US 3352615 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
INVENTOR. RAYMOND C. SAND/N m as -Aw ATT'Y Nov. 14, 1967 R. c. SANDIN CONNECTING STRUCTURE Filed Aug. 1, 1966 United States Patent 3,352,615 CGNNECTING STRUCTURE Raymond C. Sandin, Winnetka, Ill., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed Aug. 1, 1966, Ser. No. 569,228 4 Claims. (Cl. 312-111) This invention relates to a connecting structure, and more particularly, to structure used for joining a number of modular units adjacent each other to give the appearance of a single cabinet.
It has become quite common to provide a cabinet in the form of sectionalized units, consisting of a plurality of individual modular units. The modular units may be carried in stock by the manufacturer or distributor, and may be purchased together or singly with the intention of placing the cabinets in an abutting side-by-side relationship to give the appearance of a full width cabinet having separate compartments therein. Locating individual units adjacent each other has heretofore been accomplished on the one hand by merely placing the identical units in an abutting edge-to-edge relationship, and, on the other hand, by providing trim connecting means that rigidly hold the units in a fixed relationship to each other.
One of the basic problems in placing identical units next to one another, without the use of a full length countertop providing full width coverage, is that the joints between the top and front walls of the adjacent cabinets are usually visible to an observer. The visible joint between the abutting edges is inevitably due either to slight variations in the floor under the adjacent units, or minor dimensional variations resulting from allowable manufacturing tolerances.
One of the manufacturers primary purposes in providing identically constructed units is to permit one to subsequently acquire an additional unit or units and join them in a manner that gives the appearance of an integral or one piece cabinet. However, the visible joints remaining when the units are assembled in the manner described above has the principal disadvantage of impairing the appearance of the unit, in that upon seeing the joint between the units, one becomes immediately aware that the cabinet is made up of a number of units, as opposed to a single full length cabinet.
An object of my invention is, therefore, to overcome the aforementioned problem by providing connecting means for modular units which may be placed in an adjacentrelationship to each other in such a manner that no evidence of a crack or joint between the units will be visible to a person casually inspecting the resulting sectionalized cabinet.
Another object of my invention is to provide connecting means for jo ning two modular units in an abutting relationship wherein the connecting means so provided will accommodate minor variations in the level of the floor or in the dimensions of the units, to thereby eliminate any evidence of a joint or crack between the units that would be visible to the'observer.
Still another object of my invention is to provide connecting means for joining two identical units in a manner that is both simple and economical, and wherein the connecting means adds to the total esthetic appearance when used in the manner prescribed.
In one aspect of my invention, there is provided connecting means for joining first and second modular units whereby the units appear as a single cabinet. Each of the modular units has at least two side walls, a top wall and a front wall. The connecting means comprises trim means interposed between the adjacent side walls of the first and second units in abutting relation thereto, the trim means thereby spacing the units a predetermined distance apart.
The trim means has an inverted substantially L-shaped 3,3525% Patented Nov. 14, 1967 configuration, with the horizontal leg of the trim means being disposed a predetermined distance below the spaced top walls of the first and second units, and extending from the vertical leg of the trim means to the rear wall of the units, and the vertical leg of the trim means being disposed a predetermined distance behind the front walls of the' first and second units and extending from the horizontal leg of the trim means to the bottom of the units. Means are provided to secure the trim means to at least one of the units. The trim means, upon being interposed between the first and second units, thereby bridges the space between the first and second units whereby said first and second units and said trim means appear to be a single cabinet; and any variation in height between the top walls of the first and second units is virtually indiscernible because of the discontinuity of the top and front walls of the adjacent units brought about by spacing the first and second units a predetermined distance apart.
The subject matter that I regard as my invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of this specification. My invention, however, together with further objects and advantages thereof, can best be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a view in perspective, and illustrates a number of modular units joined in the manner provided by my invention;
FIGURE 2 is a front view of two modular units and illustrates the relationship of my invention thereto;
FIGURE 3 is a side view taken along the line 33 of FIGURE 2; and
FIGURE 4 is a partial cross sectional view taken along the line 44 of FIGURE 2 and illustrates my invention in greater detail.
Referring now to FIGURE 1, there are shown three identical rectilinear modular units disposed adjacent each other, and designated generally by numerals 1, 2, and 3. The units are identical in both size and exterior construction, each having side walls 4, a top wall 5, a rear wall 6 (FIGURE 3), and a bottom wall 7. Units 1, 2, and 3 each have a front access opening thereto that is normally closed by a door 3; the doors being conventionally hinged to one side wall of the unit. The top wall of unit 2 also serves as an additional door thereto. It should be understood that my invention is thus applicable to cabinets or units having either top or front access openings thereto, or both.
It will be observed that each door 8 has a handle 9 disposed thereon for opening the door. Each unit has suitable legs 10 disposed on the base or bottom wall 7 thereof for supporting the unit.
The units illustrated may be provided with storage shelves in the interiors thereof, or they may serve as housings for a television set, stereo, small refrigerator and bar, or any other function desired by the user thereof. The units may be made of fine wood, as illustrated in the drawing, however, the particular material from which the units are made forms no part of my invention, as my invention may be utilized with units made of any material.
Referring now to FIGURES 1 and 2, it will be observed that a connecting means 11 is interposed between the sides 4 of the adjacent units 1 and 2, and also between units 2 and 3. The connecting means 11 serves to space the units a predetermined distance apart. As best shown in FIGURE 3, the connecting means 1-1 comprises trim means having an inverted substantially L-shaped configuration, with legs 12 and 13. The first leg 12 of the trim means is disposed a predetermined distance below and parallel to the top wall 5 of the units, and extends from the front leg 13 of the trim means to the rear wall 6 of 3 the unit. The second leg 13 is spaced inwardly a predetermined distance from the front of the units and extends from leg 12 to the bottom wall 7. I have found that spacing the trim means about of an inch from both the top and front walls is adequate to achieve my objectives.
The trim means may be comprised of a single L-shaped member having mitered corners between the front and top sections thereof as illustrated in FIGURE 3, or the trim means may comprise first and second members each individually positioned as described above. I have found that a single aluminum extrusion provides an ideal trim means, in that it is relatively inexpensive and is easy to manufacture. Alternatively, where the units are manufactured from high quality materials, the extrusion may be covered with a fine veneer overlay, or the trim itself may be made from the same fine material as the units, thus giving the resulting cabinet an appearance of high quality. One structure that I have found to be highly appealing in terms of both function and appearance, was to make one of the units a small refrigerator, a second unit having a small recessed sink, and th third a storage unit for liquid refreshments. In this instance, the cabinets were made of a fine walnut, and the trim was an aluminum extrusion painted black to accent the cabinet.
As illustrated in FIGURES 3 and 4, the trim means 11 comprises a channel member having a generally U- shaped cross-section. The channel member includes a first shorter leg 14, a central bight or connecting leg 15, and a second longer leg 16. The longer leg 16 of the channel member includes appropriately longitudinally spaced screw holes 17, the screw holes being remote from the central connecting section 15, so that the shorter leg 14 of the channel member does not interfere with the setting of the screws 18. As illustrated in FIGURE 4, the trim means may be secured to the side wall of one unit by way of screws 18 that pass through the openings in the longer leg of the channel and into the side wall of the unit.
When it is desired to locate two of the units adjacent each other, the trim means or channel 11 is secured to theside wall 4 of one of the units in the manner described above. The second unit is then positioned immediately adjacent the first unit, with the side wall 4 of the second unit abutting the shorter leg -14 of the channel member, as illustrated in FIGURES 2 and 4. At this time, when so assembled, the units will appear to form one full width cabinet in which the trim strips or channels appear as decorative recesses formed in the top and front walls thereof. Thus the channel member or members act as spacers between the modular units and yet bridge the region between the units that would otherwise be visible.
By disposing the trim means 11 a predetermined distance below the top, and set back a predetermined distance from the front edge of the modular units, any slight variation in height of the units because of variations in the floor or the cabinet dimensions is virtually indiscernible to the observer. This is so because the top walls of the adjacent units are spaced a suitable distance apart, thereby providing an intentional discontinuity in the top wall of the unit. The trim means 11 may be made of any width, however, I have found that the most desirable width in terms of appearance and functionality is between 1 to 1 /2 inches. My invention requires the trim means to be set back from the top and front of the units and extend to the rear and bottom Walls respectively to achieve the desired apperance.
It will be observed from the foregoing that I have provided a simply mounted and economically produced connecting structure for joining adjacent modular units. The connecting means provides a complete entity of design wholly pleasing in appearance 'while functionally joining one unit with another. The concept of my invention may be satisfactorily used with units of any shape and design, and will satisfactorily space the units in the manner heretofore described wherein the cabinets will appear to be a singular unit.
While there has been described What is at present thought to be the preferred embodiment of my invention, it will be understood that various modifications may be made therein, and it is intended to cover in the appended claims all such modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
1. Connecting means for joining first and second rectilinear modular units whereby said units appear as a single cabinet, each of said modular units having at least two side walls, a top wall, and a front wall, said connecting means comprising:
(a) trim means interposed between the adjacent side walls of said first and second units in abutting relation thereto, said trim means thereby spacing said first and second units a predetermined distance apart;
(b) said trim means having an inverted substantially L-shaped configuration, with the horizontal leg of said trim means being disposed a predetermined distance below the spaced top wall of said first and second units and extending from the vertical leg of said trim means to the rear wall of said unit, and the vertical leg of said trim means being disposed a predetermined distance behind the front walls of said first and second units, and extending from the horizontal leg of said trim means to the bottom of said units; and
(c) means securing said trim means to at least one of said units, said trim means upon being interposed between said first and second units thereby bridging the space between said first and second units, whereby said first and second units and said trim means appear to be a single cabinet, while any variation in height between the top walls of said first and second units is virtually indiscernible because of the discontinuity of said top andfront walls brought about by spacing said first and second units a predetermined distance apart.
2. The combination according to claim 1 wherein said trim means is fixedly secured to the side wall of one of said cabinets only, the side wall of the second of said units being movable relative to said trim means.
3. The combination according to claim 1 wherein said trim means comprise a channel member having a generally U-shaped cross section, the laterally projecting legs thereof being contiguously disposed in abutting relationship with the adjacent side walls of said first and second units.
4. The combination according to claim 3 wherein one of said laterally projecting legs is longer than the other of said legs, and further including fastening means extending through said longer leg and adapted. to secure said channel means to the side wall of one of said cabinets.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,250,110 12/1917 Vanderveld 312--111X 2,392,287 1/1946 Mandel 312-111 2,576,409 11/1951 Michaelis et a1. 312-107 2,824,775 2/1958 Sitler 31-2 111 3,129,987 4 1964 Hill 312 204 3,316,041 4/1967 Nelson 312 FOREIGN PATENTS 512,950 10/1952 Belgium.
JAMES T. MCCALL, Primary Examiner.