US 2526912 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 24, 1950 w. R. SWANSON 2 2,526,912
FABRIC PANEL SUPPORTING MEANS Filed June 18, 1946 8l lOw H7 0 80 I27 227 827 FIG. I
IN VEN TOR.
WALLACE R. SWANSON Patented Oct. 24, 1950 FABRIC PANEL SUPPORTING MEANS Wallace R. Swanson, Seattle, Wash, assignor to Boeing Airplane Company, a corporation of Delaware Application June 18, 1946, Serial No. 677,477
Wall panels of fabric find increasing usefulness in many installations where lightness of weight, ready accessibility to the space beneath, and ease of handling in restricted spaces are factors. They have been used extensively in vehicles, such as airplanes and buses, and might be more widely used, were it not for certain disadvantages found to be inherent in such fabric panels and in the means by which they have been mounted heretofore.
In such vehicles, and in any installation, it becomes necessary to remove the wall panels from time to time, possibly for access to the space beneath, but certainly in order occasionally to launder or clean the fabric itself, for ease of cleaning is one of the advantages of fabric wall panels. Various mounting means have been employed to permit such dismounting and remounting of the panels. Fixed grommets or the like in the fabric, cooperating with fixed studs in the panel support, have not proven satisfactory, because it is difficult to locate them so precisely and relatively that the fabric is evenly taut throughout, and if that result were achieved originally the fabric whenever cleaned would unavoidably be stretched, shrunk, or distorted in some degree, and the permanently located securing means on the support and upon the fabric would not longer match properly. Recognizing this, it has been proposed to secure the fabric by puncturing it by the fixedly mounted supports, so that the latter need not match permanently located grommets or the like in the fabric. Ihis is reasonably satisfactory initiallythough the fabric tends to stretch at the spaced points of securement and to sag intermediate the latter-- but becomes increasingly less satisfactory each time the panel must be remounted. Distortion of the fabric makes it impossible to reinsert the studs or panel supports through all the same punctures or holes as before, and new punctures must be made, near the old ones. After only a few such remountings the fabric edges become so punctured that it is no longer possible to support the panel in taut condition; long before the panel is otherwise worn out, it must be discarded, for repair is scarcely practicable. Moreover, the panel edges, and the gap between adjoining panels, must be covered at all times with trim or finish strips, with such prior mounting means, though often an unbroken wall expanse is preferable, but has been considered unattainable.
The present invention has for its general object the provision of a supporting means for such fabric wall panels, which will overcome the di fliculties above. More particularly itis an object to provide such a fabric wall panel support, which will not in any wise permanently disfigure the fabric, and which is attachable to the fabric, and which automatically stretches the fabric in the operation of mounting it, merely by a crimping or snubbing action, operative continuously along the entire length of the panels edges, so that the panel will fit properly and remain uniformly taut, initially and subsequently reg-ardless of shrinkage, stretching or the like; to provide a wall panel support which will hold the edges of two adjoining panels, whether coplanar or disposed angularly, so closely together that they appear to be sewed together, yet by means readily mountable and dismountable; to provide such a supporting means which may be mounted in a manner to be completely invisible, or which, if preferred, may give an attractive trim appearance; to provide such fabric supporting means which are readily attached and detached-yet which will hold tautly and firmly when in panelsupporting position and engagement; to provide such supporting means which may be employed at interior or exterior corners; and to provide such panel-supporting means which can be cheaply and conveniently manufactured in quantity, and easily installed.
' With such objects in mind, and suchothers as will appear hereinafter, the invention comprises the novel panel-supporting means, individually and collectively, and the novel combination of such supporting means with the structural supports and with the panel itself, all as shown in the accompanying drawings and as will be described and claimed more particularly hereinafter.
The accompanying drawings show the panelsupporting means in various forms of execution, and in typical arrangements, but the showing is not intended to be exhaustive, but merely representative.
Figure 1 is a transverse sectional view through such a panel-supporting means in operative or supporting relationship to the edges of two adjoining panels. This view illustrates the presently preferred form of the invention.
Figures 2 and 3 are views similar to Figure 1, showing the invention employed in conjunction with an exterior and an interior corner, respectively.
Figures 4 and 5 are views similar to Figure 1, showing two modified forms of the arrangement.
Upon a structural element 9, which may represent one of a series of aligned brackets supported from the structure of the airplane or other enclosure which is to be finished by the fabric wall panels 8| and 82, respectively, is mounted a strip I, which is formed with two continuous, spaced, but parallel ribs II and I2. This strip I and the ribs II and I2 represent any suitable attaching means, having characteristics later pointed out in detail. For the securement of the strip upon the brackets 9 any suitable means may be employed, as is hardly necessary to illustrate, and normally the strips I would be permanently secured to the structure 9, at locations corresponding to the edges of the fabric wall panels.
Complemental to each of the ribs I I and I2 are individual attachment members 2| and 22. Since the ribs II and I2, in the preferred construction, are formed as outstanding ribs with a T-head defining two bulbous spaced-apart beads ID, the complemental elements 2| and 22 are longitudinally channeled, each with its channel shaped more or less complementally to the beads II) of the rib II or I2. To this end the channel edges 20 of the channeled strips 2I or 22 are inwardly turned toward one another in planes intersecting at an acute angle subtended by the channel, as shown in Figure 1, for example, so that they may be forced apart by pressure of the strip edges against the T-head.
The strips I and 2| and 22 are conveniently made of plastic material, which has some flexibility, and each of the ribs I I or I2 and the complemental channels 2I or 22, are preferabl continuous, although it will be evident that the strips I or their ribs II and I2 might be somewhat discontinuous, and even the members ZI and 22 might be discontinuous, so far as their functional effect is concerned. Continuity of such elements is primarily desirable because of appearance.
I Each of the individual strips 2I or 22 is intended to be enwrapped about by the edge of its wall panel 8| or 82, respectively, with th fabric edge beneath the panel itself, and with the channel at such location that, with the panel reasonably taut, the channeled strip (2I for example) registers with its rib, II. In so wrapping the channeled strip the fabric of the panels edge will naturally extend straight across from one flange edge of the channel to the other, and will not enter the channel. Now by pressing or slightly rolling outwardly the channel 2 I, thus enwrapped in the fabric edge 8|, directly toward or over the rib II, the channeled strip may be engaged with this rib. Such engagement is possible, notwithstanding the fact that the width between the outer extremities of the bulbous beads I8 is greater than the spacing between the inturned edges of the channel flanges 20, with the fabric enwrapped thereover, because one or the other of the members thus to be interengaged is flexible transversely. This flexibility is achieved, in the preferred form, by making the channel flanges 2B of sufiicient thinness that they may spring apart slightly to admit the T headed rib with its beads I0. Once admitted, the channel edges 20 will spring inwardly again. Thus entering the channel by a snap engagement, the rib II will press inwardly the edge of the fabric panel 8| or 82, until, when the two strips are interengaged, the fabric lies about the interior wall of the channel. The dimensions and proportions of the elements must be governed with some regard to the thickness of the fabric which is to be interposed between them. In effecting this engagement the fabric is pulled taut, and once engaged, it. is
clamped, retained, and snubbed between the channel flanges and the bulbous beads II] in such manner that it cannot pull out by tension in the plane of the panel.
On their outer faces the strips H and 22 are preferably flat or at least do not bulge the fabric outwardly from the marginal angle at towards the panels centers, so that when both are thus interengaged with the respective ribs I I and I2 of the strip I the two panels 8| and 82 are substantially coplanar, and the strips 2| and 22 are of such width that, when both are operatively engaged with the respective ribs I I and I2, the panel edges are brought together at the junction 80 so closely that the two panels appear to be sewed together. When the strips are substantially continuous, as is preferred, the panels are equally tensioned along the entire length of the joint 50, and not merely at spaced points therealong. The strips 2I and 22, and, of course, the strip I, are completely concealed in this manner of arrangement and interengagement.
It has been found that such an arrangement will provide an excellent means of attaching the fabric without injury to it, and in such manner that whenever necessary it is possible to disengage it without difficulty, and to reengage it without regard to the precise location of the original engagement, for reengagement involves merely wrapping the fabric about the strip, as 2!, wherever necessary for the latter to reengage its rib, as II. The ribs II, being substantially continuous, and not merely transversely disposed upstanding lugs, do not pierce the fabric, but grip and snub it in conjunction with the channeled ele ments 2I or 22 along the entire length of the fabric edge. Reengagement may be accomplished an indefinite number of times, for the fabric is never injured,
The same arrangement lends itself admirably to support of fabric panels at corners. Thus in Figure 2, illustrating an exterior corner, the lower strip I3, corresponding to the strip I, is merely angled, to project its ribs II and I2 at to one another, instead of lying in the same plane. The respectively complemental individual strips 23 and 24 each has a flange 25 extended sufficiently far, and formed complementally to the flange of the other individual strip, that the panels BI and 82 join at a single junction line 83, and each still appear to extend continuously in a single plane, and to be stretched in that plane to the extreme corner, where the angularly disposed panel merges therewith smoothly.
In Figure 3 an interior corner is shown, and here the base portion of the strip, designated I4. is the reverse of the strip I3, to dispose the ribs II and I2 at an interior angle of 90 to one another. The complemental strips 2| and 22 are unchanged from the form of Figure 1, and yet join the two fabric panels 8I and 82 at the junction 84 so closely and evenly throughout its length that the two appear to be sewed together. Because their engagement is individually by movement almost directly perpendicular to the engaged panel, no interference results between the two strips 2I or 22, in the operation of mounting the panel at such an inside corner.
The form shown in Figure 4 is primarily a rerelation to the channels of the strip [5 in precisely the same way. In this case the fabric is wrapped about the individual strips 26 and 27, and the snubbing action is acquired by taking up on the strip as it is forced into the channels defined by the flange edges it.
Figure 5 is quite similar to Figure 4, save that a groove 29 is formed intermediate the bulbous heads 28 of the T-shaped ribs on the strips 25 and 27. This affords flexibility as between the beads 28, and flexibility of the channels is not required.
In all the forms and arrangements shown and heretofore described the strips are totally concealed by wrapping the fabric edge about the outer or individual strips, prior to interengagement of the latter with the inner or fixedly mounted strip. It can be seen, however, that if it is desired to expose the strips 2| and 22, as for purposes of ornamentation, it is only neces sary to reverse the enwrapment, so that the panel extends inwardly at the level of the channel flanges 20 in Figure 1. Its edge need not extend exteriorly at the junction 80. This would afford the appearance of two strips 28 and 22, which may be colored or exteriorly grooved for decorative purposes, to lend a finish to the paneling. If
the appearance of two separate strips is not desired, the arrangement might be inverted, so that the strips 2! and 22 are secured to the fixed support 9, and the single strip 9 is attachable. In this case the fabric panel would normally extend continuously outwardly from the channel edges 29.
The invention has been described in conjunction with a joint at the juncture of two such fabric panels. It is equally suited for use at an exterior edge of one such fabric panel, even through there is no adjoining panel. In such a case the fixed strip i would not be a dual strip with two ribs II and !2, but would have one rib only.
I claim as my invention:
1. Means to support the adjoining edges of two fabric wall panels, comprising a strip for attachment to a wall support, formed with two substantially continuous pairs of upstanding, transversely spaced-apart members, two individual strips for enwrapment by the respective edges of the two fabric wall panels, each formed l with a pair of substantially continuous, transversely spaced-apart members, and each formed on its inner face substantially complementally to and for interengagement with the corresponding pair of members upon the first strip, the spacing between the pair of members thus interengaged being such that, with the fabric interposed between them, they can only be engaged, when pressed together laterally, by a forcing snap action, one of such interengaged members being transversely flexible to permit such snap engagement, and the two individual strips being shaped, on their outer faces, to effect close abutment of the fabric panel edges enwrapped thereabout, in the planes of the respective panels, when so engaged with the fixed strip.
2. Means to support the adjoining edges of two fabric wall panels, comprising a strip for attachment to a wall support, formed with two substantially continuous pairs of oppositely projected bulbous beads, outstanding from an attachment base, two individual strips for enwrapment by the respective edges of the two fabric wall panels, each formed with channels along their inner faces, with their flange edges directed inwardly to a spacing such that, with the wall fabric enwrapped about such channeled strip, the channeled strip can only be engaged with the corresponding pair of oppositely-directed beads, when pressed together laterally, by a forcing snap action, and the channeled strip being transversely flexible to permit such snap engagement, and the beads and channels thus interengaged being formed to closely embrace the interposed fabric thus pressed into the channel, and said channeled strips being shaped, on their outer faces, to stretch the fabric, in its own plane, into close abutment along the like edge of the other panel.
3. Means to support the adjoining edges of two fabric wall panels, comprising a strip for attachment to a wall support, formed with two substantially continuous, outwardly-opening channels, having their flange edges directed inwardly towards one another, two individual strips for enwrapment by the respective edges of the two fabric wall panels, each formed upon its inner face with two substantially continuous, oppositely directed bulbous beads shaped to fit within the corresponding channel of the first strip, but of a transverse width such that, with the interposed enwrapping fabric, the beads and channel can only be engaged, when pressed together laterally, by a forcing snap action, one of the members thus interengaged being transversely flexible to permit such snap engagement, and the two individual strips being shaped, on their outer faces, to stretch the fabric in its own plane into close abutment along the like edge of the other panel.
4. Supporting means as in claim 3, characterized in that the channel flanges are flexibly yieldable for snap engagement.
5. Supporting means as in claim 3, characterized in that the bulbous-beaded strip is formed with a longitudinal channel intermediate said beads, to mount them flexibly to permit relative transverse tilting thereof in effecting snap engagement in the cooperating channel of the strip secured to the support.
6. Means for mounting two adjoining fabric wall panels upon a support therebeneath, com-' prising a strip attached to said support, extending lengthwise of the joint between panels, and formed with two substantially continuous attachment elements, two individual attachment strips each formed on its inner face generally complementally to the corresponding attachment elements of said fixed strip, the edge of each panel being wrapped about the respective one of said second strips, and by forcing action interengaging the complemental attachment elements and strips, and clamping the enwrapped strip therebetween, one of the members thus interengaged being transversely flexible to permit such snap engagement, and the two second strips, in their outer faces, being complementally formed to stretch the overlying panels into close engagement at the joint.
7. Means to support two adjoining fabric wall panels, comprising three strips, one of said strips being formed with dual parallel attachment elements, and each of the others of said strips being formed with single attachment elements complementally formed for interengagement with the respective attachment elements of the dual element strip, two of said attachment elements being of generally channel shape and each comprising a channel having its flange edges inturned towards one another, and the other two of said attachment elements beingribbed and each comprising a substantially continuous T-head rib of shape generally complemental to the channel of one of said channel-shaped attachment elements, but of a size such as to be relieved from contact with the channel of its compleniental element, when assembled therewith, sufliciently to receive therebetween and clamp the edge of a fabric wall panel, the attachment elements of said dual element strip being spaced apart transversely of their lengths a distance such as to dispose substantially in contact with each other the adjacent portions of such two fabric wall panels when wrapped about said single element strips, respectively, and held by the attachment elements of said dual element strip and those of said single element strips.
8. In a fabric panel Wall construction, a dual element strip having thereon two adjacent attachment elements, a, single element strip having an attachment element formed complementally to one of the attachment elements on said dual element strip and engaged therewith, a fabric panel having an edge portion wrapped about said single element strip, thereby covering the outer side thereof and held thereby, a second single element strip having an attachment element formed complementally to the other attachment element of said dual element strip and engaged therewith, and a second fabric wall panel having an edge portion wrapped about said second single element strip, thereby covering the outer side thereof and held thereby in position adjacent to said first fabric wall panel.
9. Fabric wall panel construction comprising a fixed strip, a fabric panel having an edge portion overlying said fixed strip and a wall portion,
and a panel attaching strip overlying said fabric panel edge portion and underlying and covered by said fabric panel wall portion, one of said 8 strips having thereon a solid rib extending longitudinally thereof with an outer face having sharply rounded longitudinal corners and the rib sides beneath such corners being undercut longitudinally forming grooves of substantial depth along both sides of the rib base, and the outer face of said rib joining said sharply rounded corners being non-convex for an extent at least as great as the minimum width of said rib and disposed at the side of a plane through such minimum width portion of said rib remote from said strip, and the other strip having a surface spanning the outer face of said rib and having, projecting from opposite edges of said spanning surface, thin resilient flanges extending longitudinally of said other strip with their mutually facing surfaces converging toward the flange edges at an included angle of at most a right angle and resiliently spreadable by wedging engagement with said fabric panel edge portion stretched over said solid rib and resiliently snappable into position embracing said sharply rounded rib corners with the edges of said flanges lodged respectively in said grooves along the base of said rib, and thereby clamping and holding clamped between said strips said fabric panel edge portion.
WALLACE R. SWANSON.
REFERENCES CITED ihe following references are of record in the file of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 1,792,853 McConnell Feb. 17, 1931 1,793,539 Abronski Feb. 24, 1931 2,354,485 Slaughter July 25, 1944