360° lockable hinge

Miscellaneous hardware (e.g. – bushing – carpet fastener – caster – Hinge – Having plural hinge axes

Reexamination Certificate

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Details

C160S233000, C160S234000, C292S252000, C292SDIG001

Reexamination Certificate

active

06574837

ABSTRACT:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to a hinge, and more particularly, to a three point pivoting 360° articulable pinchless hinge.
Hinges are well known for connecting members that are to rotate or pivot with respect to each other. One of the members may or may not be stationary. Examples of members that pivot with respect to each other are wall panels and room partitions. Examples where one member stays stationary include doors, gates, lids and covers. The most commonly known hinge is commonly referred to as the piano hinge. The piano hinge may generally be described as having flat or plate portions to be secured along the edges of the respective two members that are to be pivoted with respect to each other. The edges of the hinge plates have fingers or tabs that are formed arcuately into a complete loop portion for capturing a pin or rod. The tabs extending from opposing plates are staggered to permit them to interleave and become aligned with opposing tabs. The aligned looped tabs permit the pin or rod to be captured by the tabs and permit the hinge plates to pivot or rotate with respect to each other.
This type of hinge has two significant drawbacks. Firstly, this hinge structure typically does not permit 360° articulation with respect to the two members but most commonly 180°. Secondly, piano hinges align the edges of the members closely together and, as a consequence, renders the piano style hinge prone to pinching fingers or other objects that happen to get placed in the vicinity of the hinge during such pivotal movement. This is largely because both hinge plate portions are close together and both pivot about a single axis.
FIGS. 1 through 3
show the significant limitations of the prior art hinges. For illustrative purposes, the hinges
6
are connected to wall panels or room partition members
5
. Their articulation limitation, typically 180°, requires that the hinges be alternatively arranged as to permit every other panel to alternately rotate in the other direction. This limitation is required to obtain articulation of the panel assembly. Double headed Arrows A and A′ generally show the 180° range of articulation of the panels in opposite direction of each other.
The limitation of this type of hinge structure is shown in FIG.
2
. Corners
7
and objects, such as building support columns
8
, are difficult to articulate the panels
5
with hinges
6
therearound in any type of aesthetically pleasing manner.
FIG. 3
shows how every other hinge
6
is restricted beyond their 180° arc of articulation thereby failing to make a perfectly arcuate or serpentine wall arrangement but rather a cornered wall arrangement B.
There is a need for a three point pivoting 360° articulable pinchless hinge that is pinch proof, smooth in operation, positive in its movement and will give the user a full range of choices in positioning of the respective members to be hinged together.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
A three point pivoting 360° articulable pinchless hinge connects two members that may pivot 360° with respect to each other. The hinge has two opposing couplers, each having a toothed semicircular portion meshed with the opposing coupler toothed semicircular portion.
Each coupler is adapted to be connected to one of the members to be pivoted with respect to each other. A pin is in each coupler extending along an axis of the semicircular portion thereof. A link connects each pin to maintain the meshed engagement of the couplers through 360° of coupler pivotal rotation with respect to each other. The link has a width substantially that of the width of the coupler body as to block and prevent the meshed semicircular portions from pinching an individual's finger or object. The hinge may have a locking mechanism that locks the couplers when they reach 180° of rotation with respect to each other.
A principal object and advantage of the present invention is that the hinge permits 360° of smooth articulation for the respective members which are pivotally connected whether both members are to be articulable or one member to be stationary.
Another object and advantage of the present invention is that the hinge has three points of pivoting to make the motion smooth and to space the members apart to prevent pinching.
Another object and advantage of the present invention is that the smooth and positive operations geared meshed arrangement of the hinge readily permits the hinge to support and hold the members in the position to which they are rotated to.
Another object and advantage of the present invention is that the hinge is ideal for use with panels, doors, gates or lids.
Another object and advantage of the present invention is that wall panels or room dividers with the present hinge can be positioned to create perfectly arcuate and serpentine wall structures with the full range of 360° movement of each hinge.
Another object and advantage of the present invention is that significant forces exerted on members connected with the present hinge will not result in tip overs but rather the forces will readily be conveyed from panel member to panel member by the smooth and positive action of the hinges of the present invention.
Another object and advantage of the present invention is that includes a locking mechanism that locks the couplers when they reach 180° of rotation relative to each other. A wall may thus be easily set up in a straight line, using panels with the hinges that automatically lock the panels in a straight line.
Another object and advantage of the present invention is that the couplers may be rotated beyond 180° of rotation relative to each other by the application of additional force.
Other objects and advantages of the present hinge invention will be apparent upon viewing the figures and reviewing the following specification and claims.


REFERENCES:
patent: 2526603 (1950-10-01), Damroth
patent: 4228842 (1980-10-01), Clark
patent: 4624083 (1986-11-01), Diffrient
patent: 4995144 (1991-02-01), Gateley
patent: 5287909 (1994-02-01), King et al.
patent: 5410779 (1995-05-01), Esman et al.
patent: 5966777 (1999-10-01), Jantschek
patent: 6009930 (2000-01-01), Jantschek
patent: 6073673 (2000-06-01), Janutta

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