US 3068936 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 18, 1962 Filed May 27, 1960 E. R. HAWS FOLDABLE PARTITIONS 3 Sheets-Shet 1 I N V EN TOR.
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United States Patent 9 3,068,936 FOLDABLE PARTITIONS Ernest R. Haws, Detroit, Mich. (19400 Allen Road, Melvindale, Mich.) Filed May 27, 1960, Ser. No. 32,164
4 Claims. (Cl. 160-40) This invention relates to foldable partitions or room dividers.
It is frequently desirable to be able to temporarily partition large auditoriums and gymnasiums or the like into separate sections or rooms so that several groups of persons may utilize the auditorium or gymnasium to carry on various activities without intereference of one group with another. There have therefore been proposed in the past various forms of partitions or room dividers comprising a plurality of upright panels suspended at their upper ends from a track and movable along the track from a collapsed or a folded position into an extended position forming a wall across the space to be divided. With such room dividers, it is desirable in many instances to eifectively seal, from the standpoint of light and sound, one of the partitioned spaces from the other.
Also, such partitions usually have their lowenedges spaced slightly above the floor so that they can beopened and closed readily. However, in the extended position of the partition, it is frequently desirable to have the lower edge of the partition firmly anchored to the floor surf-ace; The present invention has for its object the provision of a sealing means at the lower end of each panel which is automatically. caused to be actuated into tight sealing engagement with the floor surface when the panels are moved from their collapsed or folded position into the extended position.
A further object of the present invention resides in the provision of mechanical as distinguished from pneumatic or hydraulic means for providing an eifective seal and anchoring means between the lower ends of the panels and the floor surface.
Another object of the invention resides in the provision of mechanical sealing means for partitions of the type described which are of economical construction and which require :a minimum of maintenance.
More specifically, the present invention contemplates a sealing member mounted adjacent the lower edge of each panel for movement vertically as well as horizontally in a plane parallel to the plane of the panel. Each sealing member is provided with cam tracks engageable with rollers fixedly. mounted on the panel for shifting the sealing member vertically in response to horizontal movement thereof. In the case of the lead panel, the sealing member projects outwardly beyond the free or leading edge of the panel such that when the free edge of the lead panel abuts against a Wall or the like, the sealing member is shifted horizontally inwardly of the panel and thereby downwardly into sealing engagement with the floor surface and the opposite end of the sealing member on the lead panel serves as an actuator for the sealin members on the successive panels.
Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a foldable partition the present invention with the partition in the partially extended position. 7
FIG. 2. is a fragmentary side elevational view of the partition just prior to the engagement of the sealing memher on the lead panel with a wall surface against which this adapted to close.
, FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing the lead panel in engagement with the wall surface and the sealing members actuated to the floor engaging position.
3,068,936 Patented Dec. 18, 1962 2 FIG. 4 is a fragmentary view, partly in section, of the bottom portion of the lead panel and the next adjacent panel with the sealing members in the retracted or elevated position; that is, in the position corresponding to the showing of FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 and showing the sealing members in the floor engaging position corresponding to the showing in FIG. 3.
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the lines 66 in FIG. 4.
FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along the lines 7-7 in FIG. 5.
FIG. 8 is a sectional view taken along the lines 8-8 in FIG. 4.
FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken along the lines 9-9 in FIG. 4.
FIG. 10 is a generally schematic View showing the manner in which the partition panels are suspended.
Referring to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a foldahle partition comprising a series of panels 10 which are hinged together along their vertical side edges 12 by means of concealed hinges 14 which permit folding of the panels from the extended position shownvat the left of FIG. 1 to the collapsed position shown at the right of FIG. 1. At the upper ends, every other panel starting with the lead panel 10a is provided at the center thereof with a trolley 11 mounted for movement in a longitudinally extending track 12, (FIG. 10); The trolley arrangement at the upper ends of the panels is conventional and forms no part of the present invention. It merely enables the panels to swing laterally as they travel along the track to and from their extended and collapsed positions. Thus, the trolleys simply have a swivel connection with their respective panels and are adapted to move along a track which is co-extensive with the partition in the extended position.
Referring now to 'FIGS. 4 and 5, each panel 10 is pro vided at the lower end thereof with a sealing member 16 which may be desirably formed as a strip of hard wood 18 having a compressible rubber pad 20 secured to the lower face thereof. Each panel 10 has a bottom frame member 22 spaced above the lower edge of the panel and extending horizontally between the opposite side edges of the panel. The sealing members 16 are supported on the frame members 22. The supporting means for the sealing members 16 comprise a pair of sleeves 24 (FIG. 9) which extend downwardly through elongated apertures 26 in the frame members 22. Each sleeve 24 is provided with a flange 28 at its upper end which is fixed to the sleeve and overlaps the side edges of opening 26. Wire elements 30 are secured to the top side of frame member 22 along the opposite side edges of openings 26 and provide bearing mails on which the flange 28 of the sleeves 24 is adapted to freely slide.
Within each sleeve 24, there is arranged a stud 32 which is threaded into a bushing 34 mounted in the wood strip 18 of the sealing member 16. A compression spring 36 is arranged between the upper enlarged head-38 of each stud 32 and the lower inwardly turned end 40 of each sleeve 24. The springs 36 normally urge the studs 32 upwardly to a position wherein the rubber strip 20 of the sealing member 16 is disposed substantially flush with the lower edges 42 of the facing sheets 44 of the panel. The sealing member 16 of the lead panel 10a has a length slightly greater than the Width of the lead panel 10a. At the free edge 46 of lead panel 10a, the sealing member 16 projects outwardly a predetermined distance as shown in FIG. 4 when the sealing strip is in the elevated or retracted position. In this position of the sealing strip 16,-the rear end 48 thereof is substantially flush with the hinged edge 12 of the lead panel. 4
On each frame member 22, there is mounted two pair of depending brackets 50 on which are journalled rollers 52. Each roller 52 engages a cam track 54 on the top strip 18 of the sealing member 16. Each cam track 54 is preferably formed as a channel strip with the opposite side walls thereof vertically slit as at 56 and 58. The vertical slits 56, 58 divide each cam track 54 into three sections 60, 62 and 64. The lowermost section 60 of cam track 54 is fixedly secured to the upper strip 18 of sealing member 16 by a bolt 66. The upper section 64 of each cam track 54 is supported between a pair of upright arms 68 which are pivotally mounted as by a bolt 70 on a U-shaped bracket 72 fixed to the upper strip 18 of sealing member 16 by bolts 74. The upper ends of arms 68 engage the outer side faces of the upper section 64 of cam track 54 and are provided with vertically elongated apertures 76 therein. A screw 78 extends through the apertures 76 and through the side walls of upper section 64 of cam track 54. Arms 68 are adapted to be rigidly clamped to the outer faces of section 54 by means of a nut 80 on the end of screw 78.
With this arrangement, it will be observed that the inclination of each cam track 54 may be varied considerably not only by the adjustment permitted by the vertical slots 76 in the arms 68 but also by bending the three sections of the cam tracks at the vertical slits 56, 58. The sealing members 16 are normaly urged upwardly and to the left as viewed in FIG. 4 and FIG. by means of tension springs 82 so that the rollers 52 normally engage the cam tracks generally at the intersection of the sections 60, 62.
In the panels following the lead panel a, the sealing members 16 and the mounting thereof are substantially the same as that described and shown with the exception that the opposite ends of the sealing members when in the elevated retracted position shown in FIG. 4, for example, are substantially flush with the opposite vertical edges of the panels.
Thus, when the panels are in the folded position such as shown at the right of FIG. 1, all the sealing members are in the retracted elevated position with the leading end 84 of the sealing member 16 on the lead panel 10a projecting outwardly beyond the free edge 46 of panel 10a. When the partition is extended so that the panels unfold into a straight wall, the sealing members remain in the elevated retracted position with the adjacent ends of the sealing members of adjacent panels in axially ali ned relation. It will be appreciated that when the partition is in the fully extended position, the lead panel 10a abuts against a wall 86 or against the free edge of an oppositely directed partition. As the lead panel 10a approaches the end wall 86, the leading end 84 of the sealing member 16 on the lead panel 10a abuts against the wall 86 and further bodily movement thereof with the panel is arrested. Thereafter, further movement of the lead panel 10a towards the wall 86 produces relative movement between the lead panel and the sealing member 16. As the lead panel 10a continues to move towards the left as viewed in FIG. 4 with the lead end 84 of sealing member 16 abutting wall 86, rollers 52 roll in a direction toward the left in cam tracks 54. Since cam tracks 54 incline upwardly and to the left, it is obvious that as the lead panel 10a shifts to the left in relation to sealing member 16, the rollers 52 engage the inclined portions 62, 64 of cam tracks 54 and thus shift the sealing member 16 downwardly. The extent to which the sealing member 16 is shifted downwardly is determined by the vertical displacement between the upper and lower ends of cam tracks 54. The rate at which the sealing member is shifted downwardly is determined by the inclination of the sections 62, 64 of cam track 54.
The arrangement is such that the sealing member 16 moves downwardly more rapidly during the initial stages of relative movement between the lead panel and the sealing strip than at the end thereof. Thus, as shown in the drawings, the intermediate section 62 of the cam track 54 is more steeply inclined than the uppermost section 64. The upper end of the upper section 64 is adjusted vertically in the slots 76 such that when the leading edge 46 of the lead panel 10a engages the wall 86, the sealing strip 20 is solidly compressed against and firmly engages the floor surface 88.
It will be appreciated that as the lead panel 10a moves to the left relative to its sealing member 16, the trailing end 48 of sealing member 16 abuts against the leading end 90 of the sealing member on the next successive panel. The sealing members 16 thus successively engage one another and each panel is moved or shifted to the left relative to its sealing member after the forward end 84 of the sealing member on the lead panel 10a abuts against the wall 86 and the lead panel continues to move towards its fully closed position.
Each of the cam tracks 54 on the successive panels are initially adjusted such that when the lead panel 10a reaches the fully closed position, the sealing members 16 on each of the successive panels 10 are compressed against and firmly engage the floor surface 88. Thus, individual adjustment of each sealing member 16 is permitted so as to accommodate for unevenness, etc. in the floor surface.
It will be noted that When the lead panel 10a abuts against the wall 86, the springs 82 are tensioned and the springs 36 within the sleeves 24 are compressed. Springs 82 thus normally tend to shift the sealing members in a direction upwardly and toward the left as viewed in FIGS. 4 and 5, and springs 36 likewise tend to elevate the sealing members 16. Thus, when the lead panel 10a is retracted from the wall 86 and the partition is actuated to the folded position, each of the sealing members 16 is automatically shifted under the influence of springs 82 and 36 to the retracted elevated position shown in FIGS. 2 and 4.
1. In a foldable partition of the type including a plurality of panels hinged successively to one another along their vertical edges and movable from a collapsed, folded position to an extended wall-forming position, means for sealing the lower ends of the panels to the adjacent floor surface as the panels move to said extended position comprising a sealing member individual to each panel and mounted adjacent the lower edge thereof, means interconnecting the lower portion of each panel with its respective sealing member and permitting the sealing member to shift vertically on the panel as well as horizontally in a plane generally parallel to the plane of the panel, guide means acting between each sealing member and its respective panel comprising a pair of cam tracks on the sealing member extending in a direction inclined to the horizontal and generally parallel to the plane of the panel, each cam track having its lower end connected to the sealing member and being adjustable to vary the inclination thereof, means supporting the upper endof each track in adjusted, fixed position on the sealing member, a pair of cam followers vertically fixed at the lower end of each panel and engaging said cam tracks such that relative horizontal movement between each sealing member and its respective panel causes the sealing member to shift vertically relative to the panel, a pair of vertically telescoping guide pins interconnecting each panel and its respective sealing member for maintaining each sealing member vertically aligned with its respective panel when the sealing member is shifted vertically relative to its panel, and means for arresting bodily movement of the sealing members with their respective panels as a unit as the lead panel approaches the fully extending position whereby continued movement of the panels to said fully extended position causes relative horizontal movement between the sealing members and their respective panels and said sealing members are thereby guided by said cam tracks and by said vertically telescoping guide pins downwardly into sealing engagement with the adjacent floor surface.
2. The combination called for in claim 1 wherein said means for supporting the upper ends of each cam track comprise a pair of upright supports on the sealing member straddling the upper ends of each track and means for fixedly securing the upper end of each track to the upper ends of said supports in vertically adjusted position.
3. The combination called for in claim 1 wherein the inclined portion of each track comprises at least two axially contiguous sections which are bendable relative to one another to vary the respective inclination of the two track sections.
4. The combination called for in claim 1 wherein each track comprises at least three axialiy contiguous sections, one section comprising the lower end portion of References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 369,451 Kasson Sept. 6, v1887 1,576,098 Deitz Mar. 9, 1926 2,180,112 Jones Nov. 14, 1939 2,870,495 Wetzel Ian. 27, 1959