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Publication numberUS3037594 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 5, 1962
Filing dateJul 29, 1959
Priority dateJul 29, 1959
Publication numberUS 3037594 A, US 3037594A, US-A-3037594, US3037594 A, US3037594A
InventorsKaufman Nathan S
Original AssigneeKaufman Nathan S
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Luminous ceiling structure and connector means therefor
US 3037594 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 5, 1962 3,037,594

LUMINOUS CEILING STRUCTURE AND CONNECTOR MEANS THEREFOR N. S. KAUFMAN Filed July 29, 1959 INVENTOR. NATHAN s. KAUFMAN ATTOR NEYS nited States The present invention relates in general to an overhead framework for supporting decorative or functional ceiling panels, and more particularly to an arrangement for a luminous ceiling structure.

It is the primary object of my invention to provide an arrangement of elements for an overhead framework of the character described which is easy to assemble and install.

Another object of my invention is to provide an improved connector element for assembling such a framework.

Still another object of my invention is to provide means for assembling such a framework with rigidity and uni formity of alignment and spacing.

Other objects and advantages of my invention will be apparent during the course of the following description.

FIG. 1 is an exploded fragmentary perspective view of an overhead framework which embodies the features of my invention.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary top plan view of the elements of FIG. 1 in assembled relationship.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view through one of the connected intersections of'the framework, taken as indicated on line 33 of FIG.'2.

FIG. 4 is a detail perspective view of one of the connector clamps embodying features of my invention.

The framework consists of a plurality of channel elements arranged in a modular pattern of predetermined dimensions and interconnected with each other in substantially rigid relationship by means of slidable connectors which prevent displacement of the channel elements from their interconnected positions. The assembled framework is suspended from an overhead or ceiling area by means of suitable adjustable supports and desirably is additionally secured at its periphery to the walls or other vertical support surfaces adjacent the ceiling area.

As shown in the drawings, the various channel elements comprise a side wall channel which is of J-shaped cross-section. The channel 10 has spaced parallel legs 11 and 12 interconnected by a web 13 at right angles thereto. In use, the web 13 lies against a vertical mounting surface such as a room wall 14 and the element 10 is disposed horizontally with the legs 11 and 12 projecting laterally into the room area. The leg 11 is shorter than the leg 12 and the channel is so disposed that the leg 11 is uppermost and the leg 12 projects beyond it to form a ledge. The web 13 is provided with a series of spaced mounting holes 15 which permit the channel 10 to be screwed or otherwise secured to the mounting surface 14 by suitable fasteners, as indicated at 16.

An end wall channel 17 of like cross-section having legs 11 and 12 and a connecting web 13 with spaced apertures 15 is horizontally secured to the intersecting wall surface 18 which is normal to the surface 14. The upper or short leg 11 of the channel 17 is provided at uniformly spaced points with a narrow transverse'cut-out or slot 19 which is of a width slightly greater than the thickness of the web of the main or longitudinal support element which it is designed to accommodate, and which will now be described.

A main or longitudinal track or support element 20 extends parallel and level with the side wall channel 10. The track 20 has an I-shaped cross-section defined by a horizontal upper flange 21, a parallel lower flange 22 atent 3,037,594 Patented June 5, 1962 ice 24 in the flange on each side of the median web 23. The

notch 24 is of sufficient length to permit ready insertion of the light-diffusing panels, this length being, for example, about six inches. The track 20 is so disposed that the notched end thereof is in horizontal transverse alignment with the notches 24 in like tracks 20 which are parallel and coextensive therewith, as well as with a like notch 24 which is provided in the upper leg 11 of the side wall channel 10, which is also coextensive with the track 20.

A cross-track or support element 25 of the same crosssectional configuration as the track 20, having upper and lower flanges 21 and 22 and a vertical web 23, extends parallel to the end Wall channel 17 and normal to the side wall channel 10 and the tracks 20 adjacent the ends thereof and in substantially the same horizontal plane. The upper flange 21 of the cross-track 25 is provided with narrow spaced slots 19 which are uniformly spaced from each other in longitudinal alignment with the slots 19 in the end wall channel 17. The symmetrical halves of v the tracks 20 and 25 which are disposed on opposite sides of the median web 23 define horizontally extending channels similar to the channels 10 and 17.

Asbest seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, a connector element 26 serves to secure the framework elements 10, 17, 20 and 25 in assembled relationship at the intersections thereof. The connector 26 comprises a body portion 27, two adjacent corners of which are rebent or folded into approximately parallel spaced relationship with the underside of the body 27 and form spaced symmetrical cars 28 adapted to straddle and underlie the flange 21 of the tracks 20 or 25. The connector 26 is made of any suitable material, such as steel, which has some degree of resiliency and the gap 29 which is defined between the ear 28 and the body 27 has a width or vertical dimension which is slightly less than twice the thickness of the flange 21, so that the connector slides easily onto and on the upper flange of track 20 or 25, but will'frictionally grip a double thickness of flange such as exists where the framework elements intersect and one of the flanges overlies another. To more readily guide the connector 26 into such frictional engagement, the forward'edge of each ear 28 is preferably formed with a short down-turned lip 30.

The connector 26 is provided at the forward edge of the body portion 27 with a vertically extending flange 31 having an opening 32 provided therein. The flange 31 serves both as a finger grip for grasping and moving the connector and as an upright ear to which one end of a suspension rod or hanger element 33 may be connected. The opposite ends of the suspension rod are provided with hooks 34, one of which passes through the aperture in flange 31 and the other of which engages an eye bolt or other securing element which is afiixed to an overhead surface in the ceiling area. A plurality of suspension rods 33 are utilized to support the framework and prevent any sag or unevenness therein. It is desirable that the rods 33 be adjustable in length, and to that end, I have shown a turnbuckle assembly 36 on the rod for accomplishing such adjustment when necessary.

in installing and assembling the framework, the wall channels 10 and 17 are first secured to the vertical support surfaces at the desired height to provide a rectangular periphery for the framework The ends of the channels 10 and 17 are disposed in overlapping relationship at the four corners of the framework where the channels meet, with the leg 11 of the side channel 10 underlying the leg 11 of the end Channel 17, These channels, as well as the tracks 20 and 25, are of such cross-section that they may be extruded elements of aluminum or the like, and it is further convenient and desirable that the thickness of the webs, legs and flanges be uniform in all the several framework members.

The side Wall channels are of a convenient predetermined uniform length which corresponds to the length of the panel to be retained therein. The end wall channels 17 are of a convenient predetermined uniform length which corresponds to a multiple of the width of the panel to be retained therein. For example, if the panel module is substantially eight feet long and three feet wide, the channel 10 will be provided in eight foot lengths and the channel 17 will be provided in nine foot lengths, with the slots 19 spaced three feet apart. Each end of the elements 10, 17 and 25 is formed with a cut-away portion 19a on the respective leg 11 or flange 21 which is equivalent to a half of the slot 19. Thus when two or more end channels 17 are mounted in linear abutment, the abutting ends will define a slot 19 formed by the two adjacent cut-away portions 19a in the leg 11. A similar result is achieved when the side channels 10 or the crosstracks 25 are disposed in linear abutment.

Assuming, for the purposes of example, that the framework is intended to provide a decorative area 40 feet long by 27 feet wide, five of the channels 10 would be used on each of the side walls and three of the channels 17 would be used on each of the end walls, which, when the tracks are assembled thereto, will provide a total of forty-five 3 x 8 panel-receiving modules.

The next step in the assembly is to secure three main tracks 20 to the end wall channel 17. A connector element 26 is slipped onto the flange 21 of the track 20 and the web 23 is inserted into the slot 19 in the channel 17 with the flange .21 resting on the leg 11 and the flange 22 resting on the leg 12. The connector 26 is then moved toward the end wall and the flange 21 and leg 11 are frictionallly gripped and retained by the connector. The slot 19 positions the end of the track at the required modular spacing from the side wall channel 10, and the slot 19 further maintains the track 20 normal to the channel 17 and parallel to the channel 10.

After three or more of the tracks 20 have been so secured, the free ends of the tracks 20 are similarly connected to a cross track 25. A slidable cap or shield 37, the purpose of which will become apparent as the description proceeds, is slipped onto the flange 21 of the track and then a connector 26 is slid onto the track 20. The web 23 of each track 20 is engaged in a slot 19 on the cross-track 25 and the connector 26 is moved into position to grip the flanges 21 of the tracks 20 and 25. It is to be noted that the bend 38 of the ears 28 serves as an abutment to prevent the connector 26 from extending beyond the plane of the web 23 of the crosstrack 25.

One end of the cross-track 25 engages the slot 19 formed by the abutting portions 19a of the side wall channel elements 10 and is there secured by a connector 26. Another group of three longitudinal tracks 20 is then secured to the opposite side of the cross-track 25, in alignment with the tracks 20 previously installed, by means of connectors 26 which are disposed with their upright flanges 31 in face-to-face relationship to the opposite connectors 26. The other end of this second group of tracks 20 is then secured to a second cross-track 25 in the manner above-described, which cross-track, in turn, is secured to the side wall channels 10. The process is continued until the opposite end wall channel 17 is reached and the final group of three tracks 20 is secured thereto.

Another group of three tracks 20 is then secured to an end wall channel 17, coextensive with and in the same manner as the group first assembled. A second crosstrack 25 is secured to the other ends of this group of tracks 20, and the cross-track is connected in alignment with the first-installed cross-track 25 by means of the pair of opposed connectors 26 which already are secured to the free end of the first cross-track. The previous steps are then continued and repeated until the entire framework is assembled by means of the slots 19 and the slide connectors 26.

The flexible light diffusing panels 39 or other decorative panels may then be inserted in the modular framework by feeding them through the entry notches 24 so as to be retained between the surfaces of the flanges 21 and 22 or the legs 11 and 12, as the case may be. Preferably the panels are inserted as partial sections of the framework are assembled, rather than after the complete framework is completed.

The cap or shield 37 is a flanged piece which is of suflicient length to cover the notch 24. It is slidable on the flange 21 of the track 20 to overlie the notch 24 after the panel 39 has been inserted and thus restrain any tendency of the panel to gap or bulge upwardly adjacent to the notches 24.

As previously indicated, the framework is further supported by means of adjustable suspension rods 33 having a hooked end 34 which traverses the opposed flanges 31 of each pair of connectors 26 and thus serves to tie the connectors together and prevent inadvertent displacement of the paired connectors 26.

Thus, by using the slots 19 to locate the tracks 20 in a uniform predetermined pattern and to position them at right angles to the cross elements, a uniform and accurately aligned parallelogram framework is readily assembled. The connectors or frictional clamp 26 serves to retain the structural elements in abutment and prevent any displacement of the elements at their intersections. Yet, when desired, the framework or any part thereof may be readily disassembled by slidably disengaging the connectors 26.

By factory pre-cutting and slotting of the framework elements accuracy is assured and economies are effected in installation time and cost without the necessity of utilizing special tools or skills. The use of the slidable connectors 26 eliminates any need for screwing, bending, riveting or other tedious or time-consuming metal-securing operations at the installation site or dependence upon the skill and judgment of the installer in locating and aligning the structural elements.

Although I have used a 3 x 8 module in describing the framework, it will be understood that other preselected modular dimensions may be utilized. Furthermore, it will be apparent that if the area to be covered is not an exact multiple of the modular elements in either length or width or both, a set of cross-members 17 and 25 or longitudinal members 10 and 20 may be easily cut to shorter length at the installation site to cover the area completely and properly. The framework will then comprise a dominant central group of the pre-selected modular panels and one or more peripheral groups of panels having a different modular dimension, as required.

It is to be understood that the forms of my invention, herewith shown and described, are to be taken as preferred examples of the same, and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangement of parts may be resorted to, without departing from the spirit of my invention, or the scope of the subjoined claims.

Having thus described my invention, I claim:

1. An overhead modular framework for supporting decorative panels, comprising a plurality of structural channel elements disposed in an intersecting parallelogram arrangement having portions of said elements in overlapping relationship, the mouths of parallel adjacent channels being disposed in horizontally-opposed relationship to define panel-retaining tracks, and resilient connector elements slidably carried by one group of parallel structural elements and slidably movable into clamping engagement with an intersecting group of structural eleits 'rnents at the intersections thereof to secure said groups of structural elements to each other, said connector elements having spaced opposed gripping surfaces engaging the overlapping portions of said structural elements, the space between said surfaces being normally less than the thickness of said overlapped portions.

2. An overhead modular framework as defined in claim 1, wherein said connector element comprises a body having portions thereof rebent into underlying relationship thereto to form spaced clamping ears, and an upright flange having an aperture therein for connection to an overhead support.

3. An overhead modular framework as defined in claim 2, wherein the forward edges of said ears are provided with a downwardly extending guide lip.

4. An overhead modular framework as defined in claim 2, wherein the pair of connector elements engaging opposite sides of an intersection are disposed in opposed relationship whereby the upright flanges thereof are proximate each other, and an overhead support member having a portion thereof traversing said pair of flanges and securing said pair of connectors against displacement relatively to each other.

5. An overhead modular framework for supporting a plurality of decorative panels, comprising a plurality of structural channel elements disposed in an intersecting parallelogram arrangement, the mouths of parallel adjacent channels being disposed in horizontally-opposed relationship to define panel-retaining tracks, one group of parallel structural elements being provided with a plurality of uniformly spaced recesses extending transversely thereof, a transverse group of parallel structural elements slidably engaging said recesses in intersecting overlapping engagement with said one group of structural elements, and movable connector means for frictionally securing said groups of elements to each other in said overlapping relationship, said connector means having a rebent flange defining spaced gripping surfaces, the space between said surfaces being normally less than the thickness of the overlapped portions of said intersecting structural elements.

6. An overhead modular framework as defined in claim 5, wherein each of the elements of said groups of structural elements consists of a pair of channels having a common vertical web portion and oppositely directed coplanar leg portions extending transversely to said web portion, said recesses are provided in the upper leg portion of each element of said one group of structural elements and said recesses are of a width adapted to slidably accommodate the web portions of the elements of said transverse group of structural elements and retain said latter elements against angular displacement relatively to said recessed elements.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,299,868 Steinheiser Apr. 8, 1919 2,155,709 Patterson Apr. 25, 1939 2,718,290 Segil Sept. 20, 1955 2,752,017 Segil June 26, 1956

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1299868 *Mar 8, 1918Apr 8, 1919Clarence G A SteinheiserCombined i-beam and rail-clamp.
US2155709 *Mar 17, 1936Apr 25, 1939Patterson John VBuilding unit
US2718290 *Mar 16, 1953Sep 20, 1955Lcon J SegilSafety drop-out means for ceiling panels
US2752017 *Nov 30, 1950Jun 26, 1956 Light diffusing ceiling construction
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3265420 *Feb 13, 1964Aug 9, 1966Amrol IncClip member
US3791089 *Jul 24, 1972Feb 12, 1974Alderman RSuspended ceiling
US3815309 *Oct 2, 1972Jun 11, 1974Specialties ConstFastening system
US4257205 *Jul 16, 1979Mar 24, 1981United States Gypsum CompanyAttachment system for suspended drywall ceiling panels
US5287668 *Jul 15, 1992Feb 22, 1994Capaul CorporationApparatus and method for refurbishing a ceiling grid to permit installation of ceiling panels
US5396748 *Mar 24, 1994Mar 14, 1995Rogers; David J.Joint construction for suspended ceiling system
US6192642Apr 10, 2000Feb 27, 2001Hunter Douglas Inc.Cladding system and panel for use in such system
US6199337 *Nov 20, 1996Mar 13, 2001Hunter Douglas Inc.Cladding system and panel for use in such system
US6427409Feb 14, 2001Aug 6, 2002Hunter Douglas Inc.Cladding system and panel for use in such system
US20090103314 *Oct 17, 2008Apr 23, 2009Illuminets, LlcSystem and method for providing decorative fluorexcent light fixtures
U.S. Classification52/664, 52/714, 52/506.6
International ClassificationE04B9/32, E04B9/00
Cooperative ClassificationE04B9/32
European ClassificationE04B9/32