Patents Assigned to Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
  • Patent number: 10246146
    Abstract: A fifth wheel hitch having a base assembly mounted to a bed of a towing vehicle, an intermediate assembly mounted to the base assembly, and a hitch head assembly which reduces or entirely eliminates the need for a lubricant, has jaws with mated, intermeshing teeth, and a locking mechanism which clearly indicates whether or not a kingpin of a fifth wheel trailer is properly connected to the fifth wheel hitch. The fifth wheel hitch is easily uninstalled into separate light-weight modules for re-installation on another towing vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 8, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 2, 2019
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventor: Paul Choquette
  • Patent number: 9033357
    Abstract: A tow bar having a towing connector for releasably connecting a first hitch arrangement of a towing vehicle to a second hitch arrangement of a towed vehicle includes a pair of opposing legs, each leg having a fore section connected to the towing connector and an aft section connected to the second hitch arrangement, a pivot connector pivotally connecting the fore section to the aft section, a locking mechanism for converting the respective leg from an aligned tubular structure for towing purposes to an articulated structure for on-vehicle storage purposes, and a hanger for retaining the tow bar in a stored configuration. An auxiliary locking mechanism operatively prevents the legs from pivoting relative to the towing connector while the towed vehicle is being towed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 2013
    Date of Patent: May 19, 2015
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventor: David Merchant
  • Patent number: 8690181
    Abstract: A tow bar including a towing vehicle hitch; a towed vehicle hitch; a towing connector releasably connectable to the towing vehicle hitch; a swivel unit having a first portion fixedly secured to the towing connector, a second portion connected to the first portion to pivot about a transverse horizontal axis, a third portion connected to the second portion to pivot about a fore-to-aft horizontal axis; a pair of opposing tow bar legs connected to the third portion to pivot about a vertical axis; and rear leg connectors to releasably connect the aft ends of the tow bar legs to the towed vehicle hitch; wherein the first portion includes an upwardly-extending lobe enabling the tow bar legs to be pin-lessly stowed in a horizontal orientation at the rear of the towing vehicle; and a swivel device for such a tow bar.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 2012
    Date of Patent: April 8, 2014
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventor: Leslie Roeber
  • Patent number: 8662523
    Abstract: A tow bar includes towing and towed hitch members; a head member with a front connector for connecting to the towing hitch member; tow bar legs connected to the head member, each tow bar leg including an outer member and an inner member telescopingly displaceable in the outer member; rear connectors to connect the inner members to the towed hitch member; and locking members each having a first portion adhesively secured to the distal end of the outer member, a second portion fixedly secured to the inner member, and a third portion including a transversely-oriented latch cavity through each inner member, biased opposing latches mounted in the latch cavity wherein the locking member automatically locks the respective inner and outer members relative to each other.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 10, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 4, 2014
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventor: David Merchant
  • Patent number: 8366137
    Abstract: A locking mechanism for a tow bar having a leg with telescoping inner and outer members, the locking mechanism including a shuttle device secured to a proximal end of the inner member and having a peripheral groove spaced between a tapered forward end and a tapered rearward end thereof. The locking mechanism also including an aft latching device for locking the tow bar leg in a deployed configuration, and a fore latching device for locking the tow bar leg in a storage configuration. Each fore and aft latching device including a pair of latch elements pivotally and biasingly mounted in a pair of opposing slots of a housing, the slots being superimposed over corresponding openings through the outer member for cooperatively, simultaneously and lockingly interacting with the peripheral groove of the shuttle device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 30, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2013
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventor: David Merchant
  • Patent number: 8366134
    Abstract: An apparatus for connecting a kingpin of a gooseneck or fifth wheel trailer to a towing vehicle includes a fifth wheel hitch having a hitch platform with a hitch head slidably mounted on the rails of a base platform; an articulating mechanism to displace the hitch platform to and from a forward towing station and a rearward towing station; and a latch having a latch pin to automatically lock the hitch platform at the forward and rearward towing stations and also having a biased spider device to automatically prevent the latch pin from re-locking the hitch platform when the hitch platform is released from a towing station until after the hitch platform has been displaced away from that towing station.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 2011
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2013
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventors: Paul Choquette, Leslie Roeber
  • Patent number: 8132825
    Abstract: A fifth wheel hitch apparatus for connecting a kingpin to a towing vehicle includes a mounting mechanism having plate and skirt portions with an opening for ingress and egress of the kingpin, and a clamping mechanism having opposing first and second clamp elements. A first resilient device biases first and second lever arms of the respective first and second clamp elements to displace the first and second clamp elements into an opened configuration. Direct contact of the kingpin with the first and second clamp elements pivotally and positively displaces the first and second clamp elements from the opened configuration to a closed configuration to cooperatively capture the kingpin therebetween. A biased locking mechanism is releasably retained in an unlocked configuration and locks the first and second clamp elements in the closed configuration. In a modified embodiment, the first and second clamp elements are connected together to also pivot relative to each other about a common third pivot axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 16, 2010
    Date of Patent: March 13, 2012
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventors: Paul Choquette, Leslie Roeber
  • Patent number: 8128116
    Abstract: A tow bar includes a towing hitch member including a pintle hitch and secured to a towing vehicle; a towed hitch member secured to a vehicle to the towed; a head member with a lunette ring; a pair of tow bar legs, each including a proximal end including an outer member with a distal end, and a distal end including an inner member with a proximal end telescopingly displaceable within the distal end of the outer member; a leg connector mechanism pivotally connecting the proximal ends of the tow bar legs to the head member; towed connector elements secured to the distal ends of the tow bar legs and structured to releasably connect the tow bar legs to the towed hitch member; and a locking mechanism structured to automatically and releasably lock each of the tow bar legs in either a stored configuration or a deployed configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 12, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2012
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventors: James Huston, Steven Goodman, David Merchant, Leslie Roeber, Neil Wagner
  • Patent number: 8056919
    Abstract: A tow bar having telescoping tow bar legs connected to a head member which is structured to be releasably securable to a towing hitch member of a towing vehicle; aft leg connector mechanisms structured to releasably connect the tow bar legs to a towed vehicle; and a latching mechanism, including latching portions structured to releasably retain the tow bar legs in a stored configuration, and locking portions structured to releasable lock the tow bar legs in a deployed configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 3, 2011
    Date of Patent: November 15, 2011
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventors: James Huston, David Merchant, Steven Goodman, Leslie Roeber, Neil Wagner
  • Patent number: 7988179
    Abstract: A tow bar having orthogonally-articulated towed-vehicle connectors includes a body element; a first connector element secured to and extending forwardly from the body element, the first connector element being structured to releasably connect the body element to a towing hitch arrangement of a towing vehicle; at least one tow bar leg having a fore end connected to the body element, and an aft end extending rearwardly from the body element; and a second connector element secured to and extending rearwardly from the aft end of the at least one tow bar leg, the second connector element being orthogonally-articulated and structured to releasably connect the aft end of the at least one tow bar leg to a towing hitch arrangement of the towed vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 2009
    Date of Patent: August 2, 2011
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventors: Steven Goodman, David Merchant, James Huston, Les Roeber
  • Patent number: 7959180
    Abstract: A tow bar including a pintle hitch, telescoping tow bar legs pivotally connected to a head member, a lunette ring fixedly or pivotally connected to the head member, leg connector mechanisms releasably connecting the tow bar legs to a vehicle to be towed, and a latching mechanism including latching portions structured to releasably retain the tow bar legs in a stored configuration and locking portions with cammed release mechanisms wherein the locking portions are structured to releasable lock the tow bar legs in a deployed configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 2009
    Date of Patent: June 14, 2011
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventors: James Huston, David Merchant, Steven Goodman, Leslie Roeber, Neil Wagner
  • Patent number: 7959179
    Abstract: A tow bar having a towing hitch member with a pintle hitch and secured to a towing vehicle; a towed hitch member secured to a towed vehicle; a head member with a lunette ring releasably connectable to the pintle hitch; first and second tow bar legs with proximal ends pivotally connected to, and extending rearwardly from, the head member; towed connector elements releasably connecting distal ends of the first and second tow bar legs to the towed hitch member; and an equalizer member structured to maintain the first and second tow bar legs at equiangular orientations relative to the head member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 27, 2009
    Date of Patent: June 14, 2011
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventor: David Merchant
  • Patent number: 7942435
    Abstract: A tow bar includes a towing hitch member including a pintle hitch and secured to a towing vehicle; a towed hitch member secured to a vehicle to the towed; a head member with a lunette ring; a pair of tow bar legs, each including a proximal end including an outer member with a distal end, and a distal end including an inner member with a proximal end telescopingly displaceable within the distal end of the outer member; a leg connector mechanism pivotally connecting the proximal ends of the tow bar legs to the head member; towed connector elements secured to the distal ends of the tow bar legs and structured to releasably connect the tow bar legs to the towed hitch member; and a locking mechanism structured to automatically and releasably lock each of the tow bar legs in either a stored configuration or a deployed configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 14, 2009
    Date of Patent: May 17, 2011
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventors: James Huston, Steven Goodman, David Merchant, Leslie Roeber, Neil Wagner
  • Patent number: 7753391
    Abstract: A torsionally-biased, shock-absorbing fifth wheel hitch includes a first mounting mechanism removably and non-rotatably mounting a lower frame portion thereof to the bed of a towing vehicle; an upper frame portion; a second mounting mechanism with a pair of opposing resilient members pivotally mounting the upper frame portion about a horizontally-oriented transverse hitch axis relative to the lower frame portion, the second mounting mechanism having an inactivated configuration wherein the upper frame member is not pivotally biased about the transverse hitch axis relative to the lower frame member and an activated configuration wherein the upper frame member is pivotally biased about the transverse hitch axis relative to the lower frame member; and a fifth wheel hitch mechanism mounted to the upper frame portion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 17, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 13, 2010
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventors: Jay Hesse, Steven R. Lewis, Brent Culbertson
  • Patent number: D612773
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 30, 2010
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventors: David Merchant, Steven Goodman, James Huston, Les Roeber
  • Patent number: D615006
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 2009
    Date of Patent: May 4, 2010
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventors: Steven Goodman, David Merchant, James Huston, Les Roeber
  • Patent number: D650400
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 2009
    Date of Patent: December 13, 2011
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventors: David Merchant, Steven Goodman, James Huston, Les Roeber
  • Patent number: D684918
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 31, 2011
    Date of Patent: June 25, 2013
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventor: Brad Krusemark
  • Patent number: D693746
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 2012
    Date of Patent: November 19, 2013
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventor: Leslie Roeber
  • Patent number: RE44948
    Abstract: A tensioning device for connecting a trailer to a spring bar of a load-compensating apparatus includes a body unit for securement to a frame member of a trailer; a reel unit having an off-center hub portion with a slot and rotatively secured to the body unit about a pivot axis; a rotation-limiting element which limits rotation of the reel unit to approximately 180° about the pivot axis; a linked chain having a proximal end thereof releasably secured to the slot of the off-center hub portion and a distal end thereof connected to the spring bar of the load-compensating apparatus; a latching element including a biased latch pin; and a lug and removable handle for rotating the reel portion to, and the latching element releasably locks the reel portion in, a chain-tensioned configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 2013
    Date of Patent: June 17, 2014
    Assignee: Automatic Equipment Manufacturing Company
    Inventors: Steven Goodman, David Merchant, James Huston, Leslie Roeber