US 3492772 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb.3, 1970 -F. C..BERGMAN 3,492,772
A STRUCTURAL ASSEMBLY Filed April 5, '1967 4 Sheets-Sheet l Feb. 3, 1970 F. c; BERGMAN STRUCTURAL ASSEMBLY 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed April 5, 1967 M/rz-wrae Clz eqgmawo j M eezwj iww nrraemars Feb. 3, 1970 F. BERG-MAN 3,492,172
STRUCTURAL ASSEMBLY Filed April 5, 196'? 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVAAITOQ gmzdz e gm a a QM M, My? 6 3,1970 F. c. BERGMAN 3,
smuc'rum ASSEMBLY Filed April 5. 19s? 1 4 Sheets-Sheet 4.
United States Patent 3,492,772 STRUCTURAL ASSEMBLY Frank C. Bergman, Chicago, Ill., assignor to Garey Corporation, a corporation of Illinois Filed Apr. 5, 1967, Ser. No. 628,655 Int. Cl. E04b 1/24; E04c 3/04; A471 /10 US. Cl. 52-633 5 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The structural assembly for supporting display panels, or the like, comprises a plurality of rigid frame members mounted on bottom support members and end frames hinged to the outermost bottom support members. Spring clips hold the upper portions of the frame members in side by side relationship, and retaining members welded to the bottom support members hold the lower portions of the frame members together. A reinforcing member is interposed between two adjacent frame members to increase the load bearing capacity of the assembly in any selected area.
This invention relates to a structural assembly adapted to support and display garments that are mounted on clothes hangers, or merchandise of any kind that may be held on a shelf. The assembly may also hold panels carrying advertising or promotional material to accentuate the sales appeal of the merchandise. The invention is particularly concerned with means for securing and holding a plurality of frame members in side by side relationship to form an assembly, and means for reinforcing the assembly whereever desired, so that it may be of any desired length.
In assemblies of the type with which this invention is concerned, it has been common practice to fabricate the assembly in individual units and to complete the assembly at the installation site by means of a multiplicity of nuts and bolts, or other fastening members equally troublesome to handle.
In accordance with the present invention, the rigid frame members are assembled into a rigid structure without using nuts and bolts, or any similar fastening members. A novel connector clip is positioned in one end of the top stretcher of one of the frame members to be assembled with other similar frame members. The bottom stretcher of each frame member is provided with a slot near each end, and a bottom support member is provided with a retaining member having two upstanding prongs. The bottom stretchers of two adjacent frame members are impaled on the prongs of one retaining member and then the top stretcher of the frame members about each other. The connector clip located within one of the top stretchers is moved longitudinally into the top stretcher of the adjacent frame member and interengages same to affix and maintain the two top stretchers against relative longitudinal and transversal movement.
FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary perspective view, on a reduced scale, of a structural assembly embodying the invention;
FIGURE 2 is an exploded view of the structure of FIG- URE 1;
FIGURE 2a is a fragmentary exploded view showing a connector clip for securing the top of an end frame to the top stretcher of the adjacent frame member;
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view showing a panel mounted in one of the frame members; FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary View, partly in section and partly in elevation, looking at the underside of the adjoining ends of two adjacent frame members with the connector clip omitted;
FIGURE 5 is a cross-sectional view, taken in the plane indicated by the line 55 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 6 is a fragmentary exploded perspective view showing the adjoining ends of two adjacent frame mem: bers and the means for retaining them in side by side relationship at the top and bottom of the assembly;
FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary end elevational view of the clip means at the upper end of the reinforcing member;
FIGURE 8 is a fragmentary side elevational view of the clip means at the upper end of the reinforcing member;
FIGURE 9 is an exploded perspective view showing the clip means and the converging posts of the reinforcing member;
FIGURE 10 is an exploded perspective view of the clip means for the upper end of the reinforcing member;
FIGURE 11 is a perspective view showing the clip for holding adjoining top stretchers together where no reinforcing member is used;
FIGURE 12 is a bottom elevational view of the structure of FIGURE 11;
FIGURE 13 is a side elevational view showing how the clip of FIGURE 11 is moved into engagement with the top stretcher;
FIGURE 14 is a side elevational view of two adjoining top stretchers with portions of one wall broken away to show the clip holding them together; and
FIGURE 15 is a cross-sectional view, taken in the plane indicated by the line 15-15 of FIGURE 14.
Referring to the drawings, the structural assembly comprises a plurality of rigid frame members 11 supported on bottom support members 12 and 13, a pair of end frames 14 hinged to the outermost bottom support members (only one of which is shown) and a reinforcing member 15 interposed between adjacent frame members in any area in which it is desired to increase the load bearing capacity of the assembly.
Each of the frame members comprises a top :stretcher 16, a bottom stretcher 17, and a pair of vertical posts 18 interconnecting the top and bottom stretchers. The top stretcher is tubular, and its bottom wall 19 defines a relatively narrow slot 21 extending longitudinally throughout its length. Equidistant from each end of the top stretcher, the slot 21 is widened to provide an elongated opening 22 having a pair of shoulders 23 on opposite sides of the slot 21 at its end adjacent the end of the stretcher, the function of which will be referred to hereinafter.
The bottom stretcher 17 is preferably in the form of an inverted channel member defining a pair of transverse slots 24 extending through its top wall 25. Each slot 24 is spaced from the adjacent end of the bottom stretcher a distance slightly greater than the distance between the end of the top stretcher and the end of the opening 22 remote therefrom. This spatial relationship between the slot 24 and the adjacent end of the bottom stretcher enables the vertical posts 18 to be located close to the ends of the top and bottom stretchers without hampering the interconnecting of the adjoining ends of adjacent top stretchers.
Each vertical post 18 is aligned vertically with one of the slots 24 and is welded to the top wall 25 of the bottom stretcher while in said vertical alignment. The opposite end of the posts is welded to the bottom wall 19 of the top stretcher to form a rigid frame member 11. The post 18 is tubular, and its front wall 26 defines a series of uniformly spaced vertically disposed slots 27. The back wall of the post 18 is also provided with a series of slots 27 A plurality of brackets (not shown) may be mounted on each post with one end of each bracket projecting into one of the slots 27 The brackets are adapted to support hang rods, from which garment hangers can be suspended, or shelves, on which miscellaneous merchandise may be supported. The front and back wall of each post 18 also defines a pair of vertically spaced indents 28 below the lowermost slot 27 for a purpose hereinafter disclosed.
A panel retainer strip 29 is snapped over each bottom stretcher to provide bottom support for a display panel 30. Each strip 29 has a length equal to the distance between the vertical posts 18 of the frame member 11. Suitable panel clips 30 are snapped on each post 18 to provide support for the vertical edges of a display panel 30. The upper edge of the display panel extends into the slot 21.
A retaining member 31 is rigidly secured to each bottom support member for preventing relative lateral movement between the lower portions of adjacent frame members. Each Ibottom support member 12 comprises a tubular bar 32 and legs 33 depending from its outer end. The retaining member 31 comprises a plate 34, having upstanding ears 35 struck therefrom, and a strip 36. The plate 34 is welded to the top surface of the bar 32. Each ear 35 is spaced the same distance from the end of the plate 34 adjacent thereto. The strip 36, bent to provide upstanding prongs 37 projecting from its opposite ends, is welded to the bottom surface of the bar 32, and its prongs 37 are welded to the outer ends of the plate 34. Each prong 37 has a length greater than the distance between the upper indent 28 and the bottom of the post 18. The upper end of each prong 37 is rounded, as indicated at 38, to facilitate entry into the slot 24.
Adjacent frame members 11 are secured together by aligning a tubular post 18 of one of the frame members with one of the prongs 37 and moving the frame member downwardly until its bottom stretcher engages the plate 34. The prong 37 has a thickness just enough less than the width of the slot 24 to provide a minimum clearance as it passes therethrough. The width of the prong 37 is sufficient to allow it to fit snugly between the indents 28 projecting from opposite walls of the tubular post 18. When the bottom stretcher rests on the plate 34, one car 35 projects into the channel of the bottom stretcher to provide additional rigidity for the connection between the frame member 11 and the bottom support member 12. The adjacent frame member has one end impaled on the other prong 37 to secure the lower portions of the frame members together, with the ends of the adjoining bottom stretchers in abutting end to end relationship. The ends of the adjoining top stretchers are also in abutting end to end relationship.
The outer ends of the two outermost frame members are secured to bottom supporting members 13 in the same manner as the opposite ends of the intermediate frame members are secured to the members 12. The only difference relevant to the mounting of the frame members is that the plates 38 and 39 are shorter than the plates 34 and 36, and each support member 13 has only a single prong 37.
It is not feasible to duplicate the connecting structure of the bottom stretchers at the top of the assembly for several reasons. The top of the assembly is often visible, and a duplication of the bottom connecting structure at the top would detract from the neat appearance essential to an attractive assembly. An additional disadvantage of such structure is that the assembly would lack vertical stability. The frame members could be separated from the assembly merely by lifting them upwardly.
In accordance with the present invention, the top stretchers of adjacent frame members are secured together, without nuts and bolts, by a novel connector clip 41. The clip is inserted into the open end of the top stretcher of one frame member, and is locked into engagement with the open end of the adjacent frame member merely by moving the clip longitudinally into the top stretcher of the adjacent frame member.
Each clip 41 comprises a channel 42 and a spring 43 seated in the channel. The channel, with the spring 43 seated therein, is adapted to fit within the tubular top stretcher 16. The channel 42 comprises a flat bottom wall 44 and two reversely bent sidewalls 45 extending upwardly from the longitudinal edges of the wall 44. The bottom "wall 44 defines two openings 46 and 47 that are adapted to register with the openings 22 near the abutting ends of the two top stretchers with which the clip is interengaged.
The spring 43 comprises a fiat strip 48 adapted to be juxtaposed against the bottom wall 44 of the channel 42 and having resilient fingers 49 and 51 extending upwardly from bend lines 52 and 53, respectively, at opposite ends of the strip 48. The outer end portion of each of the fingers 49 and S1 is curved downwardly, as indicated at 54 and 55, respectively, to prevent the ends of the fingers from digging into the inner surface of the top wall of the stretcher 16. Two ears 56 are bent downwardly from opposite longitudinal edges of the strip 48 near the bend line 52 and project through the opening 46. Two similar ears 57 are bent downwardly from the strip 48 near the bend line 53 and project through the opening 47. The spring 43 may be riveted to the bottom wall 44 of the channel 42.
The overall height of the spring 43, i.e., the vertical distance between the lowermost portion of the ears and the uppermost portion of the resilient fingers, is greater than the inside height of the top stretcher. Accordingly, in order to insert one end of the clip into the open end of the top stretcher, the spring is compressed by pushing one end of the strip 48 upwardly, by a screw driver 59, or some similar tool, while the finger 49 is held by engagement with the top wall of the top stretcher. When the cars 56 are moved upwardly to clear the bottom wall 19 of the top stretcher, longitudinal pressure is applied to the clip to move it inwardly of the stretcher, with the resilient spring finger 49 bearing against the inner surface of the top wall. The ears 56 are beveled at their entering end, as indicated at 61, to facilitate entry of the clip into the top stretcher.
When the clip is pushed into the top stretcher far enough to cause the opening 46 to register with the opening 22, the ears 56 snap downwardly into the opening 22 to lock the clip against accidental removal from the top stretcher. Any attempt to pull the clip out of the top stretcher causes the ears 56 to engage the shoulders 23, and the strip 48 must be pushed upwardly to allow the ears 56 to clear the shoulders 23 before the clip can be removed. After the cars 56 have snapped into the opening 22, the longitudinal pressure against the outer end of the clips is continued and the outer end of the strip is pushed upwardly to allow the clip to be moved inwardly of the top stretcher with the cars 57 in engagement with the top surface of the bottom wall 19. The clip is pushed inwardly until its outer end is flush with the outer end of the top stretcher. The clip cannot be pushed into the top stretcher far enough for the ears 57 to engage the opening 22 in which the ears 56 are engaged because the longitudinal spacing between the ears 56 and 57 is greater than the length of the opening 22.
One edge of the opening 46 defines a notch 63, and the opposite edge of the opening 47 defines a notch 64, to facilitate longitudinal movement of the clip 41 when the top stretchers are in abutting relationship. The slot 21 permits the end of the screw driver 59 to be engaged with the notch 63 or 64. Pressure against the notch 63 moves the clip 41 in one direction, and pressure against the notch 64 moves it in the opposite direction. When two top stretchers abut each other, the clip 41, positioned entirely within one of the stretchers with its ears 56 projecting into its opening 22, can be moved longitudinally to position one end of the clip in the adjacent top stretcher with its ears 57 engaging its opening 22. Each of the cars 56 and 57 engages the outer edge of its opening 22 to hold both top stretchers against relative longitudinal movement.
Each outermost bottom support member has an end frame 14 secured thereto. The two end frames are duplicates and, therefore, only one of them is shown and described. The end frame 14 comprises two slotted uprights 65 welded to a top stretcher 66 and a bottom stretcher 67. The bottom stretcher 67 has two hinge hooks 68 welded thereto. The hinge hooks are shaped so that they can be inserted in slots 69 provided therefor in the bottom edge of the horizontal bar 71, as shown in FIGURE 5.
The top stretcher of the end frame is detachably secured to the top stretcher of the adjacent frame member 11 by a connector clip 72. The clip 72 comprises a channel 91 and a spring 92 seated in the channel. The channel 91 comprises a flat bottom wall 93 and two reversely bent side walls 94 extending upwardly from the longitudinal edges of the wall 93. The wall 93 has a longitudinal slot 95 extending from one end adjacent each side wall 94, and its opposite end projects beyond the ends of the side walls to provide a tongue 96 adapted to fit in an opening 97 in the top stretcher 66. The wall 93 has an embossment 98 adapted to fit tightly in the opening 97 to hold the channel 91 firmly in place until the channel is welded to the top stretcher 66 to fix it permanently in place. The wall 93 also has an opening 99 extending across its entire width, and a narrower opening 101 closer to the slotted end of the wall.
The spring 92 comprises a flat strip 102 having transversely extending wings 103 at one end adapted to enter the slots 95 and bent upwardly slightly to fit within the inverted V-shaped spaces of the side walls 94. The opposite end of the strip 102 is bent to form a resilient finger 104. The inner end of the finger 104 is bent downwardly, as indicated at 105, to facilitate engagement of the spring and the open end of the tubular top stretcher 16 into which the channel '91, with the spring 92 has seated therein, is adapted to fit. The strip 102 has two cars 106 depending from its opposite longitudinal edges and a resilient lip 107 closer to the wings 103. When the spring 92 is seated in the channel 91, the ears 106 extend through the opening 99 and the lip 107 engages the opening 101. When the top stretcher 16 is pushed into engagement with clip 72, the legs 106 are moved downwardly into engagement with the opening 22 in the bottom wall of the top stretcher by the resilience of the finger 104. The top of the end frame is thus interlocked with the top stretcher of the adjacent frame member and cannot be separated until the bottom wall of the spring 92 is pushed upwardly to disengage the legs 106 from the opening 99 and the lip 107 is clear of the edge of the opening 101.
The structural assembly hereinabove described may be made of any desired length, but it is sometimes desirable to reinforce the structure by interposing a reinforcing member 1 5 between any two adjacent frame members to increase the load bearing capacity of the assembly in one or more specific areas. The reinforcing member comprises a pair of tubular posts 73 and 74 welded at their lower ends to the tubular bar 32 of a base support 12 and converging upwardly in the vertical plane of said tubular bar. The upper ends of the posts 73 and 74 terminate in spaced relationship below the plane of the top stretchers, and are interconnected by clip means 75.
The clip means 75 comprises a bottom channel 76 having its open top covered by a top channel 77 welded thereto. The sideewalls 78 of the bottom channel 76 each defines an opening 79 large enough for a U-bracket 81 to pass through. The bracket 81 comprises a fiat bar 82 having its ends bent upwardly, as indicated at 83, and its longitudinal edges recessed, as indicated at 84. The openings 79 have a restricted portion 85 extending downwardly to the top surface of the bottom wall 86 of the channel 76. The recesses 84 permit the bar 82 to rest on the bottom wall 86. The inter-engagement of the recesses 84 and the shoulders defining the restricted portion of the openings 79 to prevent relative movement between the bracket 81 and the bottom channel 76, except in a direction normal to the bottom wall 86.
Relative movement between the bracket 81 and the bottom channel 76 is prevented by the top channel 77 which comprises a top wall 87 and two depending sidewalls 88. The sidewalls 88 straddle the sidewalls 78 of the bottom channel and have aligned notches 89 in their lower edges to fit over the fiat bar 82. The top and bottom channels 77 and 76 are Welded together after they have been assembled with the bracket 81, and the clip means 75 is handled as a unit in the assembly of the entire structure. The outer ends of the bottom channel 76 fit into the spaced upper ends of the posts 73 and 74, with the bracket 81 extending parallel to the top stretchers. The clip means 75 may be welded to the posts 73 and 74 to provide an integral reinforcing member 15 that can be handled as a unit when it is positioned between two frame members 11.
When the reinforcing member 15 is interposed between two frame members, a retaining member 31' holds the bottom portions of two adjacent frame members 11 against relative lateral movement. The retainer 31' on the reinforcing member is a duplicate of the retainer 31 except that the distance between the prongs 37 is longer, to compensate for the thickness of the legs 73, 74 of the reinforcing member 15 that is interposed between the adjacent ends of the top stretchers 16. The outermost portions of the bottom wall 19 of two adjacent top stretchers rest on the fiat bar 82, and the upwardly bent ends 83 of the bracket 81 extend upwardly into the opening 22, in the bottom Walls 19 to hold the top stretchers against relative longitudinal movement.
The method of assembling the frame members into a unitary assembly can best be understood by referring to FIGURE 2 of the drawings. The first step in the assembly is to insert one of the clips 41 in one open end of each top stretcher 16. The clip is pushed into the top stretcher far enough to allow the ears 56 to snap into the opening 22 so that it cannot be removed except by pushing the spring upwardly to move the ears 56 upwardly above the plane of the shoulders 23. The opening 22 in the bottom wall of the top stretcher is long enough to permit the clip 41 to move inwardly of the top stretcher until the outer end of the clip is flush with the end of the top stretcher. It will be understood that each of the frames is positioned for assembly with the clip 41 located completely within the right hand end of the top stretcher and flush therewith, as viewed in FIGURE 2.
The left hand end portion of the bottom stretcher 17 is then impaled on the prong 37 projecting from the support member 13. The right hand end portion of the stretcher 17 is then impaled on the prong 37 projecting from the support member 12. The left hand end portion of the stretcher 17 of a second frame member is then impaled on the other prong 37 of the support member 12 and the adjacent open end of the top stretcher of the second frame member is moved into abutting horizontal relationship with the right hand end of the first frame member. The clip 41 is then pushed to the right into the adjacent top stretcher, without moving the ears 56 out of the opening 22, until the ears 57 snap into the opening 22 of the top strecther of the second frame member. This process is repeated until the unit is completed. A reinforcing member may be inserted if the load demand reqllllfiS same.
In the places where the assembly is reinforced, the method of assembling the bottoms of two frame members is the same as previously described, except that the prongs 37 of the retaining member 31' are spaced apart slightly more than the prongs of the members 31 to allow for the thickness of the clip 75 which is used in place of the clip 41. The clip 75 has ears 83 adapted to project into the openings 22 adjacent the adjoining ends of the top stretchers on opposite sides of the reinforcing member 15.
Each end frame member is positioned with its hinge lugs 68 in the slot 69 of the support member 13, and is then swung pivotally upwardly and its clip 72 is pressed into the adjacent open end of the top stretcher 16. Ears 106 depending from the outer end portion of the clip 72 snap into the opening 22 of the top stretcher and interlocks the end frame member and the adjacent frame member 11.
When the assembly, or any portion thereof, is to be dismantled, a screw driver or similar tool is pushed up in the slot 21 so as to engage the underside of the spring of the clip. The spring is then pushed upwardly till the ears 56 or 57 clear the adjacent shoulder 23, and the clip is then pushed longitudinally to remove either ears 56 or 57 from the opening 22. The length of the opening 22 permits this longitudinal movement of the clip. When one end of the top stretcher of any frame member is disengaged from its clip 41, the frame member may be lifted at that end to disengage its bottom stretcher from the prong 37 on which it was impaled.
The dismantling of any portion of the assembly enables the assembly to be remodeled readily by inserting diiferent frame members or reinforcing members wherever desired.
Although a preferred embodiment of the invention has been described in considerable detail, it will be understood that the description thereof is intended to be illustrative, rather than restrictive, as many details of construction may be modified or changed without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is not desired to be restricted to the exact structure described.
What is claimed is:
1. In a knock-down structural assembly for displays and the like, a pair of adjacent frame members, each including a bottom stretcher, means supporting said frame members, means devoid of threaded fasteners interconnecting said pair of adjacent frame members to each other at a pair of spaced locations comprising slip members separate from said frame members, said bottom stretchers defining transverse slots at adjacent ends thereof, said separate clip members interconnecting said bottom stretchers including a retaining member extending through each of said transverse slots preventing separation of said bottom stretchers assisting in locking said adjacent frame members to each other retaining them against separation from each other.
2. In a knock-down structural assembly for displays and the like, a pair of adjacent frame members and means supporting said adjacent frame members, including an end frame and support disposed generally at right angles to said frame members, said end frame comprising top and bottom stretchers, means devoid of threaded fasteners interconnecting said pair of adjacent frame members to each other at a pair of spaced locations, said last mentioned means comprising clip members separate from said frame members and slots defined by each of said pair of adjacent frame members at adjacent ends thereof, said separate clip members being slidably received within said slots to lock said adjacent frame members to each other to retain them against separation from each other, and means devoid of threaded fasteners securing said end frame to said support and to one of said frame members including a pair of hinge lugs secured to said bottom stretcher hinging said end frame to said support, and a clip means on said end frame and support securing said end frame and support to said one frame member.
3. In the structural assembly of claim 2, in which said clip means comprises a chanel and spring assembly insertable within said one frame member for securing said end frame and support to said one frame member.
4. In a knock-down structural assembly for displays and the like, a pair of adjacent frame members each comprising a top stretcher, a bottom stretcher, and a pair of vertical posts interconnecting said top and bottom stretchers adjacent opposite ends thereof, means supporting said frame members disposed therebetween, means devoid of threaded fasteners interconnecting said pair of adjacent frame members to said support means at a pair of spaced locations, said last mentioned means comprising clip members separate from said frame members and mounted on said support means, each of said pair of adjacent frame members defining slots at adjacent ends thereof, said separate clip members being slidably received within said slots locking said adjacent frame members to said support retaining the frame members against separation therefrom.
5. In the structural assembly of claim 4, in which said bottom stretchers each defines one of said slots, said each one of said slots being transverse, and one of said clip members comprises a retaining member adapted to extend through each of said transverse slots to prevent separation of said bottom stretchers from said support means.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 263,426 8/1882 OBrien. 3,045,834 7/1962 Seiz 211l82 3,297,374 1/1967 Radek 211148 3,329,282 7/1967 Swan et al 211-482 1,665,816 4/1928 Mautner 287-18436 1,844,410 2/1932 Schalk 287--127 2,478,088 8/1949 Causey 287127 3,336,004 8/1967 Edie et a1.
FOREIGN PATENTS 63 6,497 3/1962 Italy.
HENRY C. SUTHERLAND, Primary Examiner J. L. RIDGILL, JR., Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.
3 33 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3, 92,772 Dated February 3, 1970 Inventor(s) Frank C. Bergman It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 1, line 34, "whereever" should be wherever column 5, line 38, delete "hes" column 5, line 68, "aideewall should be sidewalls; column 6, line 1, there should be no hyphen between inter and engagement; column 6, line 65, "atrecther" should be 'atretcher column 7, line 42, "slip" should be clip SIGNED AND SEALED JUN 3 01970 Anon:
Edward M. mewhea-Jn 0 g m. Attesting Officer E Gonmissioner of Patents