US3635233A - Collapsible cane and crutch construction - Google Patents

Collapsible cane and crutch construction Download PDF

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US3635233A
US3635233A US3635233DA US3635233A US 3635233 A US3635233 A US 3635233A US 3635233D A US3635233D A US 3635233DA US 3635233 A US3635233 A US 3635233A
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segment
segments
tubular
operable
tapered portion
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Charles H Robertson
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Charles H Robertson
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H3/00Appliances for aiding patients or disabled persons to walk about
    • A61H3/02Crutches
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H2201/00Characteristics of apparatus not provided for in the preceding codes
    • A61H2201/01Constructive details
    • A61H2201/0161Size reducing arrangements when not in use, for stowing or transport

Abstract

Segmented supporting aids of collapsible construction held in locking engagement by a tension cord disposed within the tubular segments of the aid. In addition to a collapsible cane construction, a forearm engaging crutch with an improved adjustable forearm engaging band and an underarm-engaging crutch having an adjustable handgrip.

Description

United States Patent Robertson 51 Jan. 18, 1972 [54] COLLAPSIBLE CANE AND CRUTCH CONSTRUCTION [72] Inventor: Charles H. Robertson, 505 Miller, Dumas,

Tex. 79029 [22] Filed: Mar. 19, 1970 [2]] Appl. No.: 21,140

[52] U.S.Cl ..135/47.5, 135/15 [51] Int. Cl ..A44b 1/00, A45b 9/02 [58] Field oISearch ..l35/l5 PO,4,45,47,47.5,

135/49, 50, 51, 52, 53; 287/20, 85, 86; 24/132 AS, 132 WL, 248, 248 B, 248 L, 248 SB, 249, 249 LL, 25 U, 258

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,429,409 10 1947 Eidman ..135 51 2,516,852 8/1950 Burry et al ..l35/47.5 2,705,015 3/1955 Langlais ..135/15 PO 3,213,869 10/1965 Frank ..l35/47.5 3,223,098 12/1965 Dole, Jr ..135/4 R 3,447,549 6/1969 Cunningham... ..l35/l5 PO Primary Examiner-Peter M. Caun Attorney-Scofield, Kokjer, Scofield & Lowe [5 7] I ABSTRACT Segmented supporting aids of collapsible construction held in locking engagement by a tension cord disposed within the tubular segments of the aid. In addition to a collapsible cane construction, a forearm engaging crutch with an improved adjustable forearm engaging band and an underarm-engaging crutch having an adjustable handgrip.

4 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENIED JAN 1 8 I972 SHEET 2 OF 2 INVENTOR, Char/as hf Robertson COLLAISIBLE CANE ANIII CRIUTCII CONSTRUCTION Yet a BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE IN- VENTION One who requires the use of a supporting aid, such as a cane or crutch, is frequently confronted with the problem of finding a temporary storage location for the aid not in use. In public places, the cane or crutch is normally stowed under a seat or propped against a convenient object. Since either storage location may present an awkward obstruction for passers-by, unnecessary embarrassment for the user can result.

There is a need for a supporting aid construction which can be readily collapsed and stored in a small space. However, it is important that the collapsible cane or crutch in the assembled condition retain the strong and rigid structural features of a conventional supporting aid and thereby provide assurance for the user that the construction is entirely dependable.

The primary object of this invention is to provide a collapsible supporting aid which collapses and stores in a small space, but which retains in the assembled condition all the advantages and structural features of a conventional supporting aid.

Another object of the invention is to provide a collapsible supporting aid having an elongate shaft formed by a plurality of removable interlockable, tubular segments held in positive engagement by tension means concealed within the segments. By pulling the segments from one another, the construction can be folded and stored in a handbag, brief case or the like when the user is seated. Such storage condition may be accomplished by the elasticity of the tension means which retains the relative order of the segments and eliminates the possibility of lost parts.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide a supporting aid of the character described wherein an improved joint construction provides an assembled supporting aid with sturdy and rigid structural features. Additionally, the joint construction insures positive alignment between the segments when the supporting aid is reassembled.

A further object of the invention is to provide a forearm engaging crutch and an underarm engaging crutch, each of which is constructed from a plurality of tubular segments which can be folded and stored in a surprisingly small space. When in use, the segments are locked together in engaging fashion by tension means to provide a safe, dependable and sturdy supporting aid.

An additional object of the invention is to provide a forearm engaging crutch and an underarm engaging crutch of the character described, each of which has positive locking means to insure correct alignment between the segment having a forearm engaging member or underarm engaging member and the segment having an associated handgrip.

Another object of the invention is to provide an underarm engaging crutch of the character described which includes an adjustable handgrip to vary the distance between the handgrip and the ground. Such construction permits the crutch to be individually tailored to fit the user as he may prefer.

A further object of the invention is to provide a forearm-engaging crutch having an adjustable forearm-engaging band which performs the function of a conventional band but does so regardless of the amount of clothing the user may be wearing. The forearm engaging band is also movable to an upright lock position to provide support for the users forearm when free use of the hands is required.

Yet a further object of the invention is to provide a joint construction of the character described which is adaptable for interconnecting a wide variety of tubular segments in self-aligning and self-tightening fashion, such as fishing poles, tent poles, lawn furniture, and liquid or gas flow lines, to mention a few examples. By employing this joint construction, the exterior surface of the assembled product is uniform and smooth to retain the appearance of a product constructed from a single length of tubing.

Other and further objects of the invention, together with features of novelty appurtenant thereto, will appear in the course of the following description.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawings, which form a part of the instant specification and are to be read in conjunction therewith, like reference numerals are employed to indicate like parts in the various views:

FIG. I is a side view of a collapsible, segmented cane constructed in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention and shown in a collapsed condition;

FIG. 2 is a side view of a collapsible, forearm engaging crutch constructed in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention and shown in the assembled condition;

FIG. 3 is a top view, along line 33 of FIG. 2 in the direction of the arrows, of the forearm-engaging member of the crutch construction shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. I is an enlarged sectional view, along line 44 of FIG. 2 in the direction of the arrows, illustrating one form of ajoint construction embodying the instant invention;

FIG. 5 is an exploded sectional view of the joint construction shown in FIG. I;

FIG. 6 is a side view of a collapsible, underarm engaging crutch constructed in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention and shown in the assembled condition;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged sectional view of an optional joint construction embodying the instant invention;

FIG. 8 is an exploded sectional view of the joint construction shown in FIG. '7; and

FIG. 9 is an enlarged sectional view along line 9-9 of FIG. 6 in the direction of the arrows.

As previously noted, this invention relates to segmented canes and crutches of collapsible construction. FIG. I illustrates a collapsible cane which basically comprises a tubular lower segment I0 having a ground-engaging tip II, a plurality of tubular intermediate segments I2 and I3, and a tubular upper segment IA. A cap member 15 having a handgrip I6 associated therewith is attached to the upper segment 14. Laterally received by the upper segment I4 is a top pin member 17 to which a tension cord MI is internally connected. The cord I8 is disposed within the intermediate segments 12 and I3 and is, in turn, connected to a bottom pin member I9 in the lower segment I0.

When the segments are aligned end to end, with the tapered portion (later to be described) of one segment fitting within the socket portion of the adjacent segment, the segments of the cane are held in looking engagement by the cord I8 acting between the top pin member I7 and the bottom pin member I9. The tension cord I8 may be of a resilient nature which elastically pulls the segments together. On the other hand, a prestressed wire rope can also be employed for this purpose in conjunction with tightening means (such as a turnbuckle) operative in response to rotatably turning the lower segment I0. When this invention is adapted to interconnect large tubular segments, it may be necessary to employ a wrench at one end of the tubing as tightening means. Irrespective of the method, however, this principle of holding the segments in engagement with a retaining force supplied by a tension cord is utilized in the crutch constructions now to be described.

FIG. 2 illustrates a collapsible, forearm-engaging crutch in the assembled condition. The crutch includes a lower segment 20 having a ground-engaging tip 21 and a bottom pin member 22 on which a tension cord (not shown) is attached, intermediate sections 23 and 24, and an upper section 25 which terminates in a slotted cap member 26..

Elongated slots 27 in each side of the cap member 26 receive a pivot post 28 which supports the center leg of a T- shaped block 29. A U-shaped forearm-engaging band 30 is connected, by a bolt BI and nut 32, to each arm of the block 29. As viewed in FIG. 3, the band 30 includes a spring hinge 33'Therein so one section of the band 30 can swing away (broken line view) from the opposite section to accommodate the users forearm regardless of the thickness of clothing being worn. In addition, the band 30 may be provided with an adjustable chain 30a or similar member to interconnect the ends thereof to retain the users forearm.

Projecting from the rear side of the band 30 adjacent the cap member 26 are a pair of bosses 34. When the band is pivoted to a vertical position, the bosses are received within notches 35 in the upper end of the cap member 26 to thereby retain the band 30 should the user require free use of his hands while standing. Therefore, in addition to the normal function of engaging the forearm, the band 30 in the latter position affords support through the forearm of the user.

On the intermediate segment 24 adjacent the upper segment 25, a cylindrical sleeve 36 is sweated or otherwise rigidly attached. A handgrip 37 is attached to the sleeve 36 and projects outwardly therefrom in alignment with the forearm-engaging band 30.

The top pin member 38 of the upper segment 25 which, as viewed in FIGS. 4 and 5, supports a ring 39 attached to the tension cord 40, is located at the exterior joint line 41 between the upper segment 25 and the intermediate segment 24. The intermediate segment 24 includes semicircular recesses 42 which receive the top pin member 38 and provide positive interlocking alignment between these segments so that the handgrip 37 will at all times be correctly positioned beneath the forearm-engaging band 30.

The sleeve 36 attached to the intermediate segment 24 also includes semicircular recesses 43 which receive the top pin member 38 and cooperatively aid the similar recesses 42 in the intermediate section 24 in achieving the positive interlocking engagement.

FIG. 6 illustrates a collapsible, underarm engaging crutch in the assembled position. The lower segment 44 terminates in a ground-engaging tip 45 and has a bottom pin member 46 which is connected to a tension cord (not shown) disposed within the intermediate segments 47 and 48. The upper segment 49 terminates in a slotted end cap 50 having an associated pin 51 which supportingly receives a curvilinear, underarm-engaging extension 52.

The intermediate segment 48 adjacent the upper segment 49 includes a handgrip support which is a modification of the previously mentioned form. A sleeve 53 having a hand grip 54 attached thereto, is slidably received by the intermediate segment 48. As viewed in FIGS. 6 and 9, the sleeve 53 is pinned to the segment 48 by removable bolt members 54 associated with the sleeve 53 and which extend into adjustment holes 55 provided along the length of the segment 48. Therefore, the distance between the ground tip 45 and the handgrip 54 can be varied, as required by the distance from the ground of the user's hands, simply by removing the bolt members 54, sliding the sleeve 53 accordingly upward or downward, and reinserting the bolt members 54 into the appropriate adjustment holes 55.

Since it is important that the handgrip 54 be aligned with the underarm extension 52, the top pin member 56 is located at the exterior joint line 57 between the upper segment 49 and intermediate segment 48 and is received by semicircular recesses 58 in the intermediate segment 48 to provide positive interlocking alignment between the segments 48 and 49.

The collapsible canes or crutches previously described may utilize either of the alternate joint constructions now to be discussed in detail.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 4 and 5, the male fitting at the end of a segment comprises a circumferential ledge 59 at the exterior joint line 41 and a tapered portion 60 which tapers inwardly from the ledge 59 to the end 61 of the segment 25. The female socket of the adjacent segment 24 includes an abutment lip 62 at the exterior joint line 41 and a tapered receiver 63 which is tapered inwardly from the abutment lip 62. In the assembled condition, therefore, the abutment lip 62 of the female socket engages the circumferential ledge 59 of the male fitting and the tapered receiver 63 of the female socket mates with the tapered portion 60 of the male fitting.

The alternate form of joint construction is viewed in FIGS. 7 and 8. The male fitting of the segment 64 comprises a circumferential ledge 65 at the exterior joint line 66 and a tapered portion 67 which tapers inwardly from the ledge 65 to the end 68 of the segment 64. Centrally disposed in the end 68 of the segment 64 is a truncated hemispherical ball seat 69.

The female socket includes an abutment lip at the exterior line 66 of the segment 71 and an inwardly tapered receiver 72 terminating in an internal ledge 73. Centrally disposed within the socket and continuous with the internal ledge 73 is a truncated hemispherical ball seat 74. A spherical ball member 75 having a central bore 76 therethrough which receives the tension cord 77 is interposed between the segments 64 and 71.

In the assembled condition, the abutment lip 70 of the female socket engages the circumferential ledge 65 of the male fitting, the tapered receiver 72 of the female socket mates with the tapered portion 67 of the male fitting, and the end 68 of the male-fitting abuts the internal ledge 73 of the female socket. In addition, the ball member 75 seats between the truncated hemispherical ball seats 69 and 74 of the male fitting and female socket.

Assuming that one of the canes or crutches herein disclosed is in the assembled condition with a resilient-type tension cord, and is no longer needed as a walking or supporting aid, it may be collapsed in the following manner. With one hand on a segment, and the other hand on the adjacent segment, the user simply pulls the segments apart and folds them together. With all the segments pulled apart and folded together, the cane or crutch can be stored in a surprisingly small space until once again needed.

When the cane or crutch is once again needed, the user simply straightens the supporting aid and the segments are pulled together by the resilient cord to once again provide a sturdy construction. In this connection, I have found that the ball joint construction as viewed in FIGS. 7 and 8 is automatically self-aligning and the segments are mated in engaging relationship merely by unfolding. However, the joint construction as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, occasionally requires initial alignment to insure the male fitting is properly mated within the female socket.

If a prestressed wire rope is employed in lieu of a resilient cord as tension means, it should be understood that it must be loosened to collapse the tubular construction and tightened to reassemble he same.

When reassembling the crutch construction as shown in FIGS. 2 or 6, the user may find that the forearm-engaging band or the underarm extension is not aligned with the handgrip. In this case, simple rotation of the upper segment until the top pin member snaps into the semicircular recesses of the intermediate segment will insure positive alignment and thereby complete the reassembly process.

When employing a supporting aid constructed in accordance with this invention, the user no longer need be apprehensive about locating a suitable place to store his supporting aid when not in use. By simply collapsing the aid, it can be stored in a purse, brief case or the like without presenting an awkward obstruction for other people. When reassembled the crutch or cane provides all the benefits and advantages previously associated with these aids.

From the foregoing, it will be seen that this invention is one well adapted to attain all of the ends and objects hereinabove set forth together with other advantageous which are obvious and which are inherent to the structure.

It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations.

As many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

Iclaim:

l. A collapsible supporting aid comprising:

a tubular, lower segment;

bottom anchor means connected to said lower segment;

a tubular, upper segment;

top anchor means connected to said upper segment;

a tubular, intermediate segment disposed between said upper segment and said lower segment;

a plurality of joint connections integral with said segments to provide removable interlocking engagement therebetween; and

tension means disposed within said segments and connected to said top anchor means and said bottom anchor means, said tension means operable to retain said segments in interlocking engagement; wherein each said joint connection includes: a malefitting integral with one said segment and which has a circumferential shoulder with an inwardly tapered portion therefrom and a truncated hemispherical ball seat at the outer end of said tapered portion; a female socket integral with the adjacent said segment and which has an abutment lip with an inwardly tapered receiver therefrom and a truncated hemispherical ball seat at the inner end of said tapered receiver; and a ball member having a central bore therein which receives said tension means; wherein said abutment lip is operable to engage said circumferential shoulder, said tapered receiver is operable to matingly engage said tapered portion, and said ball member is operable to engage said ball seat of said male fitting and said ball seat of said female socket when said segments are interlockingly engaged.

2. A collapsible supporting aid comprising:

a tubular, lower segment;

bottom anchor means connected to said lower segment;

a tubular, upper segment;

top anchor means connected to said upper segment;

a tubular, intermediate segment disposed between said upper segment and said lower segment;

a plurality of joint connections integral with said segments to provide removable interlocking engagement therebetween; and

tension means disposed within said segments and connected to said top anchor means and said bottom anchor means, said tension means operable to retain said segments in interlocking engagement; wherein said top anchor means comprises a post member laterally disposed in said upper segment of said joint connection between said upper segment and said intermediate segment, and

said intermediate segment having recess means at said joint connection to receive said post member and thereby provide fixed axial alignment between said upper segment and said intermediate segment.

3. A joint construction for interconnecting a pair of tubular 5 segments held in interlocking engagement by tension means disposed within said segments, said joint construction comprising:

a male-fitting integral with one said segment and having a circumferential shoulder with an inwardly tapered portion therefrom and a truncated hemispherical ball seat at the outer end of said tapered portion;

a female socket integral with the other said segment and having an abutment lip with an inwardly tapered receiver therefrom and a truncated hemispherical ball seat at the inner end of said tapered receiver; and

a ball member having a central bore therein which receives said tension means; wherein said abutment lip is operable to engage said circumferential shoulder, said tapered receiver is operable to matingly engage said tapered portion, and said. ball member is operable to engage said ball seat of said male fitting and said ball sat of said female socket when said segments are interlockingly engaged.

4. A joint construction for interconnecting a pair of tubular segments held in interlocking engagement by tension means disposed within said segments, said joint construction comprising:

a male-fitting integral with one said segment and having an inwardly tapered portion and a recessed surface at the outer end of said tapered portion; a female socket integral with the other said segment and having an inwardly tapered receiver and a recessed surface at the inner end of said tapered receiver; and

an intersegment member with first and second mating surfaces and having a central bore therethrough which receives said tension means; wherein when said segments are interlockingly engaged, said tapered portion of the male fitting matingly engages said tapered receiver of the female socket, said first mating surface of the intersegment member engages said recessed surface of the male fitting, and said second mating surface of the intersegment member engages said recessed surface of the female socket.

Claims (4)

1. A collapsible supporting aid comprising: a tubular, lower segment; bottom anchor means connected to said lower segment; a tubular, upper segment; top anchor means connected to said upper segment; a tubular, intermediate segment disposed between said upper segment and said lower segment; a plurality of joint connections integral with said segments to provide removable interlocking engagement therebetween; and tension means disposed within said segments and connected to said top anchor means and said bottom anchor means, said tension means operable to retain said segments in interlocking engagement; wherein each said joint connection includes: a male-fitting integral with one said segment and which has a circumferential shoulder with an inwardly tapered portion therefrom and a truncated hemispherical ball seat at the outer end of said tapered portion; a female socket integral with the adjacent said segment and which has an abutment lip with an inwardly tapered receiver therefrom and a truncated hemispherical ball seat at the inner end of said tapered receiver; and a ball member having a central bore therein which receives said tension means; wherein said abutment lip is operable to engage said circumferential shoulder, said tapered receiver is operable to matingly engage said tapered portion, and said ball member is operable to engage said ball seat of said male fitting and said ball seat of said female socket when said segments are interlockingly engaged.
2. A collapsible supporting aid comprising: a tubular, lower segment; bottom anchor means connected to said lower segment; a tubular, upper segment; top anchor means connected to said upper segment; a tubular, intermediate segment disposed between said upper segment and said lower segment; a plurality of joint connections integral with said segments to provide removable interlocking engagement therebetween; and tension means disposed within said segments and connected to said top anchor means and said bottom anchor means, said tension means operable to retain said segments in interlocking engagement; wherein said top anchor means comprises a post member laterally disposed in said upper segment of said joint connection between said upper segment and said intermediate segment, and said intermediate segment having recess means at said joint connection to receive said post member and thereby provide fixed axial alignment between said upper segment and said intermediate segment.
3. A joint construction for interconnecting a pair of tubular segments held in interlocking engagement by tension means disposed within said segments, said joint construction comprising: a male-fitting integral with one said segment and having a circumferential shoulder with an inwardly tapered portion therefrom and a truncated hemispherical ball seat at the outer end of said tapered portion; a female socket integral with the other said segment and having an abutment lip with an inwardly tapered receiver therefrom and a truncated hemispherical ball seat at the inner end of said tapered receiver; and a ball member having a central bore therein which receives said tension means; wherein said abutment lip is operable to engage said circumferential shoulder, said tapered receiver is operable to matingly engage said tapered portion, and said ball member is operable to engage said ball seat of said male fitting and said ball sat of said female socket when said segments are interlockingly engaged.
4. A joint construction for interconnecting a pair of tubular segments held in interlocking engagement by tension means disposed within said segments, said joint construction comprising: a male-fitting integral with one said segment and having an inwardly tapered portion and a recessed surface at the outer end of said tapered portion; a female socket integral with the other said segment and having an inwardly tapered receiver and a recessed surface at the inner end of said tapered receiver; and an intersegment member with first and second mating surfaces and having a central bore therethrough which receives said tension means; wherein when said segments are interlockingly engaged, said tapered portion of the male fitting matingly engages said tapered receiver of the female socket, said first mating surface of the intersegment member engages said recessed surface of the male fitting, and said second mating surface of the intersegment member engages said recessed surface of the female socket.
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