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Publication numberUS3439812 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 22, 1969
Filing dateMar 13, 1967
Priority dateMar 13, 1967
Publication numberUS 3439812 A, US 3439812A, US-A-3439812, US3439812 A, US3439812A
InventorsKoning Simon J, Nagelkirk Preston
Original AssigneeMiller Herman Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Glueless furniture joint
US 3439812 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 6 P. NAGELKIRK ETAL 3,439,812

GLUELESS FURNITURE JOINT Filed March 15, 1967 Sheet 1 of 2 l a Fifi 7011/ April 1969 P. NAGELKIRK ETAL 3,439,812

GLUELESS FURNITURE JOINT Filed March 15, 1967 Sheet 2 of 2 50 36a. 35 .52 366 356 J I I 1 I 5/ i 5 w u 54 i 29 564 5a 32 566 556' United States Patent US. Cl. 21190 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A pair of panels are joined together by afiixing a plurality of flat-head screws into the edge of one panel, providing a groove in the edge of the mating panel and drilling a plurality of apertures through the interior surface of the mating panel into the groove. The spacing of the apertures in the mating panel corresponds to the spacing of the screws on the one panel edge. The panels are then butted together such that the heads of the screws pass into the apertures and protrude into the groove in the mating panel. A keeper assembly comprising an elongated flange having a plurality of cutout sections therein adapted to fit under the heads or caps of the fiat-head screws is driven into the groove forcing the two panels into tightly abutting relationship. A three panel joint may be fabricated in a similar manner by providing offset apertures on either side of the center panel communicating into the groove, abutting the panels with the flathead screws to either side thereof and driving a single flange member having outout sections adapted to receive each of the screws into the groove. It is understood that this abstract is not to be utilized to limit the scope of this invention.

Background This invention relates to furniture joints and, more particularly, to glneless furniture joints.

In many types of living and working environments, particularly in institutions such as colleges, hospitals and the like, it is desirable to be able to furnish a particular room in accordance with the use to which it is to be put and, yet, maintain sufficient mobility that it may later be refurnished for a different use. When such furniture changes are made, it is desirable that differing components from which the furniture is constructed be interchangeable to as great an extent as possible to permit their reutilization in the modified working or living environment. This reusability, of course, results in a substantial saving in materials cost as well as substantially reducing inventory and related problems.

These problems are encountered not only in the particular building or room which is being refurnished, but also plague the manufacturers of the furniture being utilized since they must keep in stock a sufficient number of components to readily meet anticipated demands from their customers. Thus, any components which may be fabricated in such a manner as to render them acceptable for dual or multiple utilization in different types of furniture constructions substantially reduce the inventory and enhance the serviceability of the particular furniture manufacturer.

Consider, for example, an item such as a bookcase. Depending upon the height and number of shelves desired by the user in the particular environment, the sides must be out to length and at least the outside panels glued together prior to shipping from the factory. Once such an item reaches the buyer, it is useable only so long as a bookcase having those particular exterior dimensions does not marketly compromise his over-all furnishing scheme.

In an attempt to circumvent this particular problem, furniture makers have fabricated sectionalized bookcases wherein each shelf comprises a more-or-less self-contained unit having a top, sides and a bottom. As many of these units may be stacked upon one another as is desirable. Each, however, must be fabricated with a top and bottom to provide the necessary structural characteristics and, therefore, a waste of material and accompanying increase in cost results each time both a top and bottom are utilized to separate single shelves or the like.

As will be apparent, many of the problems which have been encountered by furniture manufacturers and users in attempting to satisfy requirements for mobility and interchangeability can be attributed directly to the necessity of gluing together the panels to provide a satisfactory joint. While a number of proposals have been made in the past to obviate the necessity for such gluing, none of them have proved particularly satisfactory. The resulting joint has been either insufficiently sturdy or so expensive as to render the utilization of the particular joining process and apparatus impractical.

Objects and specification It is an object of this invention, therefore, to provide a glueless joint suitable for utilization in furniture manufacture.

More particularly, it is an object of this invention to provide such a joint having structural characteristics which equal or exceed those obtained by the utilization of glue and, yet, require a competitive monitary outlay for utilization.

It is an object of this invention to provide a joint of the type described which may be easily and quickly assembled and disassembled whereby, if desirable, the furniture components may be assembled directly at the location where they are to be utilized.

It is an object of this invention to provide a joint of the type described whereby three panels such as those representing a shelf and abutting sides of a bookcase may be assembled in such a manner that, at a later occasion, more shelves may be added or others removed to change the height and other structural characteristics of the case, such changes in size being readily achievable through the utilization of a relatively small number of prefabricated, interchangeable components.

It is yet another object of this invention to provide a joint of the type described which, in addition to rigidly joining two or more panels together, may be utilized as a support wherefrom the particular shelf, closet or the like may be suspended from the wall rather than resting on the floor.

These as well as other objects of this invention will be readily understood by those skilled in the art with reference to the following specification and accompanying figures in which:

FIG. 1 is a broken, fragmentary, exploded view of a. single joint fabricated in accordance with the teachings of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, cross-sectional view of the joint shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view, partially in cross section, illustrating a modified type of joint;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, side-elevational view, partially in cross section, illustrating yet another type of joint;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along plane VV of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary, perspective view, partially in cross section, indicating the manner in which a bookcase may be fabricated and wall supported by utilization of the concepts of the instant invention;

FIG. 7 is a front-elevational view of the retainer assembly; and

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a bookcase fabricated in accordance with the teachings of this invention.

Briefly, this invention comprises two or more panels, at least one of the panels having a plurality of lug assemblies having shoulders and caps aflixed to the edge thereof. Another of the panels is provided with a groove in its edge and apertures are drilled such that the lug assemblies protrude into the groove when the panels are butted together. A locking means is slid into the groove which engages the shoulders and bears against the cap such that the panels are retained in abutting relationship.

Referring now to the figures, a preferred embodiment of this invention will be described in detail. FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a first embodiment of this invention wherein two panels, designated by the reference numerals 10 and 11, are joined to form the top and side panels of the furniture enclosure. The top panel 11 is provided with an elongated slot 12. Communicating into slot 12 via one of the flat surfaces on panel 11 are a pair of apertures 13a and 13b. To the edge of the panel 10 are afiixed the wedging members or lug assemblies 14a and 14b. Lug assemblies 14a and 14b are spaced, of course, identically to apertures 13a and 13b.

The lug assemblies 14a and 14b consist of a threaded shank portion 15 screwed into the edge of panel 10. Protruding from the panel edge is a shoulder portion 16 upon which is positioned a cap 17. A flared wedging section 18 is provided between cap 17 and shoulder 16 and a spacer 19 is positioned around the exposed shoulder section 16. Preferably, as will become apparent, the outside diameter of spacer 19 is identical to the outside diameter of the cap 17 and both are snugly received by apertures 13a and 13b such that the spacer 19 will act to prevent relative movement between the two panels when they are joined together in the manner to be discussed hereinafter.

As illustrated in the figures, the lub assembly 14 preferably takes the form of an ordinary, flat-head screw having the spacer 19 inserted thereover before insertion into the panel 10. Such a screw provides the necessary threaded shank 15, shoulder 16, cap 17 and flared wedging section 18 in one integral piece which is relatively inexpensive and may be procured easily.

The keeper assembly, indicated generally by the reference numeral 20, comprises a tongue or flange 21 having a butt plate 22 aflixed thereto in T-shaped fashion if the particular joint to be fabricated is a perpendicular one. The flange 21 has lug assembly receiving cutouts 23a and 23b which, conveniently, may be chamfered as indicated at 25 to assist in assembly of the joint.

The joint is assembled by butting the panel edge 10 against the surface of panel 11 in such a manner that the lug assemblies 14a and 14b protrude through the apertures 13a and 1311 as illustrated in FIG. 2. The retainer assembly is then forced into the groove 12 by means of a rubber hammer or the like. As the flange 21 slides in the groove 12, the lug receiving cutouts 23a and 23b engage the flared wedging sections 18 of lug assemblies 144: and 14b respectively in the manner indicated in FIG. 2 to pull the joint tightly together in stable fashion. Thus, the width of cutouts 23a and 23b must be slightly less than the outer 4 diameter of the head of the flat-head screws utilized in the lug assemblies 14a and 14b.

The tightness and rigidity of the joint thus formed may be controlled in a number of ditferent manners. Preferably, the depth to which the flat-head screw of lug assembly 14 is screwed into the panel 10 is taken as the critical measurement. Such may be easily accomplished by selecting a suitable length spacer 19 in such a manner that when the flat-head screw brings the spacer into abutment with both the panel and the base of flared wedging section 18, the insertion can be stopped. The facility of this method depends, of course, on the thickness of the tongue or flange 21 and any cross-sectional wedging shape which it may have. In some environments (such as that shown in FIG. 2 for example), an actual measurement must be made during insertion of the flat-head screw.

As will also be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, the wedging process might be achieved by either forming the cutouts 23 such that they converge toward butt plate 22 or forming the flange 21 such that it widens from its tip toward butt plate 22. In the former case, the decreasing cross section of the cutout in conjunction with the flared wedging section 18 of the lug assemblies causes the screw and, thus, the attached panel, to be pulled upwardly as viewed in FIG. 2 as the keeper assembly 20 is driven into the slot 12. In the latter case, a similar result is achieved as the effective thickness of the flange 21 increases during insertion of the keeper assembly. Both of these wedging methods would afford satisfactory results in many types of evironments although, where finished furniture is concerned, the preferred method outlined above insures that the butt plate 22 which is finished decoratively on its exterior surface will seat flatly against the panel edges and, thus, afford a pleasant appearance.

The joint illustrated in FIG. 3 is similar to that described in connection with FIG. 1 with the exception that a plurality of panels 26a, 26b, etc., are secured to the panel 27 by a single retainer strip. When utilizing this particular type of assembly, of course, it is necessary to provide another groove and lug assembly on the opposite edge of panel 27 as viewed in FIG. 2 in order to acheive twopoint securement of the panels 26 to the panel 27. Thus, for example, panel 27 might represent the side of a bookcase and the various panels 26, the top, bottom and intermediate shelves thereof. In this particular case, each of the panels would have an elongated slot 12 along both of its vertical edges, four retainer assemblies 20 would be utilized and, thus, each shelf would be secured to the sides of the case at four points.

Referring now to FIGS. 4 through 6, another modified form of the invention suitable for utilization in joining three separate panels will be illustrated in detail. Assume, merely by way of example, it is desired to construct a bookcase or the like from a plurality of standardized shelf panels 32 and side panels 30 and 3 1. The number of components utilized, of course, determines the height of the finished case, the width being determined by the particular stock shelving panel which is utilized.

The shelf panel 32 is provided with an elongated groove 29 in the side edges thereof. Two upper apertures 33a and 33b and two lower apertures 34a and 34b communicate from the upper and lower flat surfaces respectively of the shelf panel 32 into the groove 29. The upper apert-ures 33 are offset from the lower apertures 34 such that the received lug assemblies affixed to the side panels will not foul against one another.

The upper lug assemblies 35a and 35b aflixed to the upper side panel 30 and the lower lug assemblies 36a and 36b aflixed to the lower side panel 31 are identical to the lug assembly 14 described in connection with FIGS. 1 and 2 with the slight exception that, in this case, it is not possible to butt the flat-head screws against the spacers 46 and 47 because of the width of the particular shelf panel 32. Thus, the screws have been inserted into the upper and lower side panel the predetermined distance necessary to achieve the locking configuration shown best in FIG. 4.

The upper lug assemblies 35 and the lower lug assemblies 36 are positioned on their respective panel edges, of course, such that the upper lug assemblies 3 5a and 35b pass into upper apertures 33a and 33b and the lower lug assemblies 36a and 36b pass into lower apertures 34a and 34b when the three panels are butted together as indicated in the figures. During assembly of the structure, the three panels are so butted and keeper assembly 50 inserted into slot 29 to rigidify the connection.

Keeper assembly 50 has a tongue or flange 51 perpendicularly affixed to a butt plate 52. As shown in FIG. 6, the butt plate conveniently may include a unit suspension bracket 53 having a hook assembly 54 adapted to suspend the particular shelf or other item from the wall of the room or enclosure where it is to be utilized. Alternatively, the butt plate 52 may be a simple rectangular stripping member such as is indicated in FIG. 7 and the resultant shelving units supported by resting on the floor.

Regardless of the particular configuration of the butt plate 52, however, the flange 51 contains upper lug retaining cutouts 55a and 55b and lower lug retaining cutouts 56a and 56b. The cutouts are positioned such that, as the keeper assembly 50- is inserted into the groove 29, the upper lug receiving cutouts engage and wedge downwardly the flared wedging sections of upper lug assemblies 35 and the lower lug retaining cutouts 56 engage and retain the flared wedging sections of lower lug assemblies 36 to rigidify the joints so formed. The spacers 46 and 47 function, of course, to prohibit lateral and longitudinal movement of the side panels 30 and 31 with respect to the shelving panel 32 after the joint has been thus assembled.

As indicated in FIG. 8, the bookcase 60 may have any desired number of side panels 61a, 61b, etc. depending upon the number of intermediate shelves 63 desired. Connection of these side panels to the lower shelf 62 and top 64 may be affected in the manner indicated in FIG. 1.

Referring now specifically to FIG. 6, the forward edge of the flange 51 on retainer assembly 50 is preferably curved as indicated at 66 in order to insure positive initial insertion thereof into the groove 29 and to compensate to some extent for minor variations in the dimensions of the lug assemblies 34 and 35. The side portions of the flange 51 are provided additionally with a series of longitudinal serrations as indicated by the reference numeral 67 which bite into the wooden boundaries of slot or groove 29 to insure that the retaining assembly 50 will not come loose or he accidentally pulled free and allow the bookcase or other article of furniture to collapse.

While a preferred embodiment of this invention has been illustrated in detail, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that many other embodiments may be conceived and fabricated without departing from the spirit of this specification and the accompanying drawings.

I claim:

1. A glueless cabinet joint comprising:

first and second panels, the edge of said first panel adapted to abut the side of said second panel and be joined thereto, said first panel having a plurality of wedging members extending therefrom, said second panel having an elongated groove in the edge thereof and a plurality of apertures communicating from the first panel abutting side thereof into said groove, at least one of said plurality of apertures being adapted to receive one of said wedging members when said panels abut such that said one wedging member extends into said groove; and

an elongated locking tongue adapted to be slid into said groove, said tongue having at least two cutout sections therein, one of said sections being adapted to receive and wedgingly mate with said one wedging member as said tongue is slid into said groove to retain said panels in abutting relationship.

2. The structure as set forth in claim 1 which further comprises a butt plate aflixed to said locking tongue, said butt plate being adapted to abut and overlie the edge of said second panel when said locking tongue is slid into said groove.

3. The structure as set forth in claim 2 wherein said butt plate includes hook means for supporting the article of which said first and second panels form components in wall-hung fashion.

4. The structure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said wedging members comprise:

a shank adapted to penetrate and be retained by an edge of said first panel;

an outwardly flared section affixed to said shank, said outwardly flared section being adapted to extend into said groove when said panels are abutted; and

a spacing member surrounding said shank between said outwardly flared section and the edge of said first panel, the exterior measurements of said spacing member being approximately equal to the interior measurements of said apertures to prevent sliding movement between said panels.

5. The structure as set forth in claim 2 wherein the dimensions of said groove, said tongue, said cutout sections and said wedging members are such that said tongue must be forcibly driven into said groove.

6. The structure as set forth in claim 1 wherein at least two of said wedging members extending from said first panel are received by apertures and extend into the groove in said second panel, each of said two wedging members being wedgingly received by one of said cutout sections as said tongue is slid into said groove.

7. The structure as set forth in claim 1 which further comprises a third panel, the edge of said third panel being adapted to abut the side of said second panel and be joined thereto along with said first panel, said third panel having a plurality of wedging members extending therefrom, at least one of said wedging members extending from said third panel being received by one of the apertures in said second panel, and extending into the groove therein, said one wedging member on both said first and third panels being adapted to be wedgingly received by said cutout sections when said tongue is slid into the groove in said second panel.

8. The structure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said wedging members extend from the edge of said first panel and which further comprises a third panel having like wedging members extending from the edge thereof and adapted to abut and be joined to said second panel on the side opposite from said first panel, said second panel having apertures communicating from both the first and third panel abutting sides thereof into said groove, said apertures being offset with respect to one another and adapted to receive the wedging members affixed to said first and third panels such that all of said wedging members extend into said groove, said tongue having a cutout section adapted to wedgingly receive each of said wedging members when it is slid into said groove.

9. A glueless cabinet joint for joining three panels comprising:

first, second and third panels, said first and second panels each having a plurality of wedging members having shoulders and caps aflixed to one edge thereof, said third panel having a groove in one edge thereof and a plurality of apertures communicating from said groove to the opposite surfaces of said panel, said apertures adapted to receive said shoulders and caps when said first and second panels are butted against the opposite surfaces of said third panel, said caps adapted to protrude through said apertures into said groove when said panels are so butted; and

8 locking means adapted to he slid into said groove, 3,159,440 12/1964 Courtwright 287-20926 XR said locking means engaging said shoulders and bear- 3,365,224 1/ 1968 Theme 287-20924 ing against said caps such that said first and second FOREIGN PATENTS panels are retained in abutting relationship with said ,865 606 4/1961 Great Britain third panel. 5

References Cited ROY D. FRAZI-ER, Primary Examiner. UNITED STATES PATENTS J. F. FOSS, Assistant Exammer.

571,249 11/1-896 Stikeman 108-108 10 a 702,623 6/1902 Brunner 287-20927 XR 108-108; 248-250; 287-20924

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US571249 *Jul 16, 1896Nov 10, 1896 Library-shelving
US702623 *Mar 13, 1902Jun 17, 1902Jacob BrunnerFurniture-coupling.
US3159440 *Mar 14, 1963Dec 1, 1964Educators Mfg CompanyCabinet wall panels and connecting means therefor
US3365224 *Jan 7, 1966Jan 23, 1968Thome GebCorner or butt joint
GB865606A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3563578 *Mar 19, 1969Feb 16, 1971Goodyear Aerospace CorpPanel joint
US3598064 *Aug 11, 1969Aug 10, 1971Belaco IncShelving
US3675312 *May 21, 1970Jul 11, 1972Patricio HermanMethod for joining abutting elements by concealed means
US3781973 *Oct 26, 1971Jan 1, 1974American Metal Climax IncMethod of wall construction
US4004391 *Oct 30, 1974Jan 25, 1977Keeton J HerbertMethod and a panel for pre-fabricating buildings
US5297486 *Aug 14, 1991Mar 29, 1994Donnelly CorporationBracket and shelf
US5406894 *Nov 4, 1993Apr 18, 1995Donnelly Technology, Inc.Shelving system
US6601715Dec 7, 2001Aug 5, 2003L. B. Plastics LimitedStorage units and components for use in their construction
US7988236Jun 12, 2008Aug 2, 2011Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc.Integrated base assembly
US8438716Aug 1, 2011May 14, 2013Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc.Integrated base assembly
US8480194 *Apr 8, 2009Jul 9, 2013Saint-Gobain Glass FranceShelf, in particular for refrigerated installations
US20150027972 *Nov 18, 2011Jan 29, 2015Inter Ikea Systems B.V.Wall mounted storing constructions
EP1216631A1 *Dec 5, 2001Jun 26, 2002L.B. Plastics LimitedStorage units and components for use in their construction
U.S. Classification211/90.4, 108/108, 403/231, 248/250
International ClassificationF16B12/00, F16B12/20
Cooperative ClassificationF16B12/20
European ClassificationF16B12/20