US 3529389 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 2 1970 w. a. WlLKlNS 3,529,339
MODULAR BUILDING WALL STRUCTURE WITH ELECTRICAL RACEWAY MEANS Filed Sept. 30, 1968 6 Sheets-Sheet 1 u Wu al 1 r35 i 50 I MMW,MM
ATTORNEYS Sept. 22, 1970 w. B. WlLK lNS 3,519,339 I MODULAR BUILDING WALL STRUCTURE WITH ELECTRICAL RACEWAY MEANS Filed Sept. 30, 1968 e Sheets-Sheet 2 F; -5 I Tag-4 i a INVENTOR:
#1 24 211 Prw B I w E64 2%! E 65 lLLlAM UR ETTE- luams m fiazz/ngkfibq m ATTORNEYS Sept. 22, 1970 5 w. B. WlLKlNS ,5
MODULAR BUILDING WALL STRUCTURE WITH ELECTRICAL RACEWAY MEANS Filed Sept. 30, 1968 e Sheets-Sheet s j INVENTOR: g WILUAM BURbETTE-WI ATTORNEYS Sept. 22, 1970 w. B. WILKINS 3,529,389
MODULAR BUILDING WALL STRUCTURE WITH ELECTRICAL RACEWAY MEANS Filed Sept. 30, 1968 6 Sheets-Sheet 4.
INVENTORI W\LL|AM BUEbETTE-WlLKiNS ATTORN E Y5 Sgpt. 22, 1970 w. B. WILKINS I 3,529,339
MODULAR BUILDING WALL STRUCTURE WITH ELECTRICAL RACEWAY MEANS Filed Sept. 30, 1968 6 Sheets-Sheet 5 72 E m ax 2i 5/ t; J 6 1% If '57 Q C-l C2 G8; am 7O Sf V INVENTORZ WILLIAM BURbETTE-WILKI Ms ATTORNEYS p 1970 w. B. WILKINS 3,529,389
MODULAR BUILDING WALL STRUCTURE WITH ELECTRICAL RACEWAY MEANS Filed Sept. 30, 1968 6 Sheets- Sheet 6 m mwwmw ATTORNEYS United States Patent Oflice Patented Sept. 22, 1970 3,529,389 MODULAR BUILDING WALL STRUCTURE WITH ELECTRICAL RACEWAY MEANS William Burdette Wilkins, Louisburg, N.C., assignor to Comstruct, Inc., Lincolnton, N.C., a corporation of North Carolina Filed Sept. 30, 1968, Ser. No. 763,508 Int. Cl. E04b 2/18, 2/ 72 US. Cl. 52-221 12 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A wall structure for exterior or interior vertical walls of a building which comprises a series of upright panels securable to a supporting floor, wherein adjacent panels have irregular substantially vertical side edges positioned in mating relationship with each other to interconnect the panels. An elongate hollow raceway member is integral with and defines the bottom edge of each panel, and the raceway members of adjacent panels are disposed in alignment and in substantially abutting relationship so that they collectively define an uninterrupted raceway for accommodating electric wires therein. Bridging means, extending between and connected to laterally spaced sidewalls of each raceway member, are penetrated by fastening means to secure the respective panels to the supporting floor.
This invention relates to building construction and more particularly to wall or partition structures.
Various types of wall structures have been proposed heretofore embodying a series of prefabricated composite panels; To facilitate erection of building walls from such panels, it is obviously desirable that the individual panels include as many integral structural components as possible so that very few structural components need be added to the prefabricated panels during erection of the building walls. Also, the panels should be so constructed that very little labor and expense are involved in assembling the panels into unitary wall structures and in the installation of electrical systems in such wall structures.
Although known prior art patents disclose wall structures formed from prefabricated panels provided with electric-wire raceways, to my knowledge no prefabricated panels have been developed heretofore of such construction that proximal side edges of the panels could be interlocked to interconnect and maintain the same in alignment, without the use of other structural members between such proximal side edges, while also providing raceway members integral with and defining the bottom edges of the respective panels and wherein the proximal ends of adjacent raceway members could be positioned in substantially abutting relationship so as to collectively define an uninterrupted raceway along the bottom portion of the wall structure.
It is therefore the primary object of this invention to provide an improved building wall structure formed of a series of panels in which the proximal edges of adjacent panels are of irregular mating configuration, wherein each panels is provided with an elongate hollow raceway member integral with an defining the bottom edge of each panel, and wherein adjacent raceway members are disposed in alignment and in substantially abutting relationship so that they collectively define an uninterrupted electric-wire raceway along the bottom portion of the wall formed therefrom.
Another object of the invention is to provide a building wall structure of the character described, wherein each panel is secured to a supporting floor by fastening means securing one end portion of each raceway member to the floor, and wherein the fastening means adjacent one side edge of any given panel serves also to sercure the adjacent side edge portion of the next adjacent panel to the floor by means integral with said given panel overlying and engaging a portion of the next adjacent panel.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a building wall structure of the character described wherein each panel comprises a core with the respective raceway member extending longitudinally along the bottom edge of the core and being secured relative thereto and defining the bottom edge of the panel. The raceway member includes a pair of longitudinally extending laterally spaced sidewalls defining therebetween an electric-wire raceway, and facing members or sheets are secured to opposing sides of the core with one of the facing members overlying the corresponding sidewall of the raceway member. Further, the latter facing member and the respective sidewall of the raceway member have aligned access openings therethrough positioned adjacent the corresponding fastening means to facilitate securing the panels to the supporting floor, and to also accommodate an electrical device; e.g., electrical outlet, switch, or the like, for connection to electric wires extending longitudinally within the raceway defined by the raceway members.
Some of the objects of the invention having been stated, other objects will appear as the description proceeds, when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which- FIG. 1 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view through a portion of a building including wall structures made according to the instant invention,
FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view taken substantially along line 22 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view showing proximal portions of adjacent panels of FIG. 1 in exploded relationship with one of the facing members of each panel removed therefrom for purposes of clarity;
FIG. 4 is an elevation of one of the prefabricated wall panels of FIG. 1, removal from the building, with various parts broken away;
FIG. 5 is a left-hand side edge elevation of the panel of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the panel of FIG. 4;
FIGS. 6A and 6B are enlarged sectional plan views through the opposing side edge joint members taken substantially along lines 6A 6A and 6B6B of FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary perspective view similar to FIG. 3, but showing the proximal side edges of the adjacent panels in mating relationship, and wherein both facing members are provided on the respective panels, and the panels are secured to the supporting floor;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary view similar to the right-hand lower portion of FIG. 7, particularly illustrating an electrical device in exploded relation with respect to aligned access openings in the raceway and one facing member;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the supporting floor and showing elongate guide strips mounted adjacent the perimeter of the floor;
FIG. 10 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical sectional view taken substantially along line 10-10 in FIG. 1 showing the electrical device of FIG. 8 mounted in the panel;
FIG. 11 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical sectional view taken substantially along line 11--11 in FIG. 1 showing an electrical device positioned in aligned access openings in adjacent portions of inside facing members and mating joint members of adjacent panels;
FIG. 12 is a fragmentary perspective view looking at the right-hand side of FIG. 11, with the electrical device removed from the adjacent panels; and
FIG. 13 is a perspective view particularly illustrating how adjacent ends of the raceway members are open at the outside of a building corner formed by the juncture of adjacent relatively right-angularly disposed wall structures to facilitate the insertion of electric wires therein.
Referring more specifically to the drawings and to FIGS. 1 and 2 in particular, W, W, W broadly designate three adjacent wall structures of the instant invention, wherein the end wall structures W, W" are disposed in substantially right-angular relation to wall structure W. Wall structures W, W, W are secured upon a supporting floor 15 and are shown as being exterior Walls of a building, although it is to be understood that walls constructed according to the instant invention are equally useful as interior walls or partitions of a building. The supporting floor 15 may be formed from concrete, wood or any other desired material. A suitable roof structure 16 is supported by the wall structures W, W, W".
Each wall structure may comprise any desired number of upright modular wall panels and, as shown, wall structures W, W comprise respective series of upright modular panels a-d and e, 1. Only a single panel g of wall structure W" is shown, although wall structure W may include several panels. All the wall panels may be identical as they are prefabricated. However, one panel may differ from another after the wall structures are erected in accordance with the installation of electrical equipment to be mounted therein, as will be later described.
Panel b is typical of each of the panels and will now be described in detail with particular reference to FIGS. 46, 6A and 6B. However, since all the panels ag are substantially identical, the same reference characters shall be applied to like parts thereof, as are applied to the panel b of FIGS. 46, 6A and 6B to avoid redundancy in the description thereof.
Panel b comprises a substantially rectangular core 20 preferably in the form of a honeycomb made from kraft paper, cardboard or other paper product, and the interstices of which may contain a suitable insulation material 21, such as polyurethane foam molded integral therewith. As shown in FIG. 3, for example, the insulation material 21 is flush with the outside surface of core 20, and may penetrate about half-way through core 20. If desired, the polyurethane foam or other insulation material may extend from the outside face to the inside face of core 20, without departing from the invention. Core 20 also may be in the form of a sheet or laminated sheets of fiber board or similar material.
Positioned about core 20 is a peripheral framework including an elongate top structural member 23, a pair of substantially vertically disposed, elongate, opposing first and second side edge joint members 24, 25, and an elongate, hollow, bottom raceway member 26. Joint members 24, have irregular outer edges, to be later described, which define respective opposing first and second side edges of panel b. The lower ends of joint members 24, 25 are located above and preferably are positioned against the raceway member 26.
It is preferred that the top structural member 23 and joint members 24, 25 are of shell-like construction and molded from paper laminations impregnated with and/ or bonded together with a phenolic resin or other suitable adhesive. Members 2325 also may be molded or extruded from a suitable plastic material. Members 2325 may be of other forms and materials provided that they embody the essential configurations to be described hereafter. Raceway member 26 may be formed from sheet metal or any other suitable material.
Facing members or sheets 27, 28 overlie opposing sides of core 20, and where the panel is to be used in an exterior wall structure, as is the case with respect to FIGS. 1 and 2, facing members 27, 28 may be termed as inside and outside facing members, respectively. Peripheral portions of facing members 27, 28 at least partially overlie the framework members 2326. Any suitable adhesive material maybe employed for bonding facing members 27, 28 to opposing sides of frame members 2326 and, of course facing members 27, 28 also may be bonded to opposing sides of core 20. Thus, it can be appreciated that all the elements 20, 21, 2328 are integral parts of panel b.
Facing members 27, 28 may be made from sheet material which is appropriate to the building; such material may differ as between that on the outside of the building and that on the inside surface of a wall. Facing members 27, 28 may be made of any suitable self-sustaining material such as rigid or semi-rigid plastic material, wood veneer, sheet metal, etc. The facing members forming an outside wall surface preferably are made of water impervious material such as fiber glass sheets. The material may be finished to simulate wood graining, tile, marble, linen or any other attractive finish.
The joint members of each panel are described as first and second joint members since it is convenient to erect the panels in successive order with the joint member 24 being the first joint member of each panel to be moved into mating relation with any previously erected panel. Also, when starting erection of a wall structure, the position in which the first joint member 24 of the first panel in the series is placed on the supporting floor may determine the position that all the other panels in the series will occupy as they are erected thereafter.
The first joint member 24 is shown in the form of a groove member to the extent that its outer side edge is of irregular configuration to form a longitudinally extending tongue-receiving groove 24a therein, the internal sidewalls of which preferably are tapered or converge inwardly toward core 20 so as to tightly receive therein a similarly tapered tongue on the second side edge of the next adjacent panel a of FIG. '1. The second joint member 25 is shown in FIG. 6 in the form of a tongue member to the extent that its outer side edge also is irregular and its central portion has a longitudinally extending and outwardly projecting relatively narrow tongue 25a integral therewith. The external sidewalls of tongue 25a are tapered or diverge inwardly toward core 20 so as to complement and be tightly received in similarly tapered groove on the first side edge of the next adjacent panel c of FIG. 1, it being understood that all the panels a-g are substantially identical to each other.
In most other respects, joint members 24, '25 may be of any desired cross-sectional configuration. As shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B for example, first and second joint members 24, 25 are of generally M-shaped and U-shaped cross-sectional configuration, respectively, so that they :may be readily molded or extruded and so as to form respective pairs of opposing side flanges 24b, 24c and 25b, 25c thereon. These flanges may straddle side edge portions of, and fit in suitable recesses formed in, opposing faces of core 20 so that the outer surfaces of flanges 24b, 24c, 25b, 250 may be substantially flush with the outer faces of core 20. It is important to note that tongue 25a is hollow and that core 20 does not extend into the tongue. Thus, tongue 25a defines a passage 25d substantially throughout the height of panel b which may serve as a vertical raceway for electric Wires, as will be later explained.
Preferably, but not necessarily structural member 23 is also of substantially M-shaped cross-sectional configuration with opposing side flanges 23b, 23c thereof fitting in suitably recessed opposing faces of core 20. Top structural member 23 may be provided with a longitudinally extending groove 23a in its upper portion. Co rresponding ends of the lower portions of side flanges 23b, 23c of top member 23 are cut away to receive the upper end portions of the flanges of joint members 24, 2'5, and so that the bottom wall of groove 23a overlies and closes the upper end of the groove 24a in first joint member 24. Thus,
when panel b is positioned in mating relation to the next adjacent panel a (FIG. 1), the adjacent end of the top structural member 23 of panel b overlies and engages the upper end of the tongue 25a of panel a (FIG. 7). The overlying end portion of the bottom wall of the groove 23a in top structural member 23 of panel b constitutes means overlying and engaging a portion of the next adjacent panel a.
The left-hand end of top structural member 23, the left-hand end of raceway 26, and the left-hand substantially straight vertical side edges of facings 27, 28 are substantially flush with the outer-most surfaces of first joint member 24 '(FIGS. 4 and 6). In order that the proximal edges of the facing members of adjacent panels may be disposed in substantially abutting relationship, however, it will be observed in FIGS. 4 and '6 that the right-hand ends of top structural member 23 and raceway member 26, as well as the right-hand substantially straight vertical side edges of facing members 27, 28 are positioned in substantial alignment adjacent the root or base of tongue 25a. In other words, tongue 25a of second joint member 25 projects outwardly from the body of joint member '25 beyond the vertical plane of top structural member 23 and raceway member 26 in FIG. 4 a distance substantially equal to, and preferably slightly less than, the depth of groove 24a in first joint member 24.
Important novel characteristics of the present invention reside in the construction and arrangement of the raceway member of each panel in such manner as to provide an uninterrupted raceway for electric wires along the bottom of each wall structure W, W, W", to facilitate securement of each panel to supporting floor 15, and to accommodate electrical receptacles or other electrical devices of similar size therein. The opposite ends of hollow raceway member 26 are positioned below joint members 24, 25 of each panel and are so located that they are aligned with and are disposed in substantially abutting relation to the adjacent ends of those bottom raceway members 26 of adjacent panels aligned therewith, thus insuring that adjacent raceway members are in substantial alignment and are disposed in substantially abutting relationship.
The bottom raceway member 26 (FIG. 4) comprises elongate, opposing, substantially vertically disposed and laterally spaced sidewalls 26a, 26bwhose lower edges are connected to or formed integral with lower bridging means, embodied in a bottom wall or web 26c, extending between and connected to raceway sidewalls 26a, 26b. The raceway bridging means 260, adjacent first joint member 24 of each panel, is provided with a longitudinally extending adjustment slot 26d therethrough to accommodate fastening means to be later described.
As heretofore stated, facing members 27, 28 are bonded to opposing sides of raceway member 26; i.e., the outer surfaces of sidewalls 26a, 26b. Accordingly, upper portions of raceway sidewalls 26a, 26b straddle, and fit in suitable recesses in the lower portions of, opposing faces of core 20 so the outer surfaces of raceway sidewalls 26a, 26b are substantially flush with the faces of core 20. Raceway sidewalls 26a, 26b, the lower bridging portion 26c, and an upper bridging portion or web 262, define an electric-wire raceway therebetween. The upper bridging means 262 is optional, but may be desirable in some installations in order to meet building code requirements, in view of the fact that core 20 may be made from inflammable material.
It will be noted that the lower portions of facing members 27, 28 are positioned substantially flush with the lower edges of raceway sidewalls 26a, 26b. In instances in which the corresponding wall panels are used in the forming of exterior walls of a building, it is desirable that the outside panel 28 extends downwardly a short distance of, say A to /2 inch, so as to overlap the perimeter of supporting floor 15. Of course, where the panels are used for interior walls or partitions, neither of the facing members 27, 28 should extend below the lower edges of raceway sidewalls 26a, 26b.
Fastening means 35 is provided, adjacent that end only of each raceway member 26 positioned adjacent the respective groove member or first joint member 24 of the corresponding panel, for securing the panel to the supporting floor. In other words, a single fastening means 35 penetrates the bridging means 260 adjacent the left-hand end only of each raceway member 26 as viewed in FIGS. 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8. As best shown in FIG. 7, the fastening means 35 of each panel extends through adjustment slot 26d in bridging means 26c and through a template strip or guide strip 37, and is embedded in supporting floor 15.
A guide strip 37 is common to all the panels of each wall structure and is preferably made of metal so as to serve as a ground for electrical equipment. For example, it will be observed in FIG. 9 that a separate guide strip is mounted upon supporting floor 15 adjacent each outside edge of supporting fioor 15. Each guide strip 37 is provided with a plurality of holes 37a therethrough, with the axes of adjacent holes 37a being spaced apart a distance substantially equal to the width of the adjacent panels and being so positioned as to receive the respective fastening means 35 therethrough. Assuming that all the pre fabricated wall panels are of the same width, which is generally preferred, it follows that the axes of the holes 37a in each strip 37 may be spaced substantially equal distances apart. Also, the adjacent ends of strips 37, at the outside corners of the supporting floor 15, are suitably electrically interconnected, as by means of a conductor 37b (FIG. 13). Strips 37 may be grounded electrically, as at 370 (FIG. 9).
Thus, strips 37 serve as means extending throughout the length of each wall structure for grounding any electrical devices which may be mounted in the panels. By mounting the strips 37 in the desired position on supporting floor 15 prior to erection of corresponding panels, the strips 37 provide means for properly locating the fastening means 35 to accommodate and facilitate subsequent erection of the panels. Each guide strip is preferably of substantially lesser width than the raceway members 26, and the central portion of each bridging means 260 may be recessed or bent upwardly as shown in FIG. 10 to accommodate the guide strip 37 therebeneath, with opposing bottom side edges of the raceways 26 resting upon supporting floor 15. Thus, guide strips 37 aid the workman in guiding successive panels into mating and aligned relationship.
Each fastening means 35 is shown as comprising two elements; namely, a rod 35a having a threaded upper portion thereon, and a nut or mating member 35b threaded onto the upper end of rod 35a and serving as engaging means adapted to be tightened against the upper surface of the respective lower bridging means 260. In preparation for erection of a corresponding wall structure, guide strip 37 may be located in the desired position upon supporting floor 15, and then the rod 35a of each fastening means 35 may be driven into the supporting floor with its upper portion projecting through the corresponding hole 37a and with a sufiicient length of the upper portion of the rod 35a projecting above guide strip 37 to penetrate the bridging portion of the corresponding raceway member 26, and
to receive the corresponding nut 35b thereon during subsequent erection of the corresponding panel.
It is apparent that fastening means 35 may take other forms without departing from the invention. For example, each fastening means may be in the form of a screw threaded into the supporting floor and having its head engaging the upper surface of the corresponding bridging means 260, or each fastening means 35 may be internally threaded at its upper portion for receiving the threaded lower portion of a screw therein. Each strip 37 may be taped or otherwise secured to floor by any suitable temporary means until one or more fastening means 35 are inserted through holes 37a.
The adjustment slot 26d is provided in the bridging means 260 of each raceway member 26 so that the panels may be successively erected from left to right in FIG. 1, for example, the first positioning the first panel a in the desired position to start construction of one end or a corner of a corresponding wall structure. Thereafter, each successive panel is positioned on the floor and may be manually slid along the floor into mating relation with the previously installed panel While the corresponding fastening rod 35a is penetrating the respective adjustment slot 26d. During such Sliding of the panels, the corresponding strip 37 serves as a guide means to maintain the panel in alignment with the previously installed panel by virtue of the mating relation of the bridging means 260 with strip 37.
More specifically, in erecting the wall structure W, panel a, for example, is erected upon supporting floor 15 with its first substantially vertical side edge (joint member 24) positioned a predetermined distance from the corresponding outside corner of supporting floor 15 to subsequently accommodate an upright corner structural member or corner post 40 to be later described (FIG. 13). During erection of first panel a, the raceway slot 26d thereof (FIG. 13) is being penetrated by the respective rod 35a and its raceway 26 is guided by the respective strip 37 to properly position panel a during adjustment thereof relative to the adjacent corner of floor 15. Thereafter, the corresponding nut 35b may be threaded onto the rod 35a and temporarily tightened against the upper surface of the corresponding raceway bridging means 260 to temporarily secure the first side edge portion of first panel a to the supporting floor 15.
Thereafter, the next adjacent, second, panel b is erected by positioning the same in an upright position with its raceway member 26 resting upon floor 15, with its raceway bridging means 260 overlying the respective template strip 37, and with the rod 35a of its respective fastening means 35 extending upwardly through the corresponding slot 26d. At this time, the first joint member 24 of panel b is positioned out of mating relation with respective to the second joint member 25 of first panel a. Prior to or after erecting panel b in the latter position, the exterior surfaces of the adjacent tongue 25a, and/or the groove 24a (FIG. 6A) of the first joint member 25., may be coated with a suitable liquid bonding agent such as a synthetic resin.
The workman then slides panel b along supporting floor 15 to position the proximal irregular side edges of the second and first joint members of respective first and second panels a, b in mating relation with each other as shown in FIG. 7. In so doing, the proximal ends of adjacent raceway members 26, the proximal ends of top structual members 23, and the proximal substantially vertical and substantial straight sides edges of inside and outside facing members 27, 28 are all brought into substantially abutting relationship as best shown in FIG. 7. It should be noted that the left-hand end portion of the top structural member 23 of panel b in FIG. 7 then overlies and engages the upper end of tongue 25a of second joint member 25 of first panel a.
After the proximal side edges of panels a, b have been brought into mating relation with respect to each other to interconnect the same, the nut 35b of the corresponding fastening means 35 of panel b is tightened against the bridging portion 260 of the corresponding raceway 26, thus securing the proximal edge portions of both panels a, b to supporting floor 15.
The inner sidewall 26a of each raceway member and the overlapping lower portion of each inside facing member 27 are provided with respective aligned access openings 46, 47, and the adjacent bottom portion of the respective core is cut away, adjacent the first vertical side edge of each panel so that the respective fastening means 35 is readily accessible to the workman erecting the wall structures. Following erection of the wall structures, the access openings 46, 47 may be closed by suitable face plates, not shown, or electrical receptacles, switches or other electrical devices may be installed in certain of the aligned openings, as will be later described. Other successive panels are installed with their proximal side edges in mating relationship in the same manner as that described with respect to panel b to complete the corresponding wall structure W.
If a wall constructed according to the instant invention is to be exposed at either end thereof, as opposed to being joined to an end of an adjacent wall structure extending at a substantially right-angle thereto, it is apparent that a suitable facing strip or other means, not shown, may be bonded to or otherwise attached to the corresponding exposed side edge joint members 24, 25, if desired. However, wherever adjacent ends of two right-angularly arranged upright wall structures are erected to form a wall corner, such as is the case with respect to the wall structure W and the respective wall structures W, W", means is provided above the proximal ends of the corresponding raceway members 26, and is shown in the form of the corner post 40 of FIG. 13, for fixedly interconnecting the proximal side edges of those adjacent panels which are disposed in substantially right-angular relation to each other.
Accordingly, corner post 40 (FIG. 13) is in the form of an elongate joint member which, conveniently, may be made by modifying and joining together a pair of first and second members, such as the joint members 24, 25. In any event, the elongate joint member or corner post 40 is provided at one side thereof with a longitudinally extending groove 40a, and is provided at an adjacent side thereof with a longitudinally extending tongue 40b. In other words, the groove 40a and tongue 40b are positioned in substantially right-angular relation to each other. Groove 40a and tongue 40b of corner post 40 are respectively of substantially the same cross-sectional con figuration as the groove 24a and tongue 25a of the respective joint members 24, 25 of each panel, such as panel b in FIG. 4.
For purposes of description, it may be assumed that wall panel a has been erected previously in the manner heretofore described and that panel g of wall structure W represents the last panel in the corresponding wall structure W and is now to be erected. In most respects, panel g is erected in substantially the same manner as that described heretofore with respect to panel b, with the exception that the walls of the groove 40a of corner post 40 may be adhesively connected to the tongue 25a of the second side edge joint member 25 of panel g before raceway member 26 of panel g is tightly secured to the floor 15 by the corresponding fastening means adjacent the other end thereof. Also, the nut 35b of the fastening means 35 associated with panel a would be loosened sufiiciently so that the upper end of tongue b of corner post 40 may be slid beneath top structural member 23 of panel a as tongue 40b is inserted in an adhesively connected to the groove 24a in the first member 24 of panel a, it being understood that the upper end of corner post 40 is substantially flush with the upper ends of the adjacent first and second side edge joint members 24, 25 at the juncture of the two relatively right-angularly disposed wall panels a, g.
It is preferred that each corner post 40 is of the same length as each of the joint members 24, 25 or, at least, the lower end of corner post 40 should be positioned above the raceways defined by the raceway members 26 of the panels a, g, so that the corresponding ends of these raceway members 26 are open at the outside corner of the supporting floor 15 to facilitate the insertion of elec tric wires or conductors in the corresponding raceways. After the construction of the building is substantially completed, it is apparent that suitable facing strips may be adhesively or otherwise secured to the corner post and may extend downwardly to the floor or below the same so as to close the corresponding corner of the building. Similar facing strips 41 may be adhesively secured to adjacent outside facing members 28, as in FIG. 7, to seal the joints therebetween, if desired.
It is apparent that a corner post similar to corner post 40 would be provided at each corner of the building. Such a corner post may be connected to the second joint member 25 of the endmost panel d of wall structure W, for example (FIG. 1), before the first panel e of the next wall structure W" is erected. In such instance, it is apparent that the fastening means 35 of panel d would not have to be loose during erection of the corresponding corner post.
From the foregoing description, it is apparent that the raceway members 26 associated with all the panels of each wall structure W, W, W" form an uninterrupted and unobstructed raceway which is also uninterrupted and unobstructed at the corners of the building. Electric wires or conductors C-1, C-2, (FIG. 10), which are generally contained in a common cable C, may thus extend along within any or all of the raceways defined by the raceway members 26, as desired.
Assuming, for example, that a portion of panel b is shown in FIG. 10, it will be seen that the the aligned access openings 46, 47 in raceway 26 and facing member 27 have an electrical device positioned therein, which electrical device is illustrated in the form of an electrical receptacle 50 of conventional type for accommodating a pair of male electrical connectors, not shown.
It will be obvious in FIG. 6, 7 and 8 that the horizontal length of access opening 46 is substantially less than that of access opening 47 in facing member 27 so that adjacent corner portions of the inside sidewall 26a of the corresponding raceway member 26 are exposed through opening 47. Such exposed portions of raceway 26 are provided with suitable holes 51 (FIG. 8) for reeciving screws 52 which penetrate opposite end portions of receptacle 50 to secure the same in the corresponding access openings 46, 47. As shown in FIGS. 8 and 10, receptacle 50 has wires C-3, C-4 connected to the respective wires C-1, C-2 of cable C. A ground wire may connect receptacle 50 to fastening 50 to fastening means 35 and thus to guide strip 37 (FIG. These access opening 47 in each inside panel 27 is preferably of such size as to be substantially closed by a conventional face plate 54 overlying the same and being suitably secured to the corresponding receptacle 50, as by means of a screw 55 (FIG. 8).
To further accommodate electrical equipment in the building wall structures, corresponding wires or a cable may be positioned in the passages 25d (FIGS. 6 and 6B) of certain tongues 25a, as well as in the tongue 40!; of FIG. 13. As shown in the central portion of FIG. 1, an electric switch, representative of any desired form of electrical device which is normally wall-mounted is positioned in the wall structure at the juncture of wall panels b, c. It will be observel in FIG. 12 that the proximal edges of facing members 27 of panels b, c are disposed in substantially abutting relationship and the adjacent portions thereof are provided with a substantially rectangular access opening 60 therethrough substantially aligned with an access opening 61 forming in the mating portions and inside flanges of adjacent joint members 24, 25. Further, FIGS. 11 and 12 show the upper portion of an electricwire cable 62 which may extend upwardly from the conductors C-1, C-2, through the upper bridging means 262 and along the passage 25d in the adjacent tongue member 25. Cable 26 may house wires C-6, C-7, C-8.
The wires C-'6, C-7 are connected to switch 57 in the access openings 60, 61 at the juncture of panels b, 0. Switch 57 may be housed in a suitable switch-box 64 also positioned in openings 60, 61, and suitable fasteners or screws '65 may be provided for securing the upper and lower portions of switch-box 64 and switch 57 to the corresponding mating joint members 24, 25. A conventional cover plate or face plate 67 may be secured to switch 57, as by screws 70, which serve to secure face plate 67 in overlying relation to access openings 60, 61 (FIG. 11).
It is thus seen that electrical devices may be mounted in the wall structures at the proximal side edges of any adjacent pairs of panels, and electric wires may extend therefrom either upwardly or downwardly through corresponding channels or passages 25a defined by respective second joint members 25. Further, such vertically extending wires may be conveniently connected to wires C-1, C-2 which may, inturn, extend through the entire perimeter of the building through the raceways heretofore described. As shown in FIG. 11, wire C-8 may serve to ground switch 57 or its switch-box to strip 37.
If so desired, a suitable shielding means or cover 72 may be positioned above electrical device 50 within the corresponding panel to shield electrical device 50 and adjacent electric wires from the corresponding portion of the core 20 thereabove (FIG. 10).
In the drawings and specification there has been set forth a preferred embodiment of the invention, and although specific terms are employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation, the scope of the invention being defined in the claims.
1. A building wall structure comprising a series of upright panels securable to a supporting floor, each adjacent pair of panels of said series having substantially vertical tongue and groove side edges positioned in mating relationship with each other to interconnect the panels, an elongate raceway member integral with and defining the bottom edge of each panel, each raceway member including a pair of longitudinally extending laterally spaced sidewalls positioned below said tongue and groove side edges and defining therebetween an electric-Wire raceway, bridging means extending between and connected to the laterally spaced sidewalls of each raceway member, fastening means penetrating the bridging means of the raceway member of each panel and secured to the supporting floor, the fastening means securing each panel being located adjacent the side edge thereof having said groove but remote from the fastening means of an adjacent panel, and means integral with an upper portion of each panel and overlying a portion of said groove therein for engaging a portion of an adjacent panel whereby proximal portions of two adjacent panels are secured to the supporting floor by a single fastening means, and adjacent raceway members being disposed in alignment and in substantially abutting relationship so that said raceway members collectively define an uninterrupted raceway.
2. A structure according to claim 1 wherein said tongue of the joint member of at least one of said panels defines a vertical passage throughout its length capable of accommodating electric wires therewithin.
3. A structure according to claim 2, wherein the tongue of the last-named first joint member is positioned in mating relation with the groove in the second joint member of an adjacent one of said panels, and wherein the proximal side edges of the facing members of the latter panels are disposed in substantially abutting relationship, the proximal mating portions of the last-mentioned joint members and the corresponding facing members on one side of the latter panels having aligned openings therethrough, and an electrical device mounted in said aligned openings for connection to electric wires within said vertical passage.
4. A structure according to claim 1 further comprising in which an elongate template member underlying and extending longitudinally of the raceway members of said series of panels and having a plurality of longitudinallyspaced holes therethrough through which the respective fastening means extend, the axes of adjacent holes being spaced apart a distance substantially equal to the width of the adjacent panels, each fastening means associated with said panels including a pair of mating fastening elements, and the bridging means of corresponding raceway members having respective longitudinally extending slots therethrough penetrated by one of said fastening ele- 1 l ments of the respective pair whereby one of said panels may be moved along said template member into mating engagement with a previously installed panel while the bridging means of said one panel is penetrated by its respective said one of the fastening elements before the two fastening elements are tightly interconnected to secure said one panel to the supporting floor.
5. A structure according to claim 4, in which each of said pairs of mating fastening elements comprises a rod adapted to penetrate a corresponding hole in said template member and to be embedded in said supporting floor, and means on said rod engageable with the upper surface of said bridging means of the respective raceway member.
6. A structure according to claim 1, further cornprising an elongate template strip common to said series of panels and underlying and extending longitudinally of said raceway members, said template strip being mounted on said supporting floor and having a plurality of holes therein corresponding to and pentrated by the fastening means of all the panels, and the bridging means of each raceway member having a longitudinally extending adjustment slot therethrough pentrated by the respective fastening means, whereby said template strip and said slots in said raceway members may facilitate positioning and moving successive panels into mating relationship during assembly of the wall structure.
7. A building wall structure according to claim 1 wherein each of said panels comprises:
a pair of first and second joint members extending longitudinally along opposing side edges of said core, said first and second joint members having irregular outer edges defining respectively said tongue and said groove,
said core and said joint members being positioned relative to said elongate raceway member so that said receway member extends longitudinally along the bottom edge of said core, and
facing members having substantially straight opposing side edges and secured to and overlying opposing sides of said core and substantial portions of said joint members.
8. A structure according to claim 7, wherein said means integral with said second panel overlying a portion of said first panel comprises a horizontal upper structural member secured to the upper edge of the core of said second panel and overlying and engaging a portion of the second joint member of said first panel.
9. A structure according to claim 7, wherein the bottom portion of at least one of said facing members of each panel extends downwardly in overlapping relation to and 12 substantially to the bottom edge of one respective sidewall of the corresponding raceway member, said one of said facing members and said one respective sidewall of the corresponding raceway member having aligned access openings therethrough and located adjacent the corresponding fastening means to facilitate securing said panels to said supporting floor.
10. A structure according to claim 9, including an electrical device positioned in said aligned access openings in said one respective sidewall and in said facing member overlapping the same, said raceway members of at least some of said upright panels having electric wires therein and extending longitudinally thereof, and at least one of said electric wires being connected to said electrical device.
11. A structure according to claim 7, wherein said core is in the form of a honeycomb, the upper portions of said sidewalls of said raceway member straddling a portion of said honeycomb, and said lower portion of said honeycomb being recessed at opposite sides thereof to receive said upper portions of the respective sidewalls with the distal surfaces of said sidewalls substantially flush with the opposing side surfaces of the honeycomb.
12. A structure according to claim 7, wherein the bottom edge of one of the facing members of each panel is positioned substantially flush with the bottom edge of the corresponding sidewall of the respective raceway means, and wherein the other facing member of each panel extends downwardly a predetermined distance below the bottom edge of the other sidewall of the respective raceway means and is adapted to overlap an outer edge of the supporting floor.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,999,741 4/ 1935 Schultz 52-221 2,923,351 2/1960 Zitomer 52475 3,093,218 6/ 1963 Peterson 52220 3,236,014 2/1966 Edgar 52-270 3,255,563 6/1966 Saaer 52--221 3,282,003 11/ 1966 Swift 52220 3,296,756 1/ 1967 Wade 52270 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,301,814 1962 France.
133,241 1949 Australia.
92,882 1922 Switzerland.
HENRY C. SUTHERLAN D, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,529,389 r Dated Sejtember 22, 1970 Inventor(s) W- 'B. Wilkins i i It is certified that error appears" in the above-identified patent and that said LettersrPatent are hereby corrected as shown below:
1 Column 1 line 61 "panels" should be -panel-'-;
line 62 "an" should be -end Column 2 line 2 "sercure ahould be :--secure--;
line 40 "removal" should be "removed-- Column 3 line 12 "W', W", W" should be --W, W W"--;
line 67 "hereafter" should be "hereinafter". Column 7 line 2 "the" should be by--; r
line 38 "respective" should be .respect-- line 42; "the" should be omitted. Column 8 line 27 after "second" insert --joint--;
' line 55 "an" should be --and--;
line 56 after "first" insert --joint-. Column 9 line 28 delete 'n'obvious" and insert thereforobserved-;
line 34 "reeciving" should be -'-receiving--;
lines 39 and 40 delete "to fastening 50";- line 54 "observel" should be -observed"; line 59 "forming" should be formed-- Column 10 line 8 "inturn" should be -in turn-;
line 8 "through" should be "throughout"; line 11 after "switch-box" insert 5-64" Columnll line 19 "pentrated". should be -penetrated-; r line 22v "pentrated" should be --penetra'ted--;
line 37 "receway' should be --raceway-- Column 12 line 18 before "portion", first occurrence, insert ---l0wer--.
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