US 3420995 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 7, 1969 B. P. DUNCKEL SELF-LOCKING LATCH Sheet Filed Oct. 22, 1965 INVENTOR. BRUCE PATTEN DUNCKEL BY I ATTORNEYS Jan. 7, 1969 B. P. DUNCKEL 3,420,995
SELF-LOCKING LATCH Filed Oct. 22, 1965 Sheet 2 of 2 ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,420,995 SELF-LOCKING LATCH Bruce Patten Dunckel, Stone Mountain, Ga., assignor, by mesne assignments, to Lithonia Lighting, Inc., Atlanta,
Filed Oct. 22, 1965, Ser. No. 502,038 US. Cl. 240-78 Int. Cl. F21s 1/06; Ec 5/00 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to a self-locking latch, and more particularly to a self-locking latch of the type adapted to be used to insert a reflector of a lighting fixture into a mounting frame therefor that is positioned inside the ceiling of a building.
Recently it has become desirable to construct homes and buildings with acoustical tile ceilings, or ceiling material similar thereto, portions of which are easily removed or replaceable. The manner in which acoustical tile is attached to a ceiling is generally that support means are suspended from the ceiling or adjacent walls and run across the ceiling, and the acoustical tile is attached to the support means. This manner of construction creates a space between the original ceiling of the building and the acoustical tile which can be utilized, if desired, to run heat ducts, electrical wires, plumbing, and other items necessary to the construction of the building.
Because of the space created between the original ceiling of a building and an acoustical tile ceiling, it has become convenient to install ceiling light fixtures in the acoustical tile ceiling so that light fixtures are recessed into the acoustical tile ceiling and only a small portion of the fixture extends below the acoustical tile ceiling level. This method of installation is desirable since the light fixture is not noticeable when it is not illuminated, and it does not hang down a distance below the acoustical tile ceiling so that it might interfere with other furniture or fixtures in the room, or hang down low enough so that a person walking through the room would inadvertently bump into the dangling fixture. Of course, the lower the ceiling, the more desirable it is to have the light fixture recessed into the ceiling.
In the past, fixtures suitable 'for mounting in acoustical tile ceilings have been available, but have been troublesome and annoying to install. Some of these fixtures must be installed when the ceiling is being installed, and the elements utilized in positioning the fixture in the ceiling are awkward and diflicult to manipulate, and are constructed in a manner so that the portion of the fixture extending into the room below the ceiling is not easily aligned and leveled with the surface of the ceiling.
Accordingly, the present invention relates to a selflocking latch which is adapted to be connected to the reflector of a lighting fixture and engage a mounting frame mounted between the original ceiling and an acoustical tile ceiling so that the mounting frame can be positioned inside the acoustical tile ceiling, connected to a junction box, and the reflector can be inserted into the mounting frame, through the acoustical tile ceiling from below the 3,420,995 Patented Jan. 7, 1969 "ice ceiling, so that the self-locking latch locks the reflector to the mounting frame. With this arrangement it can be seen that the junction box, its associated wiring, and the mounting frame can be positioned between the acoustical tile ceiling and the original ceiling of the building while the acoustical tile ceiling is being constructed, and after the completion of the acoustical tile ceiling the reflector can be inserted through the hole in the ceiling, engaging the mounting frame, a light bulb screwed into the electrical connection, and the appropriate glass placed over the bulb.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide self-locking latch for connecting a reflector of a light fixture to its mounting frame whereby the reflector can be inserted varying distances into the mounting frame.
Another object of this invention is to provide a selflocking latch adapted to be connected to the reflector of a lighting fixture, whereby the reflector can be inserted into a mounting frame therefor a varying distance, and latch can be adjusted so that the mounting frame and the reflector are adjusted toward each other so that the refiecor can be perfectly aligned with its surroundings.
Another object of this invention is to provide a lighting fixture of the type recessed into the ceiling of a building, wherein the fixture is easily assembled and adjusted.
Another object of this invention is to provide a latching means adapted to lock an element to a mounting frame, wherein the mounting frame is positioned interiorly of the surface of the ceiling, wall or floor, and the element is adapted to project slightly outwardly of the ceiling, wall or floor.
Another object of this invention is to provide a selflocking latching means that is easily manipulated adjustable, and well designed to meet the demands of economic manufacture.
Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon reading the following specification, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an assembled light fixture.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view ofan assembled light fixture, with parts broken away to show the interior.
FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a light fixture, showing its manner of assembly.
FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of a self-locking adjustable latch.
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view, partially in cross section, of the self-locking adjustable latch taken along lines 55 of FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the self-locking adjustable latch, smilar to FIG. 5, but showing the latch in its locked position.
Referring more particularly to the drawings, in which like numerals indicate like parts throughout several views, FIG. 1 shows an assembled light fixture 10 having a mounting frame 11, a junction box 12, reflector 14, and door 15. As shown in FIGURE 3, the mounting frame 11 is generally rectangular in shape and has a vertical side wall portion 13 and an inwardly projecting rim 17. The hanger bars 16 are slideably attached to opposite sides of the mounting frame 11 on its vertical side wall portion by means of the tabs 18. The hanger bars 16 are slid along the edge of the mounting frame 11, between the mounting frame and the tabs 18, so that the tabs slideably receive the hanger bars 16. Since the hanger bars 16 are slid into the tabs 18 from opposite directions, they can be positioned so that their ends 19 do not project beyond the side of the mounting frame perpendicular to the side to which they are attached. Of course, the hanger bars can be slid outwardly of the mounting frame, as shown in 3 FIGS. l3, and still be securely fastened to the mounting frame because of the close spacing of the tabs 18.
The junction box assembly 12 comprises a junction box 20, a junction box support 21, and an electric light bulb socket 22, and a socket support 24. The junction box comprises doors and 26 which are connected to the box 20 by fitting tabs 28 and 29 into the cut-out portions 30 and 31 of the box 28, and attaching screws 34 through hole 32 to the box 20 at 35 (not shown for the door 26). The socket support 24 comprises a runner 36 adapted to be positioned parallel to the junction box support 21 and slideably held thereby in the tabs 38. The runner 36 terminates in a tab 39 disposed vertically to the runner 36, and the junction box door 26 is arranged so that it closes over the runner 36 so that the tab 39 is positioned inside the junction box 20. The socket support 24 has an angle support portion 40 positioned above the light socket 22, which is adapted to hold the light socket away from the reflector 14.
With this arrangement, it can be seen that the electrician, upon installing the light fixture, can connect the building wiring to the wiring of the light socket 22, connect the light socket 22 and its support 24 to the junction box support 21, position the door 26 on the junction box which would lock the light socket 22 to the junction box, and close the rear of the junction box 20 with its door 25.
The support 21 of the junction box assembly 12 has a connecting piece 41 disposed perpendicular thereto. The connecting piece 41 is arranged so that it fits through an elongated aperture 42 and is engaged by the tabs 44 in the mounting frame 11. An aperture 42 and tabs 44 are located on opposite sides of the mounting frame 11, adjacent the hanger bars 16 so that the junction box assembly can be mounted on either side of the mounting frame 11.
A reflector 14 has a main body portion 45 and a flanged portion 46. The main body portion 45 is dimensioned slightly smaller than the interior perimeter of the mounting frame 11, while the flanged portion 46 is dimensioned so that its perimeter is substantially larger than the perimeter of the mounting frame 11. Since the mounting frame 11 comprises a generally vertical side wall portion 13 and an inwardly projecting rim 17, the interior perimeter of the mounting frame is defined by the interior perimeter of the inwardly projecting rim 17, and the exterior perimeter is defined by the outer surface of the vertical side wall portion 13. Thus, the main body portion 45 of the reflector 14 is smaller than the inner perimeter of the inwardly projecting rim 17, while the exterior perimeter of the flange portion 46 of the reflector is larger than the exterior perimeter of the vertical portion of the mounting frame. With this arrangement, it can be seen that the reflector can he slipped into the mounting frame so that the main body portion extends above the mounting frame, while the flanged portion 46 limits the movement of the reflector 14 through the mounting frame 11.
The reflector 14 has an aperture 48 in its main body portion that is sized to receive the light socket 22 of the junction box assembly. The flanged portion 46 of the reflector 14 has a stepped portion 49 and an outwardly extending flange 50. The stepped portion 49 has T-shaped apertures 51 along oneside thereof and a bendable tab (not shown) on the side opposite to the side defining the T-shaped apertures. The door 15 comprises a lens 52 and a frame 54. The frame 54 receives the lens 52 and firmly holds it in place by means of the continuous inwardly-extending flange 55 disposed on one side of the lens and the plurality of tabs 56 disposed around the frame on the other side of the lens. The frame 54 also has a pair of outwardly-extending T-shaped tabs 58 attached to one side thereof and spaced apart a distance equal to the spacing between the T-shaped apertures 51. The door 15 is attached to the reflector 14 by slipping the T-shaped tabs 58 into the T-shaped apertures 51, and pivoting the 75 door up parallel to the face of the reflector so that it fits snugly within the stepped portion 49 of the flanged portion 46 of the reflector, whereupon the bendable tab (not shown) on the side of the reflector opposite to the T- shaped apertures 51 receives the door and firmly holds it in this position.
The reflector 14 has a pair of latches 60 mounted in its main body portion, on opposite sides thereof. As is shown in FIGS. 4-6, the latches 60 comprise generally a mounting piece 61 and a latching element 62. The mounting piece 61 has a rectangular base portion 64, support tabs 65, attaching flange 66 and an adjusting flange 68. The reflector 14 defines rectangular holes 69 on opposite sides thereof of sizes slightly larger than the rectangular base portion 64 of the latches 60. The latches 60 are connected to the reflector 14 by positioning each latch inside the main body portion 45, positioning the tab 65a outwardly of the main body portion 45, while keeping the tab 65b inwardly of the main body portion 45, and Sliding the latch upwardly so that the supporting tabs 65 grip the main body portion 45 of the reflector 14. The rectangular base portion 64 is then pivoted so that it is contained within the rectangular hole 69 and the attaching flange 66 comes to rest against the side of the main body portion 45 of the reflector. The attaching flange is then connected to the main body portion 45 by inserting appropriate rivets or screws through the mating apertures 70 and 71 of the attaching flange 66 and the main body portion of 45, respectively.
A latching element 62 is positioned adjacent the rectangular base portion 64 of the latch 60. The latching element 62 comprises a body portion 72, wing pieces 74 disposed perpendicular to the body portion 72 and along opposite edges thereof, an adjusting flange 75 attached to the bottom edge of the body portion 72, and a finger catch 76 disposed perpendicular to the body portion 72 and along the edge thereof opposite from the adjusting flange 75. The body portion 72 is centrally apertured with an elongate aperture 78 disposed horizontal to the wing pieces 74.
A pin 80 having a cap 81 and a shank 82 is adapted to be inserted through the elongated aperture 78. The rectangular base portion 64 is centrally apertured at 84 and a coiled spring 85 and an annular washer 86, of conventional design, are slipped over the shank 82 of the pin 80, the shank inserted through the elongate aperture 78, and through the aperture 84 of the rectangular base portion 64, and the pin securely attached to the rectagular base portion, as by brading or screw connection. Of course, connecting the pin 80 to the mounting piece 61 in this fashion causes the spring 85 to be compressed between the cap 81 and the mounting piece 61. The washer 86 and latching element 62 are biased toward the mounting piece 61 so that the wing pieces 74 of the latching element 62 project outwardly of the reflector 14, between the rectangular base portion 64 of the mounting piece 61 and the edges of the aperture 69 of the reflector 14.
The adjusting flange 68 of the mounting piece 61 and the adjusting flange 75 of the latching element 62 are centrally apertured at 88 and 89, respectively, and when the latching element 62 is biased against the mounting piece 61 these apertures are in alignment with each other. The apertures 88 and 89 are threaded and the screw 90 is threaded therethrough. The screw 90 has a cap 91, a threaded portion 92, and a reduced neck portion 94. The screw 90 is threaded through the aperture 88 of the adjusting flange 68 until the reduced neck portion is located in the vicinity of the aperture 88, whereupon the screw is loosely held by the adjusting flange 68. The screw 90 is then threaded through the aperture 89 of the adjusting flange 75. As is shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, when the screw 90 is initially threaded into the aperture 89 of the adjusting flange 75, the adjusting flanges 68 and 75 are held apart a substantial distance so that the pin 80 extends through the lower portion of the elongated aperture 78 and the latching element 62 is in its upward position. When the screw 90 is further rotated, the adjusting flange 75 of the latching element 62 will be moved downwardly thereof so that the adjusting flange 75 is brought closer to the adjusting flange 68, and the latching element 62 gradually approaches its downward position. Of course, the wing pieces 74 also move in a similar manner. The latching element 62 will move the distance as limited by the dimensions of the elongated hole 78.
OPERATION When the lighting fixture is to be mounted into an acoustical tile cei ling, the junction box assembly is connected to the wiring of the building, between the acoustical tile ceiling and the original ceiling of the building, connected to the mounting frame 11 by sliding the connecting piece 41 thereof through the aperture 42 and into the slots 44 of the mounting piece, the mounting piece and the junction box inserted through the hole left by a missing piece of acoustical tile in the ceiling, and the hanger bars 16 spread so that they extend beyond the limits of the mounting frame and will rest on the inside surface of adjacent acoustical tile. Of course, the hanger bars are constructed so that they are attachable to various types of installations, as by stapling, nailing, wiring, etc. After the mounting frame has been placed in position the reflector 14 is inserted through the mounting frame so that the main body portion 45 of the reflector extends through the mounting frame, as shown in FIG. 2. As the main body portion 45 of the reflector 14 passes through the mounting frame 11, the serrated wing pieces 74 of the latch 60 engage the inwardly-projecting rim 17 of the mounting frame. Since the latching element 62 of the latch 60 is spring biased outwardly of the reflector by the spring 85, further movement of the reflector 14 in wardly of the mounting frame 11 causes the latching element 62 to retract inwardly of the reflector 14 and the serrations of the wing pieces engage the inwardly projecting rim 17 of the mounting frame 11. Of course, as the reflector 14 is further moved inwardly of the mounting frame 11 subsequent ones of the teeth of the wing pieces 74 engage the inwardly-projecting rim 17 of the mounting frame 11, until the outwardly-extending flange 50 of the reflector 14 is adjacent the ceiling, as shown in FIG. 2. Of course, it is diflicult to place the outwardly extending flange 50 exactly adjacent the acoustical tile ceiling in this manner since there is some play between the elements of the lighting fixture. In other words, in the majority of instances only a loose fit can be attained in this manner.
Subsequent to inserting the reflector 14 through the mounting frame 11, the screws 90 of the latches 60 are rotated so that they draw the latching element 62 downwardly on the mounting .piece 61. Of course, these serrated wing pieces 74 :move downwardly with the lacthing element 62 so that the latching element 62, by way of its serrated wing pieces 74, draws the inwardly projecting rim 17 of the mounting frame closer to the outwardly extending flange 50 of the reflector 14. Therefore, while only a loose fit might have been attained by inserting the reflector 14 through the mounting frame 11, rotation of the screws 90 of the latches 60 tightens the assembly as it is mounted in the acoustical tile ceiling so that there are no gaps between the outwardly extending flange 50 of the reflector and the surface of the acoustical tile ceiling. Also, the mounting frame 11 is drawn uniformly toward the outwardly extending flange 50 of the reflector 14 so that the pieces of acoustical tile surrounding the lighting fixture become compressed and aligned with each other as the mounting frame and reflector are drawn toward each other.
As is best shown in FIG. 5 of the drawing, it can beseen that when the latching element 62 is in its upward position a person can wedge his finger over the finger catch 76 and pull the latching element 62 away from the mounting piece 61, against the bias of spring in a manner that tends to pivot the latching element about reduced neck portion 94 of the screw 90. Furthermore, the spring 85 biases the washer 86 against the lower portion of the elongated aperture 78 of the latching element 62 so that the force exerted on the latching element that urges it toward the mounting piece 61 is displaced, to some degree, from the finger catch 7 6. This displacement creates a lever arm between the finger latch 76 and the spring 85, the fulcrum of the lever being at the reduced neck portion 94 of the :screw 90. This amount of lever arm enables a person to move the latching element 62 in the direction as indicated by the arrow 95, thereby withdrawing the wing pieces 74 of the latching element from the slot created between the mounting piece 61 and the sides of the apertures 69 in the reflector 14. Of course. this allows the person installing the reflector to remove it from the mounting frame 11 in case some adjustment is needed after the reflector has been installed.
After the reflector has been installed and it is desired to finish the installation of the fixture, the screws 90 are rotated so that the latching elements 62 are drawn to the position shown in FIG. 6. Of course the finger catch 76 is drawn closer to the spring 85 so that the displacement therebetween is much shorter than that shown in FIG. 5. Furthermore, the upper portion of the elongated aperture 78 of the latching element 62 is drawn tightly down onto the upper surface of the pin 80 so that these elements are wedged together. Of course, it is possible that the wing pieces 74 will have drawn the mounting frame 11 and the outwardly extending flange 50 of the reflector close together before the upper portion of the elongated slots 78 reaches the pin 80. In either case, however, the screw 90 will urge the adjusting flanges 68 and 75 of the mounting piece 61 and latching element 62, respectively, toward each other so that the cap 91 of the screw 90 is urged toward the adjusting flange 68 of the mounting piece 61. With cap 91 of the screw 90 in this condition, and with the finger catch 76 being disposed closely adjacent the spring 85, it will be noted that the movement of the latching element 62 in the direction as indicated by the arrow 95 will cause the latching element 62 to pivot about the edge of the cap 91 of the screw 90, as opposed to the reduced neck portion 94 as shown in FIG. 5, and the force of the spring 85 must be overcome with a shorter lever arm. In other words, it i much more diflicult to move the latching element 62 inwardly of the reflector 14 when the latching element 62 is in its downward position than when it is in its upward position. This condition, of course, insures that the latching elements 62 will not be inadvertently displaced away from the mounting piece 61, and inwardly of the reflector 14, after it has been installed in the ceiling. This firm mounting allows the person installing the lighting fixture to make whatever adjustments he might desire without fear of jarring the reflector from the mounting frame 11.
After the reflector, mounting frame and junction box have been assembled in this manner, a conventional light bulb 96 is threaded into the light socket 22, the door 15 connected to the reflector 14 by inserting the T-shaped tabs 58 into the T-shaped apertures 51 of the reflector 14, and then the door 15 is pivoted into place and held by the bendable tab (not shown).
While the self locking latch has been shown as connecting the reflector of a lighting fixture to its mounting means in the ceiling of an acoustical tile ceiling, it should be understood that the latch finds various other uses. For instance, the latch can be utilized with air ducting of a building such as the heating or air conditioning air ducting. In this occasion the ducting can be installed in the walls, floors or ceilings of the building, the building substantially finished by constructing the floors, walls and ceilings thereof, and eventually the grill of the ducting can be put into proper position in a manner similar to placing the reflector of a light fixture in its position. Of course, since the latch hold the exposed piece firmly against the mounting frame, be it a light fixture or air conditioning ducting, the latch is useful in installing fixtures into the wall or floor of a building, and is not limited to being used only with the ceiling fixtures of a building.
Furthermore, while the latch has been disclosed as being used with an acoustical tile ceiling, it should be understood that it can be used with any type ceiling having a small space into which the mounting frame can be installed. In other words, only a hole in the wall or ceiling, etc., approximately the size of the mounting frame is necessary, regardless of whether it is created by the missing piece of acoustic tile in an acoustic tile ceiling, or whether it is cut through a solid surface.
It should be further pointed out that when the latch is utilized with a lighting fixture only a very small portion, if any, of the light emanating from the bulb of the fixture is lost due to the presence of the latch. As is shown in the drawing, the latch substantially fills the whole area of the aperture 69 of the reflector 14 so that the light that might pass through the aperture 69 is reflected back to the interior of the reflector 14. Of course, this feature is also desirable in the use of heating or air-conditioning since a minimum amount of air, if any, is lost due to the presence of the latch.
Of course, while the latch has been shown with a square fixture, it should be understood that it can be used with other shaped fixtures, such as round, or rectangular fixtures.
At this point it can be seen that the self locking latch enables a workman to install the lighting fixture with a minimum amount of time, using a minimum amount of skill, and in every instance of installation the reflector can be perfectly aligned with the ceiling, or other supporting surroundings. Furthermore, the simplicity of construction provides a latch that is economical to manufacture, and will firmly support the element to be mounted into the mounting frame.
It will be obvious to those skilled in the art that many variations may be made in the embodiments chosen for the purpose of illustrating the present invention without departing from the scope thereof as defined by the appended claims.
What is claimed as invention is:
1. A lighting fixture comprising, in combination, a mounting frame having a vertically disposed continuous side wall and a rim extending horizontally inwardly from an upper portion of said side wall, a reflector having a main body received within said frame with exterior body portions in proximate, spaced relationship with the inner perimeter of said side wall and said rim, a latching element mounted on a side of said reflector for limited movement between an extended position and a withdrawn position, said latching element having a wing portion extending generally perpendicular to the side and lockably engaged with said rim, and means biasing said latching element in a direction to maintain locked engagement between said wing portion and said rim.
2. A lighting fixture as claimed in claim 1 wherein said rim is continuous around said continuous side wall.
3. A lighting fixture as claimed in claim 1, including,
means for moving said latching element in a predetermined direction parallel to the side of said reflector, whereby, when said latching element is lockably engaged with said rim, movement of said latching element in the predetermined direction draws said reflector into said frame.
4. A latching mechanism comprising: a mounting piece for attachment to the exterior portion of a fixture, said mounting piece having a rectangular base portion, a latching element pinned to said mounting piece for limited movement toward and away from said mounting piece and for limited movement in a plane generally parallel to said mounting piece, said latching element having a substantially flat rectangular body portion, and a pair of wing pieces disposed generally perpendicular to and extending from the sides of said body portion and around said mounting piece, a spring biasing said latching element into contact with said mounting piece, an apertured adjusting flange disposed perpendicular to said base portion and extending from said base portion, and screw means extending through said apertured adjusting flange and threadably engaged with said latching element for moving said latching element parallel to said mounting piece.
5. A latching device for holding a fixture within a mounting frame, said device comprising, a substantially flat latching element mounted on an interior side of said fixture for limited movement perpendicular to the side, spring means biasing said latching element against the side, said latching element having a wing portion extending substantially perpendicular to and through an opening in the side, said wing portion having a saw-toothed edge for lockably engaging said mounting frame, and means operable when said saw-toothed edge is lockably engaged with the mounting frame for moving said latching element in a predetermined direction along the side to pull the fixture into the mounting frame.
6. A latching device for holding a fixture within a mounting frame, as claimed in claim 5, wherein said latching element has at least two wing portions extending substantially perpendicular to and through the side, each of said wing portions having a saw-toothed edge for lockably engaging said mounting frame.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,965,747 12/1960 Secofsky 2401.3 3,189,740 6/1965 Wince 240--78 768,177 8/ 1904 Hettinger 292-64 1,792,292 2/ 1931 Flaherty. 3,091,687 5/ 1963 Papsdorf. 3,294,967 12/ 1966 Pascucci 240-78 FOREIGN PATENTS 230,619 9/ 1960 Australia.
NORTON ANSHER, Primary Examiner.
M. H. HAYES, Assistant Examiner.
US. Cl. X.R. 292-64, 68
UNITEIj STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,420,995 January 7, 1969 Bruce Patten Dunckel It is certified that error appears in the above identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
In the heading to the printed specification, line 4, "Atlanta" should read Conyers Signed and sealed this 6th day of October 1970.
Edward M. Fletcher, Jr.
Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents WILLIAM E. SCHUYLER, JR.