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Publication numberUS2775812 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 1, 1957
Filing dateOct 15, 1953
Priority dateOct 15, 1953
Publication numberUS 2775812 A, US 2775812A, US-A-2775812, US2775812 A, US2775812A
InventorsHoward E Mohr
Original AssigneeHoward E Mohr
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of locating apertures for electrical outlet boxes in wallboard and means useful therein
US 2775812 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 1, 1957 H. E. MOHR 2,775,812




Application October 15, 1953, Serial No. 386,212

6 Claims. (Cl. 29-407) This invention relates to building construction and is directed more particularly to a method of locating apertures for electrical outlet boxes in sheets of wallboard, gypsum board and the like and means useful in such method.

In the mass construction of modern housing units, it has become customary to use, in lieu of plaster, sheets of wallboard which are secured to the studding or framing of the walls or ceiling, sealed along the abutting edges thereof by taping the joints between the boards and finished by painting, papering, or any other well known technique. in the course of applying such sheets to the walls or ceiling of the unit, it is, of course, necessary to form apertures therein to accommodate the electrical outlet boxes located in the walls or ceiling. There are in use, at the present time, two methods by which these apertures are located in the sheets for proper registration with the outlet box. In accordance with the first of these methods, the edge of the outlet box is rubbed with a piece of chalk, the sheet of wallboard lifted into place by the workmen and tapped in the region of the box so that part of the chalk on the box edge is transferred to the sheet. Thereafter, the sheet is removed and an opening cut therein by one of the workmen. Upon completion of the cutting, the board is raised back into place on the wall or ceiling and nailed to the studding. In the other method, one workman measures from the edges of adjoining sheets to the sides of the outlet box, transmits these measurements to a second workman who by means of such measurements determines the location of the aperture on the sheet and cuts the proper sized hole therein. The sheet is then placed back in position and nailed to the studdin g.

Both of the above methods are obviously time-consuming since it is necessary that the sheet of wallboard be hand-led several times. Also, the usual practice in the trade is to employ a crew of three or four workmen and since certain of the operations involved can be performed by only one workman, the remaining members of the crew must remain idle while these operations are performed. It has been observed that, on the average, at least five minutes are required for a crew to carry out either of the above methods one time or a total of 15 minutes per outlet box for a three-man crew. There is an average of about 50 outlet boxes of various types in the present day six-room dwelling unit and the prevailing average hourly Wage per workman in the building industry is about $3.00; thus, by simple mathematics, it follows that almost $40 is spent in installing only those sheets which fit over and around an outlet box. It is therefore apparent that a substantial saving could be efiected if there were available to the art a fast, simple method of locating holes for outlet boxes in the sheets of wallboard and the like.

Furthermore, it quite frequently occurs that one or more outlets are overlooked by the workmen and are entirely covered up by the wallboard. Such errors are rarely discovered before the walls are painted, being nited States Patent Patented Jan. 1, 1957 usually detected only on final inspection by the electrical inspector. The boxes so covered up are, for the most part, extremely diflicult to locate and, consequently, several sheets of wallboard are generally ripped out before the proper one is found. These must be replaced and the entire wall repainted at the loss of a substantial amount of time and expense.

It is therefore the object of this invention to provide a method of locating apertures for electric outlet boxes and the like in sheets of wallboard or similar material during the construction of dwelling units which is simple, involves no lost motion in the handling of the wallboard, and can be executed in the fraction of the time required for existing methods at a substantial saving to the building contractor and the ultimate purchaser of the unit.

An additional object of the invention is to provide for the location of apertures for outlet boxes in sheets of wallboard and similar material by means of an improved form of outlet box having detachably associated therewith an elongated member adapted to pierce the wallboard When the same is applied to the framing of a wall and thereby furnish a reference point for the making of such apertures.

Other objects and advantages will be apparent from the following detailed description when read in connection with the accompanying drawings in which,

Figure 1 is a side elevation in cross section of an electric outlet box mounted on the framing of a wall, showing the guiding members of the present invention in association with the outlet box and also showing in solid lines the initial position of the wallboard when applied to the framing and in dotted lines the position of the wallboard after it has been pierced by the guiding members;

Figure 2 is a front view in perspective of the portion of the wallboard in the vicinity of the outlet box, showing the guiding members projecting beyond the outer surface of the wallboard, a template having been applied to the wallboard by means of which an aperture conforming in shape to that of the outlet box may be made;

Figure 3 is a view similar to Figure 2 after the aperture has been made in the wallboard;

Figure 4 is a view similar to Figure 1, showing the wallboard in its final position, the guiding members having been removed from the outlet box and a cover plate applied thereto;

Figure 5 is a perspective view of the guiding member employed in Figure 1;

Figures 69 are perspective views of modified forms of guiding members which may be used in conjunction with the outlet box in accordance with the present invention; and

Figure 10 is a perspective view of an outlet box having guiding members made integrally therewith during the manufacture thereof.

Turning now to a description of the drawings, the numeral 11 designates an upright stud such as is commonly used in the framing of walls, which supports an outlet box generally designated 13 by any desired means, for example, a cleat, bracket or the like, indicated by the numeral 15. The outlet box that is specifically illustrated for the purposes of explaining the invention is a switch box, that is, a box especially designed to accommodate an electric switch, which, as is generally the case with such boxes, is open on its outer side or face and is provided with angle brackets 17 by means of which it can be attached to the supporting member 15 through the use of screws 19 or other similar securing devices. The box 13 is also equipped with the usual tabs or ears 21 which project above and below the normal confines thereof, and are substantially flush with the open front face of the box, each ear having a small internally threaded opening 22 therein for a purpose that will hereinafter appear.

For the purpose of the present invention, there is associated with the box at least one guiding member 23. As will be explained later in greater detail, the guiding member may take any one of a number of specific forms; in general, however, it consists of an elongated, relatively thin, flat blade portion 25, pointed at one end, as indicated at 27, which is detachably attached to the edge of the box 13 adjacent its open far/e by any desired means. It is desirable that the guiding member be formed of material having substantially high shear strength to prevent bending or fracture of the member except under the application thereto of a relatively large amount of torque. Preferably, but not necessarily, the end of the guiding member opposite to the pointed end 27 of blade portion 25 is formed for attachment to the cars 21 of box 13. Thus, in the case of the guiding member specifically illustrated in Figure 1 (also shown in Figure the opposite end 29 of the blade portion is enlarged, bent at right angles to the plane of the blade portion, shaped to conform generally with the configuration of box ears 21 and perforated as at 31 for attachment to box tabs 21 in any desired fashion, for example, by screws 33. It is essential that the blade portion 25 of guiding member 23 be of a length somewhat greater than the thickness of the usual types of wallboard encountered in the building trade and as wallboard usually varies in thickness from about %ths to %ths of an inch I have found that a length of from Aths to one inch is generally satisfactory. The length is obviously not critical, however, and, within reason, any desired length may be selected provided that it is somewhat greater than the thickness of the wallboard. As is clearly shown in Figure 1, when the guiding member is associated with the outlet box 13, blade portion 25 extends perpendicularly to the open front face of the box with the sharp point 27 at the extreme outer end thereof.

In accordance with my improved method, the sheets of wallboard are placed edge to edge on the framing of the wall and attached thereto in the usual manner until a section of the wall is reached where an outlet box is located. The particular sheet 35 which is to accommodate this box is then placed on the wall with one or more of its edges in abutting relationship with the previously installed adjacent sheets, at least that portion of the particular sheet which is in the region of the box being held away from the studding by the guiding members 23, as can be seen from Figure 1. Following this, pressure is applied to the portion of the sheet opposite the outlet box, moving the same to a position at which the inner face thereof contacts the outer edge of the box and causing the sheet to be pierced by the guiding members 20, as shown by the dotted lines in Figure 1. At this point, a portion of the guiding members projects beyond the outer face of the sheet, indicating the exact location of the outlet box, and this visible portion may be used as a reference point for cutting a hole in the wallboard sheet which is in exact registration with the outlet box. The actual formation of the apertures may be done in any one of several ways. For example, as illustrated in Figure 2, there may be employed a template 37 shaped in accordance with the outside dimensions of box 13 which is provided with pre-formed slots 39 for the reception of the outer portions of the guiding members, the position of the slots in the template being so selected that when they are fitted over the projecting portions of the guiding members, the template is in substantially exact registration with the outlet box. Thereafter, an aperture of the proper configuration may be made in the wallboard by cutting around the edge of the template with a suitable cutting tool, such as a hooked-shaped carpet knife or the like. Or, if it is desired, the outline of the template may be drawn on the sheet of wallboard with chalk, pencil, crayon and other like marking instrument, the sheet removed from the wall, and the aperture formed by sawing or otherwise cutting in accordance with this outline, this latter method, however, being considered less desirable since it involves rehandling of the sheet. An additional Way of forming the aperture is by the use of a specially designed hollow chisel, not shown, shaped in accordance with the outer dimensions of the box which is provided with slots or grooves which mate with the projecting portions of the guiding members. By means of such a chisel, an aperture can be formed in a single operation since all that is necessary is that the chisel be aligned on the guiding members and given a sharp blow by a hammer.

Once the aperture has been made in the wallboard (Figure 3), sheet 35 may be moved easily into place against the studding flush with the remainder of the wall, the outer portion of the box fitting into the aperture in the sheet as is shown in Figure 4. Either before or after the sheet is moved to its final position, guiding members 23 are detached from the outlet box. When the sheet is in place, the box is ready for the installation of a suitable functional member, in this case, a switch 41 shown in Figure 4 and, if necessary, the usual cover plate 43 attached to the functional member.

It will be appreciated that the present invention is applicable to virtually any form of dry wall covering of the type known as wallboard, gypsum board, fiberboard or the like, such as is sold under the trade names Sheetrock, Masonite, Celotex and Upson Board, to name just a few of the many brands available in the market. It should be understood that where the term wallboard has been employed in this application it is intended to cover all suitable forms of wall coverings. Obviously, the particular type of material employed must be capable of being pierced by the guiding member; hence, wall coverings which are extremely tough, such as heavy Wood paneling and the like, are not generally suitable for use in the practice of this invention, except by the use of a heavier guiding member capable of piercing wood paneling or any other material, including metal or composition materials.

As has already been mentioned, the guiding member which is associated with the outlet box may take any one of several different forms, a representative number of which are illustrated in Figures 5-10. A common feature of each of these forms is the elongated, relatively thin, flat blade portion previously given the generic reference character 25 in the case of the form illustrated in Figure 5 which was employed, by way of example, in the description of Figures l4 and to which character in Figures 6 10 is added an alphabetical subscript to signify dupliea tion of this common element. In Figure 6 the blade portion 25a is provided at its unpointed end with a threaded cylindrical extension 45 of relatively small diameter for threadwise engagement with the internally threaded aperture 22 formed in the cars 21 of box 13, a circular collar 47 extending at right angles to the axis of the thus modified guide member intermediate the threaded and blade portions thereof to function as a stop for proper positioning of the member.

Another modification, depicted in Figures 7 and 711, consists of the blade portion 2517 connected at its unpointed end to the edge of one leg of a U-shaped spring clamp 49 extending generally at right angles to the plane of the blade portion, the inner face of the opposite leg of the clamp being provided with the small peg 51, the axis of which is parallel to the plane of the blade member. The distance between the inner faces of the legs of clamp 49 is only slightly greater than the thickness of the cars 21 of the outlet box and, when applied to the box, the

clamp fits tightly around over these cars, pin 51 mating AKiJ with aperture 22 in the ears to maintain the guide member in proper position with respect to the box.

The form of the invention in Figure 8 is almost identical to that of Figure 5 with the exception that the right angular enlarged portion 29' has narrow, lateral extensions 53 adjacent the lower edge thereof, which extensions facilitate the alignment of the guide member on the box.

There is shown in Figure 9 a pair of guiding members formed as an integral unit, two blade portions 25c being connected to opposite inner edges of a flat sheet metal frame 55 shaped to conform generally with the front face of the outlet box and cut away at the center thereof, as at 57, the frame having perforated cars 59 at the top and bottom thereof for attachment to the ears 21 of the box.

A somewhat different version is illustrated in Figure 10 and in this case one or more blade portions 25d are formed integrally with the front edge of the box 13 durin the manufacture thereof, being in elfect, extensions of one or more sides of the box and projecting beyond the normal termination of such sides. As indicated by the dotted lines at the base of each of the blade portions, they are scored to facilitate separation from the remainder of the box.

While the invention has been described by way of illustration in connection with a rectangular outlet box generally used for housing an electric switch, it will be appreciated that the invention is useful with any outlet box regardless of size or configuration. In fact, the broad concept of the invention is not limited to electric outlet boxes but is applicable with any utility outlet normally installed in the walls of a building which does not extend appreciably beyond the plane of the wall and could possibly be covered up during the application to the wall of the wall covering, an example of such an outlet being an air conditioning duct.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that certain modifications and adaptations can be made in the various aspects of the invention and, consequently, I do not choose to be limited to the particular embodiments thereof described and illustrated but only by the claims hereunto appended.

Having thus described my invention, that which is claimed is:

1. In the construction of walls for buildings in which the framing is covered with sheets of preformed wallboard, the utility outlets in said wall projecting through apertures in said sheets and having their outer edges substantially flush with the outer face of said sheets, a method of locating in one of said sheets the aperture for a utility outlet comprising associating with said outlet a guiding member having a relatively thin, rigid, sharp-pointed elongated element projecting outwardly from the outer edge of said outlet, being adapted to penetrate said sheet and extend beyond the outer face thereof, placing said sheet on said framing in proper relationship with previously mounted sheets, pressing against said sheet in the region of said outlet to cause said sheet to be penetrated by said elongated element, the outer portion of said element projecting beyond the outer face of the sheet, removing a portion of said sheet having substantially the configuration of said outlet box by using said element as a reference point, and moving said sheet into position flush with said previously mounted sheets whereupon said guiding member may be detached from said outlet and said sheet secured to said frame.

2. In the construction of walls for buildings in which sheets of preformed wallboard are fastened to studding and in which electric outlet boxes are disposed in said walls between said studding, the method of locating a hole for an outlet box in the sheet adjacent thereto comprising providing said box with at least one rigid elongated relatively thin, sharp-pointed guiding element adapted to pierce said sheet under the application of pressure and project therebeyond, placing said sheet in position on said studding over said box, applying pressure to said sheet in the region of said box to cause said guiding element to pierce said sheet and project therebeyond, registering a template having substantially the configuration of said box on said sheet with said box by means of said guiding element and removing a portion of said sheet substantially in accordance with the configuration of said template whereby said sheet may be easily moved in place around and over said box, and attached to said studding.

3. The combination with an electric outlet box open on one side thereof of a rigid elongated, relatively thin, sharp-pointed member detachably secured to the edge of said box adjacent the open side thereof, said member projecting outwardly from the plane of said open side, being somewhat greater in length than the thickness of a sheet of preformed wallboard, and being adapted to penetrate said sheet under the application of pressure thereto whereby when a sheet of such material is applied to the framing of a wall having an outlet box installed therein, said element will penetrate said sheet and project therebeyond, thereby furnishing a reference point by means of which an aperture conforming in shape to said box may readily be made in said sheet.

4. The combination as in claim 3 wherein said box is provided with at least one ear extending substantially flush with the open side thereof and said member is detachably secured to said ear.

5. An article of manufacture especially adapted for use with an electric outlet box open on one side thereof such as is mounted between studding in the construction of walls for buildings comprising a rigid elongated, relatively thin member sharp-pointed at one end thereof, the length of same member being somewhat greater than that of a sheet of preformed wallboard, and means at the other end of said member for detachably securing the same to the edge of said box adjacent the open side thereof, said element when secured to said box projecting outwardly from the plane of the open side thereof.

6. The article as in claim 5 wherein said box is provided with at least one ear extending substantially flush with the open face thereof and said means is adapted to be secured to said ear.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,758,126 Peterson May 13, 1930 2,574,382 Falson Nov. 6, 1951 2,620,080 Tomlin Dec. 2, 1952

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U.S. Classification29/407.1, 33/528, 269/1, 248/906, 220/3.4, 33/197, 33/DIG.100, 269/904, 248/542, 248/544, 29/432, 220/3.8, 248/27.1
International ClassificationE04C2/52, H02G3/12
Cooperative ClassificationY10S33/10, H02G3/123, E04C2/521, Y10S248/906, Y10S269/904
European ClassificationH02G3/12F, E04C2/52A