US 3038565 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 12, 1962 J. K. BRUCE 3,038,
SUBTERRANEAN STRUCTURE Original Filed Nov. 15, 1955 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVFJVTOR. JQHN K BRUCE WIMLJM ATTORNEYS June 12, 1962 J. K. BRUCE 3,033,555
SUBTERRANEAN STRUCTURE Original Filed Nov. 15, 1955 4 Sheecs-Sheet 2 FIG. 4.
, INVEN TOR. JQHN K. RRUCE FIG. 2.
June 12, 1962 J. K. BRUCE 3,0
SUBTERRANEAN STRUCTURE Original Filed Nov. 15, 1955 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVEN TOR. JOHN K. BRUCE ATTORNEYS- June 12, 1962 J. K. BRUCE SUBTERRANEAN STRUCTURE 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Original Filed Nov. 15, 1955 N RR INVENTOR. JOH/V K BRUCE A TI'ORNEVS 3 Claims. (Cl. 189-1) The invention relates to subterranean structures and more particularly to such structures adaptable for human habitation for periods of short duration, and is a division of my co-pending application, Serial No. 546,945, filed November 15, 1955, now abandoned.
Recent and continuing international tensions have made some form of shelter against air attacks advisable for each family in large centers of population. Many forms of shelters both above and under ground have been developed. Most are adequate as shelters against the various forms of air attacks. However, few, if any, of these shelters are economically feasible to most families. The possibility of any return for the investment necessary to build an adequate conventional shelter is too remote.
The subterranean structure of the invention provides a shelter against air attacks and in addition provides a chamber usable as an extra room for the family. The structures every-day utility makes it economically more attractive. The invention contemplates a subterranean structure which comprises a habitable chamber and a vertical cylinder having an upper opening, the cylinder being connected to the chamber so that it extends from adjacent the bottom of the chamber to a point above the chamber. A closure is provided for the upper opening of the cylinder and there is means of access through the cylinder between the upper opening and the chamber.
Civil Defense authorities recommend that at least three feet of earth cover any structure being used as a shelter to absorb atomic radiation. Therefore, it is preferred that the structure of the invention be buried so that at least three feet of soil covers the top of the habitable chamber. The vertical cylinder protrudes sufficiently above the top of the buried chamber to give access from the outside. A spiral stair case within the cylinder makes access easy.
Sustained periods of habitation within the chamber -make preferable a ventilating system. Therefore, a preferred embodiment of the invention includes means for discharging pure air into the chamber. This may be done by means of a conventional blower provided at its intake side with an air filter.
Air exit is provided for by the closure for the upper opening of the vertical cylinder. The closure is rainproof but air permeable. The closure includes an annular ring having overlapping sectors movable within it and under a fixed sector integral with the rim. The closure is fixed to the rim by means accessible from Within the cylinder.
Burial of the habitable chamber of the invention introduces structural loading problems because of the weight of the protective soil covering the chamber.
Therefore it is preferable to brace the chamber externally. External bracing is advantageous in that it leaves the entire volume of the chamber as usable space. It is preferred that the chamber be of monocoque construction, since shell-like structures are very resistant to compressive forces. Such construction is achieved by using an arched member to which ends and bottom are welded in continuous waterproof welds.
Varying soil conditions make it advisable to provide a concrete base to support the chamber and the cylinder 3,@3$,565 Patented June 12, 1962 within the earth. By pouring a monolithic concrete slab which extends above the joint of the bottom wall of the structure with the various side walls of the structure, that part of the compressive load which tends to distend the side walls outwardly can be counterbalanced. The weight of the slab also resists upward ground Water pressures.
Bunks are suspended from the side walls of the chamber for people seeking shelter. The bunks are suspended from the side walls so that storage space is left beneath them for supplies essential to habitation for three or four days.
The spartan aspects of the structure as a mere shelter may be relieved by artistic treatment of the interior. Judicious use of color or even wallpaper can make the chamber pleasant.
The structure of the invention may be used as an extra room for the family. It may be located near the swimming pool for use as a room for changing clothes. Only the closure is visible above the ground, so the structure does not interfere With the utility of the space immediately surrounding it. Because it is subterranean and therefore cool, and equipped with air circulation means, the structure may be used as a temporary retreat during hot weather which may make the usual habitation insufferable. The sound absorbency of the surrounding earth makes the structure ideal as a playroom for the youthful portion of the family.
Many other uses for the room the structure provides will occur to those handicapped by inadequate normal living space.
Other advantages and details of the structure of the invention are apparent in the following detailed specification and drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a plan View of a preferred embodiment of "the subterranean structure of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional elevation of the preferred embodiment of the invention taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1 and illustrated within an excavation;
FIG. 3 is an elevation, partly in section, of the structure of FIG. 2 after the foundation has been poured;
FIG. 4 is a sectional elevation taken along line 44 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a plan View, partly broken away, of the closed closure of the preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary sectional elevation taken along line 66 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a plan view of the closure of FIG. 5 illustrated in the open position;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary sectional elevation taken along broken line 88 of FIG. 7; and
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary sectional elevation taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 7.
Referring to FIGS. 1 through 4, a habitable metallic chamber 11 is connected by a short corridor 12 to a metallic vertical cylinder 13. The cylinder extends from the bottom of the chamber to a few inches above the ground level 14. As may be best seen in FIGS. 2 and 4, the chamber has an arched roof 16 that is integral with vertical sides 17 and 18. A planar end wall 19 is continuous welded to the arched roof and the side walls. A second planar end wall 20 is welded to the roof and side walls at the end of the chamber adjacent the corridor. The second end wall has a rectangular doorway 21 opening from the chamber into the corridor.
A continuous bottom wall 22 supports the components of the chamber, the corridor and the vertical cylinder. The bottom wall is fixed to the above mentioned components in waterproof fashion such as by continuous welding.
A vertical pole 24, co-axial with the cylinder supports a spiral stairway 25. The stairway extends from the upper opening of the cylinder and spirals downwardly around the pole to a last step A located adjacent the joining of the corridor and the vertical cylinder.
A tangential extension 27 of a portion of the cylinder wall extends between the cylinder and the chamber forming one side of corridor 12. A narrow, vertical Wall 28 seals the opposite side of the corridor. A ceiling piece 29 is welded to the corridor walls, the side of the cylinder and the second end wall of the chamber.
Internal space in the chamber proper is preserved by using a system of external braces to augment the strength of the monocoque structure. A central brace 31 of angle iron is fixed, as by welding, to the outer surface of the integral arch top and side walls. It extends from the bottom of one side Wall across the arched top and down to the bottom of the other side wall. The central brace follows the contour of the side walls and arched roof throughout its length. Two intermediate braces 32, 33 are fixed to the outer surface of the chamber, one midway between the central brace and each end wall. The intermediate braces have a rectangular outer configuration and are cut out to fit the configuration of the chamber. Rigidifying strips 34, 35 and 36 are fixed to each intermediate brace at its top and on its sides respectively.
Two vertical braces 38, 39 are fastened externally to first end wall 19. The braces are T-shaped in cross section with the base of the T being welded to the first end wall. Corridor walls 27, 28 brace the second end wall. Transverse braces 40, 41 and 42 are fixed to the external surface of the bottom wall of the chamber and combine with longitudinal external braces 43, 44 to rigidify the bottom of the chamber.
The transverse braces rest upon six blocks such as the cement blocks 45 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 seated on the level bottom of an excavation 47. The blocks serve as spacers which gage the thickness of a concrete foundation 48 which becomes the permanent support for the structure.
FIG. 2 illustrates the structure in the excavation and resting upon the cement blocks. The excavation is proportioned so that the structure, when resting on the blocks, leaves an interval of three feet or more between the upper ground level and the roof of the chamber. A space of from four to six inches is desirable between the side reinforcing strips 35, 36 of the intermediate brace and side walls 49, 50 of the excavation.
When the concrete for the structure foundation is poured, the concrete flows under the structure and up around the walls of the chamber and the vertical cylinder. As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, the foundation has an integral rim 51 in contact with the vertical surfaces of the structure to a height of six to eight inches above the bottom of the structure. This rim or collar resists the distending resultant of the compressive load imposed by the earth above the arched roof of the chamber.
FIG. 4 illustrates the habitable chamber 11 equipped with four canvas bunks 53 pivotally mounted two on each side wall of the chamber. There is an upper and a lower bunk on eah cside wall. The bunks extend from the second end wall to a point short of the first end wall. Each bunk is supported by a catch 55 pivotally mounted to the second end wall and by a strap 56 pivotally mounted to the side wall. Each bunk may be swung back flat against the side wall of the chamber so that the floor area is clear. Either upper bunk may be swung against the wall so that the lower bunk can he used as a seat.
Shelves or chair may be set in the space between the ends of the bunks and the first end wall.
Structures have been built in which the clear floor space measures 5 /2 by 8 long. The extreme height of the arched roof is 6'4. These dimensions allow for adequate head clearance and make the chamber roomy enough for many uses.
A chamber of this size does not have a large volume of air. Means for replenishing the fresh air in the chamber add much to the chambers livability, therefore the preferred embodiment of the invention has a blower 60 (see PEG. I) mounted to corridor wall 27 just below corridor ceiling 29. The blower outlet discharges toward and into the chamber through the rectangular opening 21. An outlet pipe 61 extends through the corridor wall and bends upwardly for a distance sufficient to bring the pipe above ground level. The blower is mounted in the structure prior to filling soil around the structure so that the inlet pipe is protected through most of its length by the soil covering. If desired, an air filter 62 may be added to the inlet pipe to insure a supply of safe air.
A continuous supply of fresh air is thus added to the chamber. Therefore means must be provided to discharge spent air. Such means are embodied in a closure assembly 65 mounted at the upper opening of the vertical cylinder. The closure is air permeable and also rainproof.
The upper end of the vertical cylinder protrudes above the ground level a suflicient distance, say five or six inches, to preclude the entry of casual ground water. The unique construction of the closure assembly prevents rain from penetrating into the cylinder or the chamber.
The closure assembly includes an annular ring 67 whose diameter exceeds that of the vertical cylinder. A plurality of equally spaced spokes 68 extend outwardly from the upper portion of the cylinder and support the annular ring away from the upper opening of the cylinder. Each spoke has a plurality of cylindrical rollers 69 mounted to that portion of its shank extending between the cylinder and the annular ring. The function of the rollers will be explained later. A flange 70 extends inwardly from the top of the annular ring to form a horizontal rim which covers the space between the annular ring and the cylinder opening. A fixed sector 71 is an integral part of the flange and covers approximately one-quarter of the area bounded by the horizontal flange. Each radial edge of the fixed sector has a downwardly depending flange. As viewed in FIG. 8, a narrow flange 73 extends along the left radial edge of the fixed sector and a wide flange 74 extends along the right radial edge of the sector. The fixed sector is drilled adjacent its apex to receive a pivot bolt 75 which extends downwardly and is threaded into a plug 76 in the top of the vertical post 24. The plug is held in place within the post by a bolt 77.
The closure is secured to the cylinder by fastenings that are all accessible from within the cylinder. Bolt 77 may be unfastened so that the plug pulls out of the vertical post and the spokes that support the rim have nuts 79 that are reached from inside the cylinder. (See FIG. 9). The entire closure may be lifted from within the cylinder should normal operation of the closure be precluded by debris or blast damage.
Pivoted about the bolt 75 are three overlapping sectors. Each sector covers approximately one-quarter of the area defined by the horizontal flange of the closure. Each sector is made from a rigid material such as sheet steel and drilled near its apex to fit around pivot bolt 75. A first movable sector 80 has a downwardly depending flange 81 at its circumferential edge. The flange rests upon a number of the outer bank of rollers 69 journalled on the spokes. A second movable sector 82 has a similar downwardly depending flange 83 supported on the intermediate bank of rollers. A bottom movable sector 84 has a short flange 85 at its circumterential edge which rides on the innermost of the rollers ournalled on the spokes. The first, second and bottom movable sectors have annular, hollow rings 87, 88, 89 respectively fixed co-axially about a drilled hole near the apex of each sector. The hollow, annular rings proect upwardly and space the sectors along the length of the bolt 75. A friction Washer is interposed between each hollow, annular ring and the sector adjacent it.
Each of the first and second movable sectors has an upwardly extending flange 90, 91 respectively and a downwardly depending flange 92, 93 respectively.
Referring now to FIG. 5, the closure assembly is shown with the sectors positioned to close the upper opening of the cylinder. The sectors all overlap each other so that there is no opening visible in the plan view. Rainfall striking the closure assembly will tend to run ed the fixed sector and the first and second movable sectors onto the bottom movable sector. This runofi" is guided outward ly toward thecircumference of the sector by upwardly turned flanges 95, 96 extending along the radial edges of the bottom sector. Water is prevented from flowing past the apex of the bottom sector by the annular ring 89. The only discharge path for the water is outwardly over the circumferential edge of the bottom sector. Since this edge extends outwardly beyond the upper edge of the vertical cylinder, all rainfall contacting the closure assembly runs off onto the ground surrounding the closure.
The bottom movable sector has a handle 96 extending from the radial edge along which flange 96 extends to facilitate closing the sectors on emerging from the shelter (see FIG. 7). A downwardly depending handle 99 is mounted to the underside of the bottom sector adjacent to the opposite radial edge, i.e. that edge along which flange 95 extends, for moving the sectors from a position on the stairway.
In the closed position, upper handle 98 extends under and beyond flange 74 of the fixed sector. The closure assembly is designed so that a person standing on the fixed sector may reach down and push the bottom sector away from the fixed sector .and commence the opening of the closure to gain access to the spiral stairway in the vertical cylinder. The first upper step of the staircase is located directly below the bottom sector in its closed position, thus one can step directly from the fixed sector onto the first step. When the bottom sector has travelled approximately 90 in its circular pathway around the pivot bolt 75, a hand may be placed against the downwardly depending flange 93 of the second movable sector. Continuing pushing of the two sectors rotates both the bottom and second movable sectors about their pivot as the sectors are opened and descent of the spiral staircase can begin. Further movement of the bottom and second sectors brings the hand into contact with the downwardly depending flange 92 of the first movable sector. At this point bottom and second sectors are almost completely overlapped by the first movable sector. Further movement of the bottom sector pushes all three movable sectors beneath the fixed sector. Motion of the movable sectors in the opened direction (clockwise as viewed in FIG. 5) is stopped by the downwardly depending flange 74 of the fixed sector. FIG. 7 illustrates the position of the movable sectors just prior to the striking of the flange of the fixed sector. In the position of FIG. 7, nearly three-quarters of the area of the closure is open. Since the diameter of the opening is approximately 3 /2, ample room is provided for entry into the vertical cylinder.
Short stop bars ltll, 192 extend perpendicularly along the upper surface of the first and second sectors respectively from the respective upwardly turned flanges of those sectors. A short stop bar 106 extends along the surface of the bottom sector from upwardly extending flange 96. When the bottom sector is moved counterclockwise (FIG. 5), the second movable sector remains stationary until stop bar we contacts a downwardly depending fiange 93 of the second sector. At this point further movement of the bottom sector rotates movable sector 82 counter-clockwise until stop bar 102 contacts downwardly depending flange 92 of movable sector 80. As the bottom sector continues to close, it pulls behind it movable sectors 80 and 82 until stop bar 1 attached to the first movable sector contacts downwardly depending flange 73 of the fixed sector.
The length of the stop bars is such that an appreciable overlap is maintained between the adjacent edges of adjacent sectors. This overlap is illustrated in the fragmentary sectional elevation of FIG. 6 in which the amount of overlap of sector 30 with respect to sector 82 is controlled by the spacing between their respective flanges 92 and 91 imposed by the length of stop bar 102.
The :lower handle 99 is placed near the trailing edge of the bottom sector so that it may be conveniently reached from a position on the lower steps of the spiral staircase.
The unique closure described above contributes to the livability of the habitable chamber by virtue of its imperviousness to water from rainfall, sprinklers and hoses. Its air permeability allows air circulation through the structure of the invention, thereby increasing the period during which the shelter may be occupied. Because it.
permits the use of a spiral staircase, a smaller access is possible between the ground level and the chamber. A smaller portion of the area above the structure is therefore rendered unusable.
The fabrication of the habitable chamber, utilizing external bracing to withstand the stresses'imposed upon a subterranean structure permits the use of the entire volume of the chamber as living quarters. Many interior arrangements may be used to accommodate the various uses to which the subterranean structure of the invention may be put. The arrangements illustrated in the foregoing disclosure are illustrated only, the scope of the invention encompassing many such arrangements.
1. A closure for a vertical tube containing a centrally located vertical post, the closure comprising an annular ring capped by a horizontal flange extending radially inwardly from the ring, the inside peripheral surface of the ring being spaced radially outwardly from the outside surface of the tube and said ring being supported on the tube by a plurality of spokes projecting radially outwardly from the tube, whereby a ring-like space is defined between the ring and the tube, a fixed sector integral with the flange exetending radially inwardly from the ring and supported adjacent its apex by the vertical post, a plurality of movable sectors each having one upwardly and one downwardly turned radial edge extending from an upright hub located near the apex to the respective sector to the circumferential edge of such sector, a movable bottom sector having two upwardly turned radial edges extending from an upright hub located near the apex of the sector to the circumferential edge of such sector, rollers on the spokes, downwardly depending circumferential flanges on each of the movable sectors supported on the rollers, and a downwardly depending circumferential flange on the bottom sector supported on the rollers, the movable and bottom sectors being pivotally mounted on the vertical post to extend radially of the tube outwardly toward the ring and being disposed beneath and adjacent to the fixed sector so that the upwardly turned radial flanges of the movable sectors and of the bottom sector meet the downwardly turned radial flanges of the movable sectors when the sectors are pivoted.
2. A closure for a vertical tube comprising a centrally located post within the tube, an annular rim spaced radially outwardly from the upper end of the cylinder, a plurality of spokes extending radially outwardly from the cylinder wall and supporting the annular rim, a primary sector supported near its apex by the post in the cylinder and at its base by the annular rim, a plurality of secondary sectors pi-votally mounted adjacent their apices to the post adjacent the primary sector and extending radially of the tube outwardly toward the rim, the outer portion of each of said secondary sectors being movably supported on the spokes, and means for moving the secondary sectors arcuately to close the space between the primary sector and the rim.
3. A closure for a tube comprising an annular ring, a horizontal flange on the ring extending radially inwardly from the ring, said ring being spaced radially outwardly from the tube, a plurality of spokes projecting radially outwardly from the tube and supporting the ring, a fixed sector supported by the annular ring at least one movable sector, an upright hub near the apex of the movable sector, the movable sector having one upwardly and one downwardly turned radial edge extending outwardly from the upright hub, a bottom movable sector, an upright hub near the apex of the bottom sector, said bottom sector having two upwardly turned radial edges extending from the upright hub, downwardly depending circum- 1 ferential flanges on each of the movable and the bottom sectors supported on the spokes, the movable and bottom sectors being pivotally mounted beneath and adjacent to the apex of the fixed sector so that the upwardly turned radial flanges of the movable sectors and the bottom sector meet the downwardly turned radial flanges of the movable sectors when the sectors are pivoted.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 384,376 McMullin June 12, 1888 745,964 Koslopsky Dec. 1, 1903 1,039,255 Clarke Sept. 24, 1912 1,060,187 Hormel Apr. 29, 1913 FOREIGN PATENTS 513,468 Great Britain Oct. 13, 1939