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Publication numberUS2823683 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 18, 1958
Filing dateNov 17, 1952
Priority dateNov 20, 1951
Publication numberUS 2823683 A, US 2823683A, US-A-2823683, US2823683 A, US2823683A
InventorsSmith Charles Aquila Vincent, Feasey John
Original AssigneeSmith Charles Aquila Vincent, Feasey John
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Collapsible building structures
US 2823683 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 18, 1958 c. v. SMlTH ETAL 2,823,683 COLLAPSIBLE BUILDING swaucmss 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Nov. 17. 1952 PIC-3.2.

Feb. 18, 1958 c; A. v. SMITH ET 2,823,683

cbLLAPsIBLE BUILDING STRUCTURES Filed Nov. 17. 1952 s Sheets-Sheet 2 Feb.-18, 1958 c. A. v. sMrrH ETAL 3 COLLAPSIBLE auxmm s'rkucwuaas- Filed Nov. 17. 1952- 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Uf /IN FEnss;

Feb. 18,1958 c. A. v. SMITH ETAL 2,823,683

COLLAPSIBLE BUILDING STRUCTURES- Filed nbv. 17. 1952 3 543Sheets-Sheet 4 as B}? 42 I 4! I FIG/5. FIG/6.

hire/1707's Feb. 18,- 1958 c. A. v. SMITH ET-AL I 2,323,633

coLLAPs'IBLE BUILDING STRUCTURES Filed Nov. 17. 1952 s Sheets-Sheet s United States Patent COLLAPSIBLE BUILDING STRUCTURES Charles Aquila Vincent Smith, London, and John Feasey, Hemel Hcmpstead, England Application November 17, 1952, Serial No. 320,872

Claims priority, application Great Britain November 20, 1951 1 Claim. (Cl. 1351) This invention relates to collapsible building structures and has for an object to provide a structure which can be easily made, of light weight, compactly stored, and readily erected or dismantled with little or no preparation of the supporting surface.

According to the invention, a collapsible building structure comprises a sheet of flexible material and a number of flexible rod-like rib members arranged to be secured thereto preferably in parallel relation and transversely relatively to the sheet, and means to maintain the rib members in a bowed attitude so that they form hoop-like supports for the sheet when the building is in its erected position.

The rod-like members may be of any length and number, and may be secured in their bowed position either by ties attached thereto, or by co-action with the supporting surfaces, e. g. by location in prepared sockets in the ground.

The sheet of flexible material may be formed of cocooning material applied to the rib members by spraying.

The rib members may be connected by rigid purlins, and a rigid cross-bracing assembly may be located in a rectangle forrned by two adjacent rib members and two adjacent parallel purlins.

Each purlin may be hingedly connected at one of its ends to a rib member, and may be arranged to be rigidly secured at its other end to an adjacent rib member.

The flexible sheet may be constituted by a number of panels of flexible sheet material located between, but spaced from the rib members, and united thereto by flexible cocooning material.

Eachrib member may have associated therewith two hinged L-shaped assemblies, the vertical limb of each L constituting a supporting pillar for the rib member and thehorizontal limb of each L constituting a foundation member arranged to support the associated end of the rib member.

A number of collapsible structures according to the invention may be used, located side by side, so as to constitute a larger structure. When so arranged, each structure may be provided with a flap or other means for weatherproofing the junction with the neighbouring structure.

Embodiments of the invention will be described with reference; to the accompanyingdrawings in which:

Figure l is a perspective view, partly broken away, of a simple form of collapsible structure,

Figure 2 is a fragmentary side elevation, partly sectioned, of a simple universal joint for a purlin,

Figure 3is a fragmentary perspective view ofthe loose end of apurlin and its associated supporting shoulder,

Figure 4 is a diagrammatic fragmentary cross-section of'a portion of the flexible sheet, showing one method of attachment to a rod-like member,

Figure-5 isa side elevation, partly sectioned, showing one means of anchoring a structure in soft ground,

Figure 6 is acorresponding-view of another means,

2,823,683 Patented Feb. 18, 19.58


Figure 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of structure,

Figure 8 is a plan of the framework of the structure of Figure 7, laid out flat,

Figure 9 is a fragmentary end elevation of the framework,

Figure v10 is a side elevation of one of the L-shaped assemblies of the embodiment of Figure 7,

Figure 11 is a plan thereof,

Figure 12 is an end elevation of the embodiment of Figure 7,

Figure 13 is a diagrammatic representation showing how the framework is folded,

Figure 14 is a front elevation of a form of joint,

Figure 15 is a front elevation of another form of joint,

Figure 15 is a side elevation thereof,

Figure 17 is a diagrammatic representation of a fragment of framework, with associated panels,

Figure 18 is a diagrammatic end elevation of another collapsible structure, and

Figure 19 is a diagrammatic end elevation of an as sembly of collapsible structures.

One embodiment will be described with reference to Figures 1 to 4 for use as a portable hangar for aircraft, but it will be realized that the applications of such buildings are numerous, and will entail constructional variations according to the purpose for which the buildings are intended, and their shape.

The portable hangar comprises a sheet 10 of flexible material, preferably resilient; a cocooning material of known type can be used with advantage. The sheet is about 40 ft. wide, and as long as is required, i. e. it may he, say, 40 ft. long, or any greater length according to requirements. The transverse rod-like rib members are constituted by rattan poles 11, which are conveniently made up into lengths 12, say 4-6 ft. long, and provided with male and female socket members at their ends for engagement so as to form a continuous rod. Such socket joints (indicated at 13) may be of well known type. The transverse rattan ribs 11 may be secured to the resilient sheet 10 so as to be detachable therefrom, for example, by the provision of suitable loops or tunnels 14 in the sheet 10 through which theribs 11 may be slidden, as shown in Figure 4, or alternatively, the ribs may be located in their desired positions and then the cocooning material sprayed over them so that the ribs 11 are embedded in the material permanently, and thereby form an integral part of the building.

The use of rattan gives a convenient springiness to the ribs 11, while bamboo is a light rigid material suitable for the purlins to be described.

The transverse ribs 11 are located in parallel relation at distances of, say, 8 ft. apart along the length ofthe sheet 10 of flexible material. =Each transverse rib 11 has at one of its ends a loop 15, and at the other end a wire 16 having a hook 17 at its free end and being of a length considerably less than that of the transverse rib 11. In addition, there are a number of loose rigid rods 18 constituting purlins equal in length to the distance between each adjacent pair of parallel transverse ribs 11, these loose purlins 18 having provision at their ends for being secured rigidly to the transverse ribs 11 as will be seen from Figures 2 and 3.

Figure 2 shows a universal joint for one end of a purlin 18. The end is provided with a ferrule 118 having a rounded end 119, which seats in a cup 120 secured to a ferrule 121 embracing the rod 11. Figure 3 shows an alternative fitting for the end of the purlin 18. It has a ferrule 122 formed with a saddle-shaped recess 123, arranged to seat upon the adjacent rib 11. The rib 11 has a block 29 secured rigidly thereto by a strap 124. A

purlin 18 can thus be rapidly located between adjacent ribs.

It will be appreciated that a construction such as is described above, in its dismantled state, can be rolled up into a very compact bundle, and it Will be assumed, for the purpose of describing the erection of the building, that the bundle has been unpacked and spread out on the ground, with the transverse ribs 11 in their straight condition and lying on the ground with the flexible sheet Ill above them. The transverse rib 11 at one end of the sheet is now bent into a bowed attitude, and the hook 17 on the wire 16 is engaged with the loop at the other end of the rib 11 so as to maintain the rib in its bowed attitude. The next transverse rib 11 is similarly treated, and the two bowed ribs are then positioned with the wires on the ground so that each rib 11 stands in a vertical plane. Four of the loose connecting purlins 13 are then taken and secured between the two bowed ribs 11, advantageous positions being near the ends of the two bowed ribs 11 and near the middle, so that a rigid assembly has been erected.

The purlins 18 are arranged to be slightly longer than the length of the flexible sheet material secured between pairs of adjacent ribs. The material is thus slightly stretched when the purlins are butted against the ribs by means of the fittings shown in Figure 2 or Figure 3, and retains the ribs 11 against the ends of the purlins.

The third transverse rib 11 is then bowed and set up in a vertical plane, and four more loose connecting purlins 18 are located between the second and third bowed ribs, in the same manner as before. This treatment is continued for each of the remaining two transverse ribs 11, so that eventually there has been formed an arcuate tunnel-like structure spanned by the resilient sheet 10, as shown in Figure l. The building may be secured to the ground in any convenient way, for example, by pegging down the wires or the ends of the bowed rods as at 28a.

Referring now to Figure 5, for erecting a building on soft ground, there are conveniently provided tubular sockets 19 arranged to be driven into the ground. These are arranged to receive metal end fittings 20 secured to the ends of each bowed rib 21. This rib is illustrated as being at 45 to the ground, but it may be inclined at any desired angle, the fitting 20 being shaped accordingly. Each end fitting 20 consists of two limbs formed integrally at an angle of about 135 to one another, one limb being hollow and arranged to slip over the end of the bowed rib 21, and the other limb being tapered for engagement in the socket T9 in the ground. With such a construction, the tie wires may be simplified. Instead of being secured to a bowed rib, the tie wire 22 may merely have a loop 23 at each end. The loops 23 are slipped over the tapered limbs of the end fittings 2t), and are held there when the tapered limbs engage the sockets 19 in the ground. The engagement with the ground may in fact make the wires 22 unnecessary except when transporting the building from one site to another in its bowed attitude.

An aircraft hangar of this type may be transported by air in packed condition and rapidly assembled to afford a temporary protection for a single aircraft, or it may he of greater size and more robust construction if desired.

The flexible sheet 10 may be reinforced in any suitable way if desired. For example, as indicated in Figure 1, fish netting 24 or wire netting 25, or other reticulated structures, may be sprayed with a cocooning material 26 so as to be embedded in, or form a backing for, the eventual flexible sheet 10. Such reticulated material should be chosen, having regard to the size of the building, so as to have the maximum strength consistent with suflicient flexibility as not to interfere with the collapsibility of the building.

The connecting purlins 18 between the transverse ribs 11 may be secured in a variety of ways. The embodiments described and illustrated are only by Way of example. Other joints, of a more elaborate construction,

4 are described in the specification of co-pending application for British Letters Patent No. 28,688/52 of 1952. These are applicable also to the embodiments about to be described.

Referring now to Figure 6, in another embodiment for use in sites of a more permanent character, and Where it is not desired to have the interior floor space of the building encumbered with transverse wires, there may be provided more massive tubular sockets 30 for driving into the ground and arranged in two parallel rows at the required intervals, and the transverse ribs 11 may have portions 31 projecting beyond the edges of the flexible sheet 10. The sockets 39 are flanged as at 32 to give greater stability in the ground. Erection of such a building is almost the same as has been previously described, but the bowing of the transverse rib is eflected by placing one end of a rib 11 in a socket 30, bending the rib, and then placing the other end in another socket 3t), and in such a structure, since the sockets 3% provide appreciable support for the bowed ribs 11 against displacement, it may be possible to dispense with the loose purlins. Suitable extensions of the flexible sheet it), indicated at 10a in Figure 6, are arranged to extend to the ground, to which they are secured.

The bamboo rods may be of known composite formation, e. g. a greenheart core surrounded by split bamboo segments.

Instead of bamboo or rattan rods, there may be employed, other suitable constructions such as light metal rods, and instead of the flexible sheet being of cocooning material, it may be of rubberized textile or other suitable material but preferably a resilient material is employed so that the deformation occurring during erection of the building is adequately provided for.

Figures 7 to 13 show another form of building having a more elaborate construction of framework. Each bowed rib indicated at 132 is made up of sections 33 of cane or tubing, united as before by sockets and ferrules of suitable type, indicated at 34 and 35. Rigid purlins 36 are hingedly secured to the rib sections 33 at the joints 35 and detachably secured at their other ends. Considering the square formed by two parallel sections 33 and two purlins 36, a cross-bracing assembly spans the square and is made up of four rattan bracing members 37 radiating from a central'joint 38. The joint 38, as indicated in Figure 9, stands slightly outside the cylindrical surface defined by the rib sections 33, and the bracing members 37 are inclined outwardly thereto so as to form an outwardly protruding framework of pyramidal form. This is to give added strength to the construction, the crossbracing assembly being locked relatively to the joint 38 so that it cannot collapse in any direction. This formation of cross-bracing assembly will eventually give to the building a quilted appearance, as is indicated in Figure 7, when the outer sheet of flexible material is eventually applied.

Joints for the uniting of the purlins, sections of rib members and cross-bracing members, allowing hinging or detachability as required, and capable of being locked to provide rigidity for the structure, are described in the specification of co-pending British patent application No. 28,688 of 1952. These joints are, however, only typical of one way of uniting the members and other joints may be employed as desired. For example, in its simplest form, the framework may be made merely capable of assembly into one structure, and dismantling into the component rod-like members, and in this event simple sockets for the reception of ferruled ends of the members, with bayonet joint locking means, or transverse pin locking means, would be all that is required. Figure 14 shows a star-shaped joint 35 arranged to receive the ends of the sections 33 of the ribs and of the cross-bracing members 37. Figures 15 and 16 show a suitable joint for locking the cross-bracing assembly. As shown in Figure 16, the sockets 39 of the joint 38 are inclined relatively to the general plane of the Central part of the joint so as to enable the pyramidal construction already referred to be attained.

A framework as so far described with reference to Figure 7, and having joints as described in co-pending application No. 28,688 of 1952, may be folded as indicated diagrammatically in Figure 13. If the framework is to be assembled, and then sprayed with cocooning material, it is laid out as shown in Figure 13. The sections 33 are joined together, and then the hinged purlins 36 are swung into position and secured, and the crossbracing members 37 are similarly dealt with. The members 37 are here shown as formed in hinged pairs, and are intended to be clamped together at their point of cross-over after they have been straightened out and secured at their free ends to appropriate joints 34 or 35. After the framework has been assembled, the cocooning may be carried out in any desired manner. A convenient method of assembling by cocooning is to place a portion of the framework that will surround a panel in a simple jig. This jig is conveniently of wood and any exposed parts of the jig are covered with oiled paper or foil on which grease has been spread, so as to present a surface to which the cocooning material will not adhere. Cocooning material is then sprayed over the components which it is desired to cover, until the required thickness of layer of cocooning material has been deposited. The assembly is then lifted off the jig and turned over and replaced on the jig, and again the exposed surfaces of the jig are masked with oiled paper or other suitable material. The previously employed oiled paper is now on the upper side of the work, and is stripped off, and a further layer of cocooning material is applied to the surface now lying uppermost. The assembly is finally removed from the jig and the second layer of oiled paper is stripped off.

If the flexible-sheet material is already attached to the framework, the arrangement will be slightly different from that shown in Figure 13. In this event, the sections 33 will be already secured together at the joints 35 to form ribs, and the ribs will be secured by loops or tunnels (see Figure 4) to the sheet 10. Hinging and securing of the purlins 36 and cross-bracing members 37 takes place as before.

In another method, the sections 33 are joined together to form ribs, which are laid out spaced at correct distances. All joints are then masked, and cocooning is carried out. The masking is then removed and the purlins 36 and cross-bracing members 37 are fitted to their respective joints.

There are shown in Figure 7 L-shaped assemblies indicated at 140. These are optional extra fittings and are shown in greater detail in Figures to 12. Each L- shaped assembly 140 consists of an upright limb 141 and a horizontal limb 142 of strip having an L-shaped cross-section. The cross-section is purely exemplary and other sections, such as U-section or tubular section, may be used if desired. At its upper end, the limb 141 is secured to a rib section 33 by a hinge pin 41 passing through the limb 141 and a lug 42 secured by a ferrule 43 to the rib section 33. At its lower end, the limb 141 is secured to the limb 142 by a hinge pin 44, the limb 141 being formed with an arcuate slot 45 as indicated in Figure 10. The purpose of this arcuate slot is to enable the limb 141, when in its vertical position as indicated in full lines in Figure 10, to stand squarely on the flange of the limb 142, but to be capable of being lifted to the position indicated in broken lines at 142a, and then hinged downwardly and outwardly relatively to the limb 142 when the structure is required to be collapsed. The hinging could be arranged oppositely, i. e. downwardly and inwardly. Near the outer end of the limb 142 a further L-shaped strip 46 is secured by welding as shown in Figures 10 and 11 and this strip has a square aperture 47 for the accommodation of a corresponding square ..L,.I spigot 48 at the lower. end of the joint 34. .Thespigot is secured to the limb 142' by a bolt 49 and nut 50.

The end of the building is illustrated in Figure 12. The limbs 141 at the end of the building not only support the structure, but also constitute pillars defining the sides of an entrance, the top of which is defined by the hori zontal member 51 of a truss. Ferrules 52 having eyes enable straining wires 53 to be provided if required.

The end wall of the building may be provided, as shown in Figure 12, with loose doors 54, hinged as at 55, each comprising a light metal framework 56 spanned by a sheet of flexible material. Alternatively, there may be a door of curtain type, consisting of netting 57 secured to the horizontal member 51 and then covered by cocooning materiali58 applied by spraying.

Instead of cocooning by spraying, the building may be covered in anotherway, as shown in Figure 17. The ribs 33 are laid out flat on a suitable surface, and in a jig if necessary, and the spaces between them are spanned by shaped panels 59 of a material known under the trade name Texicoon, the dimensions of each panel being about six inches less than the corresponding dimensions of the space between the ribs 33. spanned by the panel. There are thus vacant margins 60 between each pair of members 33 and the neighbouring panels 59. These margins 60 are then sprayed with a cocooning material, which forms a resilient strip joining each panel 59 to the adjacent member 33. Flexiblility is thus given to the covering at those points where it is most needed, and the centres of the panels, which do not require such flexibility, are spanned by a more economical material. The method above described also serves to join the covering to the framework in an expeditious manner.

The covering of a building according to the invention may be provided with accessories, such as Windows, affixed by spraying. Thus a panel may have an aperture cut therein and spanned by a transparent sheet material such as talc, which is affixed to the panel by cocooning material or by any suitable adhesive. Ventilating devices and other accessories may similarly be affixed to the panels. Such operations may be done before or during the erection of a building, whichever is the more convenient.

The constructions so far described constitute unitary formations secured to the ground. Not only can a plurality of such structures be used side by side or end to end, but they can be used in pairs to give a building of greater height, with little modification. Thus, as shown in Figure 18, if two arcuate structures 61, 62 are located side by side with their tie wires 63, 64 inclined at angles of about 60 to the horizontal, and their adjacent edges joined together at 65, a single building of more than twice the height will be obtained. In addition to the mating ends of the bowed rods requiring suitable sockets 66 to unite them, a gutter or flap 67 secured to the edge of one of the flexible sheets is arranged to lie over the junction 65 so as to render the structure weatherproof. Such gutter or flap may be a separate component or may be integral with one of the flexible sheets, as shown.

This method of construction may be extended indefinitely. Thus, as shown in Figure 19, a large structure such as a grandstand may be roofed temporarily by the erection on a suitable supporting framework 68 of any number of units 69, each unit consisting of a single flexible sheet supported by its bowed members. The framework 68 requires no description, since it is merely a support. Each unit 69 may be envisaged as a structure such as is illustated in Figure 1, but preferably of flatter, less arched, configuration, since it serves only as a roof and therefore is not required to provide headroom above the framework 68. The ends of each rib are secured to members of the framework 68, and the contiguous edges of adjacent units 69 are conveniently provided with flaps such as are illustrated at 67 in Figure 18.

We claim:

A collapsible building structure comprising, when erected upon a supporting surface, a rectangular sheet of flexible material, a framework consisting of a number of flexible, resilient rod-like rib members attached to said sheet in spaced relation parallel to one pair of opposite edges of said sheet, said rib members each having a length substantially equal to that of each of said edges and being bowed to constitute an arched support springing from said supporting surface, anchoring means detachably connected to the ends of said rib members to constrain said rib members in bowed condition, and a plurality of purlins, at least three purlins extending between each adjacent pair of rib members and lying parallel to the other pair of opposite sides of said sheet, each purlin being hingedly connected at one of its ends to a rib member, and having its other end detachably received in locating means on an adjacent rib member, each rib member being formed of at least two portions arranged to be detachably engaged end to end, and each of said portions being afiixed to said rectangular sheet whereby, when said purlins are removed from their 10- cating means and brought into parallel relation With the rib members to which they are hingedly connected, and

said portions of said rib members are disengaged one from another, the constituents of said framework are retained in their relative dispositions by said sheet of flexible material, and said structure is not only capable of being further collapsed and wrapped in said flexible sheet material, but also is capable of re-erection with each of said constituents attached to at least one other part of the structure and correctly disposed relatively to one another.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,608,242 Sava Nov. 23, 1926 1,690,285 Fleming Nov. 6, 1928 1,738,219 Wickstrum Dec. 3, 1929 1,745,264 Margot et a1. Jan. 28, 1930 1,747,362 Graveley Feb. 18, 1930 2,036,033 Fisher Mar. 31, 1936 2,144,747 Adams Jan. 24, 1939 2,299,382 Creasy Oct. 20, 1942 2,363,916 Waterman et al Nov. 28, 1944 2,516,869 Harris Aug. 1, 1950 2,522,526 Manning Sept. 19, 1950

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3006670 *Jun 2, 1959Oct 31, 1961Goodyear Aircraft CorpFrame for supporting domed structures
US3028872 *Jun 17, 1959Apr 10, 1962Cresswell Harold WilliamPlastic greenhouses
US3051185 *Sep 10, 1959Aug 28, 1962Reynolds John EdwardArched shelter structure
US3063104 *Jul 29, 1958Nov 13, 1962Emerald V TroxelUtility building
US3269398 *Oct 14, 1963Aug 30, 1966Yehuda HolbitzConvex tents
US3424178 *Nov 1, 1966Jan 28, 1969Yoshimi YazakiSmall size constructions which are readily fabricated or dismantled
US3474802 *Jan 12, 1968Oct 28, 1969Charles A LoringTent construction
US3480023 *May 31, 1968Nov 25, 1969Mcconnell IncCollapsible tent
US3501876 *Jan 2, 1968Mar 24, 1970Engle William HModular structure
US3512186 *Aug 21, 1967May 19, 1970Sanford George NApparatus for covering swimming pools
US3751862 *Apr 2, 1971Aug 14, 1973Linecker JPneumatically supported structure
US3766573 *Jul 29, 1971Oct 23, 1973H BurkholzDome structure for supporting flexible material to form a dome
US3798851 *Jun 27, 1972Mar 26, 1974M UtaharaArched structure
US3909993 *May 14, 1973Oct 7, 1975Vredevoogd JonArch supported membrane structure
US4068423 *Mar 1, 1976Jan 17, 1978Marsh Edwin RSimplified greenhouse structure suitable for mass production and field assembly
US4819680 *Jun 9, 1988Apr 11, 1989T. A. Pelsue CompanySpring-biased tent frame foot
US4822053 *Aug 7, 1986Apr 18, 1989Flaherty Eleanor LGame barrier device
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U.S. Classification135/127, 135/118, 135/906
International ClassificationA01G9/16, E04B1/343, E04B1/344, E04H15/52
Cooperative ClassificationE04B1/34357, E04H15/52, E04B1/3441, E04B1/34326, A01G9/16, Y10S135/906, E04B1/344
European ClassificationE04H15/52, E04B1/344, E04B1/343F, E04B1/343C2, E04B1/344B, A01G9/16