US 2780510 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb, 5, 1957 F. E. coLE, JR 9 p DRAWER SUSPENSION AISPARATUS FOR FILING CABINETS AND THE LIKE Filed Nov. 12, 1953 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Fig.8
INVENTOR. FRA'NK E. COLE, JR.
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United States Patent DRAWER SUSPENSION APPARATUS FOR FILING CABINETS AND THE LH(E Frank E. Cole, Jr., Manchester by the Sea, Mass., assignor to Craig Machine, Inc., Danvers, Mass., a corporation This invention relates .to drawer mountings for filing cabinet drawers and the like. More particularly this invention relates to mechanisms for mounting drawers in file cabinets for free rolling motion. v
Prior to my invention, numerous systems have been employed for movably mounting filing drawers, including the use of fixed rollers, freely moving single rollers, and ball bearing rollers, each of which has disadvantages.
In systems wherein fixed rollers are employed, serious problems arise in mountingand disassembling the system. Various types of locks are required to prevent the movable components of the mounting means from riding otf of a track or channel employed as a support. These locks prevent rapid disassembling by a single person, for release is required on both sides of the cabinet, locks necessarily being employed on'both of said sides to prevent possible twisting orunequal movement by the various elements.
Freely moving singlerollers have proved unsatisfactory because they tend to shift out of the correct position during periods of extended use and they cannot be repositioned without dismounting the entire assembly.
The use of ball bearing rollers in each of the abovementioned arrangements for the purpose of improving their operability has raised'their initial cost and has not proved satisfactory in all instances because of mainte nance difliculties.
All of the mechanisms hitherto, employed have been particularly susceptible to jamming resulting from direct contact of relatively movablesurfaces, defective rollers, or displacement of rollers fromtheir operating position.
One important object of my invention, therefore, is to provide a filing cabinet which will withstand rough treatment without breakdown. p '.1
Another object of my invention. is toprovide a mechanismfor mountingfile drawers which does not employ ball bearing rollers.
Another object of my invention is to dispense with the need of locking means for holdingthe device in assembled position.
Another object of my invention is to provide means for removing the file drawer .fromthe mounting mechanism without disassembling theentire device.
Still another object of my invention is to provide means for repositioning freely movable rollers without disassembling the various components employed in the mounting means.
One feature of my invention is the provision ofrollers assembled in pairs joined by a spacer and being mounted to move freely on a fixed track or channel. These pairs of joined rollers support a movable rack.
Another feature of my invention is the provision of a second and similar pair of freely movablerollers mounted on the said rack and supporting a' filing drawer cradle for free sliding motion. f i
Another feature of my'invention is the provision of stops on the ends of said track, rack and cradle which perform the double function of limiting movement of the cradle and rack and of bringing the rollers to the correct operating position when the drawers are pulled out to the fully extended position.
I Still a further feature of my invention lies in the fact that the file drawer is mounted on the cradle and retained in position by a pair of pins which hold the drawer to the cradle in relation to forces in the plane of the cradle, but which permit the drawer to be lifted clear of the cradle when desired.
These and other objects and features of my invention will be best understood and appreciated from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of my invention, selected for purposes of illustration and shown in the accompanying drawings, in which:
Fig. 1 is an exploded View in perspective of a file drawer and supporting members of my invention;
Y Fig. 2 is a sectional view in side elevation of three drawers illustrating the extreme and intermediate posiright-hand side of the drawers taken along the corresponding section lines of Fig. 2;
, Figs; 9 and 10 are detailed views of a pair of rollers and their spacers employed in my invention; and
Fig. 11 is a detailed view in perspective of a stationary roller retainer employed in conjunction with the other elements of my invention.
The preferred embodiment of my invention herein shown includes in its general organization, a filing drawer I mounted on a cradle 10, a rack 20 for supporting the cradle 10, channels 34 for supporting the rack 20, and specially adapted rollers disposed between the various elements to provide free rolling motion between the cradle 10, the rack 20 and the support channels 34. These elements and their inter-relationship will now be described in detail.
The filing drawer 1 is illustrated in Figs. 1 and 2. It is made of sheet metal and includes, among other conventional elements, a front panel 2, a recessed finger grip 3 and a base panel 6. The drawer 1 is supported by the cradle 10 and is held in position thereon by pins 12 mounted on the cradle 10 projecting upward through holes 5 in the base panel 6 of the drawer 1. In this manner it will be seen that the drawer is retained on the cradle 10 against all longitudinal and lateral forces but that the drawer 1 may be removed from the cradle 10 simply by lifting the drawer free and clear of the pins 12 when the cradle is pulled out.
The cradle 10 is illustrated in Fig. 1 directly beneath the drawer 1 and likewise is fabricated from sheet metal. In its construction it resembles a shallow pan and includes side walls 15, a stiifener 13 extending across the rear portion of the cradle between the two side walls 15, and angle iron supporting rails 11 secured along the outsides of the walls 15. Each of the rails 11 is provided with a downwardly turned flange 14 at the rearmost end thereof. The flanges 14 serve as stop members in limiting the outward travel of the cradle, as will be further described below. 1
The rack 20 is shown in Fig. 1 below the cradle 10, and, when assembled, it serves to support the cradle 10. The rack 20 consists essentially of a pair of side rails 21 joined to and held in parallel relationship by cross bars 22. The rails 21 are fabricated from sheet metal and comprise an upstanding flange 32 on the upper and outer side of the rack 20, a horizontal flange 31 extending inwardly from the base of the flange 32, a second vertical flange 30 extending downwardly from the inner edge of the horizontal flange 31, and a base flange 29 extending inwardly from the lower edge of the flange 30. The cross Patented Feb. 5, 1957 bars 22 are welded to the latter-mentioned flange 29, thereby supporting the rails 20. Toward the rear of the rack 20, the upper portion of the flanges 32 of the rails 21 are bent inwardly to provide a horizontaltrack 25. The function of the track 25 will be explained in detail below.
Each end of the track 25 is provided with an upturned flange, the rearmost flange being designated 23 and the forward-most flange being designated 33. Likewise the horizontal flange 31 of the side rail 21 is provided at its forward end with upturned flanges 28 and at its rearward end with downturned flanges 24. The flanges 23, 24, 28 and 33 serve the purpose of limiting the travel of the rack and cradle as will be further described below. The rack 20 also includes a pair of rollers 27, each roller being mounted on an offset arm 26 which is pivotally' connected to the vertical flange 32 of the side rails 21.
The rack is supported on a pair of U-shaped channels 34 which are in turn mounted on the base frame members 37 of a filing cabinet or other drawer support-v ing structure. The channels 34 are likewise fabricated from sheet steel and are each bent to provide a horizontal lower flange 35, an outside vertical flange as extending upwardly from the flange 35, a top flange 39 extending inwardly from the top of the vertical flange id and a depending flange or lip 38 extending downwardly from the inner edge of the top flange 39. At the forward ends of the lower flanges 35, a short upturned flange as is provided for purposes of limiting the outward travel of the rack, as will be further described below.
With regard to Fig. 1, attention is called to the fact that the elements do not telescope directly downwardly as shown in the picture, but that the rack 26 and cradle 10 must be inserted into the U-shaped channels 34 from the rear.
The foregoing elements are supported on special roller assemblies for free rolling motion. One such roller assembly is shown in detail in Figs. 9 and 10 and will now be described. It consists of two pairs of rollers 49 and 50 interconnected by spacers 52. The spacers 52 are in the form of tubes and have flattened portions 53 at each end, recessed at 54 to receive the cross connecting pin between the two halves of the rollers 49 and 5d.- Other roller elements 47 and 43 (see Fig. 2) are cross connected between spacers 51; and rollers and 46 cross connected between spacers 55. All of the aforesaid rollers are of similar construction and are employed in various positions relative to the movable elements of the apparatus.
The positions and functions of the various roller assemblies are illustrated in Figs. 2-8. The pairs of rollers 49 and 50 lie directly on the flanges of the U-shaped base channels 34. The flanges 31 of the rack 2% lie directly on top of the rollers 49 and 50 and the rack 20 is thereby mounted for free rolling motion relative to the support channels 34. In the upper portion of Fig. 2 where the drawer 1 is shown in the fully extended position, it will be seen that the rack 20 comes to a position representing approximately one-half the travel of the drawer, and that when the rack is in this position, the rollers 49 come up against the stop flange 36 of the base channel 34, and the stop flange 24 at the rear end of the rack comes up against the roller 50. The cradle 10 is supported for free rolling motion on the rack by means of the rollers 47 and 48 which are interconnected by spacers 51. The rollers 47 and 48 lie on the upper surface of the flange 31 of the rack 20 and the support rails 11 of the cradle in turn lie on top of the rollers 47 and 43. Again referring to the upper portion of Fig. 2, it will be seen that when the drawer 1 is fully extended, the roller 47 comes up against the forward stop flange 28 of the rack and that the rear stop flange 14 of the cradle ltl comes up against the roller 48. It will be understood, of course, that in Figs. 2-8 only the righthand side of the drawer suspension arrangement is illustrated. The left-hand side of the suspension system is the full complement of the right-hand side, and need not be described in detail for that reason.
When the drawer assembly is partially or wholly withdrawn, provision must be made to keep it from tipping downward. I do this by providing a roller 27 mounted on the rack 20 and located between the upper surface of the rail 11 of the cradle 10 and the under surface of the flange 39 of the support channel 34. The roller 27 is positioned relative to the rack 20 so that it bears against the rail 11 in the vicinity of its rearmost extremity when the drawer is fully withdrawn. Since the cradle itself is also subject to the said downward tipping, I also provide a set of rollers 45 and 46 located on the flange track 25 in the upper rear portion of the rack 20. The rollers 45 and 46 serve'the purpose of holding down the rear of the rack 20. The travel of the rack 20, of course, is only one-half of the length of the travel of the drawer 1, and therefore, the travel of the rollers 45 and 46 is actually only one-quarter of the travel of the drawer. Stop flanges 23 and 33 on each end of the track 25 serve to position the rollers 45 and 46 by bearing against one or the other when the rack 20 is in one extreme position or the other.
As illustrated in Fig. 2, the cradle 10 and rack 20 do not move telescopically between their extreme positions. That is to say, the cradle 10 does not move through its entire course on rack 20 before the rack 2 begins to move on the channel 34. Instead, the cradle Ml and rack 20 move simultaneously between their extreme positions. Rollers 27 perform this function of inter-relating motion of these elements. The roller 27 contacts non-moving top flange 39 of channel 34, and freely moving rail ll on cradle 10. Therefore, roller 27 moves at one-half the velocity of the moving rail 11 when the cradle 10 is actuated by opening or closing of the drawer 1. The rack 20 being fixed to roller 27, it will necessarily move therewith. As a result, movement of the cradle causes movement of the rack. Though the cradle moves through a distance twice that of the rack, the cradle and rack will reach their extended or retracted positions simultaneously.
It will now be seen' that the roller elements employed in this arrangement may be readily and accurately positioned merely by pulling out the drawer. If any one of the rollers employed is improperly positioned initially or shifts out of position after extended use, the drawer need only be pulled to its extreme position and any roller out of position will be returned to position by the stop flanges. Repositioning rollers 45 and 46 may require either pulling out the drawer to the fully extended position or pushing the drawer in to the fully closed position. In any event, it will be understood that the principle of repositioning in either instance is the same.
Assembling the drawer units of my invention is extremely simple. The rollers 49 and 50 are placed at the rear ends of the flanges 35 of the channels 34. Thereafter the rack 20 is rolled in from the rear on top of the rollers 49 and 50. Next the rollers 45, 46, 47 and 48 are placed in position on the rack 20, and the cradle 10 is rolled in from the rear. Thereafter the cradle 10 is withdrawn to the front automatically placing the various rollers in their proper position by action of the stop flanges as was described. With the cradle 10 fully withdrawn, the drawer 1 may then be placed in position on the pins 12. It will be understood, of course, that the front panel 2 of the drawer 1 abuts the cabinet when the drawer 1 is closed thereby preventing the cradle from accidentally passing through the apparatus to the rear as the drawer is closed. However, once the drawer is removed, it is a simple operation to disassemble the entire drawer supporting mechanism by withdrawing the various elements to the rear.
In view of the foregoing description certain additional features and advantages of my invention will now be apparent; In the first place,- it will be seen that the arrangement in my apparatus of double rollers, such as rollers 49 and 50, joined by a spacer, such as the spacer 52, insure an eficient alignment ofthe rollers 49 and 50 without the necessity of an accurate spacing of the related moving parts. The best way to illustrate this is perhaps to refer to Fig. 8. If the roller 50 were a single roller and not held in alignment by the spacer 52, it would be entirely possible for the roller 52 to turn to the right or the left and become wedged between the related moving surfaces of the rack and the channel 34. In this connection it is to be noted that the function of the rollers 45 and 46, joined by the spacer 55 in the upper rear portion of the rack, could function properly if embodying only a single roller, but by being aligned by the spacer 55 the rollers 45 and 46 are maintained in proper alignment without an accurate fit between the adjacent relatively moving surfaces.
Another feature of my invention relates to the leverage provided by sustaining the drawer at the fully open position. It will be noted that the cradle rests on the roller 47 in the fully opened position and that the said roller 47 is located at approximately the center of gravity of the drawer 10. Thus the lever arm sustaining the drawer 10 may be measured on Fig. 2 between section lines 3--3 and 4-4. This is the maximum lever arm that can be attained in the relatively sliding relation of elements shown. If the spacer 51 were any shorter, this length of lever arm will be reduced and consequently cause greater stress on the system.
An additional feature of my invention relates to the extension of the drawer sliding mechanism to the rear of the drawer when the drawer is in the fully closed position as shown in the bottom of Fig., 2. By measuring the distance between thevarious stop flangesjand coopcrating rollers, it will be seen that the sum of the spaces on any one level is equal to the length of the travel on that level. In order to reduce the overhang to the rear of the drawer itself, as shown in the bottom portion of Fig. 2, the spacers 51 and 52 could be shortened so that the outside length of the related rollers would come only to the present position of the section lines 6-6 and 8-8. In this way the stop members 14, 23 and 24 could be brought in a distance equal to the diameter of the roller 50. Of course, the spacer 55 would have to be similarly shortened. Such an adjustment would enable shortening the overhang of the drawer suspension apparatus, but in view of the preceding paragraph, it should be understood that the suspension lever arm of the drawer 10 in the fully extended position would be shortened. It should also be noted in connection with shortening the overhang of the various elements that the roller 27 would have to be repositioned so that it could never come to a position where it did not remain in contact with the rear end of the flange 11 when the cradle was withdrawn to the fully extended position.
Another feature of my invention will now be understood in relation to the firm contact between the various horizontal flanges and the rollers. The top and bottom horizontal flanges of the U-shaped channels 34 have a given resilience and are spaced apart by a distance which is less than the aggregate diameter of the rollers and thicknesses of the interlying horizontal flanges, i. e. less by approximately ten one-thousandths of an inch. Thus, the rollers are always under load and the drawer assembly slides smoothly and noiselessly. This condition does not cause any loss of rolling freedom because the rollers serve as roller bearings. It will be understood that other of the horizontal flanges also have slight resilience for contributing to proper application of load to the rollers.
The construction of the rollers, spacers and flanges are predetermined with respect to one another so that the cradle and rack are permitted a given amount of lateral freedom during operation of the drawer assembly. This feature permits mounting of the U-shaped channels in a filing cabinet without maintaining an absolutely parallel spacing therebetween, from front to rear, and
yet insures-operation of the, drawer assembly, without binding. Thus, the axial thickness of the rollersas permitted by the width of horizontal flanges and limits established by vertical flanges, and the horizontal spacing between flanges permit satisfactory operation even though the channels are not exactly parallel. Although the spacers and rollers are allowed lateral freedom, the split construction of the rollers which provides separate bearing surfaces and the alignment provided by the spacers tends to insure straight line operation of the drawer assembly with a minimum of frictional contact of i the flanges.
Since these and other various modificationsand adaptations of this preferred embodiment of my invention will now be apparent to those skilled in the art, it is not my intention to confine the invention to the precise form herein shown, but rather to limit it in terms of the appended claims.
Having thus described and disclosed a preferred embodiment of my invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is 1. Drawer suspension apparatus comprising in combination, supporting frame means, a pair of channels secured to and extending horizontally inwardly of'said frame means, each of said channels having respectively, an outer vertical flange, upper and lower horizontal flanges, extending inwardly of said verticalflange; a depending flange extending downwardly from the inner edge of said upper flange and stop means located at the forward end of said lower flange, first roller assemblies positioned on each of said lower flanges for movement along said flanges, a carrying rack including side rails for insertion within said channels, said side rails having respectively a lower horizontal flange, an upper horizontal flange bearing upon said first roller assemblies, and having front and rear stop elements, a lower vertical flange, an upper vertical flange, a horizontal track having front and rear stop means extending inwardly from the rear of said last-named upper vertical flange, and a double roller and arm pivotally mounted substantially at the inner mid-point of said last-named vertical flange; second roller assemblies positioned between each of said horizontal tracks and the upper horizontal flanges of said channels, third roller assemblies positioned on each of said upper-horizontal flanges of said rack side rolls for movement along said flanges, a cradle including a base, vertical side walls, and horizontal flange means extending outwardly from said side walls and having a rear stop element; said horizontal flanges of said cradle bearing upon said third roller assemblies, said pivotally mounted rollers being positioned between said last-named horizontal flanges of said cradle and said upper horizontal flanges of said channels, and a drawer removably mounted in said cradle, the horizontal flanges of said channels being resilient and spaced apart by a distance less than the aggregate diameters of the intervening double rollers and roller assemblies and thicknesses of horizontal flanges so as to apply continuous load to said double rollers and roller assemblies, the axial thicknesses of said double rollers and roller assemblies, the relative widths of horizontal flanges and the relative positioning of vertical flanges permitting a given lateral freedom of said drawer suspension during operation thereof and said spacers and double rollers contributing to straight line operation.
2. Drawer suspension apparatus as defined in claim 1 further characterized by each of said roller assemblies comprising two spaced pairs of rollers and a spacer arm interconnecting said pairs.
3. Drawer suspension apparatus comprising a pair of fixed U-shaped channels each providing an upper and lower track, two pairs of coaxially disposed rollers freely movable on the lower track of each channel, spacer arms connected between the pairs of rollers on each of said lower tracks, a rack having a pair of horizontal flanges supported on said pairs of rollers, two additional pairs of coaxially disposed rollers freely movable on the upper surfaces of each of said horizontal flanges, spacer arms connected between the pairs of additional rollers on each of said flanges, a drawer cradle having a pair of rails supported on said additional pairs of rollers, and a pair of coaxially disposed rollers carried on each side of said rack engaging the upper surface of the rails of said cradle and the upper tracks of said channels.
4. Drawer suspension apparatus comprising a pair of oppositely disposed fixed channels each providing upper and lower tracks, freely moving roller assemblies mounted on the lower tracks of each channel, a rack carried on the roller assemblies movable relative to the channels, freely movable additional roller assemblies mounted on the rack, a drawer cradle supported on the additional roller assemblies movable relative to the rack, and rollers fixed to said rack in contact with the drawer cradle and the lower surface of said upper track of said channel, the distance between the upper and lower tracks of the channel providing a negative clearancee for the roller assemblies, rollers, and interlying rack and cradle.
5. Drawer suspension apparatus as defined in claim 4 further characterized by said roller assemblies each comprising two spaced apart pairs of rollers interconnected by a spacer arm.
6. Drawer suspension apparatus as defined in claim 5 further characterized by stop members extending downwardly from the rear of said rack, upwardly from the front of said lower track, downwardly from the rear of said cradle and upwardly from the front of said rack for positively aligning the roller assemblies in their proper operating position.
7. Drawer suspension apparatus comprising a pair of oppositely disposed U-shaped channels each providing upper and lower horizontal tracks, a rack having parallel horizontal tracks disposed between the lower and upper tracks of said channels, a drawer cradle having parallel horizontal rails disposed between the tracks of said rack and the upper tracks of said channels, roller assemblies bearing against the upper surfaces of said lower channel tracks and the lower surfaces of said rack tracks, additional roller assemblies bearing against the upper surfaces of said rack tracks and the lower surface of said drawer cradle rails, and rollers fixed to said rack bearing against the upper surfaces of said cradle rails and the lower surfaces of said upper channel tracks.
8. Drawer suspension apparatus as defined in claim 7 further characterized by a second pair :of horizontal tracks forming part'of said rack positioned between the cradle rails and the upper tracks of said channels, and roller assemblies bearing against the upper surfaces of said second pair of tracks and the lower surfaces of said upper tracks of said channels.
9. Drawer suspension apparatus as defined in claim 7 further characterized by each of said roller assemblies comprising two spaced pairs of rollers and a spacer arm interconnecting said pairs.
10. Drawer suspension apparatus as defined in claim 8 further characterized by the distance between the upper and lower channel tracks providing a negative clearance for the roller assemblies, rollers and interlying tracks and rails.
11. Drawer suspension apparatus comprising a pair of fixed upper and lower tracks, freely movable roller assemblies carried on the upper surfaces of each of the lower tracks, a rack having a pair of horizontal flanges resting on the. upper surfaces of said roller assemblies movable between extended and retracted positions relative to said tracks, additional freely movable roller assemblies carried on the upper surfaces of said flanges, a drawer cradle having side rails resting on the upper surfaces of said additional roller assemblies movable between extended and retracted position relative to said rack, and rollers engaging the upper surface of said cradle rails bearing against the under surface of said upper channel tracks.
12. Drawer suspension apparatus as defined in claim 11 further characterized by cooperating members carried by the lower tracks, flanges and cradle rails for moving said roller assemblies to their operating position when said cradle and rack are moved to their extended positions.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 772,992 Wogenstahl Oct. 25, 1904 1,135,235 Weiss Apr. 13, 1915 1,363,687 Sorg Dec. 28, 1920 1,758,550 Wolters May 13, 1930 2,319,283 Zalkind May 18, 1943 FOREIGN PATENTS 122,359 Australia Oct. 10, 1946