Title:
Tamper-indicating device for luggage
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tamper-indicating device for sealing an individual piece of luggage to be installed by a user prior to checking, and individually observable upon baggage reclaim. The device includes a generally planar-colored flag element and integrally formed loop-forming means to be passed through openings in adjacent slide fastener closure tabs.



Inventors:
Sukoff, Ira (Syosset, NY, US)
Application Number:
09/960905
Publication Date:
04/04/2002
Filing Date:
09/24/2001
Assignee:
SUKOFF IRA
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C13/18; A45C13/42; G09F15/00; (IPC1-7): A45C13/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, TRI M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Charles E. Temko (Westport, CT, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A tamper-indicating device for luggage, said luggage including a pair of slide fastener tabs having openings adjacent a free edge thereof when said luggage is in closed condition, comprising: a generally planar body forming a flag element and a loop-forming element; said loop-forming element including an elongated flexible strip having a free end, and a strip-engaging opening with which said free end is permanently engageable; whereby said luggage may be opened only by rupturing said loop-forming means.

2. A tamper-indicating device in accordance with claim 1, further comprising a pressure-sensitive label applied to a surface of said planar body for bearing identification indicia.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] Reference is made to my copending provisional patet application, Serial No. 60/237,048 filed Oct. 2, 2000, to which a claim of priority is made.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates generally to tamper-indicating devices, and more particularly to an improved device for use with personal baggage used by travelers who customarily check such baggage before boarding a vehicle, such as an aircraft, and reclaim the same after arrival at a destination.

[0003] It is known in the art in the case of commercial containers to provide a so-called “wire seal” which is threaded through a lock hasp or similar closure in which the free ends of the length of wire are clamped with a malleable metal seal in such manner that the container may be opened only by cutting the wire or damaging the seal, thus giving immediate notice to a consignee that the container has been tampered with, even if a principal closure remains in place. Such devices require a tool to cut the seal, and are not entirely free of the possibility of concealing the temporary opening of the seal portion.

[0004] With increased use of air travel, literally hundreds of pieces of luggage are loaded aboard a single aircraft or cruise ship, and when reclaimed by the owner, they are placed upon a moving platform for individual identification and retrieval. Most of the luggage is of soft type having minimum or no provision for locking, and when the pieces have been opened by unauthorized persons, with possible loss of contents, this fact is not immediately noticeable until the luggage is unpacked at another location, and difficulty in making claim for loss is significantly increased.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] Briefly stated, the invention contemplates the provision of improved sealing devices of the type described suitable for use by travelers which may be conveniently manufactured at relatively low cost, and conveniently installed and secured without the use of tools. In preferred form, the devices are formed from synthetic resinous materials as injection moldings to configuration such that the presence or non-presence of an identifying flag can be readily observed at a substantial distance from the viewer, whereby the occurrence of tampering may be noted before the baggage is retrieved. The device includes a sealing means which must be destroyed prior to removal, making the concealing of a tampering activity impossible. To this end, the device includes a planar flag with an integral single use attachment means which may be threaded through an opening in each of a pair of opposed slide fastener tabs when the associated piece of luggage is closed, such that in order to open the slide fastener, the attachment means must be severed or damaged such that it cannot be reengaged.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] In the drawings, to which reference will be made in the specification, similar reference characters have been employed to designate corresponding parts throughout the several views.

[0007] FIG. 1 is a plan view of a first embodiment of the invention.

[0008] FIG. 2 is a plan view of second embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSED EMBODIMENTS

[0009] Referring to FIG. 1 in the drawings, a first embodiment, generally indicated by reference character 10, comprises: a unitary synthetic preferably insert molded body 11, including a planar flag element 12, a loop-forming element 13, and an optional pressure sensitive label 14. Depending upon the synthetic resinous materials used, in some cases it may be preferable to cut the device from planar sheet material. Suitable materials include styrene, nylon, and polypropylene, although in some cases resin impregnated fibrous materials may also be employed. The materials are preferably brightly colored, and may include so-called “day glow” colors, so that the device may be visible at substantial distances.

[0010] The first embodiment may be of generally circular configuration, and the flag element 12 is bounded by a peripheral edge 20 adjacent an optional thickened rim portion 21 surrounding a pair of planar surfaces, one of which is indicated by reference character 22. The edge 20 forms an interconnecting area 24 with the loop-forming element 13. The element 13 includes an elongated strap 25 forming an engagement terminal 26 through which a tapered end 27 may be inserted. The actual engaging means is known in the art, and includes a plurality of wedge-shaped surfaces which temporarily enlarge the opening in the engagement terminal as they pass through the opening in such manner that withdrawal is impossible without destroying the device.

[0011] The label element 14 is of pressure sensitive type also known in the art, and provides a means for providing identifying indicia, such as the name and address of the owner and the like. It includes a non-adhesive surface 30 bearing suitable indicia 31 provided by the user.

[0012] In operation, the typical piece of soft luggage (not shown) is usually provided with a continuous slide fastener closure, and a pair of slide fastener tabs, each of which closes a separate portion of the slide fastener, and when the luggage is in closed condition, the tabs which normally include a small opening near a free end thereof are in abutted relation. The loop-forming element 14 is passed through an opening in each of the tabs, and then engaged as above-described. In this condition, the flag element will be readily visible in an area normally adjacent the handles of the luggage, permitting the owner, upon identifying his luggage while still on a moving belt, to readily determine whether the device has been removed before actually retrieving the luggage. Most conveniently, the flag element is of a diameter of at least several inches, this coupled with the bright color of the flag element, assisting visibility. Since the particular color of the flag element is already known, this fact also assists the user in identifying his particular piece of luggage from other similar ones on the moving belt.

[0013] Upon retrieval, the loop-forming element is disconnected only by destroying the same, and subsequent use of the luggage requires a fresh device.

[0014] Turning now to the second embodiment of the invention, illustrated in FIG. 2, the device, generally indicated by reference character 40 differs from the principal embodiment in the provision of a rectangular flag element 41 bounded by side edges 42 and 43 as well as end edges 44 and 45. The loop-forming element 46 includes engagement means 47 provided in the body of the flag element. Other configurations are also possible.

[0015] I wish it to be understood that I do not consider the invention to be limited to the precise details of structure shown and set forth in the specification, for obvious modifications will occur to those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains.