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Publication numberUS3383811 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 21, 1968
Filing dateJan 6, 1967
Priority dateJan 6, 1967
Publication numberUS 3383811 A, US 3383811A, US-A-3383811, US3383811 A, US3383811A
InventorsAdes William H
Original AssigneeAnning Johnson Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Removable utility frame for suspended ceilings
US 3383811 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

y 21, 968 w. H. ADES 3,383,811

REMOVABLE UTILITY FRAME FOR SUSPENDED CEILINGS Filed Jan. 6, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 D minim! INVENTOR. 1 a 1 W/LL/AM A4 4055 m" 66 M #QW W. H. ADES May 21, 1968 REMOVABLE UTILITY FRAME FOR SUSPENDED CEILINGS 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Jan. 6, 1967 INVENTOR. E WILL/AM A4 4055 M /01? y 21, 968 w. H. was 3,383,811

REMOVABLE UTILITY FRAME FOR SUSPENDED CEILINGS Filed Jan. 6, 1967 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVEAI'TUR. 4, WILL MM A4 4055 A rive/V67 United States Patent 3,383,811 REMOVABLE UTILITY FRAME FOR SUSPENDED CEILINGS William H. Ades, Reseda, Califl, assignor to Anning- Johnson Company, Melrose Park, Ill., a corporation of Delaware Filed Jan. 6, 1967, Ser. No. 607,803 3 Claims. (CI. 52-48) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A suspended ceiling installation including ceiling beams suspended in a grid arrangement and having T- shaped flanges at their lower extremities, kerfed and back-cut ceiling tiles attached to the beam flanges and concealing all of the beams except for one rectangular opening, a light fixture attached to the beams over the one rectangular opening, a rectangular metal frame disposed in the one rectangular opening beneath the light fixture, a light lens supported in the metal frame, and support means carried by the side members of the metal frame and removably attached to the associated beam flanges, one of the support means including a bolt which slides longitudinally and rotates for engaging or disengaging the beam flange, the bolt and the side and end members of the metal frame being formed as aluminum extrusions.

Cross-reference to related application The present invention is an improvement over that disclosed in my prior U.S. application Ser. No. 407,387, filed Oct. 29, 1964, now U.S. Patent No. 3,308,288.

The present invention relates to a removable utility frame for use in suspended ceilings, which when removed can be replaced by ceiling tiles without the necessity of altering either the tiles or the beams which support the suspended ceiling.

Background of the invention My prior application discloses the basic concept of easily movable utility connections in suspended ceilings. Briefly, that concept is that the utility device, whether a light fixture, heat Vent, or air conditioning vent, is surrounded by a removable frame which occupies the same space that would otherwise be occupied by ceiling tiles. Thus, when it is desired to relocate partitions in the build ing, or make other alterations, and a consequent need arises for relocating the utility devices, it is possible to remove the removable frame from the ceiling and replace it with tiles without the necessity for altering either the tiles or the supporting beams that support the suspended ceiling. My prior application, in addition to disclosing the general concept referred to, also discloses particular embodiments of removable ceiling frames.

Summary of the invention The present invention discloses a particular type of removable ceiling frame which falls within the basic concept of my prior application, but is particularly adapted for those suspended ceiling installations in which the tile edges are disposed beneath the centers of the ceiling beams.


The present application also discloses and claims a novel latch mechanism, which has independent utility.

The primary object of the invention, therefore, is to provide a removable utility frame for use in suspended ceilings in which the tile edges are disposed beneath the horizontal centers of the ceiling beams.

Brief description of drawings FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a flush-mounted light fixture incorporating the preferred form of the in vention:

FIGURE 2 is an underneath plan view of the ceiling of FIGURE 1, showing in dotted lines the suspended T locations;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged plan view taken from above the ceiling surface, on the line 3-3 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 4 is a vertical cross-sectional view of the ceiling, light fixture, and frame, taken on the line 44 of FIGURE 3;

FIGURE 5 is a partial cross-sectional view illustrating the removal ofthe frame;

FIGURE 6 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view of the latch mechanism;

'FIGURE 7 is a plan view of the latch mechanism taken on the line 7-7 of FIGURE 6;

FIGURE 8 is a side view of the latch mechanism taken on the line 88 of FIGURE 4;

FIGURE 9 is a fragmentary plan view taken on the line 99 of FIGURE 4;

FIGURE 10 is a cross-sectional view of an alternate form of frame member;

FIGURE 11 is a plan view of the frame member of FIGURE 10; and

FIGURE 12 is an enlarged crosssectional view of a further modified form of the latch mechanism together with an ornamental frame attached beneath the ceiling frame.

Description 0 preferred embodiment Reference is now made to the drawings, and to FIG- URES 1 through 9, inclusive, illustrating the presently preferred form of the invention.

As shown in FIGURES 1 and 2 the exposed surface of the suspended ceiling consists mainly of tiles 10, which are of a uniform square configuration. The supporting frame of the ceiling is provided by beams 20 whose construction is best illustrated in FIGURE 4. The ceiling beams 20 are entirely conventional, and each includes a downwardly depending shank 21 having outwardly extending flanges 22 and 23 that provide a T-shaped configuration. The function of flanges 22, 23 is to support the ceiling tiles 10, or alternatively, the novel frame of the present invention. The beams are arranged in what is conventionally known as a concealed grid configuration, in which one group of parallel beams extend in one direction in the horizontal plane and a second group of parallel beams extend perpendicular thereto, as shown by dotted lines in FIGURE 2. Each tile 10 then has each of its ends supported from one of the beams 20, and may also have one of its sides supported from one of the beams 20 or from an auxiliary spline 20a.

The structure of the tiles 10, which is conventional, is shown in FIGURES 4 and 5. The lower or exposed surface is designated 11 while the upper or hidden surface is designated as 12. The square-cut end of each tile is designated 13, and extends downward to the ex posed undersurface 11. However, the hidden or upper part of the tile is recessed or back-cut at 14, the end walls 14 and 13 being parallel but not in the same vertical plane. A horizontal recess or kerf 15 is cut in the tile between the surfaces 13 and 14, and it is this kerf which receives one o fthe flanges 22 or 23 of the beam or 20a from which the particular tile end is suspended.

In accordance with the invention, a removable frame 40 (FIGURE 3) occupies a space (in this instance, 2 feet by 4 feet) which would otherwise be occupied by eight of the tiles 10. A light fixture can containing lamps 31 (fluorescent lamps illustrated) is suspended from the beams 20 above the frame (FIGURE 4), and the light passes downward through a light lens 50 that is supported in the frame 40. Both the light fixture can 30 and the removable frame 40 are removable independently of each other from the beams 20, and the beam shanks 21 cooperate with the light fixture can for directing the light downwardly to the lens all as described in my above referred Patent No. 3,308,288.

The removable frame 40 includes side members 41 and 42, and end members 43 and 45, all of which have their ends cut at 45 degree angles and which are then fastened together by means of corner fasteners, not specifically shown. Members 42, 43, and 44 are of identical crosssectional configuration, and are preferably formed as aluminum extrusions. Side member 41 is identical to side member 42 except for the removal of certain wall portions to permit side member 41 to incorporate a latch mechanism which will subsequently be described.

FIGURES 6, 7, and 8 illustrate in enlarged form a portion of the side member 41 and associated latch mechanism. FIGURE 6 particularly illustrates the crosssectional configuration of side member 41, which as previously mentioned is preferably formed as an aluminum extrusion. Side member 41 includes a base portion 41a in the form of a flat plate having sufficient thickness to provide rigidity and being of considerable width in the horizontal plane. At the outer edge of base portion 41a a wall 41b extends vertically upwardly, the height of wall 41b being only slightly less than the height of wall surface 13 of tile 10. As best seen in FIGURE 4, in the installed position of the frame the outer vertical surface of wall 411) is preferably aligned with the exact center of beam 20, and hence spaced only a very small distance from the end surface 13 of the adjacent tile 10. Again referring to FIGURE 6, side member 41 also has an outer latch recess wall 410 and an inner latch recess wall 41d, both of which rise vertically upward from the base portion 41a. The latch recess walls 41c and 41d together provide a latch recess 60 which extends throughout the length of side member 41.

A latch bolt generally identified as 61 is also preferably formed as an aluminum extrusion. Latch bolt 61 includes a lower body portion 62, a vertical shank portion 63, an upper body portion 64, and a lateral retaining arm 65. In the closed position of the latch as shown in FIGURES 4 and 6, the lower body portion 62 is disposed within latch groove or recess 60, and the shank 63 extends vertically upward therefrom. The upper body portion 64, supported on the shank 63, engages the outer wall surface of the latch recess inner wall 41d. Retaining arm 65 extends laterally outwardly from the body portion 64, but also somewhat downwardly, so that the outer end of arm 65 engages the upper surface of beam flange 22 at a point remote from the outer edge of that flange.

The latch recess inner wall 41d has a longitudinal portion thereof which is cut out, to form a window for the rotating or opening position of the latch bolt 61, as best shown in FlGURE 8, The portion of wall 41d which is of reduced height at the bottom of the window is identilied as 41g, To open the lock the lens or diffuser is lifted vertically, being either of flexible material or spring retained, to allow clearance for the latch to tilt outwardly. The latch bolt 61 is then simply slid longitudinally in the groove or recess 60, until it reaches the window, when it is then rotated to the right (as shown in FIG- URE 6) to then occupy the window space. Arm is thereby raised completely out of contact with beam flange 22, to a position such as shown in FIGURE 5, so that frame 40 may then be removed from the ceiling by lowering the side member 41 relative to its associated tile 10 and beam 20, That is, the unlocking of the latch permits the side member to be moved vertically downward for removing frame 40 from the ceiling,

In the side member 41, the base portion 41a extends horizontally inwardly a considerable distance from the latch recess wall 41b, as is best seen in FIGURE 6, It is this inner edge of base portion 41a upon which the light lens 50 is supported, as shown in FIGURE 4. Lens 50 is secured in place by a number of conventional spring clamps 51, which are supported from the wall 41d. As shown in FIGURE 3, there is at least one of the spring clamps 51 on each of the side members 41, 42, and end members 43, 44.

Side member 42 is identical to side member 41, except that its wall 42d (corresponding to wall 41d) does not include a cutout or diminished height portion that corresponds to 41g. Side member 42 has at least two of the latch bolts 61 (FIGURES 3, 4) associated with it, the lower body portions 62 of the latch bolts occupying the groove or recess 60 of the side member. Since no windows are cut out of the wall 42d, the latch bolts 61 are retained in their upright position as shown in FIGURES 4 and 5. Thus, the attachment of frame 40 to the ceiling beams, or its removal therefrom, is accomplished by a horizontal movement of the side member 42 and its latch bolts 61 relative to the beam flnage 23, as shown ,in FIGURE 5. Specifically, the procedure for removal of the frame, as illustrated in FIGURE 5, is that latch bolts 61 associated with frame side member 41 are first rotated to their unlocked position, frame side member 41 is then lowered so that it will clear the associated beam 20, and thereafter frame side member 42 is moved horizontally away from its associated ceiling beam so as to disengage the latch arms 65 from the beam flange 23. Thereafter the side member 42 may be dropped vertically downward, as also shown in FIG- URE 5.

Another feature of the invention is a pair of holding straps 67, which are removably attached to beam 20 above the frame side member 42 (FIGURES 3 and 4). Each strap 67 has a slot therein (FIGURE 9) which receives the upper end of a chain 68, the lower end of chain 68 being secured to upper body portion 64 of latch bolt 61. When frame 40 is removed from the ceiling as shown in FIGURE 5, it continues to be suspended from the frame side member 42 by means of the chain 68 and holding straps 67. This feature of the apparatus provides a safety measure for workmen during installation and removal of the frame 40.

The diminished height portion 41,; of frame member wall 41d, together with the rotation of latch bolt 61 into its unlocked or opened position, would present the possibility of the latch bolt dropping or otherwise escaping from its securement in the latch groove 60. To preclude this possibility, the lower body portion 62 of the latch bolt, which is generally cylindrical insofar as its outer surface is concerned, is provided with a reduced radius portion on its lefthand side (as seen in FIGURE 6) which is adjacent to the wall 41c. This reduced radius portion has an angular extent of approximately degrees. Its lower extremity is bounded by the shoulder or lip 62a, representing the point at which the radius of the body portion 62 increases to its normal value, and at the other extremity is bounded by the vertical shank 63. The inner surface of wall 410 (facing toward wall 410!) has a radius of curvature such as to rotatingly receive the main surface portion of the bolt body 62. However, the upper portion of wall 410 provides an arm which extends into contact with the reduced radius portion of the bolt body 62, this arm being identified as 41] and cooperating with the ledge or shoulder 62a to prevent the loss of the latch bolt 61 through the window (see dotted line position shown in FIGURES 4 and 5).

Alternate forms As shown in FIGURE 10, the side member 41 may be altered by replacing that part of base portion 41a which joins walls 41b and 410, with a similar base portion 41' but elevated to the tops of the vertical walls. The resulting advantage is the provision of a different ornamental appearance of the frame when viewed from beneath the ceiling.

FIGURES and 11 indicate that formation of the latch window may, if desired, be accompanied by bending a portion of the wall 41d inward, as indicated at 4111. A stop is thus provided for the latch bolt so that its longitudinal position relative to the window can be more easily determined and controlled.

FIGURE 12 shows a modified form of latch bolt 61' which operates generally the same as the latch bolt 61. However, the inclined arm 65 of FIGURE 6 is preferred to the horizontal arms 65 of FIGURE 12, for the reason that it engages the beam flange 22 only at a point located a considerable distance inwardly from the outer edge thereof. A more secure positioning of frame 40 is thus achieved, less affected by warping or bending of the beam flanges.

FIGURE 12 also illustrates the fact that a wooden member 70, or other ornamental member, may be secured by screws or otherwise to frame side and end members 41, 42, 43, 44 to depend downwardly therefrom for providing an ornamental appearance.

The invention has been described in considerable detail in order to comply with the patent laws by providing a full public disclosure of at least one of its forms. However, such detailed description is not intended in any way to limit the broad features or principles of the invention, or the scope of patent monopoly to be granted.

What is claimed is:

1. In a suspended ceiling construction which includes four beams disposed in a rectangular configuration and supported in a common horizontal plane, each of said beams having a lower longitudinal edge from which a horizontal flange extends inwardly of said rectangular configuration, an easily removable utility frame adapted to occupy the space within said rectangular configuration which space would otherwise be occupied by ceiling tiles, said utility frame comprising, in combination:

a pair of frame side members and a pair of frame end members, each of said side and end members being adapted to be disposed beneath a corresponding one of said horizontal flanges; support means extending first upwardly and then laterally outwardly from one of said side members, and adapted to retentively engage the upper surface of the corresponding one of said horizontal flanges;

and at least one latch device associated with the other of said side members, said latch device having an inoperative position which permits the insertion of said frame in the ceiling, and having an operative position for securing said other side member by engaging the upper surface of the corresponding beam flange after said frame has been positioned in the ceiling;

said latch device including a longitudinally slidable bolt, a recess extending longitudinally in the associated frame side member for receiving said bolt, a securing arm extending first upwardly and then laterally outwardly from said bolt for engaging the upper surface of the corresponding beam flange,

means for rotating said bolt between a secured position and a nonsecured position as it slides longitudinally in said recess, and means for locking said bolt in the secured position.

2. A concealed-grid suspended ceiling construction comprising, in combination:

a parallel pair of beams supported in a common horizontal plane, and adapted to removably support a plurality of ceiling tiles therebetween, each of said beams having a pair of outwardly extending horizontal flanges formed on its lower longitudinal edges;

a metal can adapted to contain and support at least one light bulb;

latch means releasably coupling said can to the said beams, the lower extremity of said can being spaced above said beam flanges, whereby said can and light bulb may be conveniently relocated at any desired location in the suspended ceiling construction;

a rigid rectangular frame, which includes a pair of side members and a pair of end members, disposed between said parallel pair of beams, each of said frame side members having support means associated therewith which extends upwardly above the corresponding beam flange and laterally outward over the upper surface thereof to retentively engage the same;

one of said frame side members and its associated support means being adapted for vertical movement to disengage it from its associated beam flange prior to moving the other of said side members horizontally for purpose of disengagement;

a light lens disposed in said frame;

said metal can and the inner walls of said beams cooperatively directing light from said light bulb through said light lens;

the support means of one of said frame side members including at least one latch device comprising a longitudinally slidable bolt, a longitudinal recess formed in the associated frame side member for receiving said bolt, a securing arm extending first upwardly and then laterally outwardly from said bolt, and means for rotating said bolt between a secured position and a nonsecured position as it slides longitudinally in said recess;

whereby said frame may be conveniently removed and replaced with ceiling tiles when it is desired to relocate said metal can and fluorescent light bulb in a different ceiling location.

3. A latch mechanism for releasably securing a pair of partially overlapping members which occupy substantially parallel planes, one being an inner member and the other being an outer member which extends laterally beyond said inner member, to permit their disengagement by relative movement of the outer member in a direction perpendicular to the planes of the members and without any substantial amount of movement thereof in a direction parallel to said planes, comprising:

a recess formed on the inner surface of the outer member, adjacent the edge of the inner member, and extending in a direction generally parallel both to the plane of said outer member and to said edge of said inner member;

an elongated bolt slidingly disposed in said recess;

an arm extending from said bolt past and thence around said edge of said inner member and to the inner surface of the inner member for retentively engaging the same;

the wall of said recess which is relatively close to the edge of said outer member having at one point along the length thereof a projection formed thereon, said projection normally retaining said arm in engagement with the inner member;

said recess wall having another longitudinal portion which is of diminished height;

whereby when said bolt is longitudinally slidably 7 moved into the recess portion adjacent the diminished height portion of said recess wall, said bolt may then be rotated through an angle less than 90 to thereby disengage said arm, so that the members may be disengaged.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,998,423 4/1935 Stubbs 52494 X 2,070,150 2/1937 Venzie 52-484 X 2,334,484 11/1943 Dunbar 52-28 X 8 3,185,833 5/1965 Blitzer 2409 3,222,839 12/1965 Philpot 52495 X 3,308,288 3/1967 Ades 2409 5 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,210 1/1906 Great Britain. 602,489 5/1948 Great Britain.

FRANK L. ABBOTT, Primary Examiner.

10 ALFRED C. PERHAM, Examiner.

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Referenced by
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US3502860 *Dec 4, 1967Mar 24, 1970George Elliott BoakeLuminaire
US3506822 *Dec 4, 1967Apr 14, 1970George Elliott BoakeUniversal air handling troffer frame
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U.S. Classification52/28, 49/394, 52/210, 52/204.1, 292/114, 49/465, 362/150, 52/506.6
International ClassificationE04B9/00
Cooperative ClassificationE04B9/003
European ClassificationE04B9/00B