US 2983535 A
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May 9, 1961 D. S.:HENN|NG LIGHTING FIXTURE'AND FASTENER THEREFOR 2 Sheets-Sheet 11 Filed Jan. 13, 1958 INVENTQR. flomlld".
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LIGHTING FIXTURE AND FASTENER THEREF'QR Filed Jan. 1a, 1958 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 fic i F1565 INVENTOR: Donald ii'fenmrzg nitef 2,983,535 LIGHTING FEXTURE AND FASTENER THEREFQR Donald S. Henning, Glenview, Ill., assignor, by mesne assignments, to Curtis-Allbrite Lighting, ind, Chicago, 11]., a corporation of Delaware Filed Jan. 13, 1958, Ser. No. 708,626 6 Claims. (Cl. 292-17) This invention relates to a fixture, such as a lighting fixture to be supported in a frame or housing, and more particularly to an assembly embodying a spring element which can hold a closure against a fixture housing independently of the tension in it.
Housing fixtures for supporting appliances such as lights, fans, or loudspeakers, are provided with an opening so that access may be had to the housing interior for adjusting or replacing the appliance inside. This opening is usually closed off by a removable closure which may also serve as a decorative trim plate in the event the fixture is flush mounted in the ceiling or wall, or it may erve as an acoustical or light lens depending upon the appliance mounted inside the housing. Since fixtures are frequently mounted in elevated or relatively inaccessible locations, and since these closures may be bulky and awkward to handle in these locations, it would be desirable to be able to secure them to the housing by a locking means which does not require the use of auxiliary tools.
One way of doing this has been to mount a pair of torsion springs on the closure. The prior torsion springs were expensive to fabricate because they involved the production of a precision made spring coil or bight portion with ends terminating in continuously and uniformly outwardly diverging arms or legs. The coil or bight portion of the springs was mounted on each side of the closure with their diverging arms extended upwardly toward torsion spring retaining slots which were formed in the housing. The length of these slots was such that the arms on the torsion springs had to be squeezed together to permit them to pass 'therethrough. After the arms on these torsion springs were in the slots, they were released and diverged toward their expanded tension free position. Their frictional, resilient engagement with the opposite ends of the spring retaining slots prevented them from reaching this position. This engagement was intended to be with sufi'icient force to cause the closure to be held tightly against the housing opening. It is noted, however, that the springs had to be under continuous tension to hold the closure in its proper position.
This arrangement creates difiiculties because continuous tension or repeated flexing causes fatigue which changes the resilience or tension in the spring and this change is directly related to the manner in which the closure is held to the housing. As the tension or resilience of the spring decreases, the legs have to be compressed more to maintain sufiicient tension to lock the closure to the housing, but since the length of the spring retaining slots in the housing is fixed, this increased compression can only be provided by permitting the closure to hang beneath the housing in spaced relation to the housing openings suspended by the torsion springs. This situation could be corrected by replacing the torsion springs when they weaken, but because of the cost of the labor involved, this solution was undesirably expensive. Alternatively the conventional torsion springs could be formed from a more expensive and durable spring material so they can withstand both age and repeated flexing, but this is even more expensive because of the numbers of the fixtures which may be required, and in addition this approach is wasteful because some fixtures seldom need to be opened, so their torsion springs need not be as strong or expensive as those in fixtures which must be opened frequently,
What is needed, therefore, and comprises the principal object of this invention, is an assembly embodying a spring member for locking closures to fixture housings which functions independently of the tension in the spring.
A further object of this invention is to provide an assembly embodying a spring member for locking closures to fixture housings which is substantially unattected in operation by age or repeated flexing or changes in its resilience.
Another object of this invention is to provide a spring member for locking a closure to a fixture housing which is provided with legs having diverging and converging portions so that the engagement of the legs of the spring and the fixture housing does not depend upon the resilience of the spring.
Yet another object of this invention is to provide a spring member for locking a closure to a fixture housing which is entirely formed from a single length of stiff slightly resilient wire.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a spring member for locking a olosureto a. fixture housing which is easy to make and durable.
Another object of this invention is to provide a fixture for supporting appliances wherein use is made of a pair of resilient spring members for enabling displacement of a closure plate between normal and open position and which enables disengagement between the closure and one spring for rocking movement of the closure on the other to provide free access to the interior.
These and other objects of this invention will become more apparent when read in the light of the accompanying specifications and drawings wherein- Fig. l is a perspective view of a portion of the fixture housing with the closure held in tight engagement by means of the spring members;
Fig. 2 is a side elevational sectional View of the structure disclosed in Fig. 1 and showing in particular the position of the spring members inside the housing;
Fig. 3 is a side elevational sectional view of the structure disclosed in Fig. 2 but with the closure in extended or suspended position, and showing in dotted lines one of the spring members disconnected from the housing with the remaining spring member acting as a hinge;
Fig. 4 is a sectional view taken on the line 4-4 of Fig. 2 and looking in the direction indicated;
Fig. 5 is a sectional view taken. on the line 55 of Fig. 3 and looking in the direction indicated and showing in addition how the spring members have to be pressed together in overlapping relationship in order to separate the closure plate from the fixture housing;
Fig. 6 is a sectional view taken on the line 6-6 of Fig. 5 and looking in the direction indicated; and
Fig. 7 is a perspective view of a spring member embodying the features of this invention.
Referring now to Fig. l of the drawings, a fixture indicated generally by the reference numeral 10 for supporting appliances such as lights, fans, or loudspeakers, comprises a housing indicated generally by the reference numeral 12 and a closure indicated generally by the reference numeral 14. The closure shown in the drawings is a decorative trim plate for use with flush mounted light fixtures, but the principles of this invention would be equally applicable to other kinds of closures, such as light lenses or acoustical panels, depending upon the appliance mounted inside the fixture housing.
The housing, as shown in the drawings, see Fig. 2, has a stepped base or collar portion 16 which is secured to an upstanding cylin dr-ical portion but the shape of the housing is not important in this invention.
The stepped base or collar portion 16 of the housing has a somewhat planar lower surface 17 which is adapted to engage the portions '19 of the walls or ceiling surrounding the fixture receiving openings 21 for flush mounted installations, see Fig. 2. In additionthe base or collar portion 16 has a planar upper surface 18 which is substantially perpendicular to the axis of the cylindrical portion of the housing. Elongated spring receiving slots 20 are formed on the opposite sides of surface 18. A pair of holes 22 are positioned adjacent the ends of these slots for purposes to be described below. The edges 24 of the planar lower surface 17 of housing 12 define an opening 26, see Fig. 2, which is adapted to be partially closed by the closure or decorative trim plate 14.
The closure or trim plate 14 in the embodiment shown has a substantially planar ring shaped base flange 28 for engagement with portions 19 of the walls or ceilings surrounding the fixture reoeiving opening 21, and includes a decorative truncated conical tube projecting upwardly therefrom, see Fig. 2. A ring 32, L-shaped in cross section, has a supporting surface 33 which is rigidly secured to and coextensive with the upper surface of the base flange 28, see Figs. 2 and 6. Surface 33 is positioned in spaced parallel relationship below the spring receiving slots 20 on surface 18, and embossments and holes 34 are formed in this surface on opposite sides of ring 32 for purposes to be described below.
A pair of springs indicated generally by the reference numeral 36, see Fig. 7, are provided for holding the closure or trim plate 14 to the housing. Each spring is formed from a single length of stiff slightly resilient wire and includes a bight or base portion 38 and spaced arms or legs indicated generally by the reference numeral 40. The ends of the arms 40 adjacent the bight portion 38 are substantially perpendicular thereto and are disposed in substantially parallel relationship to each other. These ends are spaced apart a distance less than the length of the spring receiving slots 26 so they can pass freely therethrough. The length of this parallel portion of the arms corresponds to the spacing between the spring receiving slots 20 and the supporting surface 33 of the ring 32, see Fig. 4. For that reason, these portions of the arms are designated as spacing portions 42. The ends of portions 42 of the arms remote from the bight portion 38 are bent to form sharply diverging portions 44. The opposite ends of these sharply diverging portions of the arms are bent again to form spaced elbows 45 which lead to non-sharply diverging portions designated as 46. As seen in Fig. 4, portions 46 of the springs 36 actually converge, but this is not critical. It is only necessary for the bend or elbows 45 to be pronounced. For that reason, portions 46 could be parallel to each other, or even diverge slightly without impairing the operation of the spring. As seen in Fig. 1, the spacing between elbows 45 is greater than the length of slot 20 for purposes to be described below. The end of portions 46 of the arms remote from elbows 45 are bent over to form U-shaped hooks 43 terminating at 49. As seen in Figs. 6 and 7,
the bight portion 38 and the leg portions 42, 44 and 46 are all in different planes. This causes the major portion of the flexing load of the arms 40 to be carried at the bend or connection 39 between the bight portion 38 and the adjacent ends of the spacing portions 42 of the arms 40. This permits the springs to better withstand repeated flexing.
In assembled relation, the bight or base portion 38 of the springs is placed against the supporting surface 33 of ring 32 and under the embossment 34, which is small enough to project between arms '42 with the arms 40 projecting upwardly, as seen in Figs. 4 and 6. The retainer plates 50 are placed over the bight portion connecting bar 37 of both springs and fastened with rivets 51 to pivotally secure springs 36 to the closure 14, see Fig. 6. This pivotal connection is important because it permits the ends of the arms to pass through. the slots 20 without flexing the spring or Without precisely aligning the closure over the housing opening. With this arrangement, to secure the closure 14 to the housing 12, it is only necessary to compress the ends of the arms 40 of the spring, as shown in dotted lines in Fig. 5, until the spacing between elbows 45 of the arms is smaller than the length of the spring receiving slots 20, so that the springs 36 and arms 40 can be pivoted into position and passed therethrough. As stated above, the length of the spacing portions 42 of the arms is equal to the separation between the spring receiving slots 20 and the supporting surface 33 of ring 32 so that When the spring 36 is forced into the slot as far as it can go, the elbows 45 will have passed therethrough and come to rest just above surface 18, see Fig. 1. Then the arms 40 are released and permitted to diverge to their rest or substantially tension free condition, see Fig. 4. Since in rest position, the separation of elbows '45 of the arms is greater than the length of slots 20, these sharply diverging portions of the arms hold the closure plate 14 in closely spaced position against the housing opening 26 independently of the tension in the springs. in actual practice the springs will be substantially tension free, and what tension does exist in them is primarily due to the weight of the closure plate which exerts a downward force on the springs causing the sharply diverging portions 44 to bear against the ends of slots 20. This means that changes in the physical properties of the springs due to fatigue or repeated flexing would have no marked effect on their power to hold the closure plate against the housing. The springs would have to become almost completely flexible before the closure plate Would fall away from the housing. For that reason they do not have to be formed from expensive spring material. Y
To remove the closure plate from the housing when it is tightly held against opening 26, it is only necessary to exert a downward force on the closure plate 14, by hand or by a prying tool, which is sufficient to exceed the resistance of the arms 40 of the spring to compression. When the closure plate 14 is forced downward, the force exerted on the arm members 40 by the edges of the spring receiving slots 20 in the housing exerts a torque on them which causes them to move together as shown in the dotted lines in Fig. 5. When this happens the spacing between the bends or elbows 45 on the legs decreases sufliciently to permit the arms and elbows to move downward through the slots 20. This continues until the ends 49 of the U-shaped hooks 48 penetrate the holes 22. In this position, the closure is held suspended below the housing by a distance sutficient to permit access to the interior of the housing for purposes of repair or adjustment of the appliance inside. With this arrangement the closure can be repositioned in tight engagement with the housing by simply pushing it against the housing until the elbows 45 are again forced through slots 20. If this space should prove insufficient, one of the springs can easily be removed from its engagement with the housing by simply raising the closure plate until the ends 49 of the hooks 48 clear holes 22, and then compressing the arms 40 together until the spacing between the ends of the hook members is less than the length of the spring receiving slots 20 so that by again dropping the closure plate 14,
the spring arms 40 can pass completely through the spring.
receiving slots 20. In this position, the remaining spring 36 acts as a hinge member and permits the closure plate to pivot to a vertical position to provide unrestricted access to the interior of the housing, see Fig. 3. To com pletely remove the closure from the housing, it is only necessary to repeat this operation with the other spring.
The invention may be embodied in other forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof as set forth in the claims, and the present embodiment is therefore to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive and it is intended to include all changes which come within the scope and range of the claims.
1. An apparatus of the class described comprising in combination a housing, said housing having an opening therein, a closure adapted to close olf at least a portion of said opening, at least one spring, said spring having spaced arms, said spaced arms including spacing portions with intermediate sharply diverging portions connected thereto, a portion of said spring connected to said closure, said housing having at least one spring receiving slot, said spaced arms penetrating said spring receiving slot, the said portions of said spaced arms arranged so the arms releasably hold the closure tightly over said housing opening independently of the tension in the spring.
2. An apparatus of the class described comprising in combination a housing, said housing having an opening therein, a closure adapted to close oil at least a portion of said opening, at least one spring, said spring having a bight portion and including integrally connected arms, said arms having spaced substantially parallel spacing portions extendingfrom said bight portion and terminating in integral sharply diverging portions intermediate the ends of the arms, means connecting said closure to said bight portion of said spring, said housing having at least one spring receiving slot, in spaced relation to said connecting means, the separation when said closure covers said housing opening between said spring receiving slot in said housing and said connecting means substantially equal to the length of the substantially parallel spacing portions extending from the bight portion of said spring, whereby the closure can be releasably and tightly held over the housing opening independently of the tension in the spring.
3. A light fixture of the class described comprising in combination a housing, said housing having an opening therein, a trim plate adapted to close off at least a portion of said opening, a pair of springs, each spring made from a single length of stiff slightly resilient wire bent to form a bight portion with integrally connected arms, a pair of embossments integrally connected to said trim plate and mounted on opposite sides thereof, said embossments having retainer plates riveted over said bight portions of said springs to pivotally hold them on said trim plate, said arms having spaced substantially parallel spacing portions connected at one end to said bight portion and terminating in integrally connected sharply diverging portions intermediate the end of the arms to define thereby spaced elbows, U-shaped hooks in the ends of said arms facing said bight portion, said housing having spring receiving slots on opposite sides thereof and in spaced relation to a portion of said embossments, the length of said slots being less than the spacing between said elbows when the springs are in a tension-free condition, the separation when said trim plate covers said housing opening between the spring receiving slots in said housing and said portion of said embossments substantially equal to the length of the spacing portions of said arms whereby the trim plate may be releasably and tightly held over the housing opening independently of the tension in the springs by compressing the spring arms sufficiently to insert them in the spring receiving slots in the housing until the elbows pass therethrough, said housing provided with hook receiving holes positioned adjacent the opposite ends of said spring receiving slots, so that when the trim plate is pulled downward the ends of said U-shaped hooks penetrate said hook receiving holes and hold said trim plate in suspended position below said housing to permit access to the interior thereof to service the appliance inside, and permitting the trim plate to be repositioned in tight engagement with said housing by pushing the trim plate against it until the said elbows are again forced through said spring receiving slots.
4. The apparatus set forth in claim 3 wherein the bight portion, the substantially parallel spacing portions, and the sharply diverging portions of the springs are all in dilferent planes whereby the major portion or" the flexing load of the springs is carried at the connection between the bight portion and the adjacent ends of the spacing portions so that the springs can withstand repeated flexing without injury.
5. An article of manufacture comprising a spring formed from a single length of resilient wire, a portion of said wire bent in a plane forming a base, spacing portions extending upwardly substantially transverse to the base and secured thereto, the ends of said spacing portions remote from said base bent to form substantially upwardly extending sharply intermediate diverging portions defining thereby spaced elbows, said base, said spacing portions, and said sharply diverging portions of said spring all in difierent planes whereby the major portion of the flexing load of said spring members is carried at the connection between the base and the spacing portions so that the spring can withstand repeated flexing without fatigue.
6. An article of manufacture comprising a spring formed from a single length of resilient wire, a portion of said wire bent in a plane forming a base, spacing portions extending upwardly substantially transverse to the base and secured thereto, the ends of said spacing portions remote from said base bent to form substantially upwardly extending sharply intermediate diverging portions defining thereby spaced elbows, the opposite ends of said arms portions terminating in hooks bent to face said base, said spacing portions, said sharply diverging portions, and said base all in different planes whereby the major portion of the flexing load of said spring members is carried at the connection between said base and the spacing portions so that the spring can withstand repeated flexing without fatigue.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,896,590 Place Feb. 7, 1933 2,647,984 Falge Aug. 4, 1953 2,701,299 Florence Feb. 1, 1955 2,792,245 Dasher et al 'May 14, 1957 2,806,726 Broberg Sept. 17, 1957 FOREIGN PATENTS 557,651 Great Britain Nov. 30, 1943