Title:
Strap clamp assembly
United States Patent 3893210


Abstract:
A strap clamp assembly is provided which is particularly suited for employment in a variety of different applications such as for example in fastening loads to automobiles, trailers and trucks, for holding trunk lids down over outsized loads, for clamping pieces to be glued, etc. The strap clamp assembly includes a buckle, a stirrup operatively connected to the buckle, a slide lock cooperatively associated with the buckle, and strap means having suitable gripping means secured at the free ends thereof. The buckle comprises a generally elongated rectangular member having a pair of side flanges depending therefrom on either side thereof operable to give the buckle the configuration of that of an inverted substantially U-shaped member. The stirrup is operatively connected to the buckle at a point spaced inwardly from one end of the latter for pivotal movement between a release position and a locking position relative to the buckle. The strap means is of two-part construction. One part thereof has one end secured to the stirrup for movement therewith and with one gripping member selected from any of a variety of different types thereof affixed to the other end of the aforereferenced one part of the strap means. One end of the other part of the two-part strap means is threadable through a pair of slots provided for this purpose in the elongated rectangular member at a location spaced inwardly of the ends thereof. The other end of the second part of the strip means is provided in a manner similar to the first part with a suitable gripping member configured like that of the first part of the strap means. The slide lock is threaded on the second part of the strap means and is operable when the stirrup is in its locking position to hold the buckle against the strap means thereby preventing the buckle from accidentally untoggling. To enable the slide lock to perform the aforedescribed function, the slide lock is slidable relative to the buckle to a position wherein the slide lock is received in a pair of notches provided for this purpose in opposed relation in the side flanges of the buckle. The slide lock is retained in the latter described position relative to the buckle by virtue of the slide lock's own inherent spring tension, and requires positive action to be taken relative to the slide lock to release the slide lock from its locked position.



Inventors:
HILDEBRANDT WILLIAM J
Application Number:
05/506427
Publication Date:
07/08/1975
Filing Date:
09/16/1974
Assignee:
THE STANLEY WORKS
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
24/171, 24/196, 24/265R
International Classes:
B60R22/12; A44B11/02; A44B11/12; (IPC1-7): A44B11/06
Field of Search:
24/194,168,196
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
2905994Belt buckle1959-09-29Krasnow
2260378Slide buckle1941-10-28Hoppland
1356517Belt-clasp1920-10-26Curtis
0688503N/A1901-12-10



Primary Examiner:
Gelak, Bernard A.
Claims:
Having thus described the invention, I claim

1. A strap clamp assembly having general utility comprising:

2. The strap clamp assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein each of said side flanges of said buckle has a hole formed therein adjacent one end thereof, each of said pair of arms of said stirrup has a hole formed therein adjacent to the free end thereof, and said mounting means comprises a pair of fasteners passed through said hole in each of said pair of arms of said stirrup and received in said hole formed in a corrsponding one of said pair of side flanges of said buckle.

3. The strap clamp assembly as set forth in claim 2 wherein the surface immediately surrounding said hole formed in each of said pair of side flanges of said buckle is operable as a bearing surface for a corresponding one of said pair of arms of said stirrup.

4. The strap clamp assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein gripping means are secured to the other end of each of said first and second portions of said strap means.

5. The strap clamp assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said other of said first pair of side walls of said slide lock includes a center portion extending into the interior of said slide lock and engageable with said strap means when said slide lock is in said locking position thereof, and wherein said slide lock requires an external force to be applied thereto for purposes of releasing said slide lock from said locking position thereof.

6. The strap clamp assembly as set forth in claim 1 further comprising detent means operable to inhibit the movement of said stirrup between said release position and said clamping position thereof, said detent means including a detent formed on the inner surface of each of said pair of arms of said stirrup and a protuberance formed on the external surface of each of said pair of side flanges of said buckle engageable by said detents formed on said pair of arms of said stirrup so as to require a manual force to be applied to said pair of arms of said stirrup to move said stirrup between said release position and said locking position thereof.

7. The strap clamp assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said elongated member further includes a multiplicity of ribs formed on the external surface thereof intermediate the ends thereof engageable by said one of said first pair of side walls of said slide lock when said slide lock is in said locking position thereof and cooperable with said one of said first pair of side walls of said slide lock to provide a firm gripping surface therebetween.

8. The strap clamp assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said buckle and said stirrup are formed of metal.

9. The strap clamp assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said slide lock is formed of plastic, and said strap means consists of webbing.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

As evidenced by a reference to the prior art, it has long been known to provide clamping systems embodying some form of buckle construction. Such systems are commonly intended to be operable for general use. Included in such general use are the following applications, namely, for fastening loads to automobiles, trailers and trucks, for holding trunk lids down over outsized loads, for clamping pieces to be glued, etc.

One form of buckle clamping system which may be considered to be exemplary of such prior art systems constitutes the subject matter of U.S. Pat. No. 2,825,109. In the system as described and illustrated in the aforesaid patent, a buckle is utilized which is of two-part construction. One part of the buckle constituting a frame is provided with several cross bars permitting the frame to be secured to the end of a strap. The other part of the buckle constituting a tongue member is pivoted to the frame member and also carries several cross bars to receive the opposite end of the strap. The pivoting of the tongue within the frame to place the tongue in substantially the same plane as the frame tightens the strap into place and the frame and tongue are then locked together with the cross members on the tongue operating to pull the strap taut and more tightly into place over the initial tightness of the strap upon threading into the tongue.

One undesirable characteristic of many of the prior art forms of buckle clamping systems provided heretofore is that they appear to be unsafe under certain circumstances. More specifically, as noted above the buckle used in these systems is an over-center toggle device. Although in many such systems the buckle is provided with a small mechanical detent to keep it in the locked position, this detent is not positive and can wear rapidly, leaving only the tension on the straps to keep the buckle in the locked position. Under certain circumstances where the buckle is not urged up against a flat surface by the tension of the straps, but is located in free air, vibrations, wind gusts or other disturbing influences have been shown to be capable of untoggling the buckle, even though the straps are under considerable average tension. The effect thereof is to leave the strap to loosen and the load to become free. Obviously, such a situation could prove to be quite dangerous.

There have been other approaches employed by the prior art insofar as concerns providing a buckle clamping system with some form of mechanical locking means. To this end, it has been known to utilize a latch hook for tensioning the straps and wherein the latch hook coacts with another portion of the buckle to effect an automatic locking action. In accord with another approach, a buckle is provided with a latch that is operable to latch the buckle clamping system against the accidental unlocking thereof. Moreover, it has been known to provide a buckle clamping system in which a gripping member having a serrated edge is utilized to permit only undirectional movement of the strap. However, none of these approaches has resulted in providing a buckle clamping system which has proven when placed in use to be devoid of one or another undesirable features.

Thus, although the prior art evidences the fact that it has been known heretofore to provide buckle clamping systems with mechanical locking means, it is also known that the devices provided heretofore have not proven to be entirely satisfactory when placed in operation. More specifically, such prior art devices have evidenced a need to make improvements in the nature of the construction thereof. There has therefore existed a need to provide a locking mechanism for a buckle clamping system, particularly of the type wherein a toggle action mode of operation is utilized, which is simple, economical, constructed so that it will not be lost or inadvertently misplaced, and positive in its action. Moreover, it is desirable to provide such a locking mechanism wherein the mechanical advantage is relatively large and very little force is required to prevent accidental untoggling of the buckle. Most importantly, the action of the locking mechanism must be effective to hold the buckle against the strap thereby to prevent the buckle from untoggling.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved strap clamp assembly which has general utility.

It is another object of the present invention to provide such a strap clamp assembly which is particularly suited for employment for example in fastening loads to automobiles, trailers and trunks, for holding down trunk lids over outsized loads, for clamping pieces to be glued, etc.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide such a strap clamp assembly wherein a toggle action type of mode of operation is employed.

A further object of the present invention is to provide such a strap clamp assembly which embodies a mechanical locking mechanism which is effective to hold the buckle against the strap thereby to prevent the buckle from untoggling.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide such a strap clamp assembly wherein the mechanical locking mechanism is captivated in the asembly so that it will not be lost or inadvertently misplaced.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide such a strap clamp assembly wherein the mechanical advantage provided by the mechanical locking mechanism is relatively large so that very little force is required to prevent accidental untoggling of the buckle.

Yet still another object of the present invention is to provide such a strap clamp assembly which is simple in construction, easy to employ, positive in its action, and economical to manufacture.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It has now been found that the foregoing and related objects can be readily attained in a strap clamp assembly which is particularly suited for employment in a variety of different applications such as among others, for example, in fastening loads to automobiles, trailers and trucks, for holding trunk lids down over outsized loads, for clamping pieces to be glued, etc. The strap clamp assembly includes a buckle, a stirrup operatively connected to the buckle, a slide lock cooperatively associated with the buckle, and strap means having suitable gripping means secured at the free ends thereof. The buckle comprises a generally elongated rectangular member having a pair of side flanges depending therefrom on either side thereof operable to give the buckle the configuration of that of an inverted substantially U-shaped member. The stirrup is operatively connected to the buckle at a point spaced inwardly from one end of the latter for pivotal movement between a release position and a locking position relative to the buckle. The strap means is of two-part construction with one part being secured to the stirrup and the other part being threadable through a pair of slots provided for this purpose in the buckle. The slide lock is threaded on the second part of the strap means and is operable when the stirrup is in its locking position to hold the buckle against the strap means thereby preventing the buckle from accidentally untoggling.

In accord with the preferred embodiment of the invention, there is provided a protuberance formed on the outer surface of each of the side flanges of the generally elongated rectangular member adjacent one end thereof. Adjoining the latter pair of protuberances, there is also provided in the side flanges of the generally rectangular elongated members a pair of openings. These openings are utilized for purposes of mounting the stirrup to the buckle. More specifically, fastener means are passed through the opposed free ends of the stirrup and are received in the aforesaid pair of openings so that the stirrup is fastened to the buckle for pivotal movement relative thereto. The stirrup has a substantially U-shaped configuration which is defined by a medial portion from the ends of which a pair of arms project outwardly substantially at right angles to the major axis thereof. Each of the arms of the stirrup is provided on the inner surface thereof with a raised portion in the nature of a bump. The aforementioned pair of protuberances are positioned in the path of movement of the arms of the stirrup so as to be engageable by the aforedescribed bumps, provided on the latter. The protuberances on the side flanges of the buckle cooperate with the bumps on the arms of the stirrup whereby through the engagement thereof the movement of the arms relative to the buckle is limited. Namely, with the arms of the stirrup positioned on one side of the protuberances, the stirrup is retained thereat by virtue of the engagement of the protuberances and the bumps. However, by applying a force to the arms of the stirrup the bumps provided on the latter may be made to ride over the protuberances so as to locate the arms of the stirrup on the other side of the protuberances from that whereat they were previously located. The part of the strap means which has one end secured to the stirrup for movement therewith has a gripping means selected from any of a variety of different types thereof affixed to the other end thereof. The other part of the strap means which has one end thereof which is threadable through slots provided therefor in the generally elongated rectangular member is provided at the other end thereof in a manner similar to the first part with a suitable gripping member configured like that of the first part of the strap means. The slide lock consists of a tubular member having one surface thereof which is generally U-shaped. To enable the slide lock to perform its locking function, the slide lock is slidable relative to the buckle to a position wherein the slide lock is received in a pair of notches provided for this purpose in opposed relation in the side flanges of the buckle. The slide lock is retained in the latter described position relative to the buckle by virtue of the slide lock's own inherent spring tension and requires positive action to be taken relative to the slide lock to release the slide lock from its locked position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a strap clamp assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention, illustrated in the clamping position;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view partially in section of a strap clamp assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention, illustrating the manner in which the strap means thereof is cooperatively associated with the buckle and stirrup thereof;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an enlarged scale of the buckle of a strap clamp assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view on an enlarged scale of the slide lock of a strap clamp assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a strap clamp assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention taken substantially along the line 5--5 in FIG. 1, illustrating the slide lock in its locking position;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 5 of a strap clamp assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention, illustrating the slide lock in its release position;

FIG. 7 is a side elevational view of a portion of a strap clamp assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention, illustrating the manner in which the stirrup is mounted on the buckle;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view partially in section of a strap clamp assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention, illustrating the means by which the stirrup is fastened to the buckle;

FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of one type of gripping means employable with a strap clamp assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention, illustrated attached to one end of a portion of the strap means thereof, the latter being depicted in broken lines;

FIG. 10 is a front view of the gripping means of FIG. 9 constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of another type of gripping means employable with a strap clamp assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 12 is a front view of the gripping means of FIG. 11 constructed in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to FIG. 1 of the drawings, there is illustrated therein a strap clamp assembly, generally designated by reference numeral 10, constructed in accordance with the present invention. The strap clamp assembly 10 is particularly suited for employment in a variety of different applications such as for example in fastening loads to automobiles, trailers and trucks, for holding trunk lids down over outsized loads, for clamping pieces to be glued, etc. The strap clamp assembly 10 includes a buckle 12, a stirrup 14 operatively connected to the buckle 12, a slide lock 16 cooperatively associated with the buckle 23, and strap means 18.

As best seen with reference to FIG. 3 of the drawings, the buckle 12 comprises an elongated, generally rectangularly shaped member 20 from which there depends a pair of side flanges 22 and 24. In accord with the illustrated embodiment of the inventive subject matter, the side flanges 22 and 24 are formed integrally with the member 20 and function therewith to provide the buckle 23 with an inverted U-shaped configuration. Continuing with a description of the nature of the construction of the buckle 12, the latter adjacent one end thereof is provided with a pair of slots 26 and 28 formed in the member 20 in spaced relation relative to each other for a purpose yet to be described. It will be noted with reference to FIGS. 1-3 of the drawings that in accord with one method of forming the slots 24 and 26, the surface of the member 20 is bent out of the plane thereof and is reversibly bent back upon itself thereby to provide the member 20 adjacent the slots 24 and 26 with a double thickness of material 30 and 32, respectively, operable to provide additional strength thereto as will be discussed more fully subsequently. The member 20 in spaced relation to the other end thereof is provided with a multiplicity of ribs 34 formed in the otherwise planar surface of the member 20. The ribs 34 cooperate with the slide lock 16 and the strap means 18 to provide a firmer gripping surface therebetween as will become more apparent when reference is had to the description of the method of employment of the strap clamp assembly 10, which is to be found set forth hereinbelow. Obviously, a greater or a lesser number of ribs 34 could be provided, if so desired, without departing from the essence of the invention.

Turning next to a consideration of the side flanges 22 and 24, the latter are each provided adjacent one end thereof with a protuberance 36 and 38, respectively. The latter protuberances 36 and 38 result from the formation of an indentation in the inner surface of the side flanges 22 and 24, respectively. It will be noted, particularly with refernce to FIG. 3 of the drawings, that the major axis of each of the protuberances 36 and 38 forms an angle to the major axis of the corresponding side flange 22 and 24, respectively. In addition, there is provided an opening 40 and 42, resepctively, in each of the side flanges 22 and 24 of the buckle 12 adjacent to the aforedescribed protuberances 36 and 38. The opening 40 and 42 in a manner yet to be described are operable for purposes of receiving therein means for mounting the stirrup 14 on the buckle 12. Completing the description of the nature of the construction of the side flanges 22 and 24, the latter adjacent to the other end thereof are each provided with a notched area 44 and 46, respectively. The slide lock 16 is designed to be received within the notched areas 44 and 46 as depicted in FIG. 1 of the drawings whereby when so located therein the slide lock 16 is in its locking position relative to the strap means 18 and the buckle 12.

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 7 and 8 of the drawings there is to be found therein a showing of the stirrup 14 which is cooperatively connected to the buckle 12, and from which an understanding may be had of the nature of the construction of the stirrup 14. As illustrated therein, the stirrup 14 consists of a substantially U-shaped member which is formed by a medial position 48 and a pair of outwardly extending arms 50 and 52. The arms 50 and 52 in accord with the illustrated embodiment of the strap clamp assembly 10 are formed integrally with the medial position 48 and project outwardly therefrom so as to form substantially a right angle therewith. The spacing between the arms 50 and 52 is selected so as to be such as to enable the arms 50 and 52 of the stirrup 14 to span the width of the buckle 12, i.e., the distance measured between the outside surfaces of the side flanges 22 and 24. On the inner surface of each of the arms 50 and 52 at a point intermediate the ends thereof, there is provided a raised portion 54 and 56, respectively, configured in the nature of a bump. The latter bumps 54 and 56 in a manner which will be described subsequently cooperate with the previously described protuberances 36 and 38. More particularly, the protuberances 36 and 38 function as detents relative to the arms 50 and 52 of the stirrup 14. To this end, the bumps 54 and 56 are suitably located on the arms 50 and 52 of the stirrup 14 so as to be engageable with the corresponding protuberances 36 and 38, respectively, when the stirrup 14 being mounted on the buckle 12 is moved relative to the latter.

The stirrup 14 is capable of being mounted on the buckle 12 through the use of any suitable conventional form of fastening means commonly found employed for purposes of securing two members together. In accord with the illustrated embodiment of the strap clamp assembly 10, the fastening means however which has been selected for use for purposes of accomplishing the aforedescribed function comprises a pair of rivet-like members 56. As best seen with reference to FIG. 8 of the drawings, wherein only one member 56 is depicted, the member 56 is provided with a rounded head 56a and a shaft 56b suitably dimensioned so as to be receivable in the opening 42 provided therefor in the side flange 24 of the buckle 12. Although not readily visible in the drawings, it is to be understood that the arms 50 and 52 of the stirrup 14 adjacent the free end thereof are each provided with a suitably formed opening through which the aforesaid members 56 are intended to be passed in the manner depicted in FIG. 8 of the drawings.

The method of assembling the stirrup 14 to the buckle 12 is as follows. The stirrup 14 is positioned relative to the buckle 12 so that the arms 50 and 52 of the former span the width of the buckle 12 and with the opening, provided in each of the arms 50 and 52 adjacent the free end thereof for purposes of receiving the members 56, being aligned with the openings 40 and 42 provided in the side flanges 22 and 24 of the buckle 12. Thereafter, a member 56 with the head portion 56a thereof positioned externally of the outer surface of the arms 50 and 52 is made to pass through the openings provided thereof in each of the arms 50 and 52 and then through the corresponding opening 40 and 42 formed for this purpose in the side flanges 22 and 24. With the member 56 so positioned the free end of the latter is peened or otherwise deformed so as to cause the members 56 to be retained in the openings 40 and 42. With the stirrup 14 so mounted to the buckle 12, the former is capable of being pivoted relative to the latter from a clamping position as depicted in FIG. 1 of the drawings to a release position as shown in FIG. 2 of the drawings. The purpose for the movement of the stirrup 14 between the aforedescribed first and second positions relative to the buckle 12 will be found set forth hereinafter in the course of the description of the method of using the strap clamp assembly 10. It will be noted with reference to FIG. 8 of the drawings that the portion of the side flanges 22 and 24 immediately surrounding the openings 40 and 42, respectively, is formed in the nature of a boss. The latter is intended to operate in the manner of a bearing surface for the arms 50 and 52. This is best understood with reference to FIG. 8 of the drawings wherein there is to be found depicted the relationship which the member 56, the free end of the arm 52 of the stirrup 14 and the opening 42 formed in the side flange 24 of the buckle 12 bear relative to each other.

With regard to the slide lock 16, the latter as best understood with reference to FIG. 4 of the drawings comprises a tubular-shaped member having internal dimensions suitably selected so as to enable the slide lock 16 to be threaded along the strap means 18 into a locking position relative to the buckle 12. More particularly, the slide lock 16 includes a pair of side walls 58 and 60 which are spaced apart by a distance corresponding to the width of the buckle 12. The side walls 58 and 60 are interconnected by means of a top wall 62 and a bottom wall 64 which, in accord with the illustrated embodiment of the inventive subject matter, are formed integrally therewith. The top wall 62 is inclined inwardly from the edges thereof which are connected to the side walls 58 and 60 so as to form two portions 62a and 62b which taper towards a point 62c and which together function to provide the top wall 62 with a generally V-shaped configuration. The bottom wall 64 embodies an inverted U-shaped configuration. To this end, the bottom wall 64 includes a medial portion 64a the opposite sides of which are interconnected by means of laterally extending portions 64b and 64c to the side walls 58 and 60, respectively. As best understood with reference to FIG. 5 of the drawings, the spacing between the point 62c and the inner surface of the medial portion 64a is selected so as to correspond to substantially the thickness of the member 20 as will be described more fully subsequently.

The final component in the strap clamp assembly 10 constructed in accord with the present invention which has yet to be described is the strap means 18. The strap means 18 is of two-part construction, with each part thereof preferably being constructed from a conventional form of a suitable, strong, durable webbing material. As best understood with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, the strap means 18 consists of two parts 66 and 68. The former has one end thereof, designated in the drawings by reference numeral 66a, secured to the medial portion 48 of the stirrup 14. The aforesaid connection may be accomplished as shown in FIG. 1 by passing the end 66a of the part 66 of the strap means 18 around the medial portion 48 and between the arms 50 and 52 of the stirrup 14 so as to form a loop with the end 66a of the part 66. Thereafter, the aforesaid one end 66a of the part 66 is fastened to another portion of the part 66 so as to cause the medial portion 48a of the stirrup 14 to be captured therebetween. The means selected for fastening the end 66a to another portion of the part 66 may comprise any of the known methods commonly found employed for purposes of securing two pieces of webbing together such as by sewing the pieces together, through the use of heavy duty snaps, etc. The other end of the part 66, not shown in the drawings in the interest of maintaining clarity of illustration therein, has a gripping means selected from any of a variety of different types thereof affixed thereto. By way of illustration, there are shown in FIGS. 9-12 of the drawings, two types of gripping means which may be employed with the strap means 18. A detailed description of the nature of the construction thereof will be found set forth subsequently hereinbelow. The other part, i.e., the part 68 of the two-part strap means 18 differs somewhat in construction from the first part 66 thereof which has been described above. More specifically, one end not shown in the drawings in the interest of maintaining clarity of illustration therein, is provided with a gripping means in a manner similar to that described above whereby one end of the part 66 is provided with a gripping means. However, the other end, i.e., the end designated by reference numeral 68 in the drawings, unlike the end 66a of the part 66, is not fastened to any portion of the strap clamp assembly 10. Rather, the end 68a of the part 68 is designed to be threaded through the slots 26 and 28 formed in the buckle 12 in a manner which will be described more fully in connection with the description of the method of employment of the strap clamp assembly 10 which is to be found set forth hereinafter. In accord with the illustrated embodiment thereof, to assist in threading the end 68a through the aforedescribed slots 26 and 28 the end 68a is preferably rolled upon itself several times as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings. For purpose of maintaining the end 68a in the aforesaid rolled-up condition, the latter may be sewed together, or secured together through some other method. It is of course to be understood that, if so desired, some other means could be employed for purposes of facilitating the threading of the end 68a of the part 68 through the slots 26 and 28 such as by providing the former with a metal tip, etc., without departing from the essence of the invention.

Referring now to FIGS. 9-12 of the drawings, there is depicted therein two types of gripping means 70 and 72 employable with the strap clamp assembly 10. The gripping means 70 as illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10 of the drawings consists of a metal member one end of which is bifurcated so as to form two legs 70a and 70b, which are separated by a slot 74. The latter slot 74 terminates in a triangular shaped opening 76 suitably dimensioned so as to enable one end of either the part 66 or the part 68 of the strap means 18 to be received therewithin. As depicted in broken lines in FIG. 9 of the drawings, the gripping means 70 may be secured to one end of the part 66 or of the part 68 of the strap means 18 by passing the end thereof through the opening 76 and forming a loop therewith. Thereafter, this loop may be maintained by sewing the end of the corresponding part, i.e., the part 66 or the part 68 to another portion thereof or through the use of some other means. The other gripping means, i.e., gripping means 72 which is shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 of the drawings, consists of a wire-like member which terminates in a pair of ends 78 and 80 which are formed so as to be positioned in juxtaposed relation relative to each other. From the ends 78 and 80 thereof, the two legs of the wire-like member which comprises the gripping means 72 diverge outwardly so as to form an opening 82 therebetween. The latter opening 82 is suitably dimensioned so as to enable one end of either the part 66 or the part 68 to be received therewithin in a manner similar to that of the gripping means 70. The end of the corresponding part 66 or the part 68 of the strap means 18 which is cooperatively associated with the gripping means 72 may be secured thereto in the same manner as that which has been described hereinabove whereby one end of the strap means 18 is secured to the gripping means 70.

There will now be set forth a description of the manner in which the initial assembly of the part 68 of the strap means 18 is accomplished as well as a description of the preferred method of employment of the strap clamp assembly 10. For purposes of the following description, it will be assumed that stirrup 14 has been assembled to the buckle 12, that the end 66a of the part 66 of the strap means 18 has been secured to the stirrup 14, and that the strap clamp assembly 10 is in the release position thereof, i.e., the position thereof depicted in FIG. 2 of the drawings. Moreover for purposes of the following description of the initial assembly of the components of the strap clamp assembly 10, it will be assumed that the gripping means provided at the other end of each of the parts 66 or 68 of the strap means 18 have been positioned in gripping engagement with portions of the load which it is desired to be fastened to some object through the use of strap clamp assembly 10. Thus, with the components embodied in the strap clamp assembly 10 positioned in the aforedescribed manner, the end 68a of the part 68 of the strap means 18 is passed through the slide lock 16. Thereafter, as schematically depicted by the arrows appearing in FIG. 2 of the drawings, the end 68a of the part 68 is passed over the end of the member 20, through the slot 26, then back under the member 20 and is thereafter passed through the slot 28. The part 68 of the strap means 18 is then drawn taut. With the strap means 18 having been drawn taut, the end 68a of the part 68 is then passed again through the slide lock 16 so that a double thickness of the part 68 is received in the slide lock 16. The next step is to pivot the stirrup 14 from the position thereof depicted in FIG. 2 of the drawings into the locking position thereof as shown in FIG. 1. It will be noted that the aforedescribed action is effective to further increase the tension being exerted by the part 66 and thereby by the entire strap means 18. The final step is to thread the slide lock 16 from the position thereof depicted in broken lines in FIG. 1 of the drawings to the position thereof depicted in solid lines in the same figure wherein the slide lock 16 is received in the notched area 44 and 46 of the buckle 12. With the slide lock 16 positioned in the notched areas 44 and 46, the mechanical advantage provided thereby is relatively large so that very little force is required to prevent accidental untoggling of the buckle 12. Moreover, as will now be described, it requires a positive act to release the slide lock 16 from its locking position, i.e., to remove the slide lock 16 from the notched areas 44 and 46. This is because of the fact that by virtue of the V-shaped configuration of the top wall 62 of the slide lock 16, the latter is inwardly spring biased into engagement with the ribs 34 of the member 20 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 5 of the drawings and with the medial portion 64a of the bottom wall 64 of the slide lock 26 pressing the double thickness of the part 68 of the strap means 18 into engagement with the undersurface of the member 20. It can thus be seen with reference to FIG. 5 of the drawings that the slide lock 16 when positioned in the notched areas 44 and 46 of the buckle 12 is effective to clamp portions of the part 68 of the strap means 18 into engagement with the member 20. To release the slide lock 16 from the notched areas 44 and 46 of the buckle 12, it is necessary to apply a force to the top wall 62 of the slide lock 26 at the portions thereof identified by the arrows in FIG. 6 of the drawings. This force is effective to cause the center portion 62c of the top wall 62 of the slide lock 26 to be biased out of engagement with the ribs 34 of the member 20. Consequently, the slide lock 16 may be slid from the solid line position thereof as shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings to the broken line position thereof depicted in the same figure. Thereafter, the strap clamp assembly 10 is released by pivoting the member 20 about the rivet-like members, i.e., pivot pins 56 out of engagement with the part 68 of the strap clamp means 18. The latter action is commonly found to be sufficient to enable one to free from the load the gripping means which is attached at one end of each of the parts 66 and 68. In this connection, it is important to note that is has been found that it is rarely necessary to unthread the part 68 from the member 20 to either apply or remove the strap clamp assembly 10. Consequently, once the part 68 has been threaded through the member 20, in accord with the preferred method of employing the strap clamp assembly 10 of the present invention, the part 68 is left in engagement with the member 20 and the required movement of the strap means 18 to enable the gripping means attached to the ends of the parts 66 and 68 to be engaged and disengaged from a load is accomplished by pivoting the member 20 about the members 56 between the toggled and the untoggled positions thereof. In this regard, it is important to recognize that when the member 20 is in its toggled, i.e., locked position relative to the part 68, the latter is shortened by approximately five-eighths inch which is sufficient to cause the desired tension to be applied to the parts 66 and 68 of the strap means 18 and therethrough to the gripping means which are engaged with the load. Also, it should be noted that when the member 20 is in its untoggled, i.e., unlocked position relative to the part 68 that the end 68a of the part, i.e., strap 68 is capable of being pulled through the member 20 for purposes of snugging up the parts 66 and 68 of the strap means 18 so that when the member 20 is moved to its toggled position the proper tension is applied to the strap clamp assembly 10. Obviously however, if one should so desire, it is also possible to utilize the strap clamp assembly 10 of the present invention in such a manner that the part 68 is unthreaded completely from the member 20 for purposes of disengaging the strap clamp assembly 10 from a load.

Although only one embodiment of a strap clamp assembly constructed in accordance with the present invention has been described hereinabove and shown in the drawings, it is to be understood that modifications in the construction thereof may be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the essence of the invention. In this connection, some of the modifications which can be made in the strap clamp assembly 10 have been alluded to hereinabove while others will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art when exposed to the present description and illustration of the construction of the strap clamp assembly 10. For example, although the buckle 12 and the stirrup 14 are preferably made from a suitable form of metal, it is to be understood that other materials sufficiently strong to be operable for purposes of functioning in the aforedescribed manner in the strap clamp assembly 10 may be substituted therefor without departing from the essence of the invention. Similarly, although the slide lock 16 is preferably made from a suitable type of plastic material, it is also possible without departing from the essence of the invention to form the slide lock 16 from some other material. Also, the straps means 18 may take some form other than webbing, if so desired, without departing from the essence of the invention. With further regard to the strap means 18, the embodiment thereof which has been shown in the drawings is of two-part construction. Namely, the strap means 18 consists of the part 66 which has one end thereof secured to the stirrup 14 and the other end thereof equipped with a suitable gripping means, while the part 68 on the other hand also is equipped with a suitable gripping means at one end thereof with the end 68a of the part 68 being suitably configured so as to be threadable through the member 20. This form of strap means 18 particularly when the gripping means consists of hooks as depicted in FIGS. 9-12 of the drawings is especially adapted to be used in connection with car-top carriers, etc., for purposes of securing a load tightly thereon. For such an application, the strap clamp assembly 10 is preferably employed with the part 68 being initially threaded through the member 20. Thus, the steps which are followed in such a case in utilizing the strap clamp assembly 10 include positioning the strap clamp assembly 10, with the member 20 in its untoggled position, in juxtaposed relation to the load, and engaging the gripping means with portions of the carrier. Then the slack is taken up by pulling the end 68a of the part 68 so that the latter is pulled through the member 20 to the desired extent. Thereafter, the member 20 is moved to its toggles position which is effective to tighten the strap means 18. The final step is to position the slide lock 16 in the notches 44 and 46 provided therefor in the member 20 to thereby lock the member 20 in its toggled position. To release the strap clamp assembly 10, the previously described steps are followed in reverse order. However, there are some applications wherein it is desired that the strap clamp assembly 10 be utilized in such a manner that the strap means thereof is operable to completely encircle the load desired to be clamped. For such applications, the strap means which is employed is of one-part construction. Namely, the strap means consists of a single part which is equipped at one end with a suitable gripping means which is capable of being detachably connected to the stirrup 14 of the strap clamp assembly while the other end of the part is configured in a manner similar to the end 68a of the part 68 whereby to be capable of being through the member 20 in the same manner as was described previously hereinabove in connection with the description of the part 68. To employ a strap clamp assembly embodying the latter type of strap means, with one end of the single part which comprises the strap means being threadedly engaged with the member 20, the other end thereof which is equipped with the gripping means is passed around the load and is hooked to the stirrup 14. The remaining steps are the same as those performed in utilizing the strap clamp assembly 10 when the strap means 18 is of two-part construction. Namely, the free end of the strap means is pulled so that the strap means is pulled through the member 20 to the desired extent. Thereafter, the member 20 is moved to its toggled position which is effective to apply the desired tension to the strap means. Finally, the slide lock 16 is engaged in the notches 44 and 46 of the member 20. Thus, here also it can be seen that the strap clamp assembly is capable of being disassociated from the load when the member 20 is in its untoggled position simply by unhooking the gripping means from the stirrup 14 and removing the strap clamp assembly from the load while the other end of the strap means remains threaded in the member 20.

Thus, it can be seen that the present invention provides a novel and improved strap clamp assembly which has general utility. Moreover, in accord with the present invention a strap clamp assembly has been provided which is particularly suited for employment, for example, in fastening loads to automobiles, trailers and trucks, for holding down trunk lids over outsized loads, for clamping pieces to be glued, etc. The strap clamp assembly of the present invention also is of the type wherein a toggle action type of mode of operation is employed. Furthermore, in accordance with the present invention a strap clamp assembly has been provided which embodies a mechanical locking mechanism which is effective to hold the buckle against the strap thereby to prevent the buckle from untoggling. Also, a strap clamp assembly has been provided in accord with the present invention wherein the mechanical locking mechanism is captivated in the assembly so that it will not be lost or inadvertently misplaced. The strap clamp assembly of the present invention in addition is characterized by the fact that the mechanical advantage as provided by the mechanical locking mechanism is relatively large so that very little force is required to prevent accidental untoggling of the buckle. Finally, in accord with the present invention a strap clamp assembly has been provided which is simple in construction, easy to employ, positive in its action, and economical to manufacture.