US 3137890 A
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June 23, 1964 G. A. KOCHANOWSKI VALANCE ROD ASSEMBLY 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Jan. 21, 1963 INVENTOR. GEORGE A. KOCHANOWSKl Patented June 23, 1964 3,137,890 VALAN CE ROD ASSEMBLY George A. Kochanowski, Chicago, IlL, assignor to Kinlread Industries Incorporated, Chicago, Ill., a corporation of Illinois Filed Jan. 21, 1963, Ser. No. 252,906 8 Claims. (Cl. 16-872) This invention relates to an adjustable valance rod assembly and in a described embodiment to a shower curtain holder which may be simply and readily positioned between opposing walls which define a bath tub enclosure or shower stall.
Broadly described, this invention provides adjustable rod means for utilization as a shower curtain rod, a clothes hanger rod, a curtain holder or rod, or the like. A rod or cross bar is axially dimensioned for placement between two opposed wall surfaces, such as the walls which define a bath tub enclosure or a shower stall, or such as the walls of a closet. Bracing means are provided adjacent each end of the cross member, and at least one of the said bracing means comprises a spring biased cartridge assembly which insures a tight and snug frictional engagement of the bracing means with the adjacent wall structures. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the spring biased cartridge assembly is provided with means for compressing a spring positioned within the cartridge such that the spring urges a normal or perpendicular bearing of the bracing means against the opposed wall structures.
It is a primary object of this invention to provide an adjustable rod or hanger assembly which may be simply and expeditiously installed with a minimum of operations.
More specifically, it is an object of this invention to provide a shower curtain hanger assembly which even an inexperienced person can install with labor-saving simplicity and which, when installed, provides a neat flush appearance which obscures from view the sliding connections between the curtain and the hanger assembly.
It is another object of this invention to provide an adjustable rod assembly which may be readily removed for reuse in a new location.
It is yet another object of this invention to provide such an assembly which is manufactured from bright, sturdy, and rust-proof extruded aluminum components and which is available in an economical package.
These and other objects, advantages, and features of the subject invention will hereinafter appear, and, for purposes of illustration, but not of limitation, an exemplary embodiment of the subject invention is shown in the appended drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective front view of an exemplary shower curtain hanger assembly;
FIGURE 2 is an exploded fragmentary perspective view showing the details of the novel bracing means utilized in the practice of this invention;
FIGURE 3 is a rear view of the structure of FIGURE 1, shown in an installed location;
FIGURE 4 is a bottom view of the structure shown in FIGURE 3;
FIGURE 5 is a sectional View taken along the lines 55 of FIGURE 7;
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged fragmentary bottom view of the dummy end bracing means, partly in section along the lines 66 of FIGURE 3;
FIGURE 7 is a similar view of the spring-biased adjustable bracing means, taken along the lines 7-7 of FIGURE 3;
FIGURE 8 is a sectional view taken along the lines 88 of FIGURE 5; and
FIGURE 9 is a sectional view taken along the lines 9-9 of FIGURE 5.
With reference to the drawings, FIGURE 1 shows a shower curtain hanger assembly 1 which supports the shower curtain 2. The assembly 1 is axially sized for placement between two opposing side wall structures S (see FIGURES 3 and 4), with bracing means as hereinafter described being provided on both ends of the said assembly.
The assembly 1 comprises a cross-member 13 which is defined by a top plate 6 and a side plate 4. The side plate 4 is provided with a channeled recess 8 for decorative purposes (e.g., the recess 8 may be satin finished aluminum whereas the border portions of the recess 8 may be polished aluminum). The top plate 6 is provided with a U-shaped groove 10 such that a grill structure (which forms no part of the present invention as such) may be inserted therein above the depending shower curtain 2. On the interior side of the crossmember 13, there are provided two generally U-shaped channel grooves 12 and 18, the groove 12 being provided with opposed side flanges 14 and 16, and the groove 18 being provided with opposed side flanges 20 and 22 A first bracing means 24 which comprises a spring biased cartridge assembly is provided adjacent one end of the cross-member 13, and a second bracing means 26 is provided adjacent the other end thereof. The bracing means 26 comprises a generally T-shaped structure defined by the enlarged head portion 27 and the depending generally rectangular stem portion 29. The stem portion 29 is dimensioned for slideable engagement within the groove 12 of the crossmember 13, and a stop plate 23, which is positioned between the stem portion 29 and the head portion 27, defines a position of maximum insertion of the bracing means 26 Within the groove 12 of the cross-member 13. The exterior or wall facing side of the head portion 27 is provided with a recess (shown in phantom in FIGURE 6) for flush reception of an abutment pad 30 which is composed of a suitable resilient and frictionally engaging material, such as rubber.
The bracing means 24 comprises a generally T-shaped contact element 32; a wedge block 36; a spring 42 positioned between the contact element 32 and the wedge block 36; and adjustment means 44. The contact element 32 comprises an enlarged head portion 31 and a depending stem portion 33. The head portion 31 is provided with a recess for flush reception of a pad 34, which is similar to the pad 30 provided in the bracing means 26. The stem portion 33 is provided with oppositely disposed slots 35 and 37 which taper toward the head portion 31; with an interiorally disposed socket chamber 33a (see FIGURES 7 and 9); and with a guide aperture 47 (see FIGURES 7 and 9). The contact element 32 is preferably constructed of a resilient plastic material, and an annular gap G is defined between the stem portion 33 and the head portion 31 so that any irregularities in the surface wall against which the head portion 31 braces will be accommodated by appropriate flexure across the gap G. I
The wedge block 36 comprises a base member 38 having depending parallelly aligned leg portions 39 and 41. The leg portions 39 and 41 are beveled at their respective ends (as indicated at 43 and 45 in FIGURE 2) and are tapered toward the said beveled ends and the slots 35 and 37 are likewise tapered (as shown at 35' and 37 in FIG- URE 7) such that insertion of the leg portions 39 and 41 in the respective slots 35 and 37 of the contact element 32 will gradually interlock the wedge block 36 with the contact element 32. In this manner, rattling of the composite assembly is obviated. A recessed aperture 40 is provided in the base member 38 of the wedge block 36 between the extending leg portions 39 and 41 thereof. When the Wedge block 36 and the contact element 32 are interengaged as described, a cartridge compartment 400 (see FIGURES 5, 7, and 9) is defined by alignment of the aperture 40 and the socket 33a. A spring 42 is positioned within the cartridge compartment 40c so as to urge disengagement or relative axial displacement of the contact element 32 and the wedge block 36.
The adjustment means 44 comprises a lug element 45 having a centrally disposed threaded aperture 46 therein and a threaded screw 48 which is received within the threaded aperture 46.
The assembly 1 is also provided with slidable end plates 3 on each of the respective ends of the cross-member 13. As best seen in FIGURE 5, the internal perimeter of an end plate 3 generally corresponds to the external perimeter of the cross-member 13 so that the end plate 3 may freely slide thereupon. Screw brackets 5 and 7 are provided adjacent the respective terminal portions of the end plate 3 in order to provide auxiliary support for the installed assembly 1 when desired.
The structure heretofore described is assembled and utilized as follows: A cross-member 13 is dimensioned for placement between two opposing side walls S with a slight margin being provided at each of the respective ends of the cross-member 13. Hanger hooks H are then inserted within the groove 18 (see FIGURES 3 and 4) such that a hanger curtain 2 may be positioned upon the hooks H in a conventional manner. A slight crimp or detent 50 is then provided in each of the flanges 14 and 16 which extend across the groove 12 of the cross-member 13, or, if desired, the crimps 50 may be prepositioned during manufacture of the cross-member 13.
The hooks H are preferably constructed in one piece of a low friction resilient plastic material which prevents binding when the attached curtain is pulled. However, alternate arrangements, such as metal hooks or metal and plastic composite hooks, can of course be utilized. In any case, the presence of the hooks H and the manner of their attachment to the curtain are obscured from exterior View when the subject valance rod assembly is installed.
The lug element 45, with the screw 48 partially threaded therein, is then inserted into the groove 12, until the lug element 45 is impeded by the detents 50. Next, the wedge block 36 is inserted into the groove 12 until it is impeded by the lug element 45. The spring 42 is then placed within the socket 33a of the contact element 32, and the composite assembly is inserted into the groove 12 such that the wedge block 36 and the contact element 32 partially interlock in the manner previously described so as to define the cartridge compartment 400, which houses the spring 42. The dummy end bracing means 26 are then inserted into the groove 12 at the end of the cross-member 13 opposite to the end into which the bracing means 24 is inserted. The relative disposition of the component parts of this stage is such that the end of the cross-member 13 (shown in phantom in FIGURE 7) is approximately flush with the ends of the leg portions 39 and 41.
When the parts are assembled as described, the installer lifts up the cross-member 13 and presses it against the wall at any desired height by applying pressure to the end of the cross-member 13 which contains the bracing means 24. The pad 34 engages the wall, and the spring 42 is thus compressed by the applied pressure, thereby drawing together the cross-member 13 and the bracing means 24, as shown in FIGURE 7. By compressing the spring 42, the installer can manipulate the cross-member 13 such that the opposite end thereof may be aligned at an appropriate height by engagement of the pad 30 with the opposed side wall. Once the desired alignment is achieved, the installer need only tighten the screw 48 through the lug element 45 until the end of the screw 48 is disposed within the recess 47 provided in the stem portion 33 of the contact element 36. Further tightening of the screw 48 compresses the spring 42 and securely interlocks the wedge block 36 and the contact element 32 by insertion of the tapered leg portions 39 and 41 into the respective slots 35 and 37. The described tightening assures a positive normal load at the opposed ends of the cross-member 13 as the bracing means 24 and 26 engage the opposed side walls via the friction pads 34 and 30 respectively. The respective end plates 3 are then slid over the extending head portions 31 and 27 of the bracing means 24 and 26 respectively so as to conceal these elements from a front view. If desired, screws may be inserted through the brackets 5 and 7 of the end plates 3 into the opposed walls for substantially permanent installations, although this feautre is merely auxiliary and is by no means necessary to the practice of the subject invention.
If it should be desired to remove the assembly 1 from its installed location, all that is required is a reversal of the described operation, that is, sliding of the end plates 3 toward each other, loosening of the screw 48, and manually induced compression of the spring 42 to enable manipulation of the cross-member 13 from between the opposed side walls S.
The described provision of a dummy end bracing means 26 and a spring biased bracing means 24 is a preferred embodiment of this invention, although of course both ends of the cross-member 13 could be provided with spring biased bracing means of the type described.
Also, while the invention has been described with reference to a preferred exemplary embodiment in terms of a shower curtain hanger assembly, it should be understood that various changes, modifications, and alterations may be made in the details of assembly, operations, and materials for the various elements, without departing from the spirit and the scope of the instant invention, as defined in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A curtain hanger assembly adapted to extend between two spaced side walls comprising:
a one-piece elongated cross member having a generally C-shaped longitudinal groove therein;
a fixed abutment member slidably received in said groove at one end of said cross member and adapted to abut one of said side walls;
means providing limited axial insertion of said abutment member in said groove;
a self-adjusting, spring-tensioned bracing member slidably received and retained in said groove adjacent the other end of said cross-member and urged resiliently to abut the other of the said side walls;
said bracing abutment member comprising an enlarged flattened head, a depending restricted flexible neck, and an integral body, extending from the said neck;
said enlarged head and said body defining therebetween an annular gap encircling said neck whereby irregularities in the said side walls between which said cross member extends are compensated for automatically by flexure of said neck across said gap, facilitating contiguous contact of said abutment members with said side walls;
said body having a socket opening endwise thereof;
an elongated coil spring disposed lengthwise within said socket and having one end engaging an endwall of said socket;
a pressure block slidably disposed in said C-shaped groove of said channel inwardly of said body of said bracing member;
said block comprising a spring support base oriented to contact and to bear against the other end of said spring;
and selectively adjustable spring tension adjustment means for regulating compressive forces with which said head of said bracing abutment member is urged against said side walls;
said spring tension adjustment means comprising a lug having a threaded aperture extending therethrough, a screw threaded through said aperture and extending substantially coaxially with said longitudinal groove, and abutment means Within said groove restraining said lug against inward axial movement into said groove;
whereby advancing said screw into said threaded aperture displaces said block endwise to press against and to compress said spring to transmit increased axial forces applied through said spring to said abutment members to urge said abutment members against said side walls to support said hanger assembly between said side walls.
2. The assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein said body of said bracing member and said pressure block interlock to form a spring chamber defined by respective recesses thereof.
3. An assembly as claimed in claim 1 which further comprises a slidable end plate positioned on each end of said cross-member and adapted to conceal from view said bracing member and said fixed abutment member.
4. The assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein said body of said bracing member has female groove means and further comprising male tongue means extending from said pressure block and, said tongue means being adapted to interengage with said female groove means to contain said spring between the said body of said bracing member and the said pressure block.
5. The assembly as claimed in claim 1 and further comprising friction pad means carried by each said fixed and said bracing abutment members to engage surfaces of said respective side Walls.
6. A curtain hanger assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein said body of said bracing abutment member is provided with slots on either side thereof, and wherein said pressure block comprises a U-shaped plug, said plug being received in said slots.
7. A curtain hanger assembly as claimed in claim 6 wherein leg portions of said U-shaped plug and the said slots are tapered to enhance interengagement of the said U-shaped plug and the said bracing abutment member.
8. A curtain hanger assembly as claimed in claim 1 and further comprising curtain hanger members depending from said cross-member and constructed in one piece of a low friction resilient plastic material.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,182,009 Haymond May 9, 1916 2,089,365 Hamm et al Aug. 10, 1937 2,199,851 Culver May 7, 1940 2,699,827 Carson Jan. 18, 1955 2,888,226 Andriot et a1 May 26, 1959