US 3489479 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 13, 1970 EN-rmj 3,489,479
SPRING OPEN PANEL Filed Jan. 2, 1968 3,489,479 SPRING OPEN PANEL James R. Sulentic, Cedar Falls, Iowa, assignor to Waterloo Industries Inc., a corporation of Iowa Filed Jan. 2, 1968, Ser. No. 695,267 Int. Cl. A47b 55/00 U.S. Cl. 312319 2 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A spring open panel for a work cabinet. The front panel of a work cabinet is raised from its vertical closed position to a horizontal position where it slides into channel members in the opposite side walls of the cabinet. Spring metal tabs aflixed at the end of each channel engage a flange at the upper edge of the panel to spring the panel open whenever it is in the vertical closed position and unlatched. The tabs also serve to attach the panel to the cabinet.
Background of the invention This invention relates to the improvement in a cabinet of an access panel which springs open whenever it is unlatched or unlocked.
The use of a tool cabinet by home craftsmen or by commercial enterprises and workmen is quite common. Normally such cabinets are mounted on wheels and include a plurality of drawers for storing various small tools. Such a cabinet may also include an area for larger tools, such as power drills and the like, which is accessible by means of a displaceable or removable panel. Access by means of a panel rather than by a drawer conserves space and thereby provides a larger volume for storage. In addition less material is required and the cabinet weighs less because of the elimination of an extra large drawer.
Prior art panels are hinged, for example, and swingaway from the cabinet in order to gain access to the interior of the cabinet. Such panels are normally latched by means of a lock mechanism in the panel itself. To open the panel then, a key is inserted in the panel lock mechanism to unlock the panel. Then a handle on the panel is pulled, or the key itself could serve as the handle, to swing the panel away from the cabinet and gain access to the interior.
This often proves to be disadvantageous especially when the panel is the type which slides out of sight in channels in the cabinet during use of the cabinet. In such a case, the handle or key will be in the way and restrict the sliding panel. Moreover, since the panel has a lock mechanism in the panel itself, the panel is more expensive to make and more cumbersome to handle. For these and other reasons the presently claimed subject matter is deemed a substantial improvement over prior art cabinet panels.
Summary of the invention In a principal aspect the present invention comprises a spring open panel which is held in position on a work cabinet by means of a tab which engages one edge of the panel to hold the panel in position on the cabinet and which simultaneously springs the panel into a partially open position whenever the closed panel is unlatched.
It is thus an object of the present invention to provide an improved panel for use in combination with a cabinet.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide an inexpensive yet rugged spring open panel construction.
One further object of the present invention is to provide a spring open panel construction which biases a closed United States Patent ICC panel to a partially open position yet simultaneously maintains the panel in contact with the cabinet.
These and other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will be more fully set forth in the detailed description which follows.
Brief description of the drawing In the detailed description which follows, reference will be made to the following drawing in which:
FIGURE 1 is a partial, cutaway view of a typical work cabinet including the spring open panel of the present invention in a nearly closed position;
FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of the cabinet shown in FIGURE 1 with the panel in the raised horizontal position;
FIGURE 3 is an enlarged perspective view of the tab and flange construction utilized to hold the panel in contact with the cabinet and to cause the panel to spring open;
FIGURE 4 is a cross-sectional view of the spring open panel in the fully closed and latched position; and
FIGURE 5 is a cross-sectional view of the spring open panel in the unlatched position before the panel door has been manually raised to disengage the spring tabs.
Description of the preferred embodiments The perspective views of the cabinet shown in FIG- URES l and 2 illustrate the spring open panel feature of the present invention. A cabinet 12 includes a plurality of parallel channel members such as at 14, each opposite pair being adapted to receive runners associated with drawers (not shown) that slide into the channels 14 of the cabinet 12. A locking bar 18 is provided on the back panel 19 of the cabinet 12 to engage the drawers (not shown) and hold them in a locked position when the cabinet is properly locked. Attached on the front of the cabinet 12 is a panel 20. The panel 20 is adapted to slide into channels as at 22. Panel 20 is thus raised from the nearly vertical position shown in FIG. 1 to a horizontal plane, as shown in FIG. 2. The panel 20 is then directed into the channels as at 22 where it can be stored away while access is required to the interior lower portion of the cabinet 12.
The use of a panel 20 on a work cabinet has the advantage that it eliminates the necessity of runners for drawers and also the structural weight and reinforcement required for an extra drawer. Also the material of an extra drawer itself is eliminated. Finally, a larger storage area is provided within the cabinet 12 for the storage of larger tools such as saws, drills or the like.
The panel 20 as shown in FIGURE 2 includes a slot 24 along the bottom edge of the panel 20 adapted to receive a latch (not shown) which projects up from a lower rail 26 of cabinet 12 when a key 28 is properly turned in a latch housing in the lower rail 26.
When the panel 20 is in the closed position and locked in that position, a biasing force is present on the panel tending to bias it toward a slightly opened position. Turning the key in the latch will release the latch from the slot 24 and cause the .panel 20 to spring slightly outward away from the cabinet as illustrated in FIGURE 1. The panel may then be manually raised to the position as illustrated in FIGURE 2.
FIGURE 3 is a perspective view illustrating the preferred construction of the spring open panel feature of the invention. In FIGURE 3 the channel member 22 includes three connected, planar sections 30, 31 and 32 arranged to enclose the edge of panel 20 in a protective sheave whenever the panel 20 is raised into the horizontal position and slid into channel member 22. The upper section 30 includes a leading edge 34 which is canted upwards to guide the panel 20 into the channel 22.
The lower section 32 of channel member 22 includes a leading edge portion having a first opening 36 and a second opening 38 defined therethrough. The openings 36 and 38 are stamped or pressed out of section 32, to provide metal struts 40 and 42, as shown in FIGURES 4 and 5. Struts 40 and 42 provide structural support for a biasing tab 44. Tab 44 includes an elongated horizontal section 46 and a substantially vertical section 48 which terminates with a curved end portion 50.
Elongated horizontal section 46 is tightly wedged in position between struts 40 and 42 and lower section 32. Vertical section 48 is canted slightly inward toward the back wall 19 of the cabinet. The vertical section 48 tends to snap into the position illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 5 and drives a vertically oriented panel 20 into a slightly open position as described below.
Panel 20 includes a circumferential edge 52 with a flange 54 extending from the edge 52. Flange 54 is parallel to the plane of the panel 20. As illustrated in FIG- URE 4, when the panel 20 is in a closed and latched position, flange 54 engages tab 44 and more particularly the end 50 of tab 44. Tab 44 imparts a biasing force on the panel 20 which causes the panel 20 to be driven into a partially open position as illustrated in FIGURE 5 when the panel 20 is unlatched. The partially open position of FIGURE 5 is also illustrated by the perspective view, FIGURE 3.
There are numerous advantages of the present construction. For example, the construction is light weight, easy and economical to manufacture. In addition, it eliminates the need to position a latch and key mechanism in the panel. It also eliminates the need of a knob on the panel in order to open the panel. Furthermore tab 44 serves not only as a spring open mechanism for panel 20, but also serves to maintain the panel 20 attached to the cabinet 12 since the flange '54 engages the tab 44 and thereby holds the panel 20 on the cabinet 12.
What is claimed is:
1. In a cabinet having a panel which opens to provide access to the interior of the cabinet, said panel being of the type supported only at one edge and being rotatable into a horizontal plane for access into said cabinet, the improvement of integral means for retaining said panel on said cabinet and simultaneously biasing said panel into a partially open position when said panel is not latched shut with said cabinet, said integral means for retaining and biasing said panel comprising at least one tab attached to said cabinet said tab including a biasing section adapted to engage said panel edge whenever said panel is in the closed position and force said panel toward the open position, said edge including a flange adapted to engage said tab, said tab extending vertically from a horizontal member of said cabinet to engage said flange.
2. The improvement of claim 1 including first and second tabs and wherein said cabinet includes a pair of horizontal channels adapted to slidably receive said panel when said panel is opened to said horizontal plane, said tabs being positioned in said horizontal channels.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 638,381 12/1899 Davidson 312-109 X 1,011,637 12/1911 Mobes et al 292-198 X 1,341,518 5/1920 Ragsdale 292-198 X 1,342,361 6/1920 Veith 292-198 X 2,671,709 3/1954 Radzyner 312319 X JAMES T. McCALL, Primary Examiner