United States Patent 3797286

This lock consists of only a stepped cylindrical body the reduced lower shank portion of which fits snugly in the upper end of the stand-pipe with the shouldered upper end resting on the stand-pipe so as to locate the radially movable bolt at the exact level of a keeper hole drilled radially in the upper end portion of the stand-pipe. A press fit ring applied to the outside of the pipe closes the outer end of the hole to protect the lock against dirt and moisture from outside the pipe. A key in possession of an authorized employee of the city water department serves to unlock the lock so it can be removed when a T-wrench of suitable length to reach down below the frost line is to be applied to the stem of the shut-off valve through the stand-pipe to open or close the valve. The usual screw-on cover cap at ground level threads onto the upper end of the stand-pipe and serves to conceal and protect the lock against being tampered with. Usually the aforesaid T-wrench serves also to unscrew this cap and replace it.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Spinello, Joseph A. (Rockford, IL)
, Fasula Frank J. (Rockford, IL)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
70/178, 70/455, 137/364, 138/89
International Classes:
F16K35/06; F16K35/10; (IPC1-7): F16K35/10
Field of Search:
70/167,168,169,178,232,371,455,DIG.58 137
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3434318DOOR AND TRUNK LOCK COVER1969-03-25Thiry
2373470Antisiphoning plug1945-04-10Hanke
1759221Shut-off cock1930-05-20Carson
1339075Lock-housing for screws and bolts1920-05-04Toelle

Primary Examiner:
Craig Jr., Albert G.
I claim

1. In a service cut-off box comprising a pipe through the open end of which a long handled wrench for manually opening or closing a cut-off service valve is operable when a cover plate is unthreaded from the upper end of said pipe to expose the open end, means for preventing unauthorized access to the open end of said pipe comprising a cylindrical lock body having a smaller diameter lower portion fitting close inside and effectively plugging the open upper end of said pipe and an upper enlarged diameter portion resting on the open upper end of said pipe normally concealed and shielded by said cover plate, the latter portion of said lock body projecting upwardly from the open upper end of said pipe, key operable locking means in said body operable by entry of a key in a keyhole accessible at the outer end of said lock body, a flanged protective cover plate for said lock smaller in diameter than said cover plate and having a telescoping sealing fit downwardly on the cylindrical lock body to prohibit entry of dirt and moisture downwardly into the lock body through the keyhole, said lock means upon rotation of the key extending or retracting a bolt movable substantially radially relative to the inner end portion of said lock body into a radial keeper hole drilled into the pipe in register with the bolt.

2. The structure as set forth in claim 1 including a ring encircling the pipe and covering the outer end of the keeper hole to exclude dirt and moisture without interfering with the freedom of operation of the bolt in entering or being retracted from the keeper hole.

This invention relates to a simple and inexpensive but thoroughly practical and reliable concealed lock for so-called water service cut-off boxes, which are usually installed at the curb in front of homes to which water is supplied from the city mains.

There has been a need for a long time for such a lock because it is an easy matter for an unauthorized person to remove the cover cap and thereby gain access to the stand-pipe and then with some form of improvised wrench manage to turn the water service valve on without the city water department being aware that this has happened. Consequently, much city water department income is lost, whereas that could so easily be saved by installation of the present lock at a small fraction of the amount of income apt to be lost per year.

The present novel lock fits neatly in the upper end of the stand-pipe where it is normally fully concealed by the cover cap. It closes the otherwise open upper end of the pipe thus preventing access to the stem of the shut-off valve until an employee of the city water department, who has a key that fits the lock, so it can be unlocked and removed so a wrench of the necessary length to reach the stem of the shut-off valve can be inserted through the stand-pipe. Replacement of the lock is simplified by lining up a radial bench mark provided on the upper face of the lock with a radial bench mark provided on upper end of the pipe so that the radially movable bolt on the lock can be entered in the radial keeper hole provided in the upper end portion of the pipe.

The invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the lock of my invention plugging the otherwise open upper end of the stand-pipe so that access to the service cut-off valve shown in dotted lines is barred until the lock is unlocked and removed, the ground level cover cap, which screws onto the upper end of the stand-pipe and conceals the lock, being shown removed and disposed in remote relation to the lock, an intermediate portion of the length of the stand-pipe being cut away to save space and allow showing the rest of the assembly on a larger scale;

FIG. 2 is a vertical section through the upper portion of the FIG. 1 assembly, showing the lock and the other parts about full size;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the lock and related components of FIG. 2, on the same scale;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the lock by itself on an enlarged scale; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a T-wrench such as is usually employed for removal of the cover cap and operating the the service cut-off valve, an intermediate portion of the length of the wrench being broken away.

The same reference numerals are applied to corresponding parts throughout the views.

Referring to the drawing, the reference numeral 6 designates the lock of my invention, which is herein illustrated as of the tumbler type, the bolt 7 of which is movable radially relative to the barrel 8, when the proper key 9 is inserted at 10 and turned through a predetermined angularity, whereby to enter the bolt in a radial keeper hole 11 drilled in the upper end portion of the stand-pipe 12 where the reduced shank portion 13 of the stepped cylindrical body of the lock has a snug fit. The annular shoulder 14 defined under the large upper end portion 15 of the body supports the lock at the right elevation relative to the keeper hole 11 to insure easy locking and unlocking. A metal ring 16 is pressed or driven down into place on pipe 12 to close the hole 11 against inlet of dirt or water. The usual cover plate 17, disposed substantially at ground level, threads onto the upper end portion of the pipe 12 and conceals and protects the lock 6, and a flanged protective internal cap 18 of plastic or aluminum material is fitted frictionally over the upper portion 15 of the lock 6, as indicated in FIG. 2, to prevent inlet of dirt and water into the lock at 10, which may be found important, considering the long intervals involved between operations of the lock.

In operation, stand-pipe 12 for a large number of water service cut-off boxes will be drilled to provide the holes 11 all at the same level for use of locks 6, using a suitable jig set at the same level in each drilling operation. To indicate the location of the holes 11, a radial bench mark 19 is made in the upper end of each pipe 12, and a radial bench mark 20 is made in the top face of the lock 6 to line up with mark 19, thus insuring entry of bolt 7 in hole 11. The cost of each installation is small in relation to the savings in income from users of water supplied by the city water department, because, when there is no protection such as this, and the upper ends of stand-pipes 12 are left open and unplugged by locks 6, there are many dishonest people who will take advantage of the situation and enter some makeshift long-handled wrench in the pipe 12 and turn the stem 21 of the water service cut-off valve 22. With the locks 6 installed, such dishonest practices are stopped 100 percent, because, even if the cover cap 17 was removed to gain access to the pipe 12, the lock 6 would not only notify the person confronted with it that he must call upon the city water department to send a service man out to open the lock 6 and turn the water on with a long-handled T-wrench, like that shown at 23 in FIG. 5, but the person finding this lock barring his access to the shut-off valve 22 would surely realize that if he tried to remove the lock 6 himself (which would be quite difficult) he would make himself liable for any damage he did to the lock, if indeed, he wouldn't also face more serious charges for malicious damage to city property. The T-wrench 23 has spaced lugs 24 on the handle 25 of a size to fit in the holes 27 in cap 17 and spaced the same as the holes to enter these holes in removal and replacement of the cap. The channel 27 on the lower end fits the square end of stem 21 and is used in opening and closing the valve 22.

It is believed the foregoing description conveys a good understanding of the objects and advantages of my invention. While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, this is only for the purpose of illustration, and it is to be understood that various modifications in structure will occur to a person skilled in this art.