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Publication numberUS3327439 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 27, 1967
Filing dateOct 21, 1964
Priority dateOct 21, 1964
Publication numberUS 3327439 A, US 3327439A, US-A-3327439, US3327439 A, US3327439A
InventorsEatough Ralph W
Original AssigneeEatough Ralph W
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wall panel locking actuator
US 3327439 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 27, 1967 R. w. EATOUGH 3,327,439

WALL PANEL LOCKING ACTUATOR Filed 001;- Zl, 1964 3 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR. RAL PH I4. EA TOUGH ATTO PNEVS June 27, 1967 Filed Oct. 21, 1964 R. W. EATOUGH WALL PANEL LOCKING ACTUATOR 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 RALPH W EATOUGH A 7' TO/PNEVS June 27, 1967 R. w. EATOUGH WALL PANEL LOCKING ACTUATOR 3 Sheets-Sheet Filed Oct. 21, 1964 INVENTOR. RAL PH W EATOUGH BY 652W; W

A T TOPNEVS United States Patent 3,327,439 WALL PANEL LOCKING ACTUATOR Ralph W. Eatough, 1235 E. Palmyra Ave., Orange, Calif. 92667 Filed Oct. 21, 1964, Ser. No. 405,423 Claims. (Cl. 52238) My invention relates to means primarily useful in bolding and maintaining temporary partitions and folding walls in position between the floor and ceiling of a room.

In many instances, for example in schools, it is desired to subdivide a room into several spaces. At other times it is desired to rearrange these spaces to suit changes in requirements. For these purposes movable or operable walls afford a good result. Such walls may comprise a plurality of folding panels, usually hinged together with vertical hinges and supported on overhead, ceiling or tracks; or a plurality of individual panels held at the ceiling and the floor by suitable holding means. It is often difiicult for persons installing the partitions to make sure that the panels or walls are firmly and accurately held in position. This is due generally to variances in distance between the floor and ceiling in different portions of a room. While these variations may not be great, they are enough to make it necessary to compensate for them in assuring firm support for the movable panels.

It is therefore an object of the invention to provide a wall panel locking actuator which is efiective to hold portable panels in position by pressure against the floor and ceiling.

It is another object to provide a wall panel locking actuator which is effective to give an acoustic seal between the spaces separated by the wall.

It is a further object to provide an actuator which affords a flexible arrangement of wall panels.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide a wall panel locking actuator which is effective to compensate for variations in height between the floor and ceiling and to operate easily despite such variation in height.

Another object of the invention is to provide a wall panel locking actuator in which a number of panels arranged in tandem or in series can be readily actuated so that more than one panel can appropriately be locked to the floor and ceiling.

Another object of the invention is to provide a wall panel locking actuator which is sure in its operation for holding, yet can be easily and effectively released when it is to be moved.

Another object of the invention is to provide a wall panel locking actuator which is simple and economical to manufacture, requires little or no maintenance and can serve for a long time without deterioration.

Other objects together with the foregoing are attained in the embodiment of the invention described in the accompanying description and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a side elevation of a wall panel locking actuator constructed pursuant to the invention, portions of the figure being shown in cross section, and other parts being broken away to reduce the figure size;

FIGURE 2 is an end view with portions in section, the plane of the section being indicated by the lines 2-2 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a view comparable to FIGURE 2 but showing the parts to an enlarged scale;

3,327,439 Patented June 27, 1967 FIGURE 4 is a plan of some of the mechanism shown in FIGURE 3;

FIGURE 5 is an end elevation similar to FIGURE 3 but showing the parts in a diiferent position;

FIGURE 6 is a cross section on a horizontal plane through a portion of the locking actuator mechanism showing the ends of a panel and adjacent attachments and with the center of the panel broken away to reduce the size of the figure; and

FIGURE 7 is a cross section comparable to FIGURE 1 in part and showing an actuating handle.

While the wall panel locking actuator pursuant to the invention can be embodied in a number of different forms, it has with commercial success been embodied in the form shown herein primarily for use in a school environment. As particularly shown in FIGURE 2, the wall panel locking actuator is for use with a generally rectangular upright panel 6 designed to be disposed perpendicularly to a floor 7 and a ceiling 8. The structure is substantially symmetrical about a horizontal central plane, so that the illustration and description of the upper portion of the panel and its associated mechanism apply equally to the lower ortion of the panel.

Across the top, the panel is provided with an upwardly open channel 11 disposed between the inner face 12 and the outer face 13 of the panel itself. Secured to the bottom of the channel 11 are brackets 16 and 17 serving as the supports of a parallel motion mechanism. If the panel is particularly wide, more than one parallel motion linkage can be provided. Secured to the bracket 17 by a pivot connection 18 is a cross link 19 at its far end having a pin 21 movable in a slot 22 in an angle 23 fastened to a clo- Sure rail 24.

The closure rail conveniently is an extruded channelshaped member telescoping with the channel 11 along its length and formed to carry a pair of rubber sealing strips 26 and 27. The bracket 16 similarly has a pivot pin 28 connecting it to a cross link 29 by a slotted connection 31. The link 29 is connected to the cross link 19 by a central pivot 32 and extends upwardly to a pivot pin connection 33 guided between the sides of a bracket 34 secured to the member 24. This mechanism operates upon the raising and lowering of the pin connection 33 to move the member 24 upwardly and downwardly with substantially a parallel motion relative to the channel 11. An exactly similar structure is provided at the lower edge of the panel 6.

In order that the pin connection 33 can be suitably actuated and the parallel motion linkage properly operated to urge the rubber strips 26 and 27 against the ceiling and away from it, and similarly against the floor and away from it, duplicate actuating devices are provided.

Mounted on one of the edges of the panel 6 and generally carrying out the shape of the channel 11, but at right angles thereto, is a frame 36. This conveniently also is a channel extending for substantially the full height of the panel except for the upper and lower channels 11. Near its upper end the frame 36 carries a bracket 37 having flanges 38 and 39 with apertures in them so that the flanges serve as guides for an operating rod 41. At its upper end the operating rod engages the pivot pin of the pin connection 33 and, being constrained to rectilinear translation by the bracket 37, serves to move the parallel motion linkage.

In order that the operating rod 41 may be appropriately translated and its corresponding device at the bottom of the panel also and simultaneously operated, there is mounted on or near the central portion of the panel a central opening shaft 42. This is appropriately journalled so that it can be rotated about a horizontal axis 43. The shaft 42 is connected by appropriate means to the operating rods 41. Generally rotatable with the shaft 42 (by a mechanism later described in detail) is a plate 44 carrying a pair of crank pins 46 and 47 on a diameter thereof but at slightly different radial distances from the axis 43. The arrangement is such that the lower crank pin 47 has a lesser radius than the upper crank pin 46. Thus, there is greater leverage for lifting the panel slightly when the lower strips 26 and 27 contact the floor.

To each of the crank pins similar structures are attached. For example, pivotally engaging the upper crank pin 46 is a primary pitman 49 comprising a strap at its upper end provided with a pair of transverse walls 51 and 52 connected by side plates 53. The walls 51 and 52 are pierced by openings to receive a secondary pitman 54. This is in the form of a circular cylindrical rod passing through the two walls 51 and 52 and secured at its lower end by a cotter pin 56.-At its upper end the secondary pitman 54 is forked to straddle the reduced end of the actuating rod 41 and is connected thereto by a pivot pin 57. A relatively heavy helical spring 58 surrounds the secondary pitman rod 54 and at its upper end bears against a washer 59 held in place by a cotter pin 60 extending through the rod 54. At its lower end the helical spring 58 rests upon the upper cross wall 51, so that the effect of the spring 58 is to tend to slide the primary pitman and the secondary pitman apart.

With this structure, when the shaft 42 is rotated, the primary pitman and the secondary pitman are operated almost simultaneously, the pitman rod 54 being moved through the influence of the spring 58. So long as the spring 58 is extended, the operating rod 41 is likewise lifted and the parallel motion linkage is actuated to move the channel 24 tightly against the ceiling and correspondingly to hold the similar channel tightly against the floor, the door panel itself being slightly lifted. The dimensions are such that the ceiling and floor are abutted before the crank pins 46 and 47 rotate to their top and bottom dead center positions, respectively. At some point in the crank pin rotation and when resistance is encountered, the spring 58 compresses to permit the cornpletion of motion of the shaft 42, even though the other parts may have stopped prior to that time. When the spring compresses, the primary pitman slides along the secondary pitman.

Particularly in accordance with the invention, means are provided for preventing retrograde sliding of the secondary pitman on the primary pitman under certain circumstances. For that reason, as indicated in FIGURE 5, for example, a locking lever 61 is disposed between the upper wall 51 and the lower wall 52. The lever 61 is a curved strap having one end 62 upturned to rest against the lower side of the upper wall 51 and thus to serve as a fulcrum. Between its ends the lever has an aperture 63 which loosely surrounds the pitman rod 54 and when the lever is'exactly normal or perpendicular to the axis of the pitman rod 54, there can be free sliding movement therebetween. When the lever is cooked or angled with respect to the pitman rod 54, then the opposite corners of the lever engage frictionally or even bite into the material of the pitman rod 54 and preclude relative sliding movement therebetween in the binding direction.

When the crank pin 46, for example, is nearing its top dead center position and the spring 58 is being compressed, the lever 61 is move-d freely upwardly with the primary pitman due to the influence of a helical spring 64 resting against the lower wall 52 and against the under side of the lever 61. If there should be any retrograde movement, then the lever 61, rocking on its fulcrum,

catches the material of the pitman rod 54 and locks so that back motion is precluded. With this arrangement, when the shaft 42 is rotated in the initial installation of the panel in a particular locality, the primary pitman is raised until the spring 58 is compressed and assumes a position with respect to the secondary pitman, particularly the pitman rod 154, which is precisely the right point for the dimensions of the particular installation.

If the shaft 42 is then rotated in a retrograde direction before achieving its top dead center position, the locking lever 61 comes into play and holds the primary pitman and the secondary pitman in the just established andv properly adjusted relationship and thus holds thespring 58 in its somewhat compressed condition. Then if the shaft 42 is thereafter rotated in the initial direction, it is not necessary again to compress the spring 58, but the parts will all come exactly into position with the precisely desired pressure against the floor and ceiling. In

this fashion, there is provided a mechanism which, al-

though requiring some effort on its first installation to compress the springs 58, thereafter requires very little effort for reinstallation in that location. It is preferred that the proportions be such that the crank pins 46 and 47 move in the vicinity of their respective top and bottom dead center positions when the rubber strips 26 and 27 are virtually home, thus affordingthe best leverage near the ends of the pitman stroke.

In order to release the structure, means are provided for releasing the locking lever 61. This is accomplished by a further rotation of the shaft-42 to bring the crank pins 46 and 47 past their dead center or extreme positions. Particularly as shown in FIGURE 3, when the crank pin 46 passes over center, it moves the primary pitman 49 substantially in a horizontal or transverse direction with inconsequential vertical motion. When the final transverse motion occurs, a depending arm 66 on the locking lever is moved from locking position to unlocking position since the arm 66 comes into abutment with an angle stop 67 on the frame 36. This causes a rotation of the locking lever 61 about the fulcrum 62 and releases the locking lever from the pitman rod 54 and the parts are released.

Upon return motion of the shaft 42 if there has been no other change in the position of the pitman parts, the arm 66 in moving away from the stop 67v resumes its locking position and again holds the primary pitman and the secondary pitman in their adjusted relationship. Should the pitman parts he moved in the meantime so that the rubber strips 26 and 27 no longer have the ceiling to abut or, for example, no longer have the floor to abut, then when the arm 66 strikes the abutment 67 or stop 67, the spring 58 is effective to extend the rod 41 upwardly. This releases the compression in the spring 58' and restores the relationship of the actuating linkages to their original condition. The linkages are then effective with full range of movement for reinstallation in another location and will again adjust accordingly.

In some instances, the shaft 42 can be directly connected to the plate 44 so that the plate and the shaft rotate unitarily because of the direct connection. Under other circumstances, it is preferred to provide a lost motion connection so that a number of panels can be operated in sequence or so that .a handle which might angularly be out of position when the locking takes place can freely be rotated to an unobtrusive position without disturbing the locking function. The shaft 42 in one form is as shown in FIGURE 6 and extends entirely through one panel. The shaft has a slidable but nonrotatable interconnecting, slotted sleeve 71 for interengagement with a similar shaft having a cross pin 72 at the end on an adjacent panel. The shaft 42 in another form is as shown in FIGURE 7, usually the case at an end panel. A handle 73 is slidably and nonrotatably mounted on the end of the shaft 42 by means of a pin 74 and a slot 76. The offset portion 77 of the handle can be aligned and moved into a 1 recess 78 within the panel edge or can be withdrawn to the dotted line position of FIGURE 7 for full rotation.

In order that the shaft 42 can respond to the handle movement and operate the locking mechanism as desired, the plate 44 is journalled on the shaft 42 and is not fixed thereto. To fix the plate and the shaft together for lock operation, the shaft has secured to it a disc 31 (FIGURES 3 and 4) disposed alongside of and spaced from the plate 44. Mounted on the extended crank pin 46 is a latch lever 82 carrying a pin 83 designed to move into and out of a slot 84 cut in the periphery of the disc 81. A spring 86 engaging the plate 44 and the latch lever 82 urges the pin 83 in a direction to go into the slot 84. The lever 82 also has an upstanding lug 88 which when the plate 44 is rotated comes into abutment with a stop 89 fastened to the frame 36 in the path of the lug 88. There is a stop 91 also secured to the frame 36 and overlying the pin 33 when the pin 83 is out of the notch 84. In addition, there is a projection. 92 outstanding from the disc 81 and a projection 93 extending from the plate 44 in the path of the projection 92.

In the operation of this structure, about the time that the crank pin 46 approaches its top dead center position, the lug 88 abuts the stop 89 and is arrested so that further rotation of the disc 81 when the shaft 42 turns causes the disc to continue its rotation. This lifts the pin 83 out of the notch 84, thus freeing the shaft 42 from connection with the plate 44 and permitting any desired further movement of the shaft 42. The projection 92 pulls away from the projection 93 and the crank pin 46 stops just past its upper dead center position with the lug 88 against the stop 89 and with the pin 83 against the stop 91. The linkage and pitman mechanism is thus in effect locked and held in position. It will remain thus indefinitely.

When the pitrnan linkage is to be picked up again and released, retrograde or counterclockwise rotation of the disc 81 by the shaft 42 (as seen in FIGURE 3) causes the projection 92 to abut the projection 93 and to begin rotation of the plate 44 in a counterclockwise direction and to move into and through the upper dead center position. This motion also allows return of the latch lever 82 in a counterclockwise direction and withdraws the lug 88 from the block 89. The spring 86 is then fully effective to rotate the latching lever 82 about the crank pin 46 to restore the pin 83 into the notch 84. Further motion of the disc 81 and of the plate 44 occurs in unison because the sides of the notch 84 engage the pin 83 and hold the parts together. In this fashion, there is provided a latching arrangement which connects and disconnects the shaft 42 from the individual locking arrangements in the panel. The handle portion 77 can thus operate the pitman linkages when engaged, and can be disengaged for aligning rotation and stowage so as not to project.

What is claimed is:

1. A wall panel locking actuator for use with a panel disposed between a floor and a ceiling comprising a floor engaging member, a first parallel motion linkage connecting said floor engaging member with said panel, a ceiling engaging member, a second parallel motion linkage connecting said ceiling engaging member with said panel, a central operating shaft, and first and second connections joining said shaft with said first linkage and said second linkage, each of said connections including an operating rod, a crank pin connected to said operating shaft, a primary pitman member journalled on said crank pin, a secondary pitman member pivoted to said operating rod and connected to said primary pitman member for recip rocation relative thereto, a major compression spring abutting said primary pitman member and said secondary pitman member, a locking lever interengaging said primary pitman member and said secondary pitman member for locking said members against said reciprocation, and means operable by movement of said members into a predetermined position for releasing said locking lever.

2. A Wall panel locking actuator for use with a panel disposed between a floor and a ceiling comprising a floor engaging member, a first parallel motion linkage connecting said floor engaging member and said panel and .including a first lever, a ceiling engaging member, a

second parallel motion linkage connecting said ceiling engaging member and said panel and including a second lever, a central operating shaft journalled in said panel, first and second crank pins connected to said operating shaft a first linkage connecting said first crank pin to said first lever, a second linkage connecting said second crank pin to said second lever, both said first linkage and said second linkage including a pitman having relatively slidable portions, a spring connected to and urging said portions apart, a locking lever on said pitman movable into one position locking said portions against relative sliding and another position freeing said portions for relative sliding, and means for urging said locking lever into said other position when said pitman is in a predetermined position relative to said panel.

3. A panel locking actuator comprising a frame, an operating rod reciprocably mounted on said frame, a shaft mounted for rotation on said frame, a crank pin connected to said shaft, a primary pitman at one end journalled on said crank pin and having at the other end a transverse end wall with an aperture therein, a secondary pitman at one end pivoted to said operating rod and at the other end passing through said aperture, a coil spring abutting said end wall and secured to said secondary pitman' tending to slide apart said secondary pitman and said primary pitman, a locking lever at one end having a fulcrum on said end wall and having an aperture through which said secondary pitman passes, a lock spring urging said locking lever to move about said fulcrum into latching engagement with said secondary pitman, and means on said frame in the path of movement of said primary pitman for engaging said locking lever and moving said locking lever into unlocking position.

4. A panel locking actuator comprising a frame, an operating rod, means on said frame for constraining said operating rod to translation, a shaft, means for mounting said shaft for rotation on said frame, a crank pin, means for connecting said crank pin to said shaft, a primary pitman at one end journalled on said crank pin and at the other end having transverse walls with axially aligned apertures therein, a secondary pitman at one end pivoted to said operating rod and at the other end passing through said apertures, a coil spring at one end abutting one of said transverse walls and at the other end constrained on said secondary pitman, a locking lever having an aperture receiving said secondary pitman and at one end abutting one of said transverse walls, a lock spring abutting one of said walls and urging said locking lever into locking engagement with said secondary pitman, an arm on said locking lever, and a stop on said frame in the path of movement of said primary pitman and adapted to engage said arm to move said locking lever into unlocked position.

5. A panel locking actuator comprising a frame, a ceiling member actuating rod, a fioor member actuating rod, a shaft, means for mounting said shaft for rotation on said frame, a pair of crank pins, a plate journalled on said shaft for mounting said crank pins to rotate about the axis of said rod, means for connecting said crank pins respectively to said ceiling member actuating rod and said floor member actuating rod, a disc fast on said shaft, said disc having a peripheral notch therein, a latch lever pivotally mounted on said plate, a pin on said latch lever movable into and out of said notch, a spring for urging said latch lever to move said pin into said notch, an upstanding lug on said latch lever, a first stop on said frame in the path of said lug and effective to urge said latch lever to move said pin out of said notch, a second stop on said frame adapted to abut said pin when said pin is out of 7 said notch, a first projection on said disc, and a second projection on said plate in the path of said first projection to transmit rotation of said disc in one direction to said plate.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,421,089 6/1922 Kotun 52238 1,929,370 10/1933 Hamilton 292-36 X 8 Williams -1 29236 X Burmeister 49409 X McDonough 52-122 Mag arian et al. 105376 FRANK L. ABBOTT, Primary Examiner.

A. C. PERI-1AM, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1421089 *Dec 15, 1920Jun 27, 1922Michael KotunAdjustable partition wall
US1929370 *May 12, 1930Oct 3, 1933Noblitt Sparks Ind IncHood latch
US2041099 *Dec 17, 1932May 19, 1936Highway Trailer CoDoor lock
US3072975 *Dec 8, 1958Jan 15, 1963Richards Wilcox Mfg CoSealing mechanism for movable partition panels, doors and the like
US3174593 *Oct 12, 1962Mar 23, 1965Robert McdonoughPrefabricated movable wall section
US3241502 *Aug 22, 1963Mar 22, 1966Preco IncLoad divider mechanism
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3400504 *Jul 6, 1966Sep 10, 1968Ray H. NeisewanderMovable wall partition
US3638376 *Jan 5, 1970Feb 1, 1972Hough Mfg CorpPortable partition
US3788022 *May 12, 1972Jan 29, 1974Holzaepfel Kg Moebel ChristianElement for bridging the juncture between adjacent structural components
US4263761 *Feb 9, 1979Apr 28, 1981Kristoff Kim CPortable acoustical panel system
US4277920 *Feb 18, 1977Jul 14, 1981Panelfold Doors, Inc.Portable and operable wall systems
US4375104 *Aug 20, 1979Feb 22, 1983General Electric CompanyPool gateway seal
US4454690 *Nov 30, 1977Jun 19, 1984Panelfold, Inc.Portable and operable wall system
US4535578 *Jul 20, 1984Aug 20, 1985American Standard Inc.Seal-actuating mechanism for a wall panel
US4619095 *Oct 2, 1980Oct 28, 1986Kenross Nominees Proprietary LimitedReversible panel arrangement
US4833840 *Jun 8, 1987May 30, 1989Huppe GmbhTelescoping wall element of a movable partition
US4841689 *Jun 8, 1987Jun 27, 1989Huppe GmbhTwo-shell telescopic element
US20090199491 *Jun 13, 2006Aug 13, 2009Wilfried BoldtRail-Mounted Mobile Wall Element
EP0000717A1 *Jul 20, 1978Feb 21, 1979Koji UnayamaPartition wall fastening unit
EP0036872A1 *Apr 23, 1981Oct 7, 1981Kenross Nominees Pty. Ltd.Edge member for a panel
EP0128254A2 *Oct 3, 1983Dec 19, 1984Modernfold, Inc.Seal-actuating mechanism for a wall panel
EP0860561A2 *Jan 28, 1998Aug 26, 1998Hufcor, Inc.Seal mechanism for partition
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/243.1, 49/465, 292/35, 49/317, 52/71
International ClassificationE04B2/82
Cooperative ClassificationE04B2/822
European ClassificationE04B2/82B2