US 3436137 A
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J. RANGER April I, 1969 INTERIOR APPOINTMENTS 0F STORAGE FURNITURE AND CELLS THEREFOR Sheet Filed My 8, 1967 FIGA I [Muir/rag @7214 1344 4512 J. RANGER April 1, 1939 INTERIOR APPOINTMENTS OF STORAGE FURNITURE AND CELLS THEREFOR Sheet 2 012 7 Filed May 8, 1967 /%m/ I l @Vf/VMQ 3/279 134N627? \wlllflffllflww w l 4 //WWW///NN//N% V -%--LEL ul g F a 3,436,137 INTERIOR APPOINTMENTS 0F STORAGE FURNITURE AND CELLS THEREFOR Jean Ranger, Rte. de Concise, Montmorillon, Vienne, France Fiied May 8, 1967, Ser. No. 636,766 Claims priority, applicitiongirance, May 11, 1966, 1 12 int. Cl. rzsa 11/00,- A47!) 81/00, 53/00 US. or. 312-214 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An article of furniture having an outer support member or frame in which is secured a shell adapted to receive shelves or the like. The shell is fitted within the support member in such a manner as to provide a space therebetween. In this space there is injected an expandable plastic material such as polyurethane.
materials as melamine-based laminates, an example being that known by the trade name Formica.
The production of such furniture with elements made with panels of this kind, in the same factory, requires that several differents production processes, involving different though interdependent techniques, should coexist in that factory.
One such production process, for example, involves veneering techniques for the producion of supporting frames made of plywood and wood agglomerate and lined on one side with laminated or plastic leaves.
Such supports are liable to become distorted under the influence of changes in the ambient humidity, thus resulting in lifting of the leaf of veneer sooner or later.
Further, this ancillary process entails numerous bonding, pressing and drying operations, after which it is necessary to cut up the panels into the required sizes and to carry out the indispensable finishing operations.
Another aspect of production relates to the operations required to produce all the other furniture elements made of nonveneered wood.
The assembly in itself calls for adjusting the different furniture elements with respect to one another and then assembling them.
In addition, the piece of furniture must be equipped internally with indispensable accessories such as shelf supports, for example.
It will be appreciated that the time devoted to these different operations ultimately represents a large proportion of the man-hours needed to produce an item of furniture, especially if the latter is to be assembled on the customers premises.
Because the number of man-hours involved constitutes the biggest proportion of total expenditure, it is virtually impossible to lower the cost price of furniture made in this way.
Production thus involves a whole series of operations of a different nature, which are difficult to harmonize and are unsuited to mass production.
Recourse has already been had to units lined with a thickness of expanded material within the body of the side walls, but only in such specific fields as the heatted States Patent 0 generating (gas cookers) or cold-generating (refrigerators) industries; it should also be noted that in such units the outer walls constituting the frame are necessarily made of a strong material used to support the different components of the appliance, such as the motor in the case of refrigerators, the burners in the case of gas cookers, and so on.
The majority of these appliances have their interior equipment assembled together on a shell which is as a rule fabricated by moulding or stamping and which is secured by its peripheral flange to the furniture frame.
In the course of assembly of such pieces of furniture, however, the mattresses of material previously expanded and cut to the required size are placed on the inner walls of the frame so as to form the inner volume reserved for the shell to be inserted subsequently. Such a shell can support only light shelves, such as cleats in refrigerators.
Also known are double-walled containers that bound a space therebetween into which may be injected an expandable material which adheres to the walls of this space and constitutes a rigidity-improving mattress.
However, this is usually connected with isothermic flasks, the manufacture of which raises none of the many problems mentioned above in connection with furniture making.
It is the object of the present invention to overcome the drawbacks encountered in the furniture industry and to accordingly provide pieces of furniture which are reinforced internally with expanded foam and of which the inner wall olfered to the expandable foam consists of previously equipped shells of the kind used in the appliance referred to precedingly.
To this end the piece of furniture is made in two parts:
First, a rough outer support having no special strength properties, being merely a structure comprising one or more frames adapted to receive one or more shells, and
Second, a moulded shell equipped with the accessories essential to its intended function.
Assembly consists in inserting the shell or shells into the corresponding opening or openings in the framework, in securing the edges of the shells to the uprights of the structure and in injecting an expandable material between the shell and the framework.
The description which follows with reference to the accompanying nonlimitative exemplary drawings will give a clear understanding of how the invention can be carried into practice.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a four-unit piece of furniture according to the invention;
FIGURE 2 is an example of a piece of furniture according to the invention, constituting a rigid monoblock structure open over its entire length and devoid of intermediate bracing members;
FIGURE 3 shows the arrangement of hinges used for fitting the doors; and
FIGURES 4, 5 and 6 are sectional illustrations of different possible methods of assembling flangeless shells.
'Referring first to FIGURE 1, it will be seen that the frame 10 is formed with four juxtaposed cells which are limited in front by a cross-member 11 and into which fit the corresponding hells 12.
On the shell 1'20, shown as ot being inserted into the frame, moulded-on parallel ridges 13 formed on the three inside faces of the shell act as supports for massive, solid shelves 18 (see FIGURE 2).
These shelves are thus supported on three sides, thereby permitting distribution of the pressure exerted by the heavy loads they may be required to support and avoiding any danger of distortion.
In order to enable the arrangement of the shelves to be modified at will inside such a piece of furnature, the vertical walls of the shell are equipped with a set of parallel bearing surfaces. In the exemplary embodiment illustrated in the drawings the spacing between adjacent bearing surfaces is equal to the thickness of the shelves and forms a slideway 19 into which the shelf can be slipped and firmly retained therein, thus preventing any tendency for it to sag in front.
A peripheral flange 14 (FIGURE 1) formed on the shell is applied against the rim of the frame and the cross-member and permits of securing the shell in position.
The element 12b fitted into the frame and illustrated with partial cutaway exhibits a lining 15 made of expanded material and designed to fill the empty spaces between the frame and the shell and to impart the necessary sturdin'ess to the furniture. The manner of fitting this lining will be explained hereinafter.
The inner lining 15 is obtained by expanding a light resin such as polyurethane. To this end the walls of the frame, especially the side walls, are formed with openings arranged so as to permit uniform injection of the expandable material into the entire free space between the shell and the frame and expulsion of the air contained therein, which is driven out by the thrust of the material as it expands.
The walls accordingly have two sets of opening therein, one along the lower part of the walls and the other along the upper part which act as vents and possibly also as overflow holes. Obviously, once the material has expanded and solidified these openings are closed in any convenient manner.
The element 12c represents a shell fitted in position. As shown in FIGURE 1, a metal bracket 16 is provided which encases a head 17 through the medium of which it applies the edge of the shell against the frame perimeter.
FIGURE 3 represents a detail view of the hinge 19 used to mount the doors P. Such hinge systems, which are well known per se and do not therefore call for a detailed description, provide a sideway displacement that fetches the door clear as it moves through positions P1, P2 in the process of opening (see arrow F1). In its open position P3, the door i applied end-section to end-section against the side of the furniture unit.
Furthermore, the invisible hinges help to enhance the external eye-appeal of the furniture.
In accordance with an alternative method of assembly shown in FIGURES 4, and 6, a metal sectional member 20, 21 or 22, respectively, of L 21, symmetrical-U 22, or asymmetrical-U 20 section, is secured to the uprights 23 which determine the different cells.
Sectional member 20, 21 or 22, which is secured by screws 24 either to the inside face of the uprights (members 20 or 21) or to the end-section thereof (member 22), forms along the con-tour of the cell a securing groove the open side of which faces the bottom of the frame and is equal in width to the thickness of the edge of the shell 25.
The shell is inserted through the rear of the frame and its edge 25 engages into said groove. The free spaces between the walls and the frame are filled with expanded material 26.
'In the arrangement illustrated in FIGURE 4, the screws securing the sectional member are hidden by the edge of the shell.
In the assembly modes shown in FIGURES 5 and 6, the shell is held in place by the expanded material.
A variant on this technique consist in moulding the shells directly into the openings in the structure. In this form of furniture design it is possible to use very light frames made of thin material, to which the necessary cohesion and rigidity is imparted by injecting, into the 4 free spaces between the shell and the frame, an expanded plastic material which adheres powerfully to the walls of the shell and the frame.
Manifestly, the present invention is by no means limited to the form of embodiment described above with reference to the accompanying drawings, since many changes and substitutions of parts may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.
The advantages accruing from such a constructional form and the big step forward it represents over the prior art will readily be appreciated.
Manufacture is, indeed, singularly simplified since it involves:
Fabricating a simple frame devoid of interior accessories, the function of which is to support and impart the styling note to the shells;
Manufacturing fully equipped plastic shells, obtained by mounding, injection or vacuum forming, either separately or directly inside the frame cells;
A unique simple and rapid assembly operation to join the two elements together;
And injecting an expandable resin between the shell and cell walls.
The above manufacturing steps dispense with the multiple assembly and finishing operations customarily required, so that the subject method of this invention will enable quantity production to be envisaged on an economical basis.
Furniture made in this way can be fitted with a wide variety of shelves designed both for supporting heavy weights and for enhancing the appearance of the furniture; moreover, such furniture can be extremely light due to the fact that the spaces are filled with an expanded material.
Due to the presence of the internal lining, all items of furniture manufactured as hereinbefore described offer the well-known advantages of moulded materials, i.e., easy upkeep, a wide colour range, no blind corners, and
Such pieces of furniture may alternatively consist of a single large cell that would consequently offer a large storage space clear of the middle brace used to impart rigidity to the frame. Such a piece of furniture would offer an entirely uncluttered space accessible over its entire length and would dispense with special appointments such as the racks used for supporting the shelves in conventional cupboards and the like.
Further, the spaces between the bearing surfaces may be greater than the thickness of the shelves, and the surfaces themselves may be arranged either continuously or discontinuously on the vertical walls.
Furniture produced as described hereinabove combines the advantages of interior plastic surfaces with the great external adaptability of ordinary wooden furniture.
In particular, since the external frame is made of wood, plywood or agglomerate panels, the latter may be veneered, laminated, printed or varnished, thus enabling decorative effects to be obtained to suit the customers tastes.
The subject method of the present invention can be used also to make period furniture and to obtain any desired'decorative effect by means of mouldings and strips.
What I claim is:
1. A piece of furniture comprising an outer styling element, a framework secured to an open end of said outer styling element, a shell inserted into said outer styling element, said shell secured to said framework, said piece of furniture containing a chamber formed between said outer styling element and said shell, expanded foam material filling the whole of said chamber and constituting continuous mechanical bonding means between said outer styling element and said shell, said framework comprising frame posts and means providing grooves at the interior periphery of said frame posts, the edges of said shell being received in said grooves.
2. A piece of furniture according to claim 1 wherein said means providing the grooves located at the interior periphery of the frame posts are formed by the interior of sections, a part of which being in the form of an L.
3. A piece of furniture acording to claim 1 wherein said means providing the grooves located at the interior periphery of the frame posts are formed by the interior of sections, a part of which being in the form of a U.
4. A piece of furniture as claimed in claim 1 characterized in that said shell is formed with two facing sets of parallel grooves on the two sides of the furniture.
5. A piece of furniture as claimed in claim 1 characcompanion grooves on the inner end of the furniture.
6. A piece of furniture as claimed in claim 5 characterized in that the spacing between two adjacent shelf bearing surfaces is equal to the thickness of a shelf.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,091,946 6/1963 Kesling 312214 X 3,152,199 10/1964 Roberts 264-45 3,306,689 2/ 1967 Isaacson et al. 312-214 3,312,516 4/1967 Krahn 312-330 CASMIR A. NUNBERG, Primary Examiner.
U.S. Cl. X.R.