US 2806809 A
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C. H. SCHUH Sept 17, 1957 ART OF DECORATIVE LAMINATED VINYLITE PANELS Filed Aug. 12, 1953 United States Patent flflce 2,806,809 Patented Sept. 17, 1957 ART OF DECORATIVE LAIVIINATED VINYLITE PANELS Charles H. Schuh, Tampa, Fla.
Application August 12, 1953, Serial No. 373,755
3 Claims. (Cl. 154- 46) This invention relates to plastic folding doors and collapsible panels which fold up like an accordion. The invention is applied more particularly to decorative Vinylite panels such as laminated Vinylite encasing fabric or dehydrated grasses or leaves or colored fibers of various kinds, etc.
Such decorative Vinylite panels are now made up as rigid panels of various thicknesses and recently also as flexible sheeting used in upholstery. The object of this invention is to have a decorative panel which can be folded together, accordion style, and thus serve as a folding door, room divider, closet closure, etc.
The invention is carried out as follows. The Vinylite laminated panel is made up of a number of layers which are fused together under heat and pressure. Between the center sheets is placed a decorative medium of fabric, individual fibers or any other suitable decorative medium of the type now used for decorative Vinylite panels. The several Vinylite sheets or layers making up the panel comprise two types, the regular rigid type and the highly plasticized flexible type. In this invention, these sheets which may be about .0075" in thickness are cut into strips, the rigid sheets being cut into relatively wide strips and the flexible sheets into thin strips or in other words narrow strips. The wide strips for example may be 5 /2 and the narrow strips /2". In making the lay-up, the first sheet is a flexible one over the entire panel. Then are laid down half of the wide and narrow strips in alternating layers, one layer alongside the other, alternating rigid and flexible layers of Vinylite. Then the decorative medium, loose fibers or fabric is laid down. This is followed by laying down the balance of the layers of flexible and rigid Vinylite strips. Finally a sheet of flexible Vinylite is laid over the whole area. The sandwich is now ready to be hot pressed into a homogeneous panel, in accordance with the usual procedure for this type of laminate.
The completed panel will comprise a surface sheet of flexible Vinylite on each side and alternating strips of rigid and flexible Vinylite between these thin surface sheets. The flexible sections in the panel will cause the panel to fold readily along these areas and the rigid strips 1 The construction of the panel of this invention is further illustrated by the drawings made a part of this speciflcation. Fig. 1 shows a panel made up of 10 thin sheets or" Vinylite. At the center of the sheet 1 is the decorative fabric medium. The surface sheets 2 are flexible Vinylite over the entire surface, both sides. At 3 is a strip of flexible Vinylite. At 4 is a strip of rigid Vinylite. Fig. 2 shows the finished panel with alternating strips of rigid and flexible Vinylite in its normal flat form and Fig. 3 shows the panel in the folded position. Fig. 4 shows a variation of the invention in which the rigid strips of Vinylite are curved as shown. The rigid strips may be readily curved by heating the panel and shaping the strips to a curve as desired in a suitable form, cooling and removing from the form with the curve as desired.
The advantages of the foldable panel of this invention are many, chief of which is to provide a decorative Vinylite panel suitable for use as folding doors. Some plastic foldable doors have been made by combining a series of rigid strips mechanically with some form of hinged construction. Other plastic foldable doors have been made entirely out of flexible material with a more or less complicated construction including rigid metal rods, etc. In the panel of this invention use is made of the flexible strips to act as hinges and these are actually a part of the panel so that no extra construction or fabrication for this purpose is necessary. Also, the panel in its normal form is entirely fiat and can be relatively quite thin.
Various obvious modifications of this invention are to be considered within the scope of the invention. Thus the rigid strips of Vinylite may be curved as shown in Fig. 4. The surface sheet of flexible Vinylite might be replaced by a flexible, thermoplastic sheet of another material, for example, polyethylene or cellulose acetate-butyrate, etc. Also, the rigid and flexible strips might be used in thick form as a single piece instead of being laminated up from thin sheets when the panel is being laminated. Other rigid plastic materials such as acetate, acrylate, polystyrene, etc. might be used in place of Vinylite.
Having described my invention I claim as follows:
1. A foldable, decorative, translucent, integral, thermoplastic resinous panel of approximately inch thickness, being of uniform thickness throughout and being contiguous and free of voids, and having smooth surfaces on both sides, said panel containing areas of low plasticizer content sufliciently low to cause these areas to be rigid, and areas of high plasticizer content sufliciently high to cause these areas to be flexible, said flexible and rigid areas running from top to bottom of the panel alternately in parallel alignment, the flexible areas being approximately /2 inch wide and the rigid areas being at least several times as wide, said panel having a natural tendency to fold accordionwise, said panel having an open mesh fabric embedded throughout the center thereof.
2. A translucent, thermoplastic panel comprising alternating strips of translucent, rigid and flexible thermoplastic resinous sheets fused together facewise and edgewise into a contiguous panel, free of voids, of approximately inch thickness, flexible thermoplastic resinous surface sheets on both sides being approximately .0075 inch thickness and extending over the entire area of the panel and being fused into the panel so as to be indistinguishable to the eye, the flexible strips of the panel being approximately /fi inch wide and having an average plasticizer content high enough to make them flexible, the rigid strips of the panel being approximately 5 /2 inches Wide and having an average plasticizer content low enough to make them rigid, said panel having an open mesh fabric embedded throughout the center thereof and said panel having a natural tendency to fold accordionwise.
3. A translucent, thermoplastic resinous panel, having the outward appearance of a single sheet of plastic material with smooth surfaces and uniform thickness throughout, with certain areas of the panel being rigid and other areas being flexible, the flexible areas being approximately /2 inch wide and running from top to bottom of the panel approximately 5 /2 inches apart and in parallel alignment, these areas having a plasticizer content sufficiently high to make them flexible, said areas being indistinguishable in appearance from the rest of the panel except by their flexibility, the rigid areas of the panel having an average plasticizer content low enough to make them rigid, and said. panel having a natural tendency to fold accordionwise.
(References on following page) References Cited 1&1 th file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,126,833 Steinbarger Aug. 16, 1938 4 Murray Mar. 4, 1941 Kallmann Aug. 7, 1945 McGillicuddy Oct. 5, 1948 Hintersteiner Nov. 7, 1950 Breslow et a1. July 5, 1955