US 3572626 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventor Hans Bertschi Upper Montclair, NJ. [21 Appl. No. 775,370  Filed Nov. 13, 1968  Patented Mar. 30, 1971  Assignee J. C. Penney Company, Inc.
New York, N.Y.
 ADJUSTABLE BRACKET 4 Claims, 5 Drawing Figs.
 U.S. Cl 248/242, 21l/176,248/243 [51 1 int. Cl A471 5/08  Field of Search 248/242, 243,241,223; 108/108;211/176, 148
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,273,847 9/1966 Bennan 248/243 FOREIGN PATENTS 642,455 5/1964 Belgium 248/242 664,154 11/1965 Belgium 248/242 877,284 9/1961 Great Britain. 248/242 1,025,357 4/1966 Great Britain.... 248/243 729,028 3/ 1966 Canada 248/243 373,533 1/1964 Switzerland 248/242 Primary ExaminerMarion Parsons, Jr. 1
AltorneyBrumbaugh, Graves, Donohue and Raymond ABSTRACT: Adjustable bracket members are engaged and locked in position of two or more selected orientations by retaining lug formations that are received through slots in the vertical members supporting the bracket members and have retainer notch formations arranged to engage and capture portions of the wall of the vertical member adjacent the slots. Locking members having a cam surface for each of the positions of the bracket urge the lug formations into firm engagement with the vertical member and further insure the reten tion of the bracket members in proper position.
Patent gd March 30, 1971 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Milli. J
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I N WIN '1 )R. HANS BERTSCHI his A TORNEYSv Patented March 30, 1971 3,572,626
2 Sheets-Sheet 2 IN 3 'I'UR HANS BERTS ATTORNEYS.
ADJUSTABLE BRACKET BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to shelf brackets and the like and, more particularly, to shelf bracket apparatus having shelves that are adjustable into any of two or more orientations.
A common form of shelf structure of the type used in the home for books, ornamental objects and other things and used in stores for displaying various articles is composed of vertical members and cantilevered bracket members mounted on the vertical members. The vertical members may be in the form of channel elements mounted on a wall or free-standing columns affixed to the floor and ceiling. In either case, the shelvesare supported by bracket members which have lugs that extend through slots in the vertical member, the slots usually being uniformly spaced vertically to permit the bracket members to be installed at any of a multiplicity of positions as desired to meet the needs of the user. Usually, the bracket members include lugs which support them in a given single orientation on 'the vertical member and, in particular, cantilever them horizontally from the vertical member out at 90 for carrying horizontal shelves. There are also available special brackets which are mounted at an inclination.
There have been some proposals for shelf bracket apparatus which can be shifted between multiple positions, but some of those proposals have been of complicated constructions and have not been fully effective in insuring against the bracket members shifting out or being knocked out of position. .In some instances the brackets are so mounted on'the vertical support member that they are not fully retained and are susceptible to being pivoted out of the desired position unintentionally. This may occur accidentally and can result in the contents of a shelf being spilled or even the entire shelf falling off the support.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION There is provided, in accordance with the invention, a novel and improved adjustable bracket of the typethat is frequently used in constructing cantilevered shelves but which can also be used to support other objects. For example, the invention can find use in store merchandising displays for hanging articles of various types. More particulariy, the apparatus of the invention comprises a vertical member having a wall portion formed with a multiplicity of spaced-apart slots and a bracket member having lugs that are received in selected slots of the vertical member to support the bracket member in cantilevered relation to the vertical member. The bracket members may be in the form of substantially rigid plates, preferably of metal, or they may be shaped and constructed in other ways, depending on what they will be used for. Each bracket member includes a body portion having an appropriate formation for supporting objects and a rear edge which, inat least one position of the bracket member, is adapted to engage the outer surface of the vertical member. The rear edge of the bracket member is formed at an acute angle to the major axis of the body so that when the rear edgeis engaged with the vertical member, the body is inclined at a desired angle.
Extending rearwardly from the rear edge of the bracket "member is an upper retainer lug that can be inserted through a slot in the carrier member and has an upper leg that extends upwardly to an extent that at least its upper portion is engaged behind the wall of the vertical member. above the slot. The upper lug also has a downwardly extending leg having an edge facing the rear edge of the bracket member so as to define a 'retainer notch which receives and captures the part of the wall .of the vertical member immediately below theslotr A lower retainer lug extends from the 'rear edge of the bracket body somewhat below the upper lug. It has two'or more spaced-apart, downwardly opening retainer notches,
. one of the notches preferably being defined in part by the rear edge of the bracket member and therefore being adapted to 'hold the bracket member in an inclined position with the'rear edge in engagement with the outer face of the vertical member. The other retainer notch on the lower lug is spaced rearwardly from the rear edge of the bracket member and provides for retaining it in a second orientation, such as one in which the major axis of the bracket body is disposed horizontally. The lower retainer lug may have additional notches in it, if desired, for providing additional orientations of the bracket member. In any case each retainer notch includes parallel portions spaced so that they closely clear the inner and outer surface of the vertical member wall when in position so that the opportunity for accidental shifting of the bracket member is limited. In other words, each retainer notch is so arranged that it captures the part of the vertical member wall immediately adjacent to the receiving slot, thereby preventing the bracket member from being intentionally or accidentally pivoted in a vertical plane.
In addition to having retainer notches on the bracket members of a form that restrict shifting, the apparatus of the invention also includes lock members for locking the brackets on the vertical members in any of their selected positions. Each Iock'member is pivotably mounted on the bracket member and has a cam surface for each of the adjusted positions of the bracket which engages the vertical member and urges the bracket firmly into engagement with it by a wedging action.
Preferably, the locking member is a bifurcated element composed of ashaft and a plate portion carried on either end of the shaft. With this form of lock member the bracket member has a notch or hole to receive the shaft portion of the lock element with a plate portion disposed on either side of the bracket body. Upon rotation of the lock member, which may include a thumb projection or the like to facilitate rotating it, the cam surfacecorresponding to any selected position of the bracket is brought firmly into engagement with the vertical member. The several cam surfaces are preferably serrated to provide a better grip on the vertical member.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS For a better understanding of the invention, reference may be made to the following description of an exemplary embodiment, taken in conjunction with the figures of the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. II is a view in section taken through a free-standing form of vertical member and showing the rear parts of two identical bracket members installed on opposite sides of the vertical member and in different orientations;
FIGS. 2A and 2B are pictorial views of apparatus according to the invention and embodying bracket members identical to those shown in FIG. 1, but utilizing channel, wall-mounted type vertical members, FIG. 2A showing a bracket in a horizontal orientation and FIG. 28 showing a bracket member in an inclined orientation;
FIG. 3 is a side view of a lock member for locking a bracket in its selected orientations; and
FIG. 4 is an end view of the lock member.
DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS The embodiment of invention shown in the drawings includes brackets of the type used to mount shelves (see FIGS. 2A and 2B).- Each bracket is a plate of uniform thickness and formed of substantially rigid material. However, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications of the body portion of the bracket may be made to adapt it to purposes other than supporting shelves. For example, the body of. the bracket it) need not be a simple plate but can be a member shaped appropriately to support various forms of articles and including flanges, notches or other desired formations for particular purposes.
Theshelf support type of bracket member 10 shown in'the drawings is composedof a body 12 having a straight upper edge 14 extending substantially over the entire length of the body 12 and a. lower edge 16 that converges outwardly with the upper edge to create a tapered configuration, but this is of course an optional'matter of design, as stated above. The
bracket member I further includes a rear edge I8 defined by a lower portion 18a and a upper portion 18b, each of which engages the exterior surface of a vertical member 20 in one position of the bracket.
In the form shown in FIG. I, the vertical member 20 is a tubular element of generally rectangular cross section and formed with a plurality of uniformly spaced, vertically elongated slots 22 in the narrower opposite walls 200 and 20b. It will be under stood by those skilled in the art, however, that the support member may have other geometrical shapes such as round or oval, or may be in the form of channels (see FIGS. 2A and 2B, for example). The mounting member 20 shown in FIG. I is of the free-standing form which is attached between a floor and ceiling or supported in some other suitable way and receives bracket members extending from both narrower sides. The rear portion of two identical brackets, one projecting from each narrower wall 20a and 20b, are shown in place and in different orientations in FIG. I, thus constituting a showing of both sides of a given bracket and also depicting the way in which the brackets are supported in different orientations, depending on the adjustment made by the user.
Each bracket 10 is supported by the vertical member and retained in cantilevered relation by lug formations projecting from the rear edge 18. First, there is an upper lug 24 which is received in one slot 22a and includes an upwardly extending leg 240 having an outwardly facing edge 24h disposed parallel to the rear edge 18 of the bracket body 12 but displaced rearwardly by a distance just slightly greater than the wall thickness of the vertical member 20. The upper end of the outwardly facing edge 24b engages the inside surface of the vertical member wall 20a above slot 22a, the area of engagement constituting a load area which resists the downward pivoting of the bracket body 12 when the bracket is mounted in the inclined orientation shown to the left in FIG. I.
The upper lug 24 also includes a downwardly projecting leg 24c having an outwardly facing edge 24d which forms an acute angle with the rear edge 18b of the bracket member body. The minimum spacing between the rear edge of the bracket body 181) and the edge 24d of the leg 24c is slightly greater than the wall thickness of the mounting member 20. The angle subtended by the edges 18b and 24d is preferably substantially equal to the maximum angle of adjustment of the orientation of the bracket, as will be apparent as the description proceeds. The rear edge 18b of the bracket body and the edge 24d define, together with a rounded out enlarged fonnation 24e, a retainer notch which receives the portion of the mounting member wall 20a or 20b immediately below the slot 22a.
A second element of the bracket member mounting structure is a lower lug 26 which extends rearwardly from the rear edge 18 of the bracket 10 and is also preferably coplanar with the bracket body. In this regard the entire bracket may be cut from a sheet of metal or other material and may be of substantially uniform thickness at all points. Formed in the lower edge of the lower lug 26 are two retainer notches 26a and 26b, the two notches being spaced from each other by a distance which establishes the desired range of orientations of the bracket member, as described below. Preferably, the forwardmost notch 26a is defined in part by the upper end of the portion 180 of the rear edge 18 of the bracket body 12 and includes an enlarged portion 26c at its upper end.
The geometric form and the dimensions of the second notch 26b are substantially identical to those of the notch 260. In particular,'each notch 26a or 26b is defined by parallel edges spaced apart a distance slightly greater than the wall thickness of the vertical member wall 20a or 20b so as to provide a close clearance with the wall 20a or 20b. Each of the notches 26a or 26b, depending upon the selected position of the bracket, receives the wall portion of the mounting member immediately below a slot 22b adjacent and below the slot 220 receiving the upper lug 24.
As is apparent upon consideration of the bracket 10 shown to the right in FIG. 1 (which may be considered to be a rear view of the identical bracket shown to the left in FIG. 1), the
rear edge 18 of the bracket body 12 forms an angle A with the upper edge I4, the angle A being any desired angle which will provide, when the rear edge 18 is in engagement with the mounting member 20, a desired orientation of the major longitudinal axis of the bracket 10. With the shelf form of bracket depicted in the drawings, the angle A may be considered to be an included angle between the top edge 14 and rear edge I8 of the bracket body [2. The retainer notch 2617 (the slot which is most remote from the rear edge 18) is located with its axis on a line that is perpendicular to the upper edge 14 and passes through the retainer notch 24d on the upper lug. With this arrangement, imaginary lines connecting a point at the innermost ends of the retainer notch 24d with corresponding points on the notches 26a and 26b, respectively will form an included angle that is the complement of the angle A.
The positioning of the bracket with the notch 26!) receiving and capturing the wall of the mounting member 20 below the slot 22b will cause the upper edge 14 of the bracket body to be disposed horizontally. In the horizontal orientation of the bracket, as shown to the right in FIG. I, the outwardly facing edge 24d of the lower leg 24c on the upper lug 24 serves as a load carrying point that retains the bracket from being pivoted downwardly and outwardly relative to the mounting member 20. Meanwhile, the inwardly or rearwardly facing edge of the retainer notch 26!) on the lower lug 26 engages the outwardly facing surface of the wall 20b immediately below the slot 22!) and establishes a load carrying point also resisting the downward pivoting of the bracket.
In either position of the bracket, as shown to the right or to the left in FIG. I, it will be noted that each of the lugs 24 and 26 has a retainer notch formation that receives and captures a portion of the wall of the mounting member 20 below the respective slots 22a or 22b receiving that lug. Thus, the bracket I0 is prevented not only from pivoting down due to a load on it but is also prevented from pivoting up, such as might occur if someone were to bump against it.
In addition to the inherent retention of the bracket on the mounting member 20 by the load imposed on it, it is preferable to also include a lock member to hold the bracket in position. The lock member 30 (see FIGS. 3 and 4) is composed of a shaft portion 32 and a pair of plate portions 34, one on either end of the shaft portion, of identical shape (when viewed from the same direction) and spaced-apart a distance slightly greater than the thickness of the bracket body I2. As is apparent form comparing the views to the right and left in FIG. I of the lock element 30, the lock member is received in a notch 36 extending in from the rear edge 18 of the bracket body 12, the plate portions 34 of the member 30 straddling the bracket body 12. The innermost end of the notch 36 is formed to a radius matching the radius of the shaft portion 32 of the lock member 30 so that the lock member can be rotated when in place on the bracket member. The lock member 30 is installed on the bracket by merely sliding it in through the open end of the notch 36.
Each of the two matching plate portions 34 of the lock element 30 has a cam surface for each of the positions of the bracket. With the two position form of bracket shown in the drawings, there are two cam portions 34a and 34b. The cam surfaces are so oriented and shaped relative to the axis of the shaft portion 32 that they engage the outer surface of the member 20 on either side of the row of slots with an increasing force as they are rotated, and therefore they provide a wedging action which brings the portions of the lugs 24 and 26 that engage the inside surface of the mounting member 20 more firmly into engagement with the mounting member. Preferably, the cam surfaces 34a and 34b are serrated to grip the member 20 more securely and enhance the locking action. Each of the plate portions 34 of the lock members has a projection 38 which can be grasped by the user and facilitates rotating the member.
The brackets 10 are shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B in shelf installations of the type that are mounted on a wall and employ vertical members of channel-shaped form appropriately secured to the wall W. In FIG. 2A, a bracket member is show in a horizontal orientation to support a horizontal shelf [02, the particular form of shelf being a metal element formed with strengthening flanges 104 along its longitudinal edges. The shelf 102 is mounted on the bracketby mounting clips 105 of appropriate form.
In FIG. 28, a bracket member .10 is show in an inclined orientation and carries a shelf 106 having an upturned flange 108 serving to retain items, such as magazines or books lying flat on it. The shelf 106 may be mounted on' the bracket member by angle clips 109 fastened by screws inserted through holes 110 (see FIG. 1) formed in the bracket member.
The bracket members are readily installed and adjusted on the vertical members by holding them with their major plane vertically, aligning the tips of the lugs 24 and 26 with the respective slots 22a and 22b, and tipping them so that their axes are inclined at an angle upwardly and away from the mounting member. From this position (not shown) the upper lug 24 can be inserted through the upper of the two slots in which the bracket is received. As soon as the upper lug has been passed through the upper slot 22a, the bracket member is pushed up into its uppermost position in the slot and is pivoted down to pass the lower lug 26 through the lower slot 22b. When the bracket has assumed the desired position, it is pushed down into place so that the appropriate retaining notches receive and capture the wall portion of the vertical member 20. After the bracketis in place in the desired position, the lock element 30 is rotatedin a direction to engage the appropriate cam surface 340 or' 34b with the wall of the vertical member. To readjust the bracket, if desired at any time, the lock member is released by rotation, the bracket pushed up to its uppermost position in the slots and then pivoted up or down, as required, to reorient it with the desired retainer notch 26a or 26b in position to permit the bracket to be slided back down along the mounting member and into place. The lock member is then retightened as before.
Thus there is provided, in accordance with the invention, a novel and improved bracket apparatus that can be adjusted into two or more orientations in any of a number of vertical positions provided by the vertical member; as mentioned above, the bracket may include a number of retainer notches in the lower lug 26, appropriately located relative to the for wardmost notch 26a, to provide any number of desired angular orientations, subject to the need to provide a certain amount of material between the notches to obtain the desired strength. For example, there may be additional orientations between the two. illustrated in FIG. 1 by providing additional notches between the notches 26a and 26b that are shown.
The invention further provides apparatus having bracket members that are securely retained on the vertical members in any of the adjusted positions and orientations, first, by an advantageous arrangement for capturing the mounting member in a retainer notch that engages'both sides of the wall material of the vertical member, and second, by providing a lock member having cam surfaces so positioned as to provide a locking action for each of the orientations. Thus, the bracket is firmly retained in place on the mounting member and is not likely to be accidentally knocked loose, providing additional assurance that material supported by it will not fall off. Therefore, the invention offer important advantages as a commercial display in a merchandising facility, a place where many persons are likely to come near enough to the displays accidentally to bump against them. In addition, the handling of merchandise by store employees, which with many types of known shelf bracket apparatus presents a constant danger of shelves being bumped out of place, is less likely to result in accidents with the use of the firmly locked bracket member in the apparatus of the invention.
The above described embodiments of the invention are intended to be merely exemplary, and those skilled in the art will be able to make numerous variations and modifications of them without departing from the s irit and scope of the inventron. All such variations and modr rcatrons are intended to be included within the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. Apparatus for supporting objects comprising a substantially vertical member having a wall portion formed with at least two spaced-apart vertically elongated slots; an elongated bracket member including a body portion having a major longitudinal axis and a formation adapted to support an object, a rear edge on the body portion and forming an acute angle A with the body portion axis, an upper lug extending rearwardly from the rear edge of the body and receivable in an upper slot in the vertical member and having an upwardly extending leg receivable behind the wall portion of the vertical member above the upper slot for engagement therewith and a downwardly extending leg portion receivable behind the wall portion of the vertical member below the upper slot for engagement therewith, the lower leg of the upper lug having a forward edge defining with the rear edge of the bracket member body a first retainer notch receiving and capturing a wall portion of the vertical member, and the upwardly extending leg of the upper lug having a forward edge that is substantially parallel to the plane of the rear edge of the body but spaced therefrom a distance substantially equal to the thickness of the wall portion of the vertical member, and a lower lug extending rearwardly from the rear edge of the bracket member body portion and receivable through a lower slot in the vertical member and having formations defining at least two spaced-apart retainer notches opening downwardly and adapted to receive and capture a part of the vertical member wall portion below the said lower slot, the retainer notches being defined by substantially parallel edges spaced to provide a close clearance with the wall portion of the vertical member when receiving it, one edge of one of the said two retainer notches being defined by the rear edge of the bracket member, whereby the bracket member is adapted to be selectively disposed and retained against all pivotal movement on the vertical member in either a first position with its rear edge engaging the face of the vertical member wall portion or a second position in which the rear edge of the bracket member is angularly related to the bracket carrier member wall portion; and means forlocking the bracket member in each of its selected orientations on the vertical member, the locking means including a member rotatably mounted on the bracket member and having a first cam formation adapted wedgingly to engage the vertical member when the bracket member is in one of its selected orientations and a second cam formation adapted wedgingly to engage the vertical member when the bracket member is in another of its selected orientations.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein imaginary lines extending from the deepest part of the retainer notch on the upper lug to the deepest point in each of the two retainer notches of the lower lug subtend an included angle of substantially the complement of the angle A, whereby the bracket is supported with its upper edgesubstantially perpendicular to the vertical member when the other retainer notch on the lower lug is receiving and capturing the wall portion of the. vertical member.
3. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the lock member is a bifurcated element having a shaft and spaced platelike portions on opposite ends of the shaft, the platelike portions each having matching first and second cam surfaces.
4. Apparatus according to claim 3 wherein the bracket member includes a notch formation extending inwardly from the rear edge of the body portion and having an arcuate portion to receive the shaft .of the lock member for rotation to engage the respective cam formations with the wall portion of the vertical member.