US 3063775 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
6 w. H. SNOWMAN REFRIGERATOR SHELF STRUCTURE File d NOV. 30, 1960 INVENTOR WILLIAM H.8NOWMAN m4; ATTORNEY United rates harem 3,063,775 Q REFRIGERATOR SHELF STRUCTURE H. Snowman, Columbus, Ohio, assignor to West- :nghonse Electric Corporation, East Pittsburgh, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed Nov. 30, 1960, Ser. No. 72,793 '2 Claims. (Cl. 312-329) This invention relates to refrigerator cabinets, and more particularly to swing-out shelves therefor having provision for vertical adjustment of height.
One object of the present invention is to provide a swing-out shelf of simple, but rugged and dependable construction.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a cabinet of the type set forth with an uncomplicated device of inexpensive construction for locking a swingout shelf in selected vertical position.
Briefly, in carrying out the objects of this invention in one embodiment thereof, a refrigerator cabinet wall structure defining a storage compartment and an access opening thereto is provided with a vertical guide bar. The latter is secured to one of the side walls of the cabinet, and it is located within the compartment and adjacent the access opening. A shelf, including a horizontal :storage deck, is connected at a front corner portion thereof to the guide bar by hinge structure which is virtically movable on the guide bar. The hinge structure includes a vertically extending pin journalled therein; and the guide bar includes a vertical series of ratchet teeth facing toward the pin. And loosely carried on the pin is a washer or the like, preferably dish shaped, which is movable into engagement with the teeth to support the shelf in selected vertical position.
A shelf constructed according to the invention comprises spaced wire members defining the flat storage deck, and a generally rectangular'frame carrying the storage deck in horizontal position. The frame includes a generally U-shaped rod extending within the compartment along the rear and sides thereof; and it further includes an elongated supporting tube extending horizontally across the access opening and rigidly connected to the ends of the .U-shaped rod. The supporting tube is rigidly connected at one end thereof to the hinge structure.
Other objects, and the various features and advantages of the invention will appear fromthe following detailed description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawing, forming a part of this application, in which:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a refrigerator cabinet embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of hinge and locking structure constructed according to the invention;
FIG. 3 is a view, partly in elevation and partly in section, of the structure of FIG. 2 in unlocked position;
FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3, but with the structure shown in locked position; and
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view of the structure of FIG. 2, showing the structure intermediate the unlocked and locked positions of FIGS. 3 and 4.
The invention, as shown, has been applied to a refrigerator cabinet having wall structure, including a side wall 12, defining a food storage compartment 14 and a front access opening thereto lying in an upright plane. A door 16 is suitably mounted on the cabinet 10, adjacent side wall 12, for closing the access opening.
Disposed .within the compartment l4.are vertically spaced swing-out shelves 18 on which articles can be stored. Each shelf 18 is supported at a front corner portion thereof, through hinge structure 20, on a vertically extending guide bar 22. Thelatter is rigidly secured to the side wall 12 within the compartment 14 and adjacent the access opening. Since each shelf 18 and .locking ring 48.
'2 its associated parts are structurally representative of the other, only one will be described in detail.
The guide bar 22 includes a base 24 by which the bar is secured to the side wall 12; and it also includes a vertically elongated guide portion 26 of T-shaped cross section.
Comprising part of the hinge structure 20, and carried on the guide portion 26, is a slide 28 which has a recess 30 corresponding in shape to the T shape of the guide portion. The latter is received in the recess 30; and their horizontally interlocking formations restrain them against relative horizontal movement, although the slide 28 is movable in vertical direction on the guide portion.
Further included in the hinge structure 20 is a U-shaped bracket 34. The latter includes an upright intermediate portion 36, and upper and lower arms 38 and 40, respectively. The slide 28 is received between the arms 38 and arm 40 of bracket 34, and a vertically extending pin 42 having an enlarged head 44 at the upper end thereof extends downwardly through and beyond the slide 24 and the arms 38 and 4% so as to connect them together in hinged relationship, the pin being journalled on a vertical axis. The lower end of pin 42 extends an appreciable distance below the lower arm 40 of the bracket 34 and is provided adjacent the lower end thereof with an annular groove in which is received a resilient The locking ring 48 and the head 44 secure the pin 42 in place relative to the slide 28 and the bracket 34.
As best seen in FIG. 1,'the main supporting member of shelf 18 is a horizontally extending tube 49 which. is rigidly connected to the intermediate portion 36 of the bracket 34, as by brazing. It is contemplated that the shelf 18 will be movable upwardly and downwardly in the compartment 14, being guided by the guide bar 22 so that it will remain in a horizontal position therein, thus insuring that articles stored on'the shelf 18 will not be upset when the height of the shelf is changed. Furthermore, movement of the shelf 18and its associated hinge'structure 20 beyond either end of the guide bar 22 runs the slide 28 ofi the end of the guide portion 22, thereby disengaging shelf 18 from the guide bar 22 and permitting the removal of the shelf from the compartment-14 without upsetting the stored articles. Thisis an improvement over prior art arrangements which required the shelf to be tilted before removal could be accomplished, and hence made it necessary to empty the shelf before removing it.
A dished washer '50 is loosely carried on the pin 42 between the arm 40 and the locking ring-4$. The washer 50 can be formed from sheet material to have a circular periphery, and it has a circular opening in a central region thereof which is larger in diameter than the cross-sectional diameter of the pin 42 but smaller than the outside diameter of thelocking ring 48. In its position between ring 48' and lower. arm 4%, the Washer 50 provides, not only a smooth bearing surface for the bracket 34, but also a'means for supporting and locking the 'hinge structure 20 in a selected one of various vertical positions. To this end, the Washer 50 is associated with a series of vertically spaced ratchet teeth 54 formed on the surface of guide portion 26 which faces the pin 42' It will be noted that the upper surface of the dished washer 5% is convex and the lower surface thereof is concave. This construction permits the washer 50 to he tilted relative the rest of the hinge structure 20 and also to the guide bar 2'2, so that the edges thereof adjacent the teeth are at various angular inclinations to the horizontal; and this varies the distance the washer extends between the'pin 42 and the teeth 54, either into or out of engagement.
Stated another way, there are edge portions of the washer 50 disposed on opposite sides of the central opening therein, one portion extending toward the teeth 54 and the other portion extending away from the teeth. And, since the washer 56 is dish-shaped, the oppositely extending portions are disposed in upwardly converging relation to each other. With this arrangement movement of one portion of the Washer into a greater angular inclination with the horizontal moves the other portion more nearly into a horizontal attitude and toward engagement with the teeth 54.
When the mechanism is in locked position, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, the edge portion of the washer 50 adjacent the teeth 54 extends nearly horizontally between an adjacent pair of teeth and rests on the lowermost of them. It will be noted that in this position the lower arm 40 of the bracket 34 bears downwardly against the upper, convex surface of the washer 50, tending to pivot the washer counterclockwise, as shown in the drawing, about the edge thereof engaging the teeth '54. This counterclockwise moment is resisted by the pin 42 engaging the concave side of the washer 50, and the locking ring 48 assists in this regard.
Still referring especially to FIGS. 2 and 4, it will be noted that, from the weight of the shelf 18 and contents, a counterclockwise moment about the washer is applied to the hinge structure 20, this moment being resisted by the interlocking formations between the T-shaped recess 30 of the slide 28 and the guide portion 26. It can'be seen, therefore, that the locking device positively holds the shelf 18 and its associated hinge structure 20 against downward movement, and that the locking device cooperates with the slide 28 to hold the shelf 18 in horizontal position.
Referring now to FIG. 5, the washer 50 is in a neutral or intermediate position when it is supported solely by the locking ring 48; and in this position it will be noted that the edge portion of the washer 50 closest to the teeth 54 is in slightly horizontally overlapping relationship with the teeth 54. This provision ensures that the washer 50 will engage the teeth 54 during vertical movement, so that even if the washer 50 should be accidently dislodged from a locked position the downward movement of the hinge structure 20 and engagement of the washer with one of the ratchet teeth will cause the shelf to be locked again, but at a lower height. This provision also permits the shelf 18 to be moved upwardly to a higher position without having to touch the washer 50, since initial upward movement of the shelf 18 moves the washer 50 from the locked position of FIGS. 2 and 4 to the neutral position of FIG. 5; then during upward movement of the shelf 18 the washer 50 is deflected toward the unlocked position of FIG. 3 by contact with the teeth 54; and, upon releasing the shelf 18, the device will automatically lock.
If it is desired to reduce the height of the shelf 18, positive action is required to unlock the device. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the user merely applies an upward force to the left-hand edge portion of the washer 50, that is, the edge portion which is opposite the edge portion engaged by the teeth 54. This action disengages the washer 50 from the teeth 54 and requires only a small amount of manual elfort, since the arrangement of parts provides leverage with an appreciable amount of mechanical advantage. Note that the fulcrum in this leverage system, the point where the washer engages the lower bracket arm 40, is much closer to the right-hand edge of the Washer than the left-hand edge.
The unlocking action of FIG. 3 moves the left-hand edge of the washer 50 toward a horizontal attitude; and it also moves the right-hand edge of the washer downward and toward the left, so that it makes a greater angular inclination to the horizontal than previously. As a result of this movement, the right-hand edge portion of the washer 50 previously held captive is released and the hinge structure 20 is free to move in vertical direction. The device is held in unlocked position while the shelf 18 is lowered to the desired height. And then the device is again locked, either automatically, by releasing the washer 5t} and further lowering the shelf slightly as previously set forth, or manually. Manual locking is accomplished by depressing the left-hand edge of the washer 50, as shown in FIG. 4, to move the right-hand edge of the washer into locking engagement with the teeth 54.
As best seen in FIG. 1, the shelf 18 is of open-work construction, preferably being rigidly made of metal parts brazed together. As viewed wholly within the compartment 14, the shelf 18 includes a multiplicity of spaced wire members 58 extending from front to rear, to define a fiat storage deck. The latter is supported at or adjacent its edges in horizontal position by a frame comprising a U-shaped rod 60 and the supporting tube 49. The U-shaped rod 60 and the tube 49 generally form a rectangle, with the rod 60 extending within the compartment 14 along the sides and rear thereof, and the tube 49 extending horizontally across the access opening. Of course, the tube 49 is positioned in the access opening so that it will not be contacted by the door 16 when it is in closed position.
Horizontal cross bars 62 extend parallel to the tube 49, and they are joined to the U-shaped rod 60 to support the wire members 58 intermediate the ends thereof. It is also preferred that means be provided to prevent stored items from falling off the storage deck; and to this end, a guard rail 64, fixedly secured to the U-shaped rod 60, extends along the rear and side edges of the storage deck and above the level thereof.
The end of the tube 49 closest to the side wall 12 is rigidly connected to the upright intermediate portion 36 of the bracket 34, as by brazing, the bracket portion 36 being provided with suitable formations for locating and positioning the tube 49 thereon.
The ends of the U-shaped rod 60 are rigidly connected to opposite end portions of the tube 49. The connections can be made in any suitable manner directly to the tube 49 in practicing the invention, but it is preferred that brazed connections be made, as shown. That is, the end of the U-shaped rod 60 and the corresponding end of the guard rail 64 are connected to the bracket 34. And the bracket 34, in turn, is connected to the tube 49. The other end of the rod 60, and also the other end of the guard rail 64, are rigidly connected to a rigid plate 66 carried at the free end of the tube 49. The connection between the plate 66 and the tube 49 is a rigid one so that these parts will experience neither relative torsional movement, nor relative linear movement. Likewise, the connection between the hinge bracket 34 and the end of tube 49 closest to, side wall 12 is equally capable of resisting all kinds of relative movement. The diameter of the tube 49 is at least twice that of the rod 60, preferably being in the order of 4 inch diameter for a length of about 2 feet. The open ends of the tube 49 are preferably closed by plugs 70 which keep the interior thereof free from dirt and moisture.
By employing a relatively large diameter tube 49 instead of a small diameter rod, as is done in the prior art, the weight of the shelf and any contents thereon is easily carried by the tube 49 as a torsional load acting about its longitudinal axis. And with this arrangement, the auxiliary braces or spiders extending from the hinge structure of older swing-out shelf structures are no longer required, with the result that cost, required space, and complexity of manufacture are reduced.
Additionally, a device for locking a swing-out shelf in a selected one of various vertical positions has been provided which not only is rugged, dependable and effective, but also is of unusually and attractively simple construction.
While the invention has been shown in but one form, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that it is not so limited, but is susceptible of various changes and modifications without departing from the spirit thereof.
What is claimed is:
1. A refrigerator cabinet having a plurality of walls including side walls defining a storage compartment and an access opening thereto, a vertical guide bar secured to one of said side walls within said compartment and adjacent said access opening, said guide bar having a vertically extending series of ratchet teeth formed on a surface thereof which faces away from said one side wall, a horizontal shelf, hinge structure including a bracket which is rigidly secured to a front corner portion of said shelf and having upper and lower horizontal arms, a slide disposed at least partly between said arms and having a recess formed therein adapted to receive said guide bar in horizontally interlocking relationship, said slide being movable on said guide bar in vertical directions, a pin extending vertically through the arms of said bracket and said slide so as to connect them together in hinged relationship, and a washer loosely mounted on a lower portion of said pin below said bracket, said washer being tiltable between a locking position in which its edge is engageable with said ratchet teeth and an adjusting position wherein its edge is disengaged from said teeth, the downwardly directed weight of said shelf and said hinge structure being transmitted through said washer to said teeth when said washer is in said locking position. A
2. Structure as specified in claim 1, wherein said Washer is dish-shaped with a convex upper surface and a concave lower surface.
References Cited .in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 85,863 Sible Jan. 12, 1869 477,291 Bomar June 21, 1892 2,867,096 Rosebrook et al. J Jan. 6, 1959 2,955,892 Pulaski et a1 Oct. 11, 1960