US 2311470 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 16, 1943. A. P. RITTER 2,311,470
FLEXIBLE PANEL, DOOR, OR CLOSURE Filed O01.. 3, 1941 2 Sheets-Sheet l mi. .i
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` Feb. 16, 1943. A. P. RITTER FLEXIBLE PANEL, DOOR, OR CLOSURE 2 sheets-sheet 2 Filed OCt. 3, 1941 Patented Feb. 16, 1943 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE FLEXIBLE PANEL, DOOR, R CLOSURE Adolph P. Ritter, Chicago, Ill.
Application October 3, 1941, Serial No. 413,416
(Cl. .Z0-20) 9 Claims.
It is common practice to utilize panels composed of rigid, slat-like members, connected together at their long edges so as to be foldable in such a manner that all of the slats lie flat upon each other, as closures for cabinets, doors or shutters for windows or other openings in buildings or passenger vehicles, or screens; and the object of the present invention is to produce an improved panel of this type.
In accordance with my invention, a panel of any desired height and width is constructed from stil lslats or bars of metal, wood, glass or plastics, which may .be opaque, translucent or transparent. The novelty resides in the manner of connecting these slats or bars in edge to edge relation to each other; the principle of the connec-y tion being an intermediate strip beaded at its long edges, `and the beads being entered into undercut grooves extending throughout the length of the slats or bars. These strips may be rigid, semi-rigid or exible. If semi-rigid, they are preferably formed of rubber so that they may serve as springs tending to collapse or fold the panel when free to do so. The hinge action, in the case where the connecting strips are rigid, is obtained through relative bodily swinging movements of the connecting strips `and each of the adjacent slats or bars. When the connecting strips are not rigid, the hinge action results from the iiexing of the connecting strips rather than from any bodily relative movement between a strip and a slat to which it is connected.
The various features of novelty whereby my invention is characterized will hereinafter be pointed out with particularity in the claims; but, for a full understanding of my invention and of its objects and advantages, reference may be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
Figure l is a horizontal sectional View through a corner of a cabinet containing one of my improved panels to form a closure; Fig. 2 is a top plan view showing, on a larger scale than Fig. 1, the upper edges of two consecutive slats or bars; Fig. 3 is a side elevational or face View of the parts shown in Fig. 2; Fig. 4 is an end View of a fragment of one of the slats appearing in Figs, l to 3, showing the metal-edge channel separated from the body of the slat or bar; Fig. 5 is an end view illustrating fragments of two adjacent slats lying upon or in folded relation to each other, the construction being different in detail from that of Figs. 1 to 4; Fig. 6 is a View similar to Fig. 1, on a somewhat larger scale, illustrating a more complete structure and one containing hinge devices in addition to those shown in Figs. 1 to 5; Fig. 7 is a section taken approximately on line 1 1 of Fig. 6; Fig. 8 is a section on line 8 8 of Fig. '7 and Fig. 9 is a face View or side elevation of a slightly modiiied form of slat.
In Figs. 1 to 4 of the drawings I have illustrated the preferred form of Slat, each of which consists of a body member I and channel-shaped edge members 2 fitted thereon and containing the actual bearings or seats 3 for receiving the thickened marginal portions 4 of the Connecting strips 5. The actual panel illustrated is composed oi` a suiiicient number of connected slats to form a closure for a door opening 6 in a cabinet 1. Accordingly, each slat has at each end a projecting pin 8, which pins are in axial alignment with each other. These pins, or heads or rollers 9 on the ends thereof are adapted to be received in channel-shaped tracks or guides I0 in the cabinet to permit the panel to be extended across the door opening, as has been partially done in Fig. 1, or to be stored in a folded condition, in the usual way, within the cabinet and at one side of the door opening.
Since it is desirable that the connecting strips and the slats be united by simply interlocking them, it is necessary that the bearing seats or grooves 3 be of the undercut type. In the case of a molded slat, such grooves can conveniently be formed in the process of molding the slats. However, when the grooves must be cut into the edges of the slats, it is diicult to undercut them deeply as, for example, to make them almost cylindrical so that they open out through the edges of the slats through comparatively narrow slots or channels. Therefore, in the preferred form, the grooves or bearing seats are placed in the members 2, said members being preferably composed of sheet meta1, which can readily be shaped vand then be .applied to the' slats. It is not necessary that the grooves or bearing seats lie wholly outwardly from the edge faces of the slats because, as shown, each edge face may be grooved or recessed, as shown at l l, to such a depth that the open side constitutes the greatest width of the trough-like element l2 that contains the groove or bearing seat 3 in each of the edge-embracing members 2. Then, when the channel-shaped members are fitted over the edges of the body members of the slats, the inner or lower half of each of the trough-shaped elements l2 rests in one of the seats or grooves H and is supported and braced thereby.
The members 2 may be secured to the body portions of the slats in any suitable way. In the arrangement shown, each body member has in each of its opposite faces, near and parallel to its long edges, a groove I4. The member 2 is provided with inturned flanges I5 along the free long edges of the side walls; and the parts are so proportioned that these flanges enter the grooves I4 whenever the sides of the channel are sprung far enough apart to permit the channel to be slipped in place.
The connecting .strips between the slats may be of various different kinds. Thus, the strip 5, illustrated, may be rigid or semi-rigid and the beads 4 thereon may eachcontain a central reenforcing core I6 which may be a rigid rod or wire, or a cord or cable. rigid, the joints between the same and the slats must constitute hinge joints that permit relative bodily swinging movements between the strips and the slats. Such a construction is illustrated in Figs. 1 to 4; the mouth or open side of the bearing seats or grooves 3 being much wider than the thickness of one of the strips at the point where it passes out ofthe bearing seat or groove. A
In Fig. 5 there is illustrated a construction in which the grooves or bearing seats I1 are formed directly in the parts I8 corresponding to the body portions I of the slats in Figs. 1 to 4. The bearing strip I9 is flexible and, furthermora'it is preferably resilient so as at all times to beY under tension. In other words, the strip is preferably composed of rubber or other suitable resilient material and is initially of such a trough shape that the beads 2U lie nearer to each other than they doin Fig. 5. Therefore, when the two slats which are connected together by the strip lie nat upon each other, the strip exerts a yielding pressure tending to hold the slats together. When the slats are moved relatively to each other so as to bring them into the same plane, the tension in the connecting strip is increased so that the strips exert a definite influence in aiding the folding of a panel.Y Obviously, if it be not desired to have flexible connecting strips that are resilient, the strips may be composed of limp material such as leather, fabrics, or the like.
In the constructions heretofore specifically described, the strips 5 or I9 constitute the sole connecting means between the slats. In some instances it may be desirable to use these strips simply as gap closers or, at least, to relieve them from the duty of actually preventing the slats from being pulled apart. In such a case, the slats may be connected together at their ends by sturdy hinges, as shown in Figs. 6, '7 and 8. In these gures, the slats 2l are connected by strips 22; the slats and the strips taking any of the various forms heretofore described. Extending along and in Contact with the lend edges of each slat is a metal strip 24 which projects beyond both 0f the long side edges. The projecting Aends of these strips overlap and are fastened together by hinge pins 25. YThe members 24, or hinge leaves, may be secured to the slats in any suitable way. In the arrangement shown, each hinge leaf is provided with a pair of ears 25 that embrace the adjacent marginal portion of the corresponding slat and are fastened to the latter by a rivet 21 extending through the ears and through the slat. These hinge leaves may servo as the supportsY or carriers for the pins 8.
In Fig. 9 there is illustrated a slightly modified construction; the slat 28 being provided at the upper and lower edges with hinge leaves 29 each of which is provided with two pairs of slatembracing ears 30, and each hinge leaf having two of the pins or trunnions 8 at each end. This construction is suitable in cases where wide slats are required.
In all forms of my invention flexible panels of any desired size and shape may be quickly and easily assembled from preformed slats and connecting strips that are simply slipped into interlocking relation to each other. Because of this, the slats may be given their final finish individually instead of as a part of a completed panel, and a great variety of panels may be created from a few stock sizes of slats and connecting strips.
When the strips are This is true even when the slats are provided with the channeleshaped edge members or with hinges at the ends, or both. The same method of assembly is employed whether the connecting strips be rigid, semi-rigid or limp, the only difference being in the characteristics of the completed panels. My improved panels are therefore not costly and, because of the wide range of decorative effects that exists, the panels are adapted for use in many elds.
While I have illustrated and described with particularity only the single preferred form of my invention, with a few modifications, I do not desire to be limited to the exact structural details thus illustrated and described; but intend to cover all forms and arrangements which come Within the denitions of my invention constituting the appended claims.
1. A panel comprising slats spaced apart from each other having undercut grooves in and extending throughout their long edges, and hinge connections between adjacent slats comprising strips enlarged at their long edges and having such enlarged portions engaged in said grooves; the strips being resilient so that each is bendable to produce relative swinging movements between the slats connected thereby, while tending to unbend'and reverse such relative swinging movements. y Y i 2. A panel comprising slats spaced apart from each other having undercut grooves in and extending throughcut their long edges, and hinge connections between adjacent slats comprising rigid strips enlarged at their long edges and having such enlarged portions engaged in said grooves, the mouths of the grooves being so wide that each strip may swing bodily relatively to the slats connected thereby.
3. A slat comprising a body member and channel-shaped metal members embracing the marginal portions thereof at the long edges, at least one of said channel-shaped members containing an undercut groove in its free long edge; each channel-shaped member being iianged inwardly at its long edges, and said body member having in the faces thereof deep narrow grooves in which the said flanges are seated.
4. A slat comprising a body member and channel-shaped sheet metal members embracing the marginal portions thereof at the long edges, the body member containing a groove extending throughout the length of each of said edges and having its greatest width in the plane of that edge, and each of said channel-shaped members having a trough-shaped section lying partly in the adjacent groove and projecting outwardly beyond the groove. l
5. A slat comprising a body member and channel-shaped sheet metal members embracing the marginal portions thereof at the long edges, the
body member containing an edge groove extending throughout the length of each of said edges and having its greatest width in the plane of that edge, each of said channel-shaped members having a trough-shaped section lying partly in the adjacent groove and projecting outwardly beyond the groove; the body member also containing deep narrow face grooves parallel to and near said edges, and anges at the long edges of said strips engaged in the latter grooves.
6. A panel comprising slats having undercut grooves in and extending throughout their long edges, resilient strips each having at its lo-ng edges thickened portions fitting into the grooves in the near edges of adjacent panels, said strips being trough-shaped when said slats lie flat upon each other and tending constantly to assume that shape when flattened through the swinging of the slats relatively to each other into a common plane.
'7. A panel comprising slats and strips between and yieldably connecting the same together for relative movements from a condition in which the panel is at and a condition in which the slats lie flat upon each other, metal facings on the end edges of the slats, and the ends of the facings on adjacent slats overlapping each other and hingedly connected together.
8. A panel comprising slats and strips between and yieldably connecting the same together for relative movements from a condition in which the panel is at and a condition in which the slats lie flat upon each other, metal hinge leaves on the end edges of the slats, the ends of the hinge leaves on adjacent slats overlapping each other and hingedly connected together, and pins projecting outwardly from said hinge leaves in the planes of the slats and parallel with the long edges of the slats.
9. A panel comprising slats and strips between and yieldably connecting the same together for relative movements from a condition in which the panel is flat and a condition in which the slats lie flat upon each other, and stiff hinge leaves on the end edges of the slats, the ends of the hinge leaves on adjacent slats overlapping each other and hingedly connected together midway between those slats.
ADOLPH P. RITTER.