US 2747957 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 29, 1956 J. J. LENCIONH FOLDABLE SECTIONAL TOP TABLE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Feb. 12, 1954 May 29, 1956 J. J. LENCIONI FOLDABLE SECTIONAL. TOP TABLE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Feb. '12, 1954 IN V EN TOR. Jakas' cmizcwml FOLDABLE SECTIONAL TOP TABLE Julius J. Lencioni, Chicago, Ill., assignor to Mell- Hoffmann Mfg. Co., Chicago, 111., a corporation of Delaware Application February 12, 1954, Serial No. 409,790
6 Claims. (Cl. 311-90) This invention is concerned generally with a portable folding table, and more particularly-with an improved latch structure for holding the table inoperative position.
Portable folding tables wherein the table top is hinged at the center so that the table may be folded with the hinged legs flat against the under side of the top surface into acompact, portable unit resembling a suitcase are well known in the art. Such tables heretofore have often suffered from one or more difficulties which have run the gamut from serious defects to minor annoyances. The tables often have been diflicult to set up, or they have been difficult to take down. Other tables have not been sufliciently rigid when unfolded to operative position, while other tables have had mechanism for holding them in operative position which has been too complicated to operate properly, which has been prone to get out of order, or which has been diflicult or expensive to produce.
It is an object of this invention to provide an improved and simplified latch mechanism for holding a folding table in operative position.
A further object of this invention is to provide a simple and improved latch which automatically acts to hold the table in operative position when the two halves of the table top are moved into coplanar relation.
A further object of this invention is to provide a simplified latch for a folding table which is automatically released when the legs of the table are'collapsed to storage or traveling position.
Yet another object of this invention is to provide an improved latch for a folding table which is usable with tables of different sizes.
Other and further objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a folding table embodying the principles of my invention;
Fig. 2 is a perspective view of the and in partially erected position;
Fig. 3 is a perspective view showing the table in folded carrying or storage position;
Fig. 4 is a vertical sectional view on an enlarged scale taken substantially along the line 4-4 of Fig. 1;
Fig. 5 is a vertical sectional view substantially along the center line as indicated at 55 in Fig. 2 of the table showing the operation of the legs; Y
Fig. 6 is an enlarged view along the longitudinal center line of the table showing the details of the latch;
Fig. 7 is a vertical sectional view substantially along the line 77 in Fig. 6;
Fig. 8 is a perspective view of the latch about to be latched in erected position;
Fig. 9 is a view similar to Fig. 8 with the table in fully erected position; and
table laid on its side as the table is Fig. 10 is a fragmentary bottom view showing the latch incorporated in a larger table.
. Referring first to Fig. 1, there willbe seen atable vention.
2,747,957 Patented May 29, 1956 constructed in accordance with the principles of my in- The table is provided with two top sections or surfaces 22 and 24 which are hinged together along their adjoining edges as will be brought out in detail hereinafter. The table is provided adjacent its opposite ends with similar supporting members 26 each comprising a substantially U-shaped tubing 28 forming a pair of legs Cir 3t) and an interconnecting bight portion 32. The supporting structures further include substantially V-shaped braces 34 for rigidifying the U-shaped tubing 28. The tops of the legs 30 are provided with flattened portions 36 (Fig. 4) receiving studs 38. The studs are provided with heads 40 and are held in place by spring metal lock nuts 42 of any suitable or known configuration.
Each of the top sections 22 and 24 comprises a flat top surface and a depending peripheral flange 44 on the sides and both ends thereof. The depending peripheral flange 44 is provided with a narrow inturned stiflening flange 46. Brace members 48 are secured within the longitudinal edges of the sections 22 and 24. As may be seen in Fig. 4 these brace members 48 comprise hlorizontal flanges 50 secured against the top surfaces of the sections 22 and 24, and further comprise vertical flanges 52 secured against the longitudinally extending depending flanges 44. The vertical flanges 52 are provided substantially along their center lines with channels 54 which are slotted at 56 (Figs. 4 and 5) for slidingly and pivotally receiving the studs 38 with the heads 40 thereof tl'flnnerl in the channels 54.
Pivotal support or brace members 58 are pivotally connected to each of the legs 30 at 60 by any suitable or convenient means such as rivets, and the members 58 are pivoted at their opposite ends as at 62 to the vertical flange of the adjacent brace member 48.
Each top section 22 and 24 is provided with a longitudinal, channel-shaped brace 64 on the under side thereof, there being one such brace on each section for the relatively small table illustrated. The channels 64 are riveted to the under sides of the top surfaces, and have the ends of the flanges thereof bent outwardly to form right angle attaching flanges 66 (Fig. 4) secured to the depending end flange 44 by means such as rivets 68. An L-shaped bracket 70 is secured within the channel 64 of each top section near the juncture of the top sections. A jointed brace rod 72 is pivotally connected to the bracket 70 as at 74 and comprises an upper section 76 and a lower section 78, the two being pivoted together at their juncture and being provided with suitable stop means 80 for preventing movement past a straight angle. The lower ends of the V braces 34 are spaced apart slightly to provide parallel portions 82 best seen in Figs. 1, 7, and 8. These parallel portions are connected by a bight or web 84 (Figs. 6-8) which is secured by means such as a rivet or bolt 86 to the bight portion 32 of the supporting structure 26. The bottom end of the. lower brace section 78 is pivotally mounted between the parallel portions 82 by means of a stud 88, the brace section 78 being spaced from the parallel portions 82 by means of cylindrical spacers or collars 90. i
The supporting structures 26 are adapted to be folded flat against the under side of the table and Within the flanges 44 so that the table can have the two top portions thereof folded together as illustrated in Fig. 3. In order to effect such folding, the two top portions 22 and 24 are provided along their longitudinal edges with hinges having overlapping portions 92 and 94 (Fig. 6) extend ing below relieved edges 96 and 98 of the longitudinal, depending flanges 44.
fronting edges of the inner end flanges 44. The end flanges 44 of the top portions 22 and Marc provided with suitable cooperating latch means 102 for holding the par-tree's folded togethr as illustrated iii Fig. 3, and a .handle 104 is provided for carrying the folded table like a suitcase or briefcase The latch mechanism for holding the table in operative or erected position is seen best in Figs. 6-9 and is numbered generally 196. The latch mechanism includes a latch member 103 comprising a substantially straight body portion formed from a strip of metal and having a loop lltt formed therein and comprising nearly a complete circle. Thelatch member further is provided with an arcuate heel 11-2 on the end of the main body. The latch member 168 further is provided with a flange or finger 1 14 bent backwardly at an acute angle relative to the remainder of the latch member at the end thereof opposite to the heel 112. p p
A stud 116 passes between the side flanges of tile bracing. channel 64 of one of the top portions, for instance 22, and passes through the looped portion 11% of the latch member 108 pivotally to mount the latch member. Theconfronting inner end flanges 44 are provided with aligned, confronting slots or apertures 118 through which the front end of the latch member 163 including the finger 114 projects. A coil spring 120 is compressed between the web of the channel 64 and a locating mem: her 122 on the latch member 108 between the looped portion 110 and the heel 112.
When it is desired to erect the table from the carrying or storage position as shown in Fig. 3, the latch 102 is opened and the top portions 22 and 24 of the table are pivoted toward coplanar relation. The supporting structures 26 then are drawn out. 7 ing out the legs 30 pivot downwardly while the studs 38 at the upper ends thereof slide in the slots 56 from the outer end thereof toward the inner ends thereof, while the'legs pivot about the connections 60V to the support brackets 58, these brackets in turn pivoting about their pivotal connections 62. The brace rods 72 pivot at their mid sections to a straight out position as the supporting structures 26 reach supporting position. The full lines in Fig. 5 illustrate the supporting structure just after the start of unfolding thereof, while the dashed lines show the structure in fully opened position. The table is shown in Fig. 2 with the supporting structure in fully opened or supporting position before erection of the top portions of the table. V
The end of the latch member projects through the slot 118 in the adjacent flange 44, and as the two top portions of the table aremoved into coplanar relation, the flange or finger 114 engages the top edge of the confronting, slot 118 in the table portion 24. This earns the retaining finger or flange 114 down against the force of the spring 120 as shown in Fig. 8 until the confronting flanges 44 are in face-to-face relation, at which time the spring forces the retaining flange or finger 114 up behind the flange 44 of the opposite upper portion of the table as shown in Fig. 9.
When it is desired to collapse or fold the table to the storage or carrying position of Fig. 3, all that is necessary is. to turn the table on its side, crack or break the braces 80, and fold the support structures 2611p against the under sides of the top portions 22 and of the table. When this is done, the lower portion 78 of the brace 80 associated with the top portion 22 engages the heel 1120f the latch member 106 as shown in Figs. 6 and 7 'to pivot the latch member 106 about its mounting stud 116 from the position shown in Fig. 6 to releasing position .with the finger 114'below the top of the aperture 118' itithe opposite. inner end flange 44, thus freeing the inner end. flange 44 of the opposite top portion 24 from the finger or flange 114, thereby freeingthe topqportions for'hinged or pivotal movement into collapsed carrying; or. storage position.
Theg-singlellateh" member shown and described is quite sufiicient for rigidly'holding the table inerected or op During such drawerative position. However, in the larger sizes of tables it any be preferred to use a plurality of latches. A plurality of latch members readily is applied to a larger table. A larger table a is shown in Fig. 10, and is generally similar to the table previously described including top portions 22a. and 24a, both having depending peripheral flanges 4411'. The supporting structure 72a is substantially identical with that previously discussed, except that it is wider. The height thereof is the same, audit will be apparent that the bight portion 32a interconnecting the legs a does not approach the inner end flange as closely as it does in the smaller table. In order to make the larger table sufliciently rigid, two longitudinal channels 64a are provided under each of the top portions 22a and 24a. A transverse channel 124 extends between the longitudinal channels 64a near the inner end of each of the top portions 22a and 24a. This transverse channel provides proper stiffening for the table, and also'receives the bracket a on which thehin'ged brace 72 is mounted. A latch structure 106:: similar to that previously described is mounted in each of the channels 641: of one of the top portions, as 22a, and the operation of these latches is identical with that previously discussed except that they are released by engagement of their heels 112a by the bight portion 32a of the supporting structure 26a.
It now will be seen that the latch structure or mechanism herein disclosed is readily adaptable for use with tables of different sizes. The sheet metal construction of the latch member affords simple and economicial production; No particular skill" is necessary for operating the latch. upon setting up of the table or folding the legs thereof intocollaps'ed' position. The latch structure is simple, rugged, and reliable in operation, and it is unobtrusive.
The latch mechanismis'ma'de up of a minimum number of parts and isrriost unlikely to' get out of order.
It will be apparent that the latching mechanism most advantageously is automatically operated upon folding of thesupporting strut'cure to storage or carrying position. However, it will be observed that the latching. mechanism can equally well be released manually with great facility if it should be desirable to release it without collapsing the supporting. structure.
The specific examples herein set forth will be understood as being by way of illustration. Various changes can be made in the structure without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the claims attached hereto.
1. In a'folding table of the type having a pair of load supporting panels'pivoted to one another for movement between face-to-face relation and coplanar relation, and foldable supporting structure pivotally mounted on said panels; latching mechanism comprising a sheet metal latch member pivotally mounted from one of said panels, and keeper means on the other of said panels for cooperative engagemeht with said latch member to latch said panels in coplanar relation, said sheet metal latch member comprising an elongated strip of sheet metal, said strip having at one end a reversely bent flangecooperablewith the'keeper means, a looped portion greater than a semicircle intermediate the ends of the' strip for receiving apivotal mountingmember, and a heel portion at the opposite endfromsaid flange and curved con vexly oppositely to said flange-for engagement-with a part of said supporting structure upoir folding. thereof to retract the'fiangeofzs'aid latch member from said keeper means to allow relative pivoting of said panels to sub-' stantialty. face-to-fa'c'e'- relation.
2. A folding table comprising a pair of load supporting panels of" she'et material, bracing means on the under-sides downwardly'away'froin said panels; man'shingedly con- In fact, the'lat'ch is automatically operated meeting said panels for movement between substantially face-to-face relation and coplanar relation, a latch member pivotally mounted in one of said channel brace members on one of said load supporting panels, keeper means on the other load supporting panel cooperable with said latch member for holding said panels in coplanar relation, supporting structure foldably attached to said load supporting panels, and means operable upon folding of said supporting structure to pivot said latch member out of engagement with said keeper means to allow relative hinged movement of said panels to faceto-face relation.
3. A table as set forth in claim 2 wherein the means operable upon folding of the supporting structure to pivot the latch to releasing position comprises a portion of said latch member and a portion of said supporting structure releasably engageable therewith.
4. A table as set forth in claim 2 wherein the keeper means comprises a flange on the load supporting panel opposite the latch member, said flange having a slot therein for cooperatively receiving said latch member.
5. A table as set forth in claim 2 wherein the supporting structure includes a U-shaped member having a pair of legs and a bight portion on each of said panels and a substantially V-shaped brace interconnecting each pair of legs and associated bight portion, and the means for pivoting the latch member comprises a part of said latch member engageable by the V-shaped brace of the associated supporting structure upon folding thereof.
6. A table as set forth in claim 2 wherein there is a plurality of channel-shaped braces on each panel, a corresponding plurality of latch members pivotally mounted therein, and a corresponding plurality of keeper means on the opposite load supporting panel.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,513,427 Sandberg Oct. 28, 1924 2,342,591 McLean Feb. 22, 1944 2,542,394 Cohen et al. Feb. 20, 1951 2,618,524 Hoffmann Nov. 18, 1952 2,643,926 Pucci June 30, 1953 2,653,066 Anderson Sept. 12, 1953 FOREIGN PATENTS 687,888 France Aug. 14, 1930