Title:
Horizontally retractable handle of wheeled luggage
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A horizontally retractable handle of wheeled luggage is introduced. The handle is retracted to the top of the luggage when it is not in use. When the handle is in use, the user simply pulls out the handle horizontally, transits the handle from its horizontal position to a vertical position, locks the handle in the vertical position, and then pulls the handle out to its maximum length. When the handle is not in use, the user pushes the handle down and rotates the handle in a reverse direction to transit it from the vertical position to a horizontal position; thereby, pushing the handle horizontally into its preserving recess on the top of the luggage body.



Inventors:
Kuo, Chung Hsien (Pan-Chiao City, TW)
Application Number:
09/742488
Publication Date:
11/15/2001
Filing Date:
12/20/2000
Assignee:
Chaw Khong Technology Co., Ltd.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
190/39
International Classes:
A45C13/26; (IPC1-7): A45C13/26
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGO, LIEN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WARE, FRESSOLA, MAGUIRE & BARBER LLP (MONROE, CT, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A retractable handle device of wheeled luggage provided on a top of the luggage slidable and extendable from a rear top to a front top of the luggage, the retractable handle device comprising: a handle grip; a pair of sliding tubes slidable on the top of the luggage, a front end of the sliding tubes connected to the handle grip; and a pair of locking devices provided at a front portion of the luggage; wherein by horizontally extending the luggage handle to a front-most extent, performing a rotation of a rear end of each of the pair of sliding tubes causing the locking device to move downward, the luggage handle changes its orientation from a horizontal position to a vertical position, upon changing an orientation of the luggage handle at a predetermined position, the pair of locking devices lock the pair of sliding tubes in place to thereby secure the luggage handle into a position readied for the user's towing operation.

2. The retractable handle device of claim 1, wherein the locking device comprises a solid locking block, a first spring biased against the solid locking block, a hollow locking block, a second spring biased against the hollow locking block, and a casement.

3. The retractable handle device of claim 1, wherein a pair of sleeving members are further sleeved on the sliding tubes of the luggage handle.

4. The retractable handle device of claim 3, wherein the sleeving member comprises a pivotal block and a center block.

5. The retractable handle device of claim 1, wherein each of the said pair of sliding tubes comprises an inner sliding tube and an outer sliding tube.

6. The retractable handle device of claim 1, further comprising a pair of horizontal grooves on the top of the luggage.

7. The retractable handle device of claim 6, wherein a guiding means is further provided in the horizontal grooves.

8. The retractable handle device of claim 7, wherein the guiding means comprises an arcuate guide groove, a first dent, and a second dent.

9. A retractable handle device of wheeled luggage slidable along two horizontal grooves on the top of the luggage, the retractable handle device comprising: a luggage handle including a handle grip, two outer sliding tubes, and two inner sliding tubes; a pair of locking devices each provided in the front portion of the luggage handle; a pair of spring biased members each provided in the rear end of the outer sliding tube; and a pair of L-shaped guide grooves each provided along the inner wall of a horizontal groove; wherein by extending the luggage handle, the spring biased members are protruded to be locked in the locking devices when the luggage handle is fully pulled out horizontally; to change the handle's orientation from its horizontal position to a vertical position, the spring biased members are locked in their vertical positions by the activation of the locking devices, thereby holding the luggage handle in place in an operating position.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a luggage handle and more particularly to a horizontally retractable luggage handle of wheeled luggage.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] Conventionally, a retractable handle is disposed vertically inside the rear portion of a luggage piece and can be retracted into the bezel provided on the top of the luggage so that only the top portion of the handle grip is revealed to the user. However, by using such a design, the available storage space inside the rear portion of the luggage is relatively reduced. By complying with the Warsaw Convention, i.e., to maintain the safety of air transportation and air travel, the exterior of luggage has to be smooth and nonprotruded; therefore a luggage's handle assembly has to be concealed inside the luggage body. Since an internal concealment space for the luggage handle is indispensable, the corresponding sacrifice for precious available storage space in the luggage also becomes inevitable, if the retractable handle mechanism is to be retracted and concealed vertically inside the luggage. Thus, there is a need for a new horizontally retractable luggage handle design.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] An object of the present invention is to provide a horizontally retractable handle for wheeled luggage such that when the handle is not in use, it can be retracted into and stored in a top chamber inside the luggage so that the luggage's loading capacity can be increased by sparing more upright storage space for the user.

[0006] Another object of the present invention is to provide a horizontally retractable handle for the wheeled luggage such that the new design can provide the advantages of component simplicity, convenience, practicality, and durability.

[0007] The above and other objectives, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description made in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] FIGS. 1A to 1E show a plurality of schematic views of a horizontally retractable handle of a wheeled luggage according to the main concept of the invention, which demonstrates the maneuverability of the horizontally retractable handle;

[0009] FIG. 2 is an environmental side view schematically showing the use of the horizontally retractable handle of the wheeled luggage, according to the present invention;

[0010] FIG. 3A is a side cross-sectional view of the retracted horizontally retractable handle showing one of the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

[0011] FIG. 3B is a top cross-sectional view of the retracted horizontally retractable handle of FIG. 3A;

[0012] FIG. 3C is a perspective exploded view of the horizontally retractable handle's locking device;

[0013] FIG. 3D is a perspective view of the casement of the horizontally retractable handle's locking device;

[0014] FIG. 4A is a side cross-sectional view of the handle of FIG. 3A, which is being pulled out;

[0015] FIG. 4B is a top cross-sectional view of the handle of FIG. 4A;

[0016] FIG. 5 is a side cross-sectional view showing the handle of FIG. 4A transited from a horizontal position to a vertical position;

[0017] FIG. 6 is a side cross-sectional view showing the handle of FIG. 4A in its erected vertical position;

[0018] FIG. 7 is similar to FIG. 6, showing the pulling-out and pushing-in of the inner sliding tube; and

[0019] FIG. 8 is a side cross-sectional view showing the retraction of the handle.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0020] The main concept of the present invention, as mentioned above, is to provide a horizontally retractable handle device of wheeled luggage provided on a top chamber of the luggage. This horizontally retractable handle device enables the user to operate the luggage handle by directing it from a horizontally retractable position to a vertical position. FIGS. 1A to 1E are a plurality of schematic views of a horizontally retractable handle of a wheeled luggage according to the main concept of the invention, which also demonstrate the maneuverability of the horizontally retractable handle in accordance with the present invention. The important feature of the present invention is to provide a horizontally retractable handle device of wheeled luggage on a top chamber of the luggage, wherein the handle is slidable along two horizontal grooves extending from the rear top to the front top of the luggage. The retractable handle device comprises a handle grip; a pair of sliding tubes, which are slidable along the two horizontal grooves on the top of the luggage, wherein the front ends of the sliding tubes are connected to the handle grip; and a pair of locking devices provided at the front portion of the two horizontal grooves.

[0021] With all these composing members stored in place, the user first pulls out the luggage handle horizontally to the front-most position, then, with one move, rotates the rear end of each of the said pair of sliding tubes and causes the locking device to move downward. Accordingly, the luggage handle changes its orientation from a horizontal position to a vertical position. Upon changing the orientation of the luggage handle at a predetermined position, the pair of locking devices would lock the pair of sliding tubes in place, thereby securing the luggage handle into a position readied for the user's towing operation.

[0022] FIG. 1A shows the handle 50 retracted into the top chamber of the luggage 10. The user may pull the handle 50 out and change the orientation thereof when the handle is in use (FIGS. 1B to 1E). FIG. 2 shows the fully extended handle 50 being carried by a person. It is noted that the locking device and the locations of the associated locking holes (i.e., the locking mechanism provided in the outer sliding tubes and the inner sliding tubes) are a prior art, therefore a detailed description related to the subject is omitted here for the sake of brevity.

[0023] FIGS. 3a to 8 show the preferred embodiment of the luggage handle 50 comprised of an outer sliding tube 51, an inner sliding tube 52, a sleeve 54, and a handle grip 53 on the top of the handle 50. Note that one side of handle 50 is a mirror of the other side thereof, so that the description of one side of the handle 50 serves to describe the whole handle 50.

[0024] The horizontally retractable handle assembly of luggage comprises a handle 50, a sleeving member 20 sleeved on handle 50, a groove 11 for allowing handle 50 to slide therein, a handle locking device 40, and an arcuate guide groove 13 for controlling the orientation of the handle 50 when it is retracted. An enlargement 510 is provided on the bottom end of the outer sliding tube 51. The enlargement 510 is slidable along the groove 11. The sleeving member 20 is disposed between the groove 11 and the outer sliding tube 51. The sleeving member 20 is sleeved on the handle 50 and has a smaller front end 24 and a larger rear end 25, so that the enlargement 510 may move through the larger end 25 until it is stopped at the smaller end 24 (FIG. 4A). A pivotal block 23 and a center block 22 are provided on the external surface of the sleeving member 20. The pivotal block 23 and the center block 22 are moveable in the guide groove 12 on the top of the luggage. The guide groove 12 has a straight rear portion. An arcuate guide groove 13 is at the front of the guide groove 12 to allow the pivotal block 23 to rotate therein. A dent 131 is provided at the rear end of the guide groove 13. A dent 121 is provided beneath the dent 131, and an arcuate recess 122 is provided opposite to the dent 121 for permitting the center block 22 to rotate therein.

[0025] The horizontally retractable handle's locking device 40 is designed partly to let the handle 50 rotate from a horizontal position to a vertical position and lock the handle 50 in the vertical position. The handle's locking device 40 is located at the front portion of the top chamber of the luggage handle 50 and is just below the recess 122 when handle 50 is fully retracted into its horizontal casement at the top of the luggage. As shown in FIGS. 3C and 3D, the handle's locking device 40 comprises a solid locking block 411 in the center, a spring 410 biased against the bottom of the solid locking block 411, a hollow locking block 42 surrounding the solid locking block 411, two springs 420 biased against the bottom of the hollow locking block 42, two springs 420, which are sleeved one on each of the two pedestals 421 extended down from the two sides of the top portion of the hollow locking block 42, and a casement 43 (see FIG. 3D). The casement 43 has a wide notch 432, a narrow notch 4321, a concave slope 431, and two hollow cylinders 433 extended down from the lower portion of the casement 43. The two pedestals 421, which extend down from the two shoulders of the main block of the hollow locking block 42, serve to assure a smooth descent of the block 42 itself. Each of the pedestals 421 is equipped with three-sectioned flanges 4212 and three slits 4211 evenly deployed amongst the three flanges 4212. These arrangements are provided to make way for the two pedestals 421 to insert themselves into the fixing holes 434 within the two cylinders 433 of the casement 43 (see FIG. 3D) so as to facilitate the manufacturing and assembling of the part. The solid locking block 411 consists of two portions on two opposite sides of the part. The first portion, which is at the front face, includes a large bulk with a trapezoidal side profile. This portion is provided for interacting with the enlargement 510. The second portion, which is on the back side of the locking block 411, includes a smaller block with a trapezoidal side profile and two vertically allocated board-like pieces provided at the two vertical edges, respectively, of the locking block 411. The piece with a trapezoidal side profile is located at the center-top of the back face, and it serves to interact with the hollow locking block 42. The other two vertically allocated board-like pieces serve as the sliding tracks for the locking block 411. The hollow locking block 42 contains three portions, which are mutually separate on top and connected together at the bottom. While the two side shoulders are responsible for wrapping up the two stretched-down pedestals 421, the one central piece between them interacts with the solid locking block 411.

[0026] As shown in FIGS. 3A to 3D, the left part of the solid locking block 411 extends into the hollow locking block 42 such that the hollow locking block 42 may move downward as the solid locking block 411 moves downward. But the hollow locking block 42 cannot move downward if it is the only member which is pushed down, because the compression force will be neutralized by the little notch located to the left of the hollow locking block 42 upon the locking device's 40 casement 43 (see FIGS. 3A, 3C, and 3D). When handle 50 is pulled out from its recess position (a first position, as shown in FIG. 3A) to its horizontal active position (a second position, as shown in FIG. 4A), the sleeving member 20 first contacts the blunt tip of the solid locking block 411, which in turn causes the locking device;s 40 two acting elements, the solid locking block 411 and the hollow locking block 42, to move downward. The sleeving member 20 moves to its front most position when the outer sliding tube 51 is fully extended. At this instant, the pivotal block 23 and the center block 22 are located at the bottom of the arcuate guide groove 13 and the bottom of dent 121, respectively (see FIG. 4A). Handle 50 is further pushed to move from its horizontal position toward its vertical position (as shown in FIGS. 4 to 6), wherein the pivotal block 23 and the center block 22 are rotated along the guide grooves 12 and 13 (FIG. 5) until they reach their positions shown in FIG. 6. At this instant, the handle 50 is held at its vertical position when the pivotal block 23 and the center block 22 are being received into the dents 131 and 121, respectively (FIGS. 6 and 7). The user may further pull the inner sliding tube 52 out by pressing the button 531 on the handle grip 53 until the inner sliding tube 52 is fully extended. This time the handle 50 is protracted to its maximum length (FIG. 7), and consequently the user may pull the luggage along the ground.

[0027] FIG. 8 shows an erectly retracted handle 50. The following narrative will describe the retractable handle's operating procedure and discuss how exactly the handle locking device 40 works when the user tries to convert the retractable handle from its vertical position to a horizontal position and push it into its horizontal recess on the top of the luggage. The user can push it back into its horizontal recess by first pressing the handle grip 53 down. The handle's inner sliding tube 52 will then be pushed downward, as shown in FIG. 8, and the bottom of the enlargement 510 at the bottom end of the outer sliding tube 51 will contact the solid locking block's 411 blunt tip. At this moment, the block's 411 blunt tip is at its highest position. Due to the action of the solid locking block's 411 allocating spring 410, the solid locking block 411 will descend. Please refer to FIGS. 3C and 3D, specifically. Before the solid locking block 411 is pushed down, as shown in FIG. 7, the hollow locking block 42 is caught on the wide notch 432 provided at the lower edge center of the concave slope 431 inside the handle's locking device 40, having no way to maneuver. When the tip of the solid locking block 411 is pushed down and descends to almost the same height as the hollow locking block 42's top platform, the hollow locking block's 42 major reacting element (the little piece at the top-center), being compressed and temporarily deformed by the pressure from the bottom of the enlargement 510, moves toward the solid locking block 411 and relieves itself from the narrow notch 4321 located at the lower edge center of the concave slope 431 on casement 43. Concurrently, the two springs 420, which are curled around the hollow locking block's 42 two pedestals 421, will be compressed to allow block 42 to descend. Thus, both the solid locking block 411 and the hollow locking block 42 are able to descend. At that time, the pivotal block 23 and the center block 22 are also released from their respective dents 131 and 121, and thereafter the enlargement 510 and the sleeving member 20 both move counterclockwise (see FIG. 5) from their original vertical active positions to the horizontal inactive positions. The handle 50 is further pushed in until it is fully retracted into its horizontal storage space on the top of the luggage (see FIGS. 4A, 3B, and 3A).

[0028] It is appreciated by those skilled in the art that, in another embodiment, the sleeving member 20, the pivotal block 23, the center block 22, and the guide grooves 12, 13 may be omitted, wherein a spring biased guiding member and an L-shaped guide groove (not shown) are installed instead. The spring biased guiding member is provided on the outer side portion of the rear end of the outer sliding tube at the position of the center block 22 (instead of the center block 22 and the pivotal block 23) and the L-shaped guide groove is provided along the inner wall of the groove 11 and extended from the rear to the front portion of the groove 11. Whenever the user tries to pull the horizontally retractable handle out to its operating position (i.e., to change the handle's orientation from its original inactive horizontal position to its active vertical position), the spring-biased member will be protruded along the L-shaped guide groove and be further protruded and locked in a locking device when the handle is pull out in its vertical position. When the user tries to deactivate the retractable handle from its vertical position and put it back to its horizontal storage space, the user pushes a button on the handle grip and the spring-biased guiding member will be retracted and be pushed down accordingly. By following a reverse procedure, the handle will be retracted.

[0029] 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.