US 3491896 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Filed Oct. 19, 1967 ATTORNEYS -A United States Patent O 3,491,896 SECTIONAL STRUCTURE Thomas H. Crary, R.R. 1, Box 33S, Bloomington, Ind. 47401 Filed ct. 19, 1967, Ser. No. 676,480 Int. Cl. A47f 5/10, 5/16 U.S. Cl. 211-148 5 Claims ABSTRACT 0F THE DISCLOSURE A sectional structure comprising a plurality of panels, each panel having a pair of dovetail grooves formed therein, one groove being generally parallel with one side of said panel and the other groove being generally parallel with a non-contiguous side thereof, each of those sides having a dovetail tenon extending therealong, and each dovetail tenon on each panel being slidably engageable in any such dovetail groove of another panel. Preferably, joining members are provided for interlocking assembly with the panels at the sides, top and bottom of the sectional structure, each joining member having a dovetail groove formed in a flat surface thereof and generally parallel with one side thereof, the one side having a dovetail tenon extending therealong which is also slidably engageable in any such dovetail groove. The structure may be used as a shelf structure or in many other capacities including, but not limited to, fences, room dividers, screens, wall construction, window casings, architectural systems and facades.
It is a primary object of my invention to provide a sectional structure comprising a plurality of members which, When assembled in a proper manner, form an interlocked, rigid structure which does not require glue, nails, screws or the like for retaining the members in their respective assembled positions.
Another object of my invention is to provide such a sectional structure comprising a plurality of panels interlocked to define at least one cubicle or storage space. It will be understood, however, that any number of such panels can be assembled to provide a sectional structure having cubicles, each cubicle being defined by at least three such panels.
Thus, my sectional structure comprises a plurality of panels arranged to be interlocked in an assembly to define a plurality of cubicles or storage spaces for items such as books, wine bottles, instruments, etc. Each panel is provided with a pair of dovetail grooves formed therein and generally parallel with the sides thereof, each of the sides having a dovetail tenon extending therealong. Each tenon on each panel is proportioned and arranged to be slidably engageable with any such groove formed in any other panel. The distance between each groove and the tenon formed on the adjacent side of the panel is the same so that, when four panels, each having both of its grooves formed in the same at surface of the panel, are interlocked, i.e., when the sides of four such panels are brought together with the tenon on one side of each panel slidably engaged in the adjacent groove in one of the other panels, a substantially square recess is defined by the edge regions of the panels. Similarly, when three such panels are brought together with the tenon on one side of each panel slidably engaged in the adjacent groove in one of the other panels, a recess having an equilateral,
Patented Jan. 27, 1970 ICC triangularly shaped cross section is defined by the edge regions of the panels. I have found that, although a structure comprising only a plurality of such panels is quite rigid, the structure can be made even more rigid by inserting into each such recess a member such as a solid block having a cross section similar to the cross section of the recess, each block being sized to t snugly into such recess.
In a preferred embodiment of my invention, I provide a plurality of joining members for interlocking assembly with the above-mentioned panels at the sides, top and bottom of the sectional structure. Preferably, each joining member is identical to a side portion of a panel, ie., the portion of a panel including a dovetail groove and its adjacent dovetail tenon.
Further objects of my invention will appear as the description proceeds.
To the accomplishment of the above and related objects, my invention may be embodied in the form illustrated in the accompanying drawings, attention being called to the fact, however, that the drawings are illustrative only, and that change may be made in the specific construction illustrated and described, so long as the scope of the appended claims is not violated.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one form of a sectional structure which may be constructed in accordance with my invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged, fragmentary elevational view showing the manner in which the panels comprising the sectional structure are interlocked;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the rectangular panel which is the major element of the sectional structure;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a joining member used to connect the panels at the sides, top and bottom of the sectional structure; and
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a strengthening member for the sectional structure.
Referring now particularly to the drawings, it will be seen that I have illustrated a shelf structure, indicated generally by the reference numeral 10, comprising a plurality of rectangular panels 12 assembled together to provide eight cubicles indicated by the reference numerals 14.
The panels 12 are assembled to provide the structure 10 without the benefit of glue, nails, screws or the like for holding the panels in their respective assembled positions.
It will be apparent that the illustrative structure of FIG. 1 is just one of many structures which can be provided by assembling together a plurality of panels such as the rectangular panels 12. That is, in the same manner that twenty-two of the panels 12 are assembled to provide the eight cubicles 14, any number of panels can be assembled to provide more or fewer cubicles. For instance, three such panels can be assembled to provide a cubicle which is, of course, triangular in cross section.
Referring to FIG. 3, it will be seen that each illustrated panel 12 is formed with a pair of generally parallel dovetail grooves 16 in a flat surface thereof, the grooves 16 being generally parallel with the sides 18 of the panel. Further, each side 18 terminates in a dovetail tenon 20 extending therealong to be parallel with the grooves 16.
In another form of my invention, one groove is formed in one surface of the panel and the other groove is formed in the opposite surface of the panel. If the cubicles are formed by an odd number of panels, the
grooves will be formed on opposite surfaces of each` panel, and if the cubicles are formed by an even number of panels, the grooves may be formed on the same sur-t face or on opposite surfaces of each panel.
Each panel 12 is formed so that the distance between each groove 16 and its adjacent tenon 20 is equal to the distance between the other groove 16 and its adjacent tenon 20. f
I provide a plurality of joining members 22 to connect the panels .12 at the sides, top and bottom of the shelf structure 10, the preferred structure of the joining members 22 being illustrated in FIG. 4.
Each joining member 22 is provided with a dovetail groove 16 formed in a flat surface thereof and a dovetail tenon 20 formed on the side of the member to be parallel to groove 16. The distance between each groove 16. and its adjacent tenon 20' is equal to the distance between each groove 16 and its adjacent tenon 20.
When the sides 18 of four panels .12 are brought together and interlocked with the tenon 20 on each side 18 slidably engaged in a groove 16 in another panel 12 as shown clearly in FIG. 2, an elongated recess 24 having a square cross section is delined. I have found that, although a shelf structure 10 comprising only the panels 12 and members 22 is quite rigid and satisfactory for storing books and the like, the structure can be made even more rigid by inserting a stiifening member 26 (FIG. 5) into each of the recesses 24 as shown in FIG. 2. Preferably, the cross section of each member 26 is such that the member will lit snugly into its associated recess 24.
It will be noted that, if the members 22 were eliminated from the structure 10, there would be a plurality of exposed tenons 20 and grooves 16. Thus, the members 22 serve to conceal the tenons 20 and grooves 16 at the sides, top and bottom of the structure as well as to strengthen the structure.
It will be understood that the structure 10 comprising the panels 12, members 22 and members 26 can be assembled without instruments in almost any environment by anyone capable of using his hands and interpreting the most simple instructions.
The groove tenon joint between any two panels 12 is effected by aligning a tenon of one panel .12 with a groove 16 of another panel 12, the panels being held mutually perpendicular, and then sliding the tenon into the groove. Preferably, each tenon 20, 20' is proportional to fit snugly into any groove 16, 16. Thus, when two panels 12 are joined as just described, the panels 12 are held rigidly in a mutually perpendicular relationship.
The term dovetail as used in the present specification and in the appended claims, is intended to be broadly interpreted to include any shape in which the base of the groove and the distal edge of the corresponding tenon are wider than the mouth of the groove and the base of the tenon, whereby an interlocking joint is achieved.
Further, dovetail grooves and tenons as used in the present specification and appended claims are intended to include grooves formed in a panel and tenons formed on a panel so that two panels can be assembled with a tenon on one panel engaged in a groove on the other panel without the panels being mutually perpendicular.l Thus, for instance, three panels can be assembled to dene a triangular cubicle and six panels can be assembled to define a hexagonal cubicle.
The panels .12, members 22 and members 26 can be, fabricated from wood using conventional wood-shop. techniques. The desired coniigurationn of dovetail groovetenon joints between wooden parts are well known and need not be discussed, in detail, in this description.
It will be perceived that, according to the present in- Vention, a sectional structure of any desired height and width constituting multiples of the dimensions of the panels 12, may be readily assembled by an unskilled householder, without the use of tools or adhesives, from a selected number of identical panels (or from a selected number of pieces of only two kinds if the joining members 22 are used); and that the structure may as readily be remodeled, enlarged or ensmalled at any time at the whim of the householder merely by rearranging the several elements, adding further panels, or withdrawing panels or joining elements. Since only two shapes of elements are required to construct or remodel a shelving arrangement (or three shapes if the stiffening blocks 26 are used), and since those elements are assembled without permanent fastening means, the unskilled householder will not become confused in assembling or rearranging those elements, will not be subjected to the risk or breaking or damaging the elements and can always readily determine how many of which additional elements he will need to buy to accomplish a desired enlargement of his assembly; while the inventory problem of the -retail dealer is almost a nullity. Thus, the present invention provides a furniture piece of maximum versatility at minimum cost and maximum facility.
What is claimed is:
1. A self-supporting bookcase-type structure comprising a plurality of rectangular panel members, each panel member having a pair of generally parallel dovetail grooves formed in a -surface thereof and generally parallel with the sides thereof, each of said sides having a dovetail tenon extending therealong, and a plurality of rectangular joining members, each joining member having a dovetail grove formed in a at surface thereof and generally parallel with one side of said joining member, said one -side having al dovetail tenon extending therealong, each dovetail tenon on each member being slidably engageable in any such dovetail groove of any other member, said panel members being connected together by means of such dovetail ltenons and grooves to provide a plurality of cubicles, each cubicle being defined by a pair of said panel members disposed generally in vertical registry with the panel members of the pair being parallel and horizontal to provide a oor and ceiling for the cubicle and another pair of said panel members disposed to provide parallel vertically extending side walls for the cubicle.
2. A structure as in claim 1 wherein said grooves areV equally spaced from their adjacent tenons.
3. A structure as in claim 2 in which all of said panel members are identical and all of said joining members are identical in which said joining members are disposed about the perimeter of the structure to form a part of any groove-tenon joint formed by the sides of less than four of said panel members, in which all groove-tenon joints are formed by a combination of four of said panel members and joining members, and in which the sides of said joining members opposite to their said one sides extend outwardly from said structure by equal amounts so that these opposite sides of said joining members extending downwardly from the bottom of said structure lie generally in a common plane to act as legs for supporting said structure on a oor.
4. A structure as in Iclaim 2 further comprising a plurality of strengthening members, each strengthening member having a square cross section, and each strengthening member being adapted snugly to it into the square recess defined in said structure between the groove-tenon joints of four interlocked panel members.
5. A sectional shelving structure comprising a plurality of rectangular panels, each panel having a pair of generally parallel dovetail grooves formed in a surface thereof and generally parallel with the sides thereof, each of said sides having a dovetail tenon extending therealong, and each dovetail tenon on each panel being slidably engageable in any such dovetail groove of another panel, said shelving structure providing a plurality of cubicles for receiving and storing items, each cubicle being defined by a pair of said panels disposed horizontally in vertical registry to provide a oor and ceiling for said cubicle and another pair of said panels extending vertically between the rst mentioned pair, said vertically extending panels being parallel, said grooves and tenons extending horizontally from the front of said structure to its back, the tenons of veach horizontally extending panel defining a cubicle being engaged, respectively, with t'zhe adjacent grooves in the vertically extending panels delining said cubicle and the tenons of each vertically extending panel dening said cubicleYV being engaged, respectively, with the adjacent grooves in the horizontally Vextending panel dening adjacent cubicles, and said panels being proportioned and designed to be held together solely by means of engagement of said tenons and grooves.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 106,393 8/187Q Nelson 217-65 1,574,964 3/1926 Foote 20-92 X 1,678,435 7/1928 Hunnebeck 52-664 2,373,789 4/1945- Smith 52-285 X 10 2,577,120 12/1951 Franz 211-71 NILE C. BYERS, In., Primary Examiner