Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3131792 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 5, 1964
Filing dateNov 2, 1959
Priority dateNov 2, 1959
Publication numberUS 3131792 A, US 3131792A, US-A-3131792, US3131792 A, US3131792A
InventorsGroneman Norman A, Sederberg Earl A
Original AssigneeE L Reibold Agency Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tubular article for decorative or structural purposes
US 3131792 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

y 1964 N. A. GRONEMAN ETAL 3,131,792


. Filed Nov. 2, 1959 kewa ATT YS 3 131,792 TUBULAR ARTICLE FQR DECORATIVE R STRUCTURAL PURPOSES Norman A. Groneman, Roselle, and Earl A. Sederberg,

Naperville, 111., assignors, by mesne assignments, to

E. L. Reibold Agency, Inc., Chicago, 111., a corporation of Illinois Filed Nov. 2, 1959, Ser. No. 850,383 4 Claims. (Cl. 189-34) This invention relates to a tubular article for decorative or structural purposes, constructed of parts which snap together in assembling the article. The invention is especially useful for aesthetic purposes, employed either alone or as a decorative sheath to impart an attractive appearance to other structural and ornamental members.

Various structures are constructed of exposed or visible structural and ornamental bars, rods, tubes and like members, all referred to herein as bar members or bars. It has been necessary or desirable in many instances to construct these members of materials which are not very attractive by nature, or are difiicult to make and keep attractive. For example, tubular steel is widely used in the construction of display fixtures, and a decorative finish may be painted and baked on the surfaces. Such a finish is often easily scratched and worn, and this detracts from the aesthetic efiect desired in connection with the merchandise on display. Other materials such as wood and plastics also become damaged or unsightly in use. The various surfaces may be marred by physical contacts, oxidation, or chemical attack. Another disadvantage encountered is that the screws, bolts, and other means used for connecting the members detract from the overall appearance, or special measures are required to conceal or eliminate the connections.

An object of the present invention is to provide a tubular article for decorative or structural purposes, which may be employed as a sheath over a structural member, or which may substitute therefor where structural strength is not a significant factor.

An important object is to provide an article which is easily mounted and located on a structural member, while securely fastened thereto, and then is as easily removed.

Another primary object is to provide an article which presents a very pleasing appearance, is readily constructed and economical, and may be used on various structures to enhance their appearance.

An additional object is to provide an article which conceals the connections to other structure.

A further object is to provide an article which is supplied and constructed as a staple ornamental and structural item, and may be cut to various desired dimensions and assembled to fit the needs of the user.

These and other objects, advantages and functions of the invention will be apparent from the description and from the accompanying drawings, in which like parts are identified by like reference characters in each of the views, and in which FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the decorative or structural tubular article of the invention;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged cross-section of the embodiment of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a cross-section of another embodiment of the invention;

FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIGURE 1, with a portion broken away, illustrating its assembly with other structure in a display fixture;

FIGURE 5 is an illustration on a reduced scale of the embodiment of FIGURE 1 employed in connection with another type of display fixture;

FIGURE 6 is a perspective view illustrating a T con- United States Patent G 3,131,792 Patented May 5, 1964 nection made with the embodiment of FIGURE 1; and

FIGURE 7 is a perspective View illustrating the construction of an angle with the embodiment of FIGURE 1.

T he invention provides a tubular article for decorative or structural purposes which includes longitudinal tube sections that snap together, and mate to form a tube. Flanges are provided on each of the tube sections adjacent their longitudinal edges, and they interlock in snapfastening engagement. Also provided for decorative or structural purposes is an assembly of a bar member and the tubular article constituting a sheath enclosing the bar member. In the preferred embodiment, the assembly is employed in display fixtures and the like which are viewed by the purchasing public.

The preferred embodiment of the tubular article or tube 1, as illustrated in FIGURE 1 of the drawings, is composed of mating longitudinal tube sections 2 and 3. in this embodiment, one section 2 is constructed as a duct or channel having two broad marginal internally flat parallel sides 2!; and 20 joined by a perpendicular side 2d, constituting three sides of the tube 1. The mating section 3 constitutes a closure strip for the duct and forms the remaining side of a continuous single-walled square rectangular tube having a tube cavity 1a, the said remaining side being parallel to the duct side 2d. The sections adjoin at two flush joints 4 adjacent the corners along the said remaining side of the tube, so that only fine lines 5 are visible at the junctures, and they are scarcely noticeable. The outer surfaces 2a and 3a of the tube 1 include flutes 6, which enhance the appearance of a unitary tube.

The duct section 2 of the embodiment of FIGURE 1 includes outwardly extending longitudinal continuous flanges 7 at or adjacent its longitudinal edges or said margins. The flanges include narrow longitudinal beads 8 and longitudinal grooves 9 on the respective internal surfaces of the parallel sides 2b and 2c and spaced from the perpendicular side 2d. Similarly, the closure section 3 of this embodiment is provided with outwardly extend ing continuous longitudinal flanges 10 at or adjacent its longitudinal edges or side margins, which are complementary to the duct section flanges 7. The closure flanges include grooves 11 which receive the beads 8 of the duct flanges, and beads 12 which are received by the grooves 9 of the duct flanges. The flanges 7 and 14 on the respective sections are adapted for snapping together by pressure against opposite sides of the tube, and interlocking to form the flush joints 4 substantially completely lying within the tube wall confines so as not to protrude from the tube wall surfaces. As described above, the provision of the flush joints is an important component of the overall attractive appearance of the article. The interior of the article also has a smooth surface at the joints and throughout, for proper assembly on other bars, and to permit movement of the tubes thereon without interference.

The construction of the snap flanges 7 and 10 also enables one tube section to move longitudinally with respect to the other, in sliding engagement, for adjusting either member as required in connection with associated structure. The sections may also be assembled to form the tube 1 in this manner when possible, but it is often not possible due to interference with associated structure. The construction for snapping the parts together is very important for attaching the tube to structures previously assembled in use. Thus, the tube sections 2 and 3 are adapted for laterally inserting a bar member of approximately the same size and configuration as the tube cavity In between their side margins, and for then snapping the sections around such bar member.

A significant advantage of the tubular article 1 is that it may be fabricated conveniently and economically by which may housed in like manner.

extrusion in conventional manner. It also may be constructed in other ways, such as by casting, but extrusion is generally the most advantageous and least costly. The extrusion dies require only the corresponding die openings, and there is no necessity for core means as would be required for extruding a one-piece tube. The preferred embodiment thus is formed as two one-piece continuous extrusions which snap together.

The invention makes it possible at relatively little or possibly no additional cost, to enclose or cover structural or ornamental 7 members with decorative or protective sheathing. The structural framework to be covered may be constructed of bare metal, wood or plastic, saving the labor and expense'of imparting an attractive appearance or protective surface thereto. Structures which have been in use and either were not especially attractive originally or have lost their appearance may be enclosed by the tubular article. Their appearance is restored and in many cases becomes much more pleasing.

The preferred article of the invention is constructed of extruded aluminum. The appearance of the exterior surfaces is protected by anodizing them according to stand ard methods. It is further preferred to add a decorative finish on the anodic oxide layer, also in conventional manner, which is very durable and resistant to physical and chemical forces. In this manner, a very attractive bright finish, such as a gold finish may be imparted to the outer surfaces 2a and 3a,,and it is outstandingly superior to the enamel finishes employed on the tubular steel stock which is commonly used. Other colors and types of finishes may be provided as desired. Alternatively, the anodized surface may be sufiicient, and no decorative finish need be added.

The methods of anodizing aluminum, i.e., subjecting it to anod-ic treatment or electrolytic oxidation in a suitable electrolyte so as to secure a dense, adherent coating of aluminum oxide, are well known; Oxide layers on the order of about 0.0002 to 0.0005 inch may be produced. The metal may be. pure aluminum or aluminum base alloys, that is, aluminum modified or alloyed with other elements, such as copper, and the term aluminum is intended to include both herein.

Other preferably light weight metals and alloys can be used, which preferably are extrudable. The metal is selected on the basis of the intended use, cost, and structural strength requirements. It is also possible to use other of the various materials and methods of construction. Depending upon the requirements, the tube 1 advantageously may be constructed of other extrudable and hardenable material, such as synthetic resins or other plastic compositions. Such materials provide very low cost articles where metal articles are not necessary.

Thetubular article 1 thus produced may serve for structural or decorative purposes,ror both, and may have plainv or ornamental surfaces. The article may be employed as a sheath or jacket over other members; it may bridge other members as illustrated in FIGURE 5; or it may be employed alone, especially in primarily ornamental applications.

FIGURE 3 illustrates another very useful embodiment is composed of semi-circular longitudinal sections 14 and 15. Integral snap flanges 16 and 17 are formed along the longitudinal edges of the respective sections and interlock at flush joints 18, in like manner to the embodiment illustrated in the remaining views. The external surfaces A circular tube 13' may include flutes 19, be smooth and circular or have a different contour, such as elliptical. This structure is designed for enclosing circular bar members, such as the circular tube 20illustrated in phantom in the drawing.

The invention is not limited to the preferred embodiments illustrated, but various changes in structure and arrangement can be made while'accomplishing the objects of the invention. For example, the respective flanges'7 and 10 of theembodiment'of FIGURE '1 are in one piece with their tube sections and continuous for the length thereof. The flanges alternatively may be made discontinuous and non-integral, although such construction is less desirable. The contours and arrangements of the flanges may be altered. The cross-section or shape of thearticle may be varied substantially as desired; e.g.,

it also may be rectangular, hexagonal, elliptical, or other configuration. The external surfaces may be contoured as'desired.

When the tubular article such as 1' or 13 isemployed as a sheath for a bar member, such as the tube 20 illustrated in FIGURE 3 or the tube 21 illustrated in FIG- URE l, the inside dimensions of the sheath tube preferably are slightly greater, than the corresponding outside dimensions of the bar member which is enclosed. Consequently, 'a small space remains between the outer walls of the bar member and the inner walls of the sheath, as illustrated at 22 in FIGURE 1. This space serves to accommodate projecting screws, bolts, other fastening means, -or surface irregularities on the enclosed bar member 21 or like. longitudinally on the enclosed bar members. This additional space need not be provided in many instances, so that the articles fit together. The tubular article I hav ing a square rectangular tube cavity 10: thereby is mounted on the rectangular bar member 21 having approximately the same size and'configuration as the tube cavity, so that relative rotational movement between the tubular article and the bar member is substantially prevented.

FIGURES 4 and 6 illustrate connections to additional structure,remploying screws or a bolt, respectively. In

FIGURE 4, a portion of a display fixture is illustrated,

which includes a display arm 23 secured by means of 7 screws 24 to a tubular structural bar 25 having holes drilled therethrough for accommodating the screws. In

this case, flat head screws are used and they are flush with the outer surface of the bar 25. At'other times, the round head screws might be used, so that the space 26 between the tubular'mernbers would be necessary.

In this assembly, the closure-member 3 for the duct 1 is also secured to the display arm 23, between it and'the bar 25, andrthe' screws 24 pass through holes provided in' the closure member.

presetted. In an alternative arrangement, where the structural strength requirements are not excessive, only the new tubular article 1 might be employed. In such case,

the display arm 23 may be secured directly to the closure section 3, with the heads of the screws 24 enclosed within the article, or the arm may be similarly fastened to the opposite side of the duct section 2.

Another arrangement which can be provided with a display case is illustrated in FIGURE 5. This View illustrates a wood panel portion 27 of a display case supported by a bar'member leg 28 joined to a roundedbase or pedestal 29. Previously, the supporting bar 28 may have extended to a point above the wood panel 27. By employ- 7 ing the present invention, an upper post 30 may be used instead of a long bar member, and the supporting bar and the post enclosed within the tubular article 1 to present the attractive appearance desired. In this arrangement, one 7 continuous duct section 2 of the tube extends from the pedestal 29 to a decorative top piece 31 secured to the upper post 30. Upper and lower portions of the duct section2 are'secured to'the closure sections 3, which abut on the panel 27. This illustrates the adaptability of the v tWo-piece'tub'e ,1, and its advantageous assembly on a structure. Thecduct section 2 can also be employed alone to enhance the appearance along the edge of a panel or p The tubular articles are also free to move The duct section 2 of the tube can be snapped in place on the closure 3 and removed therefrom as desired. The fastening connections are hidden from view, and therefore an attractive appearance is g FIGURE 6 iflustrates one manner in which connections in a structure can be enclosed by the new tubular articles. This view illustrates a T connection between structural tube mom ers 33 and 34 normal to each other. One member 33 is provided wi h holes through opposite sides, which serve as means for connecting the member to other structure. The structural members are connected by a bolt 35' which extends through the holes in the one ber 33 and is received in a nut 36 secured within the other member The latter member is enclosed by a length of the sheath tube 1, which abuts on the former member 33. This member 33 is enclosed within another length of the duct section 2, and lengths of the closure section 3 cover the member up to the adjoining sheath tube 1, where the ends of the closure section lengths about opposite sides thereof. An attractive appearance is achieved, and the sheath tube parts are easily secured and removed.

FZGURE 7 is an illustration of the invention applied to a corner or elbow in a s ructure, wherein bars 3? and 38 meet at a right angle, although the angle could be different. The area corresponding to the end of one bar member 37 is covered by an extending portion of the closure section in order to achieve a close lit, the flanges 11) of the closure member are omitted or severed for a distance equal to the depth of the duct 2. in coverstructure meeting at other angles, it is only necessary to cut the parts of the tube 1 at appropriate angles.

In this manner, the invention is useful for numerous structural and ornamental purposes. The construction is easily and rapidly assembled, and material, manufacturing and labor costs are relatively low. By employing the new tubular article as a sheath, the advantages of other materials of construction are obtained together with the advantages of the invention. There are also many instances where the tubular article may be used alone to advantage, or part of the structure which would otherwise be included, can be eliminated. The invention is very useful in restoring or improving the appearance of structures already in use, and it also eliminates the need for finishing operations on parts of structures being fabricated. The improvements are especially desirable as applied to display racks, showcases, receptacles, tables and other merchandising structures viewed by the public. It is advantageous to the supplier and to the user that the tubular articles can be manufactured in large or small quantities and in many sizes and shapes, and a quantity can be maintained in stock and immediately cut to size and assembled when and where the need arises.

The invention is hereby claimed as follows:

1. A tubular article for decorative or structural purposes constructed in two sections which are adapted to be snapped together on a bar member to enclose the same and present an external substantially joint-free appearance, and one of which sections is adapted for receiving a panel edge or the like therein whereby it may be employed alone as an edge trim,

which comprises a pair of mating longitudinal tube sections each having two longitudinally extending side margins, said sections uniting along said side margins to form a continuous single-walled tube having 8X ternal and internal wall surfaces,

said internal wall surface defining a rectangular tube cavity in cross section,

one of said sections having two broad marginal internally fiat sides respectively terminating in said side margins of the section,

means providing a narrow longitudinal groove on the internal surface of each of said sides adjacent said side thereof, said one section thereby being adapted for receiving a panel edge or the like therein and embraced by said sides,

a longitudinal bead extol 'ng outwardly from the remaining one of said sections adjacent each side margin thereof and being received in one of said grooves in interlocking engagement, whereby said sections are united at po substantially completely lying with-i tube wall confines so as not to protrude from said wall surface said beads groove forming junctures which appear only as scarcely visible tine lines on said external s ace, said sections being united by pressing them together at said joints,

thereby causing said beads and groove means to snap together into interlocking engagement,

and said sections thereby being adapted for laterally inserting a rectangular bar member or approximately the same size and configuration as said tube cavity between their side margins, and for then snapping the sections together around such bar member,

whereby relative rotational movement between such bar member and the tubular article about a longitudinal axis is substantially prevented.

2. A tubular article as defined in claim 1 wherein said one section comprises a channel mid said sides thereof are parallel and joined by a side perpendicular thereto,

and said remaining section comprises a closure strip providing a side on the tube parallel to said perpendicular side.

3. An assembly for decorative or structural purposes of a tubular article as defined in claim 1,

and a rectangular bar member having approximately the same s ze and configuration as said tube cavity and enclosed by said tubular article.

4. An assembly for decorative or structural purposes of a tubular article as defined in claim 1,

and a display fixture including a rectangular structural bar mei her having approximately the same size and configuration as tube cavity,

said bar member being enclosed by said tubular article.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent N0.,- 3,131,792 May 5, 1964 Norman A. Groneman et a1.

It is hereby certified that error appears in the above numbered patent requiring correction and that the said Letters Patent should read as corrected below.

Column 2, line 33, for "said" read side line 69, after "sections" insert together column 5 line l5 for "about" read abut column 6, line l3, for "points" read joints Signed and sealed this 8th day of September 19.64.,

(SEAL) Attest:

ERNEST W. SWIDER EDWARD J. BRENNER Attcsting Officer Commissioner of Patents

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US686052 *Aug 9, 1901Nov 5, 1901Joseph Henry GoldingCasing or covering for conductors in buildings.
US876013 *Apr 9, 1907Jan 7, 1908William H RakestrawReach-bar.
US1631718 *Jun 14, 1920Jun 7, 1927Campbell Electric CompanyCabinet
US1666401 *Nov 10, 1925Apr 17, 1928Steel & Tubes IncMetal tube
US1946694 *Feb 2, 1931Feb 13, 1934Shaw Walker CoOrnamental sheet metal structure and method of producing the same
US2681716 *Dec 31, 1948Jun 22, 1954Trailmobile IncSnap-on molding
US2812295 *Mar 22, 1955Nov 5, 1957Gen Motors CorpMethod of finishing metal surfaces
US2884958 *May 18, 1956May 5, 1959Asselin Sr Leonard JRolled tube
US2914145 *Apr 26, 1955Nov 24, 1959Richard Benson RussellCurtain wall framing
US2947093 *Aug 21, 1957Aug 2, 1960Masters Albert MMounting construction and the combination thereof with a board
GB189708339A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3216170 *Aug 28, 1962Nov 9, 1965Stewart Warner CorpExtruded metal support frame
US3292323 *Oct 23, 1965Dec 20, 1966Hagan Leo FExtruded and apertured construction members
US3468428 *Jun 20, 1967Sep 23, 1969Reibold Elmer LTubular section for rotatable display units
US3520345 *May 24, 1968Jul 14, 1970Unarco IndustriesStorage rack and sprinkler arrangement
US3639001 *Oct 9, 1969Feb 1, 1972Shell Oil CoMetal core plastic chair
US3789561 *Feb 14, 1972Feb 5, 1974American Standard IncKnockdown framing
US3902294 *Aug 7, 1974Sep 2, 1975Brown Loren WModular building facades
US4585131 *Dec 19, 1983Apr 29, 1986Amstore CorporationVariable decor merchandising system
US4674248 *Dec 23, 1985Jun 23, 1987Alumax, Inc.Fire resistant dual layer bimetallic door frame
US4898285 *Dec 2, 1988Feb 6, 1990Field Frank PMerchandise rack covering system
US4961258 *Apr 14, 1989Oct 9, 1990Menzel-Leuchten Gmbh & Co. KgDecorative column for housing requirements and similar purposes and a method of manufacturing such a column
US5568709 *Jul 28, 1995Oct 29, 1996Steckler; Richard D.Simulated decorative architectural columns and method of making the same
US5617697 *Jan 3, 1996Apr 8, 1997Erwin Industries, Inc.Composite deck post
US5862642 *Oct 28, 1997Jan 26, 1999Erwin Industries, Inc.Reinforced composite deck post
US5956875 *Aug 25, 1997Sep 28, 1999Aughenbaugh; Timonthy A.Post sleeve
US8402704 *Oct 26, 2010Mar 26, 2013Phat Energy CorporationSolar power structure and kit for making the same
US9249663 *Feb 26, 2010Feb 2, 2016Fci Holdings Delaware, Inc.Impact resistant lagging, method for designing impact resistant lagging, and apparatus for testing impact resistant lagging
US20040060257 *Jun 11, 2003Apr 1, 2004Frank VenegasStanchion covers
US20100266349 *Feb 26, 2010Oct 21, 2010Jennmar CorporationImpact Resistant Lagging, Method For Designing Impact Resistant Lagging, and Apparatus for Testing Impact Resistant Lagging
US20110094569 *Oct 26, 2010Apr 28, 2011Phat Energy CorporationSolar power structure and kit for making the same
WO2003051741A1 *Dec 13, 2002Jun 26, 2003Sonoco Development, Inc.Reinforced packaging support post assembly
U.S. Classification52/38, D08/381, 138/157, D25/120, D08/380
International ClassificationA47F11/02, E06B3/16, E06B3/04, A47F11/00
Cooperative ClassificationE06B3/16, A47F11/02
European ClassificationE06B3/16, A47F11/02