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Title:
ADJUSTABLE HANDLE SYSTEM FOR A CARRYING CASE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2003/001941
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An adjustable handle system (11) for a rolling luggage case (10) includes first and second telescoping post members (15) extensible from a retracted position within the luggage case to an extended position protruding from the luggage case. A handle (13) comprising a grasping bar (19) is pivotally coupled to adjacent end portions of the post members distal from the luggage case, the grasping bar (19) having a gripping area (29) ergonomically formed for grasping. A locking mechanism for locking the handle in a plurality of positions is also included, the locking mechanism having a lock control actuator (27) disposed on a portion of the grasping bar (19) contiguous with an end portion of the gripping area, the lock control actuator (27) aligned for operation by a user's thumb when grasping the gripping area (29).

Inventors:
Miller, Jacqueline (700 Banyan Trail, Boca Raton FL, 33431, US)
Hoberman, Barry (700 Banyan Trail, Boca Raton FL, 33341, US)
White, Kelli (700 Banyan Trail, Boca Raton FL, 33431, US)
Gualtieri, John (700 Banyan Trail, Boca Raton FL, 33431, US)
Hoang, Long (700 Banyan Trail, Boca Raton FL, 33431, US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2002/020457
Publication Date:
January 09, 2003
Filing Date:
June 28, 2002
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TRAVELPRO INTERNATIONAL, INC. (700 Banyan Trail, Boca Raton FL, Boca Raton FL, 33431, US)
International Classes:
A45C13/26; A45C13/22; (IPC1-7): A45C13/00; A45C5/00
Foreign References:
US6301746B12001-10-16
US5370923A1994-12-06
US5689854A1997-11-25
US5713441A1998-02-03
US5553350A1996-09-10
US5458020A1995-10-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Sacco, Robert J. (Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson P.A., P.O. Box 318, West Palm Beach FL, 33401, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A handle system for a rolling luggage case, comprising: first and second telescoping post members extensible from a retracted position within a luggage case to an extended position protruding from said luggage case; a handle comprising a grasping bar pivotally coupled to adjacent end portions of said post members distal from said luggage case, said grasping bar having a gripping area ergonomically formed for grasping; a locking mechanism for locking said handle in a plurality of positions, said locking mechanism having a lock control actuator disposed on a portion of said grasping bar contiguous with an end portion of said gripping area, said lock control actuator aligned for operation by a user's thumb when grasping said gripping area.
2. The handle system according to claim 1, wherein said lock control is a button actuator aligned coaxial to said grasping bar.
3. The handle system according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said lock control is located at an end of said grasping bar distal from said end portions of said post members.
4. The handle system according to any preceding claim, wherein said handle further comprises a Ushaped portion rigidly attached to said grasping bar, said Ushaped portion pivotally attached to said adjacent end portions of said post members.
5. The handle system according to any preceding claim, further comprising a crossmember extending between said adjacent end portions of said post members.
6. A handle system for a rolling luggage case, comprising : first and second telescoping post members extensible from a retracted position within a luggage case to an extended position protruding from said luggage case; a crossmember extending between said adjacent end portions of said post members; a handle comprising a Ushaped portion pivotally attached to adjacent end portions of said post members distal from said luggage case, a grasping bar rigidly attached to said Ushaped portion, said grasping bar having a gripping area ergonomically formed for grasping; a locking mechanism for locking said handle in a plurality of positions, said locking mechanism having a lock control actuator disposed on a portion, of said grasping bar contiguous with an end portion of said gripping area, said lock control actuator aligned for operation by a user's thumb when grasping said gripping area.
7. The handle system according to claim 6, wherein said lock control is a button actuator aligned coaxial to said grasping bar.
8. The handle system according to claim 6 or 7, wherein said lock control is located at an end of said grasping bar distal from said end portions of said post members.
Description:
ADJUSTABLE HANDLE SYSTEM FOR A CARRYING CASE FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to a handle for carrying cases, and more particularly to a pivotably adjustable handle for use with carrying cases.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Wheeled luggage cases have their wheels (usually two) mounted along the broad longitudinal edge at the bottom of the luggage case, and a handle used to steer the case on these wheels mounted on the upper end of the case. Usually this handle is mounted next to the broad edge at the top of the case and on the same broad side of the case as the wheels. In many instances, these cases attempt to adjust for a particular user's comfort.

An example of this prior type of luggage case is shown in U. S. Pat. No. 5,943, 936 assigned to Samsonite Corporation. In this patent, such a luggage case is shown with the disclosed luggage case has a wheel handle which extends out of and along one side of the case on an arm, and a handle grip mounted on this arm in a way that tips the luggage case forward to better balance over the wheels when carrying varying loads. The wheel handle arm also includes a mechanism that supports the handle grip at different heights mounted on a stalk or arm to avoid having a user to stoop. This arm can be extended to a convenient height for the user to wheel the case on the wheels by tipping the case forward onto the wheels. The arm can be lowered into a cavity or receiver mounted on one face or wall of the luggage case for convenient storage or shipping. In this instance, the handle is angled in a form that is desirable when the case carries other auxiliary cases by using the strap normally stored in the wheel handle. Although the handle is adjustable in height, the angle of the handle itself is not adjustable to optimize the comfort level of a particular user.

In another wheeled luggage as shown in U. S. Pat. No.

5,934, 425 ('425) assigned to Outrigger, Inc. , the handle structure comprises a telescoping handle for pulling the luggage along the broad side of the luggage case as described above with the Samsonite luggage.'425 further comprises a swing out handle that allows a user to carry the luggage along the narrow side of the luggage case. The swing out handle is not for use for pulling the luggage along the broadside and fails to pivot from the top of the telescoping handle to allow for adjustment when pulling the luggage along the broadside of the luggage.

Thus, a need exists for a handle system or structure that comprises a handle pivotably coupled to the horizontal portion of an extendable handle that also selectively locks in at least one of a plurality of positions to provide an optimize angle for pulling (or pushing) luggage or cases.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In a first embodiment of the present invention, a handle system for a rolling luggage case comprises first and second telescoping post members extensible from a retracted position within a luggage case to an extended position protruding from the luggage case, a handle comprising a grasping bar pivotally coupled to adjacent end portions of the post members distal from the luggage case, the grasping bar having a gripping area ergonomically formed for grasping, and a locking mechanism for locking the handle in a plurality of positions, the locking mechanism having a lock control actuator disposed on a portion of the grasping bar contiguous with an end portion of the gripping area, the lock control actuator aligned for operation by a user's thumb when grasping the gripping area.

The lock control may be a button actuator aligned coaxial to the grasping bar. The lock control may be located at an end of the grasping bar distal from the end portions of the post members.

The handle may further comprise a U-shaped portion rigidly attached to the grasping bar, the U-shaped portion pivotally attached to the adjacent end portions of the post members.

A cross-member may extend between the adjacent end portions of the post members.

In a second embodiment of the present invention, a handle system for a rolling luggage case comprises first and second telescoping post members extensible from a retracted position within a luggage case to an extended position protruding from the luggage case, a cross-member extending between the adjacent end portions of the post members, a handle comprising a U-shaped portion pivotally attached to adjacent end portions of the post members distal from the luggage case, a grasping bar rigidly attached to the U-shaped portion, the grasping bar having a gripping area ergonomically formed for grasping, and a locking mechanism for locking the handle in a plurality of positions, the locking mechanism having a lock control actuator disposed on a portion of the grasping bar contiguous with an end portion of the gripping area, the lock control actuator aligned for operation by a user's thumb when grasping the gripping area.

The lock control may be a button actuator aligned coaxial to the grasping bar. The lock control may be located at an end of the grasping bar distal from the end portions of the post members.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a carrying case having a handle system in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a handle system in a retracted position in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the handle system of FIG. 2 having a vertical member in an extended position in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the handle system of FIG. 3 showing another handle pivotably coupled to the vertical member in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a side view of the handle system of FIG. 3 in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a side view of the handle system of FIG. 4 in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a side view of the handle system of FIG. 4 showing the pivotably coupled handle in various adjustable positions in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a side view of the handle system of FIG. 4 being pulled in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a front view of an alternative handle system in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a front view of the alternative handle system of FIG. 9 showing a pivoting handle in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a front view of yet another alternative handle system, similar to FIG. 10, showing a"substantially y-shaped" pivoting handle in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Referring to FIG. 1, a perspective view of a carrying case 10 is shown comprising at least one wheel 12 on a bottom portion 32 of the carrying case 10. Preferably, the carry case 10 comprises two wheels at opposing sides of a broad (back) bottom edge of the carrying case. The carry case 10 also preferably comprises an adjustable handle system 11. Also shown is the main housing having a back portion 20 or face, a front face 26, and a zipper 30 for providing access within the main housing of the carrying case. The adjustable handle system 11 preferably comprises an extendable and retractable vertical member 15 having a horizontal portion 16 therein on a top portion of said vertical member 15 and a handle 13 pivotably coupled to the horizontal portion 16, wherein the handle 13 selectively pivots about the horizontal portion 16 and selectively locks in at least one of a plurality of positions as will be illustrated in other Figures.

Referring to the embodiment in FIGs. 1-9, the extendable and retractable member preferably has first and second vertical members (15) and the horizontal portion 16 is a horizontal member coupled between a top portion of the first and second vertical members (15). The first and second vertical members are preferably two telescoping members. The extendable and retractable member essentially forms a substantially"U-shaped" bar, although the present invention should not be limited to such shape as will be shown with respect to embodiments of FIGs. 9-11.

The handle 13 can also be constructed as a"u-shaped"member as shown in portion 18 of handle 13. Additionally, the handle 13 may further comprise a grasping bar 19 attached to and extending from the U-shaped portion 18. The handle 13 is preferably smaller than the extendable and retractable member (15) and freely pivots within the confines of the extendable and retractable member. Thus, the extendable and retractable member . 15 and the (pivoting) handle 13 both ideally fit within a storage area or cavity 25 in a retracted position when the handle is placed in a position parallel to the extendable and retractable, member.

Operationally, the adjustable handle system 11 will typically be in a retracted position as shown in FIG. 2 and essentially be biased to remain in the retracted position until pulled up as shown in FIG. 3. Both"handles"will ideally be lined in parallel and recessed within the cavity 25. The cavity 25 is preferably within a recessed area that has opposing recessed areas 21 and 23 as shown to allow for easy access to the"handles". The cavity 25 may also include a rubber boot on the top periphery of the cavity that allows the handle to extend and retract, yet resists the intrusion of dust and possibly liquids. Once the handle is pulled up as shown in FIG. 3, the vertical members 15 will remain in place at a set height under tension or by some other suitable position setting mechanism. The adjustable handle further preferably comprises a locking mechanism having a button on a portion of the handle allowing a user to selective lock the handle in any one of a plurality of positions. In FIG. 3, locking mechanism is a button 27 on the horizontal portion allowing a user to selective lock the handle 13 in any one of a plurality of positions. Alternatively, the locking mechanism shown in FIG. 4 is a button 31 on the a grasping bar 19 extending from the U-shaped portion 18. Additionally, the grasping bar 19 can have a gripping area 29 ergonomically formed for most hands. In one embodiment, the user can selectively lock the handle in one of three positions as the handle 19 pivots about joint 33 as shown in FIGs. 4 and 7.

Referring to FIGs. 9 and 10, an alternative adjustable handle system 50 is shown for a carrying case 52 (partially shown). The system 50 preferably comprises an extendable and retractable vertical member 56 having a horizontal portion 57 therein on a top portion of the vertical member. The system 50 further comprises a handle 58 pivotably coupled to the horizontal portion 5-7, wherein the handle selectively pivots about the horizontal portion and selectively locks in at least one of a plurality of positions. In this embodiment, instead of using two vertical members, one vertical member is used.

Additionally, a recessed area 59 substantially in the shape of the handle 58 is formed externally to the vertical member 56 to allow the handle 58 to be stored in the recessed area 59.

This enables the vertical member 56 and handle 58 to be stored within a cavity 64 in a retracted position.

Similarly, referring to FIG. 11, another alternative adjustable handle system 60 is shown for a carrying case 62 (partially shown). The system 60 preferably comprises an extendable and retractable vertical member 66 having a horizontal portion 67 therein on a top portion of the vertical member. The system 60 further comprises a handle 68 pivotably coupled to the horizontal portion 67, wherein the handle selectively pivots about the horizontal portion and selectively locks in at least one of a plurality of positions.

The handle in this embodiment is a similar to the handle 13 of the prior embodiment of FIGs 2-8. As in the previous embodiment, instead of using two vertical members, one vertical member is used. Additionally, a recessed area 69 substantially in the shape of the handle 68 is formed externally to the vertical member 66 to allow the handle 68 to be stored in the recessed area 69. This enables the vertical member 66 and handle 68 to be stored within a cavity 64 in a retracted position.

At an ideal angle, the carrying case will balance on the wheels with only minor vertical support provided at the handle by the user. So, the hand grip height (that distance from the floor to the handle grip when in the wheeling position) should be such that the case almost balances on the wheels while it is being towed, with the user providing a small amount of upward force during the pulling. This height can be finely adjusted using the pivoting handle 13 of FIG. 1 or handle 58 of FIG. 10 or handle 68 of FIG. 11. This would enable the ideal angle for towing the case such that it remains balanced.

Generally, one would like to have as long a wheel handle as reasonably possible. A long-wheel handle, all other things being equal, provides the greatest leverage for supporting and balancing a luggage load. Also, a long arm helps distance the wheeled case from the user's feet so that the user may stride vigorously without hitting the towed case with the user's heels. The pivoting handle of the present invention further provides an extra extension in length to the usual single U- shaped handle that in many instances is constructed of two or more telescoping sections to reduce its stored height.

The description above is intended by way of example only and is not intended to limit the present invention in any way except as set forth in the following claims.




 
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