Title:
Asset key shield
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This key shield features a control key joined to an asset key by a key ring. The key ring is slidable in a longitudinal key ring slot in an opaque elongate body such that the asset key can be moved to a position within said body where its configuration is concealed and can likewise be moved to a position where it is exposed for insertion into a lock by sliding the key ring from one end of the slot to the other. When the key ring is moved to so as to expose the asset key, it pulls the control key into the other end of the body and exposes the asset key at the other end of the body. Likewise, when the control key is exposed, the asset key is hidden. In addition, since the slot itself provides a means for studying the configuration of the asset key, elongate key visibility shields are provided on either side of the asset key and mounted to the key ring. These are adjacent the asset key when it is positioned within the body and block visual inspection through the slots. They can be moved away from the asset key when it is exposed for insertion into a lock so as to allow insertion into the lock.



Inventors:
Mastrodonato, George (Rochester, NY, US)
Eckerdt, George H. (Victor, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/359320
Publication Date:
08/24/2006
Filing Date:
02/22/2006
Assignee:
Key Systems, Inc. (Fishers, NY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C11/32; A44B15/00; A47G29/10
View Patent Images:
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20080289383DOOR LOCK INDICATORNovember, 2008Levine
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20090095036LOCKBOX WITH USER CONFIGURED COMBINATION LOCKSApril, 2009Ng et al.
20090145181Electronically openable lock fitting for a motor vehicleJune, 2009Pecoul et al.
20100050706Releasable security mountMarch, 2010O'neill
20080141738Lock for a lockerJune, 2008Chang



Primary Examiner:
BOSWELL, CHRISTOPHER J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Key Systems, Inc. (ITHACA, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A key shield, comprising: a) an asset key; b) a body to which said asset key is connected in such manner that it can be moved to a position within said body where its cuts are concealed and can be moved to a position where it is exposed for insertion into a lock.

2. A key shield as described in claim 1, further comprising a control key, which control key is joined to said asset key and body in such manner that when cuts of said control key are exposed for insertion into a lock, said asset key is in a position within said body where its cuts are concealed.

3. A key shield as described in claim 2, wherein when said asset key is exposed for insertion into a lock, said control key is within said body.

4. A key shield as described in claim 2, wherein a connector joins said asset key, control key and body.

5. A key shield as described in claim 4, wherein said connector is slidable in a slot in said body.

6. A key shield as described in claim 4, wherein said connector is a key ring.

7. A key shield as described in claim 1, further comprising visibility shields, which visibility shields are adjacent said asset key when it is positioned within said body and can be moved away from said asset key when it is exposed for insertion into a lock so as to allow insertion into a lock.

8. A key shield, comprising: a) an asset key; b) a body to which said asset key is connected in such manner that it can be moved to a position within said body where its configuration is concealed and can be moved to a position where it is exposed for insertion into a lock; c) a control key, which control key is joined to said asset key and body in such manner that when cuts of said control key are exposed for insertion into a lock, said asset key is in a position with said body where its cuts are concealed; and d) a connector slidable in a slot in the body joins said asset key, control key and body; and e) wherein when said asset key is exposed for insertion into a lock, said control key is within said body.

9. A key shield as described in claim 4, wherein said connector is a key ring.

10. A key shield as described in claim 8, further comprising visibility shields, which visibility shields are adjacent said asset key when it is positioned within said body and can be moved away from said asset key when it is exposed for insertion into a lock so as to allow insertion into a lock.

11. A key shield as described in claim 9, further comprising visibility shields, which visibility shields are adjacent said asset key when it is positioned within said body and can be moved away from said asset key when it is exposed for insertion into a lock so as to allow insertion into a lock.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention pertains to the field of secured asset management techniques. More particularly, the invention pertains to an asset key shield intended, in general, to shield a key from visual inspection and, specifically, to shield keys secured in a key control cabinet or similar device from visual inspection and/or copying.

2. Description of Related Art

One of the difficulties inherent in handling and using keys in secured environments such as prisons is the increasing sophistication and artistry of those that the key/lock is intended to thwart or restrain. There are a limited number of possible key configurations (comprising the operative cross-sectional pattern and key cuts or notches) for a key, and some inmates and other individuals are adept at recognizing and remembering the pattern and cuts on a key they have seen and transferring this knowledge into the making of a duplicate key or otherwise using it to open locks that are intended to limit their personal or physical access. More specifically, there is a need for a key shield that will effectively shield an asset key's configuration from inspection and copying while a control key is secured in, e.g., a key control cabinet or similar device. In modern asset control technology, control keys are locked into a key slot in the cabinet and can only be released when proper codes are used or other similar actions are taken. The control key is attached by a key ring to the actual asset key, which is intended to open a lock, door, or otherwise allow access to a secured space, asset or area. However, as long as the asset key is physically available, an impress can be made using wax, a bar of soap, or some other pliable substance. Likewise, as previously noted, as long as the asset key is visually available (even though secured in a key control cabinet), its configuration can be copied. Thus, there is a need for a system or apparatus that will prevent these things from happening.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The instant invention is characterized by, as is typical for control of secured assets, a control key joined to an asset key by a key ring. However, it adds to this typical configuration an opaque elongate body to which said asset key is connected in such manner that the asset key can be moved to a position within said body where its configuration is concealed and can likewise be moved to a position where it is exposed for insertion into a lock. This is accomplished by joining the control key to said asset key and body by a key ring or other connector that is slidable in a longitudinal slot in the elongate body so that when the control key is exposed at one end of the body for insertion into a lock, the asset key is pulled into a position within the body. Likewise, when the key ring is moved to the other end of the slot, it pulls the control key into the body and exposes the asset key at the other end of the body. However, since the slot itself provides a means for studying the configuration of the asset key, elongate key visibility shields are further provided on either side of the asset key and mounted to the key ring. These are adjacent the asset key when it is positioned within the body and block visual inspection through the slots. They can be moved away from the asset key when it is exposed for insertion into a lock so as to allow insertion into said lock. A further benefit of the invention is that, when carrying the asset key for use, it can be held by the key ring so as to be concealed within the body. It only need be exposed briefly prior to its insertion into a lock.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 provides a partially exploded perspective view of the invention, illustrating the asset key flanked by key visibility shields joined to the control key by a key ring.

The elongate body of the invention is shown in exploded position separate from the previously enumerated elements. FIG. 2 provides an assembled perspective view of the invention, illustrating the key ring in place in the ring slot of the elongate body, with the asset key exposed for use and swung into a perpendicular position vis-a-vis the elongate body of the invention as allowed by asset key slots at an end of the elongate body. FIG. 3 provides an assembled perspective view of the invention where the asset key is being withdrawn within the body in order to expose the control key for use. FIG. 4 provides an assembled perspective view of the invention where the asset key is further withdrawn within the body in order to expose the control key for use. FIG. 5 provides an assembled perspective view of the invention where the asset key is even further withdrawn within the body in order to expose the control key for use. FIG. 6 provides an assembled perspective view of the invention where the asset key is completely withdrawn within the body and the control key is completely exposed for use. FIG. 7 provides an assembled perspective view of the invention where the control key is exposed for use and swung into a perpendicular position vis-a-vis the elongate body of the invention as allowed by control key slots at an other end of the elongate body.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As will be noted from review of FIGS. 1 et seq. the current invention has a control key 1 joined to an asset key 2 by a key ring 3. These are connected to an opaque elongate body 4 in such manner that the asset key 2 can be moved to a position within said body 4 where its configuration is concealed and can likewise be moved to a position where it is exposed for insertion into a lock. This is accomplished by joining the control key 1 to said asset key 2 and body 4 by a key ring 3 or other connector that is slidable in a longitudinal key ring slot 5 in the elongate body 4 so that when the control key 1 is exposed at one end of the body 4 for insertion into a lock, the asset key 2 is pulled into a position within the body 4. Likewise, when the key ring 3 is moved to the other end of the key ring slots 5, it pulls the control key 1 into the body 4 and exposes the asset key 2 at the other end of the body 4. However, since key ring slots 5 provides a means for studying the configuration of the asset key 2, elongate key visibility shields 6 are further provided on either side of the asset key 2 and mounted to the key ring 3. These are adjacent the asset key 2 when it is positioned within the body 4 and block visual inspection through the key ring slots 5. They can be moved away from the asset key 2 when it is exposed for insertion into a lock so as to allow insertion into said lock.

Reviewing FIGS. 2 through 7 in sequence provide a better understanding of the operation of the invention. FIG. 2 illustrates the key ring 3 in place in the ring slots 5 of the elongate body 4, with the asset key 2 exposed for use and swung into a perpendicular position vis-a-vis the elongate body 4 of the invention as allowed by an asset key slot 7 at the end of the elongate body. The asset key slot 7 on the other side of the body 4 allows the key visibility shields 6 to be completely pivoted away and opposite from the asset key 2 at this point (better exposing it for use). FIG. 3 provides a view where the asset key 2 is partially withdrawn within the body 4 in order to expose the control key 1 for use. The tapered edges 6A of visibility shields 6 assist in this operation. FIGS. 4 and 5 provide views where the asset key 2 is even further withdrawn within the body in order to expose the control key 1 for use. In FIG. 5 it will be noted that the simple movement of the connector (key ring 3) in ring slot 5 from a position adjacent the end of the body 4 where the asset key 2 is exposed to the other end automatically pivots the asset key 2 and shields 6 into positions parallel to the longitudinal ring slot 5, where they can be easily withdrawn into body 4 and where shields 6 are adjacent to and block visual access to the configuration of asset key 2. In FIG. 6, the asset key 2 is shown as completely withdrawn into body 4 and the control key 1 is fully exposed. Finally, in FIG. 7 the control key 1 is not only exposed for use, but has been swung into a perpendicular position vis-a-vis elongate body 4 as allowed by control key slots 8.

However, in viewing the preferred embodiment illustrated and described herein it should be remembered that numerous variations are possible without exceeding the scope of the inventive concept. Accordingly, it is to be understood that the embodiments of the invention herein described are merely illustrative of the application of the principles of the invention. Reference herein to details of the illustrated embodiments is not intended to limit the scope of the claims, which themselves recite those features regarded as essential to the invention.