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Патент USA US3050806

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Aug. 28, 1962
R. H. KERNAHAN
'
3,050,300
PELICAN 500K FOR RATCHET COUPLINGS
Filed June 21, 1961
INVENTOR.
RICHARD H. KERNAHAN
United States Patent 0 "ice
snsassn _
Patented Aug. 28, 1962
2
1
Another object of the invention is to provide ‘an im
proved pelican hook which may be readily and quickly
3,050,800
PELICAN HQBK FOR RATCHET COUPLINGS
‘locked or unlocked with little effort and without the need
‘for heavy or special tools for exerting unusual force to
Richard H. Kernahan, Coraopolis, Pa., assignor to West
ern Rivers Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pa., a corporation
of Pennsylvania.
Filed June 21, 1961, Ser. No. 118,691‘
15 Qlaims. (Cl. 24-6Q)
accomplish the looking or unlocking.
A further object of the invention is to provide a pelican
‘book of the above described characteristics which can
be uncoupled by hand and without ?rst releasing tension
This invention relates generally to ratchet coupling
between the coupled elements.
‘
A still further object of the invention is to provide an
mechanisms ‘and‘m'ore particularly to an improvement in 10
improved pelican hook of the above described character
the lock and link mechanism of tension exerting cou
istics which is of simple structure, inexpensive to fabricate
plings of the kind commonly known as steamboat or tug
and which may be generally applied to purposes other
boat ratchets, and especially to ‘the pelican hooks for such
than the towing of barges, but, nevertheless, has ease of
ratchet couplings.
_ Ratchets of the aforementioned type are commonly 15 operation and is highly efficient in use.
The novel features that are considered characteristic
used on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers for coupling a
of the invention are set forth with particularity in the ap
plurality of barges into a unitary train to be towed. Nor
pended ‘claims. The invention itself, however, both as
mally, such barge trains may comprise up to 20 barges
to its organization and its method of operation, together
which, according to size, may be arranged from two to
four abreast and with as many as ten from end-to-end. 20 with additional objects and advantages thereof, will best
be understood from the following description of a speci?c
A single tugboat is coupled to the rear of the train of
barges to push the entire train which may be as long as
embodiment when read in connection with the accom
1000 feet or more.
panying ‘drawing, wherein like reference characters indi
cate like parts throughout the several ?gures and in which:
In order to maneuver ‘a barge train of this type and
size, it is necessary for each barge to be tightly coupled 25
FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a coupling mechanism
including a pelican hook according to the present inven
tion, wherein the locked positions of the hook or lock
arm and keeper are shown in ‘full lines and'the unlocked
to the adjacent barges at the sides, front and rear so that
the entire train is relatively rigid and extends rigidly for
ward of the tugboat so that it may be guided thereby.
Such a barge train is subject to sudden and strong forces
‘positions shown in phantom lines;
due to cross currents and winds, and it is accordingly nec 30 7 FIG. 2 is, a plan view of the mechanism'shown in
essary to utilize a strong tug having as many as three rud
FIG. 1;
'
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken on the line 3-3 of
ders operated by 100 HP. motors.
i A ratchet link mechanism for rigidly tensioning and ' FIG. 1 and looking in the direction of the arrows, and
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken on line 4-4 of FIG.
tying the barges together in such trains is disclosed in
Patents No. 1,971,472 issued August 28, 1934 to C. Wolf 35 1 and looking in the direction of the arrows.
Referring now more particularly to the drawing, the
and No. 2,198,181, issued April 23, 11940 to G. I. Rum
coupling mechanism of a preferred embodiment of the
pler. The disclosed device comprises reversely threaded
present invention comprises a turnbuckle bolt 10 con
bolts actuated in opposite directions by means of a turn
nected to a pelican hook including a link 24} connected
buckle member. with a ratchet ?xed thereto and having a
suitable lever pivotally mounted thereon and carrying 4:0 at one end to the bolt and at the other to a pelican, or
hook-shaped, lock anm 30 which is retained in locked
a reversible pawl engageable with the turnbuckle ratchet,
position by a keeper link 40 carried by the bolt 10 for se
with a chain or loop engaging coupling, commonly called
lcurement of a coupling or chain link 50, which may be
a pelican hook, connected with each bolt. Mechanisms
attached to one barge and the coupling mechanism con
as disclosed in this patent, or similar ones, although suit
nected to another barge. The turnbuckle bolt 10 is pro
able as couplings for the purpose described, the pelican
4:5 vided with threads 12 which arewopposite to those on a
hooks associated therewith are subject to a number of dis
complementary bolt, not shown, and which may be op
advantages.
erated by a ratchet mechanism such as fully described in
When it becomes necessary to uncouple one or more
the aforementioned Rumpler patent. The present inven
barges from the train, these link mechanisms, and particu
larly the known types of pelican hooks, are di?icult to un 50 tion being devoted to the pelican hook structure aside from
the turnbuckle and ratchet, no further description will
lock. It is usually necessary to lessen the tension in the
be made of the tensioning ratchet construction.
coupling between two barges by operating the ratchet, but
. At its terminal end, the bolt 10 is provided with a slight
even then the lock arm of the pelican hook is still under
ly elongated eye 14 which, in use, preferably is disposed
considerable force and it is necessary to strike the keeper‘
substantially in a vertical plane and has an elliptically
links with a sledge hammer or the like to unlock the cou
pling. This operation is not only difficult under the best
of conditions, but is also dangerous to the operators when
it must be performed in the dark and/or during inclem
55
shaped opening 15 whose major axis is coincidental with
the axis a of the bolt, as shown in FIG. 1. Passing through
and engaging within the eye 14 of the bolt 10 is one
end of the elongated closed link 20 whose other end is
ent weather. Another difficulty with the known pelican
hook structures is that under the sudden changes of stress 60 engaged in a pivot opening 32 of a pelican hook or lock
arm 30. Preferably, the vside arms of link 20 extend
from cross currents or the like, the strain between barges
downwardly to a bend 26 out of the plane of the axis of
may suddenly he reduced and with the designs of such
the ‘bolt 10 and then substantially horizontally or very
mechanisms, it is possible for the coupling elements or
slightly upwardly toward the other end which passes
pelican hooks to he suddenly rearranged into positions
through the opening 32 of the book 30.
in which a keeper link can accidentally fall away and
65 > From its pivot end, the hook 30, when in locking posi
thus uncouple and release a barge during a period when
tion, has an upwardly extending portion 33 and a rear
maneuverability and control of the train is most difficult.
wardly extending portion 36 substantially at right angles
Having in mind the defects of the prior art structures,
to the upwardly extending portion 33 to form a crook
it is a primary object of the present invention to provide
34- providing space above the link 20 for the chain link
an improved pelican hook which obviates the disadvan
tages described above and which will not accidentally 70 50. The bend 26 of the link 20 and crook 34 of the
arm 30 enable tension or strain, when applied to the cou
lock or unlock.
4
pled elements by the'link 50, to be exerted substantially
in the line of the axis a‘of the {turnbuckle bolt 10, as
Even if sudden changes in the strain ,o'ccur'that would
release the pressure on the hook arm 30 tending to pull
shown in FIG. 1. A brace 28, having a curvature similar
it away from the terminal eye 14, the vfrictional engage-p
to that of the link,'is welded or otherwise secured to
ment of the-keeper with the curved surface 38 is enough
the side arms of link,20~, either to the outer'surfaces of 5 to restrain the keeper from moving off the free end 37
the link arms, as shown, or extending between the arms
and thus accidental unlocking is prevented.
within the link. This brace 28 rigidities the link and in
Having no longitudinal play within the bolt eye aper
hibits bending or stretching thereof even when the link
ture 15, the keeper cannot slide o? the free end 37 due
is formed of soft iron.
to slackness in the coupling even with some play in the. ;
The straight portion 36 of the lock arm 3-0 terminates
. in a free end 37 adapted for passage through the coupling
pivotal connection of keeper 40, there is no possibility of
suf?cient movement of the keeper longitudinally'ofthe
link 50 and formed with a locking. portion 38 that is coop
v turnbuckle bolt to disengage the elongated lock arm edges '
erative with the keeper link 40. The under or inner edge
38 and, therefore, there is no possibility. of accidental dis-~.
of the arm portion 36 preferably has a generally straight
lodgmeut of the keeper from the lock-arm. The curvature.
"under or inner edge 35, the free end of which rests on 15 of the crook 34 is such as to cam the coupling link 50 to
the eye 14 inits locked position and, accordingly, is nor
ward the book link 20 so that sliding of the link '50 relative ’
mally seated in a substantially vertical plane coincident
to the hook is prevented, and tension on the coupling main-J
with that of the'bolt eye 14. The locking portion 38 is
tains the hook link 20 substantially parallel-with the axis ,
comprised by a curvature’ of the upper edge or surface
a and provides a direct pull or. tension throughout. ~ 1
of the free end 37 of the lock arm which is so designed
as to freely receive the keeper link 40 but to inhibit acci
dental movement of the link 40 that would release the
necessary to grasp the keeper extension 44 and ‘swing the .
.hook arm 30.
Keeper link 40 is pivotally supported in the aperture
15 of the bolt eye 14 in such manner that it may be
rotated‘ into a locking position shown in solid lines in
FIG. ‘1 or to an unlocking position as shown in broken
lines. The, size of the bolt eye aperture 15 is such that
the pelican hook link 20 and the keeper link '40 are free
When it is desired to uncouple the barges, it is merely
keeper 40 to the phantom line position shown in "516.1.
Again, this manually effected movement is possible be- '
cause of the arrangement of the several parts which per~
mits rotation of the keeper when the lock arm is resting
against the terminal eye 14. Thus, it is not necessary to
strike the keeper with a sledge hammer or other heavy tool
in order to dislodge it to unlock the parts. Further, the
to pivot therein but have substantially no freedom of
arrangement wherein the lock arm 30 and the terminal‘
eye 14 are substantially in a vertical plane and main
movement in any direction except the pivotal or rotational
movement about axes in the bights of the respective links.
The keeper link 40 has an elongated opening 42 which
tained therein during the turning of the turnbuckle, places
the keeper in a convenient position for manipulation to
is just long enough to permit engagement therein of ‘the
uncouple the linkage'and the barges.
The linkage parts described! herein may be forged, cast,
curved locking portion 38 of the free end 37 of the lock 35 welded, or otherwise formed of any suitable materialrsuchr '
arm‘when the inner edge 35 of the lock arm is resting’
as soft iron, cast iron or steel. It ‘should further'bev ap-_
against the turnbuckle eye 14.
.
The axis b of the bight of the keeper link 40 is sub
parent that the elements of the linkage are made of su?i
cient size and cross section to withstand the considerable 7
stantially coincident With and transverse to the axis a
force involved in the towinglof atrain of barges, as de
of the bolt, and the locking portion 38 has'a radius of 40 scribed.
'
curvature centered about the bight axis b of the keeper
Notwithstanding the particular usage described above, it I '
link 40 and approximately equal to the length of the open
should 'be apparent that the pelican book may be con
ing 42 in the keeper so that the keeper 40 will swing
siderably reduced in size and utilized for linkage problems
easily over the portion 38 but will have very little if
other than the towing of barges. ‘For example, a chain
any clearance that might permit play of the free end 37.
coupling element may be substituted for the turnbuckle
The curvature of the locking portion 38 extends from the
bolt 12 and the described pelican hook thereby applied‘to
extreme end of the arm free end 37 to a point over and
pastcenter and may terminate in a slight recess- 39. To
facilitate movement of the keeper between its locked and
unlocked positions, the keeper is provided with an exten
other purposes such as the ‘locking of binder, brake or tow
chains, and other fastener or coupling applications.
Although a certain speci?c embodiment of the_inven~ ‘
tion has been shown and described, it is obvious that many
sion 44 which may be formed by hammering, forging, or . 50 modi?cations thereof are possible. The invention, there;
by the Welding of an additional piece thereon, and the
‘free end 37 of the hook or arm 30 may be provided with
a hole '46 for the removable reception of a safety bolt,
pin or the like.
fore, is not to be restricted except insofar as is necessitated
by the prior art and by the spirit of the appended claims.
' What is claimed is:
l. A pelican hook coupling having a terminal eye, a I
closed link connected to the eye,v a pelican hook locking.
arm curved to engage with. a chain link and having ad
link '50 extending from one barge is coupled over the"
jacent one end a pivot aperture receiving said closed link,
pelican hook or ‘lock arm 30' and the arm swung, to en;
the other end of said hook arm being free, said hook‘ arm‘
gage the bolt eye 14, the keeper 40' is freely movable
having a length greater than that of said closed link so
by hand, by exertion of very little force, to ride over 60 that the free end portion of said arm overlaps and rests
the curved edge 38 to lock the hook. Tension may’ then
against said eye in locking position, and a keeper link 7
be applied to the ratchet mechanism connected to the bolt
pivotally supported by said eye and being of a length to
10 to any degree necessary to rigidify the connection be
snugly but freely surround the free end portion of said"
tweenthe barge connected to the bolt and’ the barge. con
hook arm when the latter engages the eye in locking posi
nected. to link 50. The arrangement of the described parts‘,
tion, the free end portion of said hook arm being provided '
when thus locked, is such that the strain is substantially
with an outer arcuate edge'extending to the freeend of
in the plane of the axis a of turnbuckle 10.
said arm, said arcuate edge having a radius of curvature
The turning force exented on arm' ‘30! by such strain
approximately equal to the’length of the opening of said“ '
tends to swing the arm 30 away from the. eye 14, and
70 keeper link, and said eye supporting said keeper link for
this tension is su?icient to increase the frictional engage
pivotal movement only, whereby to enable substantially ‘ ,.
rment between the keeper 40 and the locking edge 38 to
free swinging movement of the keeper link to and from
a degree that will prevent unlocking of the hook under all
locking engagement over said arcuate edge when the lock-5
The operation of the present pelican hook should be
obvious from the foregoing description. When the chain
normal conditions, especially if the locking portion has
ing arm engages the eye but inhibiting accidentalmove~
the recess 39 that virtually locks the keeper in position. 75 ment of said keeper link from locking position.
7
3,050,800
5
6
2. A pelican hook coupling having an eye, a closed link
pivotally engaged with said eye, a pelican hook. locking
ment only, said pelican hook arm having a locking portion
on the free end thereof which overlaps said eye in locking
arm curved at one end to engage with a link of a coupling
position and includes an arcuate outer edge formed on an
‘chain, said curved end having a pivot opening for receiv
ing said closed link at the end opposite said eye, the other
are centered substantially on the pivot axis of said keeper
link, said arcuate edge extending from the free end of said
hook arm over and past center relative to said keeper link
end of said locking arm being free, said hook arm having
pivot axis and having a radius of curvature approximately
a length greater than that of said closed link so that the
equal to the length of the opening in said keeper link.
,
free end portion of said arm overlaps and rests against
7. In a pelican hook connector as set forth in claim 6,
said eye when in locked position, and a keeper link pivot
ally received at one end in said eye for turning movement 10 said keeper link having an extension on its free end to
only, said free end portion of the locking arm being pro
facilitate movement thereof.
vided with an arcuate edge extending to the free end of
8. In a pelican hook connector as set forth in claim 6,
said pelican hook arm locking portion having a recess at
said arm, in the locked position of said arm said arcuate
the inner end of said arcuate edge for nesting said keeper
edge de?ning an are which is substantially the same as
that de?ned by the end of the keeper link opening during 15 link in locking position and inhibiting accidental unlock
pivotal movement of the keeper link, said keeper link being
ing movement of said keeper link.
'
of a length to snugly but freely surround the free end
9. In a pelican hook connector, a terminal eye, an elon
portion ‘of said hook arm when the latter is engaged with
gated closed link having one end connected to said eye, a
the eye in locked position, whereby to enable substantially
curved pelican hook locking arm having a pivot aperture
free swinging movement of the keeper link into and from 20 at one end and through which the other end of said closed
locking position over said arcuate edge when the locking
link passes, the other end of said pelican hook arm being
arm engages the eye, said arcuate edge having a substan
free for passage through a link of a coupling chain and
tial length and extending over and beyond center relative
adapted to engage said eye when in locking position, and
a keeper link having one end passing through said eye
to the pivotal axis of said keeper link whereby accidental
unlocking movement of said link is inhibited.
25 opening and adapted to surround the free end of said hook
3. A pelican hook coupling according to claim 2 where
arm to retain the latter in locking position, said eye open
ing being of a size to accommodate said keeper link for
in said arm is provided with a recess at the inner end of
pivotal movement only, said pelican hook arm having a
said arcuate edge to nest the free end of said keeper link.
locking portion on the free end thereof including an arm
4. A pelican hook coupling having an eye, an elon
gated closed link pivotally engaged with said eye, a curved 30 ate outer edge formed on an arc centered substantially on
pelican hook locking arm to engage with a link of a cou
the pivot axis of said keeper link, said arcuate edge ex
tending from the free end of said hook arm over and past
pling chain, said arm having at one end a pivot opening
receiving said closed link at the end opposite said eye, the
center relative to said keeper link pivot axis and having a
other end of said locking arm being free and resting against
radius of curvature approximately equal to the length of
said eye when in locked position, and a keeper link pivot
the opening in said keeper link, said closed link being bent
ally received in said eye but prevented from substantial
intermediate its ends to diverge at said eye from a straight
movement in any direction with respect to said eye other
line between said eye and said hook pivot and extend gen
erally parallel but slightly inclined toward said axis at the
than swinging movement, said free end of the locking arm
being provided with an outer arcuate edge centered in the
.end connected to said hook'arm, the inner edge of said
pivotal axis of the keeper link and having a radius of 40 hook arm being curved to cam a coupling chain link to
curvature approximately equal to the length of the opening
ward said closed link and the curvature of said hook arm
of said link, whereby to freely receive the keeper link into
and said closed link being such as to freely accommodate
locking position engaging the arcuate edge of the locking
a couplintI chain link therebetween while precluding wide
divergence of said connector in locked position.
arm and to ‘freely release the keeper link for unlocking the
arm,said closed link being bent intermediate its length and
10. In a pelican hook connector as set forth in claim 9,
said arm having the curve therein adjacent its pivot end so
said closed link being provided with a brace connected to
that the coupling chain link will be tensioned against said
the sides of the link at said intermediate bent portion and
arm adjacent its pivoted end and said arm and closed link
said brace being formed with a corresponding bend.
willextend generally parallel to an axis common to said
eye and the coupling chain link.
.
5. In a pelican hook connector for a ratchet coupling,
11. In .a pelican hook connector for a ratchet coupling,
a bolt having a threaded shank and a terminal eye with 7
an opening elongated axially of said bolt shank, an elon
gated closed link having one end passing through said eye
elongated closed link having one end passing through said
opening, a curved pelican hook locking arm having a'pivot
eye opening, a curved pelican hook locking arm having a
aperture at one end and through which the other end of
pivot aperture at one end and through which the other end
said closed link passes, the other end of said pelican hook
of said closed link passes, the other end of said pelican
arm being free for passage through a link of a coupling
hook arm being vfree for passage through a link of a cou
chain and adapted to engage said eye when in looking posi
pling chain, said hook arm having a length at least equal
tion, and a keeper link having one end passing through said
to that of said closed link so that said free hook end is
eye opening and adapted to surround the free end of said
adapted to engage said eye and be substantially parallel to
hook arm to retain the latter in looking position, said
said closed link when in locking position, and a keeper
closed link and said keeper link passing through said eye
link having one end passing through said eye'opening for
in side-by-side relation with said closed link at the ter
pivotal movement only and adapted to surround the free
minal end of said opening and said keeper link at the
end of said hook arm to retain the latter in locking posi
shank end of said opening, said eye opening being of a
tion, said hook arm having the curve therein adjacent its
65 size to accommodate said links for pivotal movement only,
pivoted end and the inner edge thereof being curved to cam
said pelican hook arm having a locking portion on the
a coupling chain link toward the adjacent end of said
free end thereof including an arcuate outer edge formed
closed link, whereby under tension a coupling chain link
on an are centered substantially on the pivot axis of said
will be disposed coaxially with said bolt and with said
keeper link, said arcuate edge extending from the free
closed link and the major portion of said hook arm gen
end of said hook arm over and 'past center relative to said
erally parallel to such axis so that stress is transmitted
keeper link pivot axis and having a radius of curvature
longitudinally of said closed link and hook arm.
approximately equal to the length of the opening in
6. In a pelican hook connector as set forth in claim 5,
said keeper link, and said closed link being bent intermedi
said eye opening being elongated axially of said bolt and
ate its ends to diverge at said eye from said axis and
of a size to accommodate both said links for pivotal move 75 extend generally parallel but slightly inclined toward said
a threaded bolt with a terminal eye having an opening, an
3,050,800
axis at the end connected to said hook arm, the inner edge
15. In a pelican hook connector as set forth in claim 9,.
of said hook‘ arm being curved’ adjacent its inner pivoted
said pelican hook havingian' aperture in itsfree end 'for
endto cam a coupling chain link toward said closed link
reception of a pin to secure vsaid keeper link in locking
and the curvature of said hook arm and said closed link
being such as to freely accommodate‘a coupling chain link 5
position.
therebetween while precluding wide divergence of said
connector in locked position, said closed link being pro
with a corresponding bend.
'
‘12. In a pelican hook connector as ‘set forth in claim 6,
said pelican hook having an aperture in its free'end for
reception of a pin tosecure said» keeper link in locking
t
‘
-
-
-
f
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
UNITED STATESPATENTS
vided witha brace connected to the sidesof the link at
said intermediate bent portion and said brace being formed
.
1,643,881
Ellis _'_____-__-_a _____ __ Sep’ta2r7, 1927i
' 1,761,648
Thomas __________ __V_____ June 3,1930
1,971,472
Wolf ________________ __ Aug. 28, 1934 .
2,198,181
2,616,716
Rumpler __.__..., ________ _._ Apr. 23, 1940
Annis ________ -.' _____ _.‘__ Nov. 4, 1952
2,648,881
Devonshire ___________ __‘Aug.'18, 1953
said pelican hook arm locking portion having a recess at
550,570
566,900
132,359
Belgium ______________ __ Sept. 15, 1956
Canada _____________ __'__ Dec. 2, 1958
Great Britain _________ _._ Sept. 15,1919
the inner end of said arcuate edge for nesting said keeper _
161,251
7 position.
13. In a coupling connector as set forth in claim 9, 15
FOREIGN PATENTS
said keeper link having’ anextension on its free end to
facilitate movement thereof.
14. In a coupling connector as set forth in claim 9,
link in locking position and inhibiting accidental unlock
ing movement of said keeper link.
.
Great Britain __' ________ __ Apr. 4, 1921
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