US 3346124 A
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Oct. 10, 1967 s. M. SOBEL MODULAR KNOCKDOWN SHELVING CONSTRUCTION 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Jan. 6, 1966 INVENTORv SYDNEY M. SOBEL /TORNEY Oct. 10, 1967 s. M. SOBEL I MODULAR KNOCKDOWN SHELVING CONSTRUCTION Filed Jan. 6, 1966 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENT SYDNEY SOBEL I V 1 roR Oct. 10, 1967 s. M. SOBEL MODULAR KNOCKDOWN S HELVING CONSTRUCTION 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Jan. 6, 1966 B0 L -l INVENTOR SYDNEY H. 50 EL By ORNEY PP a L United States Patent Office 3,346,124 Patented Oct. 10, 1967 3,346,124 MODULAR KNOCKDOWN SHELVING CONSTRUCTION Sydney Murray Sohel, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, assignor to Ontario Store Fixture (30., Limited, a corporation of Canada Filed Jan. 6, 1966, Ser. No. 519,070 Claims. (Cl. 211-148) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A modular shelving unit comprised basically of a plurality of vertical post structures and horizontal tiebars, each post structure consisting of a pair of laterally spaced, opposed post members of castellated cross-section rigidly interconnected at spaced intervals by shelf-bracket supporting pins to define front and rear continuous openings, and a shelf-bracket spacer element located within the area defined by the post members, said spacer bar being sinuous in cross-section to provide a plurality of continuous, laterally spaced recesses opening outwardly of the front and rear openings and operable to receive and locate the inner ends of the shelf-brackets, the castellated configuration of the post members providing channels to permit engagement of hooks, integral with the tie members, with side straps connected to and laterally of the post members.
The present invention relates in general to modular shelving structures adapted for various modes of merchandise display.
More particularly, the present invention relates to new and novel structural elements and combinations thereof which permit the assembly of modular units characterized by high strength, rigidity, great versatility and ease of assembly without the use of tools.
It will be appreciated that display shelving structures must embody several highly important features and that heretofore, the provision of some of these features has been rendered difficult, if not impossible, due to the incompatibility of particular requirements necessary to obtain others.
For example, shelving structures must be strong and rigid enough to support considerable loads, and, at the same time, present as small and unobtrusive an outline as possible in order to avoid distraction of the eye from the merchandise on display.
Further, since erection, disassembly and re-arrangement of store shelving is usually carried out by a staff not versed or skilled in mechanical manipulation, elimination of relatively intricate connecting means is essential without sacrificing rigidity. It is of prime importance that re-arrangernent of store fixtures be carried out as rapidly as possible, thus, in addition to ensuring that modular shelving units will rapidly interlock with and release from one another, it is imperative to provide modular units which, in and of themselves, are sufficiently versatile to be usable in various types of display. In addition, of course, a versatile module precludes the necessity of stocking a number of different units of less versatile nature.
As regards the manufacture of component parts in this field, it will be noted that while the modular type of construction is obviously advantageous, store owners still wish to erect structures which simulate a substantially continuous, uninterrupted shelf assembly. It is thus necessary to manufacture parts of modular units to fairly close tolerances in order to bring each modular shelving length in close spaced adjacency to its neighbour. Any attempt to simplify the interconnecting means between units by eliminating currently used fastening means, such as screws, bolts, nuts, etc., would apparently call for even closer tolerances in manufacture thus elevating costs.
To date, no modular shelving structures include all the desired attributes. For example, versatility and slimness of line have, of necessity, been sacrificed, at least to a considerable degree, in favor of strength and rigidity. Where the former attributes have been sought, the latter have suffered, and so on.
It is also noted that most current structures of the general type under discussion, require considerable tooling for manufacture of the various elements. Naturally, a structure which can utilize, in the main, stock items and/ or sections; will obtain substantial benefits as regards manufacturing costs.
The present applicant has overcome the prior art difficulties by the ingenious use of a novel, basic post structure around which modular units are formed. Further, the applicants invention sets forth a structure which requires a minimum of tooling for special shapes etc., most parts being cropped from standard sections etc.
Most commercially employed shelving structures include upright members adapted in various ways to secure, retain and support shelf brackets. Several designs are known which make provision for accepting a pair of shelf brackets in closely spaced adjacency on each edge of the single upright. Of necessity, these last mentioned designs are of relatively large configuration to accommodate opposed bracket portions within the post. Usually, such uprights are slotted to receive hooks integral with the shelf brackets. The application of loads by such brackets tends to effect a tearing action by the hooks on the uprights, thus, in order to provide shelving structures capable of accepting considerable loads, it is necessary to use relatively heavy gauge materials thus rendering a structure more expensive, more bulky and hence less acceptable.
In addition, current slotted posts provide little or no resistance as regards lateral swaying of the brackets. Frequently, such brackets are manufactured with additional flanges merely to insure some degree of stability when assembled.
It is an object of this invention to provide a shelving post-structure which forms the basis of a new and improved modular shelving unit.
A further object is to provide a post construction whereby two or more shelf brackets may be mounted fore and aft and side by side therein, in close adjacency, without mutual interference.
Another object of the invention herein disclosed resides in the provision of a post-structure including characteristics which permit automatic staggered spacing of a plurality of shelf brackets at a common level together with an outer configuration which assists in effecting different modes of merchandise display by the selective positioning of other members relative thereto.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a novel modular unit for a display shelving structure including interconnecting means which permits rapid assembly and disassembly by unskilled personnel without tools and without separate connecting means such as screws, bolts, etc.
Yet a further object of the present invention is to provide a display shelving structure which may be readily assembled but requires that only normal sheet metal tolerances be observed in the manufacture of the various elements.
Still further objects and advantages will become apparent to those skilled in this art as the disclosure continues in conjunction with the appended drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of a post illustrative of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a spacer element.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view, partially exploded, of a display unit.
FIG. 5 is a partial perspective view of the post of FIG. 1 with other elements of a unit shown exploded therefrom.
FIG. 6 is an end elevation of a unit.
With particular reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the novel post structure of the invention, or at least one embodiment thereof, is generally designated by the numeral 1. The post 1 comprises a pair of laterally spaced, vertically extending post members 2 and 3 interconnected in spaced relationship by spacer pins 4 secured in position as by welding, for example. Spacer pins 4, in addition to interconnecting post members 2 and 3 are vertically spaced relative to each other and function as abutment members for locating and detachably connecting brackets 5 to the post structure.
Preferably, although not essentially, spacer pins 4 are cylindrical and are thus, as is well known, admirably suited to withstand shearing forces applied through brackets 5. Further, the cylindrical configuration provides a smooth curved outer surface which greatly facilitates connect-ion of the brackets. Since the brackets per se do not form part of the invention, their structure is not dealt herewith in detail. It is sufficient to note that such brackets are preferably integral with an associated shelf and are of a type having an upper, guiding, entry slot 5a and a lower retaining slot 512. Any similar brackets may be used to advantage with the post 1 of the present invention. It will be noted that with this arrangement, it is practically impossible to misalign a shelf. That is, having inserted one bracket of a shelf-bracket assembly, it is virtually impossible to locate the second bracket on other than the correct corresponding spacer pins on the adjacent post.
As readily seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the applicants novel post structure is capable of accepting a pair of shelf supporting brackets in fore and aft edges thereof. In order to simplify insertion and removal of brackets and their associated shelves, spacer means are located within the post 1, extending along at least the major portion thereof. The spacer element 7 as illustrated in FIG. 3 can comprise an elongate metal or high impact plastic sheet, double-folded to present opposite and offset recesses 8 and 9. Tabs 10 project from each side of spacer 7 to provide means for connecting the spacer 7 to the post 1, as for example, by spot welding at locations such as point 11.
Returning to FIG. 2, it will be seen that post members 2 and 3 are castellated in cross-section to provide a plurality of outwardly directed ridges 12 and at least three outwardly opening channels 12a. The function of channels 12a will be fully discussed hereinafter.
To the manufacturer in this field, it will be clear that the post 1 can be constructed by extrusion means, the spacers 7 then being extruded with and interconnecting the side members 2 and 3. If this method of manufacture was employed, it would be merely necessary to weld or otherwise secure the spacer pins 4 in desired locations to complete each post.
FIG. 4 illustrates a standard modular unit 13 connected to an end unit 14 and having a further end unit 14a shown in exploded and partially cut away condition. In all cases, the lowermost shelves have been omitted in the interests of clarity.
Unit 13 comprises a central, longitudinal base-bar 15, from a central location of which extends a vertical post 1. Post 1 can be welded to base-bar 15 or fitted into a socket formed in such bar.
End sub-assemblies 16, connected tat right angles to bar 15, each comprise a vertical post member 1, connected at the lower end thereof, by any suitable means, to the center of an end-bar 17.
Each end-bar 17 comprises a pair of spaced parallel straps 18 interconnected at each end by insertion of legs 19 which can be welded or otherwise secured in position. Legs 19 can be advantageously provided with adjustable feet (not shown) for adjustment of a completed unit to a possibly uneven supporting floor. As will be readily seen, end-bars 17 may be manufactured from inverted channel sections. Downwardly directed lugs 28 on bar 15 engage in mating notches 29 formed in the parallel strap 18, such notches and lugs being aligned with two of the channels 12a to facilitate connection.
Any tendency for the unit to move out of square is substantially eliminated by provision of bracing bars 20 and a post cap member 21. The bracing bars 20 are provided, adjacent each end thereof, with notches 22 (see FIGS. 4 and 5), such notches cooperating with mating notches 23 in straps 18.
Cap member 21 is of U-shaped cross-section and, at each end and centrally thereof, includes downwardly depending lugs 24 adapted to engage in the upper portions of the posts 1. To avoid the possibility of movement of the cap member 21 relative to the respective posts, an abutment strip 25 is spot welded to the post, as best seen in FIGS. 4 and 5, thus forming, in conjunction with the inner surfaces of each post member, 2 and 3, a series of sockets well adapted for reception of lugs 24.
It will be noted that bars 20 and cap 21 extend approximately half way across the cross-section of end subassemblies 16 and posts 1 respectively. In this way, when a plurality of units are connected end to end, the bars 20 and caps 21 are substantially continuous.
As best illustrated in FIG. 4, end units 14 and 14a may be utilized to complete a display arrangement consisting primarily of the standard modular units connected end to end with each other.
Each end unit 14 and 14a comprises a main bar 26 of inverted-U cross-section together with a pair of side assemblies 27. Side assemblies 27 are manufactured in the same manner as end sub-assemblies 16. It will be noted that the main bar 26 is provided, centrally thereof, with rearwardly directed lugs 28 adapted to engage in mating notches 29 formed in strap members 18 of the standard modular units. In this respect, lugs 28 and notches 29 are spaced to align with a pair of channels 12a, as previously noted with reference to bar 15 and end sub-assemblies 16, in order to facilitate insertion of lugs 28 in operative position with respect to notches 29. As will be more readily apparent with reference to FIG. 5, lugs 28 enter the channels 12a and are guided thereby for connection with the respective notches.
Similar to the standard modular units, each end unit is provided with a cap element 30 having, at each end thereof, downwardly depending lugs 24 which engage in the respective vertical posts 1. In addition, cap element 30, as used with the end units 14 and 14a, includes centrally located and rearwardly projecting hooks 31 which, upon connection of an end unit to a standard unit, engage in downwardly directed notches formed in the post 1 of the standard unit as hereinbefore described. Thus, the end units are secured against movement with respect to the standard units.
In both standard and end units, the channels 12a in the posts 1 perform a further function. Again referring to FIG. 4, and more particularly to end unit 14a, it will be seen that a divider board 32 is positioned in central channels 12a of posts 1. Such divider boards may be plain panels of Masonite or the like, or, alternatively, may be made of the well known Peg Board materials. Where no items are to be mounted on the divider boards, only one board 32 is used and that, as shown in FIG. 4 occupies the center channel 12a.
However, should the divider board he required to support and display items of merchandise, a pair of divider boards are respectively located in outer channels 12a. In this way, the rear portions of any retaining means used on the boards will be invisible and a good appearance will be maintained at all times.
From the foregoing, it is seen that the novel post structure 1 of the present invention, due to its particular characteristics, performs a plurality of functions while maintaining minimal dimensions. For instance, if brackets 5 were not mounted in staggered relationship, it is obvious that the inner portions thereof could interfere with one another during mounting of shelf units. Further, the spacing means 7 assists in expediting assembly by guiding unskilled personnel and limits swaying of the brackets relative to the main structure.
Generally speaking, all connections in the present invention are eifected by means of notches and mating lugs so that no special tools are required and all units may be assembled by hand alone.
Assembly of a unit such as standard unit 13 is readily accomplished. Firstly, an end sub-assembly 16 is prepared and to this sub-assembly is connected, as aforementioned, a base-bar 15. From this point, the partially assembled unit is self-sustaining such that one person can assemble these units alone. A second end sub-assembly 16 is then connected to the opposite end of base-bar 15 merely by inserting hooks 28 into the respective notches 29 formed in strap members 18. Cap member 21 is then placed in position with lugs 24 entering the upper, open sockets formed in the vertical posts. It has been noted that cap members 21 include central, downwardly depending lugs to engage the central post member 1 of each standard unit. However, the cap member 30 used on end units 14 and 14a does not require corresponding lugs 24 since it does not pass over a central post.
As separate modular units are completed they are connected to one another by merely engaging cap lugs 24 in the sockets formed in the posts 1 and further, engaging lugs 28 in notches 29. Of course, divider boards 32 are positioned, as desired, prior to mounting the respective cap members 21 and 31.
Further modifications and alternatives will become apparent to those skilled in this art from reading the foregoing disclosure without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.
What I claim as new and desire to protect by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. In a shelving support assembly, a post structure consisting of a pair of laterally spaced, opposed post members defining continuous fore and aft longitudinal openings; means rigidly interconnecting said post members at spaced intervals along the length thereof; shelf-bracket spacer means extending longitudinally of and between said post members, said spacer means defining a plurality ,of continuous laterally spaced recesses opening outwardly to each of said fore and aft openings.
2. A post structure as defined in claim 1 wherein said spacer means comprises an elongate element, sinuous in cross-section to define said plurality of recesses, and tab means extending from said spacer means for engagement with respective post members to fixedly locate said spacer means in operative position.
3. A post structure as defined in claim 1 wherein each said post member is castellated in cross-section to provide a plurality of outwardly opening, longitudinally extending channels.
4. A post structure as defined in claim 1 wherein said means interconnecting the post members comprises a plurality of horizontal pins of substantially circular crosssection, said pins being arranged along the length of the post in spaced groups and operable to support and retain shelf brackets.
5. In a modular, knockdown shelving support unit, a post structure consisting essentially of a pair of vertically extending, spaced and opposed post members, each post member being castellated in cross-section to provide a plurality of outwardly opening parallel channels extending longitudinally of the sides of each post member; vertically spaced pins rigidly interconnecting said post members at front and rear edges thereof to provide mounting means for shelf brackets; bracket spacing and locating means within the post structure and comprising an elongate element, sinuous in cross-section to define a plurality of recesses opening outwardly of each of said front and rear edges.
6. A modular knockdown shelving support unit including a plurality of post structures as defined in claim 3, one post structure being connected centrally of a horizontal beam member and extending vertically upwards therefrom; transverse end members releasably connected to each end of said horizontal beam member; second and third post structures extending vertically upward from each of said end members in line with said one post structure; an elongated cap member of substantially U- shaped cross-section releasably connected to the upper ends of said post structures, said cap member having downwardly projecting lug means operable to engage in a plurality of sockets formed in the post members, and bracing means releasably interconnecting respective opposed ends of said end members.
7. A modular knockdown shelving support unit as defined in claim 6 wherein said horizontal beam member includes downwardly depending lug means at each end thereof; notches formed in each of said end members in alignment with the channels in said post structures operable to releasably receive the lug means on said horizontal beam member.
8. A modular knockdown shelving support unit as de fined in claim 6 and further including a plurality of divider boards, each board being entrained between adjacent post structures in corresponding channels therein. 9. A modular knockdown shelving support unit including a pair of post structures as defined in claim 3, each of said post structures extending vertically from a transverse end assembly at corresponding ends thereof; a main beam member releasably interconnecting said end assemblies adjacent said corresponding ends, and bracing means releasably connected to the other ends of said end assemblies to maintain same in spaced parallel relationship; a cap member spanning said post structures and including downwardly depending lug means operable to engage in sockets formed in the upper ends of said posts; hook means projecting rearwardly from each of said cap member and said main beam member, said hook means being operable to releasably engage with a further unit in assembling a desired shelving support assembly.
10. A modular knockdown shelving support unit as defined in claim 6 wherein each of said cap member and said bracing means, in operative connecting position, extends substantially mid-way across the upper ends of the post structures and the end members respectively such that on connecting a plurality of units end to end, the cap members and bracing means present a substantially continuous appearance.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,383,634 8/1945 Watter 52721 3,148,638 9/1964 Shelor 108-108 3,265,217 8/1966 Biggs 2119O 3,272,345 9/1966 Wallace 21144 3,297,374 1/1967 Radek 312-408 ROY D. FRAZIER, Primary Examiner.
W. D. LOULAN, Assistant Examiner.