when the door is in closed position, and spring means biasing the bar to a locking position in which said latch tooth overlaps said wall portion. The lock assembly also includes a release pin projecting laterally from said bar, a keyhole in the door in alignment with said release pin but spaced a substantial distance therefrom, and a key sized for insertion in said keyhole. The key has an elongated shank formed with a terminal portion extending angularly therefrom, the terminal portion being of a length greater than the distance between the release pin and the keyhole, so that when the terminal portion is inserted through the keyhole and the shank is pivoted away from the door, the terminal portion engages the release pin and lifts the bar and the latch member to a release position.

Additional objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent during the course of the following specification when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a litter bin incorporating the lock assembly of the present invention, with the litter bin door shown in open position;

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the litter bin of FIG. 1, with the door shown in closed position;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged section taken along line 3--3 of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is a section taken along line 4--4 of FIG. 3.

Referring in detail to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 a litter bin 10 incorporating the lock construction of the present invention. The bin 10 has a bottom wall 12, side walls 14 and 16, rear wall 18 and an open front wall formed by narrow elongated flanges 20, 22 and 24 formed integrally with and extending perpendicularly from the respective side walls 14, 16 and bottom wall 12. The flanges 20, 22 and 24 define therebetween a front access opening 26 which is covered by a door 28 mounted by hinges 30 on the flange 22.

The upper end of the bin 10 is enclosed by a gabled top portion 32, beneath which are elongated rectangular openings 34 through which litter may be deposited into the interior of the bin 10. For receiving the deposited litter, a large bag (not shown) of fabric, plastic or the like, may be removably mounted in open condition within the bin.

The bin 10 in the form shown is adapted to be mounted upon a lamp post or other street pole at a suitable height above ground level at which the rectangular openings 34 are conveniently accessible to passers-by for the depositing of litter. In addition, in one commercial form of the bin 10, the walls are provided with windows containing transparent advertising material which is illuminated by electric lamps located behind the windows and accessible from the interior of the bin. The windows, advertising material and lamps are not shown herein since they form no part of the present invention. The lock means of the present invention, however, is intended to secure the door 28 in closed condition, thereby protecting the lamps, advertising and electrical components against theft and tampering, and also preventing vandals from gaining ready access to the deposited litter within the bin.

The door 28 is of hollow, double-wall construction for containing the movable components of the lock mechanism. As shown in FIG. 1, the hollow door 28 comprises an inner wall panel 36, an outer wall panel 38, top and bottom walls 40 and 42, and end walls 44 and 46. An elongated rectangular aperture 48 is formed along the outer edge of the inner wall panel 36 adjacent the end wall 44. The aperture 48 is closed off by a cover plate 50 which fits snugly within said aperture. The plate 50 has a pair of side flanges 52 and 54 (FIG. 4) which enclose the lock mechanism, and top and bottom flanges 56 and 58. As shown in FIG. 3, the top and bottom flanges 56 and 58 engage the respective top and bottom walls 40 and 42 of the door 28, and a suitable number of screws, such as the screw 57 shown in FIG. 3, extend through apertures in the inner wall panel 36 and are received in internally-threaded studs 59 welded to the outer wall panel 38 to hold the cover plate 50 rigidly in mounted position. The screws 57 may be unfastened to permit the cover plate to be removed, when necessary, for repair of the lock parts.

Slidably mounted between the side flanges 52 and 54 of the cover plate 50 is an elongated bar 60 which is slightly shorter than the height of the door 28. Formed integrally with the bar 60 and projecting therefrom are a pair of vertically-spaced latch members 62 and 64, each having an inclined forward edge 66 terminating in a depending latch tooth 68. As shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, the latch members extend forwardly from bar 60 through respective narrow slots 70 and 72 in the cover plate 50. A coil spring 74, mounted between the flange 56 and the top surface of bar 60, urges the latter downwardly to the locking position shown in FIG. 3, in which the lower edges of the latch members 62 and 64 engage the bottom edges of the respective slots 70 and 72.

Formed integrally with the bar 60 and projecting perpendicularly from the side edge thereof is a release pin 76, which may be in the form of a rectangular bar, as shown. In the locking position of bar 60, the release pin is spaced a substantial distance above a circular keyhole 78 in the outer wall panel 38 of door 28, which keyhole 78 is located approximately midway between the top and bottom edges of the door. The keyhole 78 is of slightly larger diameter than the diameter of the bent terminal portion 82 of a key 80, thereby permitting said terminal portion 82 to be inserted through said keyhole 78 into the interior of door 28 for engagement with the release pin 76, in a manner to be presently described. For this purpose, the terminal portion 82 has a length greater than the distance between the release pin 76 and the keyhole 78.

The flange 20 of the litter bin body is also provided with a pair of narrow slots 84 and 86 which are sized and positioned to register with the respective slots 70 and 72 when the door 28 is in closed position. When the door is slammed shut, it is self locking. As the door approaches its closed position, the inclined forward edges 66 of the latch members 62 and 64 strike the lower edges of the respective slots 84 and 86 and function as cam means to lift the cam members 62 and 64, against the tension of spring 74, to an elevated position in which the latch teeth 68 can clear the respective bottom edges of slots 84 and 86 and pass through the latter. In the closed position of the door shown in FIG. 3, the teeth 68 of both latch members 62, 64 are located inwardly of the respective slots 84 and 86 and overlap the portions of the flange 20 beneath the slots. The downward biasing force of spring 74 upon bar 60 maintains the latch members 62, 64 in firm engagement with the bottom edges of the aligned pairs of slots 70, 84 and 72, 86, and the latch teeth 68 in this latching position hold the door 28 firmly closed and prevent it from being opened by unauthorized persons.

The key 80 has a large circular handle 88 formed integrally with a straight shank 90 of circular cross-section, the free end of which is bent at an angle of approximately 90° to provide a curved bend 92 joining the terminal section 82. To open the lock, the terminal section 82 is inserted through the circular keyhole 78 until the curved bend 92 rests upon the lower surface of the keyhole. The key shank 90 is then turned downwardly, the curved bend 92 serving as a pivot point to elevate the terminal section 82 so that the tip of the latter engages the lower surface of the release pin 76. As the shank 90 is turned further downwardly, the tip of the terminal portion raises the release pin 76, and its connected bar 60, to a position in which the latch teeth 68 are elevated into alignment with the slots 84 and 86. An outward pull upon the inserted key 80 will now swing the door 28 to open position, the raised latch members 62 and 64 passing freely through the respective slots 84 and 86.

A pair of pins 94 and 96 are mounted on the flange 20 and project forwardly therefrom directly beneath the slots 84 and 86. When the door 28 is in closed position, these pins 94 and 96 pass through respective apertures 98 and 100 in the cover plate 50, and thus underlie the lower edges of the latch members 62 and 64. These pins 94 and 96 prevent unauthorized opening of the lock which mignt otherwise occur should a flat object such as a knife blade be inserted in the space between the flange 20 and the cover plate 50 of the closed door and then slid upwardly to engage the under surface of either of the latch members 62 or 64.

It will be appreciated that the lock assembly described above provides a rugged construction which will withstand hard and prolonged wear and adverse weather conditions without jamming or becoming damaged. A litter collector may be provided with a single key which will fit and open all of the litter bins on his route, the opening operation being simple, rapid and fool-proof. Because of the location of the release pin 76 well above the small, circular keyhole 78, it will be evident that the lock cannot be picked by insertion of a straight instrument through the keyhole. Manipulation of an inserted straight instrument cannot engage any movable part of the lock assembly.

While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been shown and described herein, it is obvious that numerous omissions, changes and additions may be made in such embodiment without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.