US 3432132 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 11, 1969 J. M. THURSTON 3,432,132
STRUCTURAL JoINIfiG SYQSTEM Filed June 6, 1967 FIG. .2
JUmv M THURSTON INVENTOR.
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United States Patent Ofi ice 3,432,132 Patented Mar. 11, 1969 3,432,132 STRUCTURAL JOINING SYSTEM John M. Thurston, Venice, Calif. (18 W. Carver St., Huntington, N.Y. 11743) Filed June 6, 1967, Ser. No. 643,911 US. Cl. 248-188.91 2 Claims Int. Cl. F16m 11/16; A47b 3/06, 13/04 ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A novel joining system is disclosed herein for structures such as furniture or the like which provides a frame having a plurality or preformed sockets formed at critical locations that are adapted to receive and seat supporting members. A Wire tensioning arrangement is provided interconnecting each of the supporting members so that the members are joined in releasable holding relationship with their respective sockets with respect to the frame to produce a unitary loading structure.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention This invention relates to construction joining systems and, more particularly, to a novel system for joining the structural and load bearing parts of a construction so as to provide a unitary structure which is adapted to be readily dismantled and reassembled.
Description of the prior art There is a tremendously increased interest in the field of modular construction, particularly in furniture fabrication wherein individual components and parts making up an item of furniture are placed adjacent each other and are suitably secured together so as to quickly and economically create an article of furniture. The resultant furniture construction is useful for homes, factories, offices and the like. However, the efliciency and economies resulting from modular construction wherein the furniture component parts are made of members of predetermined size and shape depends primarily upon the proper securement of the parts in proper relationship to each other so that the furniture can both be quickly assembled and, when assembled, forms a rigid load bearing unitary structure.
Mans improved technology has wrought tremendous advances in many fields, but little has been done in the field of modular furniture construction. Furniture fabrication is presently preformed by conventional methods and to standards which have been in use for many years. Generally, the various components and parts of a piece of furniture are joined by means of gluing, nailing, screwing, Wedging or the like and most often, such joining methods prevent ready dismantlement such as for transportation or storage purposes. Also, such joining methods do not permit reassembly of the various furniture parts into a composite piece of furniture without the necessity of performing major reworking procedures. For these reasons a tremendous amount of expense and labor goes into the creation of furniture, whether it be of the modular type or of the fixed type. Improvement in structural joining system techniques which are permitted by modern technological approach and conceptual improvement can readily reduce the cost of such constructions and make them more durable and usable by the use of prefabricated parts and related structures which readily accept, position and secure the prefabricated parts so as to create a unitary, load bearing construction.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, problems and difficulties encountered with prior art joining systems are obviated by the present invention which provides a structural frame which is formed with a plurality of individual sockets adapted to receive and mate with separate and individual supporting components of the overall structure. Preferably, the sockets are located in a particular pattern so that when the parts are properly located therein, a continuous wire joining system can be employed utilizing the forces of tension to not only seat the respective parts in their mated sockets but to releasably hold and maintain the parts to the frame so that a unitary structure is produced.
In one form of the invention, a furniture construction may be fabricated by employing a frame having receptacles or sockets located at the respective corners thereof, each of which are adapted to receive a leg member for supporting the resultant piece of furniture. Each leg member is provided with a screw hook or eyelet outwardly projecting from each leg member towards the center of the frame at a location adjacent to respective portions of the frame defining each socket. A continuous wire is trained through the respective screw hooks wherein the opposite ends of the wire are joined by a turnbuckle. By means of the turnbuckle, controllable tension is introduced into the continuous wire which draws the respective sockets so that the unitary structure results.
By employing the joining system of the present invention, the complexity of construction inherent in normal fabricating procedures for joining wood or metal are greatly reduced and also, the assembly time and the materials required are greatly lessened. By employing the continuous wire tensioning arrangement, weakened joints can be strengthened and any load applied to one part is distributed evenly or as desired throughout the structure.
Although reference is made herein to furniture and furniture construction, it is to be understood that the joining method and system of the present invention can well be employed in the construction of cabinets and to any assembly of parts forming a unitary structure.
Therefore, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a novel structural joining system for an assemblage of preformed parts adapted to apply tension by means of a continuous flexible member to effect the joining of a plurality of parts constituting the assemblage in one single operation in place of the conventional practice of individually fitting and securing each part during assembly.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel joining system for assembling parts of a structure wherein the alignment of a continuous wire is so directed that the correct location of the parts with respect to each other is automatically achieved by the process of applying tension thereto via the wire.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel joining system for an assemblage of parts such that the weakening of the joints is minimized and any load applied to one part is distributed evenly or as desired throughout the structure.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a novel joining system incorporating a tensioned wire wherein under heavy applied loads, all parts of the joined structure are capable of accommodating a degree of elastic movement because of the elasticity in the wire.
Still a further object of the present invention is to pr0- vide a novel structural joining system employing the in herent tension in a wire or a strand of wire wherein the tension is transmitted by means of fasteners to parts of the structure so as to retain these parts in desired positions and wherein the wire or wires are placed into a state of tension by means of one or more bottle screws,
turnbuckles, lever action tensioning devices, or other means suitable for hand operation.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The present invention, both as to its organization and manner of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a typical table construction employing the novel joining system of the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is an exploded view of the table shown in FIGURE 1 exposing the joining system;
FIGURE 3 is a cross-sectional view of the table illustrated in FIGURE 1 as taken in the direction of arrows 3-3 thereof;
FIGURE 4 is a cross-sectional view of the table as taken in the direction of arrows 4-4 of FIGURE 3; and
FIGURES 5 and 6 illustrate other versions of the joining system contemplated by the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings and FIGURES 1-4 inclusive in particular, the novel joining system of the present invention is illustrated in connection with the fabrication of an article of furniture which takes the form of a table indicated in the general direction of arrow 10. The table includes a top 11 forming a part of a frame in combination with a pair of side members 12 and 13 and a pair of end members 14 and 15. The members 12 and 13 are arranged in fixed spaced apart parallel relationship along the opposite edge marginal regions of the top 11 while the members 14 and 15 are arranged in fixed spaced apart parallel relationship at right angles thereto along the edge marginal regions of the opposite ends of the table top 11. The members 12-15 inclusive are downwardly depending from the undersurface of the table top 11 and include cooperating terminating ends which serve to define a socket or receptacle for receiving the uppermost part of a leg member, such as indicated by numeral 16, constituting one leg of four which are employed to support the table. The leg members 16 are load bearing members and are employed to support the table top 11 including any articles or loads which may be placed on the upper working surface thereof. Preferably, the uppermost terminating end of each leg 16 is arranged in abutting relationship with the undersurface of the top 11 while two adjacent sides of each leg member abut against the opposing terminating ends of adjacent side and end members.
As illustrated in the exploded view of FIGURE 2, the uppermost portion of leg member 16 is adapted to be received within a receptacle or socket 17 whereby side 18 of the leg member abuts against one terminating end of frame member 14 while side 20 of the leg member seats against the terminating end of frame member 12. Also, it is to be noted that the side and end members of the frame are secured to the underside of the top 11 by means of conventional fasteners such as wood screws 21. By arranging the terminating ends of the side and end members 12-15 in fixed spaced apart relationship, it can be seen that sockets or receptacles are provided at strategic and critical locations about the frame which are adapted to receive the structural leg members. In the present instance, receptacles 22, 23 and 24 are provided in addition to the receptacle 17.
Referring now particularly to FIGURES 24 inclusive, the novel joining system of the present invention further includes a screw hook 25 fixed to each leg member 16 so as to project within the perimeter of the frame defined by the side and end members 12-15. Each screw hook includes an eyelet 26, which may be closed or open as preferred through which a flexible member 27 is passed. The flexible member may take the form of a wire or cable of wires. The length of wire 27 is trained through the plurality of screw hooks in slidable relationship. The opposite ends of the wire 27 are joined in a turnbuckle 28 which is employed to draw the opposite ends of the wire together so as to tighten the wire. As the wire is tightened, tension is applied to the plurality of leg members 16 via the screw hooks 25 so that the leg members are drawn into their respective sockets and maintained in seated relationship therewith as increased tension is applied by the turnbuckle 28.
Once the leg members have been assembled and joined in their respective socket receptacles to the frame, a situation sometimes develops where the joints become loose such as may be caused by subsequent drying and shrinkage of wood, thermal movement of metal parts, stripping in the wire, or for a variety of other reasons. In such a circumstance, the entire joining assembly can 'be quickly tightened by taking up the slack in the who by rotating the tennsioning device which may take the form a turnbuckle 28 or a bottle screw, lever actuating tensioning device or other means suitable for hand operation such as by a lever and cam arrangement. Furthermore, by employing a fiexible member 27 in the form of stranded wire, the wire is somewhat elastic and under unusual loading conditions, all parts of the joined structure are capable of accommodating elastic movement because of the elasticity in the stranded wire. When the increased load is released, the parts return to their respective proper locations without adversely affecting the joint and the retention capabilities of the joining system.
Referring now to FIGURE 5, another form of the present invention is shown wherein a structure is provided with four leg members such as a table, chair or bedframe wherein the horizontal members are stabilized by a wire tension system employed in the structure having the four legs in the form of a substantial square configuration. The four legs are represented by numerals 30-33 inclusive and each leg member is maintained within its socket receptacle defined by the adjacent terminating ends of side and end members 34-37 inclusive by a criss-cross tensioning system. This system includes screw hooks 38 provided in each leg member wherein the screw hooks associated with legs 30 and 32 are drawn together by a single wire 40 incorporating a turnbuckle 41 and wherein leg members 3 1 and 33 are drawn together in their respective socket receptacles by a wire 42 incorporating a turnbuckle 43.
Each of the opposite ends of wires 40 and 42 are formed in loops which are passed over the hook portion of each hook screw 38 associated with an associated leg member and the turnbuckles 41 and 43 are rotated so that the respective leg members associated with the opposite ends of each of the wires 40 and 42 are firmly drawn into their proper receptacles.
Referring now to FIGURE 6, an alternate embodiment of the present invention is shown wherein the joining system provides a pair of wires 45 and 46 having their opposite and opposing ends connected together by means of turnbuckles 47 and 48 so that an endless tension loop arrangement is provided. The combined (wires 45 and 46 are trained through screw hooks 50 associated with each leg member in a cross-over pattern such that a segment of the combined wire extends between leg members 51 and '52 and leg members 53 and 54 while another segment of the combined wire passes diagonally and across one another to interconnect leg members 52 and 53 and leg members 51 and 54, respectively. Such a joining system is preferred when the structure forms a rectangle as opposed to the square configuration shown in FIGURE 5. In this manner, tension can.
be more precisely applied to the joining system by either turnbuckle 47 or 48.
In view of the foregoing, it can be seen that the novel joining system of the present invention greatly reduces the complexity of construction inherent in normal joining arrangements for combining articles made of wood or metal and which also greatly reduces the complexity of construction inherent in normal joining arrangements for combining articles made of wood or metal and which also greatly reduces the assembly time and the materials needed. Quick assembly of structural parts is achieved by applying tension to the wire of the joining system so as to effect the joining of a plurality of structural parts in one single operation, instead of each part having to be individually fitted. Also, rapid assembly of parts is achieved on account of the alignment of the wire being so directed that the correct location of the parts is automatically achieved by the process of applying tension thereto via the t-urnbuckles. Furthermore, no special cutting of joints is required other than that required to attach the wire or wires to the part or parts intended to be joined and material can be saved due to the minimal cutting of holes, slots, grooves etc. for joints at the point where the greatest strain is usually experienced.
While particular embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from this invention in its broader aspects.
What is claimed is:
1. In a joining system for use in the modular construction of furniture having a plurality of prefabricated parts comprising:
a frame including parallel side members and parallel end members secured to and downwardly depending from the underside of a top member normal with respect to each other wherein adjacent side and end members have opposing terminating ends defining a plurality of sockets in structural critical locations about the periphery thereof, each of said sockets adapted to receive and seat the uppermost end of a selected one of said parts;
fastener means having enclosed openings forming an eyelet fixedly secured to each of said selected parts at an end thereof so as to be adjacent said side members and arranged to project inwardly of said frame when said selected parts are received in said respective sockets; and a flexible endless loop Wire movably passing through said enclosed openings of said eyelets in substantially horizontal planar relationship with said side members and interconnecting each of said fastener means so that upon the application of tension thereto, said wire forcibly urges said selected parts to firmly seat within said sockets so as to form a unitary load bearing construction; and
a hand-operated wire tightening means coupling the opposing ends of said wire together to form the endless loop for applying tension to said wire.
2. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein said opposing terminating ends are situated in fixed spaced apart relationship adapted to accommodate the insertion of said fastener means therethrough.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 505,979 10/1893 Freeman 248-18899 XR 751,285 2/1904 Herzog 108-154 1,047,428 12/1912 McKee 248-18899 1,181,712 5/1916 Wittlitf 248-18899 1,689,222 10/1928 Balinky 248-18899 1,885,664 11/1932 Wittlilf 248-18899 1,945,197 1/1934 Koch, et al 108-156 2,087,376 7/1937 Filiberto 248-18899 2,249,892 7/1941 Fulton 248-18891 FOREIGN PATENTS 815,722 7/ 1959 Great Britain.
JAMES T. MCCALL, Primary Examiner. G. O. FINCH, Assistant Examiner.
US. Cl. X.R. 108-154, 161