US 2980283 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 18, 1961 A. R. BENTSEN FACEPLATE DESIGN WITH REMQVABLE INSERTS Filed June 27, 1958 Fica 2.
Invenfor Arrhuv F2. Bernsen His AHoYn g ice 2,980,283 Patented Apr. 18, 1961 FACEPLATE DESIGN WITH REMOVABLE INSERTS Arthur R. Bentsen, Liverpool, N.Y., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed June 27, 1958, Ser. No. 745,202
' 1 Claim. or. 220-242 The present invention relates to faceplates or covers for outlet boxes in which electrical wiring devices are mounted. In large homes, stores and other business establishments, wiring devices are often grouped together at a single wall location for ease in wiring each device, for a central location for controlling the electrical circuits, and to make them less conspicuous. An example in the home would be found most likely in the kitchen near the back door. There might be one switch for the kitchen ceiling light, a switch for the patio, a switch for the garage, another switch for the yard lights and a convenience outlet for servicing the kitchen table which might be located nearby. This amounts to five wiring devices, and if standard wiring devices were used, a five-gang outlet box would be necessary with a special faceplate having suitable openings so arranged as to accommodate these devices in a particular sequence. The living room near the front door might also have a similar gang of wiring devices and it will be understood that the manufacturer of faceplates must expend large sums of money for molding equipment and dies for manufacturing the various styles of faceplates with the various combinations of openings. Also, the wholesale and retail dealers who sell faceplates must carry a very heavy inventory of faceplates in order to satisfy their customers demands for such a large variety of faceplates.
The principal object of this invention is to provide a faceplate design with an open framework for accommodating removable inserts where the insects are fastened directly to'the wiring devices and hold the frame in place.
A further object of this invention is to provide a faceplate design with removable inserts where the positions of the underlying wiring devices are individually adjustable through the framework of the faceplate for ease in fastening the inserts to the devices.
A still further object of this invention is to provide a group of faceplate designs of open frames having from one to six or more rectangular openings, and of producing a series of metal inserts for accommodating the various wiring devices, where the inserts are fastened directly to the wiring devices and hold the frames in place.
The present invention comprises a series of molded plastic frames having from one to six or more rectangular openings for use with single or multiple gang boxes. Each rectangular opening is provided with a recessed ledge around the edge thereof for accommodating a removable metal insert that is seated against the ledge. Each insert is one of a family of inserts with openings for accommodating the various wiring devices such as convenience outlets, toggle switches, pushbutton switches, remote control switches or the interchangeable line of wiring devices.v
One important advantage in a faceplate design with removable inserts is that it incorporates an open frame of general utility. This open frame has slender sections which encircle the wiring devices and provide access to the fastening screws that hold the devices in the gang box. Thus, in a multi-gang box with the frame and only one insert in place, it is possible to adjust the positions of the other devices through the open frame.
My invention will be better understood from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing and its scope will be pointed out in the appended claim.
Figure 1 is a front elevational view of a two-gang faceplate with a metal insert for a duplex convenience outlet at the left and another metal insert for a toggle switch at the right.
Figure 2 is a cross-sectional elevational view taken on the line 22 of Figure 1 through the center of the decorative insert for the toggle switch.
Figure 3 is an exploded isometric view of the two-gang faceplate of Figure 1 showing the details of the recessed ledge around the openings for receiving the removable inserts.
Figure 4 represents on a reducedscale two examples of other types of inserts which would be included in a complete assortment of inserts for the various types of wiring devices used today.
Referring in detail to the drawing and particularly to Figure 3, 10 represents an open frame of slender sections having a pair of large rectangular openings 11 and 12. This frame 10 is of molded plastic material and covers a two-gang box, but it will be understood that this invention is usable in a collection of faceplates for the single gang up to and including the six-gang faceplate, which is conventionally the largest size obtainable. The twogang faceplate is merely used for illustration purposes as will be better understood hereinafter. Each rectangular opening 11 and 12 has a recessed ledge 13 that extends completely around the edge of each opening. As best seen in Figures 2 and 3, the front face 14 of the frame 10 is slightly concave from top to bottom, while the outer edges of the frame 10 are slightly beveled, as is clearly seen in Figure 1. Each rectangular opening 11 and 12 is adapted to receive a removable metalinsert of brass, cold rolled steel or anodized aluminum. Two examples of inserts are the insert 15 for a duplex convenience outlet, and an insert 16 for a toggle switch.
Every wiring device is provided with a mounting strap that is fastened at its ends over the face of a metal box by suitable screw fasteners. A duplex convenience outlet has an additional threaded opening through its center for receiving a fastening screw for attaching the faceplate. Hence, the insert 15 for a convenience outlet has a central hole 17 for receiving a screw fastener such as 24 in Figure 1 that is threaded into the mounting strap of the duplex convenience outlet. Every toggle switch has a mounting strap with a pair of threaded openings for receiving screws that hold the faceplate. Accordingly,- the insert 16 for the toggle switch has a pair of openings 18 for receiving fastening screws such as 19.
When installing wiring devices in an outlet box, it is very difficult to align each device perfertly parallel and equidistant from the other devices. It might not be too diflicult to align one device with another, but it becomes increasingly difiicul t as the number of devices increase. This has always presented an annoyingproblem in the past because the faceplates for the multi-gang boxes have their openings that receive the wiring devices perfectly centered for the ideal placement of the devices. This ideal is seldom attained and oftentimes one or more of the devices will not fit through the openings in the faceplate. This necessitates the complete removal of the faceplate and the readjustment of the devices until they are all properly in place. This difficulty has been obviated by the present invention since each removable insert is independently adjustable in the receiving openings 11 or 12 of the frame 10. Care must be taken to align the 1 3 7 devices in the approximate centered position, but it is possible to adjust the inserts to accommodate certain cases of'misalignment of the devices. Also, it is possible to adjust the position of the underlying wiring device without removing the entire faceplate. Thiscan be done before the insert'is in place since the wiring' device is exposedthrough the opening in the'frame. This is of particular importance in the exercise of the present inventionf';
Figure ,4 of the drawing shows two removable inserts 20 and 21 having different openings 22 and 23, respective- Insert 20 is'usable with three remote control switches, while insert 21 fits over three devices of the type known as'the interchangeable line of wiring devices. where as many as three devices may be mounted in-a single gang box.
' 1 Having described above my invention of a novel faceplate design with removable inserts, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in'this art that l' have provided more flexibility for both the manufacturer andthe sales distributor of wiring devices by dividing the faceplate, into a plastic frame for accepting various types of removable metal inserts that will accommodate the many types of wiring devicesthat are available. It is much cheaper to manufacture :andfstock the inserts than itis to keep a complete inventory of the entire line of 'faceplates. An
early attempt to defeat this problem which'has proved most successful has been the use of faceplates with breakofi strips such as is taught in the Benander Patent No. 2,212,145, which is assigned to the same assignee as is the present invention. An additional advantage inmy inventiomhowever, is that it is not necessary to perform a any operations on this faceplatelitoready itffor assembly to the devices. The inserts fit neatly into the openings of ly, for accommodating different types of wiring'devices.
Modifications of this invention will occur to those skilled in this art and it is to be'understood, therefore, that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments disclosed but that it is intended to cover all modifications within the true spirit and scope of this invention.
What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is: i v j a A faceplate for electrical wiring devices comprising a frame of slender sections with at least two rectangular openings, the faceplate being flat at one side, said side being adapted to abut a wall surface adjacent a multigang device box, each said rectangular opening at its top wd bottom having a recessed ledge, each said ledge transparent plastic sheet'would be held thereover by the 7 same fastening screws that hold the inserts to the devices. 1
Alternatively, a decorative vinyl strip could be glued over aplain'rnetal insert; The advantage of the vinyl strip would be that it is easily cleaned of finger marks by a damp cloth. 1
being laterally spaced from the said flat sideof the faceplate adapted to abut the wall surface, the surfacm of said ledges which face away from the said flat side of the faceplate being canted inwardly toward the said flat'side of the faceplate, two other ledges also'recessed from the said opening on either side thereof and joined to said canted ledges, said two other ledges being concavely cylindrical with their intermediate portions being closer to the said fiat side of the faceplate than their end portions, the surfaces of the top, bottom and 'sideiledges being continuous and facing away from the said flat side of the faceplate, a fiexible thin sheet metal insert-within each said rectangular opening in the faceplate, each insert having at least one screw-receiving hole so that a screw may extend therethrough and be threaded into a wiring device to holdthe insert and thus the faceplate over the device, the said inserts being free at their mid portions to bend inwardlyand contact, along their sides, the arcuate side ledges, the bending of the inserts producing a stress therein to spring bias the faceplate in its desired position ona wall. 7 V
References Cited in the file oflthis patent V UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,399,899 Kale 'Dec. 13, 1921 ,715,222 Chesler r May 28, 1929 2 2,634,016 7 Hagen L Apr. 7, 1953 2,824,662 Cole Feb. 25, 1958 FOREIGN PATENTS V r 321,184 Great Britain Nov. 1, 1929