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Publication numberUS20050263041 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/122,899
Publication dateDec 1, 2005
Filing dateMay 5, 2005
Priority dateMay 6, 2004
Publication number11122899, 122899, US 2005/0263041 A1, US 2005/263041 A1, US 20050263041 A1, US 20050263041A1, US 2005263041 A1, US 2005263041A1, US-A1-20050263041, US-A1-2005263041, US2005/0263041A1, US2005/263041A1, US20050263041 A1, US20050263041A1, US2005263041 A1, US2005263041A1
InventorsKarl Mueller, Daniel Grabowski, James Ludwig, John Hamilton, Colin Nourie, Brett Kincaid
Original AssigneeMueller Karl H, Daniel Grabowski, Ludwig James N, Hamilton John R, Nourie Colin L, Kincaid Brett R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Furniture construction
US 20050263041 A1
Abstract
An elongate table for offices and the like includes first and second leg members which are configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright, spaced orientation. At least one cross member extends between and is operably connected with the leg members to rigidly retain the leg members in the upright orientation. The leg members and cross member define a top supporting frame with a central axis extending longitudinally therealong. First and second elongate top members are supported on the frame on opposite sides of the central axis, and have opposing interior edges which are spaced apart to define a slot therebetween. An elongate accessory support beam is positioned in a generally vertical orientation in the slot, and includes a generally T-shaped slot extending longitudinally therealong for supporting accessories thereon.
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Claims(32)
1. An elongate table for offices and the like, comprising:
first and second leg members disposed in a mutually spaced apart relationship, and configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation;
at least one cross member extending between and operably connected with said first and second leg members to rigidly retain said first and second leg members in said generally upright orientation; said leg members and said cross member defining a top supporting frame with a central axis extending longitudinally therealong;
first and second elongate top members supported on said frame in a generally horizontal orientation on opposite sides of said central axis, and having generally flat upper surfaces, and opposing interior edges thereof spaced apart to define a slot therebetween; and
an elongate accessory support beam disposed in a generally vertical orientation in said slot, and projecting upwardly therefrom to a position generally above the upper surfaces of said first and second top members, and including a top edge and opposite side faces with generally T-shaped slots extending longitudinally therealong for supporting accessories thereon.
2. The table according to claim 1, wherein:
said first and second top members are elongate to include multiple side-by-side workstations disposed along each side of the central axis.
3. The table according to claim 2, wherein:
said first and second leg members each include two posts and a leg beam detachably interconnected between said two posts.
4. The table according to claim 3, wherein:
said leg beam has a cross-sectional shape which is generally the same as the cross-sectional shape of said cross member.
5. The table according to claim 4, wherein:
said posts have a generally X-shaped transverse cross-sectional configuration, and include four flanges extending outwardly from a central region, wherein each of the four flanges includes a generally T-shaped slot extending longitudinally along an outer edge thereof.
6. The table according to claim 5, wherein:
said accessory support beam includes a generally T-shaped slot extending longitudinally the length of a bottom surface thereof; and including
a utility manager supported from said generally T-shaped slot on said bottom surface of said accessory support beam; and
an accessory supported from said generally T-shaped slot on one of said top edge and said side faces of said accessory support beam.
7. The table according to claim 6, including:
a plurality of tubular top supports detachably connected with and supported by a top surface of said cross member, and oriented generally perpendicular to said cross member.
8. The table according to claim 7, including:
power and data outlets supported by said utility manager.
9. The table according to claim 8, wherein:
said cross member comprises two parallel members, each including a cross-sectional shape which is generally the same as the cross-sectional shape of said leg beam.
10. The table according to claim 9, including:
a plurality of T-nuts detachably connecting said leg beams to said posts, and said top supports to said cross members.
11. An elongate table for offices and the like, comprising:
first and second leg members disposed in a mutually spaced apart relationship, and configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation;
at least one cross member extending between and operably connected with said first and second leg members to rigidly retain said first and second leg members in said generally upright orientation; said leg members and said cross member defining a top supporting frame with a central axis extending longitudinally therealong;
first and second elongate top members supported on said frame in a generally horizontal orientation on opposite sides of said central axis, and having generally flat upper surfaces, and opposing interior edges thereof spaced apart to define a slot therebetween; and
an elongate accessory support beam disposed in a generally vertical orientation in said slot, and including a top edge disposed generally flush with the upper surfaces of said first and second top members, with a generally T-shaped slot extending longitudinally therealong for supporting accessories thereon.
12. An elongate table for offices and the like, comprising:
first and second leg members disposed in a mutually spaced apart relationship, and configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation;
at least one cross member extending between and operably connected with said first and second leg members to rigidly retain said first and second leg members in said generally upright orientation; said leg members and said cross member defining a top supporting frame with a central axis extending longitudinally therealong;
first and second elongate top members supported on said frame in a generally horizontal orientation on opposite sides of said central axis, and having generally flat upper surfaces, and opposing interior edges thereof spaced apart to define a slot therebetween; and
a plurality of top supports transversely supported by said frame and including a U-shaped central portion disposed below said slot and defining a support channel.
13. The table according to claim 12, including:
an elongate accessory support beam disposed generally vertically in said U-shaped portion of said top supports and projecting upwardly therefrom through said slot to a position generally above the upper surfaces of said first and second top members.
14. The table according to claim 13, wherein:
said accessory support beam comprises a top edge and opposite side faces with generally T-shaped slots extending longitudinally therealong.
15. The table according to claim 14, including:
a plurality of accessories supported by said generally T-shaped slots on said accessory support beam.
16. The table according to claim 15, wherein:
said first and second top members are elongate to define multiple side-by-side workstations disposed along each side of the central axis.
17. The table according to claim 16, wherein:
said first and second leg members each include two posts and a leg beam detachably interconnected between said two posts.
18. The table according to claim 17, wherein:
said leg beam has a cross-sectional shape which is generally the same as the cross-sectional shape of said cross member.
19. The table according to claim 18, wherein:
said posts have a generally X-shaped transverse cross-sectional configuration, and include four flanges extending outwardly from a central region, wherein each of the four flanges includes a generally T-shaped slot extending longitudinally along an outer edge thereof.
20-29. (canceled)
30. An elongate table for offices and the like, comprising:
first and second leg members disposed in a mutually spaced apart relationship, and configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation;
at least one cross member extending between and operably connected with said first and second leg members to rigidly retain said first and second leg members in said generally upright orientation; said leg members and said cross member defining a top supporting frame with a central axis extending longitudinally therealong;
an elongate top member supported on said frame in a generally horizontal orientation including a generally flat upper surface and a central slot;
an elongate accessory support beam disposed in a generally vertical orientation in said slot, and projecting upwardly therefrom to a position generally above the upper surface of said top member, and including at least one T-shaped slot extending longitudinally therealong for supporting accessories on said accessory support beam;
a storage unit including first and second ends and a hollow interior adapted to receive articles therein; and
a connector detachably securing at least one of said first and second ends of said storage unit to said T-shaped slot in said accessory support beam to support said one end of said storage unit.
31. The table according to claim 30, wherein:
said storage unit is disposed generally perpendicular to said accessory support beam;
said connector is disposed on the first end of said storage unit; and including
a storage unit leg disposed on the second end of said storage unit.
32. The table according to claim 31, wherein:
said storage unit is disposed parallel to said accessory support beam, and includes at least two posts disposed at opposite ends thereof; and
said posts each including a lower end thereof detachably mounted in the T-shaped slot on the top edge of said accessory support beam to thereby support said storage unit.
33. The table according to claim 32, wherein:
said connector includes a triangular-shaped frame having three planar surfaces; and wherein
at least one planar surface of said connector frame is detachably connected to said T-shaped slot disposed on a side face of said accessory support beam.
34. The table according to claim 33, wherein:
said first and second leg members each include two posts and a leg beam detachably interconnected between said two posts.
35. The table according to claim 34, wherein:
said leg beam has a cross-sectional shape which is generally the same as the cross-sectional shape of said cross member.
36. The table according to claim 35, wherein:
said posts have a generally X-shaped transverse cross-sectional configuration, and include four flanges extending outwardly from a central region, wherein each of the four flanges includes a generally T-shaped slot extending longitudinally along an outer edge thereof.
37. The table according to claim 36, including:
a plurality of accessories detachably mounted in said generally T-shaped slot on said accessory support beam.
38. The table according to claim 37, including:
a plurality of T-nuts detachably connecting said leg beams to said posts, and said top supports to said cross member.
39. The table according to claim 38, wherein:
said accessory support beam includes a generally T-shaped slot extending longitudinally along a bottom surface thereof; and including
a utility manager supported from said generally T-shaped slot on said bottom surface of said accessory support beam.
40. An elongate table for offices and the like, comprising:
at least one storage unit including a hollow interior adapted to receive articles therein, and configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation;
at least one leg member configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation;
at least one cross member extending between and operably connected with said storage unit and said leg member to rigidly retain said storage unit and said leg member in said generally upright orientation; said storage unit, said leg member and said cross member defining a top supporting frame with a central axis extending longitudinally therealong;
first and second elongate top members supported on said frame in a generally horizontal orientation on opposite sides of said central axis, and having generally flat upper surfaces, and opposing interior edges thereof spaced apart to define a slot therebetween; and
an elongate accessory support beam disposed in a generally vertical orientation in said slot, and projecting upwardly therefrom to a position generally above the upper surfaces of said first and second top members, and including at least one generally T-shaped slot extending longitudinally therealong for supporting accessories thereon.
41. The table according to claim 40, including:
a plurality of accessories detachably mounted in the T-shaped slot on said accessory support beam.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to furnishings for open office spaces and other similar environments, and in particular to a furniture construction for tables, workstations and the like.

Portable partition systems for open office spaces and other similar settings are well known in the art. Individual partition panels are interconnected in different configurations to form separate offices, workstations and/or work settings. The partition panels are extremely durable and can be readily disassembled and reassembled into alternative configurations to meet the ever-changing needs of the user. Examples of such partition systems are provided in U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 10/113,139 and 10/113,124, which are owned by Steelcase Development Corporation, the assignee of the present application, and are wholly incorporated herein by reference.

Post and beam furniture systems have also been developed to divide open office spaces three dimensionally into individual workstations and/or work settings. Examples of such furniture systems are provided in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,003,275 and 5,950,371, as well as patent application Ser. Nos. 09/800,006, 10/087,324 and 10/753,663, which are also owned by Steelcase Development Corporation, the assignee of the present application, and are wholly incorporated herein by reference.

Current worksurfaces, such as conference tables and the like, examples of which include U.S. Pat. No. 6,327,983, which is owned by Steelcase Development Corporation, the assignee of the present application, and which is wholly incorporated herein by reference, have heretofore not fully incorporated the expandability and configurability of partition panel systems and/or post and beam furniture systems.

Changing technology and changing work processes demand that current office furnishings be readily adaptable to efficiently support the ever-changing needs of workers. Therefore, the quick and easy reconfigurability of a worksurface system is desired to meet these needs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the present invention is an elongate table for offices and the like which includes first and second leg members disposed in a mutually spaced apart relationship. The leg members are configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation. At least one cross member extends between and is connected with the first and second leg members to rigidly retain the first and second leg members in a generally upright orientation. The leg members and the cross member define a top supporting frame which has a central axis extending longitudinally therealong. First and second elongate top members are supported on the frame in a generally horizontal orientation on opposite sides of the central axis, and have generally flat upper surfaces and opposing interior edges which are spaced apart to define a slot therebetween. An elongate accessory support beam is positioned in a generally vertical orientation in the slot and projects upwardly therefrom generally above the upper surfaces of the first and second top members. The accessory beam includes a top edge and opposite side faces having generally T-shaped slots extending longitudinally therealong for supporting accessories thereon.

Another aspect of the present invention is an elongate table for offices and the like which includes first and second leg members disposed in a mutually spaced apart relationship. The leg members are configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation. At least one cross member extends between and is connected with the first and second leg members to rigidly retain the first and second leg members in a generally upright orientation. The leg members and cross member define a top supporting frame which has a central axis extending longitudinally therealong. First and second top members are supported on the frame in a generally horizontal orientation on opposite sides of the central axis, and have generally flat upper surfaces and opposing interior edges which are spaced apart to define a slot therebetween. An elongate accessory support beam is positioned in a generally vertical orientation in the slot, and includes a top edge disposed generally flush with the upper surfaces of the first and second top members, with a generally T-shaped slot extending longitudinally therealong for supporting accessories thereon.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is an elongate table for offices and the like which includes first and second leg members disposed in a mutually spaced apart relationship. The leg members are configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation. At least one cross member extends between and is connected with the first and second leg members to rigidly retain the first and second leg members in a generally upright orientation. The leg members and the cross member define a top supporting frame which has a central axis extending longitudinally therealong. First and second elongate top members are supported on the frame in a generally horizontal orientation on opposite sides of the central axis, and have generally flat upper surfaces and opposing interior edges which are spaced apart to define a slot therebetween. A plurality of top supports are transversely supported by the frame, along the cross member, and include a U-shaped portion disposed directly below the slot defining a support channel.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is an elongate table for offices and the like which includes first and second leg members which are configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation. A longitudinally extending box beam is connected with the first and second leg members to rigidly retain the first and second leg members in a generally upright orientation. The box beam is configured so as to define a utility channel therein. The leg members and the box beam define a top supporting frame which supports thereon at least one top member.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is an elongate table for offices and the like which includes first and second leg members disposed in a mutually spaced apart relationship. The leg members are configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation. At least one cross member extends between and is connected with the first and second leg members to rigidly retain the first and second leg members in a generally upright orientation. The leg members and the cross member thereby define a top supporting frame having a central axis extending longitudinally therealong. First and second elongate top members are supported on the frame in a generally horizontal orientation on opposite sides of the central axis, and have generally flat upper surfaces and opposing interior edges thereof spaced apart to define a slot therebetween. An elongate accessory support beam is disposed in a generally vertical orientation in the slot, and includes a generally T-shaped slot extending longitudinally along an upper surface thereof for supporting accessories on the beam. A storage unit includes a hollow bin adapted to receive articles therein and first and second opposite ends. A connector detachably secures at least one of the ends of the storage unit to the T-shaped slot to support the one end of the storage unit.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is an elongate table for offices and the like, comprising first and second leg members disposed in a mutually spaced apart relationship, and configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation. At least one cross member extends between and is operably connected with the first and second leg members to rigidly retain the first and second leg members in the generally upright orientation. The leg members and the cross member define a top supporting frame with a central axis extending longitudinally therealong. An elongate top member is supported on the frame in a generally horizontal orientation, and includes a generally flat upper surface and a central slot. An elongate accessory support beam is disposed in a generally vertical orientation in the slot, and projects upwardly therefrom to a position generally above the upper surface of the top member, and includes at least one T-shaped slot extending longitudinally therealong for supporting accessories on the accessory support beam. The table further includes a storage unit having first and second ends and a hollow interior adapted to receive articles therein. A connector detachably secures at least one of the first and second ends of the storage unit to a T-shaped slot in the accessory support beam to support the one end of the storage unit.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is an elongate table for offices and the like, comprising at least one storage unit having a hollow interior adapted to receive articles therein, and configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation. The table includes at least one leg member configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation. At least one cross member extends between and operably connects with the storage unit and the leg member to retain the storage unit and the leg member in a generally upright orientation. The storage unit, the leg member and the cross member define a top supporting frame with a central axis extending longitudinally therealong. First and second elongate top members are supported on the frame in a generally horizontal orientation on opposite sides of the central axis, and have generally flat upper surfaces, and opposing interior edges thereof spaced apart to define a slot therebetween. An elongate accessory support beam is disposed in a generally vertical orientation in the slot, and projects upwardly therefrom to a position generally above the upper surfaces of the first and second top members, and includes at least one generally T-shaped slot extending longitudinally therealong for supporting accessories thereon.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is a furniture construction capable of using common accessories on and interchanged among portable partition systems, post and beam partition systems and tables. Such accessories may include power and data communication outlets, varied receptacles, file cabinets, partition screens, tables, light fixtures, and utility managers, as well as other various support devices. Preferably, the furniture construction uses common parts and/or systems from a post and beam furniture system to create a table, workstation or the like. The furniture construction utilizes a common aesthetic appearance between the various configurations, as well as common utility routing techniques between the various configurations.

These and other advantages of the invention will be further understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art by reference to the following written specification, claims and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a perspective view of a table embodying the present invention;

FIG. 1B is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 1C is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 1D is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 1E is a fragmentary perspective view of yet another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 1F is a fragmentary perspective view of yet another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 1G is a fragmentary perspective view of yet another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 1H is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 1I is an end elevational view of the table shown in FIG. 1H;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the table shown in FIGS. 1H and 1I;

FIG. 3 is an end elevational view of an accessory beam portion of the tables shown FIGS. 1A-1I;

FIGS. 4A-4G are top views of various embodiments of the table shown in FIGS. 1H and 1I;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the frame portion of the table shown in FIGS. 1H and 1I;

FIG. 5A is a fragmentary horizontal cross-sectional view of a leg portion of the frame shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of a post portion of the table leg shown in FIGS. 5 and 5A;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the table shown in FIG. 1H, with accessories mounted thereon;

FIG. 7A is an end elevational view of a perpendicular privacy screen;

FIG. 7B is a side elevational view of the perpendicular privacy screen;

FIG. 7C is a fragmentary end elevational view of a parallel privacy screen;

FIG. 7D is a horizontal cross-sectional view of a bottom post portion of the parallel privacy screen;

FIG. 8 is an end elevational view of yet another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8A is a top plan view of a hat-shaped top support member portion of the table shown in FIG. 8;

FIG. 8B is a side elevational view of the top support member shown in FIG. 8A;

FIG. 8C is a side elevational view of an end cap portion of the top support member shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B;

FIG. 8D is a top plan view of the end cap;

FIG. 8E is a front elevational view of the end cap;

FIG. 8F is an end elevational view of yet another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is an end elevational view of yet another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary top plan view of the table shown in FIG. 9;

FIG. 10A is a fragmentary side elevational view of the table shown in FIGS. 9 and 10;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary perspective view of a storage case attachment portion of the table shown in FIG. 11;

FIG. 13A is a top plan view of a connector bracket portion of the table shown in FIG. 12;

FIG. 13B is a side elevational view of the connector bracket;

FIG. 13C is a perspective view of the connector bracket;

FIG. 13D is a rear elevational view of the connector bracket;

FIG. 13E is a perspective view of a storage cabinet having two connector brackets attached to one end thereof; and

FIG. 14 is a fragmentary perspective view of yet another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

For purposes of description herein, the terms “upper”, “lower”, “right”, “left”, “rear”, “front”, “vertical”, “horizontal”, and derivatives thereof shall relate to the invention as oriented in FIG. 1. However, it is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative orientations, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific devices and processes illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in following specification, are simply exemplary embodiments. Hence, specific dimensions and other physical characteristics relating to the embodiments disclosed herein are not to be construed as limiting, unless expressly stated otherwise.

The reference numeral 2 (FIG. 1H) generally designates an elongate table for offices and the like which includes first and second leg assemblies or members 20 and 21 disposed in a mutually spaced apart relationship. The leg members 20 and 21 are configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation. As best illustrated by FIG. 2, at least one cross member 22 extends between and is connected with the first and second leg members 20 and 21 to rigidly retain the first and second leg members in a generally upright orientation. The leg members 20 and 21 and cross member 22 define a top supporting frame 30, which includes a central axis A-A extending longitudinally therealong. With reference to FIG. 1H, a top 10 includes first and second elongate top members 11 and 12, respectively, which are supported on frame 30 in a generally horizontal orientation on opposite sides of the central axis A-A, and have generally flat upper surfaces 13 and 14 and opposing interior edges 15 and 16, respectively, which are spaced apart to define a slot 18 therebetween. An elongate accessory support beam 40 is positioned in a generally vertical orientation in slot 18, and in the example shown in FIGS. 1H and 11, projects upwardly therefrom to a position generally above the upper surfaces 13 and 14 of the first and second top members 11 and 12, respectively. The accessory beam 40 includes a top edge 42 and opposite side faces 43 and 44 having generally T-shaped slots 45 extending longitudinally therealong for supporting accessories thereon, such as the accessories 62, 63 and 64 shown in FIG. 7.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 4A-4G, the top members 11 and 12 are elongate and define multiple side-by-side workstations 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 3′, 4′, 5′, 6′, 7′ and 8′ disposed along each of the opposite sides of the central axis A-A. The term multiple side-by-side workstations contemplates an area or workspace that is sized so as to accommodate a user for a particular task or purpose and can vary according to design needs. Although the space as described may be used for “work” or a “task”, the term is not meant to be limited to such specific examples, and the workstation may be used for any purpose or use wherein a generally planar surface is needed.

With reference to FIGS. 5 and 5A, the first and second leg members 20 and 21, respectively, each include two posts 24 and a leg beam 25 detachably interconnected therebetween. The illustrated leg beam 25 has a cross-sectional shape which is generally the same as the cross-sectional shape of cross member 22. Further, as illustrated in FIGS. 5A and 6, posts 24 may be generally X-shaped in a transverse cross section and include four flanges 24′ extending outwardly from a central region C, wherein each of the four flanges includes a generally T-shaped slot 26 extending longitudinally along an outer edge thereof. This configuration of leg posts 24 is substantially identical to that of the posts disclosed in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 09/800,006, 10/087,324 and 10/753,663, which were previously incorporated herein by reference.

With reference to FIG. 3, the illustrated accessory support beam 40 includes a generally T-shaped slot 45 extending longitudinally the length of a bottom surface 46 thereof. A utility manager or the like may be supported from the T-shaped slot 45 in the bottom surface 46 to provide power and data outlets. The configuration of the illustrated accessory support beam 40 is substantially identical to that of the beam disclosed in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 10/087,324 and 10/753,663 as previously incorporated herein by reference. As shown in FIG. 2, a plurality of tubular top supports 28 are detachably affixed to the top surfaces of cross members 22 in a generally perpendicular relationship.

The top supporting frame 30 shown in FIG. 2 includes two parallel cross members 22, wherein each member 22 has a cross-sectional shape which is generally the same as the cross-sectional shape of leg beam 25. A T-nut 27 (FIG. 5A) may be used to detachably connect leg beams 25 to posts 24, and top supports 28 to cross member(s) 22.

A wide variety of accessories may be detachably mounted at different locations to personalize and support the individual workstations 3-8 and 3′-8′. In the example illustrated in FIG. 7, power and data receptacles 62 are attached to the side faces of accessory support beam 40, and provide electrical power and data to the individual workstations 3-8 and 3′-8′ along the opposite sides of table 2. Furthermore, perpendicular privacy screens 63, which are shown in detail in FIGS. 7A and 7B, are detachably mounted in the T-slots 45 in the opposite side faces 43 and 44 of accessory support beam 40, and project generally perpendicularly from the central axis A-A of table 2 to longitudinally partition the table into individual workstations. Privacy screens 63 can be slid longitudinally along accessory support beam 40 to adjust the width of the associated workstations 3-8 and 3′-8′. Furthermore, the table 2 shown in FIG. 7 includes an open storage unit 64 that is detachably supported from the top T-slot 45 in accessory beam 40.

In the example illustrated in FIG. 1A, table 2 includes a paper manager 65 mounted in the T-slot 45 on the side face 44 of accessory support beam 40. The table 2 shown in FIG. 1A also includes a shelf accessory 66 which is detachably supported by the T-slot 45 in the side face 44 of accessory support beam 40. The table 2 illustrated in FIG. 1A also includes two stanchion supported ambient lights 67 which are detachably mounted on the top T-slot 45 of accessory support beam 40. Each of the illustrated accessories 63, 65, 66 and 67 can be easily shifted longitudinally along the length of table 2 to a desired location to personalize a given workstation along the side of table 2.

In the example illustrated in FIG. 1B, table 2 is provided with a parallel privacy screen 68, the details of which are shown in FIGS. 7C and 7D, that is detachably supported in the top T-slot 45 of accessory support beam 40 in a manner which permits screen 68 to be shifted longitudinally along the length of accessory beam 40 to a desired location. The table 2 illustrated in FIG. 1B also includes an alternate paper manager 69 that is detachably supported on accessory beam 40. The table 2 illustrated in FIG. 1B also includes four shelves or transaction surfaces 66, two perpendicular privacy screens 63 and two stanchion supported ambient lights 67, each of which are detachably mounted on accessory support beam 40.

The table 2 shown in FIG. 1C includes a vertical bookshelf accessory 70 detachably supported in the top T-slot 45 of accessory beam 40. The table 2 illustrated in FIG. 1C also includes two shelves 66, three stanchion supported ambient lights 67 and paper managers 65 and 69, all of which are detachably mounted on an accessory support beam 40, and can be positioned at various locations along the length thereof.

The table 2 shown in FIG. 1D includes three stanchion supported ambient lights 67, two parallel privacy screens 68, two perpendicular privacy screens 63, a shelf 66, a vertical bookshelf accessory 70 and paper managers 65 and 69, all of which are detachably mounted on the accessory support beam 40. The table 2 shown in FIG. 1D also includes a manuscript holder accessory 71, which is detachably supported on accessory support beam 40.

The table 2 shown in FIG. 1E includes a shelf 66 and a stanchion supported ambient light 67 detachably mounted on accessory support beam 40.

The table 2 illustrated in FIG. 1F includes an articulated task light accessory 72 and an articulated monitor support arm 73, both of which are detachably mounted to the upper T-slot 45 on accessory support beam 40, and can be shifted along the length of the accessory support beam to various locations along table 2.

The table 2 shown in FIG. 1G has a single parallel privacy screen 68 mounted in the upper T-slot 45 of accessory support beam 40.

It is to be understood that in addition to accessories 62-73 and 61A discussed above, other accessories can be detachably mounted on accessory support beam 40 to equip table 2 as desired for a specific application or use.

The reference numeral 2A (FIGS. 8-8E) generally designates another embodiment of the present invention having U-shaped top supports 32. Since table 2A is similar to the previously described table 2, similar parts appearing in FIGS. 1-7 and FIGS. 8-8E, respectively, are represented by the same, corresponding reference numerals, except for the suffix “A” in the numerals of the latter. In table 2A, first and second leg members 20A and 21A are disposed in a mutually spaced apart relationship. The leg members 20A and 21A are configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation. Additionally, two cross members 22A extend between and are connected with the first and second leg members 20A and 21A to rigidly retain the leg members in a generally upright orientation. The leg members 20A and 21A and the cross members 22A define a top supporting frame 30A which includes a central axis extending longitudinally therealong. Further, first and second elongate top members 11A and 12A are supported on the frame 30A in a generally horizontal orientation on opposite sides of the central axis, and have generally flat upper surfaces 13A and 14A and opposing interior edges 15A and 16A which are spaced apart to define a slot 18A therebetween. A plurality of top supports 32 are transversely supported by frame 30A and include a hat-shaped central portion 33 disposed below slot 18A which defines a support channel 34.

Accessory support beam 40A is disposed and retained within the U-shaped central portion 33 of top supports 32. The accessory support beam 40A shown in FIG. 8 is a short center beam, with the top edge 42A disposed generally planar or flush with the upper surfaces 13A and 14A of tops 11A and 12A, as illustrated in FIG. 8. As shown in FIG. 8F, a tall center beam 40A′ may also be used with table 2A, where the top edge 42A protrudes above tops 13A and 14A. In both cases, accessory support beam 40A comprises a top edge 42A and opposite side faces 43A and 44A with generally T-shaped slots 45A extending longitudinally therealong. Generally T-shaped slots 45A of accessory support beam 40A are adapted to support accessories 61A-73A thereon.

As described above with respect to elongate table 2 (FIG. 4), elongate table 2A includes first and second top members 11A and 12A, respectively, which are elongated to include multiple side-by-side workstations disposed along each of the opposite sides of the central axis. With reference to FIG. 8, the first and second leg assemblies or members include two posts 24A and a leg beam 25A detachably interconnected thereto. Further, leg beam 25A may have a cross-sectional shape which is generally the same as the cross-sectional shape of cross member 22A. In general, posts 24A are generally X-shaped in a transverse cross section and include four flanges extending outwardly from a central region, wherein each of the four flanges includes a generally T-shaped slot extending longitudinally along an end edge thereof. Further yet, accessory support beam 40A includes a generally T-shaped slot 45A extending longitudinally the length of a bottom surface 46A thereof, wherein a utility manager may be supported from generally T-shaped slot 45A of bottom surface 46A. The utility manager may include, for example, power and data outlets 62.

The top supports 32, like top supports 28 of the first embodiment, are disposed in a transverse direction along the length of cross members 22A and are detachably affixed to the top surfaces thereof. Top members 11A and 12A are at least partially supported by top supports 32. Top supports 32 include a U-shaped central portion 33 which, when top supports 32 are disposed on cross member 22A, is positioned such that U-shaped portion 33 is open to and resides centrally below slot 18A. The top supports 32, and more particularly the U-shaped portions 33 thereof, define a support channel 34 which is used to support accessory support beam 40A thereon. Support channel 34 may also be used to route, organize or otherwise protect utilities that are disposed therein and includes power and data outlets 62 supported thereon. The illustrated top supports 32 are tubular, and include end plugs or caps 35.

The reference numeral 2B (FIGS. 9-10A) generally designates yet another embodiment of the present invention having a box beam 50. Since table 2B is similar to the previously described table 2, similar parts appearing in FIGS. 1-7 and FIGS. 9-10, respectively, are represented by the same, corresponding reference numerals, except for the suffix “B” in the numerals of the latter. In table 2B, first and second leg assemblies or members 20B and 21B are configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation. A longitudinally extending box beam 50 is connected with the first and second leg members 20B and 21B to rigidly retain the first and second leg members in a generally upright orientation. Further, box beam 50 is configured to define a utility channel 51 therein. The leg members 20B and 21B, along with box beam 50, define a top supporting frame 30B. Additionally, tops 11B and 12B are supported on frame 30B.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 9, a plurality of top supports 28B are transversely supported on frame 30B, and top 10B is supported on top supports 28B. Top 10B includes first and second elongate top members 11B and 12B, respectively, disposed in a generally horizontal orientation on opposite sides of a longitudinal central axis of top supporting frame 30B. Further, top members 11B and 12B have generally flat upper surfaces 13B and 14B, and spaced apart opposing interior edges 15B and 16B, respectively, which define a slot 18B therebetween disposed centrally over box beam 50. Additionally, the illustrated box beam 50 includes an open top 52, which allows utilities disposed within utility channel 51, defined by box beam 50, to be routed to top 10B via open top 52 and slot 18B. Further, box beam 50 may include power and data outlets 62B. With reference to FIG. 10, illustrated box beam 50 may also include a plurality of structural plates 56. Plates 56 are mounted to the top surface 53 of box beam 50 to, among other things, add structural rigidity. The plurality of top supports 28B may also be affixed to plates 56.

With reference to FIG. 9, accessory support beam 40B is disposed generally vertically in slot 18B and projects upwardly therefrom to a position generally above upper surfaces 13B and 14B of first and second top members 11B and 12B, respectively. Accessory support beam 40B includes a top edge 42B and opposite side faces 43B and 44B with generally T-shaped slots 45B extending longitudinally therealong. The generally T-shaped slots 45B are adapted to support accessories 62B-73B thereon as described previously. At least one electrically powered accessory, such as a task light, may be mounted to accessory support beam 40B, with the electrically powered conduit extending from the accessory being routed through slot 18B and into utility channel 51 defined by box beam 50. This method of routing the conduit provides the accessory with power, originating from within utility channel 51, while providing proper wire management as well, as an aesthetically clean appearance on top 10B. Additionally, the first and second leg members 20B and 21B may each include two posts 24B and a leg beam 25B detachably interconnected thereto.

The reference numeral 2C (FIGS. 11-13E) generally designates yet another embodiment of the present invention having storage units 75. Since table 2C is similar to the previously described table 2, similar parts appearing in FIGS. 1-7 and FIGS. 11-13E, respectively, are represented by the same, corresponding reference numerals, except for the suffix “C” in the numerals of the latter. In table 2C, first and second leg assemblies or members 20C and 21C are disposed in a mutually spaced apart relationship. The leg assemblies or members 20C and 21C are configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation. Two cross members, which are similar to cross member 22 illustrated in FIGS. 1-7 of the first embodiment, extend between and are connected with the first and second leg members 20C and 21C to rigidly retain the first and second leg members in a generally upright orientation. The leg members 20C and 21C, along with the two cross members, define a top supporting frame 30C which includes a central axis extending longitudinally therealong. An elongate top member 10C is supported on frame 30C in a generally horizontal orientation, and has a generally flat upper surface and includes a central slot 18C therebetween. Further, an elongate accessory support beam 40C is disposed in a generally vertical orientation in slot 18C, and in the illustrated example, projects upwardly therefrom to a position generally above the upper surface of the top member. As described previously with regard to the prior embodiments, accessory support beam 40C includes at least one T-shaped slot 45C extending longitudinally therealong for supporting accessories 62C-73C on beam 40C. A storage unit 75, adapted to receive articles therein, includes a hollow interior to define a bin 77 and first and second opposite ends 78 and 79. As best viewed in FIG. 12, a connector 81 detachably secures at least one of the first and second ends 78 and 79 of storage unit 75 to one of the T-shaped slots 45C in the side faces 43C, 44C of accessory support beam 40C to support one of the ends 78, 79 of storage unit 75.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 11, storage unit 75 is disposed perpendicular to accessory support beam 40C, with connector 81 being disposed on first end 78, and a storage unit leg 82 disposed on the second end 79 of storage unit 75. Storage unit leg 82, disposed on second end 79, is supported on a generally horizontal surface thereby supporting second end 79 of storage unit 75. As best illustrated by FIG. 13, connector 81 includes a triangular-shaped frame 90 having three planar faces 91, 92 and 93, and an upwardly protruding tab 94 which is received within the T-shaped slot 45C disposed on one of the sides 43C, 44C of accessory support beam 40C.

Also illustrated in FIG. 11 is storage unit 76 which is disposed parallel to accessory support beam 40C and includes at least two posts 83 and 84 disposed adjacent the opposite ends 85 and 86 of storage unit 76. The upper ends of posts 83 and 84 are connected with the bottom of storage unit 76. As best illustrated in FIG. 12, connectors 89 are disposed on the lower ends of the posts 83 and 84. Connector 89 is detachably mounted in the top T-shaped slot 45C on accessory support beam 40C.

The first and second leg assemblies or members 20C and 21C (FIG. 11) each include two posts 24C and a leg beam 25C detachably interconnected thereto. As described previously with respect to table 2, leg beam 25C may have a cross-sectional shape which is generally the same as the cross-sectional shape of the cross member. Further, posts 24C may be generally X-shaped in a transverse cross section and include four flanges extending outwardly from the central region, wherein each of the four flanges includes a generally T-shaped slot extending longitudinally along the outer edge thereof.

With regard to either storage unit 75 or storage unit 76, connectors 81 and/or 89 may include a T-nut for removably connecting the connectors to the at least one T-shaped slot 45C disposed on accessory support beam 40C. In addition, T-nuts may be used to detachably connect leg beams 25C to posts 24C, and top supports to the cross members, as described previously. Further, accessory support beam 40C includes a generally T-shaped slot which extends longitudinally the length of a bottom surface thereof, wherein a utility manager may be supported from the generally T-shaped slot disposed in the bottom surface.

The reference numeral 2D (FIG. 14) generally designates yet another embodiment of the present invention having at least one floor supported case or storage unit 100. Since table 2D is otherwise similar to previously described table 2, similar parts appearing in FIGS. 1-7 and FIG. 14, respectively, are represented by the same, corresponding reference numerals, except for the suffix “D” in the numerals of the latter. In table 2D, storage unit 100 includes a hollow interior which defines a bin 102 adapted to receive articles therein, and is configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation. At least one leg member 20D is configured to be abuttingly supported on a floor surface in a generally upright orientation, and at least one cross member, as discussed previously, extends between and is connected with storage unit 100 and leg member 20D to rigidly retain leg member 20D in a generally upright orientation. Storage unit 100, leg member 20D and the cross members define a top supporting frame with a central axis extending longitudinally therealong. Further, a connector detachably secures the cross member to storage unit 100 thereby supporting a first end of the cross member. The opposite ends of the cross members are connected with and supported by leg member 20D. Additionally, first and second elongate top members 11D and 12D are supported on the frame in a generally horizontal orientation on opposite sides of the central axis, and have generally flat upper surfaces 13D and 14D and opposing interior edges 15D and 16D, respectively, which are spaced apart to define a slot 18D therebetween. An elongate accessory support beam 40D is disposed in a generally vertical orientation in slot 18D, and in the illustrated example, projects upwardly therefrom to a position generally above the upper surfaces 13D and 14D of top members 11D and 12D, respectively. Accessory support beam 40D includes at least one generally T-shaped slot 45D extending longitudinally therealong for supporting accessories 62D-73D on the beam. Accessory support beam 40D may also include a generally T-shaped slot extending the length of a bottom surface thereof. Further, a T-nut may be adapted to removably mount the top 103 of storage unit 100 in the bottom T-slot of accessory support beam 40D.

Another aspect of the present invention is a furniture construction capable of using common accessories on and interchanged among portable partition systems, post and beam partition systems and tables. With reference to FIGS. 1-7, such accessories may include power and data communication outlets 62, partition screens 63, accessories 65-73, storage units 75 and 76, tables, and light fixtures, as well as other various support devices. Preferably, the furniture construction uses common parts and/or systems from a post and beam furniture system to create a table, with multiple workstations 3-8 and 3′-8′. The furniture construction utilizes a common aesthetic appearance between the various configurations and common utility routing techniques between the various configurations.

With reference to all of the embodiments described above, the top support frame and its various components may be fabricated from numerous materials. Generally, any material may be used such that a top or worksurface is capable of being rigidly supported thereon. Such materials are commonly known within the art and may include, but are not limited to, steel and aluminum. Further, the posts, leg beams and cross members of the varied embodiments may be fabricated from either the same or dissimilar materials as specific requirements dictate. In the preferred embodiment, the posts, leg beams and cross members are all fabricated from aluminum. The posts, leg beams and cross members may be fabricated using a wide variety of techniques, as is known in the art. Further, these various parts may be fabricated from either a single piece or multiple pieces. However, in the illustrated embodiment, the posts, leg beams and cross members are all extruded from aluminum, and although they need not have slots therein, the preferred embodiment includes generally T-shaped slots on most, if not all, faces of the extrusion. In this manner, only a few extrusions are required to fabricate a variety of different systems as described herein. It is further envisioned that a single extrusion could be used for many of the structural components of the above-described embodiments, thereby creating a very cost effective work system or table.

In the foregoing description, it will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art that modifications may be made to the invention without departing from the concepts disclosed herein.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8146514May 29, 2008Apr 3, 2012Steelcase Inc.Table construction
US8196526 *May 15, 2009Jun 12, 2012Steelcase Inc.Dual height workstation configuration
US8276523 *May 26, 2009Oct 2, 2012Steelcase Inc.Worksurface assembly
US8322802 *Nov 21, 2006Dec 4, 2012Charles H BoxenbaumOffice furniture system
US8499699May 14, 2012Aug 6, 2013Steelcase Inc.Dual height workstation configuration
US8845016 *Oct 24, 2013Sep 30, 2014Domash Design Source LLCVisual and/or acoustic privacy features
US8960102Jul 3, 2013Feb 24, 2015Steelcase Inc.Dual height workstation configuration
US20130327256 *Mar 14, 2013Dec 12, 2013Mayline Company LlcBeltway system for a modular furniture assembly
DE102012109589A1 *Oct 9, 2012Apr 10, 2014König + Neurath AGFurniture piece i.e. desk, has carrier element arranged above piece of furniture surface of railing, and wall element whose edge-side is formed in groove and vertically attached to piece of furniture surface
Classifications
U.S. Classification108/50.02
International ClassificationA47B21/00, A47B37/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47B21/06
European ClassificationA47B21/06
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 12, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: STEELCASE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MUELLER, KARL H.;GRABOWSKI, DANIEL;LUDWIG, JAMES N.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:016885/0160;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050518 TO 20050805