US 3893584 A
A utility meter container for the accommodation of electric, gas, water and telephone meters and mains installation with provision to temporarily remove the container cover for the reading of the meters contained therein. The container is of simple lightweight and economical construction consisting of three shell formed plastic parts that in the unassembled mode nest into each other for storage and shipment. The top and the bottom half of the container body are permanently fastened together in place by means of blind rivets or bolts in the adjoining flanges of the two parts. A removable cover fits into the top of the unit, the cover being latched to the unit so that it may be temporarily removed when a specially shaped key is inserted into the cover. During such temporary removal, the cover remains fastened to the key.
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United States Patent 1 Ledford UTILITY METER CONTAINER  Inventor: Jonathan Ledford, Washington,
 Assignee: The Raymond Lee Organization,
Inc., New York, NY.
 Filed: June 26, 1973  Appl. No.: 373,673
 US. Cl 220/4 B; 220/5 A; 220/18; 292/83; 292/86; 220/323  Int. Cl..... 365d 1/22; EOSC 19/06; B65d 45/28  Field of Search 292/83, 86 220 4 8,4 13,5 A,5 R,18,323
[451 July 8,1975
Primary Examiner-George E. Lowrance Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Howard 1. Popell 5 7 ABSTRACT A utility meter container for the accommodation of electric, gas, water and telephone meters and mains installation with provision to temporarily remove the container cover for the reading of the meters contained therein. The container is of simple lightweight and economical construction consisting of three shell formed plastic parts that in the unassembled mode nest into each other for storage and shipment. The top and the bottom half of the container body are pennanently fastened together in place by means of blind rivets or bolts in the adjoining flanges of the two parts. A removable cover fits into the top of the unit, the cover being latched to the unit so that it may be temporarily removed when a specially shaped key is inserted into the cover. During such temporary removal, the cover remains fastened to the key.
1 Claim, 7 Drawing Figures P'A'THITFHJUL 8 1975 sum 1 or 2 1 UTILITY METER CONTAINER SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a container for enclosing utility meters in a weatherproof installation, with provision to temporarily remove the cover of the unit for the reading of the meters. The advantage of this invention lies in the fact that the container is fabricated of inexpensive and lightweight shell plastic composition of three parts, the parts being shaped so as to nest into each other in the unassembled condition for storage and transportation. The shell plastic parts may be inexpensively fabricated of polyvinylchloride material in a vacuum forming operation. The material is impervious to moisture, plant growth, weather and temperature cycles, and may be fabricated in colors which are harmonious with the surroundings of the meter. The container consists of an upper and lower shell section which are permanently joined together along aligning flanges by means of blind rivets or bolts. One flange overlaps the other so as to eliminate the need for a gasket along the flanged joint. The top section of the unit has a cover which latches into place in the top section but is removable when a special shaped key is inserted into the shaped opening of the top cover and pressed against the latching mechanism. In the removed state, the cover remains fastened to the special key, while the meters contained inside the unit are read. Sections of conduit pipe may be bonded to the sides of the unit for enclosure of utility wires and pipes that lead into the unit.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The objects and features of the invention may be understood with reference to the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment of the invention, taken together with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. I is a plan view of the top of the container;
FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the container;
FIG. 3 is a side view of the cover and key of the container;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective view of the key;
FIG. 5 is a plan view of the key;
FIG. 6 is a plan view of the cover latch plate; and
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary end view of the latch plate saddle.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Turning now descriptively to the drawings, in which similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several views, FIG. I-2 illustrate the container 10 which is formed of a top shell section 11 and a bottom shell section 12. Each of said shell sections are in the form of a hollow cup, with walls 24 that taper inwardly to the top or bottom of the section so that any number of units may be nested inside of each other during periods of storage of shipment. The plan view of container I0 is that of a rectangular shape although other shapes may be preferably depending on the size of the meters which are to be installed inside. A flange 17 is formed along the outer edges of each section II and 12, with the flange 17 of one section having a curved lip so as to ride about the flange of the adjoining section when two flanges I7 of the two sections are joined together by blind rivets 16 or by other types of fasteners. A service conduit coupler section 21 may extend from the side 24 of the bottom unit for joining with the conduit which supplies the incoming utility lines, and a similar conduit coupling section 22 may be fitted to the top section on one side 24 so as to join to the conduit enclosing the utility line that runs from the meter container I0 to the installation that is serviced.
The top of the upper section I l is formed with a large rectangularly shaped recess opening 31, with recess 3| surrounded by wall 51 of the upper section II. Horizontal lip 32 projects below the recess opening 3I. A removable cover plate 30, which may be embossed with the insignia I3 of the utility corporation or supplier, fits snugly over the recess opening 3|. A flat plastic or metal strip 38 serves to latch the cover 30 in place on the top section II, with a reduced section 42 near each end 41 of the flat strip 38 latches into projecting tabs 36 below the bottom surface of the meter cover 30, as shown in FIG. I-7.
The ends 41 or latch plate 38 extends under each side lip 32 of the recess 31 of meter top cover 30 so as to hold the meter cover 30 fastened to the top section 12 in the normal locked mode.
An opening 14 is located in the top cover 30 of a circular or oval shape with two extending centered wing openings 15, each in linear configuration and at diametrically opposed sides of the opening 14.
As shown in FIGS. l-2 a tubular shaped key 23 fits loosely into the opening I4. The wings 15 of hole 14 accommodate fixed pin 35 that projects through the lower section of the tubular key.
Key 23 is formed ofa bar 53 of circular or oval crosssection, with a handle member 54 fastened adjacent one end of bar 23 and a protruding fixed pin 35 fitted at a spaced relation to the working end 46 of key 23. The surface of working end 46 of the key 23 is formed as a flat surface inclined at an angle to the axis of bar 53. Protruding pin 35 is located perpendicular to the axis of bar 53, with the axis of pin 35 located so as not to pass through the axis of key bar 53.
Latch strip 38 is formed of a spring grade of metal or plastic, of general rectangular shape, with a section of reduced cross-section 42 adjacent to each end 41 of the strip. An elliptical hole 44 may be located in the middle of the strip, with the width of hole 44 being less than the diameter of key bar 53.
As shown in FIG. 3, insertion of key 23 into recess 14 of cover 30, when the cover is attached to the box I0, simultaneously latches the key 23 to cover 30, and unlatches cover 30 from box 10, in the following manner:
Insertion of key 23 against latch plate 38 causes the inclined bottom surface 46 of the key 23 to bear against mid-sections 34A of the mid-section 34 of latch plate 38. Latch plate 38 is both twisted about its axis on its mounting on saddles 36 and bent into an arcuate shape, drawing in end sections 4] of latch plate 38 from engagement with lip 32 of box top 11. Simultaneously, key 23 is moved transversely in hole I4 so that the pegs 35 of key 23 engage the undersurface of cover 30, being moved out of the aligned position with wings IS of hole I4 in the cover 30. The cover 30, with engaged key 23, may now be lifted free of the box 10, by lifting of key 23. Saddle 36 opening 38 prevents the full width end sections 41 of the latch plate 38 from becoming detached from the cover assembly. Each saddle member 36 is fitted on ledge 49 attached to the undersurface of cover plate 30.
The cover with engaged key 23 may now be removed for the purpose of reading the meters installed inside the container. Replacement of the cover 30 is achieved by reversing the procedure and sliding the key 23 so that protruding pin 35 will clear the wings of the opening 14 in the cover 30, resulting in latching the cover plate 30 to the cover section 11 by means of latch plate 38, and separating key 23 from the cover 30.
It is to be noted that key 23 is not rotated in use, but merely pushed into hole 14 for unlatching the cover plate 30. Should a lock pick device be inserted, instead. into hole 14, such device would not be able to open the cover latch assembly, since the unlatching is accomplished by the application of pressure on both flanks 34A of latch plate 38, together with pressure causing latch plate 38 to twist and shorten in extended length.
Since obvious changes may be made in the specific embodiment of the invention described herein, such modifications being within the spirit and scope of the invention claimed, it is indicated that all matter contained herein is intended as illustrative and not as limiting in scope.
Having thus described the invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by letters patent of the United States is:
l. A container for the installation of a utility meter, with provisions to remove the cover of said unit by a key for the reading of the meter installed therein,
said container being formed ofa molded plastic com position with a hollow top section and a hollow bot tom section, both of which are formed with sloping tapered walls so as to be able to nest into each other and into similar units in the stored unassembled condition, with the edges of the top and the bottom sections formed with flanges adaptable for joining together by means of blind rivets or bolts,
and with a central opening in the top section of a shape to hold a cover plate fabricated of similar material, with said cover plate being held fast to the said top section so as to enclose the opening in said top section by means of a flat latch plate, slidably fastened to the underside of the latch plate,
the ends of said latch plate normally engaging projections fitted to the underside of the said top section and of a spring construction so that pressure applied to the latch plate. perpendicular to the plane of the latch plate acts to bend the latch plate into an arcuate shape. thus foreshortening its extended length and withdrawing the latch plate ends from engagement with the projection of the top section,
said cover plate having an opening to admit a key.
said opening located in alignment with the midsection of the latch plate.
said key formed of a shank faced on one end with a plane surface oriented at an inclined angle to the axis of the shank and fitted with projections on the shank adjacent to the said inclined plane surface, with the opening of the cover plate shaped to admit the shank of the key and the projections, such that manual pressure on the key in the axial direction of the shank, after the inclined plane surface of the key contacts the latch plate, serves to both disengage the latch plate from engagement with the top section and to also slide the key laterally in relation to the opening and to the latch plate so as to cause the projections on the shank of the key to slide past the opening in the top cover and thus engage the underside of the cover when the manual pressure on the key is relaxed, thus freeing the cover from the top section and latching the key to the latch section, without rotation of the key.
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