Title:
Combination locket and key holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention broadly comprises a combination locket and key holder, comprising a body with a door pivotally attached to the body by a hinge. The clasp comprises a first clasp member located on the door that is operatively arranged to magnetically interact with a second clasp member located on the body. Alternatively the clasp members can be made of two permanent magnets or one ferromagnetic element and one permanent magnet. A lens is disposed within the body and it is arranged to hold and display an object. Rotationally attached to the pendant body is a swivel that has a key holder slidingly attached.



Inventors:
Vincent, Thomas (Bellingham, WA, US)
Application Number:
11/321501
Publication Date:
07/05/2007
Filing Date:
12/29/2005
Assignee:
Umbra Inc. (Buffalo, NY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C11/32; A44B15/00; A47G29/10
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090145180Automobile steering lock with a warning deviceJune, 2009YU
20080196458KEYHOLELESS LOCK DEVICEAugust, 2008LU
20020083746Self-retracting remotely operated bicycle lockJuly, 2002Cleveland et al.
20080314105Pin tumbler key lock assemblyDecember, 2008Lawson et al.
20080127685Manual Unlocking Unite for a Sliding DoorJune, 2008Liebscher et al.
20050275535Lock core with an alarmDecember, 2005Hsieh
20080179020MULTI-FOLD DOORS FOR ENCLOSED RAILCARSJuly, 2008Dawson et al.
20040154360Flight deck door deadbolt assemblyAugust, 2004Hernandez et al.
20040011097Electromechanical keyless entry system for storage devicesJanuary, 2004Jeffers
20080060399METHOD FOR REAPPEARING COMBINATION OF A COMBINATION LOCK AND THE STRUCTURE THEREOFMarch, 2008Lee
20090217715DEVICE FOR DETERRING UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS OF LOCKS ON FENCE GATESSeptember, 2009Bray



Primary Examiner:
BOSWELL, CHRISTOPHER J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SIMPSON & SIMPSON, PLLC (BUFFALO, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A combination locket and key holder, comprising: a body; at least one key holder attached to said body by an attachment means: at least one door pivotally attached to said body; at least one clasp, wherein said clasp comprises a first clasp member located on the door that is operatively arranged to magnetically interact with a second clasp member located on said body; and, at least one lens disposed within said body and arranged to hold and display an object.

2. The combination locket and key holder of claim 1, wherein said lens is transparent.

3. The combination locket and key holder of claim 1, wherein said first clasp member is a permanent magnet.

4. The combination locket and key holder of claim 1, wherein said first clasp member is ferromagnetic.

5. The combination locket and key holder of claim 1, wherein said second clasp member is a permanent magnet.

6. The combination locket and key holder of claim 1, wherein said second clasp member is ferromagnetic.

7. The combination locket and key holder of claim 1, wherein said door is pivotally attached to said body by at least one hinge.

8. The combination locket and key holder of claim 7, wherein said at least one hinge is positioned on said body distal to said clasp.

9. The combination locket and key holder of claim 1, wherein said body has a first display side having a surface area and said lens occupies at least 75% of said surface area.

10. The combination locket and key holder of claim 1, wherein said body has a compartment wherein images or artwork can be retained and wherein said door rests when closed.

11. The combination locket and key holder of claim 1, wherein said body is a pendant having a substantially trapezoidal shape.

12. The combination locket and key holder of claim 1, wherein said body is made of metal.

13. The combination locket and key holder of claim 1, wherein said body has at least one notch positioned near the perimeter of said door operatively arranged to facilitate prying open of said door.

14. The combination locket and key holder of claim 1, said attachment means comprising a swivel rotationally attached to said body.

15. The combination locket and key holder of claim 14, said swivel comprising a swivel base member fixedly secured to said body and a swivel yoke member pivotally secured to said swivel base.

16. The combination locket and key holder of claim 14, said key holder slidingly attached to said swivel.

17. A combination locket and key holder comprising: a body having; at least one door pivotally attached to said body by at least one hinge; wherein at least one clasp, comprising a first clasp member located on the door is operatively arranged to magnetically interact with a second clasp member located on said body; wherein said door is pivotally attached to said body by at least one hinge; wherein a lens is disposed in said body; wherein said body has a shallow recess where said door rests when closed; wherein a swivel is rotationally attached to said body; and a key holder is slidingly attached to said swivel.

18. A combination locket and key holder, comprising: a body having; at least one door pivotally attached to said body by at least one hinge; wherein at least one clasp, comprising a first clasp member located on the door on end of the door is operatively arranged to magnetically interact with a second clasp member, said second clasp member is complementary with the first clasp member and located on one end of said body, wherein said door is pivotally attached to said body by at least one hinge; wherein a lens is disposed in said body; wherein said body has a shallow recess where said door rests when closed; wherein a swivel is rotationally attached to said body at an end opposite said second clasp member; and a key holder is slidingly attached to said swivel.

19. A combination locket and key holder, comprising: a body; at least one key holder slidingly attached to said body by means of a swivel rotationally attached to said body, said swivel comprising a swivel base member fixedly secured to said body and a swivel yoke member pivotally secured to said swivel base; at least one door pivotally attached to said body; at least one clasp, wherein said clasp comprises a first clasp member located on the door that is operatively arranged to magnetically interact with a second clasp member located on said body; and, at least one lens disposed within said body and arranged to hold and display an object.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to a key chain, and more particularly to a key holder with a pendant/locket having a compartment to store photos or other artwork. The photos can be viewed through a transparent lens located on one side of the pendant, and the contents of the photo compartment can be changed as a result of the positioning of the compartment under the hinged door on the side of the pendant opposite the transparent lens.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of key chains is known in the art. U.S. Pat. No. 3,086,268 (Chaffin, Jr.) discloses a magnetic connector comprising a magnetic part, a rigid metallic frame that receives the magnetic part, and a key ring upon which keys may be attached. The frame and the magnetic parts are joined by the magnetic force emitted from the permanent magnet in the magnetic part. The patent teaches only that a magnetic connector can be used to join two complimentary halves. There is no teaching in this patent regarding the combination of a key ring with a compartment to display images, or a one piece key ring with a hinged door mechanism that is closed using a permanent magnet.

United Kingdom Patent Application No. 2093340 (Panunzio) discloses a key holder with two separate members detachably connected. One of the members has a recessed seat that can house a label, but the drawback of this design is that the label can be replaced only by separating the two halves. After a user separates the two halves, she must then align the raised ridges of the one halve with the grooves of the second halve, which is not an easy task when the key rings are laden with keys, or when the user wants to swiftly change the contents of the recessed seat.

Other patents, such as U.S. Pat. No. 6,357,153 (Gelardi et al.), U.S. Pat. No. 5,033,141 (Kang), and U.S. Pat. No. 2,357,641 (Evalt) teach the combination of a key chain with an image display compartment, but all involve awkward or intricate latch systems to secure the image in the compartment. Another drawback of the key holders of the past is that the fob, which houses the image compartment, is either too bulky, cumbersome, or impracticably shaped.

What is needed, then, is a combination locket and key holder that combines a mechanism to retain keys, with an image display compartment, which is easier to operate due to an access element that permits the swift and simple loading of images in the display compartment, all in an ergonomic fob.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention broadly comprises a combination locket and key holder, comprising a body with a door pivotally attached to the body by a hinge. The clasp comprises a first clasp member located on the door that is operatively arranged to magnetically interact with a second clasp member located on the body. Alternatively the clasp members can be made of two permanent magnets or one ferromagnetic element and one permanent magnet. A lens is disposed within the body and it is arranged to hold and display an object. Rotationally attached to the pendant body is a swivel that has a key holder slidingly attached.

It should be understood that a general object of the present invention is to provide a combination locket and key holder with a body having a door pivotally attached that covers a compartment in the body for holding objects.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a combination locket and key holder with a lens disposed within the body of the locket.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a combination locket and key holder with a recess that is accessible by a hinged door which provides quick and convenient access to the objects, such as artwork or photos, positioned in the recess.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a combination locket and key holder with a clasp on a hinged door of the locket that has two clasp members that magnetically interact.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a combination locket and key holder with a swivel rotationally attached to the locket where the swivel has a key holder slidingly attached thereto.

These and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art upon reading the following detailed description of the invention in view of the several drawings of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The nature and mode of operation of the present invention will now be more fully described in the following detailed description of the invention taken with the accompanying drawing figures, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front view of the present invention exhibiting the side having a lens;

FIG. 3 is a rear view of the present invention exhibiting the side having a door;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the present invention with the door closed;

FIG. 5 is a side view of the present invention with the door opened; and,

FIG. 6 is a rear view of the present invention similar to FIG. 3 with the door opened.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

At the outset, it should be appreciated that like drawing numbers on different drawing views identify identical structural elements of the invention. While the present invention is described with respect to what is presently considered to be the preferred embodiments, it is understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of key chain 10 shown to broadly comprise body 12 and lens 14 housed on the exterior of body 12. Body 12 may be made of a material known to those of skill in the art and especially suitable for use with a key chain. This includes, but is not limited to: metals, coated metals, painted metals, ceramics, plastics, wood, or similar materials. Although in a preferred embodiment body 12 is made of metal to add weight to the key chain, other substances such as plastic or wood are also considered suitable substitutes. Body 12 can be designed of lightweight materials but it has been determined that a heavier body 12 contributes to the ease and usability of key chain 10. Body 12 is shown as a tapered generally trapezoidal shaped pendant with sloping edges that allows key chain 12 to fit comfortably in the hand of a user. This design allows a user to easily retain the locket in her hand. Having one end of the profile of body 12 wider than the opposite end of the profile creates a shape that is ergonomic.

At least one lens 14 is positioned on the center of body 12. Through lens 14, work of art 22 is visible. The work of art 22 may be a photograph or other keepsake. It is preferable that lens 14 be of sufficient size to create what is effectively a frame to present the art or images that are placed behind lens 14. In the embodiments shown, transparent lens 14 encompasses a majority of the one side of body 12. It is preferable that lens 14 occupy at least approximately 75% of one side of body 12. It should be realized that although it is preferred that lens 14 replace the majority of what would be part of body 12, lens 14 can just as well be smaller in surface area, or envelope the entire surface of body 12. Lens 14 would then not just allow a user to view the contents in compartment 32 (shown in FIGS. 5 and 6), but would also allow the viewing of part, or the entire interior of body 12. Accordingly, the size of lens 14 can vary greatly without straying from the intended invention.

Lens size will likely need to be adjusted based on the size of body 12, which is equally variable. Lens 14 is not limited to just one lens. Alternatively, multiple transparent or translucent lenses can be positioned on body 12. This would allow a user to display multiple images at once in key chain 10, which would be preferable to one wishing to not favor one image over another. Additionally, lens 14 is preferably transparent or translucent, however, lens 14 can also be colored or have patterns molded or imprinted thereon. Preferably, lens 14 is constructed of clear plastic molded to the desired shape. Alternatively, other polymers can be used, or the desired lens shape can be cut from sheets of glass or plastic.

Swivel base 16 is fixedly attached to body 12, preferably with a threaded screw, but swivel base 16 can be attached to body 12 with an attachment means that is functionally equivalent to a screw. Alternative attachment means can include soldering, spot welding, threading, or any means known to one of skill in the art that is considered similar. Swivel yoke 18 slides over swivel base 16, and swivel yoke 18 is secured to swivel base 16 via swivel pin 40. Swivel pin 40 is inserted through a small aperture that runs through the bottom portion of both arms of swivel yoke 18 and through the center of swivel base 16. Swivel yoke 18, connected to swivel base 16 by swivel pin 42, form a complete swivel connection that enables swivel yoke 18 to pivot on body 12.

Swivel yoke 18 has another larger aperture located at the opposite side of the arms of swivel yoke 18, which will be referred to as the top of swivel yoke 18. It is preferred that key holder 24 is fed through this larger aperture on the top of swivel yoke 18. Key holder 24, as shown, is composed of a single length of wire that is tightly wound to form a circular wire ring with ends that are exposed. Key holder 24 is loosely looped through an aperture located on the top of swivel yoke 18 which slidingly attaches the wire ring key holder to the swivel. It is preferred that key holder 24 be capable of holding multiple keys, although other items such as trinkets, charms, other key chains, or other suitable items can be attached to key holder 24 as well. Although key holder 24 is shown to be a wire ring, other key holders, like clips, clasps, etc. can be substituted.

FIG. 2 is a front view of key chain 10 with lens 14 shown. Swivel yoke 18 is shown connected to swivel base 16 with pin 40. Swivel base 16 and swivel yoke 18 interact to allow rotation at the axis along swivel pin 40. Swivel elements 16, 18 and 40 are the individual components that form a complete swivel that enables a user to comfortably locate and use keys attached to key holder 24 that is loosely looped through the aperture located on swivel yoke 18 opposite to swivel pin 40. Swivel elements 16, 18, and 40 are preferably constructed of light weight metal such as aluminum, but it should appreciated that any metal can be substituted and still adequately perform the functions of these elements. Durable plastics can also be used to construct components 16, 18, and 40. Key holder 24 is preferably constructed of extruded metal that is then bent into a double ring with free ends that can be used to attach keys, trinkets, or other items that have an aperture large enough to be pierced by a free end of key holder 24. Plastic versions of key holder 24 are another possible alternative. Keys or other items can be retained on key holder 24, and then easily removed due to the flexible construction of the key holder shown.

FIG. 3 is a rear view of key ring 10 with hinge bracket 20, hinge arm 26, and door 30 shown. Hinge arm 26 can be fixedly attached to door 30 or be an integral element of door 30 that is formed on door 30 in the casting process. Hinge brackets 20 are fixedly attached to body 12 by spot welding or a method that would be considered similar by one having ordinary skill in the art. Hinge brackets 20 can also be formed on body 12 in the casting process, which makes them integral to body 12. Hinge arm 26 has a small aperture that runs through the arm. The end of hinge arm 26 that has the small aperture lies between hinge brackets 20. Hinge brackets 20 have a small aperture that is identical to the small aperture in hinge arm 26. In the preferred embodiment the small aperture in hinge arm 26 is aligned with the small apertures of hinge brackets 20, and hinge pin 38 (shown in FIG. 4) is inserted through both the hinge bracket 20 apertures and the hinge arm 26 aperture. Hinge pin 38 (shown in FIG. 4) joins hinge elements 20 and 26 to form the hinge joint between door 30 and body 12. In the embodiments shown only a single door 30 is illustrated, however, multiple doors can be used to lend a different visual effect and functionality. If multiple doors are used it should be understood that a requisite number of hinge elements would be needed for each additional door added.

Notch 28 creates a leverage point which makes prying open door 30 quick and simple. It should be understood that notch 28 can be located anywhere along the perimeter of door 30 at rim 42. There can also be more than one notch 28 placed on body 12, or notch 28 can extend along the entire bottom edge of body 12 at rim 42. Bottom edge of body 12 is the seam where door 30 meets body 12 at the edge distal to hinge arm 26. It is further preferred that notch 28 is located at rim 42, distal to hinge arm 26, at either corner of door 30.

FIG. 4 is a side view of key chain 10 with door 30 closed. This view demonstrates that when door 30 is closed it completely covers compartment 32 (shown in FIG. 5). Hinge pin 38 links hinge arm 26 to hinge bracket 20 which allows the door to open and close freely. Pin 38 is sized to fit tightly into the apertures in hinge brackets 20 and hinge arm 26 to deter the premature loosening of hinge pin 38 and the subsequent loosening of door 30.

FIG. 5 is a side view of key chain 10 with door 30 opened. Compartment 32 stores and retains objects such as images, photos or artwork that are placed therein. Compartment 32 is depicted as a shallow cavity that is planar with rim 42. It should be understood that compartment 32 extends deeper than the edge of rim 42. The dimensions of compartment 32 are best understood by contrasting the depiction of compartment 32 in FIG. 5 to its depiction in FIG. 6. The recess that forms compartment 32 is deep enough to receive door 30 and allow door 30 to lie flush with body 12 when in the closed position. The recess that is compartment 32 has sufficient depth not only to accommodate closed door 30, but also to receive multiple objects, such as artwork or photos, if so desired. In another preferred embodiment, compartment 32 is large enough to display an unobstructed image, and it should be deep enough to permit the image to rest in the compartment and still allow door 30 to clasp shut.

FIG. 6 is a rear view of key chain 10, similar to FIG. 3, with door 30 opened. In the view shown with door 30 in the open position, door 30 blocks swivel elements 16 and 18 from view, as well as key holder 24. With door 30 open, clasp member 36 is revealed along with counterpart clasp member 34. Clasp member 36 aligns with clasp member 34 when door 30 is closed, and 34 and 36 are magnetically attracted together to secure door 30 closed. Clasp member 36 and clasp member 34 make up a magnetic clasp. It is preferred that clasp member 36 is composed of a permanent magnetic material. Permanent magnetic materials including magnetized metals or ceramic magnets are excellent choices for permanent magnetic component 36. It is further preferred that clasp member 34 be formed of a ferromagnetic material, i.e., material that is attracted to a magnet. Metals such as iron or nickel or alloys composed of those metals would be superior choices, but other metallic material would suffice as well.

The positioning of 36 on door 30, and 34 on body 12 at the perimeter of compartment 32 is not essential to the formation of a proper functioning magnetic clasp. It should be appreciated that clasp member 34 can also be formed of a permanent magnet material, as with clasp member 36, and that with such a configuration would still enable the magnetic clasp to secure door 30 closed satisfactorily. Alternatively, clasp member 36 can be formed of a ferromagnetic material and still enable the magnetic clasp to satisfactorily secure door 30 closed. This is dependent on clasp member 34 being comprised of a permanent magnet if clasp member 36 is nonmagnetic. It is desirable that at least one permanent magnetic clasp member be mounted on either door 30 or body 12. Whether that is clasp member 34 or 36 is immaterial. Eliminating clasp member 34, which has been formed from ferromagnetic material, is possible if body 12 is constructed of a ferromagnetic material, and clasp member 36 is comprised of a permanent magnet, or vice versa. Alternatively, multiple clasp members 36 and clasp members 34 can be used as well in forming a magnetic clasp to secure door 30.

The site that clasp member 36 is placed on door 30 and that clasp member 34 is placed on body 12 can be altered as well, and yet still be capable of achieving the objective of securing door 30. The magnetic clasp should preferably provide sufficient binding strength to prevent the inadvertent opening of the hinged door, yet still be easy enough to open, which makes the process of placing pictures in the image compartment convenient. As a result of hinged door 30 and the magnetic clasp, images placed in compartment 32 of the key chain body can be changed quickly and easily with confidence that the images will remain inside compartment 32.

Thus, it is seen that the objects of the present invention are efficiently obtained, although modifications and changes to the invention should be readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art, and these modifications are intended to be within the spirit and scope of the invention as claimed.