US 2931685 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 5, 1960 L. F. BUTLER CONVERTIBLE DESKS 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Jan. 24, 1958 CONVERTIBLE DESKS Leslie F. Butler, Palo Alto, Calif; Harold Myra, administrator of said Leslie F. Butler, deceased, assignor of one-half to John R. Bethea III, Washington, D. (1.
Application January 24, 1958, Serial No. 711,002
10 Claims. (Cl. 312-196) This invention relates to a desk which may be quickly and easily converted to use as a lectern and as easily restored to use as a desk.
Among the more important objects are:
(a) To provide a desk which in one position of adjustment affords a conventional fiat top and in a second position of adjustment aifords a lectern whose height may be readily adjusted and positively held in ad usted position.
(b) To provide a desk which comprises a main framework or support with a vertically adjustable podium whose top may be pivoted about a normally'horizontal axis at the forward edge thereof and positively locked in pivotally adjusted position.
To provide a desk having ample leg space and one or more tiers of drawers, convertible at will to use a lectern of adjustable height and with pivotally adjustable top.
(d) To provide a combined desk and podium having novel mechanism by which the podium may be quickly and easily adjusted to a selected one of a plurality of vertical positions of elevation and, when so adjusted, positively and releasably held in such position.
(e) To provide a structure as explained in object d, supra, without obstructing the leg space normally required when being used as a fiat-topped desk.
(1) To provide a convertible desk-lectern structure which is relatively simple and inexpensive to construct, positive and reliable in operation, readily adjustable over a wide range of positions, solid and substantial in all positions of adjustment, versatile in its range of uses, and a general advance in the art.
Other objects and advantages of my invention will be obvious or will become apparent to those skilled in the art after a study of the following detailed description, in connection with the accompanying drawing.
In the drawing:
Figure 1 is a perspective view of the assembled desk, with the podium in a selected position of elevation and its top in an upwardly pivoted position.
Figure 2 is a front elevation showing the podium and its top in fully lowered postions.
Figure 3 is a side elevation of the podium removed from the desk or base element and showing in dotted lines one position of pivotal adjustment of its top or shelf.
Figure 4 is a side elevation of the complete desk with Patented Apr. 5, 1960 means by which it is maintained in its two positions of adjustment to free the podium for vertical adjustment and to maintain it in any of a selected one of a plurality of vertical adjustments.
Figure 8 is a detail view to an enlarged scale, of the rear support rack for the podium, on line 8-8, Figure 5.
Figure 9 is a detail side elevation of one of two hinge elements of the podium top or shelf, taken on line 99, Figure 5, and
Figure 10 is a front view, to an enlarged scale, of
i the ledge along the front edge of the podium top and the mounting by which the ledge may be held in adjusted elevated position, as indicated by line 1010, Figure 3.
Referring in detail to the drawing, 1 identifies generally the base or desk structure which, in the model shown, includes six legs such as 2, 3, 4 and 5 at the respective corners of the desk, and intermediate legs 6 and 7 po-v sitioned symmetrically between legs 2 and 3, and 4 and 5, respectively. Legs 2 and 5 are interconnected by side panel 8 while legs 3 and 4 are interconnected by side panel 9, Figure 5. At the back, legs 5 and 7 are joined by panel 10, while legs 4 and 7 are connected by panel 11, all in a conventional manner obvious from inspection of Figures 1, 4 and 5. Framework or panel structure generally identified at 12, Figure 5, interconnects intermediate legs 6 and 7. Thus all legs are rigidly united into a solid base or framework. The space defined by legs 3, 4, 6 and 7 conveniently accommodates drawers 13 as clearly shown upon Figure 2.
The top of the desk comprises a main fiat rectangular sheet or panel 14 resting upon and removably secured by brackets such as 15, Figure l, to the top coplanar ends of legs 2 through 7, and having a rectangular cut-out whose edges are identified at 16, Figure 5. A podium top 17 is shaped to have a smooth fit within cut-out 16, as is clear from Figure 5, whereby, when the podium is downwardly translated and pivoted to lowermost positions, the top is flush with the main top 14 and the two form a single horizontal planar desk surface.
The podium element consists of a box-like structure having two identical fiat side panels or frames 18 and 19 provided at or adjacent their front edges with vertical slots 26 and 21, respectively. The rear edge of slot 20 is serrated to provide a plurality of downwardly and forwardly sloping notches 22 which are conveniently equally spaced and shown upon Figure 4 as ten in number. Likewise the rearward edge of slot 21 of the right podium panel is provided with an equal number of likenotches 23. It will be understood that each notch in slot 20 is in horizontal alignment with a corresponding notch of slot 21. The side panels are united at and along their back vertical edges, to a rear panel 24, Figures 1, 2 and 3, whereby the three panels form a rigid unitary podium structure. The dimensions and construction are such that the podium structure has a smooth, vertically:
guided fit between the two parallel edges 16 while, at
the podium in an elevated position of adjustment to prolarged scale one of the rack bars by which the topof the podium is held in various selected pivotal positions. Figure 7 is a detail sectional view taken in a plane identified by line 7-7, Figure 2, and showing to an enlarged scale the front podium-supporting bar and the V g the other rack.
the same time it may be tilted slightly in a vertical plane parallel with these edges, as and for the purpose subsequently described. I
Referring particularly to Figure 4, the side panel 8 has attached to its inside central portion, a vertically-' disposed rack or notched element 25. A like element 26, Figure l, is secured in vertically-disposed position to thecentral inside area of panel 12. The number and spacing of the notches of racks 25 and 26 is identical with those formed in the edges of slots 20 and 21, previously described and, of course, these racks 25 and 26 are so secured to their respective panels that each notch of a rack; is in horizontal alignment with a corresponding notch of It should also be noted that each notch 22 and 23 of the forward racks is so disposed vertically with respect to a corresponding notch of the racks 25 and 26, that the podium box is in level position when fully supported in each position of vertical adjustment by the rods 27 and 28, subsequently described. In contradistinction to the notches in the edges of slots 20 and 21, the notches of elements 25 and 26 extend upwardlyandforwardly.
At their lower corners, that is, their rearward corners, panels 18 and 19 of the podium are bored to receive a rear holding or supporting rod or 'bar 27 whose ends project a short distance beyond the panels to rest in and be supported by a selected one of the notches of racks 25 and 26, respectively. The rod is fixed to the podium panels so that it cannot slide axially with respect thereto.
The inside upper forward-corner of panels 8 and 12 each has secured to it a slotted or grooved block, that for panel 12 being identified at 29, Figure 7. From this figure it is noted that the slot thereof comprises two angularly-related sections, first, a section 30 extending forwardly and upwardly and secondly, a section 31 extending forwardly and downwardly so that the two form, in effect, an inverted V. The corresponding block, not shown, attached to panel 8 has a duplicate slot therein positioned horizontally opposite the one just described for panel 12. A forward podium-support rod 28 is dimensioned to have a smooth fit between panels 8 and 12 whereby it is easily translatable to move its ends in and along the slots. Furthermore, the parts are so dimensioned and rciated that when rod 27 rests in and is supported by a pair of notches in racks 25 and26, and rod 28 is in the full-line position ofFigure 7, with its ends seated in the lower portion of slots 30, rod 28 may be engaged by and seated in a corresponding pair of notches 22 and 23. The podium structure is thus firmly but releasably supported in a selected position of vertical adjustment. Conversely, when the weight of'the podiumis removed from rod 28 by a slight upward lift of the podium, rod 28 can be translated until its ends are positioned within slot sections '31 and contact the forward edges of slots 20 and 21. When thus positioned, the rod is free of notches 22 and 23 and the entire podium may be moved slightly forwardly, say about an inch, to free rod 27 from racks 25 and 26 so that it may be easily adjusted upwardly or downwardly between its limiting positions. When so adjusted to desired elevation, the podium is again translated rearwardly until rod 27 drops into the desired notches of racks 25 and 26. 'Forward support rod 28 is then translated to the full-line position of Figure '7 so that its ends are seated in slot sections 30, after which the forward portion of the podium is released to seat the corresponding notches 22 and 23 upon rod 28. The podium is thus firmly but releasably supported at the desired elevation. As clearly appears from Figure 7, the grooved block 29 is secured to its panel 12 with its forward vertical edge flush against leg 6. 'The forward end of slot portion 31 is thereby closed so that rod 28 is confined against dropping out. The other block, corresponding to 29, is similarly fixed to panel 8, flush with leg 2.
As has been stated, means are provided 'to pivot the podium top 17 for elevation to any of'a number of positions one of which is shown at Figure 4. For this purpose I provide duplicate hinge means, one of which is shown upon Figure 9 and comprises a one-piece bracket 32 having wings 32a and 32b disposed in mutually normal planes. Each wing 32a is secured by screws 33 to the under side of top 17 at a respective forward corner thereof. Each wing 32b 'is provided with a pair of slots 34. Thus -still referring to Figure 9, a screw 35 passes through each slot into the inner surface of side panel 1?. The other bracket, that is, the one .hingingitop 17 to side'panel 18,, is :an vallochiral duplicate of the one just described.
The slots are arcuate in shape, as shown at .Figure 9. so
ems-1,6815 i edge to a number of positions about an axis which lies a little ahead of the front edge of the top.
A pair of notched racks 36 and 37 are provided to support the podium top in a selected position of pivotal adjustment. Referring more particularly to Figure 6, rack 36 is shown to have a longitudinal slot 38 one edge of which is serrated to form downwardly-extending notches 39. The upper end of the rack 36 is 'pivotally connected with the podium top by a bracket 40, secured to the top by screws 41. The axis-of pivot pin 42 is generally parallel with top 17 and .forwardly and rearwardly directed; but it has sumcient play to accommodate the slight angular motion in the vertical plane thereof as the top is pivotally moved. The rack 37 is a duplicate of the one just described but is mounted in reverse position as clearly shown upon Figure 2.
Again referring to Figure 6, the rear panel 24 has a pair of knobs, such as 43, fixed to its inner surface adjacent the top edge thereof. Knob 43 has a shank sized to fit smoothly within any of the notches 39, and a head which effectively retains rack 36 against displacement from the shank. Since rack 36 is pendulously suspended it is urged to a position in which a notch seats upon the shank of knob 43 but may be released therefrom to enable a change in pivotal position of the top, by a slight clockwise motion. Rack 37 is provided with a similar knob, not shown, and may be pivoted counterclockwise, as viewed upon Figure 2, to release it from its knob. Pull wires or cables 44 are secured to each rack, as shown upon Figure 6, and pass therefrom to an eyelet 45 (see also Figure 5) secured centrally to the top edge of panel 24, forwardly to a slidable grip or handle 46. In this way, when the handle is pulled forwardly, the cables are tautened and racks 36 and 37 are pivoted in opposite directions, in a manner clear from Figure 1, to release them from their .respective knobs so that the top can be manu ally adjusted to a desired position. When so'adjusted, release of the handle enables the racks to pivot downwardly and seat the appropriate notches over the shanks of the knobs to thereby support the podium top in the selected position of pivotal adjustment. If desired or necessary, springs, not shown, may be added urging racks 36 and 37 counterclockwise and clockwise, respectively, as the parts are viewed upon Figure 2, to assure holding engagement of each rack when thepull on cables 44 is released. As indicated upon Figure 5, a .recess 47 is provided in desk top 14 at the central part ofedge 16 to enable podium top 17 to be grasped.
A further feature of the invention is a bar or ledge adjustable vertically at the forward edge of the podium top, from a first position wherein it prevents articles from sliding off when the top is tilted, to a second position flush with the top. Referring to Figures 1 and 10, a bar 48 is mounted in contiguous coextensive relation with the forward edge of podium top 17. The bar is provided with slots 49 whose shape in the general form of a C is clearly shown upon Figure 10. A pair of headediscrews 50 are secured in the forward edge of the top andextend through the respective slots in symmetrical relation therewith. As will be clear from inspection of the figure, ledge 48 when in the position shown, has its upper edge elevated above the plane of podium top 17 so that articles thereon are prevented from sliding off and books and papers are held in proper position. When it is desired to .lowerthe bar or ledge toa position substantially flush with the upper surface of top 17, it is raised slightly, slid to the right, moved downwardly so that pins 50 traverse the vertical portions of the slots and again moved to the left. When released in either of the positions noted, the short vertical ends of the slots drop over the pins and lock the bar against longitudinal movement.
Assuming the parts to be in the positions of adjustment .shown upon Figure 2, when it is desired to use the desk as a lectern, the user places the fingers :of his left hand .in opening :47 to grasp top 17, and his right hand under the forward edge of the top, and applies a lift. The top pivots to its maximum position of elevation after which theentire podium is translated upwardly. If desired, a releasable clasp, hook or latch may be provided between the podium top and box to retain the top in horizontal position during upward translation, after which it may be freed for pivotal adjustment. During translation the upwardly and forwardly directed notches of racks 25 and 26 automatically cam the podium slightly forward. Simultaneously the downwardly and forwardly directed notches 22 and 23 act to cam rod 28 forwardly along slot portions 39 so that there is no impediment to upward movement of the podium. When the podium is at the desired elevation, a slight rearward motion thereof causes the ends of rods 27 to again seat in the appropriate pair of notches of racks 25 and 26. The podium is then slightly tilted about the axis of rod 27 so that the forward holding rod 28 may move into the holding position shown in full lines upon Figure 7. Release of the podium then permits the appropriate notches 22 and 23 to seat over rod 28 and thus positively support it in the desired position of elevation. Thereafter the angle of elevation of top 17 may be adjusted after pulling forward on handle 46. Release of the handle locks the top in adjusted position in the manner previously explained.
When it is desired to restore the podium to use as a desk, or to lower thte top thereof, the-podium is slightly raised to relieve rod 28 of all weight. The rod is then shifted forwardly into the dotted line position of Figure 7 and the podium is moved slightly forward to free rod 27 from racks 25 and 26 after which it may be lowered to the desired position. Return of rod 28 to holding position in conjunction with a slight upward tilt of the forward edge of the podium elfects secure adjustment into the new position.
An alternative construction is contemplated wherein the central portion of rod 28 is eliminated, to afford added knee room when the podium is elevated, say to the position shown upon Figure 1. Two metal plates each have a slot of the size and shape shown upon Figure 7 and each plate is secured, as by screws, to its respective panel 8 and 12 in the same position as in Figure 7 but slightly inwardly offset therefrom. A pin or stud has a shank passing through its respective slot, and a flat integral head positioned between the corresponding panel and offset plate, so that each pin is slidable in its slot but retained against axial movement and, of course, against twisting in planes normal to the panels. Each stud projects inwardly far enough to seat in notches 22 and 23, respectively.
It is thus apparent that I have provided a desk of great utility particularly for class and lecture rooms. When the instructor wishes to lecture or to hear recitations while sitting, the desk will be used with the podium structure fully lowered to afford a flat-topped desk with full and ample leg room. When the instructor wishes to lecture or to conduct a class while standing, the podium can be quickly elevated to any of a plurality of positions and its top tilted at a desired angle. Since the podium is relatively light in weight, very little eifort is needed to adjust it. The invention is equally useful where a desk convertible to use for accounting, drafting or supporting reference works, is desired.
While I have disclosed the preferred form of the invention as now known to me, various modifications and substitutions of equivalents will be obvious or will readily occur to those skilled in the art after a study of the foregoing specification. Hence it is my desire and intention that the foregoing disclosure shall be taken in an illustrative rather than a limiting sense; and I wish to reserve all equivalent and modified structures within the scope of the subjoined claims.
Having now fully disclosed the invention, what I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
1. In a desk convertible to use as a lectern, a supporting base including a top panel, there being a cut-out in said panel, a podium including a top fitting said cut-out, means carried by said support guiding said podium for vertical translation from a first position wherein its top is coplanar with said desk top, to a selected one of a plurality of positions vertically with respect thereto, and means carried by said base and podium and operable to support said podium in a selected one of said plurality of positions, said means comprising a pair of laterally-:
spaced, vertically-disposed racks fixed with said podium and a second pair of laterally-spaced, vertically-disposed racks fixed with said base.
2. A convertible desk comprising, a support element including a first pair of laterally-spaced vertically-disposed notchedracks fixed therewith, a podium including a pair of laterally-spaced sides and carried by said element for.
vertical translation as a unit with respect thereto, said sides having a second pair of laterally-spaced, verticallydisposed notched racks spaced forwardly of said first pair of racks, first abutment means carried by said podium for engagement in and support by a selected pairs of notches of said first pair of racks, and second abutment means carried by said support element for engagement in and support of said second pair of racks.
3. A convertible desk comprising, a desk element including a first pair of laterally-spaced, vertically-disposed racks at its rearward side, a podium mounted for vertical translation on and with respect to said desk element, saidpodium comprising a top and a second pair of laterallyspaced, vertically-disposed racks forwardly of said first pair of racks, first abutment means fixed to the rear of 'of said first pair of racks, for support thereby, and second abutment means carried by said desk element and forwardly and rearwardly adjustable from a first position engaging in a selected pair of notches of said second pair of racks to a second position free thereof.
4. A lectern desk comprising, a desk base including a flat top having a rectangular aperture opening through its forward edge, a podium including a flat top shaped to fit said aperture in coplanar relation with said desk top, a first pair of racks secured to said base at the respective rear corners of said aperture, and presenting a plurality of vertically-spaced, forwardly and upwardly directed notches, a second pair of racks fixed with said podium at the forward corners ofsaid podium top and presenting a plurality of vertically-spaced, forwardly and downward ly directed notches, first abutment means fixed with said podium and releasably engageable within any of a selected pair of notches of said first pair of racks for support thereby, second abutment means mounted on said base at the forward corners of said aperture and shiftable forwardly and rearwardly from a first position engageable in any of a selected pair of notches of said second pair of racks, to a second position wherein it may be freed of said notches of said second pair of racks, upward movement of said podium automatically operating through said first pair of racks and first abutment means to cam said podium forwardly and thereby shift said second abutment means to its said second position, and means releasably holding said second abutment means in its said second position.
5. A lectern desk as defined in claim 4, said last-named means including a pair of like, confronting slots in said desk base at the forward corners of said aperture, said slots being in the form of an inverted V, and a rod having its ends slidable in and along said slots and supported thereby.
6. In a podium desk, a desk base, a podium supported by said base for vertical adjustment relatively thereto, a first pair of vertically-disposed rack members fixed with said base, a second pair of vertically-disposed rack memq 2, 531 ,ees
bers iixed withsaidpodium, first abutment means carried by said podium forengagement with said first pair of rack members, andsecond abutment means carried by said base for engagement with said second pair of rack members, whereby said podium is supported by all said rack members in a selected position of vetrical adjustment.
7. A podium desk as in'claim '6, and means mounting said-second abutment means on said base for horizontal translation between first and second positions respectively toward and from said first pair of rack members.
8. Ina desk convertible to use as a lectern, a desk base, a podium supported by said base for adjustment to aselected one of a plurality of positions vertically above said base, a rearward pair of vertically-disposed, laterally-spaced rack members fixed with said base and defining upwardly and forwardly extending notches, a forward pair of laterally-spaced, vertically-disposed rack members fixed with said podium and defining downwardly and forwardly extending notches, first abutment means carried by said podium for selective engagement in corresponding notches of said rearward'p'air of rack members, and sec ond abutment means carried by said desk base for selective engagement in corresponding notches of said forward pair of rack members.
9. in alectern desk, a desk base having a top provided witii'a cut-out, a firstpair of racks defining a plurality of superposed upwardly and forwardly extending notches and fixed with said base in vertically-disposed, laterallyspaced relation at the rear of said cut-out, a podium comprising a top and right and left side members secured to said top and mounted within said cut-out for guided vertical'translation froma lowermost position substantialiy flush with said desk top, to a plurality of adjusted positions above'said desk top, a second pair of racks defining a plurality of superposed downwardly and forwardly extending notches fixed with said side members, respectively, at the forward portions thereof, said podium having limited forward and rearward translation within said cut-out, first abutment means fixed with said side members at the rear thereof and adapted to seat within and be supported by any of a selected pair of corresponding notches of said first pair of racks, second abutment means" mounted on" said base to engage in any of a -'selected pair of corresponding notches of said second pair of rac'ks,- and means mounting said second abutment means on said base for movement from a rearward positionengaging in a selected corresponding pair of notches of said second pair of racks, to a forward position free and clear of said second pair of racks, whereby vertical movement of said podium acts to cam said first abutment means out of engagement with the notches of said first pair of racks andto cam said second abutment means to forward position.
10. In a lectern desk, a floor-supported base including a flat desktop having a cut-out opening through its forward edge, a podium including a top shaped to fit said cut-out in coplanar relation with said desk top, means including first and second pairs of notched racks fixed with said base and podium, respectively, first abutment means carried by said podium and releasably engaged;
with selected notches of said first pair of racks, and second abutment means carried by Said base and releasably engaged with selected notches of said second pair of racks, all said racks and abutment means cooperating to support said podium in a selected one of a plurality of positions elevated above said desk top.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 259,208 Pursell June 6, 1882 294,388 Hull Mar. 4, 1884- 654,922 Schipkowsky July 31, 1.900 1,188,792 Kormendy June 27, 1916 1,358,103 Manon May 10, 1932 2,019,455 Lehman Oct. 29, 1935- 2,436,773 Lambert Feb. 24, 1948 FOREIGN PATENTS 2,248 Great Britain 1798 528,296 Germany Aug. 22, 1929 136,873 Switzerland Feb. 17, 1930v 1,011,034 France June 18, 1952 924,099 Germany Feb. 24, 1955