Title:
Bracket For Retaining Items In A Stored Position
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clip or bracket releasably mountable to a rail having elongated perforations to retain one or more items in a stored position when not in use. In a simple embodiment, the clip is formed of a continuous length of metal or plastic rod having a pair of parallel legs for insertion through the mounting rail perforation, and a three-sided enclosure which, in cooperation with the surface of the mounting rail, form a four-sided enclosure for retaining the stored item. In a second, preferred embodiment, a bracket is formed with an integral, three-sided wall with one or more latching members affixed to one of the walls for releasably attaching the bracket to the mounting rail with portions of the latching member(s) extending through one of the perforations. In one form, a pair of three-sided retainers are connected to one another with latching member(s) mounted between adjacent walls of the two retainers. The invention has particular utility in the cargo transportation field where the brackets may be mounted to the conventional mounting rails currently in use in many trucks and trailers for supporting likewise conventional load bars to restrain cargo against movement during transport.



Inventors:
Beals, John (Chittenango, NY, US)
Jamieson, David (Canastota, NY, US)
Haynes, Thomas L. (Chittenango, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/908533
Publication Date:
10/26/2006
Filing Date:
05/16/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61D3/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GORDON, STEPHEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOND, SCHOENECK & KING, PLLC (SYRACUSE, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An article for mounting upon a substantially vertical surface to support one or more elongated items in a stored position, said article comprising: a) means for releasably attaching said article to said surface in a predetermined orientation; b) a pair of side members extending substantially parallel to one another and perpendicular to said surface when in said orientation; and c) an end member extending between said side members substantially parallel to and spaced from said surface when in said orientation, whereby said side members and said end member form, in conjunction with said surface, a four-sided enclosure of appropriate size for extension therethrough and support of said elongated item in a stored position against said surface.

2. The article of claim 1 wherein said article is formed from a continuous length of elongated rod having first and second, terminal ends and bent between said ends to a configuration providing said attaching means, said side members and said end member.

3. The article of claim 2 wherein said article has a pair of substantially U-shaped portions each of said portions having a first leg terminating at one of said terminal ends and a second leg integrally attached to said first leg and to a respective one of said side members.

4. The article of claim 3 wherein said surface has at least one pair of perforations and said attaching means comprise said U-shaped portions, said first leg of each of said U-shaped portions extending through a respective one of said perforations when in said orientation.

5. The article of claim 4 wherein said first and second legs are substantially parallel to one another and perpendicular to said side members.

6. The article of claim 1 wherein said side members comprise first and second walls joined by said end member with opposing surfaces of said wall members in substantially parallel, spaced relation.

7. The article of claim 6 wherein said end member comprises a third wall formed integrally with said first and second walls, the latter extending from said end wall to respective first and second free edges.

8. The article of claim 7 wherein said first and second free edges are substantially parallel to said third wall, said first free edge being spaced from said third wall by a distance less than said second free edge is spaced from said third wall.

9. The article of claim 8 wherein said surface includes at least one perforation and said first free edge rests upon a portion of said surface and said second edge extends through said perforation when said article is in said orientation.

10. The article of claim 9 wherein said attaching means comprises at least one latch member mounted to said second wall.

11. A bracket for releasable attachment to a conventional mounting rail of the type having a planar surface with a plurality of elongated, spaced perforations, to support an elongated item in a stored position, said bracket comprising: a) first and second substantially planar side walls; b) an end wall extending between and attached to each of said side walls maintaining the latter in parallel relation to one another; c) latch means engageable with said mounting rail to support said bracket upon said surface in an orientation wherein said side walls extend perpendicularly outward from said surface and said end wall extends parallel to and spaced from said surface, whereby said side walls and end wall cooperate with said surface to form a four -sided enclosure through which said elongated item may extend.

12. The bracket of claim 11 wherein said end wall is formed integrally with said side walls.

13. The bracket of claim 12 wherein said side walls extend from said end wall to respective free edges each parallel to the plane of said end wall, the free edge of said first side wall being spaced from said end wall by a distance less than the free edge of said second side wall is spaced from said end wall.

14. The bracket of claim 13 wherein said free edge of said first side wall rests upon said planar surface and the free edge of said second side wall extends through one of said perforations when said bracket is mounted to said support rail in said orientation.

15. The bracket of claim 11 wherein said latch means is mounted to at least one of said side walls.

16. The bracket of claim 15 wherein said latch means comprises a pair of latch members each pivotally mounted to one of said side walls for rotation with respect thereto between latched and unlatched positions.

17. The bracket of claim 16 and further including a spring biasing said latch members toward rotation to said latched position.

18. The bracket of claim 15 and further including stabilizing means fixedly attached to at least one of said side and end walls and contacting said planar surface when said bracket is supported upon said surface in said orientation.

19. The bracket of claim 15 wherein said latch means includes a first portion mounted to one of said side walls and a second portion integrally formed with said one side wall.

20. A system for retaining elongated items in a stored position, said system comprising, in combination: a) a rigid plate fixedly mounted to supporting structure and having at least one, vertically oriented, elongated perforation of predetermined shape; b) at least one article having a first portion extending through said perforation to releasably mount said article upon said plate, and a second portion extending outwardly from said surface and at least partially defining a passageway through which a vertically oriented, elongated item may pass; and c) at least one elongated item extending through said passageway and retained by said second portion of said article in a vertical orientation.

21. The system of claim 20 wherein said supporting structure is an interior side wall of a cargo space of a vehicle.

22. The system of claim 21 wherein said elongated item is a load bar for use in securing cargo within said cargo space.

23. The system of claim 22 wherein said cargo space includes a floor and wherein one end of said load bar rests upon said floor.

24. The system of claim 20 wherein said first portion of said article includes latch means.

25. The system of claim 24 wherein at least a portion of said latch means is movable between latching and unlatching positions.

26. The system of claim 20 wherein said second portion of said article includes a pair of side members and an end member which, together with a portion of said surface, define said passageway.

27. The system of claim 26 wherein said side members comprise a pair of substantially planar side walls extending perpendicularly to said surface in spaced, parallel relation to one another, and said end member comprises a substantially planar end wall extending between said side walls and parallel to said surface.

28. A bracket for releasable mounting upon a mounting rail of the type having a planar surface with at least one vertically elongated perforation to retain an elongated member in a vertically oriented, stored position, said bracket comprising: a) a first retainer defining at least a portion of a first passageway having a first, central axis along which one of said elongated members may extend; b) a second retainer defining at least a portion of a second passageway having a second, central axis along which another of said elongated members may extend; c) means fixedly attaching said first and second retainers to one another with said first and second axes substantially parallel; and d) latching means cooperable with said mounting rail to mount said first and second retainers thereon with said first and second axes substantially vertically oriented.

29. The bracket of claim 28 wherein said first and second retainers each include a pair of side walls and an end wall and are fixedly attached to one another with a side wall of said first retainer in adjacent, parallel relation to a side wall of said second retainer.

30. The bracket of claim 29 wherein said latching means are mounted between said adjacent side walls of said first and second retainers.

31. The bracket of claim 30 wherein said latching means comprise at least one latch member mounted for pivotal movement between latching and unlatching positions.

32. The bracket of claim 30 wherein said latching means comprise a pair of latch members each mounted for pivotal movement between latching and unlatching positions, and at least one spring biasing said latch members toward movement to said latching position thereof.

Description:

This application claims priority to provisional application Ser. No. 60/594,602, filed on Apr. 4, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to brackets or clips for releasable mounting to a support in order to retain one or more items in a stored position when not in use. In a more specific application, the invention relates to brackets for holding in a stored position an article such as an elongated bar, particularly that type of bar commonly used in trucks and trailers to hold the contents in position and avoid shifting of the load.

The cargo compartments of many trucks and trailers are equipped with one or more pairs of perforated, sheet metal rails, one on each side wall of the truck or trailer body, extending either horizontally or vertically. The perforations in the rails are closely spaced and vertically elongated. It is common practice when transporting cargo that is subject to shifting position due to forces generated in response to movement of the vehicle to place one or more bars across the interior of the transporting vehicle in order to secure the cargo and prevent it from shifting. The bars are supported at their ends by inserting a projection on the bar through one of the aforementioned perforations in the rails on each side of the cargo compartment. When the retaining bars are not in use, they are often left lying on the floor of the cargo compartment and are thus subject to being damaged or lost.

It is a principal object of the present invention to provide structure for supporting elongated articles in a secure and convenient, stored location when not in use.

Another object is to provide structure in the nature of a clip or bracket releasably mountable upon a conventional type of perforated rail to hold a cargo load bar in a stored position.

A further object is to provide an article which may be quickly and easily mounted upon and removed from a conventional type of perforated rail and which is adapted, when so mounted, to hold one or more elongated articles, such as a cargo load bar, in a stored position.

Other objects will in part be obvious and will in part appear hereinafter.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the foregoing objects, the invention is embodied in structure in the nature of a bracket or clip which may be releasably connected to a conventional, perforated, support rail. In a first disclosed embodiment, the article is termed a clip and comprises a single piece of heavy wire or rod, flat or square bar stock or sheet metal, bent to a configuration providing a pair of spaced, parallel legs for insertion through two of the perforations in the mounting rail. The clip thus hangs from the support rail and includes a U-shaped central portion configured to engage three of the four sides of a conventional load bar, the fourth side being constrained by the surface of the mounting rail and/or inside wall of the cargo space or other structure upon which the mounting rail is supported.

Although the clip provides an inexpensive and straightforward approach, a second disclosed embodiment, wherein the structure is termed a bracket, provides a more sturdy and reliable approach. The bracket includes a body portion in the nature of a U-shaped wall with latching means for releasably securing the bracket to the mounting rail. Two such brackets may be joined together for joint, side-by-side mounting upon the rail. Such a duplex unit would support two stored load bars in spaced, parallel relation. The load bars are restrained on three sides by the body portion of the bracket and on the fourth side by the surface of the mounting rail and/or wall adjoining the mounting rail. Also disclosed is a double latch structure with rotatable latch members biased by a single spring toward the latched position.

The foregoing and other features of the invention will be more readily understood and fully appreciated from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein”

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is fragmentary, elevational view of a portion of a typical cargo compartment of a truck or trailer as seen from the inside;

FIG. 2 is fragmentary, perspective view of a portion of one of the elements of FIG. 1 with a clip, representing a first embodiment of the invention, mounted thereon;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, perspective view of the mounted clip with the structure of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 4A and 4B are perspective views of a bracket, representing a second embodiment of the invention, with movable portions shown in first and second positions, respectively;

FIG. 5 is fragmentary, perspective view showing the manner of engagement of the bracket with the supporting structure seen from the side opposite that shown in FIGS. 1-3;

FIG. 6 is an exploded, perspective view of a double bracket for supporting two load bars in side-by-side relation;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the bracket of FIG. 6 with the elements assembled and with some portions broken away;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary, perspective view of the bracket of FIGS. 6 and 7 mounted upon the supporting structure;

FIG. 9 is the view of FIG. 8 with a pair of conventional load bars supported by the bracket;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a modified form of the bracket;

FIG. 11 is a perspective views of a further modification; and

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary, perspective view of the bracket mounted upon support structure which is in a different orientation from that of preceding views.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings, in FIG. 1 is shown a portion of the interior of a cargo compartment of a typical truck or trailer. Reference numeral 10 denotes the outer siding or skin of the vehicle to which are affixed a plurality of spaced, vertical support ribs 12. Interior wall 14, e.g., of plywood or other suitable siding material, is also affixed to support ribs 12 in spaced, parallel relation to outer skin 10. Mounting rail 16 is affixed to interior wall 14 in covering relation to a discontinuity in the wall, whereby mounting rail 16, as well as interior wall 14, is in spaced, parallel relation to outer skin 10. Mounting rail 16 is provided with a plurality of closely spaced perforations 18 which are generally in the shape of the letter 1, the major axis of the perforations being vertically oriented when the rail is mounted to the side of the cargo compartment. A second mounting rail is normally mounted on the inside of the cargo compartment directly opposite that shown in FIG. 1 so that the projections on the ends of a standard load bar may be placed in the perforations on the opposing mounting rails. Such load bars are commonly supported in a position to act as a restraint to the cargo, preventing or impeding the shifting or falling of cargo due to forces generated in response to movement of the vehicle in which the cargo is transported. As previously mentioned, there has hitherto been no provision for storage of the load bars when they are not supported by the mounting rails in operative relation to the cargo.

A first embodiment of the present invention, termed a clip and denoted by reference numeral 20, is shown in FIG. 2, releasably mounted upon mounting rail 16. Clip 20 is formed from a single piece of round or square bar, heavy wire or sheet metal, having a first pair of parallel legs 22, 22′ extending from opposite, terminal ends 24, 24′. A pair of U-shaped bends 26, 26′ connect legs 22, 22′ to a second pair of legs 28, 28′, which are parallel to one another and also to legs 22, 22′. Legs 28, 28′ are joined by structure having three sides, namely parallel sides 30a and 30b, joined by side 30c, perpendicular to the parallel sides. Clip 20 is so mounted simply by inserting terminal ends 24, 24′ through the perforations indicated by reference numerals 18a and 18b in mounting rail 16, followed by legs 22, 22′, which will then extend downwardly in the space between the mounting rail and interior wall 14 on one side and outer skin 10 on the other. Sides 30a, 30b and 30c cooperate, together with the surface of interior wall 14, to form a square shaped enclosure having dimensions corresponding to those of a standard load bar. Thus, when a load bar is not in use, rather than left on the floor of the cargo compartment, it may be stored against a wall of the cargo compartment, in a vertical position, such as load bar 32 shown in phantom lines in FIG. 3 and retained by clip 20.

A second embodiment of the invention, termed a bracket and denoted by reference numeral 34, is shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B. Bracket 34 includes three integral walls 36a, 36b and 36c with parallel sides 36a and 36c extending perpendicularly to wall 36b, the three walls thus being of generally U-shape in end view. Latch members 38, 38′ are pivotally mounted by rivets 40, 40′, respectively, upon wall 36a, and are biased by spring 42 toward rotation in opposite directions about their respective pivotal mountings. The limit of movement in the direction of spring biasing is defined by contact of edges 44, 44′ of the latch members with spacers surrounding rivets 46, 46′, respectively, as latch member 38′ is shown in FIG. 4A and both latch members are shown in FIG. 4B. Latch member 38 is shown in FIG. 4A rotated in a counterclockwise direction, against the bias of spring 42, and latch member 38′ would be so rotated in the opposite direction to permit the lower (as shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B) portions of wall 36a and the two latch members to extend through a perforation in the mounting rail, as will appear later in more detail. After insertion through the perforation, latch members 38 and 38′ return, under the bias of spring 42, to their limit positions wherein edges 48, 48′ of wall 36a and edges 50, 50′ of latch members 38 and 38′, respectively, cooperate to form gaps 52, 52′. The width of gaps 52, 52′, i.e., the distance between edges 48 and 50, and between edges 48′ and 50′, is slightly greater than the thickness of the metal of the mounting rail, whereby portions of the mounting rail are engaged by bracket 34 on the side thereof having the latch members and edge 54 of wall 36c rests upon the surface of the mounting rail.

FIG. 5 shows bracket 34 supported upon mounting rail 16 as seen from the side opposite that facing the cargo compartment. Integral flanges 56, 56′ of mounting rail 16 are affixed to support ribs 12, thereby holding the central portion of the rail (i.e., the portion having the perforations) in parallel, spaced relation to the support, thus providing a space for the lower portions of wall 36a and latching members 38 and 38′ to extend through one of the perforations in mounting rail 16. When bracket 34 is so mounted, portions of mounting rail 16 extend into notches 52, 52′, thereby securing the bracket to the rail, and edge 54 of wall 36c contacts the surface of the rail. The inner surfaces of walls 36a, 36b and 36c, together with the portion of the surface of rail 16 adjacent thereto, cooperate to form a four-sided enclosure with open ends through which a load bar or other article may extend.

An embodiment which incorporates two U-shaped walls in a single bracket is shown in FIGS. 6-9. A first retainer 57 includes walls 58a, 58b and 58c, and a second retainer 57′ includes walls 60a, 60b, and 60c. A single pair of latch members 62, 62′ is mounted for rotation about rivets 64, 64′, respectively, and a single spring 66 biases the latch members toward rotation in opposite directions. Rivets 68, 68′ limit rotation of latch members 62, 62′ to predetermined positions wherein latch member 62 cooperates with edge portions 70, 70′ of walls 58a, 60a, respectively, to form gap 72 (FIG. 7). Latch member 62′ also cooperates with edge portions of the same walls to form a corresponding gap (not shown) at the other side of walls 58a and 60a. Spacers 74, 74′ ensure that latch members 62, 62′ are properly positioned between walls 58a and 60a. This bracket provides a pair of retainers with the same number of latch members, rivets and spring as the single retainer.

When mounted to support rail 16, as shown in FIG. 8, lower portions of walls 58a and 60a, and of latch members 62, 62′ extend through perforations in the mounting rail and portions of the rail adjacent the upper and lower ends of the perforations are engaged in gap 72 and the corresponding gap adjacent latch member 62′. The latch members are rotated toward one another as the bracket is mounted to allow passage through the perforation, and rotate away from one another under the bias of spring 66 to engage the rail. Edges 76, 76′ of walls 58c and 60c, respectively, rest upon the surface of rail 16 when the bracket is mounted thereon. FIG. 9 shows the double retainer bracket mounted upon rail 16 and holding a pair of load bars 78, 78′ in a stored position.

Some variations of the design are shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. The bracket of FIG. 10 has a single, U-shaped retainer wall 80 connected on one side by rivets 82 to L-shaped member 84 with spacers 86 therebetween. Planar portion 84′ contacts a surface area of mounting rail 16 when this bracket is attached to the rail, thereby offering greater stability of the mounted bracket.

In the variation of FIG. 11, a pair of U-shaped retainers are attached to one another to form a double-retainer bracket. One of the retainers is formed by walls 88a, 88b and 88c, while the other includes walls 89a, 89b and 89c. A single latch member 90 is rotatably supported by rivet 92 and a second rivet 94 provides a limit to rotation under the bias of spring 96. Spacer 98 is fixedly mounted to retainer wall 88a. Opposing edge portions of retainer wall 88a and latch member 90 cooperate to form gap 100, between which a portion of mounting rail 16 adjacent the perforation is engaged when the bracket is mounted to the rail. The lower portion of wall 88a, on the side opposite gap 100, is formed with a shoulder or step 102, and the opposing portion of wall 89a is formed with step 102′. When mounting this bracket to rail 16, the portions including steps 102, 102′ are inserted into the rail perforation before latch member 90 is rotated to engage the rail in gap 100. Thus, steps 102, 102′ serve, together with the single latch member, as latching tangs for engaging the bracket with the mounting rail.

FIG. 12 illustrates how a double retainer bracket 104 would be mounted upon a vertically extending rail 106, perforations 108 likewise having vertical axes. As before, a wall 110 of plywood, or other desired sheet material, is mounted on each side of rail 106. Rail 106 and wall 110 are affixed to ribs 112 which in turn are mounted to wall 114. The bracket of the invention would serve to hold a pair of load bars in a vertical orientation, as in the case of the horizontally oriented mounting rail since the major axis of the perforations is vertical in either case.

Although the foregoing description has described the invention in the context of a retainer for conventional, telescoping load bars mountable to likewise conventional perforated mounting rails, it will be understood that objects other than load bars of the type referred to may be retained in a stored position by the bracket of the invention. Even within the field of cargo transportation, such items as pallet jacks and even broomsticks may advantageously be held in a stored condition by the bracket, in the forms disclosed or appropriately modified to accept the item(s) to be stored. Likewise, although the mounting rail has been described as being mounted within the cargo compartment of a truck or trailer, the invention contemplates other environments of use, such as the walls of a trucking terminal or other building.