FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to the field of handles for carrying gas cylinders such as propane bottles, and in particular to a resilient clip-on handle adapted for mating onto conventional metal handles formed in valve protecting collars of propane bottles and like gas cylinders.
Gas cylinders such as propane cylinders are heavy, especially when they have been filled. Applicant presumes that such metal cylindrical cylinders are heavy due to the cylinders having relatively thick walls for safety reasons. In applicant's experience, such gas cylinders including in particular propane gas cylinders, are cumbersome to carry, unstable to transport, and are generally provided with inadequate handles which, apparently for ease of manufacture, are often merely formed out of the metal which forms a valve protecting collar around the top of the cylinder.
The present invention is directed to such handles, and in particular to handles which have been formed from the metal of the valve protecting collars which are welded in an annular shape around the cylinder valve, typically on the top of the cylinder. In such handles, it is common to cut out apertures in the sides of the collar, and instead of entirely cutting out the metal sheet from within the aperture, folding all or part of the cut metal upwardly and outwardly from the collar so as to form an outwardly projecting flange typically protruding generally perpendicular from the upstanding wall of the collar adjacent the flange.
A user then is expected to lift the heavy cylinder merely by putting their fingers through the aperture in the collar and wrapping their fingers around the protruding flange. In applicant's experience, this, although an improvement over merely trying to hold on to a cut-out aperture in the collar, is still hard on the hands of the user, especially where the gas cylinder has to be transported manually over some distance.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Consequently, it is an object of the present invention to provide a resilient clip-on handle which releasably mates onto the protruding flange and the corresponding upstanding portion of the collar above the flange so as to provide a resilient handle which extends from the outermost edge of the flange, around the underside of the flange and the inside surface of the collar adjacent thereto so as to terminate at the upper lip of the collar. Resilient clamps are provided at opposite ends of the handle to resiliently mate the handle onto the flange and collar by hooking the opposite ends of the handle onto the distal ends of the flange and upstanding collar portion.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In summary, the resilient clip-on handle for mounting on propane bottles according to the present invention may be characterized in one aspect as including a unitary resilient sheet including a base member and backing member mounted contiguous to each other so as to be de-formable to a position substantially orthogonally relative to each other. In its un-deformed state, the sheet may be formed in an inverted u-shape when viewed end-on so that the handle is turned inside-out, that is folded-over backwardly, relative to its operative deformed state. The base member and backing member, or at least the backing member, have a width sized so that the backing member fits through an opening in a valve protecting collar mounted on a propane bottle. The backing member is sized and shaped so that, when deformed, it may be mounted to lie flush along the underside of a rigid flange extending outwardly from the collar above the opening in the collar. When so deformed, the base and backing members form a common edge therebetween in an interior corner between the base member and backing member. The interior corner snugs against the seam between the flange and the collar. A distal end of the base member, when mounted on the flange, is coextensive with the distal end of the flange. The distal end of the base member may be formed as a pocket, sleeve, envelope or channel, collectively referred to herein as a pocket, which is sized and shaped to snugly fit over the distal end of the flange when the interior corner is snugged against the seam between the flange and the collar. With the corner so snugged, the backing member is sized and shaped to lie flush against the interior surface of the collar adjacent the flange and so as to extend upwardly therealong to the corresponding upper rim of the collar. The distal end of the backing member, that is, distal from the base member, is formed as a resilient channel which, in its un-deformed state, is disposed so that the channel may be deformed to snugly fit over the upper rim of the collar and, when the channel is allowed to resiliently return to its un-deformed shape, to thereby clamp the rim within the channel. The rim is thereby snugly mated within the channel when the interior corner between the base member and the backing member is snugly against the seam between the flange and the collar. Thus, when respectively the base member and backing member are mounted on the flange and rim, the sheet of the handle is resiliently tensioned to hold the handle releasably mated thereon.
FIG. 1 is, in top front perspective view, the resilient clip-on handle according to the present invention in its un-deformed state.
FIG. 2 is, in bottom front perspective view, the handle of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is, in front elevation view, the handle of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is, in left side elevation view, the handle of FIG. 1.
FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view along line 5-5 in FIG. 3.
FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view along line 6-6 in FIG. 3.
FIG. 7 is, in top rear view, the handle of FIG. 1.
FIG. 8 is, in top front view, the handle of FIG. 1.
FIG. 9 is, in rear elevation view, the handle of FIG. 1.
FIG. 10 is, in perspective view, the handle of FIG. 1 in its partially deformed state.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 11 is, in perspective view, the handle of FIG. 1 mounted onto a propane bottle.
As seen in the accompanying figures wherein like reference numerals denote corresponding parts in each view, the resilient clip-on handle 10 according to the illustrated embodiment of the present invention is formed as a single resilient sheet which includes a base portion 12 and a riser portion 14. Base portion 12 is for releasable mounting onto a rigid protruding flange 16 which extends from a protective collar 18 on a propane cylinder 20. Collar 18 protects the valve and valve stem 22.
An elongate pocket, sleeve or envelope 24 (collectively referred to as a pocket) is formed at the distal end of bottom portion 12 for snugly receiving in direction A, in sliding engagement into pocket 24, the distal end 16 a of flange 16. Thus with flange 16 slid into pocket 24 so as to slide bottom portion 12 underneath the bottom surface of flange 16, upper portion 14 may be resiliently deformed so as to fold planar backing member 14 a up against the interior surface of collar 18 adjacent, and contiguous to, flange 16, and so as to wrap lip member 14 b over the upper rim 18 a of protective collar 18. Advantageously pocket 24 is closed at its ends along seams 24 a which provide for stability of handle 10 when mounted on flange 16 and collar 18. Flange 16 is prevented from sliding along the length of the pocket.
Handle 10 is made of resilient material such as rubber or other resilient materials known in the art, so that the handle may be deformed, and in particular riser or backing portion 14 may be folded or bent in direction D away from bottom portion 12 about a virtual hinge line or bending axis B so that, firstly, riser or backing portion 14 may be slid in direction C through the opening 18 b in collar 18 as flange 16 is slid in direction A into pocket 24, and, secondly, so that riser or backing portion 14 may be folded snugly up against the interior surface of collar 18 and adjacent rim 18 a. With the distal end 16 a of flange 16 firmly lodged snugly against the interior-most end of pocket 24, and with riser or backing portion 14 bent or pulled upwardly in direction D to deform the handle into its deformed, mounting position with portion 14 generally orthogonal to base portion 12, lip 14 b may be mounted onto upper rim 18 a. That is, as backing member 14 a is bent upwardly in direction D, lip 14 b is extended away from backing member 14 a by folding it upwardly about virtual hinge line or bending axis E so as to rotate lip 14 b upwardly in direction F until the distal end 14 c clears rim 18 a of collar 18. Distal end 14 c is then pulled over rim 18 a and lip 14 b released so as to allow it to return to its natural channel shape thereby clamping rim 18 a and the portion of collar 18 above flange 16 within channel 26 formed between backing member 14 a and lip 14 b. Thus, in its deformed and tensioned state, the form of handle 10 will resiliently hold the handle mounted onto flange 16 and collar 18 by reason of flange 16 being mated into pocket 24 and rim 18 a being clamped within channel 26.
When it is desired to remove handle 10 from collar 18, handle 10 is again resiliently deformed so as to reverse the steps by which handle 10 was installed onto collar 18.
In the illustrated embodiment, pocket 24 accommodates a flange 16 which is generally planar. The flanges 16 protruding from collars 18 on gas cylinders such as propane bottles are not always planar. In applicant's experience, flange 16 may sometimes be curled or curved for example upwardly along distal end 16 a. Although not illustrated, it is understood that the present invention is intended to provide for flanges 16 which are upwardly curled or curved, in which case pocket 24 may be correspondingly shaped so as to snugly slip over distal end 16 a and the curved member of flange 16 in those embodiments.
In alternative embodiments, seams 24 a of pocket 24 are open so as to form an open-ended channel. In embodiments wherein seams 24 a are open and do not thereby prevent flange 16 from sliding relative to pocket 24, the resistance to such sliding is provided by the snug friction fit of pocket 24 onto distal end 16 a of flange 16 and the snug clamping of channel 26 over rim 18 a so as to tension handle 10 around flange 16 and the adjacent portion of collar 18 between distal end 16 a and rim 18 a.
As will be apparent to those skilled in the art in the light of the foregoing disclosure, many alterations and modifications are possible in the practice of this invention without departing from the spirit or scope thereof. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is to be construed in accordance with the substance defined by the following claims.