US 3264049 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 2, 1.966 g. A. PETERQQN 3,264,049
REFRIGERATOR CABINET Filed June 11, 1.964
\ 32 52 Fig. 2. 4a 34 as 42 28 32 s2 50 wnmessss: 48 34 48 lNvENTOR Carl A. Peterson United States Patent 3,264,049 REFRIGERATOR CABINET Carl A. Peterson, Columbus, Ohio, assignor to Westinghouse Electric (imputation, Pittsburgh, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed June 11, 1964, Ser. No. 374,402 4 Claims. (Cl. 312-304) This invention relates to cabinets, and more particularly to domestic refrigerator cabinets having shelves with portions shiftable from a normal position to provide additional space in the vertical direction for the storage of tall articles.
Efforts have been made in the past to provide cabinets having shelves of the type set forth. These cabinets usually employ extensible shelves having portions which are movable from a position adjacent the front access opening of the storage compartment to a position adjacent the rear wall of the cabinet. Such prior art shelves serve to provide additional space in the vertical direction for storing tall articles at the front of the storage compartment. However, tall articles stored in this location obstruct access to storage regions located rearwardly of the tall articles, for example on the stationary portion of the shelf.
It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a cabinet having shelf structure which provides for the storage of tall articles while permitting access to other articles stored on the shelf structure.
In one embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a cabinet having wall structure defining a storage compartment, and a front access opening to the compartment. Included in the wall structure is a top wall, a bottom wall, a rear wall and opposite side walls. Within the compartment, a plurality of extensible shelves are arranged in vertically spaced relationship with each other, and with the top and bottom walls of the cabinet.
The bottom wall and the shelves each provide a horizontal deck for the storage of articles. At least one of the shelves, but preferably all of them, includes a stationary portion and means for securing it to one of the cabinet side walls. The shelf further includes a movable portion carried by the stationary portion for slidable movement toward and away from the other side wall to vary the length of the shelf, and thus vary the space between the shelf and the other side wall. Included in the movable portion of the shelf is leg structure which extends downwardly and rests on the storage deck located below, to support one end of the shelf.
It is a feature of the present invention that the shelf, which is extensible in a horizontal direction transverse to the access opening, provides additional space in the vertical direction for the storage of tall articles, which space extends from the front access opening to the rear wall of the cabinet. Therefore, tall articles do not obstruct access to shorter articles stored on the stationary portion of the extensible shelf.
It is a further feature of the present invention that the leg structure included in the movable shelf portion is employed to support one end of the extensible shelf and to assist in maintaining the shelf in the horizontal position. The arrangement thereby eliminates space consuming and unsightly structural members, sometimes found in prior art extensible shelves.
The various objects, features and advantages of the invention will become more apparent from the detail description which follows, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, forming a part of this application, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary, front elevational view showing a domestic refrigerator cabinet embodying the invention and having its door in the open position to illus- 3,254,049 Patented August 2, 1966 trate the extensible shelves within the storage compartment;
FIG. 2 is a front perspective view showing the extensible shelves of FIG. 1, and having the cabinet wall structure and supporting means for the shelves omitted therefrom for clarity; and
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, vertical sectional view taken along line IIIIII of FIG. 1 showing details of an extensible shelf on an enlarged scale for clarity.
As shown in the drawings, the invention is applied to a domestic refrigerator cabinet 10, having wall structure defining a storage compartment 12 provided with a front access opening thereto. The cabinet wall structure includes a top wall 14, a rear wall 16, opposite side walls 18 and 20, and a bottom wall 22. The bottom wall 22 partitions the compartment 12 from a freezing compart ment (not shown). The cabinet 10 further includes a door 24 for closing the access opening, which door is mounted on suitable hinges.
Disposed within the storage compartment 12 are three extensible shelves, positioned one above the other in vertical series and designated generally by the numerals 26, 28 and 30. The shelves are in vertical spaced relationship with each other, and with the top wall 14 and the bottom wall 22. The shelves 26, 28 and 30, and the bottom wall 22, each provide a horizontal deck for the storage of articles.
The llowermost shelf 26 is structurally similar to the other shelves 28 and 30, and is hereinafter described in detail as representative of the three shelves. It should, however, be understood, that the detailed description and operation of the shelf 26 would be applicable to the shelves 28 and 30, or to any number of shelves that may be employed in the cabinet structure.
The shelf 26 includes a stationary portion 32 extending from the front access opening to the rear wall 16, and side wall 20 (the right hand side wall as shown in FIG. 1) transversely across the storage compartment 12 toward the opposite side wall 18, and terminating intermediate the side walls 18 and 20, a short distance beyond a point mid-way between the side walls where it is supported by bracket 55. The shelf 26 further includes a movable portion 34 having one side slidably supported by the stationary portion 32, and partially supported by structure to be described. The length of the shelf 26 is adjusted, and the space between .the shelf 26 and the side Wall 18 varied, by telescopic movement between the stationary portion 32 and the movable portion 34. Like reference numerals are employed to designate parts of the shelves 28 and 30 which are similar to parts of the shelf 26, and the parts cooperate to function in like manner.
The stationary shelf portion 32 comprises a generally U-shaped frame 36 of channel shaped cross-section and a vertical flange extending upwardly from the channel port-ion, the channel portion being adapted to telescopically receive the movable shelf portion 34 and the flange portion being adapted .to receive a preferably imperforate panel 35 which serve-s as a storage deck for the stationary shelf portion 32. A portion of the U-shaped frame 36 extends along the side wall 20, and is equipped with a pair of projections 40 having downwardly opening slots 42 in which are received studs 44 disposed on the side wall 20 for supporting the shelf 26.
As best shown in FIG. 3, the brackets 55 each have a pair of L-shaped pins 56 extending through a pair of slotted openings 57 in the wall 16. The brackets 55 are each prevented from rotating by a pair of pins 58 on the portion 32 of the shelf, which are received in interfitting engagement with a pair of suitably aligned holes in the bracket. The bracket 55 is therefore, readily removable as are the shelf portions 28 and 30 should additional space be required in the compartment 12.
The movable shelf portion 34 also extends from the front access opening to the rear wall 16, and comprises a generally rectangular frame 48 of T -shaped crosssection adapted to receive a panel 50 serving as the storage deck therefor. The movable port-ion 34 further includes a cross bar 52 disposed above the level of the panel 50, which serves to prevent objects from falling off the end of the shelf 26. Extending downwardly from this end of the movable shelf portion 34 are a pair of legs 54 which support the shelf 26 on the storage deck below, and maintain the shelf 26 in the horizontal position.
As shown in the drawings, the shelves 26, 28 and 30 have their stationary portions alternately supported by opposite side walls, and the ends of the stationary portions 32 of the shelves overlap one another in a horizontal transverse direction. Stated another way, a vertical series of horizontal shelves is provided, and the positions of their respective stationary and movable portions with respect to the cabinet side walls are alternately transposed. By this arrangement, the legs 54 of the shelf 26 are in slidable engagement with the bottom wall 22, and the legs 54 of the other shelves 28 and 30 successively rest upon the stationary portions 32 of the shelf below. From the description thus far, it should be obvious that the movable portion 34 of each shelf can be moved between the fully retracted position of the shelf 30, as shown in FIG. 1, and the fully extended position of the shelf 26, also shown in FIG. 1, and to various intermediate positions. In the fully retracted position of a shelf, as for example shelf 30 of FIG. 1, tall and bulky articles such as jugs, watermelon, etc. may be stored on the shelf 28. Sufiicient vertical height is provided to accommodate these articles without presenting an obstruction to the storage area at the front access opening.
In the partly extended position of a shelf, as for example shelf 28 of FIG. 1, a storage region extending from the It is to be appreciated that the foregoing is accomplished 3 by the present invention without requiring stationary structural members which extend entirely across the front access opening, and without providing a storage region for tall articles in which such articles obstruct access to the storage regions for shorter articles carried on the stationary shelf portion 32.
As best seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the panels 35 and defining the storage deck for each shelf, are readily removable from the frame in which they are carried, thus permitting their easy removal for cleaning. Removal of panels 35 and 50 also provides still further additional space in the vertical direction, when such space is required for the storage of unusually tall articles.
From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that extensible shelf structure has been provided having a portion thereof shiftable or movable to provide additional space in the vertical direction for the storage of tall articles. This accomplished by novel shelf structure which is believed walls defining a storage compartment having a front ac cess opening thereto,
a series of extensible shelves arranged within said compartment in vertically spaced relationship with said bottom wall and in alternating side-to-side relation, said bottom wall and said shelves each providing a horizontal deck for storage of articles,
each said shelf including a stationary portion connected to one of said sidewalls and extending rearwardly of said front access opening in spaced relation to the opposite of said side walls, and
a movable portion carried by each said stationary shelf portion and movable transverse of said access opening in a horizontal direction for adjustably extending or shortening the length of said shelf in said transverse direction and for varying the space between said stationary shelf portion and said other side wall,
said movable portion including leg structure resting on the storage deck therebelow.
2. A cabinet comprising wall structure defining a storage compartment provided with a front access opening thereto,
said wall structure including a bottom wall and opposite side walls,
a vertically extending series of extensible shelves within said compartment, each providing a horizontal stor age deck;
each of said shelves including a stationary portion and a movable portion disposed side by side in said compartment; and I means for securing successive stationary portions in said series to alternate side walls such that each stationary shelf portion is adjacent one of said side walls and in spaced relation to another of said side walls;
each movable shelf portion being telescopically received by its associated stationary shelf portion for movement toward and away from said other side walls for varying the space between said stationary shelf portion and said other side wall.
, 3. A refrigerator cabinet comprising wall structure defining a storage compartment having a front access opening thereto,
said wall structure including a bottom wall and opposite side walls,
a series of extensible shelves arranged within said coma partment in vertically spaced relation with each other and said bottom wall, said bottom wall and said shelves each providing a horizontal deck for the storage of articles,
said shelves including respective stationary portions,
means for securing said stationary shelf portions in said series of shelves to alternate side walls,
each of said stationary shelf portions extending rearwardly of said access opening and in spaced relation to the side wall opposite the side wall to which it is secured, and
each of said shelves in said series having a movable portion telescopically carried -by the stationary portion thereof and movable toward and away from said opposite side wall for varying the space between said shelf and said opposite side Wall,
said movable portion including leg structure extending downwardly in slidable engagement with the deck below for supporting said shelf in the horizontal position when said movable portion is so disposed in said cabinet.
4. A cabinet comprising:
wall structure including opposite side walls defining a storage compartment having a front access opening,
a series of vertically-spaced, horizontally-extending shelves, each said shelf having a stationary portion secured to a side wall and a movable portion telescopically carried by said stationary shelf portion and extendible in a horizontal direction toward and away from an opposite side Wall to vary the space in said compartment between said shelf and said opposite side wall,
means securing the stationary portion of each successively higher shelf to a side Wall opposite to the side Wall from which the adjacent lower shelf is secured,
each said movable portion carrying depending leg means at its outer end for supporting said movable portion,
each said stationary portion extending sufficiently away from said side wall to which it is secured to underlie said depending leg means of the successively higher shelf when said movable portion is unextended.
6 References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,092,430 9/1937 Stratton 312351 X 2,177,663 10/1939 Kucher 312351 X References Cited by the Applicant UNITED STATES PATENTS 9/1933 Charter. 3/1949 Jewell.