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Publication numberUS20030221798 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/160,693
Publication dateDec 4, 2003
Filing dateMay 31, 2002
Priority dateMay 31, 2002
Publication number10160693, 160693, US 2003/0221798 A1, US 2003/221798 A1, US 20030221798 A1, US 20030221798A1, US 2003221798 A1, US 2003221798A1, US-A1-20030221798, US-A1-2003221798, US2003/0221798A1, US2003/221798A1, US20030221798 A1, US20030221798A1, US2003221798 A1, US2003221798A1
InventorsDouglas Hunt, Brandon Reddick
Original AssigneeHunt Douglas M., Reddick Brandon R.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Movable screen assembly
US 20030221798 A1
Abstract
A movable screen assembly is disclosed, the screen assembly having three panels with top, bottom and side frame members. At each corner of each panel is a corner connector and adjacent corner connectors are attached by a joining element. Each corner connector includes a post, a slot and a geometric region around each post. The joining element includes two end portions, each with a different geometry. One end portion is received by the slot and allows rotation around a post. The other end portion is received by another slot and does not allow rotation around a post. Each corner connector includes a base and a cover. All bases are identical but covers vary as a function of whether a caster is attached to the corner connector or whether a joining element is connected.
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Claims(18)
1. A movable screen assembly comprising:
at least two panels, each of said panels having a top, a bottom and two side portions;
a horizontal frame member connected to each of said panel top and bottom portions;
a vertical frame member connected to each of said panel side portions;
at least two corner connectors, each corner connector being connected to a respective one of said two panels, and each connector corner including two spaced apart posts with each post being surrounded by a congruent geometric region; and
a joining element connected to said two connector corners, said joining element having two end portions, each of said end portions including an opening to receive a respective one of said two posts of a corner connector, one end portion having a first geometric edge shape and the other of said end portions having a second and different geometric edge shape wherein one corner connector of said two corner connectors is in a fixed position relative to said joining element and the other of said two corner connectors is pivotal about an axis coincident with a longitudinal axis of one of said two posts thereby allowing movement relative to the fixed position corner connector.
2. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein:
each of said corner connectors includes a wall spaced partially around each of said two posts; one end portion of said two end portions of said joining element includes an edge to abut said wall around one of said two posts and the other end portion of said two end portions of said joining element is movable along said wall around the other of said two posts.
3. An apparatus as claimed in claim 2 wherein:
said other of said two corner connectors is pivotal along an arc of about 135 degrees.
4. An apparatus as claimed in claim 3 wherein:
said other of said two corner connectors is movable from a parallel alignment with said one of said two corner connectors to a position being separated by an obtuse angle.
5. An apparatus as claimed in claim 4 wherein:
each of said two corner connectors has a curved outer surface.
6. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein:
each of said two corner connectors includes a base and a cover.
7. An apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein:
said two spaced apart posts of each of said corner connectors extend from said cover and are received within openings within said base.
8. An apparatus as claimed in claim 7 wherein:
each of said bases include a slot bordered by a back wall.
9. An apparatus as claimed in claim 8 wherein:
each slot and back wall are disposed around post receiving openings in said base; and
one end portion of said two end portions of said joining element includes an edge to abut said back wall and be constrained thereby and the other end portion of said two end portions is movable along said back wall.
10. An apparatus as claimed in claim 9 wherein:
said other of said two corner connectors is pivotal through an arc of about 135 degrees.
11. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein:
each of said corner connectors include passages for receiving horizontal and vertical frame members.
12. An apparatus as claimed in claim 11 wherein:
each of said corner connectors includes fastener receiving openings for allowing said horizontal and vertical frame members to be restrained.
13. An apparatus as claimed in claim 12 wherein:
at least one of said at least two corner connectors includes an opening for receiving a stem of a caster.
14. An apparatus as claimed in claim 13 wherein:
each of said corner connectors includes a wall spaced partially around each of said two posts; and
one end portion of said two end portions of said joining element includes an edge to abut said wall around one of said two posts and the other end portion of said two end portions is movable along said wall around the other of said two posts.
15. An apparatus as claimed in claim 14 wherein:
said other of said two corner connectors is pivotal along an arc of about 135 degrees.
16. An apparatus as claimed in claim 15 wherein:
said other of said two corner connectors is movable from a parallel alignment with said one of said two corner connectors to a position being separated by an obtuse angle.
17. An apparatus as claimed in claim 16 wherein:
each of said two corner connectors includes a base and a cover.
18. An apparatus as claimed in claim 17 wherein:
said two spaced apart posts of each of said corner connectors extend from said cover and are received within openings within said base.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a movable screen assembly and more particularly to a easily movable and reconfigurable workplace screen assembly.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Lightweight screens for dividing rooms are well known devices. However, such screens are not terribly versatile and are usually present for aesthetics rather than functional purposes.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] What is described here is a movable screen assembly comprising at least two panels each panel having a top, a bottom and side edge portions, a horizontal frame member connected to each of the panel top and bottom edge portions, a vertical frame member connected to each of the panel side edge portions, at least two corner connectors, each corner connector being connected to a respective one of the two panels, each corner connector including two spaced apart posts with each post being surrounded by a congruent geometric region, and a joining element connected to the two connector corners, the joining element having two end portions each of which includes an opening to receive a respective one of the two posts, one end portion having a first geometric edge shape and the other of the end portions having a second but different geometric edge shape so that one corner connector of the two corner connectors is in a fixed position relative to the joining element and the other of the two corner connectors is pivotal about an axis coincident with a longitudinal axis of one of the two posts thereby allowing movement relative to the fixed position corner connector.

[0006] There are a number of advantages, features and objects achieved with the present invention which are believed not to be available in earlier related devices. For example, one advantage is that the present invention provides a screen that is easily movable. Another feature of the present invention is that the screen assembly is versatile allowing three panels, for example, to be configured in various ways.

[0007] A more complete understanding of the present invention and other objects, advantages and features thereof will be gained from a consideration of the following description of a preferred embodiment read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures provided herein. The preferred embodiment represents an example of the invention which is described here in compliance with Title 35 U.S.C. section 112 (first paragraph), but the invention itself is defined by the attached claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

[0008]FIG. 1 is a front isometric view of a movable screen.

[0009]FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic plan view of the movable screen in a star configuration.

[0010]FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic plan view of the movable screen in a channel-shaped configuration.

[0011]FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic plan view of the movable screen in a Z configuration.

[0012]FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic elevation view of the movable screen in the configuration shown in FIG. 4.

[0013]FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic plan view of the movable screen in a folded configuration.

[0014]FIG. 7 is a sectional view of a vertical frame member taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 1.

[0015]FIG. 8 is a sectional view of the vertical frame member shown in FIG. 7 with a mounting liner.

[0016]FIG. 9 is a partial isometric view of the mounting liner shown in FIG. 8.

[0017]FIG. 10 is a sectional view ofthe vertical frame member shown in FIG. 7 with a mounting liner for a thinner screen.

[0018]FIG. 11 is a partial isometric view of the mounting liner shown in FIG. 10.

[0019]FIG. 12 is a sectional view of the vertical frame member shown in FIG. 7 with a mounting liner for an even thinner screen.

[0020]FIG. 13 is a partial isometric view of the mounting liner shown in FIG. 12.

[0021]FIG. 14 is a sectional view of a horizontal frame member taken along line 14-14 of FIG. 1.

[0022]FIG. 15 is a sectional view of a horizontal frame member like that shown in FIG. 14 but for a thinner screen.

[0023]FIG. 16 is a sectional view of the horizontal frame member shown in FIG. 14 with a mounting liner for a still thinner screen.

[0024]FIG. 17 is a partial isometric view of the mounting liner shown in FIG. 16.

[0025]FIG. 18 is an exploded isometric view of two corner connectors and a joining element.

[0026]FIG. 19 is a side view of a corner connector cover.

[0027]FIG. 20 is a bottom view of the corner connector cover shown in FIG. 19.

[0028]FIG. 21 is an end view of the corner connector cover shown in FIGS. 19 and 20.

[0029]FIG. 22 is a side view of a corner connector cover used when a caster is connected.

[0030]FIG. 23 is a bottom view of the corner connector cover shown in FIG. 22.

[0031]FIG. 24 is a rear view of the corner connector cover shown in FIGS. 23 and 24.

[0032]FIG. 25 is a corner connector cover used when the corner connector is not linked to another corner connector.

[0033]FIG. 26 is a bottom view of the corner connector cover shown in FIG. 25.

[0034]FIG. 27 is a rear view of the corner connector cover shown in FIGS. 25 and 26.

[0035]FIG. 28 is a plan sectional view of the two corner connectors and the joining element shown in FIG. 18 attached together and including portions of two panels and a caster.

[0036]FIG. 29 is a bottom view of a corner connector base.

[0037]FIG. 30 is a plan view of the joining element.

[0038]FIG. 31 is a front view of the joining element.

[0039]FIG. 32 is a plan view of the two corner connectors and the joining element shown in FIGS. 18 and 28 illustrating a parallel alignment used in FIG. 6.

[0040]FIG. 33 is a plan view of the two corner connectors and the joining element illustrating a separation of the corner connectors by 135 degrees as used in FIGS. 3 and 4.

[0041]FIG. 34 is an isometric view of a caster.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0042] While the present invention is open to various modifications and alternative constructions, the preferred embodiments shown in the various figures of the drawing will be described herein in detail. It is understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the invention to the particular embodiments, forms or examples disclosed. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalent structures and methods, and alternative constructions falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims, pursuant to Title 35 U.S.C. section 112 (second paragraph).

[0043] A movable screen assembly 10 is shown in FIG. 1. The movable screen assembly includes three panels 11, 12, 13, each panel having a top portion 14, a bottom portion 15 and side portions 16, 17. Each of the panels is bordered by frame members, a horizontal top frame member 20 and a horizontal bottom frame member 22 and side frame members 24, 26 at the lateral ends of each panel. Each panel may be of any suitable material and finished, and as will be explained below, panels may vary in thickness. Attached at each of the four corners of each panel is a corner connector 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52. As shown, several corner connectors 34, 36, 50, 52 at the bottom of the panels are connected to casters 47, 49, 51, 53.

[0044] As will also be explained below, most corner connectors are removably and pivotally joined with another corner connector. This flexible arrangement allows the three panel screen shown in FIG. 1 to assume different configurations, such as a three-pointed star configuration 54 shown in FIG. 2, a channel configuration 55 shown in FIG. 3 and a Z-shaped configuration 56 illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. Illustrated in FIG. 6 is a folded configuration 57 which may be used for screen storage. It can be appreciated that the screen is quite versatile because each panel is easily movable relative to an adjacent panel and the panels may be separated and rejoined to provide, for example, the configuration shown in FIG. 2. With the help of the casters, the screen may be easily reconfigured and relocated as desired.

[0045] Referring now to FIG. 7, each of the vertical frame members 24, 26 has a somewhat flattened elliptical shape which may include a decorative outer surface 60. The vertical frame member supports a panel in a channel portion 62 and connects to a corner connector at each of the frame member's extremities. The vertical frame member may be made of any suitable material, such as aluminum. To accommodate thinner panels, mounting liners of different sectional shapes may be connected in the channel portion. For example, a mounting liner 64, FIGS. 8 and 9, may be used when the panel is thinner than the width of the vertical frame member channel portion 62. Another mounting liner 66, FIGS. 10 and 11, is used when the panel is thinner than can be handled by the liner 64. Further, if the panel is thinner still, another liner 68, FIGS. 12 and 13, may be used. Each liner is made of a PVC extrusion. Of course, other sectional configurations for the vertical frame member may be used as a function of the thickness of the panel to be mounted and aesthetics. Each mounting liner is elongated and extends for most of the vertical height of the attached panel.

[0046] Referring to FIGS. 14, 15, 16 and 17, there is illustrated a horizontal frame member 20, also of aluminum having a more squared off channel shape. To accommodate thinner panels, the sectional shape may be altered to the shape of a horizontal frame member 80 or by using an elongated PVC mounting liner 82 to fit between the horizontal frame member and a top or bottom edge of a panel.

[0047] A pair of corner connectors 90, 92 and ajoining element 94 are illustrated in FIG. 18. Each corner connector includes a base 96, 98 and a cover 100, 102. The cover and base are easily separated to allow the joining element 94 to be connected, removed and reconnected. Each corner connector has a generally triangular elevation view with a curved bottom surface 103, a rounded rear end portion 104 and a rounded front end portion 106.

[0048] Referring to FIGS. 19-27, in addition to FIG. 18, three cover variations 107, 108, 109 are illustrated. Each cover includes a flat upper wall 110, 112, 114, a downward depending skirt wall 116, 118, 120 and two spaced apart posts 122, 124, 126, 128, 130, 132. A spring connector 134, 136, 138 is attached to each cover to create a friction fit between each of the covers and a respective base. The embodiments shown in FIGS. 19 and 22, illustrate short skirt walls 116, 118 to create, when connected to a base, slots 150, 152, FIG. 18, through which the joining element 94 may extend. The embodiments of FIGS. 19 and 22 are essentially the same except that an added end portion extension 154 is provided for the cover 108 so that the cover blends more readily when it and a respective base receive the stem of a caster. For example, the cover 108 includes a stem receiving opening 156, FIG. 23, between the two posts 126, 128. Each base also includes an aligned stem receiving opening 158, 160, FIG. 18.

[0049] A third embodiment, shown in FIGS. 25-27, illustrates the cover 109 with a longer skirt wall 120. This cover is used when a joining element is not intended to be connected. The longer wall abuts the base so that slots are not formed. Corner connectors 30, 48, FIG. 1, exemplify such a configuration. The corner connectors 34, 36, 50 and 52 exemplify the use of the cover 108 because casters 47, 49, 51, 53 are connected.

[0050] Referring now to FIGS. 18 and 28, the base is described in more detail. As can be seen, an outer top surface 170 of the base generally conforms to the shape of the cover 100. The front end portion 106 of the base 96 is rounded as is a front end portion 172 of the cover 100. The upper portion of the bases shown in FIG. 18 includes near the front end portion, two spaced apart openings 180, 182 for receiving the depending posts 184, 186 from the covers or any one of the cover embodiments shown in FIGS. 19-27. Between the post openings are the larger openings 158, 160 for receiving the stem 190, FIGS. 28 and 34 of a caster 192. Toward a center portion of the base are two fastener openings 194, 196 for receiving screw fasteners 198, 200 that attach the base to the top or bottom horizontal frame members 20, 22 of a panel. Between the two fastener openings is another opening 202 for a connector stem 204, FIG. 20, used to fasten the spring connector 134. To either side of the fastener openings of the base are deep recesses 210, 212 which form vertical walls 214, 216. These vertical walls receive the spring fasteners 134, 136, 138 attached to the covers.

[0051] Around each of the post openings 180, 182 is a horizontal flange 220, 222. The flanges abut a peripheral shoulder 224, FIGS. 20, 21, formed around each post 122, 124. Between the flanges 220, 222 and a ledge 230, FIG. 18, is the slot 150 for receiving the joining element 94. The slot is bordered by a back wall 232, FIGS. 18 and 28, which has a curved portion 234 and two linear portions 236, 238. This geometry is replicated to two regions of each base around the post receiving openings such that the resulting geometric regions are congruent. The combination linear-curved wall presents a geometry which is matched in two different ways by the joining element as will be explained below.

[0052] The under or opposite side of the base 96, FIG. 29, includes a panel receiving channel passage 240 which allows a horizontal frame 20, 22 of a panel to be inserted and to be captured by the screw fasteners 198, 200 inserted through the fastener openings 194, 196, all as illustrated in FIG. 28. Toward the end portion of the base is a curved narrow passage 242, FIG. 29, which receives the end or extremity of a vertical frame member, such as the vertical frame member 26, FIG. 7. A lateral fastener opening 244 for receiving a set screw fastener (not shown) may be used to push the outer surface 60 of the vertical frame member against a mating surface 246 of the base to create a strong friction fit. The base and cover are formed of a zinc alloy.

[0053] Referring now to FIGS. 18, 28, 30 and 31, the joining element 94 is shown in detail. The joining element has two end portions 250, 252 both of which have a post opening 254, 256. The joining element is formed of a strip of steel having a thickness of about 0.104 inches for allowing it to be received by the slots 150 formed in the base, and then captured when a cover mates with the base and the two cover posts are received by the post openings in both the end portion of the joining element and the post openings in the base. End portion edges 260, 262 of the joining element are specifically formed to different geometric patterns but which allow the end portions to engage with the linear-curved wall 232 of the base in two different manners. The rounded shape end portion edge 260 of the joining element engages primarily the curved portion 234 of the linear-curved wall so as to allow pivoting of a connected base about an axis coincident with the axis of the cover post until one or the other lateral edges 270, 272 of the joining element abuts one of the two linear portions 236, 238 of the linear-curved wall. For example, the lateral edge 270 abuts the linear portion 238 of the wall 232 a.

[0054] The opposite end portion edge 262 of the joining element includes a curved 90 degree shape with a curved portion 280 and two linear portions 282, 284. These are essentially identical to the shape of the linear-curved wall 232 of the base. When this second end portion of the joining element is inserted into the slots 150 of the base and then captured by the posts of the cover, the edge 262 of the joining element will essentially abut the entire length of the linear-curved wall 232 so that no relative rotation between the corner connector and the joining element takes place around an axis coincident with the post of the cover. This is shown in FIG. 28 where the joining element edge 262 is engaged with the linear-curved wall 232 b of the base 92.

[0055] Because of the different geometries of the joining element edges, but the identical geometry of the linear-curved wall of the base of the corner connectors, two corner connectors may be joined by a single joining element so that there is relative rotation by one of the corner connectors but not by the other. This allows adjoining corner connectors 300, 302 to move from an aligned position as shown in FIG. 32 where attached panels may be aligned parallel to each other as shown in FIG. 6 to a position shown in FIG. 33 where the adjoining corner connectors 300, 302 have been separated by an obtuse angle of approximately one hundred thirty five degrees. In this configuration, the three panels may be configured as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. By removing and reinserting the joining element the configurations shown in FIG. 2 may be achieved. The result is an aesthetically pleasing, relatively simple and very flexible moving screen that allows the screen to be easily transported from storage to usable condition and where the shape of the screen can be adjusted to a user's desire by simply rotating one panel relative to another or adjusting the relative positions of the corner connectors.

[0056] The above specification describes in detail several preferred embodiments of the present invention. Other examples, embodiments, modifications and variations will, under both the literal claim language and the doctrine of equivalents, come within the scope of the invention defined by the appended claims. For example, making changes to the outer surfaces of the corner connectors or changing the particular geometries of the mating corner connector bases and joining elements are considered equivalent structures and will also come within the literal language of the claims. Also adding or subtracting panels is considered equivalent and will also come within the literal language of the claims. Still other alternatives will also be equivalent, such as the outer shape of the corner connectors, as will many new technologies. There is no desire or intention here to limit in any way the application of the doctrine of equivalents nor to limit or restrict the scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6955204 *May 30, 2002Oct 18, 2005Iceberg Enterprises, LlcPartition system
US20120216438 *Nov 19, 2010Aug 30, 2012Miles Andrew HarrisContinuous display arrangement
WO2009108907A2 *Feb 27, 2009Sep 3, 2009Thomas GebkaImproved portable restroom structure, component parts and method of mounting advertising material thereto.
Classifications
U.S. Classification160/135
International ClassificationA47G5/00, E04B2/74
Cooperative ClassificationE04B2/7431, A47G5/00
European ClassificationE04B2/74C3D3B, A47G5/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 8, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: HNI TECHNOLOGIES INC., IOWA
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:HON TECHNOLOGY INC.;REEL/FRAME:015877/0733
Effective date: 20040511
Feb 10, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: HON TECHNOLOGY INC., IOWA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HUNT, DOUGLAS M.;REDDICK, BRANDON R.;REEL/FRAME:013737/0522;SIGNING DATES FROM 20020930 TO 20030129