US 3283805 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 8, 1966 c. M. KIRTLEY ETAL 3,283,805
VERTICAL BLIND APPARATUS Filed Oct. 4, 1963 fin??? 6 /NVEN TORS c2 AREA/CE M. Al/QTLEV ,Q/CHAPD J. ELDREDGE, J12
ATTORNEV United States Patent Ofiice 3,283,805 Patented Nov. 8, 1966 3,283,805 VERTICAL BLIND APPARATUS Clarence M. Kirtley, 5000 Woodland, and Richard J. Eldredge, Jr., 920 28th St., both of Des Moines, Iowa Filed Oct. 4, 1963, Ser. No. 313,996 1 Claim. (Cl. 160-178) This invention relates to vertical blinds of the Venetian type, and more particularly the invention pertains to 'a novel construction for connecting a blind to the support and operating mechanism therefor.
The structure of this invention is quite comparable generally to the vertical blind construction disclosed and described in U.S. Patent Nos. 2,717,034 and 2,809,693 issued to William F. Sharpe. After production and use of the structure of those patents, applicants found one basic disadvantage therein. The device for connecting each end of a blind or slat to the support mechanism comprised a flat hook element having a late-rally extended U-shaped portion open at one end with a slot in between and closed at the other.
The lower horizontal leg of this portion was inserted into a slot formed therefor in the end of a slat, the latter having to be of a fabric material. The closed end of the hook portion thus protruded laterally beyond one edge of a slat, so that quite a bit of metal showed, and the slat could easily be accidentally knocked out of the slot.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an improved vertical blind apparatus.
It is another object of this invention to provide a novel connection structure for a vertical blind and the support mechanism therefor.
It is still another object of this invention to provide a connection structure for a vertical blind and the support mechanism therefor which prevents an accidental disengagement of the blind from the support mechanism, requiring the normal use of two hands to effect such a disengagement with the novel connection arrangement.
Yet another object of this invention is to provide a connection structure for the purpose described above which enables either vertical edge of a vertical blind to be moved flush against whatever vertical surface is adjacent thereto; wherein no part of the connection structure protrudes laterally beyond either edge of a blind, such that an extremely neat and attractive vertical blind arrangement is provided.
A further object of this invention is to able manufacturers of metal blinds to adapt their blinds for use with the basic components of the support mechanism, thereby making the latter structure universal for use with either fabric or meta-l blinds.
It is still a further object of this invention to provide a connection structure for the purposes stated hereinbefore, and capable of attaining the objectives set out hereinbefore, which structure is economical to produce, simple in construction, and effective in use.
These objects, and other features and advantages of this invention will become readily apparent from the following description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary front eleva-tional view of a preferred embodiment of this invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary view taken along the lines 22 in FIG. 1 and showing a plan view of the support mechanism for the vertical blinds;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line 3-3 in FIG. 2, and including in exploded view form the end portion in section of a vertical blind;
FIG. 4 is a reduced view partly in section and partly in elevation from the front of the support mechanism, showing the vertical connecting shaft rotated from the position of FIG. 3, and showing again in exploded form the upper end of a blind;
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 with the shaft and blind connected and with the shaft extended from the channel;
FIG. 6 is :a view similar to FIG. 5, showing the normal assembled condition of the shaft and blind; and
FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along the line 77 in FIG. 2.
Referring now to the drawings, the vertical blind as sembly of this invention is indicated generally at 10 in FIG. 1, and is shown in assembled relation with the upper section 11, and the side sections 12 and 13 of a window frame unit.
The vertical blind assembly 10 includes generally a pair of upper and lower U-shaped channels 14, a plurality of vertically disposed, flexible slats 16, each of which is connected at each end to a supporting mechanism 17 operated for rotating the slats 16 by an elongated rack 18 which is reciprocally mounted in each channel 14.
Only the upper channel 14 is shown in FIG. 1, with the bottom channel being mounted to a lower section of the window frame in an invented manner relative to the upper channel. This opposed relationship of the channels 14 is clearly shown in Patent No. 2,717,034, mentioned hereinbe-fore.
Each channel 14 includes :a horizontally disposed base 19 (FIGS. 3 and 7), and a pair of parallel, vertically disposed sides 21 and 22. Formed in longitudinally spaced relation axially of the base 19 are a plurality of holes 23 (FIGS. 3 and 7). A bearing element 24, preferably formed from nylon 'or other like material, is inserted into each hole 23 as best illustrated in FIG. 3. A connecting link 26 extends through each bearing element 24, with each link having an exposed end 27 turned away from the main portion for finger manipulation. Each link 26 includes further a key hole 28 formed with an upper circular opening 29 and a partially lower circular opening 31 smaller than the opening 29.
The shank 32 of the link 26 has a width less than the end 27 whereby a pair of shoulders 33 are formed and which engage the lower surface of a bearing 24 (FIG. 4). A hole 34 is formed in the inner end. of the shank 32 for a purpose designated hereinafter.
Each slat 16 depicted herein is comprised of a flexible material capable of being sewn or sealed together by any known process. In the present instance, each upper and lower end (only the upper end 36 being shown) of each slat is formed by one portion 37 being reversely folded over a rear portion 38 forming thereby a slot 39 (FIG. 3). The extreme upper end portion 41 is then reversely bent over the intermediate portion 37. All three portions 37, 38, and 41 are sealed together at the area marked S in FIG. 3.
A metal bar is inserted into the slot 39, which bar 42 has a length slightly less than the width of the slat (FIG. 5). A rivet 43 is secured to one face of the bar 42 at the longitudinal and transverse center thereof, and secures the bar within the slot 39 by means of the stem 44 of the rivet 43 extending through an opening 46 formed in the rear portion 38 (FIG. 3). The head 47 of the exposed part of the rivet 43 has a diameter larger than the fabric opening 46 and slightly smaller than the connecting link upper opening 29 for a purpose designated hereinafter.
The supporting mechanism 17 includes in addition to the bearing 24, a pair of circular spacer washers 52 and 53 (FIG. 4), a circular pinion gear 54 mounted on top of the washers, a saddle member 56, an anti-friction washer 57, a coil spring 58, and a cotter key 59.
Specifically, the bearing 24 has a lower flange 61 (FIG. 3) which fits and rotates against the under surface of the base 19, a bearing portion 6 2 which rotates within the hole 27; a collar 63 about which the washers 52 and 53 are mounted, and a neck 64, securely holding the pinion gear 54. Each bearing 24 has an axial opening 66 formed therethrough which is of a width corresponding approximately to the width of the collar 63. As best shown in FIG. 3, the entire inner end of each bearing element 24 is bifurcated to define flexible, normally spaced apart jaws 67 which in turn define a radially enlarged head 68.
Each pinion gear 54 is provided with a central opening 69 of a diameter equivalent to the diameter of the neck 64, and is provided with a plurality of teeth 71 formed about the periphery of the gear 69. To mount the gear 54 to a bearing element 24, the resilient jaws 67 are contacted to enable the head 68 to pass through the central opening 69 in the gear 54, whereupon the released jaws 67 hold the gear securely. The teeth 71 of each gear 54 are respectively engaged in a plurality of longitudinally spaced openings 72 formed in the rack 18 (FIG. 3).
The track 18 is held loosely against a side 22 and the base 19 of the upper channel 14 by the gear teeth 71, the arrangement being such that upon longitudinal movement of the rack 18 by known means, the gear 54 will rotate in place in its channel opening 23. To provide a connection between the gear 54 and its respective connecting link 26, the opening 69 of each gear is provided with diametrically opposed key ways (not shown). Thus, the shank 32 of a link 26 is snugly inserted through the opening 69, whereby in response to longitudinal movement of the rack 18, rotation of a pinion gear 54 turns the link 26 to the desired position (see the changed position of the slats in FIG. 2 as indicated by full and dotted lines).
The U-shaped saddle member 56 (FIG. 3) includes a pair of legs 73 and 74 mounted in longitudinally spaced relation for spacing a horizontal top portion 76 above the head 68 of the bearing 24. A lip 77 (FIG. 7) is formed in a raised manner at one side of the top portion 76 to provide clearance for the rack 18. A center aperture 78 (FIG. 3) is formed in the center of the top portion '76 for rotatably receiving the link shank 32. To support the barrel shaped spring 58, the cotter key 59 is inserted through the opening 34 formed in the link 26, and with the spring pressing against the anti-friction washer 57 which is supported on top of the saddle 56 above the aperture 78.
The link shank 32 extends through a slot formed therefor in the washer 57 (see FIG. 3). Under normal circumstances of normal use, the bias of the spring 58 is such as to force the shoulders 33 (FIG. 4) of the link 26 against the lower flange 61 of the bearing 24.
To attach a slat 16 to the support mechanism 17 (FIG. 4), the link 26 is pulled downwardly against the bias of the spring 58 so that the end portion 27 is in the position best illustrated in FIG. 5. The upper end 36 of a slat is then placed near the link end 27 so that the rivet head 47 can be pushed through the upper opening 29 of the key hole 28. The stem 44 of the rivet 43 is then permitted to rest in the lower smaller opening 31 (FIG. 4) of the key hole 28, whereby the slat can not then be removed without forcing the slat upwardly to place the rivet head 47 in alignment with the key hole upper opening 29. Upon a release of the link 26 the bias of the spring 58 forces the link upwardly until the link shoulders 33 engage the bearing lower flange 61. Therefore, after a slat has been assembled to the support mechanism, all that one sees from the rear of the slat 16, upon close inspection, is the exposed end 27 of the link as best illustrated in FIG. 6. As one stands back from the entire vertical blind assembly 10 (FIG. 1), one would not see the link ends 27 which under normal circumstances of having the slats in an overlapping position are to the rear of the slats.
This arrangement is shown in FIG. 1 where the right hand group of slats 16 are shown in an overlapping arrangement, with the tlink ends 27 shown in dotted indicating't hat they are to the rear of the slats 16.
In the structure of FIGS. 1 and 2, two independent rack sections 18' and .18" are arranged in longitudinal alignment, with the adjacent end of one rack being bent [lateral-1y (see FIG. 2) toward the center of the channel 14 to permit the adjacent end of the other section, in this case 18', to pass thereby without direct abutment. This novel arrangement permits separate groups of independently controllable slats 16 to be mounted in a given channel 14. Thus, in FIG. 1 the group of slats 16 at the right are all directly associated with and controlled by movements of the rack 18 (FIG. 2). On the other hand, all of the slats 16 on the left side of FIG. 1 are associated with and controlled by movements of the rack 18'.
This arrangement makes possible any desired arrangement of a given group of slats 16 according to the desires of those affected by any given group. Note in FIG. 2 the overlapping of the adjacent ends of track section .18, 18" which provides the varied positions of the two groups of racks in FIG. 1.
It can therefore readily be seen that by virtue of the connection structure of the connecting link 26 and bar 42, and rivet 43 arrangement, the disadvantages of the former structure are obviated. Accidental disengagement of a slat 16 from a support mechanism is virtually impossible. -Eit.'her verticall edge of a slat 16 can be moved flush against any adjacent vertical surface as no part of the connection structure extends laterally of the slat 16. Furthermore, any conventional metal s'lat could be fitted with a rivet 43 and be useable with the connecting link 26, rendering the arrangement universal in this respect.
Although a preferred embodiment has been described and disclosed herein, the invention is not to be so limited. It is to be remembered that various modifications and a1- tetrnate constructions can be contemplated Without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claim.
A vertical blind apparatus comprising in combination:
a vertical slat of a flexible material;
an insert secured in one end of said slat and spaced inwardly from said one end with a portion of said flexible material disposed between said insert and said slat one end;
a protrusion formed on said insert and having a stern portion and a head portion formed on the end of said stem, said head portion being of a diameter 'lar-ger than the diameter of said stem portion, said protrusion spaced inwardly from said one end;
a support mechanism for rotatably supporting said slat in a normally taut condition;
an an'tifriction bearing element rotatab-ly mounted in said support mechanism and having a flange exposed laterally of said support mechanism;
a connecting link supported by said support mechanism for reciprocal movement through said bearing element;
means operatively connected to said support mechanism for biasing said link away from said slat;
said link having a key hole opening formed in an eX- posed end thereof extending beyond said support References Cited by the Examiner mechanism, and through which said head portion is UNITED STATES PATENTS ln-sertable with said stem portion engaging sa1d link in the smaller apart of said key hole opening in re- 1957339 5/1934 H111 16O 404 sponse to the bias of said dink away from said slat, 5 2520273 8/1950 Bop'p et 5" 160-47 with said slat one end positioned substantially flush 2,605,825 8/1952 160-472 with said suppont mechanism to completely cover 2,809,693 10/1957 Sharpe 160-176 said exposed end on one side thereof; and 2,856,990 10/ 195 8 Th mas 1 -404 X said link exposed end being enlarged relative to the FOREIGN PATENTS remainder of said link, forming thereby a pair of 10 shoulders engageab-le wit-h said bearing element flange, eliminating thereby movement of said link away from said slat, said 'link and said slat being separable only by relative longitudinal movement HARRISON MOSELEY Prlmary Examine" thereof. 15 P. M. CAUN, Assistant Examiner.
93,562 8/1897 Germany. 327,2-12 3/1958 Switzerland.