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Publication numberUS3285635 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 15, 1966
Filing dateOct 16, 1964
Priority dateOct 16, 1964
Publication numberUS 3285635 A, US 3285635A, US-A-3285635, US3285635 A, US3285635A
InventorsWhelan Joseph A
Original AssigneeWhelan Joseph A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Prefabricated structure
US 3285635 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)



INVENTORfi JOSEPH A. WHELAN United States Patent() 3,285,635 PREFABRICATED STRUCTURE Joseph A. Whelan, Grubb Road, P.O. Box .114, Paoli, Pa.

Filed Oct. 16, 1964, Ser. No. 404,220 Claims. (Cl. 287-2032) The present invention relates to prefabricated buildings and similar structures and has particular application to the connections of prefabricated panel sections thereof.

Prior to the present invention, it was impractical to preassemble complete panel sections for erection in a building or other structure because of the difficulty of properly connecting the panel sections. To overcome this difliculty, it is the conventional practice to preassenible the panel sections partially, omitting the final facing sheet 'or wallboard panel so as to expose the interior portions of the panel section to permit access for tightening fasteners or for nailing the panel sections together. 'It has also been proposed to provide the panel sections with books or other releasable fasteners along the marginal edges to enable interconnection of adjacent or adjoining panel sections. However, the conventional hooks or other fasteners of this character do not permit secure tightening of the fastener so as to provide a rigid joint which is proof against inadvertent disconnection or dislodgment.

More specifically, the present invention provides a connector for prefabricated building panel sections which may be disposed in recesses in the marginal portion thereof to permit interconnection of the panel sections and tightening thereof without needing access to the interior of the panel section. a

The present invention provides a novel arrangement for prefabricated panel sectionswherein the connections between adjacent panel sections are confined to the marginal portions thereof, whereby. the connectors per so may be hidden by the conventional cover strips which are applied about the periphery of the sections-and to the joints between adjacent panel sections toconceal the line of juncture thereof.

The present invention therefore provides a structural assembly comprising a plurality of preformed panel sections, said panel sections being adapted to be mounted in abutting or adjoining relation, one of said panel sections being provided with a number of internally-threaded members and the other of said panel sections being provided with a like number of externally-threaded members adapted to threadably engage said internally-threaded members; one of said members being fixed against rotation in its associated panel section and the other of said memice FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 1 showing a connection of a panel section with a foundation support in acoordance with the invention; and

- FIG. 4 is a vertical section of an assembly of a panel section to a foundation support in accordance with the present invention.

The conventional wall construction for buildings and similar structures includes horizontal floor and ceiling plates and a plurality of vertical studdings spanning between and supporting the floor and ceiling plates. Facing panels, in the form of wallboard, plywood, clapboard, composition board, and the like, are mounted on the studdings and plates with or without insulation therebe tween, depending on the use to which the structure will be put. In precut and custom structures, the studding is erected and assembled in situ and the facing is secured in place. Normally, the exterior [facing of an outdoor structure is assembled concurrently with the studding and plates, providing additional structural rigidity thereto prior to the application of the interior facing to the wall structure. This final step requires considerable skill and artistry to insure a neat and workman-like job and it is apparent that the erection of precut and custom structures entails a considerable expenditure of skilled and semiskilled labor at the building sites.

In order to reduce the expenditure for skilled and semiskilled labor at the building site, prefabricated buildings have come into wide usage. In prefabricated buildings, substantial portions of the building are assembled remote from the building site and are shipped as assembled panel sections to the building site where they may be erected and assembled on the foundation or other support. It has been the practice, however, to only temporarily attach the interior facing tothe panel sections in order that this facing may be removed to permit access to the interior of the panel assembly to permit connection of adjacent panel sections to each other and to the hound-ation; After the sections of the structure are assembled, the interior facings are permanently secured to the sections. Not infrequently, in the course of the construction, considerable damage is done to the facing elements, resulting in loss.

In accordance with the present invention, a novel panel section is provided which eliminates the need for removing the facing to provide access to the interior thereof for erection and assembly. To this end, each panel section is of substantially conventional construction comprising inbers being rotatably mounted in its associated panel 'sec- I tion to permit a threaded connection of said pane-l sections.

Ina preferred embodiment of the present invention, the rotatable threaded member is provided with means affording longitudinal displacement thereof to enable said member to be positioned within the outline of its associated panel section for shipping and storage, but which affords projection thereof beyond said outline for engagement with the complementary threaded member when being assembled.

All of the objects of the present invention are more fully set forth hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawing wherein: 1

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary view of a pair of adjoining panel sections prior to assembly illustrating an arrangement of connecting means in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a horizontal section through a completed assembly of panel sections in accordance with the present invention;

terior supports including ceiling and floor plates and a plurality of uprights, forming the studdin-g. In the embodiment shown in the drawing, the interior and exterior facing elements are shown at 21 and 22 respectively. The upright at one end of the section is shown at 23 and the complementary upright at the opposite end is shown at 24 (see FIGS. 1 and 2). In the present instance, the bottom support or floor plate 31 (see FIGS. 4 and 5) is molded or otherwise formed of plastic material, preferably a plastic which is nailable so as to permit nailing, which enables securing the facings 21 and 22 thereto. In the present instance, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the panel section is designed to be mounted on a concrete support or footing 33 surrounding in the present instance a cement floor 34. The interior panel support elements and the ciacings are preassem-bled into sections which may be conveniently handled and shipped to the construction site for erection on the footings 33. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the footings have been designed to accommodate the preformed panel sections and to this end, are provided at predetermined sp aoed intervals with upstanding studs 36 which,

in the present instance, are externally threaded and project above the upper surface of the supporting footing a predetermined amount.

In order to anchor the panel sections to the footings, a complementary threaded fastener is mounted in the bottom supports or floor plates 31 to register with each of the upstanding fasteners 36. In the present instance, the complementary fastener comprises a shaft 41 whose hollow shank 43 is internally threaded at 48 and has a tool grip portion 42 at its outer extremity, in the present instance in the form of a polygonal, wrench-receiving head. The fastener 41 is received in a casing 44 embedded in the bottom support 31 and having a stepped hollow portion providing a bearing surface 45. The internal end of the fastener 41 is provided with an enlarged bearing 46 and washer 47 adapted to bear on the surface 45 so that upon engagement of the internal threads 48 with the threads 37 of the fastener 36, and tightening of the fastening by the application of a wrench to the grip 42 affords secure anchoring of the panel section to the footing. It is noted that the fastener 41 is mounted in the casing 44 for both vertical and rotational displacement so as to enable easy tightening of the fastener 41 on the fastener 36, and to permit retraction of the fastener 41 out of the path of the fastener 36 during initial erection of the panel section on the footing. In the present instance, when the bearing head 46 and Washer 47 bear against the surface 45, the free end of the fastener 41 is spaced above the lower terminal edge of the panel section so that the fastener 41 does not project outwardly from the outline of the panel section during shipment. The extent to which the fastener projects from the casing may be varied by adjusting the bearing head on the shank 43, for example by the pinned connection indicated at 49.

In order to provide access for the tightening of the fastener 41 on the fastener 37, the support 41 and the facing 21 are cut away as indicated at 51 and 52 to provide a marginal recess designated generally at 53 along the lower marginal edge of the panel section. The mar ginal recess 53 enables a wrench or other tool to engage the free end of the fastener 41 and provides operating room for the wrench or other tightening tool. After the panel section is tightened to the support 33, the recesses 53 along the bottom marginal edge of the section are covered by finishing strips such as a suitable cove or baseboard 55 and quarter-round 56. The. finishing strips may be mounted on the panel section in any desired manner, either by clips engaging in the recesses 53 therealong or by nailing or screwing directly through the facing 21 into the floor joist 31. The height of the recesses 53 is sufliciently small to permit covering by a conventional finishing strip, but is amply large to afford a secure connection of the section to its support by the fasteners.

A similar arrangement is provided for anchoring the panel sections to one another. To this end, one of the internal end supports in the present instance the upright 23, is provided with a female fastener 61 similar to the fastener 41; and the complementary end support, the terminal upright 24, is provided with a male fastener 62. In the present instance, the fastener 62 comprises a carriage bolt having a head portion 63 embedded in the support 24 and a shank 65 having its free terminal end threaded as indicated at 66. In the present instance, the shank 65 is of a length corresponding substantially to the thickness of the upright 24 so that the free end of the shank does not project beyond the outline of the panel section. To permit access to the threaded shank, the upright support and the facing panels are recessed at 68 so as to expose the threaded portion 66 of the shank 65.

The female fastener 61 is mounted in the support 23 for rotational and longitudinal displacement therein. The inner end of the fastener is provided with a bearing head 71 and Washer 72 adapted to bear against the inner surface of the support 23. The fastener 61 has a shank 73 4 end of the shank 65 of the male fastener 62. The terminal portion of the shank 73 is provided with a toolgrip portion 76, in the present instance, in the form of a polygonal head for receiving a wrench or other suitable tool. The aperture 74 permits free rotation of the shank 73 therein so as to permit threaded engagement of the fastener 61 with the fastener 62. In the present instance, the projection of the fastener 61 from the upright is controlled by adjusting the bearing portion 71 on the shank 73 by means of a pinned connection, indicated at 70 in FIG. 2. If desired, other adjustment means may be provided; for example, the bearing may consist of a nut threaded on the shank and anchored thereon by a cotter pin.

Prior to assembly of adjoining panel sections, the toolgrip portion 76 is retracted into a recess 78 in the upright support 23 corresponding to the recess 68 in the upright support 24. In this way, the two panel sections may be readily aligned Without the fasteners interfering with one another. When the assemblies are in proper alignment, the fastener 61 is displaced axially into engagement with the fastener 62 and is threadably engaged therewith so as to tighten the panel sections into secure engagement. It is noted that the recesses 68 and 78 are generally arcuate in form so as to provide for space permitting engagement of a wrench or other tool with the tool-grip 76 and operation of the tool to effect proper tightening of the fasteners. The depth of the recess is sufficient to expose a suflicient length of threads 66 to provide a firm engagement of the fasteners and also to receive the toolgrip portion 76 completely within the con-fines of the recess. After assembly and securement of the fasteners between adjacent assemblies, a cover strip 81 is secured along the joint between the assemblies, thereby covering the recesses. The finishing strip 81 may be mounted in any desired manner, either by clips engaging in the recesses 68 and 78, or by nailing or screwing directly through the facing 21 into the uprights 23 and 24. If desired, a similar cover strip (not shown) may be employed to cover the joint between the panel assemblies on the opposite side of the assembly.

It will be apparent, therefore, that the present invention provides a panel section for a building structure or the like which may be completely preassembled remote from the building site and may be connected to similar panel sections without special tools to provide a secure and rigid structural assembly. The connections between the sections and between the section and the supporting foundation are confined to the extreme marginal portions of the panel sections and are therefore readily concealed by cover strips disposed about the marginal edge of the 7 sections. Since the panel sections may be assembled at mounted in an aperture 74 of the upright support 23 and has at its outer extremity, a hollow portion which is internally threaded for engagement with the threaded a location remote from the building site, the components may be designed to accommodate mechanized assembly and need not conform to the standard building materials which must be used when the panel sections must be partially assembled at the building site.

I While particular embodiments of the present invention have been herein illustrated and described, it is not intended to limit the invention to such disclosure, but changes and modifications may be made therein and thereto within the scope of the following claims.

I claim:

1. In a prefabricated structure, at least one panel section having spaced parallel facing elements and supports therebetween, said supports including a support member coextensive with and disposed along at least one marginal edge of said section, a female fastener rotatably mounted in said support member to pass therethrough, the inner end of saidfastener having a bearing portion adapted to engage against an inner surface on said support. member, the outer portion of said fastener being hollow and inter nally threaded and having a tool-grip portion adjacent to the free end thereof, said panel section being provided with a recess along the marginal edge thereof to house said tool-grip portion and to permit engagement thereof by an actuating tool to forcibly and threadably engage said fastener with an externally-threaded male complementary fastener mounted on a support adjoining said panel section to thereby firmly anchor said panel section thereon.

2. A panel section according to claim 1 wherein said female fastener is mounted for axial displacement in said support member between retracted and extended positions, in the retracted position said fastener being housed completely Within said recess so as to lie within the outline of said panel section in axially spaced relation to the com plementary male fastener on the adjoining support, said female fastener operable to be extended to threadably engage said male fastener, whereby said female fastener avoids interference with said male fastener during erection of said panel section.

3. A panel section according to claim 2 wherein said female fastener comprises a shank portion having an enlarged polygonal head at its free end forming said toolgrip portion, said bearing portion being adjustable on said shank to determine the extent of said axial displacement.

4. A panel section according to claim 3 wherein said support member mounts a hollow casing for receiving said female fastener, said casing being stepped to provide said inner bearing surface for engaging said bearing portion of said fastener.

5. A prefabricated structure comprising at least two panel sections mounted in abutting relation, each section comprising a support member, the support members of said panel sections adapted to be mounted in abutting relation, means defining marginal recesses in said panel section, said recesses cooperating to provide a tool-receiving opening, an externally-threaded male fastener mounted in the support member of one panel section having a shank passing therethrough and terminating in said opening, an internally-threaded female fastener mounted in the support member of the other panel section having a shank passing through said member and terminating in said opening, said fasteners being longitudinally aligned and mounted for relative longitudinal and rotatable displacement to permit threaded engagement of the free ends thereof, bearing portions at the opposite ends thereof adapted to bear against an inner surface on said support member whereby upon tightening of said fasteners said support members are rigidly anchored in engagement.

6, A structure according to claim 5 wherein said male member is fixedly mounted in its associated support against rotary and longitudinal displacement, the female member having a tool-grip portion disposed in said opening for being engaged by a tool for effecting forcible threaded engagement of said male and female fasteners.

7. A structure according to claim 6 wherein said male fastener terminates at its free end within the recess of said one panel section, and the free end of said female fastener is displaceable longitudinally between a retracted position within the recess of said other panel section and an extended position engaging said male fastener within the recess of said one panel section, whereby when the female fastener is retracted said panel sections may be erected in abutting relation without interference between said fasteners.

8. A structure according to claim 7 wherein said toolgrip portion comprises an enlarged polygonal head operable to limit the inward axial displacement of said female fastener.

9. A structure according to claim 5 including a cover strip mounted along the joint between said panel sections and covering the openings therein.

10. A fastener comprising a male and female member, the male member consisting of a shank, externally threaded at the connecting end and having means for securely positioning said member at the other end, the female member being rotatable and axially displaceable and consisting of an elongated shank having at one connecting end an internally threaded hollow connecting end portion and an enlarged polygonal tool-grip portion, said shank of the female member having at its opposite end a separate bearing portion and means to adjust said portion on said shank to determine the extent of axial displacement.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 167,118 8/1875 Pritchett 20-92 638,494 12/1899 Brock 52272 692,052. 1/1902 Forster 312111 1,335,554 3/1920 Callahan 20--92 1,467,824 9/1923 Ahlers. 2,648,248 8/1953 Cedarquist 32 CHARLES E. OCONNELL, Primary Examiner.


A. I. BREIER, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US167118 *Mar 27, 1875Aug 24, 1875 Improvement in joint-fastenings for stair-rails
US638494 *Jul 21, 1897Dec 5, 1899William E BrockPortable building.
US692052 *Jul 3, 1901Jan 28, 1902Jacob A ConreyLock or clutch for sectional cases.
US1335554 *Jun 27, 1917Mar 30, 1920Callahan Thomas JSill-joint for cut-to-fit greenhouses
US1467824 *Jun 24, 1922Sep 11, 1923David E AhlersBolt and nut lock
US2648248 *Dec 23, 1950Aug 11, 1953Emanuel L CederquistNut and holder
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3367694 *Feb 10, 1966Feb 6, 1968Kieler Howaldtswerke AgConnecting bolt in an insulated joint
US3480311 *Jun 5, 1968Nov 25, 1969Entron IncQuick-release fastener means
US4044511 *Oct 8, 1976Aug 30, 1977Lingle Cleo MFastening means for frameless insulating panels
US4754584 *May 29, 1986Jul 5, 1988Uniwall Corp.Modular security cell
US4779707 *Jul 29, 1986Oct 25, 1988Montgomery Elevator CompanyModular elevator cab construction
US4989386 *Nov 26, 1987Feb 5, 1991Collis Howard GPanel building elements
US5199117 *Jan 22, 1992Apr 6, 1993Kohler Co.Seat attachment system
US7549263Jun 20, 2006Jun 23, 2009Sip Home Systems, Inc.Structural insulated panel with hold down chase
US20110094173 *May 6, 2009Apr 28, 2011Jeffrey Robert ParkerWall System
U.S. Classification52/127.12, 411/338, 52/584.1, 403/8
International ClassificationE04B1/02, E04B1/12, E04B1/61
Cooperative ClassificationE04B1/12, E04B1/6137
European ClassificationE04B1/61D3B3, E04B1/12