Patented September 27, 1921
To all whom it may concern:
Be it known that I, STANLEY VALINSKI, a citizen of the United States, residing at
Homestead, in the county of Allegheny and State of Pennsylvania, have invented certain new and
useful Improvements in Man-Catching Tanks; and I do declare the following to be a full, clear, and
exact description of the invention, such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the same.
This invention relates to a man-catching tank and it is especially, although not necessarily, designed for use in banks for catching and holding burglars or the like.
The principal object of the invention is to provide a device of this class embodying a portable motor-driven armored tank or watch-box for the watchman, this box being equipped with peep-holes, gun-openings and other conveniences, and having on its exterior novel means for grabbing and holding the thief until assistance arrives.
Another object of the invention is to provide a device of the above mentioned class including the aforementioned constructional features together with a steering device, inclosed means for actuating the catching and holding device, a ventilator, and a novel signal device leading from the tank to a nearby police station or other point from which assistance may be obtained.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent during the course of the
In the accompanying drawings forming a part of this specification and in which like numerals
are employed to designate like parts throughout the same:
Figure 1 is a perspective view of a device constructed in accordance with this invention, the
holding and catching device being shown in ineffective position.
Fig. 2 is a view similar to Fig. 1 looking at an opposite side of the tank and showing the
catching and holding devices in operative position.
Fig. 3 is a central vertical section taken through the device.
Fig. 4 is a view like Fig. 3 taken at right angles thereto.
Figs. 5, 6 and 7 are detail perspective views of the doors by means of which entrance is gained
to the tank, and the automatically closing doors for the gun-openings.
In carrying out the invention, I make use of a sheet metal tank or watch-box some six or eight
feet in height and of any suitable shape or design. This tank, as before intimated, is intended to be
inhabited by a watchman and while they are not shown, suitable conveniences, such as seats and the
like will be installed within the tank. Also arranged within the latter and near the bottom thereof is
a platform 2 which serves as the floor. Arranged beneath this floor is a suitable truck including a
motor 3 and suitable driving gears 4 which impart motion to the rear wheels 5. The front wheels, as
usual, are steered by any suitable mechanism 6 controlled from the interior of the box or tank by
means of the handle 7. With this construction and arrangement, it will be seen that by starting the
motor, the tank may be moved from place to place. At this point, I wish to state that any other
construction of truck may be employed instead of the one shown and described. The watchman or
other inhabitant of the tank enters the latter through a door 8 in the rear side thereof. It is to be noted
that this door 8 is retained closed by simple latch mechanism 9. A latch is employed so that the door
may be quickly locked in case the tank is entered in a hurry. Arranged in the same side of the tank
and adjacent the door 8 is another door 10 which instead of being retained closed by a latch, is held
in such a position by means of a key-controlled lock 11. It is to be understood that this door 10 is
only to be used in case one of the higher officials of the bank, who holds the key, desires to enter the
tank for any reason whatsoever. This door 10 may be used in instances where the occupant of the
watch-box or tank becomes injured from a burglar's bullet, since entrance cannot be gained to the
tank through the door 8. So that the occupant of the tank may see to the outside, I provide a plurality
of closely spaced peepholes 12 at many points in the wall of the tank so that a view may be had from
any point or angle. Also, I form in the wall of the tank at closely spaced points, gun-openings 13 so
that in case it is necessary, the barrel of a gun may be extended through one of these openings to
shoot the burglar. It is to be noted that these gun openings are shaped somewhat like key holes and
not to interfere with the quick passage of the gun barrel therethrough. The reduced portion of the
gun opening is supposed to accommodate the end sight or other projections on the gun barrel. Under
normal circumstances, these openings are closed by means of doors 14 which are retained in closed
position, like the door 8, by suitable latches 9. It is desired that these doors 14 close automatically
and quickly, and for this reason, coiled springs 15 are associated with the hinges thereof. While on
these doors 14, I wish to also call attention to the fact that they are equipped on their outer faces with
projections 16 of a shape corresponding to the gun openings when the doors 14 are closed. when
the door is so closed, the outer faces of the projections become flush with the outer surface of the
wall of the tank and it will not be easy to unhook the latch 9 or pry the door open because of the use
of these projections. The upper open end of the tank is closed by a cap 17 formed with openings 18
for passage of air into the tank. Should it be desired to close these openings 18, this may be done by
moving the rotatably mounted shutters 19, which are so shaped as to close these openings. If desired,
a suitable latch 20 may be employed to retain the shutters in an open or closed position and the outer
ends of the shutters may move in guides 21 to prevent such ends from being forced inwardly if an
attempt is made. In other words, these guides 21 serve primarily to increase the rigidity of the
structure. It is apparent that movement is imparted to the shutters by means of a knob 22 depending
into the tank.
One of the most important features of the device is that it not only includes this moveable
armored tank which protects the occupant and at the same time permits him to attack the burglar by
weapons or the like, but it includes a novel catching and holding device. By means of such a device,
the burglar may be chased, grabbed and held safely until assistance arrives. While this catching and
holding device may be of any other construction, it preferably includes a pair of like foldable frames
23 made up of a plurality of longitudinally curved, vertically spaced angle bars 24 adapted to be
folded against the tank and hold the fugitive between them and the tank. These frames are rigidly
mounted on vertically disposed rotary shafts 25 journaled in bearings 26 forming a part of the
vertically spaced laterally extending brackets 26 on the tank 1. Any suitable means, controlled from
the interior of the tank, will be employed to impart movement to the shafts 25. In the showing, I have
merely disclosed a horizontally disposed rock shaft 28 journaled in bearing openings in the walls of
the tank and carrying at its opposite ends, beveled gears 29 meshing with similar gears 30 on the
shafts 25. This shaft 28 is rocked by a centrally disposed handle 31. Any other kind of gearing may
be associated with the aforesaid shafts to vary the leverage and render it easy to move the catcher-frames to operative positions. It is desired that the rearward movement of the frames 23 be limited,
and to accomplish this, I rigidly secure to the shafts 25, a plurality of stops 32 which are engageable
with the tank as disclosed in Fig. 1. At this point, I wish to state that any suitable means, such as
pawl and ratchet mechanism (not shown) may be associated with the horizontal operating shaft 28
to permit the latter to rotate in a single direction only, and prevent the catcher bars from being moved
open when once swung about the burglar. I also wish to direct attention to the fact that suitable
signal mechanism 34 in the form of a push-button or the like may be employed to call for assistance.
This signal mechanism, by preference, includes wires 35 which may lead to a police station or to any
other point of assistance. At this point, I wish to call attention to the fact that the exteriorly disposed
wire 35 includes a detachable plug 36 which, when the tank begins its chase, is pulled out. This being
the case, it is, of course, first necessary to push the button 34 as soon as possible or necessary, at least
before the chase begins.
It has been before intimated that this device is intended to be used in banks and in use, it will
be placed in an out-of-the-way position and will be inhabited by the watchman. In case the officials
of the bank are held up or an attempt is made to rob the bank by bandits, the watchman within the
tank is, of course, not seen. However, he may view the bandits through the peep-holes and at the
same time, push the button 34 to notify the police that this particular bank is being robbed. Having
done this, the motor 3 may be started and the tank will begin to move toward one or more of the
bandits. As before intimated, it may be steered by manipulating the handle 7. In case, it is found
necessary to shoot, one of the doors 14 may be swung open and the watchman may pass his gun
through the uncovered gun-opening 13. It is to be noted that as soon as the gun barrel is removed
from this opening, the coiled springs 15 serve to automatically close this door 14. Thus, no shots can
be fired through this opening by the bandits. By employing simple latches for retaining all doors
closed, no time need be lost in rendering these latches effective. I have found that it is advisable to
drive the tank to the door or other nearby place of escape and turn it so that the frames 23 will be
positioned for use. Now, if the burglar or burglars try to escape, the shaft 28 may be rocked by
moving the handle 31 up or down as the case may be and the angle bars 24 swung toward each other
and caused to grab the burglar and hold him between them and the wall of the tank. As before stated,
any suitable means may be employed for retaining the frames in this position. It is to be noted that
the bearings employed for the shafts 25 are such that the frames 23 may be easily and readily moved
to effective positions. Furthermore, it is to be noted that the bars of one frame are arranged in
staggered relation with respect to the bars of the other frame so that they will not strike each other
when brought to effective position. The burglar may thus be held safely until assistance arrives.
When the occupant of the tank desires to leave the same, this may be done, as before stated, by means
of the door 8. On the other hand, should he become injured or shot, access to the tank can only be
had through the door 10 which is retained closed by means of a key-controlled lock 11. It is my
intent that the key for use in connection with this lock be held by one of the higher officials of the
bank and that only he can make use of this door 10, it being impossible to gain entrance to the tank
through the door 8 which can only be opened from the inside.
While I have described the device as being adapted for use in a bank or the like, I wish it to
be understood that it may well serve its purpose in many other places.
From the foregoing description and drawings, it will be seen that I have devised a device
which will enable me to catch, chase and hold burglars or bandits with extreme safety to myself, this
result being accomplished by the employment of the armored tank and novel catching and holding
device. So far as I am aware, the broad proposition of employing such a device is new and novel.
This being the case, I do not desire to limit myself to the particular construction and arrangement of
parts herein shown and described. The catching frames may be varied considerably and the means
for operating them may be either mechanically or manually controlled. Furthermore, the tank may
be equipped inside with any number of conveniences and safety devices. Then again, the means for
movably mounting the tank may vary considerably. These and other details, not to be mentioned,
may be likewise varied within the scope of the adjoined claims.
1. A device of the class described comprising a portable armored watch-box for the
watchman, a man-catching and holding device arranged on the exterior thereof, and means on the
interior of the box for operating said catching device.
2. The structure set forth in claim 1, said catching device being a plurality of horizontally
disposed frames foldable against the box.
3. A device of the class described comprising an armored portable watch-box equipped with
peep-holes, ventilating means, doors, gun openings, closures for the latter, and steering mechanism;
a device arranged on the exterior of the box for catching and holding a person, being controlled from
inside the box; and a signal device leading from the box to a nearby point of assistance.
4. A device of the class described comprising a portable armored tank, vertically spaced
bearings arranged on the exterior thereof, shafts journaled in said bearings catching and holding
devices carried by said shafts, stops on the latter to limit the movement thereof in one direction, a
manually controlled operating shaft inside of the tank, and intermeshing gears carried by all of the
5. A device of the class described comprising a motor driven portable armored tank to be
inhabited by a watchman, the same being equipped with one or more doors, a plurality of peep-holes,
gun openings, means for automatically closing the latter when not in use, an assistance signal, a
ventilator and steering mechanism; vertically spaced laterally extending brackets on the exterior of
the tank including bearings; shafts journaled in the bearings; stops carried by the shafts and
engageable with the tank to limit the movement of the shafts in one direction; beveled gears on said
shafts; a plurality of horizontal vertically spaced longitudinally curved arms carried by said shafts and
foldable against said tank, being designed to embrace and hold a person, an actuating shaft in the tank
for imparting movement to said first shaft; and gears on the ends of said actuating shaft meshing with
the aforesaid gears.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand.