Title:
Luggage wheel system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Provided is a luggage wheel system mounted at either rear corner of a luggage case, comprising a bracket fixedly secured to the luggage case, a spring-loaded wheel assembly rotatably disposed in the bracket, and a fender slidably disposed in a front portion of the bracket and above the wheel assembly in a nonoperating position. In a case of the wheel to be encountered an irregularity (e.g., crack, pebble) in the supporting surface a luggage user may lower the fender to disengage a top bent member of the fender with a latch in a wheel mount for covering a rear, upper half portion of the wheel. As an end, cuff of trousers worn by the luggage user is prevented from becoming dirty by contacting the wheel when lifting the luggage.



Inventors:
Sher, Mou-ong (Mississage, CA)
Application Number:
11/079256
Publication Date:
09/21/2006
Filing Date:
03/15/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C5/14
View Patent Images:
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20030141160Luggage waterproofingJuly, 2003Schlipper



Primary Examiner:
WEAVER, SUE A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bruce, Troxell Suite 1404 H. (5205 LEESBURG PIKE, FALLS CHURCH, VA, 22041, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A luggage wheel system mounted at either rear corner of a luggage case, comprising: a bracket fixedly secured to the luggage case; a wheel assembly rotatably disposed in the bracket and comprising a wheel; and a fender slidably disposed in a front portion of the bracket and disposed above the wheel assembly in a nonoperating position; wherein the fender is adapted to lower to cover a predetermined portion of the wheel assembly in an operating position.

2. The luggage wheel system of claim 1, wherein the bracket comprises a lower well for disposing the wheel and a hole on an inner wall of the well, the hole having a blind end.

3. The luggage wheel system of claim 2, further comprising a resilient assembly having one portion anchored in the hole and the other portion urged against the wheel assembly.

4. The luggage wheel system of claim 3, wherein the resilient assembly comprises a hollow, parallelepiped resilient block and a spring having one end passed the resilient block to urge against the wheel assembly and the other end anchored in the hole.

5. The luggage wheel system of claim 2, wherein the bracket further comprises two lower side cavities at its lower portion for mounting the wheel, the cavities being substantially parallel to the hole.

6. The luggage wheel system of claim 2, wherein the bracket further comprises a first latch above the well, two side channels, and two grooves at both sides of the first latch and aligned with the channels.

7. The luggage wheel system of claim 1, wherein the fender comprises two projecting rails at both sides.

8. The luggage wheel system of claim 6, wherein the fender further comprises a top bent member fastened at the first latch in the nonoperating position.

9. The luggage wheel system of claim 1, wherein the fender further comprises a curved lower portion and an inner wheel well opposite the curved lower portion.

10. The luggage wheel system of claim 1, wherein the bracket further comprises an L-shaped wheel mount and two upper side recesses.

11. The luggage wheel system of claim 10, wherein the wheel mount comprises a vertical plate including two side latched members each fitted in the recess.

12. The luggage wheel system of claim 10, wherein the wheel assembly further comprises a pin having both ends fitted in the recesses and an intermediate portion inserted through its upper portion.

13. The luggage wheel system of claim 11, wherein the latched member comprises an upward projecting protrusion at its end, the recess is slanted inward upward, and the recess comprises a top opening for permitting the protrusion to insert through when the latched member is fitted in the recess.

14. The luggage wheel system of claim 4, wherein the wheel assembly further comprises a stirrup and a protuberance projecting from an outer surface of the stirrup, the protuberance being adapted to insert into the resilient block.

15. The luggage wheel system of claim 6, wherein the bracket further comprises a second latch below the first latch.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to a luggage wheel system and more particularly to an improved luggage wheel fender mounted over the wheel of a molded luggage case for preventing cuff of trousers worn by a luggage user from becoming dirty by contacting the wheel when lifting the luggage.

2. Description of Related Art

It is typical that a luggage user may lift the luggage when wheels encounter an irregularity (e.g., crack, pebble) in the supporting surface. Such lifting aims at protecting the luggage and/or precious articles (e.g., notebook computer or the like) contained therein. Further, the user will lay down the luggage and then wheels the same again after passing the irregularity. However, it is often that cuff of trousers worn by the user may become dirty by contacting the wheel when lifting the luggage. Thus, a need for improvement exists.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an improved luggage wheel system having a rear fender mounted over the wheel of a molded luggage case for preventing cuff of trousers worn by a luggage user from becoming dirty by contacting the wheel when lifting the luggage.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a luggage wheel system having a spring-loaded shock absorption arrangement for prolonging it useful life and facilitating the wheeling manipulation.

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a luggage case with two rear wheels each incorporating a first preferred embodiment of fender according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the wheel system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the wheel system of FIG. 2 and a portion of luggage bottom shell to be attached thereto;

FIG. 4 is a longitudinal section of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a side view of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 where the fender is lowered to substantially cover a rear, upper half portion of the wheel in an operating position;

FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 5 where the luggage is wheeling in an oblique angle with respect to the supporting surface with both the spring and the resilient block being compressed;

FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view of a luggage wheel system incorporating a second preferred embodiment of fender according to the invention;

FIG. 9 is a longitudinal section of the assembled luggage wheel system of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a side view of FIG. 9 where the fender is lowered to substantially cover a rear, upper half portion of the wheel in an operating position; and

FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of a luggage wheel system incorporating a third preferred embodiment of fender according to the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 to 4, there is shown a first preferred embodiment of the invention. A wheel system of a luggage 1 is located at either corner of its rear portion and comprises a bracket 10, a wheel assembly 20, a resilient assembly 30, a fender 40, and a wheel mount 50. Each component is discussed in detailed below. The bracket 10 is secured to the luggage bottom shell 101 by driving either a fastener (e.g., screw, bolt and nut combination, or rivet) through a hole 102 as known in the art or a toothed member 16 through the hole 102. The bracket 10 further comprises a lower well 11 including two upper side recesses 111 at its upper portion, two lower side cavities 112 at its lower portion, two side channels 113 each extended from the recess 111 to the cavity 112 at the same side, and a hole 114 on an inner wall, the hole 114 having a blind end and being substantially parallel to the cavities 112; a latch 12 disposed above the well 11; two grooves 13 at both sides of the latch 12 and aligned with the channels 113, each groove 13 having one blind end proximate the latch 12 and the other end open to the well 11 (i.e., the recess 111); an upper aperture 14 above the latch 12; and two notches 15 at both sides of the well 11.

The wheel assembly 20 is mounted in the well 11 and comprises a wheel 22 and a stirrup 21 including an upper hole 211, a pin 212 having both ends fitted in the recesses 111 and an intermediate portion inserted through the hole 211, an axle 221 through the rear, lower corner of the stirrup 21 and the central hole of the wheel 22 for rotatably securing the stirrup 21 and the wheel 22 together, the axle 221 having both ends fitted in the cavities 112, and a pin 213 projecting from an outer surface of the front of the stirrup 21 and aligning with the center of the wheel 22. The wheel assembly 20 is thus mounted in the well 11.

The resilient assembly 30 comprises a hollow, parallelepiped resilient block 31 put on the pin 213, and a spring 33 having one end sandwiched between the hole of the resilient block 31 and the pin 213 to urge against the stirrup 21 and the other end anchored in the hole 114 (see FIGS. 4 and 5). As such, the stirrup 21 and thus the wheel assembly 20 are spring-loaded members, thereby enabling the resilient assembly 30 to absorb the force of shocks and jarring while wheeling the luggage 1, as shown in FIG. 7.

The fender 40 is a shell-like member and comprises two projecting rails 41 at both sides, the rails 41 being adapted to slide along the grooves 13 and the channels 113, a top bent member 42 fastened at an edge of the latch 12, an inner recessed portion 43, and a curved lower portion 44 opposite a wheel well 431 of the recessed portion 43.

The L-shaped wheel mount 50 comprises a vertical plate 51 including a rectangular opening 511, an upper hole 512 above the opening 511, two side tabs 513 between the hole 512 and the opening 511, and two side latched members 514 each fitted in the recess 111 to urge against the pin 212 (see FIGS. 5 and 6); a rectangular horizontal plate 52 including a rectangular opening 521 open to the opening 511, and two holes 522 proximate two inner corners; and a plurality of fasteners (e.g., bolt and nut combinations) 53 each driven through either the hole 512 and the aperture 14 or the holes 522 and hole of the bracket 10 for securing the wheel mount 50 and the bracket 10 together.

Referring to FIG. 5, the bent member 42 is fastened at the edge of the latch 12 in a nonoperating position with the wheel well 431 disposed above the wheel 22. That is, the wheel 22 is not protected by the fender 40. Further, the spring 33 always exerts an outward force upon the wheel assembly 20.

Referring to FIG. 6, in a case of the wheel 22 encountered an irregularity (e.g., crack, pebble) in the supporting surface a luggage user may lower the fender 40 to disengage the bent member 42 with the latch 12 for substantially covering a rear, upper half portion of the wheel 22 and contacting a front point of the wheel 22 in an operating position. As an end, cuff of trousers worn by the luggage user is prevented from becoming dirty by contacting the wheel 22 when lifting the luggage 1.

Referring to FIG. 7, weight of articles contained in the luggage 1 is borne upon the wheels 22 and the resilient assemblies 30. That is, weight borne upon the wheels 22 is reduced. As a result, the force of shocks and jarring while wheeling the luggage 1 can be lessened or absorbed, a useful life of luggage can be prolonged, and the wheeling manipulation can be facilitated.

Referring to FIG. 8, there is shown a second preferred embodiment of the invention. The second preferred embodiment substantially has same structure as the first preferred embodiment. The differences between the first and the second preferred embodiments, i.e., the characteristics of the second preferred embodiment are detailed below. The resilient assemblies 30 are eliminated. Accordingly, the hole 114 and the pin 213 are also eliminated. The bracket 60 further comprises a second latch 67 below the latch 62.

Referring to FIGS. 9 and 10, in a case of the wheel 72 to be encountered an irregularity (e.g., crack, pebble) in the supporting surface a luggage user may lower the fender 80 to disengage the bent member 82 with the latch 62 prior to engaging with the second latch 67. In this operating position a rear, upper half portion of the wheel 72 is substantially covered by the fender 80 and its front point contacts the fender 80. As an end, cuff of trousers worn by the luggage user is prevented from becoming dirty by contacting the wheel 72 when lifting the luggage 1. Note that the second latch 67 can be eliminated if the wheel 72 is formed with a resilient member for pushing the wheel 72 normally outward.

Referring to FIG. 11, there is shown a third preferred embodiment of the invention. The third preferred embodiment substantially has same structure as the second preferred embodiment. The differences between the third and the second preferred embodiments, i.e., the characteristics of the third preferred embodiment are detailed below. The second lower latch 67 is eliminated. An upward projecting protrusion 914 is further formed at an end of each latched member 913. A top opening 614 is formed on the inward upward inclined recess 611. The protrusion 914 is adapted to insert through the opening 614 when the latched member 913 is fitted in the recess 611. As such, the wheel mount 90 is further secured to the bracket 60, only by one fastener 93 through a hole 922.

In a case of the wheel 72 to be encountered an irregularity (e.g., crack, pebble) in the supporting surface a luggage user may lower the fender 80 to disengage the bent member 82 with the latch 62. In this operating position a rear, upper half portion of the wheel 72 is substantially covered by the fender 80 and its front point contacts the fender 80. As an end, cuff of trousers worn by the luggage user is prevented from becoming dirty by contacting the wheel 72 when lifting the luggage 1.

While the invention herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments, numerous modifications and variations could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention set forth in the claims.