US 3440331 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 22, 1969 i D. A. COHEN 3,440,331
CEILING FIXTURE ADAPTER Filed Feb. 14, 1967 Sheet 1 of 2 INVENTOR.
DAVID A. COHEN V MW. .LwLML ATToKN s7 April 22, 1969 I D. A. COHEN 3,440,331
CEILING FIXTURE ADAPTER Filed Feb. 14, 1967 Sheet ,3 of 2 INVENTOR.
DAVID A. COHEN BY m g. LAM- ArToiznsy United States Patent 3,440,331 CEILING FIXTURE ADAPTER David A. Cohen, 744 Foothill Drive, San Mateo, Calif. 94402 Filed Feb. 14, 1967, Ser. No. 616,098 Int. Cl. H02b 1/10 US. Cl. 174-61 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An adapter plate member for suspending electrical boxes and fixtures from lowered ceilings. The adapter plate has a plurality of connecting members which have a cross sectional shape corresponding to the cross sectional shape of the ends of the beams supporting the lowered ceiling. The ends of the beams engage these connecting members by virtue of the matching cross sectional shapes to rigidly connect the beam ends and to suspend the adapter plate from the beam ends.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention This invention relates in general to light fixture suspending means, and relates more particularly to such suspending means for use with lowered ceilings.
Description of the prior art There have been numerous devices proposed for suspending light fixtures from lowered ceilings. As is wellknown in the art, such lowered ceilings are usually formed by suspending a framework of beams from the main ceiling and then mounting the subceiling, such as acoustical tile or the like, on this beam framework. The mounting of light fixtures on these lowered ceilings has posed a number of problems which are not encountered in normal fixture mounting. For example, the subceiling material itself is generally not sufiiciently strong to support any great weight in itself, so the fixture mountings must be suspended from the beam members themselves. Often the mounting structures employed heretofore have resulted in junction boxes which extended below the ceiling line, which is undesirable from an aesthetic standpoint. Additionally, all the prior art devices have been relatively difficult and time consuming to install, thus rendering their use undesirable where a large number of such fixture mountings are to be employed, as in showroom lighting and the like. Further, these prior art devices have been diflicult to install after the subceiling itself had been formed, so that it was expensive and disruptive to add additional lighting fixtures at a future time.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with this invention, there is provided an adapter plate member which serves both as a connector for the ends of the frame members of the subceiling and as a supporting mounting for the light fixture and its associated junction box. The plate member of this invention has a plurality of connecting members spaced around its edge and each of these connecting members has a cross sectional configuration corresponding to that of the ends of the framemembers forming the subceiling framework. The ends of the beam members are adapted to fit into these connecting members to provide a rigid connection between the beams and the plate by virtue of the corresponding cross sectional shapes. The adapter 3,440,331 Patented Apr. 22, 1969 ICC thus serves both as a connector for the junction of the converging ends of the beam members and as a support for a lighting fixture which may be attached thereto.
In one embodiment of the invention, the connecting members are formed integrally with the plate member by punching out a portion of the plate to provide downwardly extending lugs. These lugs provide a supporting base spaced from the plate member and generally parallel thereto. A radial slot is also cut in the plate member at each connecting member so that the end of a frame beam may be inserted therein. The frame member, which generally has an inverted T-shaped cross section, is inserted so that the head of the T is disposed between the plate member and lugs, and the shank of the T extends through the slot. This firmly connects the ends of the frame members to the adapter member and provides a rigid support for a lighting fixture and associated junction box which may be attached to the plate member.
In another embodiment of the invention, the connecting members are separate from the plate member but attached thereto at spaced points around the plate. In this embodiment, the separate connecting members are provided With openings therein which correspond in shape to the cross section of the frame members, so that the frame members may be inserted therein as before. This again provides a rigid support for the plate member and also serves to rigidly connect the ends of the frame members.
In both of the embodiments, the plate member is adapted to receive a junction box or the like to provide electrical power to the fixture. The plate member is also provided with a central opening through which electrical connection can be made to the fixture supported by the plate.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an improved structure for supporting a light fixture from a ceiling.
It is an additional object of this invention to provide a structure for supporting a lighting fixture from the frame members of a ceiling, the structure including a plate member for supporting the fixture, the plate member having a plurality of connecting members therein, each of the connecting members having a cross sectional shape corresponding to the cross section of the frame members to rigidly connect together the converging ends of the frame members and to rigidly support the plate member therefrom.
Objects and advantages other than those set forth above will be apparent from the following description when read in connection With the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the plate member invention in which the connecting members are integral with the plate member;
FIGURE 2 is a cross sectional view along line 22 of FIGURE 1 showing the supporting and connecting action of the connecting members;
FIGURE 3 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the invention in which the connecting mem bers are separate from the plate member; and
FIGURE 4 is a perspective View of an additional alternate embodiment of the invention employing a circular plate member with separate connecting members.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT for a light fixture from a subceiling which includes a plurality of frame members 11. As is well known in the art, such frame members may have the cross-sectional shape of an inverted T as shown. These frame members are usually supported from the main ceiling by means of wires or rods (not shown) which engage the frame members at openings 11a. The head portion of the inverted T of each frame member provides supporting surfaces or ledges 11b for supporting the subceiling material itself, such as panels of acoustical tile or the like.
The adapter plate member of FIGURE 1 comprises a generally circular plate member 13 having a central opening therein. The plate member is also provided with a plurality of connecting members spaced about the periphery thereof. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGURE 1, it is assumed that the converging ends of four frame members 11 are to be joined together by the plate member. Hence, four connecting members are provided in the plate member, spaced 90 degrees apart. Each of these connecting members may be formed by punching or stamping out a portion of plate member 13 to form ears or lugs 13a. As best shown in FIGURE 2, these lugs 13a extend below plate member 13 and are generally parallel thereto but spaced therefrom so as to provide a space for receiving the head 11b of the T-shaped portion of a frame member 11.
Each connecting member also includes a slot 13b which extends radially from the outer edge of plate 13, through the opening formed by punching out lugs 13a, and slightly beyond. This slot is of a width to receive the shank 116 of the T-shaped frame member 11.
From FIGURES 1 and 2, the connecting action of the plate member will be apparent. The end of each of frame members 11 is inserted into its associated connecting member, with the shank 110 of the T-shaped portion passing through slot 13b and the head 11b of the T-shaped portion fitting between lugs 13a and the lower surface of plate member 13. With all frame members 11 thus inserted into their associated connecting members, it will be seen that the ends of the frame members are firmly connected by plate member 13 and that this plate member is rigidly supported by the frame members.
A junction box (not shown) may be mounted above plate 13 and secured thereto by means of screws 16 which extend through the plate member. The fixture (not shown) which is to be supported by plate 13 may be connected thereto by any suitable means, and for this purpose openings 13c are shown in the plate member for receiving the heads of screws which are carried by the fixture and which can be locked in the openings by rotation thereof in a well-known manner. In this connection, the type of fixture mounting means described and claimed in my copending applications. Ser. No. 535,439, now United States Patent No. 3,302,918, and Ser No. 612,384, now US. Patent No. 3,356,840, may be employed to advantage in mounting the fixture. In those applications, the fixture mounting structure includes a yoke member which releasably engages the adapter plate. This yoke member, when engaged with the adapter plate, supports the light fixture and also firmly positions a plug, which is electrically connected to the fixture, in a receptacle contained within the outlet box above the adapter plate. By releasing the yoke member from the adapter plate, the plug may be removed from the receptacle and the entire fixture quickly removed. This is a distinct advantage, particularly where it is desirable to often change or add fixtures, as in showrooms or the like, where the present invention is especially adapted for use.
FIGURE 3 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the invention where the connecting members are separate from the plate member but are connected thereto. In FIGURE 3, frame members 21 are shown as part of a subceiling, as in the embodiment of FIGURE 1, and they have the cross-sectional shape of an inverted T. The plate member of this embodiment includes a generally rectangular plate member 23 with a central opening 23a and spaced connecting members 24 thereof. Central opening 23a is surrounded by a box-like enclosure formed of walls 23b for receiving the electrical connections. Each of connecting members 24 has a generally C-shaped configuration as shown and is secured to the underside of plate member 23 by a screw 2.4a. Each connecting member is provided with a T-shaped slot 24b in the front thereof through which the end of an associated one of the frame members 21 is adapted to extend.
An outlet box may be inserted in opening 23a and the enclosure formed by walls 23b and connected to plate member 23. The fixture to be mounted is secured to the plate member and outlet box by any suitable means.
Referring to FIGURE 4, there is shown an additional embodiment of the invention utilizing separate connecting members. In this embodiment, a circular adapter plate 33 is provided with a central opening 33a having side walls 33b. The connecting members 34 employed with plate 23 are secured to the underside thereof by screws 34a. As shown, each member 34 has a slot 34b in the center thereof for receiving the shank of an associated T-shaped frame member 31. Each member 34 is also provided with means for supporting the head of the T-shaped frame member. As shown, such support may be provided by bending the ends of the side walls of member 34 inwardly to form opposed grooves 34c which receive and support the head of the T-shaped frame member 31. Thus, frame member 31 is supported by slots 34c and accurately positioned by slot 341) to provide a rigid connection for the ends of members 31 and to provide a rigid support for plate member 33.
In all of the illustrated embodiments, it will be seen that there is provided a plate member which serves both to rigidly connect the converging ends of the frame members and to provide support for a light fixture to be mounted. The resulting installation is neat in appearance, since the outlet box is above the ceiling level and hence out of sight. Also, the plate member of this invention adapts itself well to progressive installations where lighting fixtures are to be added over a period of time, since new plate members may be easily added for each new fixture to be installed.
While the above detailed description has shown, described and pointed out the fundamental novel features of the invention as applied to various embodiments, it will be understood that various omissions and substitutions and changes in the form and details of the device illustrated may be made by those skilled in the art, without departing from the spirit of the invention. It is the intention, therefore, to be limited only as indicated by the scope of the following claims.
What is claimed is:
1. An adapter member for supporting a lighting fixture from a ceiling having frame members with a prede termined cross sectional shape, comprising:
a plate member having a central opening therein, said plate member also having a plurality of fastening means spaced around the periphery thereof for telescopically receiving the ends of said frame members so that said plate member may be suspended from the ends of said frame members; and
means for attaching a lighting fixture to said plate member.
2. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 in which said fastening means include a frame member receiving aperture having a generally T-shaped cross sectional configuration.
3. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said fastening means include radial slots in said plate member and lugs on either side of said slots extending below and generally parallel to said plate member, said slots and the spaces between said lugs and said plate member defining said fastening means for telescopically receiving the ends of said frame members.
5 4. Apparatus in accordance with claim 3 in which said lugs are formed by stamped and deformed portions of said plate member.
5. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 in which said fastening means include individual connecting members 5 secured to said plate member, each said connecting member comprising a generally C-shaped member having an opening therein for receiving the end of one of said frame members.
6. Apparatus in accordance with claim 5 in which said openings in said connecting members have a generally T-shaped cross sectional configuration.
6 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,528,238 10/1950 McDaid 248343 X 2,913,571 11/1959 Smith 52--484 X LEWIS H. MYERS, Primary Examiner.
D. A. TONE, Assistant Examiner.
U.S. Cl. X.R. 5228; 248-343