US 3013644 A
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G. SMITH ET AL V-TRACK CEILING STRUCTURE Dec. 19, 1961 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Dec. 24, 1956 m m 5 M 6 G. SMITH ET AL V-TRACK CEILING STRUCTURE Dec. 19, 1961 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Dec. 24, 1956 INVENIOR.
United States Patent 3,013,644 V-TRACK CEHLING STRUCTURE Geau Smith and Gilbert Tuten, hicago, 111;, assignors to Luminous Ceilings, line, Chicago, ill., a corporation of Illinois Filed Dec. 24, 1955, Ser. No. 630,413 6 Claims. (Cl. 189-85) This invention relates to luminous ceiling installations, and has as its principal object the provision of simplified interfitting and interlocking structural components which can be assembled quickly and with ordinary tools to construct a subceiling framework or grid to support an assembly of translucent panels constituting a secondary or subceiling which will be illuminated from behind, usually by fluorescent lamps distributed in the plenum afforded between the luminous or virtual ceiling and the actual ceiling.
More particularly, the invention provides simplified, interfitting and interlocking structural members for the purposes specified and characterized by a certain flanged, V-shaped construction having reduced mass with good load-bearing strength in relation to a minimized. bulk especially in the transverse dimensions, by reason of which the framework afforded thereby is rendered relatively inconspicuous, and blends in a decorative manner with the pattern of the ceiling panels carried thereby.
Other objects and features of novelty and utility characteristic of the invention relate to details of construction and operation of the illustrative embodiment described hereafter in view of the annexed drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a skeletonized perspective fragment of a subceiling grid utilizing the new V-track structure and components;
FIG. 2 is a sectional detail of a track junction looking in the direction of lines 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged perspective detail of a junctio bracket or connector;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged perspective detail of a track connector clip;
FIG. 5 is a perspective detail of a track hanger;
FIG. 6 is a bottom plan View of a portion of the sub-ceiling grid with a translucent panel in position (looking upwardly);
PG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary section taken through a pair of tracks and a panel engaged therewith as seen along lines 7--7 of FIG. 6 and illustrating the panel interlocking means;
FIG. 8 is an enlarged sectional fragment with portions seen in elevation in the direction of lines 8-45 of FIG; '7 and showing another view of the panel interlock.
Referring to FIG. 1, the luminous ceiling installation begins-with the attachment of lengths of wall bracket 10 along the existing walls at the desired level or snap-line for the sub-ceiling. Said wall brackets have a wide bot tom flange 11. and a much narrower top connector flange 12 with which track connectors 13 are interlocked.
The connectors 13 as detailed in FIG. 3 are'madeof suitable sheet metal and are T' -shaped with a Wide stem 13Acand a narrow cross piece 13B from which depend locking lugs 14 spaced in pairs to straddle the top connector. flanges 12 on the wall brackets, the lugs on the free. edge side of the connector flanges being crimpcd under to seize the wall bracket when'the connectors are locatedin their final positions.
Connectors 13 are spaced. along the wall at suitable intervals depending on the spacing of the lengthwise or long track sections and also the. dividers. or crosswise tracks, as depicted in FIG. 6, wherein. the wall bracket is designated atlt) and two connectors 13X are indicated, the same each supporting an end of. one of the short dividing track sections 15, which are supported at their opposite ends by a somewhat different type of connector 20 (to be described hereafter) engaging the long track sections 16 which usually span the entire length of a room.
The dividing tracks 15 are the shorter lengths used to subdivide the space between the long tracks to form the rectangular grid array required to support plastic panels 19 of the square configuration shown.
As depicted in FIG. 1, the relationship of dividing tracks to the main or long track sections may be further visualized by considering the short cross section 15 as a dividing track, while the longer section 1.6 is representative of one of the main lengthwise tracks, the portion at 17 being illustrative of a corner junction.
The short dividing tracks are basically of the same construction as the long sections in that both types consist essentially of a trough-like beam. which is V-shaped in general cross section with inwardly-directed top flanges 15A, FIGS. 1 and 7, because of which the sectional character of the tracks may be also defined as somewhat heart-shaped.
The dimensions, and particularly the breadth across the top of these track sections 15 at the top flanges 15A are such as to interfit slidably with the stem parts 13A of the wall connectors as well as with complementary V- shaped coupling inserts 18 which are employed to join two main track sections by telescoping interfit therewith as indicated at 18X, FIG. 1, by means of which any length of track may be built up from pre-cut lengths.
The shorter dividing track sections 15 differ from the long sectionsonly in the manner in which they are conjoined with transverse tracks, the wall bracket connectors 13 having been already described as one of the connecting means for the latter purpose, so that there remains to be explained only the track connector means for effecting track-to-track junctions.
The track connectors 20 (FIG. 1). consist of an elongated piece of metal. of a width to fit firmly in beneath the top flanges 15A of the divider tracks to a depthv at which a locking cut-out or slot 26A near one end thereof registers with complementary locking-notch formations lSXpunched out of the top flange portions A thereof whereupon. the connector is locked home by application of a spring retaining clip 22 snapped into the registered lockingformations, as shown along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1 or in the corresponding sectional detail of FIG. 2.
At the-end of each. track connector member 20 opposite the locking formation ZtiA thereof is a laterally-extending down-turned endwise tongue ZtiB having oppositely aligned side notches. ZtlC forming an' interlock to engage in locking notches 16X formed at intervals in. the top flange portions of the track sections.
Means for intermediatelysupporting the weight of long trackspans from. the actual. ceiling comprises metal track hangers 30 such as shown. at the left of FIG. 1 and in the detail of FIG. 5.. In the. latter view, the hanger is seento comprisea fiat piece having a median slit 31 run longitudinally from, one end inwardly partially along the length thereof so as: to provide two tabs which are respectively bent in: opposite directions outwardly and upwardly to define opposite. angular legs or hooks 32,. 33 pitched. to conform to the angle of the sidewalls of the V-shaped. track. sections so as to telescope snugly into the trough of the track beneath the top flanges 16A thereof,as shown at the, left of FIG. 1.
The track hangers are further provided with an apertu-re 35 for attachmentthereto of suspension rod or wire 34 extended from the; actual ceiling. or the lighting installation; and in order to facilitate the initial installation of the hangers-at the various load-positions they are especially contrived to snap into place by reason of their being formed of thin metal stock which is somewhat springy so that the legs 31, 32 can simply be pressed directly into the trough of the track and sprung into position instead of being telescoped endwise therein, with adjustment easily made by sliding them as necessary into final position.
For corner angles there are provided special angular corner fittings 17 such as shown at the lower right of FIG. 1, the same consisting of a pair of V-section insert couplings 40, 41 secured, as by welding, to a pair of short, mitred, outer V-section tracks 4-2, 43, butt-jointed as at 44 and usually having no top flanges. One insert portion 40 can be fitted into the confronting track section 16, and the companion insert portion can be fitted into another transverse track section 18 to complete the corner angle.
As depicted in FIGS. 7 and 8, the plastic ceiling panels 19 are provided with marginal flanges 19F on all four sides thereof, said flanges resting upon the top flange portions 15A, 16A, etc. of the appertaining supporting track sections in the gridwork.
The panels 19, moreover, are releasably locked in position on the tracks by means of integrally-formed locking projections or bulges 191 located thereon at intervals around the perimeter thereof close beneath the appertaining marginal flanges 19F. The locking protrusions 19? have a sidewall portion as at 19PX pitched conformably to the pitch of the confronting sidewall portions of the V-tracks so as to fit snugly in a form of snap fit therewith, whereby the panels of the entire array are individually locked in place sufliciently to prevent dislodgment and rattling from air currents and like disturbances, while being readily releasable for cleaning and replacement purposes.
It will now be apparent that once the wall brackets are installed around the snap line, a few hanger brackets 30 may be spotted at critical positions in sufiicient numbers to support long track sections in initial positions preparatory to building up the complete framework, and the initial erection of such long track sections is a matter of snapping the hanger brackets 36 into engagement ther with at critical points, as needed, the full inventory of components being filled in from time to time as the gridwork assumes completed form with dividing tracks 15 also set into position with equal despatch by booking in the track connector portions 13, 20, and snapping the spring locks 22 home, as previously described.
When the ceiling panels are finally in position, the bottom view of the visible portion of the tracks presents a narrow wedgeshaped conformation which blends well in between the adjoining margins of the panels resting thereon.
1. For use in virtual ceiling installations, a grid structure of lengthwise and crosswise members comprising elongated supporting tracks of V-shaped cross section with the V- opening uppermost and provided with opposite inturned lengthwise flanges, and means for joining lengths of said tracks in a rectangular grid array comprising V-shaped coupling sleeves telescoping into confronting end portions of linearly aligned lengthwise track sections, and flat end connectors telescoping into the ends of certain crosswise track sections beneath the flanges thereof and each having endwise flange-engaging means fitted onto a top flange on a grid member running at right angles to the appertaining cross track supported by said end connectors with a down-turned offset extending past the edge of said last-mentioned top flange.
2. In a grid structure according to claim 1, intermediate suspension means for the track sections cooperable with the top flanges running along the top edges of the tracks, and comprising one or more hangers in the form of a plate having at least two tabs at an end thereof respectively offset outwardly and upwardly on opposite sides of the plate at an angle corresponding to the sidewall angles of the V-section of the tracks and of a dimension and fitted conformably into the trough of the V-section beneath the top flanges thereof, said hangers being adapted for supported attachment to a. hanging member fixed thereabovel 3. In a ceiling grid structure of the type assembled from elongated track sections interconnected in rectangular array, improvements comprising: track sections in the form of hollow metal tracks of V-shaped cross section having opposite longitudinally-extensive marginal portions turned inwardly to define flat, top flanges spaced apart medially along the section; and means for supporting said grid structure with said sections connected to tranversely extending sections in the rectangular array aforesaid and comprising conjunction end connectors and wall bracket end connectors each of said connectors comprising an elongated plate portion telescoping at an inner end into an end of a track section and fitting snugly therein close beneath said top flanges; each of said connectors having an outer end portion with formations therein each interlockingly engaging with one of the top flanges in a transversely-extending grid section conjoined therewith; at least some of said connectors at said inner end portions thereof having notch means registering with complementary notch means formed in the top flanges of a conjoined section, and removable spring clip means snapping into said registered notches to interlock the appertaining conjoined parts.
4. A suspension-type grid structure for supporting ceiling panels, and comprising elongated lengthwise and crosswise open-top grid channels and end-connecting means therefor, said channels being of V-cross section in which the top marginal portions of the channels are turned inwardly toward each other to provide opposite, horizontal flanges spaced apart to leave a median top opening; certain channels being connected end to end by insert connector channels of V-cross section without flanges, and fitted snugly telescopingly endwise into the aforesaid certain conjoined channels; certain crosswise channels being supported at opposite ends between adjacent parallel lengthwise channels by means of substantially flat end connector plates each having a flat blade portion fitted snugly and telescopingly into an end of one of said channels to lie close beneath the top flanges thereof, and each having an endwise, downturned flange portion projecting into said top opening and bearing upon, and interlocking with a flange portion of the member to which said endwise connector portion is joined as aforesaid.
5. In a ceiling structure according to claim 4, supporting means for use in suspension of certain of the conjoined grid sections from a ceiling and comprising: hanger inserts in the form of springy metal plates each having a shank with an inwardly-directed slit dividing the same into two prongs, a portion of each prong being bent back at an angle oppositely from the other in the manner of flat hooks such that the angles of the two bends conform to the angles of the side-walls of the V- track so as to fit closely into the hollow thereof either endwise or by forcing directly downward into the median opening of the sections.
6. In a grid structure of the class described, hollow track sections of V-shaped cross section each having longitudinal top marginal portions turned inwardly to define opposite horizontal top flanges spaced apart along the middle of the track, said top flanges defining a seating surface for ceiling panels and a retaining means for V- shaped channel couplers telescoped therein, said track ections further provided with coupling means for endwise juncture with transversely-running sections, said coupling means comprising: an elongated plate slidably interfitting endwise into a V-section beneath said top flanges and having near one innermost end a slot and at the opposite end a notched ofiset engaging in a complementary notch in one of said transverse sections, the
track section into which said plate is fitted having in the top flanges thereof notch means registering with the slot in the plate, and a spring insert clip removably snapping into the registered slot and notch means of the respective plate and track section aforesaid to secure the plate in the track section.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 6 Randall Dec. 5, 1933 Offutt et a1. July 30, 1935 Van Uum July 6-, 1937 Pender Oct. 10, 1939 Wright Jan. 5, 1943 Fowles et al. May 16, 1944 Finch Aug. 24, 1948 Price Apr. 19, 1955 Church July 30, 1957 FOREIGN PATENTS Austria Jan. 25, 1910 Great Britain May 22, 1947 Great Britain July 18, 1949