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Патент USA US2523214

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Sept. 19, 1950
Filed April 29, 1946
,4 Woe/vars.
Patented Sept. 19, 1950
Edward B. Hedgpeth, SaltiLake City, Utah
Application April 29, 1946, Serial No. 665,774
9 Claims. (-01. 280-3344)
This invention relates to a dolly coupler for
automotive vehicles, and more particularly to
such a couplerrthat connects an automobile to »
a house trailer although not necessarily so re
Among the principal objects of the invention
are to provide:
'(a) Means whereby an assembly of automotive
‘the trailer, ‘the rocker arm is so adjusted that
little or none of the Weight of the trailer is car
ried by the driving Wheels, but if conditions are
such that additional traction ‘must be supplied
to the driving wheels, then this additional re
quirement will be selectively supplied by adjust
ing the rocker arm, accordingly.
Compared with the advantages secured by
unit, coupler and trailer is under complete con
means of the invention, backing an automobile
trol of an operator when backing the automotive 10 with
a'house trailer conventionally coupled there
to is ordinarily a hazardous procedure even for
,(b) Means whereby backing isv conveniently
a skilled driver or operator, largely so because
accomplished by even an unskilled operator.
of the in?exibility of the usual coupling devices.
(0) A dolly coupler having a caster wheel that
Usual devices also are subject to unfavorable
iseasily and quickly attached to or detached from ' 15 running results because the proportion of the V
both an automotive unit and a trailer unit.
trailer weight that is carried by the automobile
((2) A dolly coupler by means of which the
wheels is necessarily ?xed and represents a com
weight of the trailer at the tongue thereof is
promise between an upper and lower limit that
divided between the automotive unit and the
coupler caster wheel in practically ,any propor
(e_) .A dolly coupler having selective adjusting
means whereby, under normal and favorable
is designed to .meet average running, conditions.
Such a usual ‘compromise at best is unsatisfactory,
because, under favorable running conditions, too
much weight is imposed upon. the automotive
running conditions, substantially the entire trail
driving wheels, While under unfavorable running
relieving the automotive unit and especially the
not enough Weight bears on the driving wheels
toinsure the necessary vtractive effort.
.Amongadvantages secured by means of the
er tongue Weight is carried by the dolly, thus 25 conditions, such as ‘wet or slippery road surfaces, ’
tires thereof, from undue wear.
(j) A dolly coupler wherein the selective ad
justing means is effective to cause any-desired
invention, a very important one is that the pro“
proportion of the trailer tongue weight to be 30 portion of the trailer weight imposed upon the
automotive driving ‘wheels is selectively varied
added to the traction wheels of the automotive
to variations in the running conditions.
unit at times when the road or running condi- '
In the accompanying drawing which illustrates
tions demand it. '
one embodiment of the invention:
Other objects will become apparent as . the
1 ‘represents a plan of the dolly coupler and
description proceeds.
35 _'
‘fragmentary portions of an automotive unit and
According to the invention the dolly coupler
a trailer with which the dolly coupler is associ“
forms an extension to the tongue of a trailer in
order to provide a favorable location for support
ing the weight at the tongue of the trailer on
Fig. 2, a side elevation corresponding to Fig.
1, largely in vertical section taken on the line
a pilot or caster wheel that automatically accom 40 '2-—2 in Fig. 1;
modates itself to the varying directional move
Fig. 3, a vertical section taken on the line 3-3,
ments between an automotive vehicle and the
in Fig. 1, drawn to an enlarged scale, some parts
trailer. Mounted at a suitable point ‘on the ex
in the background being omitted for convenience;
tension rig is a rocker arm comprising a lever of
the second order, the forward‘end of which is
Fig. 4, a side elevation line diagram setting
connected to the chassis of an automotive vehicle,
forth ‘the assembled relation between an auto~
and the fulcrum of which is located immediately
‘motive unit, a dolly coupler and a trailer unit.
in advance of the caster wheel, this connection
Referring to the ‘drawing, the numeral l0 de
having considerable ?exibility.
notes a support that is ?xed at the rear of an
The rocker arm swings in a vertical plane‘ and "50
automotive vehicle chassis (not shown) and H
is held in various selective positions at the option
the tongue of a house trailer. At I2 is a coupling
of the operator in accordance with any'par
frame one end of which rests on the tongue ll
ticular running demands. Thus, if running con
so as to be rigidly secured thereto for convenient
ditions are favorable and the normal tractive
vattachment or detachment by any suitable means,
effort of the driving wheels is sufficient tolpull
su-ch‘as bolts 13. Furthermore, there is a quickly
manipulative ball and socket connection that
completes the attachment of the frame I2 to the
tongue II. The ball element I5 is carried on
a stem I6 that in turn is fastened, by means of
a nut IT, in a bracket I8 depending from the
frame I2. The ball and socket feature in this
may be used so long as it ful?lls the operative re
In operation, the frame or rig I 2 and the rocker
arm 30, with its coupling connection 29, consti
tute an extension of the tongue. of, for example,
a house trailer 48, Fig. 4. Considered along a
horizontal plane the tongue‘extension is rigid.
The only point of articulation between the house
trailer 48 and an automotive unit 431s at the ball
part of a device that is purchas'able, in ,theiopen
market, and forms a very advantageous'quick 10 and socket 22—-23 of the connection 29; forming
a universal joint, this particular consideration
connection. This device has a V-type angle iron
being essentially not different from what is well
I9 that is welded or otherwise fastened to the ,. known, with the exception that in the case of the
invention, there is advantageously more space be
Mounted on the support I I) in proximity to the V
tween the automotive unit and the house trailer.
bumper 20 of the automotive vehicle is a stem 2 I, 15 This greater spacing ampli?es the utility of the
in this instance similar to the stern I61. The stem
caster wheel, and greatly enhances the maneu
2I carries a ball 22 similar to theball I5, and at
verability of the assemblage.
23 is a socket element that removably engages the
Considered along a vertical plane, the tongue
particular fastening does not function as a uni
versal joint, but is here used because it forms
ball 22. The socket element 23 forms an integral
' extension of the house trailer 48 is rigid only to
part of a straight channel iron 28 and has mount 20 and as far as the pivotal point 3|. Thus, verti
ed on it a double-hinged release lever 25 that is
cally, there are two points of articulationwhen
connected toa latch 26, the latter engaging the
the device is installed for operation, one,: the
ball 22 in the coupling operation. The release
aforementioned ball and socket 22—23, the other,
lever 25 is manipulated manually by means of a
pivot 3 I. Between these two points su?icient
?nger grip 21. It is convenient to refer to the 25 articulative
?exibility is provided so that prac
parts 2| to 21 collectively as a coupling connec
tically any desired degree of tongue-weight dis
tion 29.
In this instance the coupling connection 29, ‘by
tribution upon the driving or traction wheels 50
of the automotive unit and upon the caster- as
means of the channel iron 28, is advantageously
sembly 42, between maximum and minimum, ei
welded to a structural channel 24 so .the as-, 304 ther way, is made selectively possible. In ‘the
semblage constitutes a vertically oscillating rock
er arm 30 pivotally mounted at 3I in the frame
I2. Fixed on the frame I2 is a standard 32,
present instance, selective distribution of the
tongue-weight is accomplished by means of the
which in this instance is of inverted U-shape and
In the exemplary case indicated in Fig. 4, the
straddles an adjusting screw 34 that is threaded 35
tongue-weight of the house trailer 48 is resting
in the bend of the U. The adjusting screw 34
almost altogether on the caster wheel 43, only a
conveniently terminates in a T-handle 35 and is
modicum of the tongue-weight being allowed to
operative to limit the extent of oscillation of the
bear through the chassis connection ID on the
rocker arm 30.
It is to be noted that as a matter of present 40 traction wheels 50. Now, if a greater tractive ef
fort is desired, the screw 34, bymeansiof handle
convenience thev ball and socket details of the
35, is turned in the proper direction to tend to
coupling connections I 4 and 29 are similar to each
force the rocker arm 30 downwardly, thereby
other, with the diflerenceihowever, that in ‘its
causing a mutual reaction between the arm 30
functioning the ball and socket feature of cou
the frame I2 around the ball 22 as a fulcrum,
pling connection 29 makes full use of the univer 45
whereby more'and more of the tongue-weight is
sal directive property, while in the case of the
imposed upon traction wheels 50, until ultimate;
coupling connection I4, the ball and socket fea
ture functions merely as a convenient and ex
peditious coupling means. It'is also to be noted
- ly, if desired, the entire tongue-weight can be
made to rest thereon.
that the coupling connections I4 and 29 form the I 50' By turning the screw 34 in the opposite direc
tion, less and less of the tongue-weight is im
subjects of U. S. Patents Nos. 2,090,113, 2,166,208, ,.
on the traction wheels, ‘until ?nally the
and 2,178,094, and per se constitute no part of
the present invention. Any other usual or suit
able coupler may be used.
'At a convenient point, advantageously about '
midway between the coupling connections I4 and
29, is a distance piece 31 that is fastened, for ex
ample by means of bolts 38, between the respec
tiVe side members 39 of the frame I2. In the
weight 'so imposed is reduced to'izero, thus leaving
the entire tongue-weight to be borne ‘by the caster
Obviously, the matter of tongue-‘weight distri
bution between the traction wheels 50 and the
caster wheel_43 is entirely one of selectivity on
the part of the operator. House trailers as a rule
piece 31 is held, in fixed, depending fashion, a '00 are soconstructed that approximately one-eighth
of the weight thereof. bears on the coupling con—
stem 40 forming a bearing pin for a head 36 to,
nection at the automotive unit, while ‘seven
which is pivoted at 41, a swivelingfork 4I that in
eighths of the weight is carried by the supporting
turn constitutes-a, part of a caster assembly 42.
wheels of the house trailer.‘ In this instance, the
This assembly includes, further, a wheel 43 hav
ing a tire 44, while the fork M has the springs 45 65 supporting wheels are indicated at 5|. 'In other
words, the tongue-weight of a house trailer, as
that take up the road impacts when the wheel 43
the term is herein used, is substantially one
is rolling forward, and springs 46 that take up
eighth the weight of the trailer.
any backing impact. Thus, the caster assembly
By the term “tongue weight” is to be under
has a limited degree of spring controlled oscilla
stood the weight at the outboard'point where the
tion in a vertical plane around thepivotal con
70 tongue is supported. In this instance, the out
nection 4T.
board point at one time is on the'b'all 22 and at
The caster wheel assemblage 42 per se forms
another time on the vertical center line of the
no part of the present invention, it being em
caster wheel 43, depending on the adjustment ef
ployedrmerely as a matter of convenience, since
fected by the screw 34.
> '
- p
' '
it gives good service and may be bought in the
open market._ Any other-serviceable caster wheel
' -While speci?c detailsofconstructionare neces
saril'y shown and described herein byway of il
lustration, the invention is limited only by the
terms of the following claims.
to receive and pivot the rocker element for verti~
cal oscillatory movement therebtween.
5. The combination recited in claim ll, wherein ' '
What is claimed is:
l. A coupling device operative to ?exibly con
nect an automotive unit to a trailer unit,includ
ing in combination an extension rig adapted to
the weight compensating means comprise a bridge
element rigidly secured to the forward ends of
the frame side members and extending across
the rocker element forwardly of its pivot axis,
and, further, a vweight adjusting screw threaded
in said bridge element for operation against the
be rigidly but detachably connected to the tongue
of said trailer unit; rocker means oscillatingly
connected to said extension rig; universal joint
means adapted to connect said rocker means to
10 rocker element.
said automotive unit; a caster support under
said extension rig; and weight compensating
means operatively positioned between said ex
tension rig and said rocker means.
2. An assemblage including an automotive unit;
a trailer unit spaced apart rearwardly from said
automotive unit; frame means rigidly but de
tachably connected to the tongue of said trailer
unit; vertically adjustable rocker means con
nected to said frame means; universal joint means
detachably connecting the said rocker means to
said untomotive unit; caster wheel means having
oscillative motion around a vertical aXis; and
holding means effective to ?x said vertical axis
in said frame between the automotive unit and
the trailer unit.
3. A coupling device operative to ?exibly con~
nect an automotive unit to a trailer unit, includ
ing in combination an extension rig adapted to be 30
6. The combination recited in claim 5, wherein
the caster supporting means comprise a caster
wheel mounted between the frame side members
rearwardly of the rocker element.
7. The combination recited in claim 3, wherein
the rocker element is pivoted between two ‘spaced
frame members, for oscillatory movement there
between in a vertical plane, and wherein the
Weight compensating means comprise a bridge
element rigidly secured to the said frame mem
bers and extending across the rocker element for
wardly of its pivot axis, and a weight adjusting
screw threaded in said bridge element for opera
tion against the rocker element.
8. The combination recited in claim 1, wherein
the rocker means is pivoted to the extension rig
between two spaced members thereof for oscilla
tory movement therebteween in a vertical plane,
and wherein the weight compensating means
comprise a bridge element rigidly secured to the
rigidly but detachably connected to the tongue of
said spaced members and extending across the
said trailer unit, said extension rig comprising a
rocker element forwardly of its pivot axis, and
frame having a tongue connection means at its
a weight adjusting screw threaded in said bridge
rearward end and a second tongue connection
element for operation against the rocker means.
means intermediate its length; a rocker element 35
9. The combination recited in claim 2, wherein
pivotally connected to said frame adjacent but
the rocker means is pivoted between spaced mem
rearwardly of the forward end thereof for oscil
bers of the frame means for oscillation in 'a verti
lation in a vertical plane, said rocker element ex
cal plane, and an adjustment screw carried by .
tending forwardly of said frame; a universal
a member secured to said spaced members and
joint connection disposed at the forward end of 40 bridging the said rocker means is arranged to op
said rocker element and adapted for connection
erate against said rocker means for effecting the
to an automotive unit; caster supporting means
vertical adjustment thereof.
secured to and depending from said frame be
tween said second tongue connection and the
said pivotal connection to the frame of said
rocker element; and weight compensating means
operatively positioned between said frame and
The following references are of record in the
said rocker element forwardly of said pivotal con
?le of this patent:
nection ‘between the two.
4. The combination recited in claim 3, wherein 50
the frame comprises side members which con
verge from the rear forwardly, being spaced apart
Harroun et a1 ______ __ Feb. 2, 1943
uniformly for a distance at their forward ends
iSuttles ____________ __ Oct. 5, 1943
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