US 2844428 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 22, 1958 J. w. PUNTENNEY 2,844,428
CEILING-SUSPENDED ELEVATABLE TABLE Filed Oct. 22, 1956 4 Sheets-Sheet l 36 wl cwraz:
.foin 1 00/6/17 uly 22, 1958 J. w. PUNTENNEY 2,844,428
CEILING-SUSPENDED ELEVATABLE TABLE 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Oct. 22, 1956 July 22, 1958 J. w. PUNTENNEY 2,844,423
CEILING-SUSPENDED ELEVATABLE TABLE 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Oct. 22, 1956 July 22, 1958 J. w. PUNTENNEY 2,844,428
CEILING-SUSPENDED ELEVATABLE TABLE Filed Oct. 22, 1956 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 I Ali United States Patent CEILING-SUSPENDED ELEVATABLE TABLE John W. Puntenney, Los Angeles, Calif.
Application October 22, 1956, Serial No. 617,457
11 Claims. (Cl. 311--17) This invention relates to a table construction, and, more particularly, is directed to a table that may be raised from a lower level for normal use to an overhead stored position.
It is highly advantageous to have a table capable of being elevated to a position out of the way, since it increases the utility of the room space and makes it possible to provide a table of substantial size without correspondingly crowding the room when the table is in use. To provide such a table, however, two basic requirements must be met. One requirement, of course, is to support the table top in a stable manner at the normal lower service position of the table. The second requirement is to provide a table arrangement that is not unsightly in its elevated position as viewed from below.
The two basic requirements must be considered together because provisions to satisfy one of the requirements may conflict with the other. For example, the provision of rigidly mounted legs would make a table stable in its lower service position, but would give the elevated table an unacceptable appearance. The provision of folding legs of conventional construction would not solve the problem satisfactorily since the folded legs would be conspicuous on the underside of the elevated table and would spoil the appearance of an otherwise decorative room.
One solution to this dilemma is to omit legs entirely and to support the table at its lower service position by suspension means extending rigidly down from the ceiling, for example as disclosed in the Blumer Patent 2,484,678 and in the Vrooman Patent 2,580,980. Such a solution leaves the underside of the elevated table free from folded legs but this has serious disadvantages in other respects.
One disadvantage, of course, is that the suspension means takes up table space. It hinders those seated at the table and cuts olf lines of sight across the table.
Another disadvantage is that such a suspension means must necessarily be of complicated telescoping construction to retract compactly at the elevated position of the table. The Blumer patent discloses a support assembly of only two telescoping members, and the contracted assembly is of such excessive length that it must be retracted bodily into the building structure above the ceiling. The Vrooman patent avoids the necessity of retraction into the ceiling structure, but does so at the cost of using a multiplicity of relatively short telescoping sections that must be accurately fitted together to avoid intolerable wobble.
A still further disadvantage of these prior art arrangements is that the central telescoping support structure prevents the use of a similarly located ceiling light. Thus, if a ceiling light exists, the table must be positioned unsymmetrically with respect to the light. An off-center position of a ceiling light relative to an elevated table does not have a pleasing effect if the ceiling light is not concealed and, moreover, a conventional elevated table "ice would greatly reduce, if not completely defeat, the illumination of the room by the ceiling light.
The present invention meets the above mentioned two basic requirements without incurring these various disadvantages. The invention provides leg means for rigid stable support of the table at its lower service position but avoids an unsightly appearance at the elevated position of the table by providing leg means that fold to form an attractive design on the underside of the table. Thus, the elevated table actually contributes to the decoration of the room.
Since the provision of folding legs makes it unnecessary to employ rigid suspension means, the invention makes it possible to use simple cable means to raise and lower the table. In the preferred practice of the invention, four cables are employed, one at each corner of the table.
By making the cables detachable, the cables may be raised to the ceiling completely out of the way when the table is in its lower service position. The addition of ornamental weights to the detached elevated cables adds to the decoration of the ceiling when the table is in service.
The use of multiple suspension cables spaced away from the central area of the table makes it possible to position the table symmetrically of a ceiling light. Moreover, the elevated table may be positioned symmetrically a few inches below the ceiling light to achieve not only a desirable degree of indirect lighting, but also a pleasing decorative effect to add to the attractiveness of the room.
The invention further teaches that a central Window may be provided in the table top for the transmission of illumination from a ceiling light. This window may be spanned with translucent material for a soft lighting effect, and, if desired, this translucent material may be attractively colored.
The various features and advantages of the invention may be understood from the following detailed description considered with the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings, which are to be regarded as merely illustrative:
Fig. 1 is a perspective view of the elevated table with the lower service position of the table shown in phantom;
Fig. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary section showing a latch means for releasably retaining the leg means of the table in folded position;
Fig. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view showing how a brace is employed for an unfolded leg means of the table;
Fig. 4 is a side elevation on a reduced scale of the table in its normal service position free from the suspension cables;
Fig. 5 is a perspective view showing how the four cables at their detached elevated positions may be provided with ornamental weights to add to the decoration of the ceiling;
Fig. 6 is a fragmentary view, partly in section and partly in side elevation, showing the means for releasably connecting one of the cables to the table;
Fig. 7 is a bottom view of the connecting means on the cable as seen along the line 7-7 of Fig. 6;
Fig. 8 is a transverse sectional view of a cooperating connecting means or socket member that is incorporated in the table construction, the section being taken as indicated by the line 8--8 of Fig. 6;
Fig. 9 is a sectional view of the same structure taken along the line 99 of Fig. 6;
Fig. 10 is a diagrammatic plan view of the arrangement concealed in the ceiling for controlling the four cables;
Fig. 11 is a side elevation, partly in section as viewed along the line 1111 of Figure 10, showing one of the cables together with a limit switch that is operated by the upward movement of the cable;
Fig. 12 shows a modification wherein a weight is permanently mounted on a cable, the weight being provided with means for releasable connection with the table; and
Fig. 13 is a view similar to Figure 4 showing how ornamental illumination means may be mounted on the underside of the table.
Fig. 1, illustrating the presently preferred practice of the invention, shows a table top held at its elevated storage position just below a ceiling 21 by four cables 22 that are releasably attached to the table top at the four corner regions thereof. The elevated table top 20 is positioned symmetrically with respect to a ceiling light 24 at a spacing of a few inches below the light. The table top 20 may be wholly opaque to serve as an upwardly directed reflector to provide completely indirect lighting. In the preferred practice of the invention, however, the table top 20 has a central window opening 25 to permit the light rays from the ceiling light 24 to be transmitted through the table top into the central area of the room. The window opening 25 may be completely open to avoid any reduction whatsoever of the illumination and when the table is in service the window may be closed by a suitable object, such as a bowl 26 shown in Fig. 4.
In the preferred practice of the invention, the window opening 25 is spanned by a sheet 28 of light-transmitting material which may be either substantially transparent or translucent. If desired, the sheet 28 may be of colored translucent material. It is contemplated that the sheet 28 will function as a panel capable of supporting objects which are normally placed on a table, the window sheet serving, in effect, as a portion of the table top.
Various types of ornamental foldable leg means may be employed in various practices of the invention. In this instance, the leg means comprises two foldable leg frames, each of which is generally designated by numeral 30 and each of which is mounted on the underside of the table top by suitable hinge means 32, as indicated in Figs. 2 and 3. Each of the leg frames 30 comprises a hinged top member 34, two spaced leg members and a transverse member 36 that interconnects the outer ends of the two leg members. As shown in Fig. l, the window opening 25 may be circular and each of the transverse frame members 36 may be of the configuration of half of a ring. Thus, when the two leg frames 30 are folded up against the underside of the table top 20, they form a decorative design comprising a circle enclosed by a rectangle, as may be seen in Fig. l, the circle framing the window opening 25.
Any suitable means may be employed to releasably retain the two leg frames 30 in their folded positions shown in Fig. 1. For example, as shown in Fig. 2, an angular clip 38 having an aperture 40 may be mounted centrally of each of the transverse frame members 36 by suitable screws 42. In the folded position of the leg frame, the clip extends into a recess or slot 44 on the underside of the table top 20 for engagement by detent means concealed in the table top. In the construction shown, the detent means comprises a detent ball 45 positioned in a bore 46 to be normally pressed by a coil spring 48 into a seat in the form of an aperture 50 in an angular plate 52. The aperture 50 is large enough for the ball 45 to protrude through the angular plate into engagement with the aperture 40 of the angular clip 38. It is apparent that the complete folding of each leg frame 30 causes the corresponding angular clip 38 to be releasably engaged by the corresponding springpressed detent ball 45.
Each of the two leg frames 30 may be secured in its unfolded position by a suitable diagonal brace 54, as shown in Figs. 3 and 4. Each of the diagonal braces 54 may be removable to be stored out of sight on the upper surface of the table top 20 when the table top is in its elevated position.
In the construction shown, each of the diagonal braces 54 is a metal rod formed with a tongue 55 at an angle at one end to enter the corresponding slot 44 on the underside of the table top 20. The tongue has an aperture 56 for releasable engagement by the detent ball 45 in the same manner as the previously described aperture 40 of the angular clip 38. The lower end of the diagonal brace is angled, as shown in Fig. 3, and has a threaded end portion that extends through the aperture 40 of the angular clip 38. Suitable means, such as a sleeve nut 60, may be removably threaded on the end portion 58 of the diagonal brace for abutment against the underside of the angular clip.
As shown in Fig. 6, the means for releasably connecting each cable 22 with the table top 20 may comprise a connecting member 62 permanently mounted on the end of the cable and a cooperating socket fitting 64 embedded in the table top 20. The socket fitting 64 forms a cylindrical socket 65 to receive the connecting member 62 and has a diametrical pin 66 for engagement by the connecting member. In the construction shown, the socket fitting 64 has an upper circumferential flange 68 that is flush with the top surface of the table top and the socket fitting is anchored by a separate disk 70 that is flush with the bottom surface of the table top. A flat-headed screw 72 extends through the disk 70 into engagement with a threaded bore 74 in the socket fitting. A cover 75 is mounted on the upper end of the socket fitting 64 by a hinge pin 76 to swing between an open position shown in Figs. 6 and 9 and a closed position, the cover being flush with the upper flange 63 at its closed position to serve, in effect, as a continuation of the upper surface of the table top.
The connecting member 62 on the end of the cable 22 is a cylindrical metal body with a diametrical slot 80 opening onto its lower end. The diametrical slot extends upward and turns to form a pair of diametrical hook recesses 82 to engage the crosspin 66 from below in a well known releasable manner. Thus, to cause a connecting member 62 to engage the corresponding crosspin 66, it is merely necessary to lower the connecting member into the socket 65 with the connecting member straddling the crosspin 66, and then to rotate the connecting member a quarter turn to bring the hook recesses 82 into engagement with the crosspin.
When the four cables 22 are retracted to the ceiling while the table is in service, it is desirable that the individual cables be provided with weights to facilitate the subsequent lowering of the cables for re-engagement with the table top. In this regard, a feature of the invention is the provision of ornamental weights 84 for this purpose that contribute to the decoration of the room when the cables are in their retracted elevated positions as may be seen in Figure 5.
Each of the ornamental weights 84 may comprise a decorative disk having a boss 85 -on its upper side, as best shown in Fig. 11. The boss 85 is provided with one of the previously described socket members 64 for releasable engagement by the connecting means 62 on the end of the corresponding cable. Thus, each of the cables 22 may be releasably connected to an ornamental weight 84 in the same manner as the cable may be releasably connected to the table top 20.
Figs. 10 and 11 show, by way of example, how mechanism may be concealed above the ceiling 23 to actuate the four cables 22, the mechanism requiring very little vertical space. In the arrangement shown, each of the cables 22 passes over a diagonally positioned upright pulley 86 that is mounted by a bracket 88 on a suitable support 90. The pulley 86 is provided with a pair of guide sleeves 92 in a well known manner to prevent the cable 22 from jumping the pulley.
Above the ceiling, the four cables 22 extend horizon- 'arm 136 in a wall cabinet 138 shown in Figure 1.
tally to four corresponding guide pulleys 94 and are all connected to a common main cable 95. The main cable 95 extends between a pair of closely spaced guide pulleys 96 and is wound onto a suitable power-actuated winch 98. The winch 98 is mounted on a shaft 100 that carries a relatively large worm gear 102. A worm 104 on a countershaft 105 is in mesh with the worm gear 102 and a sheave 106 on the countershaft is connected by a drive belt 108 with a drive pulley 110 on the shaft of a suitable reversible motor 112. The worm gear 102 and the worm 104 in cooperation with the sheave 106 and the drive pulley 110 may, for example, provide a speed reduction on the order of 50:1.
Suitable limit switches may be provided to de-energize the motor 112 at two limit positions of the cables 22. One limit switch may comprise a mercury switch 114 on an arm 115 that is pivotally mounted on an upright support 116. A light spring 117 may be added to cooperate with gravity to hold the arm 115 against a stop clip 118. An operating rod 120 pivotally mounted on the outer end of the arm 115 extends downward through the ceiling 21 and carries at its lower end a ring 122 that loosely surrounds the cable 22. A suitable lug or collar 124 is adjustably mounted on the cable 22 to move into abutment with the lower side of the ring 122 when the cable reaches the desired upper limit position.
The movement of the lug 124 against the ring 122 lifts the arm 115 to rock the mercury switch 114 to an open circuit position.
A short dependent tube 125 may surround the operating rod 120 and the cable 22. If desired, such a tube 125 may be provided for each of the four cables 22. When the cables 22 are at their upper positions with the ornamental weights 84 attached thereto, the tubes 125 have the appearance of supports for the corresponding cables with decorative effect.
A limit switch 126 to de-energize the motor 112 at the lower limit positions of the cable 22 may be mounted above the ceiling adjacent the main cable 95, as shown in Fig. 10. The limit switch 126 has a flexible leaf spring arm 128 which is in the path of movement of an actuating block 130 that is adjustably mounted on the main cable 95. The actuating block 130 may be stabilized by a pair of guide wires 132 that extend through corresponding bores in the actuating block, the ends of the guide wires being anchored to suitable brackets 134 and 135. When the unreeling rotation of the winch 98 lowers the table top 20 to the desired lower limit level, the actuating block 130 impinges on the flexible arm 128 of the limit switch 126 to de-energize the motor 112.
The reversible motor 112 may be remotely controlled, for example, by a manually operable T-shaped rocker The rocker arm 136 carries a pair of mercury switches 140 for energization of the motor 112 in opposite respects. Thus the rocker arm 136 may be rocked to opposite limit positions to raise and lower the cables 22 and may be placed at an intermediate or neutral position to stop the motor.
The manner in which the described embodiment of the invention functions to serve its purpose may be readily understood from the foregoing description. When the table is out of service, the table top is at its elevated position close to the ceiling, as shown in Fig. 1. To lower the table, the rocker arm 136 in the wall cabinet 138 is shifted to tilt the two mercury switches 140 for energizing the motor 112 in the required direction. The motor actuates the winch 98 to unwind the main cable 95, thereby to cause the four cables 22 to lower the table top 20.
When the table top reaches a convenient level above its lowermost level, the rocker arm 136 may be swung to its neutral position to stop the motor 112. The two diagonal braces 54 are then removed from their stowed positions on top of the table. With the table top at the selected convenient level, the two leg frames 30 are unfolded and the two diagonal braces 54 are installed to hold the two leg frames rigid. The rocker arm 136 is then manipulated to resume energization of the motor to continue the lowering of the table top.
Soon after the unfolded leg frames 30 make supporting contact with the floor, the four cables 22 slacken and the limit switch 126 is automatically actuated by the block to de-energize the motor 112. The four connecting members 62 at the ends of the four cables 22 are then disengaged from the table top 20 and are reengaged with the corresponding ornamental weight 84. The covers 75 of the socket fitting 64 on the table top are then closed to provide a continuous, smooth table surface and the rocker arm 136 is manipulated for reverse energization of the motor 112 to raise the four cables 22. When the lug 124 on one of the cables 22 reaches and lifts the ring 122, the limit switch 114 is actuated to deenergize the motor.
It is apparent that the table at its lower service position supported by the two leg frames 30, as shown in Fig. 4, functions in the normal manner of any conventional table and is not conspicuously different in appearance from a conventional table. While the table is in use, the four weights 84 are decorative additions to the ceiling, as may be seen in Fig. 5.
It is to be noted that the four weights are symmetrically arranged with respect to the central ceiling light 24. When the table top is at its upper stowed position, shown in Fig. 1, the underside table top itself has the appearance of a decorative panel and the two folded leg frames 30 contribute materially to the decorative effect. Illumination from the ceiling light 24 is transmitted through the window opening 25 and the spacing of the table top below the ceiling provides a further pleasing indirect lighting effect.
Fig. 12 shows a modification of the invention in which a weight 84a is permanently mounted on thelower end of a cable 22. Unitary with the underside of the ornamental weight 84a is a connecting member 62a of the same construction as the previously described connecting member 62. It is apparent that this arrangement eliminates the necessity of manually attaching the weights to the cables and the necessity of storing the ornamental weights on the top of the elevated table. It is a simple matter to manipulate the ornamental weights 84a to cause the connecting members 62a to engage or release the corresponding socket fittings 64 in the table top. The connecting members 62a on the undersides of the ornamental weights 84a do not noticeably detract from the ornamental appearance of the weights when the weights are at their elevated positions adjacent the ceiling.
Figure 13 shows a modification in which the major portion of the structure is the same as heretofore described, as indicated by the use of corresponding numerals to designate corresponding parts. The modification consists in the addition of a thin-walled downwardly concave plastic member or inverted dome mounted on the underside of the table top 20 in a position spanning the window opening 25. Preferably the window opening is also spanned by the previously mentioned sheet 28, both the sheet 28 and the inverted dome 150 being made of light-transmitting material. Both the sheet 28 and the inverted dome member 150 may be made of colored translucent material, if desired. A small lamp 152 is mounted in the bottom of the inverted dome member 150 and is adapted to be energized by means of a detachable electric cord 154.
When the table shown in Figure 13 is in its lower service position, the cord 154 is connected to the lamp 152 for a pleasing illumination effect, the light from the lamp being transmitted both upward through the window sheet 28 and downward through the inverted dome member 150. When the table is in its elevated stowed position, the lamp 152 is, of course, de-energized. Light from 7 the ceiling light 24, however, will be transmitted downward through both the sheet 28 and the inverted dome member 150 with a pleasing ornamental effect.
My description in specific detail of the presently preferred embodiment of the invention will suggest various changes, substitutions and other departures from my disclosure within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
1. A furniture combination for use in a room, comprising: a table; means including cable means to raise and lower the table between a lower position for normal use and an overhead position, said cable means extending downward from the ceiling of the room and being detachable from the table to permit the cable means to be retracted to the ceiling when the table is at its lower position; and weight means for said cable means to facilitate lowering the cable means from the ceiling for attachment to the table.
2. A combination as set forth in claim 1, in which said table has legs that fold against the underside of said table and form an ornamental design on the underside of the table when the table is at its overhead position.
3. The combination with a room having an overhead light of: a table having retractable legs; and means to raise and lower the table between a lower position with the table supported on said legs for normal use and an overhead position spaced below said light to serve as a baffle for indirect lighting of the room, said means to raise and lower the table including cable means extending downward from the ceiling of the room on opposite sides of said light.
4. A combination as set forth in claim 3, in which said table has a window opening therein to register with said lighting fixture to permit light therefrom to pass through the table.
5. A combination as set forth in claim 4, in which a sheet of translucent material spans said window opening.
6. A combination as set forth in claim 1, in which said cable means includes a plurality of cables with a corresponding plurality of weights permanently mounted thereon.
7. A combination as set forth in claim 6, which includes means to releasably connect each of said weights to the table.
8. The combination with a room having an overhead light of: a table top having a central window opening therein; means extending downward from the ceiling of the room to raise and lower the table top between a lower service position and an upper position near said light with said window opening registering with the light; and two leg means on the underside of said table top near the opposite ends respectively of the table top, each of said leg means being foldable inward against the underside of the table top and each of the leg means in its folded position framing one half of said window opening.
9. A combination as set forth in claim 8, in which each of said leg means includes two leg members and a window frame member interconnecting the other ends of the leg members.
10. A combination as set forth in claim 9, in which each of said window frame members is substantially of the configuration of one half of a circular ring.
11. The combination with a room having an overhead light of: a table having retractable legs, said table having a window opening therein to register with said lighting fixture to permit light therefrom to pass through the table; means to raise and lower the table between a lower position with the table supported on said legs for normal use and an overhead position adjacent said light, said means to raise and lower the table including cable means extending downward from the ceiling of the room on opposite sides of said light; a hollow structure of translucent material carried by the table and spanning said window; and light means in said hollow structure to illuminate said opening from below when the table is in its lower position.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 345,796 McGloflin July 20, 1886 965,338 Smiloanie July 26, 1910 1,244,670 Whitney Oct. 30, 1917 2,472,962 Shuflin June 14, 1949 2,484,678 Blumer Oct. 11, 1949 2,678,249 Rhoads May 11, 1954 2,730,213 Mason et al. Jan. 10, 1956