US 2928639 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 15, 1960 R. J. SHELLEY ELEVATOR 3 Sheets-Sheer. 1
Filed Oct. 21, 1958 Inveni'or Robert J. She "eg/ wdllm and Q R. J. SHELLEY ELEVATOR March 15, 1960 Filed Oct. 21, 1958 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Eg s;
Iniien 1:0! I R ber't .lshelleg ELEVATOR 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Oct. 21, 1958 UN LOADED "5 r m e mh v5 n m 1...: r. e w R m 52 and ablwm/ fi'l'lornegs United States Patent 6 ELEVATOR Robert J. Shelley, Miami,:Fla. Application October 21, 1958, Serial No. 768,658 8Claims. (Cl; 248-204) This invention relates to elevator mechanism particularly of'a kind adapted to automatically raise a shelf supporting .member'progressively from a lower depthas articles on the shelf are removed. This application isa continuation-in-part of my application Serial No. 651,838,
filed April 10, 1957, now abandoned. I p
In myearlier U.S. Patent Nos. 2,525,243 and 2,709,561 1 have disclosed tray or shelf elevatorsforstoraige'cabi netssuch as coolers wherein milk containers and the like are adapted to. be stored. In accordance withthe desire for large capacity, these cabinets are conventionally of substantial depthsuch that it is almost impractical for a person to havefeasyaccess to the'lowest group ofcontainers in the cabinet; In my prior patents, identified above, I have'arranged in the cabinet a spring actuated tray or shelf supporting mechanism which is efiective gradually'to'raise the shelf or tray on whichtlie articles aresupp'orted asjthe articles are gradually removed from the cabinet, this .beingdue to the concomitant gradual expansion of the spring means. There are numerous commercial and industrial analogies of cabinets of this kind, such as in a dish cabinet installation where it is advantageousto beable' to afiord means which continuously elevate stacked trays or dishes, and so' on;
Inaccordance with theprcsentinvention'I have found that I can greatly improvethe' utility of elevator mechanism of the generalkind disclosed in my aforesaid patents by havingresort'to an'arrangement'of'concentric springs and nested tubes of predetermined dimension whereby I am able to bring the shelf or tray supporting means much closer tO'theTtOP 'of' the cabinet whereby the last group of articles supported thereby within the cabinet are readily accessible from the top of the cabinet, and the-accomplishment of this is the primary object of the present invention. Specifically it is the'object of the present'invention to disposewithin a storage cabinet or the like, wherein trays or shelves are to be arranged in vertical tiers, elevator mechanism comprising an inner guide disposed upright, an inner sleeve or tube of pre determined dimension disposed in concentric spacerelation'about the guide with'a coilspring arranged between the guide and this inner tube, and an outer tubeor sleeve of predetermined dimensiondisposed and spaced in concentric relation about the inner sleeve with a second coil spring arranged between the inner and outer" tubes. The dimensioning of'theparts will be explained in detail here-' inaiter, and the two tubesare' arranged to moveaxially relative one to another and relative to the main inner support or guide-mentioned abovet Moreover the outer sleeve carries'a shelf or tray supporting lug, and a'sarticles" such as milk containers are added in increasing.
numbers incidental tofilling the cabinet the springsare compressed as the sleeves gradually move downward lengthwiseof' the inner guide, and the converse relationprevails in the opposite direction as the articles are removed;-from the cabinet.
' Other and further objects of' the present invention be apparent from the. following description- -andclaims 2 and" are illustrated in the accompanying drawings which, by way of illustration, show apreferred embodiment of the present invention 1 and the principle thereof and whatis ,now considered to be the best mode contemplated for applying that principle. Other embodiments of the invention embodying the same or equivalent principlemay be used and structural changes may be made as desired by those skilled in the art without departing from the present invention and the purview of the appended claims.
In the drawings:
Fig. 1 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view illustrating the elevatingmechanism of the present invention mounted in a cabinet;
Fig. 2 is a fragmentary sectional view similar to Fig.7
of a cabinet constructed inaccordance with'the present invention and illustrating a typical distribution therein of mechanism of the kind illustrated in Fig. 1;
Figs. 8A, 8B and 8C are diagrammatic views illus-;-
t'ratingv the operating principles of the invention: and; facilitating an appreciation thereof; and
Figs. 9, l0 and 11 are views showing another embodiment of the invention in-dilferent state of actuation.
Referring in detail to the drawings, the numeral 10 in:
Figs. 1 and 7 designates in its entirety an elevating unit or mechanism which is adapted to be mounted inqa cabinet such as the cabinet 11, and the cabinet11= ineludes the usual bottom wall 12, upstanding end wall 13,;
and top14, and the top 14 may be provided with a depending flange 15, Fig. l, insulation being provided where necessary. The top 14 may have a member 16 secured thereto or formedintegral therewith, Figs. 1.
and 2, and the member 16 isprovided with a recess or opening17 fora purpose to be later described. The top 14 may, provide a support for the usual sliding lids 18' and 19; It will be recognized from Fig. 7 that the cabinet 11 is quite deep and isof'the typeto receive a" large supply of milk containers MC arranged at various 6 The present invention is concerned in particular with making easily available, within easy arms levels therein;
reach from the top of the cabinet, the last of the containers such as identified at LMCin Fig. 7 which otherwise ordinarily would be rather far down in the cabinet and difficult to grasp. This is the primary desired end I achieved under the present invention, and the present institutes ari --inner' sleeve movable-axially of the guide zll" vention using a dual spring assembly also makes possible the supporting of substantial weights of articles.
In achieving the desired end explained above, the
elevating unit 10 includes a first upright tube 20 or innet" stabilizingand guide member which has its lower end projecting into an opening or recess 22 in a lug ll,
secured as by welding to the bottom wall 12, although,
variousarrangements can be resorted to for anchoring. and securing the guide 20' in a stationary upright position within the cabinet. The upper end of the tube -20 is. advantageously received in the recessed portion'17 of the member 16.
There is further provided a second guide memberintheform of a tubeindica'ted by the numeral 23, andfthe;
elevator unit further includes a third tube 24 which'com as an important member, a fourth tube 25 constituting another guide, and a fifth tube or outer sleeve 26 movable axially of the guide as an important member, all concentrically nested one outward of the other in that order A washer 27 is secured to the lower end of the tube 23, andthewasher 27 surrounds the lower portion of the first tube 20-and is also secured as a spring stop to the tube 20, to integrate these two guide members in spaced relation. spring stop or washer 28 which surrounds loosely the upper portion of the inner guide 20, Figs. 1, 2 and 3. 7 A coil spring 29 is disposed concentrically about the tube 20, and'this spring is interposed normally (when unloaded) in an expanded state between the pair of stops 27 and 28 for a purpose to be later described.
Secured to the lower ends of the tubes 24 and in any suitable manner, as for example by welding, is a third spring stop or washer 30, which joins these two members, and a fourth such washer 31 is secured to the upper end of the tube 26. A coil spring 32 is interposed normally in expanded state between the washers and 31 in themanner that the spring is interposed between its washers, and it will be recognized that these washers constitute abutments orstops for confining their respective springs.
Extending outwardly from the lower edge of the tube. 26 and secured thereto in any suitable manner, is a shelf.
or traysupport member 33, and the support member 33 provides a support for a tray or shelf T, Fig. 7, which is to have articlesthereon in the manner illustrated for sake, of more understanding in Fig. 7. Thus, due to the provision of the previously described spring arrangement and telescoping tubes,'it will be seen that when articles such as MC, Fig. 7, are removed from the trays T onthe support members 33,the support members 33 will move upwardly due to the force of the spring assembly so that the next successive articles will be brought within convenient reach of the user of the cabnet.
The numeral 34 designates a portion of a wall of'the cabinet or tank which may be secured to the member 16 in any suitable manner, as for example by means of securing elements 35.
The upper edge of the tube 24 flares outwardly as at 36 as a modeof convenient connection, and a split ring 37 is arranged in engagement with the flaring portion 36 as shown-in Fig. 4. I
From the foregoing, it is apparent that there has been provided an elevating mechanism which is an improvement over the device shown and described in my prior Patents Nos. 2,525,243 and 2,709,561 as will. be explained in principle below. The elevating mechanism of.
the present invention is adapted to be mounted in a suitable cabinet such as the cabinet 11. In use, the support members 33 are adapted to support a tray which may have any type of articles thereon such as containers of beverages. Then, as the containers are removed from the shelf or tray on the support members 33 within a cabinet as 11, it will be seen that the resiliency of the pair of coil springs 29 and 32 will gradually cause the support There is further provided a second is on the support member 33, since, as will be recognized from Figs. 1, 2 and 3, and the state of the springs, the washer or stop 28 must be secured to the third tube or inner sleeve 24.
As articles are removed from the trays, the pair of coil springs 29 and 32 will be able to expand to move the parts from the position shown in Fig. 3 to the position shown in Fig. 2 and finally back to the position shown in Fig. 1. Thus, it will beseen that with the trays full of will be gradually moved to a raised position as the ma-.
" over-ridingand hence hanging up on the upper end of terial or articles are removed from the cabinet. The snap ring 37 is arranged in engagement with the out wardly flaring portion 36 of the tube 24, and this arrangement, or its equivalent, prevents the outer sleeve 26 from the inner sleeve 24, when the trays are not loaded, or lightly loaded as with the right-hand trays in Fig. 7, which would prevent the desired downward movement of the outer sleeve when the mechanism is more fully loaded.
The parts can be made-of any suitable material and in different shapes or sizes. The washer 30 or equivalent stop may be secured to the lower ends of, the tubes 24 and '25 in any suitable manner. For example, this washer may be brazed in place, and this washer serves to connect the tubes 24 and 25 together, the latter in reality constituting a guide for the outer sleeve 26 just as the tube 23 is a guide for the inner sleeve 24.
Thus, it will be seen that the present-invention con stitutes an improvement over the elevator construction members 33 and trays to move upwardly so that a person can more easily gain access to the articles in the cabinet, particularly the last ones. When the trays have s'uflicient weight or articles thereon, the parts are moved to the position shown in Fig 3, or to the position shown for the medial group ofcontainers in Fig. 7. Thus, when a tray 1 has sufiicient weight thereon, the support member 33 j will be moved downwardly, and this will concomitantly' cause thewasheror stop 31 on the outermost sleeve 26 to compress the coil spring 32 as this outermost sleeve or tube 26 moves downwardly relative to the guide20 and relative to the opposite end of. the inner sleeve 24 which carries the stop or washer 30. It will be recognized that 7 this downward movement Qfthe'tube 26 will result in compression of the coil spring 29 when sutficicnt weight shown and described in my prior patents, and the elevator of the present invention can be used in any suitable apparatus, as for example, in a milk and beverage cooler. The elevator will serve to raise the platform or tray that holds the articles to within a very ,close distance from the top such as 7% inches of the top instead of 13 /2 as ,did the original elevator. I
This primary principle of the present invention can be best appreciated by having reference to Figs. 8A, 8B and 8C, which are diagrammatic illustrations. Thus, in Fig. 8A it is assumed that a full weight W is supported on the supporting member 33 which is carried by the outer sleeve 26, and in this state the sleeves 26 and 24 have been moved downwardly within the cabinet substantially to the full depth, and the springs 29 and 32 are fully loaded. Assuming that one-half the weight W is removed, Fig. 8B, support 33 can be assumed to be located upwardly from the, bottom of the cabinet a distance X which could be mid-way of the depth of the cabinet. When all of the weight is or about to be removed, Fig. 80, the support 33 is at its maximum elevated position at a distance X +Y- above the bottom of the cabinet which would be the position at which the last of the articles within the cabinet are located for removal. On the other hand,
were-there to be but a single spring and sleeve as 24, the
is removed-from within the cooler; refrigerator, cabinet.
orewhatevers installation embodies: theltverticalliy;oriented? elevator mechanism: ofv the: presentvinvention'. The: flar -r ing.-portion 36 provides-a, support for .the'split ring 37 whichhelps, as mentioned, to: retain the parts? intheir proper assembled position. After the support member 33' moves downwardly a predetermined distance tocompress the coil spring 32, then-.thecoil-spring29 willbe compressed so. as to permit the supporttmember--33 to assume difference elevationsin thecabinet.
In use, when suflicientweight is supported on themern ber 33, the tube or outer sleeve 26'will be moved downwardly to thereby move the washer. 21 downwardly so as: to start to compress the coil spring 32 between. the stops 30 and '31 so that the parts will move from the position shown in Fig. 1 to the position shown in Fig. 2. When the tube- 26 moves downwardly, thiswillcause the guide: member. 25- to start to move downwardly and will causedownward movement of the: inner sleeve24, since .thewasher: 30connects the tubes 25 and-24 together. As the tube 24- moves downwardly, it moves the washer .28 downwardly to thereby compress the coil spring, 29 between the stops 27 and 28. As weight is removed from the member 33, the reverse will take place.
The member 16 has thelidsslidably mounted thereon, and the hole or recess 17 permits the-elevators to'beremoved or inserted; without removingthe entire top ofathe cooler, simply by reachinginside the cabinet and pressing. down on the-sleeves sufiiciently to expose the opening in:the: guideZOso that a-pin or nail. N, Fig. 3A, can be. inserted through the hole'y9 in the upper part oftube120 which removes the pressure thatholds the assembly in.
place, wherebythe entire elevator. can be simply raised" up enough to clear the lug. at the bottom and then swung out.
The elevator mechanismshown in Figs- 1,. 2 and 3'" is simply one half ofthe operative arrangement Within. an areaof a cabinet, there being. two of these assemblies connected by a tray that supports the weight of the contents. In; other words, andreferring to Fig. 7,' there are. three more-elevator assemblies (not shown)" within the cabinet 11 at the far or back side thereof supporting the opposite ends of the trays T.
An' improved, and therefore preferred construction,,is illustrated in Figs. 9, 10, and ll in thedrawings, and' in this connection it should be pointed 'out tliat Fig. 9 shows the unloaded state of the mechanism within the cabinet, Fig. l'shows the state of'thedevice approximately in half-load condition; and Fig. llillustr'ates th'e disposition of parts under the full load state. "In order'to simplify recognition of related parts, a'"'l00s'eries ofreferences' characters will be used in Figs. 9,, 10, an'd'll in respect to reference characters used to identify relatedpart's in Fig. l embodiment of the invention. Thus; the improved construction is illustrated at 110 in Fig; 9' and'comprises an elongated inner guidev tube or standard 120 having an out-turned stop flange -120F at its lower endadapted to be engaged by an in-turned. flange '123F formed'at the'bottom end of a tubular guide 123. Both these'flanges are" integral parts of the related tubes and are formed by cor responding swaging or turning operations performed on the'parts 120 and 123. Such'is alsotrue' of the flanges to be mentioned hereinafter.
The tube 123 issubstantiallyshorter'thair the tube'120' and is arranged in concentric spacedrelation about thelatter with the'flange 123F engaging the upper side" of flange 120F when the mechanism is'dispo'sed operatively within a cabinet or the like with'the'lower end of the tube 120 disposed in an appropriate mounting socketat the base of the cabinet. Arranged in thespace between.
the tube 120' and the tube 123 is an elongated coil spring. 129.
under no-load conditionsin the.cabine t is under slight In its. fully expanded. state, this spring projects: slightly above the. upper endof. the tube 120, but even.
1 contact as shown in Fig.9;
' Another or outer ,coil spring;. 132 is; ;arranged concen-: trically about the outside of theinner sleeve 124, and; this spring is substantially shorter than the inner coil spring. An outer guide tube 125 is arranged concentrically about the spring 132 .and is substantially shorterthan the spring 132. The guide-125 is formedatitslower end with an in-turned flange 125F which abuts the upper side of an out-turned stop formed on. the lower end of sleeve 124. The coil spring 132 is disposed in thespace between the guide 125 and the sleeve 124, and thelower: end of this spring .engagesthe inner or upper side of the flange 12-5F. In this way, the lower end of the spring 132 engages a movable part of the elevator mechanism which engages a. fixed partof the sleeve 1240 An outer sleeve 126 is arranged concentric about the, guide125, and these two respectively have their lower and upper end portions in nested engagement as shown in. Fig. 9 so that the sleeve 126 will slide vertically onand relative tothe guide=125a Thesleeve 126is approximately the same length as the guide 125. A- tray or shelf supporting member 133 iswelded to the sleeve 124 preferably at-the lower end. thereof,-and this support serves the purpose of thesupport 33 described above. At its upper end, the outer. sleeve 126. is. formed with a rounded in-turned stop flange 126F, and the; upper end of spring 132 engages the inside surface of; the -fiange-126F.
The upper end of the guide canbeprojectedinto an opening in the top of-the cabinet or. otherwise stabil ized, andthe tube 120 includes. a nail or pin receiving. opening to. facilitate withdrawal of the'mechanism of the cabinet when desired and in the manner describedv above. However, in the operative state of the device as shown in Fig. 9, spring 129 is effective onthe flange 124B of sleeve 124 to apply an upward lifting or holding. force thereto, and this is transmitted to the outer con-- centric parts by the engaged flanges 1241 2 and 1251 The rates of the springs are such that both remain stationary until the weight of the second tier of containers in the cabinet causes downward compression of the outer spring 132 slightly ahead of the inner spring, 129, causing the upper end of sleeve 126 to move downward away from the top of the cabinetand downward. relative to sleeve 124 through a short separate stroke. This. enables the least possible distance to be maintained between the top of the cabinetand the articles on support. 133. Thus, in order to prevent the tfirst tier of containers from moving the springs down, the latter are made long enough andof such strength as to support the weight. of one tier before there is any appreciable movement and action. Subsequently, as each tier'of milk cartons or the like is added, the outer spring, is selected to compress approximately one inch to two inches of movement of the inner spring, and in this way both springs bottom at approximately the same-time.
It will also be observed that the diameterof the externally convex rounded inaturnedflange 126F at the upper end of the sleeve 126 is such as to'nicely clearthe cor responding externally convex rounded flange 124Fatthe upper end of the inner sleeve-124, and this clearanceis such that the inner 'oircumference or. diameter of flange 126? embraces, withbut a small spacing, the outer. circumference of the inner sleeve 124 during relativ'emovement between the sleeves 1'24. and 126. Even ifvthere were some engagement due to canting, the flange 126i? would easily slide oif the rounded outer surface of flange- 124F. In this way, assurance is had that the outer sleevewill not overhang the inner sleeve and become locked up v in amanner of speaking.
Accordingly, when thereissufiieient weight on the-sup- 110113.133, the outer. sleeve moves 'downwardly -ex thereto by theflange124F, 'and the inner sleeve starts to move "down 'with the outer sleeve as more and more weight is added, the partspassing through the intermediate load stage shown in Fig. 10 to the fully loaded state shown in Fig. 11.
Hence, while I have illustrated and described preferred embodiments of my invention, it is to'be understood that these are capable of variation and modification, and I therefore do not wish to be limited to the precise details set forth, but desire to avail myself of such changes and alterations as fall within the purview of the following claims.
1. In a storage cabinet or the like for confining articles in vertical tiers or stacks on shelves in the area between the top and bottom of the cabinet: shelf supporting and elevating mechanism comprising, a main inner vertically disposed guide member, an inner coil spring concentrically surrounding said guide member and being axially compressible relative thereto, an inner sleeve freely surrounding said spring and being freely movable axially relative to said guide member toward one end thereof, said inner sleeve including a part fixed thereto in engagement with said spring for applying compressive forces on the spring upon axial movement of saidsleeve toward said one end of said guide member, an outer spring concentrically surrounding said sleeve, said outer spring being supported by said sleeve to be compressible relative thereto, an outer sleeve surrounding said outer spring and being movable axially relatively to said inner sleeve and relative to said guidermember toward said one end of said guide member, said outer'sleeve having a part engaged with said outer spring to apply compressive forces thereto upon axial movement of said outer sleeve as aforesaid.
2. In an elevator mechanism of the kind described, a first tube, a second tube aligned axially with and surrounding in spaced relation a portion of said first tube and being shorter than the first tube, a third tube aligned axially with and surrounding in spaced relation a porttion of the first tube and also surrounding in engaged relationship a portion of said second tube so as to be guided thereby, a stop adjacent one end of and carried by said third tube, another stop adjacent the end of the third tube having the first-named stop, a coil spring surrounding the first tube in the space that lies between the first tube and the second and third tubes spaced therefrom, said spring being in contact with said stops and compressible upon axial movement of the first stop toward said outer stop, said third tube being shorter than the first tube, a fourth tube surrounding in spaced relationship a portion of the third tube, a fifth tube surrounding in spaced relationship a portion of said third tube and surrounding in engaged relationship a portion of said fourth tube so as to be guided thereby, a stop adjacent the end of the fourth tube which lies opposite the end of the fifth tube having the third-named stop aforesaid, and a second coil spring arranged between said lastnamed stops and in contact therewith so as to be compressible upon movement of the stop on said fifth tube toward the abutment on said fourth tube.
3. In -a shelf elevator mechanism of the kind described an inner elongated .guide member, a pair of hollow elongated tubular members arranged in spaced concentric relation, the outer-of said tubular members.
being axially movable relative to and being shorter than the inner tubular member, said inner guide member be ing longer than said tubular members, said inner tubular member being disposed in concentric spaced-relationship about said inner guide member and being axially movable relative thereto, an inner coil spring disposed in the space between said inner guide member and said inner tubular member, one end of said inner coil spring abutting a fixed stopadjacent the corresponding end of said inner guide member and the opposite end of said inner coil spring being in contact with a stop member movable with said inner tubular member so that the spring-will undergo compression upon axial movement of said inner tubular member toward said corresponding end of said inner guide member, an outer coil spring disposed in the space between said tubular members, one end of said outer coil spring engaging stop member movable with the inner tubular member and the other end of said outer coil spring engaging a stop member movable with said outer tubular member so that the second-named spring will undergo compression upon movement of the outer tubular member toward the stop member on said inner tubular member, and shelf supporting means carried by said outer tubular member.
'4. Elevator mechanism according to claim 3 wherein the inner guide member is provided with an opening near one end thereof for receiving a pin.
5. Elevator mechanism according to claim 3 wherein the inner tubular member atone end is provided with means for preventing over-riding of the outer tubular member relative thereto.
6. In a storage cabinet or the like for confining articles in vertical tiers or stacks on a shelf: at least a pair of spaced apart shelf supporting and elevator mechanisms and each comprising: an inner elongated guide member supported upright within the cabinet and being removably mounted therein, a pair of hollow elongated tubular members arranged in spaced concentric relation, the outer of said tubular members being axially movable relative to and being shorter than the inner tubular member, said inner guide member being longer than said tubular members, said inner tubular member being disposed in concentric spaced relationship about said inner guide member and being axially movable relative thereto, an inner coil spring disposed in the space between said inner guide member and said inner tubular member, one end of said inner coil spring abutting a fixed stop adjacent the corresponding end of said inner guide member and the opposite end of said inner coil spring being in contact with a stop member movable with said inner tubular member so that the'spring will undergo compression upon axial movement of said inner tubular member toward said corresponding end of said inner guide member, an outer coil spring disposed in the space between said tubular members, one end of said outer coil spring engaging stop member movable with the inner tubular member and the other end of said outer coil spring engaging a stop member movable with said outer tubular member so that the second-named spring undergoes compression upon movement of the outer tubular member toward the stop member on saidinner tubular member, and shelf supporting means carried by said outer tubular member.
7. Elevator mechanism comprising: an inner guide disposable in an upright position, an inner coil spring concentrically surrounding said guide, an inner sleeve concentrically surrounding said spring and having a part fixed thereto engaging one end of said spring, said sleeve, being shorter than said spring, an outer coil spring concentrically surrounding said sleeve, said outer spring being shorter than'the inner spring and having one end engaged with a movable part of the mechanism which in t'urn engages a part of said sleeve spaced from the firstnamed part of said sleeve, and-an outer sleeve in engagement with the end of the second spring-opposite 'said one end thereof, said outer sleeve having a shelf-supporting member aifixed thereto.
8. Elevator mechanism according to claim 7 wherein the inner sleeve has a rounded in-turned flange at one end engaging said one end of the inner coil spring and having an out-turned flange at its opposite-end, a tubular guide surrounding said outer coil spring and having an in-turned flange at one end engaging said out-turned flange, said outer coil spring having an end engaging the engaging the other end of said outer coil spring, and H said in-turned flange of said outer sleeve having a diameter Q which clears the external surfaces of said inner sleeve.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,319,872 Leonard May 25, 1943