US 3577645 A
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United States Patent  Inventor Walter S. Zurawski 7500 N. Elmhurst Road, Box 263, Bensenville, Ill. 60106 [2|] Appl. No. 843,624  Filed July 22, 1969  Patented May 4, 1971  LEVELING APPARATUS FOR INSTALLATION OF RAISED FLOORS 10 Claims, 8 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl 33/209, 33/207, 33/41, 33/189  Int. Cl G0lc 5/04  Field of Search 33/209 [5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 547.864 10/ l 895 Sherman 33/209 6/1917 1/1943 3/1952 2/l96l 8/1962 l0/l965 Husby 3 3/209 X Liverman 33/209 Heath 3 3/209 Cowan 33/209 Maloof 33/209 Paarma 33/209 Primary Examiner-[canard Forman Assistant ExaminerDennis A. Dearing Attorney-Neil M. Rose ABSTRACT: Apparatus for installing raised floors by means of adjusting leveling jacks, which apparatus includes a leveling head with a sight glass connected to a liquid reservoir, rotatable support shaft for the head having a base adapted for driving engagement with a floor support jack and a rolling contact marker for scribing a level line for installing a drop ceiling.
PATENTED am 41971 3577.645
SHEET 1 BF 2 Fae sum 2 OF 2 7 7 z 7 m J p. M k 7 5 i T f 8 H [lb 0% II E I n l a I l l II I! I F I 4 w 5 f w 6 v w i r i M2 M5 fi w h f a 4 0 f w j W Z3 j PATENTEUHAY' 41971 BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Along with the development of the computer and other business machines which are used and-installed in conventionally constructed office buildings, there has developed a need for special platforms or. raised floors on which these machines may be supported. The reason for supporting the machines of these raised platforms of floors is to provide away for connecting the substantial electrical services and air conditioning services to the machines without obstructing the area around the machines or breaking through the floors and walls of the buildings in ,which they are installed. Another reason for using the raised platform or floor to support such machines is the fact that it is desirable to have a very level support-while in many older office buildings the floors are uneven or sloping.
Because of this unevenness in the floors of many offices and the need for having the raised floor'level, it is important that the support means for the raised floor include some form of adjustment so that the unevenness in the subfloor will not be reflected in unevenness in the raised floor. This adjustment means conventionally takes the form of screw-type jacks which are used to support the panels of the raised floor. One form of installation used frequently includes floor panels which are 2 feet square supported by an adjustable jack posltioned where four of the panels come together. Interlocking means such as upwardly extending pins extend through openings in the comers of the panels to prevent rotation of the jack and to prevent displacement of the panels with respect to the upper supporting portion of the jack.
As is quite evident from the above description, there are a largenu'mber of adjustable jacks involved in almost any raised floor installation. It is usual for the installer of such floors to use a transit as well as an elongated straight edge to level all of the jacks with respect to a selected reference level. Because of the large number of jacks'and the fact that they are positioned in a number of different rows, it is difficult and time consuming for the installer to adjust the jacks to the desired accuracy or degree of level. In the normal procedure, a crew of three men is used to perfon'n the function of leveling the floor jacks; one man is required to operate the transit, another to hold the sighting rod on the jack being adjusted, and a third man is required to adjust the jack height. It would be desirable for the installer to be equipped with means forone man to quickly and simply adjust each of the jacks to the exact reference level. I
Another problem encountered in the installation of such raised floors is that of establishing the reference height to which the other jacks are to be leveled. Since the specifications or plans normally set forth a minimum clearance between the raised floor and the subfloor, the installer must establish the high point on the floor to be sure there will be the minimum required clearance throughout. The reference level is then established by setting the jack positioned at the high point to the minimum clearance provided in the plans. The installer must also check to determine that the range of adjustment on the jacks is such that a jack positioned at the low point on the floor will elevate high enough to reach the reference level established at the high point on the floor. This required that the installer determine both the high point and low point in the floor before beginning with the installation SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention is concerned with means for quickly and accurately adjusting the jacks for supporting a raised floor to-a uniform reference level. The means for, accomplishing this leveling consistsof a leveling head having a sight glas's'which is connected byv a flexible to a liquid reservoir. The leveling head is supported by a swivel or pivotal connection to a support column. At the base of the support column there is provided a foot which is adapted to drivingly engagethe top or floor sup porting portion of the jack. In utilizing the invention, the
reservoir is placed at a convenient height so that the liquid in the reservoir moves through the flexible tube to a visible point on the sight glass when the foot of the support column is resting on a support which has been selected as the reference level. The sight glass is provided with a bleed valve at its upper end to equalize pressure therein and an adjustable index marker is mounted on the head for vertical slidable movement with respect to the sight glass. When the apparatus is positioned on the reference level, the index marker moves to a position in alignment with the top of the liquid column.
After the index marker has been set to the reference level,
the installer moves the apparatus to an adjacent jack, and holding the column and head vertically, engages the foot with the top of the jack. Then, while retaining the sight glass facing the operator, the column is rotated causing the foot of the support column to rotate the jack up or down depending on the direction necessary to cause the top of the liquid column to become aligned with the previously adjusted index marker. When the' liquid column is so adjusted, the second jack has then been broughtinto level with the first jack or reference level. The operator then proceeds to level additional support jacks in'a similar manner. Because of the high degree of accuracy, it has been found to be satisfactory to use the leveling apparatus on every third or fourth jack and level the intermediate jacks through the use of a straight edge laid across the previously adjusted jack. Through the use of the invention it is very simple to quickly level all the jacks to within one thirtysecond'inch of the reference level or even more precisely if desired.
' It will also be evident that the leveling apparatus of the present invention provides a simple means of establishing the high and low points of the subfloor so that the necessary minimum clearances may be maintained between the subfloor and the raised floor.
There are other leveling applications in which the invention is also useful. These include establishing a level line around the wall of a room for a dropped or lowered ceiling. In such a case, the reference'level is established and taken'from the top of the apparatus rather than from the bottom. Similarly, the inventionmay be used to establish a plumb or level line in connection with the installation of ceramic tile or the like.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide improved leveling apparatus for use in installing raised floors, lowered ceilings and the like. I
It is a further object of the invention to provide an improved means for adjusting the support jacks for a raised floor to a selected reference level.
' It is an additional object of the present invention to provide improved leveling means which may be used to adjustably position floor jacks or to establish a reference level for a lowered ceiling.
It is still a further object of the present invention to provide improved leveling apparatus including a leveling head interconnected to a support column by a swiyel'means and provided with a sight glass which is connected to a liquid reservoir by a flexible tube.
Further objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent as this description proceeds, as will various modifications and changes which can be made to the structure of the device without departing from the spirit of the present invention. Such additional objects; advantages, modifications, and changes are intended to be covered by the scope of the appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS I of this complete specification'and wherein:
FIG. I is a perspective view of the leveling apparatus of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is ap'erspective view of an alternative form of the invention;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary view taken on line 6-6 of FIG. 1',
' FIG. 7 is a front elevational view of the leveling head of the apparatus of FIG. I, and
FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of the leveling head of FIG. 7.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawings, there is shown leveling apparatus referred to generally by reference numeral 11 and which includes a leveling head 13, a support column 15, and a reservoir 17. One of the purposes or functions of the leveling apparatus is that of adjusting to a uniform or reference height a series of jacks which serve to support a raised floor. Shown in FIG. 1 in position beneath the leveling apparatus II is a jack 18 which consists of a base 19 from which there extends upwardly a threaded shaft 20.
The threaded shaft 20 receives an internally recessed post 22 which is connected at its upper end to a floor supporting portion or plate 24. The post 22 and plate 24 form an adjustable head 26 of the jack 18. The post 22 at its lower end engages an adjustable nut 30 which is threadedly received on the shaft 20. The upper face of nut 30 is formed with grooves which are engaged by ribs on the bottom of post 22 so that they rotate together. The floor supporting portion 24 is designed to engage and support the comers of four square panels used in forming a raised floor. In order to tie together the raised floor and to insure proper engagement between the panels and the supporting portion 24, there are provided a plurality of upwardly extending projections 28, each of which I engages an opening in the comer of the floor panel to prevent displacement of the panel with respect to the supporting portion 24. There are four projections 28 which are equally spaced around the periphery of the portion 24 to engage openings in the corners of four floor panels supported by the jack I8.
To adjust the height of the supporting portion 24 of the jack 18, the jack head 26 is rotated with respect to shaft 20 thus screwing the nut 30 and the head of the jack up or down to the desired vertical position.
Although there are several commercially available types of raised floor supporting jacks, they all have in common the functional characteristic that the floor supporting portion is rotated to adjust the height of the jack. In FIG. 3, there is shown an alternative type of commercial jack having an X or cross-shaped top portion SI and adjacent floor supporting portions 32. In this type of arrangement, the adjacent comers of the four floor panels rest on the recessed floor supporting portions 32 while the comers are cut out to receive the X portion 31.
g In order to engage and drive the alternative forms of the floor supporting jacks shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the support column 15 is provided with a foot 34 which is rigidly secured thereto and extends transversely with respect to the axis of the support-column 15. As is best shown in FIG. 1, the foot 34 is of suitable size to fit between the projections 28 so that the head 26 of the jack may be driven or rotated by simply rotating the support column 15. Similarly, the alternative form of the floor jack shown in FIG. 3 includes a foot 34 which has been provided with drive pins or protuberances 35 which engage in the openings or cutout portions between the cross arms of the X portion 31 to thereby drive the head of the jack shown in FIG. 3
Tuming now to the construction of the leveling head 13 as is best shown in FIGS. 5, 6, 7, and 8 there is providedan elongated body portion 37 which includes a centrally extending passageway 38 having a tubular member 39 received therein.
The tubular member 39 is formed at its lower end with an enlarged portion 40 which engages the lower end of the body portion 37. Received around the portion 40 is a coupling member or a swivel 42 which extends below the end of the enlarged portion 40 and is received over the upper end of the support column 15. In order to couple the leveling head 13 and the support column I5 so that one may be rotated with respect to the other, coupling member 42 is provided with a bearing ball 44 which is carried by threaded ball support 45. The interior surface of the ball 44 engages and is received within a groove 46 which extends'around the periphery of the support column 15. Thus, the ball 44 prevents the leveling head 13 from being removed from the end of the column 15 while, by virtue of the engagement of ball 44 with groove 46, the coupling member 42 permits the leveling head 13 to rotate with respect to the column 15. 4
7 coupling member 42 assembled to the top of column 15.
At the upper end of the body portion 37, a collar 48 is positioned adjacent to and in engagement with the end of tubular member 39. A setscrew 49 threadedly received on collar 48 is employed to secure the collar 48 to an interior shaft 50. The shaft 50 extends completely through the tubular member 39 and extends above the leveling head 13, and at its lower end is telescoped within the column IS. The purpose of shaft 50 will be explained below, but it is noted that shaft 50 may be stored in a telescoped position or removed from leveling head 13 when apparatus 11 is used in the normal leveling of floor jacks.
On the front face of the body portion 37, there is mounted a glass tube or sight glass 52 which is mounted by means-of a lower clamping member 53 and a normally closed valve member 54. The valve member 54 includes a spring biased ball valve which is biased to a closed position in which the ball seals the passage connecting the upper. end of the glass tube 52 to the atmosphere. A manually actuable valve release 55 is provided to displace the valve and vent the upper end of the glass tube 52 when desired. At the lower end of the sight glass 52, a flexible elongated hose 56 is connected thereto'by means of a coupling member 57. The other end of this hose 56, as is best shown in FIG. I, is connected to the liquid reservoir 17 which consists of an open topped container 58.
Adjacent the sight glass 52, the body portion 37 is formed with a vertically extending scale 59, as is best shown in FIG. 7. Straddling the body portion 37 and the sight glass 52 is a channel-shaped indicator member 60 which has sidewalls extending along the sides of body portion 37 and a front wall 62. The front wall 62 is formed with an aperture 63 and an index marker 64 as shown in FIG. 7. When the indicator member 60 is positioned on the leveling head 13, the scale 59, and'the sight glass 52 are visible through the aperture 63. Thus, the indicator member 60 may be selectively positioned at any selected scale reading or aligned with the top of the liquid level column as may appear in the sight glass 52. The sidewalls 61 of the indicator member are formed with inwardly extending vertical guide rails 65 which are received within vertically extending guide slots 66. A manually actuable locking means pressure changes. In order to prevent leakage through the breather opening 72 during transport of the apparatus, a porous styrofoam barrier 73 is secured to the inner surface of the closure member 71 across the opening 72 During actual use of the device, the cap 71 would be completely removed to expose the liquid within reservoir container 58 to atmospheric pressure.
The elongated hose 56 is connected to a fitting 74 which is in fluid connection with the bottom of the reservoir container 58. ,As shown in FIG. 1, the reservoir 17 is positioned on a suitable flat member, such as a table top of a cabinet although a special supporting tripod may be used.
In use, the reservoir is filled with a colored liquid and positioned at a convenient height so that the level of the liquid is approximately at eye level.- The leveling apparatus 1 l is placed on the first floor supportingjack'which has been adjusted to a A reference level. The release valve 55 is opened to vent the sight glass 52 and permit the liquid with reservoir 58 to pass through the tube 56 and seek the same level in the sight glass 52 as in the reservoir 58. The indicator marker 60 is then released by loosening the screw 67 and the pointer 64 is adjusted so as to be at the liquid level as shown in FIG. 6.
The apparatus 11 is then moved to another floor supporting jack l8, and the foot 34 is again engaged with the floor panel supporting portion 24. While holding the leveling head 13 facing the operator, the column 15 is rotated thereby causing the jack head 26 to move upwardly or downwardly. By this means, the jack 18 is adjusted until the liquid level in the sight glass 52 is aligned with the index marker 64. At that point, the jack being adjusted has its floor supporting portion 24 adjusted to exactly the same level as the reference jack which is used in originally setting the indicator member 60. The locking member may be set to secure thejack head 26 in its adjusted position. The operator then moves on to another jack, Thus quickly and efficiently leveling all the jacks to the selected reference level. As was mentioned above, the apparatus 11 need be used only on every third or fourth jack in a line since the intermediate ones can be accurately adjusted with a straight edge.
lt should be noted that the support column 15 is formed by two telescoping members 80 and 81 which have adjustment means 82 which permit the leveling head 13 to be positioned in different height positions depending on the height of the jack being adjusted so that the head 13 may be positioned at eye level for the operator.
in addition, the apparatus 11 is adaptable for use without 1 the support column 15 when it is used to establish a level line for a drop ceiling or a plumb line for installing wall tile. In such instances, the retaining screw 47 is loosened and the leveling head 13 is removed from the support column 15 and used as shown in FIG. 2. The support end of the shaft is provided with a marker or scribe 84. By maintaining the liquid level on the sight guage on a constant level, the leveling head 13 may be moved along a wall while scribing a level line 85 for use in installing a drop ceiling. The set screw 49 may be used to rotate the rod 50 to scribe the mark on the wall. Similarly, the leveling head may be used for scribing a horizontal plumb line 86 for use in installing ceramic tile. The indicator member 60 is provided with additional index markers 87 which extend ad-. jacent to the wall when leveling head 13 is laid against the wall as shown in FIG. 2. In all such applications and in connection with the installation of the raised floors, the apparatus 11 has the advantage over a transit in that the leveling may be done around comers 'or in separate rooms as may be required in some instances.
While there has been shown and described one embodiment of the present invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that numerous changes and modifications may occur and it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such changes and modifications which fall within the'true spirit and scope of the present invention.
1. Apparatus for use in the installation of raised floors on adjustable jacks which are positioned at spaced intervals on an existing floor and which are adjusted to a common height to provide a level support for the raised floor, comprising a leveling head including a vertically extending body portion, said body portion supporting a vertically extending sight glass having a pressure relief valve at its upper end and being connected to an elongated flexible hose at its lower end, an indicator member having an index marker and being mounted for vertical sliding movement on said body portion with said index marker positioned adjacent to said sight glass for marking the level of a liquid in said sight tube, manually adjustable means for releasably locking said indicator member against vertical movement on said body member, a liquid reservoir connected to the end of said hose remote from said sight glass and adapted to be selectively positioned at the height of said head to supply liquid to said hose and said sight glass, a support column extending coaxially with said leveling head from the bottom thereof, swivel means interconnecting said head and said column, a support foot at the bottom of said column, said foot having means for rotatable driving engagement with the upper adjustable supporting portion ofa raised floor supporting jack, said support column and foot being adapted to drive said jack while said head remains in a rotatably fixed position.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said reservoir comprises a container having a filling opening at the top and having said hose connected to the bottom thereof to permit liquid to flow between said reservoir and said sight glass, and closure means for said opening permitting'air to pass therethrough but obstructing passage of liquid.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said pressure relief is provided with a manually actuable means on said head for selectively opening the interior of the top of said sight glass to atmospheric pressure.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 including a level line indicating means connected to said body portion, said indicating means comprising a tube telescoped and slidably received in said body portion and extending from the top thereof, manually controlled means for locking said indicating means in any selected vertical position, marking means on said indicating means for scribing level indicating marks on a wall.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said body portion is detachably connected to said support column whereby said apparatus is used with said support column for installation of raised floors and with said support column detached when marking level lines on walls for dropped ceilings and the like.
'6. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said tube comprising said level line indicating means is telescoped within said support column as well as said body portion, the interior of said body portion including a tubular member which is detachably secured .to a coupling member at its lower end, said coupling member receiving in telescoping relationship therein the upper end of said support column to pivotally support said leveling head with respect to said column.
7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said support foot means for drivingly engaging the supporting portions of floor supporting jacks comprises driving means on said foot extending radially of the axis of said support column for interengagement with vertically extending lugs on a supporting portion of a floor supporting jack.
8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said support foot means for drivingly engaging the supporting portions of floor supporting jacks comprises projections on said foot displaced from the axis of said support column and extending downwardly of said foot for driving engagement in recesses in a supporting portion of a floor supportingjack.
9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said indicator member comprises a channel-shaped member having vertically extending side portions straddling said body portion and a front portion interconnecting said side portions and overlying said sight glass, vertically extending guide slots on said body portion, protuberances on said side portions engaging said slots to guide said indicator member in vertical movement with respect to said body portion, one of said protuberances being thr'eadedly engaged in one of said side portions whereby said one protuberance may be advanced into locking engagement with said body portion, an an opening in said front portion of said indicator member through which said sight glass is visible.