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Publication numberUS3577679 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 4, 1971
Filing dateMay 18, 1970
Priority dateMay 18, 1970
Also published asCA918689A1, DE2121776A1
Publication numberUS 3577679 A, US 3577679A, US-A-3577679, US3577679 A, US3577679A
InventorsEmil M Petterborg
Original AssigneeEmil M Petterborg
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multiple automatically retractable and extensible sliding doors in planar alignment
US 3577679 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS [72] Inventor Emil M. Petterborg 1442 Wright Ave., Sunnyvale, Calif. 94087 Appl. No. 37,983

[22] Filed May 18,1970 [45] Patented May 4,1971

Primary Examinerl(enneth Downey Attorney.lohn .I. beavitt [54] MULTIPLE AUTOMATICALLY RETRACTABLE AND EXTENSIBLE SLIDING DOORS 1N PLANAR ALIGNMENT ABSTRACT: Presented is a sliding door structure for wide openings or for use as a partition to divide a large room into 18 CIaims, 9 Drawing Figs.

49/127 separate rooms and which utilizes separate door panels ar- E05d 13/02 ranged in close juxtaposition while stored and which are 49/127, moved individually from storage and placed in edge-to-edge planar alignment to close an opening when extended.

' I28, I30, I02, 103; 160/197 PATENTEUHAY 41911 I saw 1 OF 5 INVENTOR- EM IL M. PETTERBORG PATENTED-HAY 41971 SHEET 2 OF 5 E. 0 mB ND Wm m E 4/ D. M .u. W M Em A 9 PATENTED MAY 4197] SHEET 3 BF INVENTOR. EMIL M. PETTERBORG gym MULTIPLE AUTOMATICALLY RETRACTABLE AND EXTENSIBLE SLIDING DOORS INPLANAR ALIGNMENT BACKGROUND OF INVENTION.

In times of high building and land costs it is an advantage to design structures containing rooms or halls which may be used for multiple purposes by dividing the area encompassed by the room into smaller areas through use of appropriate partitions. Many different types of partitions, including sliding doors, have been proposed, and many have been used. For instance, U.S. Pat. 2,052,089 teaches the use of a folding partition which is adapted to subdivide a large room and continue a prescribed decorative plan so as to convey the illusion of permanence. Such folding doors however are not only attached one to another but are'carrie'd'by floor-level trackway which constitutes an impediment-to traffic and to maintenance of the' floor area when thedoors'are foldedf Similar folding door structures or partitions are'discl'osed in U.S. Pat. Nos; 2,945,535 and 3,098,519, each of which teaches the use of a multiplicity of folding panelshaving associated edges pivotally interconnected in a manner to permit folding of the multiple panels into a relatively flat pack, or extension of the panels into a partition. There are two main reasons why the panels of such folding partitions are joined along adjacent vertical edges. One reasons is that most such partitions are extended by 'grasping'the leasing partition and walking with it across the room to be divided. Since all panels are attached, successive panels align themselves with the leading panel to form the partition. The second reason is that conventional partition panels are usually fabricated of light material having little inherent rigidity and must be interconnected in order to lend rigidity to the partition when extended. It is one of the objects of the present invention to provide a room dividing means incorporating a multiplicity of separate multiple panels. The main support frame includes a door panel carriage support portion associated with the storage function of the door panels, and a room track portion, formed as an extension of the door panel carriage support portion, and associated with the extension. function of the door panels in the formation of a partition.

Prior to extension of the door panels 'to form a partition, each of the panels is independently suspended in the door panel carriage support portion on an appropriate door panel carriage adapted to move transversely with respect to the room track portion .so as to bring each of the door panels held in storage-successively into alignment with the room track portion. Door panel carriage drivem eans is provided to effect such transverse translationiof thedoor panel carriage, and

door panel drive meansare provided operable to propel each door panel from the door panel carriage as each door panel is brought into planar alignment with the room track portion.

Means are'also provided for propelling each door panel individually across the' opening along the room track portion and for causing lowering of each door as it is placed in proper position in the opening. The carriage drive means and door panel drive means operating in reverse, in conjunction with appropriate control means,,are utilized to effect retraction of the door panels and restorage' thereof in opposed juxtaposed position suspended from the door panel carriage.

oescamrrou or DRAWINGS FIG. I is a perspective view illustrating the room dividing means extended across a room to form a-partition.v Portions of the room dividing means and supporting wall structure are broken away to show, the underlying mechanism.

; A FIG.-2 is a-fragmentary perspective view illustrating the panels which are not pivotally interconnected along their vertical edges.

Another object of the invention is to provide a room dividwhen stored lie in opposed juxtaposition and whichwhen ex tended to form a partition lie in edge-to-edge' planar align-. ment.

A still further object of the invention is to provide a room dividing means incorporating a multiplicity of separate panels automatically extensible to form a partition and retractable for storage purposes by merely pressing a button.

This invention constitutes an improvement over-U.S. Pat. No. 3,425,160 issued Feb. 4, I969 to the inventor named herein. In that patent, each separate door panel of the assembly has to be walked across the room and placed in appropriate position to form the partition. The present invention is an improvement over that system in that each door is automatically moved to its proper position without human intervention. Additionally, in the patent noted, each of the door panels was biased up or down during the closing or opening operation by spring tension that required close calculation and tolerances. In the present structure, the door panels are biased up or down by cam action that results in positive placement of each door panel and eliminates the need to consider the weight of the door in relation to the force required to raise or lower it.

' The invention provides other advantages, some of which, with the foregoing, will become apparent from the following description and the drawings. It is to be understood however that the invention is not limited to the embodiments illustrated and described, as it maybe embodied in various forms within the scope of the appended claims.

BRIEF-SUMMARY oF INVENTION j IN In terms of broad'inclusion, the room dividing means of the invention comprises multiple panels, either opaque or transparent, supporte'd'on a'rnain support frame rigidly at tached to the wall structure of a room and extending across an the main support frame and illustrating also how each separate door panel is suspended from the door panel carriage.

FIG. 4 is a schematic view in plan illustrating the relationship between the room track portion and the door panel carriage support portion of the main frame and the means used for. raising and lowering each door panel at the appropriate time.

FIG. 5 is a schematic view in elevation of the, assembly illustrated in FIG. {showing portions of the doors in phantom lines.

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary plan view of thedoor panel drive means.

FIG. 7 'is a-fragmentaryf plan view .in enlarged scale of the cam assembly used to' control lowering and raising of each door as'it reaches its appropriateposition.

FIG. 8 is aifragmentary sectional view, partly in elevation, takenin the plane indicated by the line 8-8 in FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a wiring diagram illustrating the interrelationship between mechanical and electrical control elements which control the extension and retraction of the multiple door panels.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT I 7 storage compartmenffor thedoo'rs may constitute a cabinet which projects into the room from floor to ceiling, thus sacrificing some of the floor space of the room in the interest of securing greater utility from'ithe room by beingenabled to divide the room into smaller room portions.

dividing structure is installed in an already existing room, only a shallow and narrow beam, appropriately camouflaged, projects from the ceiling.

In the interest of clarity, the description which follows is 'concemed with the type of installation that is made in an already existing room to effect a division thereof into two separate areas Referring to FIG. 1, there is there shown the interior surfaces of opposed parallel walls A and B of a room having a floor C and a ceiling structure D, and which it is desired be divided into two separate rooms by an appropriate partition. It should be understood that while the description which follows relates to the division of a single room into two separate rooms, the invention is just as applicable to an outside wall which separates the interior of a room from the exterior of the house. Thus, the invention may be utilized to separate an outdoor swimming pool area from an indoor family room area so that in the wintertime the family room may be an'enclosed area apart from the swimming pool area, while in the summertimethe two areas may be combined by retraction of the intervening partition to afford unimpeded use of both areas.

As shown in FIG.. I, there is provided a main support frame designated generallyby the numeral 2, extending transversely between the spaced parallel walls A and B, the support frame including an elongated room track portion 4, and a door panel carriage support portion designated generally by the numeral 5, and with the room track portion extending completely across the opening to be spanned by the door panels.

In the interest of brevity, the door panel carriage support portion designated generally by the numeral 5 will be explained in detail with the interrelationship'thereto of the room track portion being explained thereafter, As illustrated in FIG. 2, the carriage support portion 5 is conveniently fabricated from a pair of elongated stringers or rails 6 and 7, conveniently formed from structural iron in the form of a box section, and joined at points intermediate their ends by transversely extending support bars 8, 9, I1, 12 and 13. These bars may conveniently be formed from strap iron and are preferably secured to the stringers by any appropriate means such as welding. The bars 8-13 serve to form a very rigid structure from whichmay be suspended a pair a spaced track members 14 and 16, the track member 14 being disposed adjacent the left end of the carriage support portion or frame, while the track member 16 is disposed across the right end of the stringers 6 and 7.

The track members 14 and 16, as seen in FIG. 2, extend transversely across the space between longitudinal rails 6 and 7, and provide means by which a door panel carriage designated generally by the numeral 17 may be rollably suspended from the carriage support portion in a manner to permit transverse displacement of the door panel carriage with respect to the longitudinal stringers 6 and 7. For this purpose, the track members 14 and 16 preferably constitute a box section one side of which has been split to provide a pair of laterally spaced reentrant flanges I8 the upper edges of which rollably support an appropriate hanger including a pair of wheels 21 and 22 disposed on opposite sides of a hanger bracket 23 disposed between the wheels and depending therefrom so that it projects between the reentrant flanges 18.

The bottom end of the hanger bracket 23 is appropriately welded as at 24 to the upper side 26 of a longitudinally extending door panel storage track 27 having a similar configuration to the track member 14, but extending longitudinally is substantial parallelism with the rails 6 and 7 of the main support frame. It will thus be seen that since the storage track 27 is rollably suspended adjacent each end from the wheels 2i and 22, the storage track may move transversely between the rails so as to appropriately position each of the succeeding storage tracks 28, 29 and 30 in a predetermined relationship with other associated components.

Inasmuch as the storage track sections 27-30 move in unison, it is not necessary that each track be provided with a suspension assembly 21-23. lt'has been found that suitable cross braces in the form of plates 31 may be secured across the storage track sections to retain the track sections rigidly related to each other. Since it is an advantage to store the door panels in as small a space as may 0 conveniently be provided, the storage track sections 27-30 are preferably no wider than the thickness of each panel, and are spaced from one another only an amount sufficient to provide operating clearance between adjacent door panels.

As indicated in FIG. 2, there are preferably four such storage track sections, each section being adapted to support a suspended door panel. Obviously, some room openings may require more or less door panelsand such panels and may be either removed or added to suit the requirements of each application.

Again referring to FIG. 2, it will be seen that the door panel carriage constituting the juxtaposed door=panel storage track sections 2730 are only slightly longer than the rails 6 and 7. The left end of each of the storage track sections is provided with an elongated opening 36 formed in the upper wall 26 for purposes which will hereinafter be explained. The width of the door panel carriage; i.e.,'th e combined width of all of the door panel carriage tracks, is correlated to the transverse'position of the room track portion so that when the door panels 37, 38,

39 and 41 are held in stored position as indicated in phantom lines in FIG. 2, the storage track section 27 and the door 37 which it supports will lie in substantial axial alignment with the room track portion.

Each of the door panels 37through 41 is provided on its upper edge with a wheeled hanger assembly 42 similar to the wheeled hanger assemblies 2l-23 on which the door panel cariiage is rollably suspended. This construction is shown in FIG. 3.

It will thus be seen that with the door panel carriage in the position illustration in FIG. 2, door panel 37 lies in axial alignment with the room track portion so that the door panel may be transferred from the door panel carriage to the room track portion to place each door in its appropriate position. The room track portion preferably comprises a plurality of sections 46, 47, 48 and 49, the track section 49 being rigidly fastened to the ceiling structure D by suitable adjusting screws It will be noted that this fixed section 49 of room track por'- tion is axially aligned with the storagetrack' 27 suspended in the door' panel carriage. Additionally, this track section has a length equal to the widthof the last. door panel .41 to be ejected from the door panel carriage. The remaining track sections 46 48 fill the gap between the end of track section 49 and the inner surface of wall A, and are aligned with the fixed track section 49 but are'supported in a manner to permit raising and lowering of these track sections for purposes which will hereinafter be explained.

As indicated in FIGS. 1 and 5, the adjacent ends of each of the track sections 46, 47 and 48 substantially abut one one another the joint therebetween being reinforced by an overlapping short channel section 51 one end of which is welded to one end of one of the track sections, while the associated end of the other track section is adapted to slide vertically and longitudinally within the overlapping channel section so as to pro vide some flexibility in the system. Transverse stability is provided by an elongated stringer 52, conveniently formed by a 2X4 to which a'facia member 53 may be attached for the purpose of covering the mechanism utilized to support the door panels in extended position.

Each of the track sections 46, 47 and 48 are supported for up-and-down movement by pairs of pulleys 56, 57 and 58, respectively, the track sections being movably suspended by suitable pairs of suspension cables 59, 61 and 62, respectively. As shown in FIG. 1, the suspension pulleys are supported on the ceiling structure D, and the suspension cables run longitudinally over the room track portion to terminate attached to 1 actuation of the carriage to place each of the door panels successively iii planar alignment with theroom track portion. There are preferably three such cam rollers, the upper roller working in conjunction with lever 68 and cable 67 and lever 66 to,control the raising and lowering of the first door-panel 37. The next succeeding cam roller 69' works in conjunction with a second lever 68, also pivoted to the main frame about the same pivot point as the cam lever 68, and having its free end at ached by a cable 71 to one end of the control lever 72,

the upper end of which is in turn connected by cable 73 to the room track portion 47 associated with door-panel-38when it has assumed its final position. In like manner, the third cam roller 69" works in conjunction with a third cam lever 68", similarly pivoted about the same pivot point as the cam lever 68 and having its free end connected by 'an appropriate cable 74 to one end of the control lever 76. The other end of the control lever is connected by a cable 77 to the room track section 78 associated with door panel 39 when it reaches its ulti-' mate position.

Referring to FIG. 2, lateral or transverse displacement of the door panel carriage 17 is effected through an electric motor 81, its drive pinion 82 being connected through an appropriate belt 83 to a pinion 84 on a drive spindle 86. The drive spindle is appropriately joumaled between frame members 6 and 7, and is parallel to a second drive spindle 87 similarlyjoumaled between frame members 6 and 7. Suitable sprockets 88 and 89 on the spindles 86 and 87, respectively, are connected by a chain 91 to effect rotation of the spindles upon selective rotation of the reversible motor 81. As shown, the spindles work in conjunction with complementarily threaded thrust blocks 92 and 93 to effect latetal or transverse displacement of the carriage frame 17 upon rotation of the motor.

Again referring to FIG. 2, it will be seen that in the position of storage of the door panels 37--41, door panel 37 lies in planar alignment with the room track portion 49, in position to be propelled from the door panel carriage 17 upon actuatioir of appropriate control mechanisms. To initiate closing of the door opening with the four panels 37-41, the 'controlcircuit illustrated in FIG. 9 is energized by shifting the doublepole, three position selector switch 101 from its OFF position to its OUT position to effect energization of the reversible motor 103. Energization of this motor effects rotation of friction drive wheels 104, 106, and-107 associated respectively witli ioom track portions 46, 47 and 48. Each of the friction drive wheels is provided with a suitable friction surface 108 which cooperates with a similar friction surface 109 on a plate 112 forming a part of the hanger assembly associated with each of the door panels, and from which each of the door panels is suspended. Rotation of these drive wheels in the appropriate direction while engaged with the upper edge of the doors causes the doors to move outwardly along the room track portions.

To effect ejection of each door panel in turn from the door panel carriage it should be understood that in the retracted.

positions of the doors, the first door 37 lies in proper align- As shown in FIGS. 2 and 5, the drive wheel 117 is associated with the door panel carriage 17 and upon energization of solen'oid 126' engages the friction surface 109 on the door panel. This occurs only when each door panel in its turn is positioned immediately below and in planar alignment with drive wheel 117. To insure such alignment, energization of solenoid 126 is controlled to allow motor 81 to move the door panel carriage to bring each door in tum into alignment. Proper alignment effects closing of normally open switch 128 and energizes solenoid 126 to place the rotating drive wheel 117 in driving attitude. Closing switch 128 completes a circuit through solenoid coil 129, thus unlatching single poledouble throw latchingrelay 130 so that it assumes its RESET position in which no current flows through this switch.

Inasmuch .as drive wheels 116 and 117 are rotatedthrough appropriate drive belts or chains by the motor 103 along with drive wheels 104-107, as soon as the solenoids 126 and127 are energized, rotating drive wheel 117 makes contact throughslot 36 with the upper friction surface 109 carried by the first door panel 37. As soon as contact is made, door panel 37 is ejected from its storage track section and propelled to the left as viewed in FIG. 5 until the hanger assembly of the door panel is transferred onto the room track portion 49 which is fixedly secured to the ceiling structure next adjacent the door panel carriage. In this position of the door it no longer holds switch 128 in a closed condition and it returns to a circuit interrupting normally open condition and deenergizes solenoid 126 to permit drive wheel 117 to be elevated to provide clearance for the second door panel.

As the first door panel 37 progresses to the point where friction wheel 116 engages the friction surface 109 on the door, the door is again propelled to the left as viewed in FIG. 5 until the door passes onto room track portion 48 which, as indicated in FIG. 5 is in axial alignment with room track portion 49. When the door reaches drive wheel 107, this drive wheel continues to propel the door until it engages room track portion 47 where drive wheel 106 propels the door forwardly into engagement with room track portion 46 and drive wheel 104.

IT It will thus be noted that each door panel is continuously propelled along the room track portions, all of whichportions lie in axial alignment during movement of the first door panel across the opening. The spacings of the friction drive wheels is such that each door panel is continuously propelled by at least one drive wheel along the room track portions. When the first door panel to be propelled from the door panel carriage reaches it ultimate position on the far side of the opening, the drive wheel 104 will still be in frictional engagement with the friction surface 109. To insure that door panel 37 makes a tight abutment with the opposing wall surface, and that succeeding doors tightly abut each other, each drive wheel is provided with a friction clutch (not shown) which will maintain some driving force on the door panel so long as the drive wheel is engaged with anassociated door panel, even though the door panel has come to a stop.

It should be noted that as each door panel is propelled across the room opening, it is spaced above the floor so that no restriction is imposed against movement of the door across the opening. As soon as the door reaches its ultimate position against the far wall, as illustrated in FIG. 5., the door 37 momentarily engages a normally open switch 131 which activates motor 81 to effect lateral translation of the door panel carriage 17 to position the next succeeding door 38 for ejection from the carriage frame 17. Such lateral movement of the door panel carriage causes corresponding lateral movement of ment for immediate ejection. Ejection is efiected by a pair of ejector drive wheels 116 and 117 pivotally mounted on the main frame on suitable crank arms 118 and 119,.respectively,

- having lever portions 121 and 122 connected by cables" 123 and 124, respectively,to solenoids 126 and 127. Actuation of the main control switch 101 to eject the door panels-actuator; the solenoids 126 and 127 to immediately shift the drive wheels 116 and 117 from a retracted position to a drive position.

the roller cam assembly 69, pennitting cam lever 68 to move to the right as viewed in FIG. 2, thus releasing tension on cable 67 and permitting control lever 66 to pivot counterclockwise, releasing tension in cable 59 which up to this point has supported the weight of the room track portion 46 and its suspended door panel 36 in a position above the floor.

Upon release of tension in the cable, the attached room track portion 46 is lowered so that the door panel rests on the floor to close the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor. Such downward movement of the door panel and associated room track section 46 disengages the drive wheel 104 from the friction surface 109 associated with that door panel. it should be remembered that during transport of the first door across the room opening, switch 128 is in a normally open condition, thus interrupting the circuit to motor 81. As

soon as door 37 reaches its ultimate position and closes normally open switch 131, reset coil 132 is energized, causing switch 130 to switch from its RESET position to its SET position, thus causing a current flow through switch contact 133. This again completes a circuit to the motor 81 and initiates transverse movement of the carriage to place the second door 38 in position to be ejected. Such transverse movement of the carriage continues until the door 38 effects closing of switch 128, again energizing solenoid 126 to place drive wheel 117 into contact with the friction surface associated with door panel 38, and also energizing the RESET coil 129 so as to switch latching relay 130 into its RESET position. Actuation of these switches in this manner interrupts operation of motor 81.

Door panel 38 is ejected and carried across the room opening in the same manner as discussed above with respect to door panel 37. When door panel 38 reaches its ultimate position, it momentarily closes switch 134, thus energizing coil 132 and again actuating latching relay 130 to its SET position to again reenergize motor 81. Motor 81 remains energized until switch 128 is closed by door panel 39 assuming a position from which it may be ejected from the carriage frame. The

cycle is again repeated as with the two previous doors until door panel 39 momentarily closes normally open switch 136 to again actuate latching relay 130 into its SET position to again energize motor 81 to place the last door panel 41 in position to be ejected.

With respect to door panels 38 and 39, it should of course be understood that these panels are moved across the door opening in raised position. Lowering of each of these panels is effected in turn by lateral translation of the roller cam assembly 69 so as to pennit clockwise pivotal movement of the cam levers 68' and 68", thus relieving tension on cables 73 and 77, respectively, which control lowering and elevation of these two doors.

The fourth door panel 41 is ejected in like manner. Having closed normally open switch 128 by being placed in position to be elected, motor 81 is interrupted as before and solenoid 126 is energized to effect ejection of the fourth door panel from the carriage frame. As this door reaches its ultimate position in abutment with the adjacent trailing edge of the third door 39, door panel 41 efiects opening of normally closed switch 137 so as to interrupt completely the circuit to both motors 81 and 103. The opening of this switch 137 also effects deenergization of solenoids 126 and 127, thus permitting the drive wheels 116 and 117 to be shifted to their respective nondriving elevated positions. Switch 101 may then be moved to its OFF position so as to completely shutdown the circuit.

While door panels 37, 38 and 39 are suspended from room track portions 46, 47 and 48, respectively, each of which is adapted to be lowered or raised by appropriate transverse movement of the cam roller assembly 69, it is preferred that the last room track portion 49, positioned next adjacent the door panel carriage 17, and constituting the first room track section through which each of the door panels 37, 38 and 39 must be propelled to reach their ultimate position, be attached securely to the ceiling structure rather than being suspended for up-and-down movement as the other room track portions.

Since it is preferred that all of the door panels be of the same height, this would result in a gap being left between the bottom of the last door panel 41 and the floor. Accordingly, to close this gap, a retractable and extensible threshold assembly designated generally by the numeral 141 is provided. The retractable and extensible threshold assembly includes a retractable and extensible threshold guide track 142 having an upstanding pin (not shown) on its outboard end 143 adapted to be engaged by a plate 144 attached to the trailing edge of door panel 39, positioned to engage the threshold pin as the trailing edge of the door panel 39 leaves the storage track section from which it is suspended. Thus, movement of door panel 39 across the opening draws with it the threshold guide track so that the threshold guide track lies on the floor in position to form a guide and threshold closing the gap beneath the fourth or last door panel 41 when it has been moved into its final position. Preferably, the bottom edge'of door panel 41 is provided with a channel 146 which straddles the threshold guide track.

Transverse displacement of the door panel carriage places the storage track section from which the door panel 37 is suspended a predetermined distance beyond the adjacent room track portion 49, the distance being controlled by the amount of movement required of the door panel carriage to bring the last door panel 41 into axial alignment with the room track portion 49. To insure that the door panel carriage does not move beyond this position, and to condition the control circuit so as to require actuation of switch 101 to its IN position to effect and reverse lateral movement of the door panel carriage 17, a limit switch 151 is provided adapted to be engaged by the storage track section associated with door panel 37 when the door panel carriage has reached its outermost position.

To effect automatic retraction of the door panels into their juxtaposed stored attitude, the position selector switch 101 is shifted to its 1N position. This conditions" the control circuit illustrated in FIG. 9 by energizing the coils 161 and 162 of relays 163 and 164, the former controlling operation of motor 81 and the latter controlling operation of motor 103, so that these motors will operate in a reverse direction, causing reverse rotation of the drive wheels 104, 106, 107, 116 and 117,50 as to propel each door, in proper timed sequence, to the right as viewed in FIGS. 1 and 5.

As the retraction sequence begins it should be remembered that the door panel carriage is in position to receive door panel 41, this being the first door panel to be retracted. Thus, shifting the position of switch 101 to the 1N position causes current to flow through normally closed switch 166 which is actuated or opened by the last door (door panel 37) to close' down the system when all doors have been retracted. Current also flows through normally closed switch 167 which functions to limit movement of the carriage frame in a transverse direction, thus shutting down motor 81 when the carriage frame has moved laterally to place the carriage frame in position to receive door panel 37. Current also flows through relay 163, through switch 168, but is stopped by the open contacts of relay 136 and switch 128. Thus, during the IN mode of operation, initially when switch 101 is transferred to the IN position, only motor 103 is energized so as to effect rotation of drive wheels 104, 106, 107, 116 and 117 in a direction to propel the door panels to the right as viewed in FIG. 5. In this respect, it should be remembered that as soon as solenoid 127 is energized, drive wheel 116 superposed over door panel 41 is lowered into driving position in relation to the door panel 41 and starts the door panel 41 moving to the right into engagement with the storage track section 26. Movement of this door in this direction brings it into contract with the normally open contact of switch 128, closing this switch so as to energize solenoid 126 and thus placing driving wheel 117 in driving relation with the door. The door is carried into full suspension with the track storage section 26, and when fully inserted, actuates microswitch 168 so as to interrupt the through switch 128, thus deenergizing solenoid 126 which retains drive wheel 117 in contact with the door panel, pennitting this drive wheel to be raised to permit clearance therebelow for lateral translation of the carriage frame. Actuation of switch 168 simultaneously energizer motor 81, causing the carriage frame to be transported laterally with respect to the main frame so as to position the next succeeding track storage section 28 in position to receive doorpanel 39. This lateral movement of the carriage. frame causes switch 128 to return to its normally open condition, actuates switch 168 so that it returns to its Lateral movement of the carriage frame in the IN mode car- I ries with it cam plate 132 the lobes of which are positioned to wipe against blade 134 of microswitch 136. 'Cam plate 132 cooperates with microswitch 136to properly position each storage track section with the adjacent room track section 49 to bring each storage track section in turn into alignment with the room traelt section so that each door panel may pass from the room track section 49 without impediment into the properly positioned storage track section. Thus, referring to FIG. 2, when storage track section 17 lies axially aligned with room track section 49, the blade 134 of microswitch 136 is held depressed to hold this switch in an OFF position in which no current flows through switch 136 to motor 81. As previously explained, motor 81 is initially energized by current flowing through contact 168 of switch 168 and switch 128, held in closed position by impingement of door panel 41.

However, as the carriage frame starts to move, switch 128 immediately opens and this would nonnally interrupt the operation of motor 81. However, initial movement of the carriage frarne has caused the switch blade 134 of switch 136 to shift into open circuit condition in which the circuit is continued to motor 81 through the now normally closed contacts of switch 136. Motor 81 continues to carry the carriage frame laterally laterally until the switch blade 134 is again depressed by the next successive cam lobe of am plate 132. At this point. the next succeeding storage track section 28 will be in axial alignment with the room track section 49 and power to motor 81 will be interrupted to permit insertion of door panel 39 intothe associated storage track section. The cycle is repeated until each of the doors has been inserted into its appropriate storage track section within the storage compartment.

It should be noted that displacement of the door panel carriage is now in the opposite direction from which it moved when the door panels were moving out of storage into their position across the door opening. As soon as the first door panel 41 to be stored has reached its stored position, and transvei se movement of the carriage commences, the cam roller assembly 69 moves with the door panel carriage in a direction to successively pivot the cam levers 68", 68' and 68 counterclockwise to successively impose tension on cables 74,

71 and 67, thus causing each of the room track portions 48, 47 and 46, respectively, to be raised into a position where the sociated drive wheels 104, 106 and 107 cause these doors to be successively driven into the door panel carriage.

It should be understood that each door panel reaches its fully retracted position before the next succeeding door panel is raised from the floor and caused to move inwardly toward the door panel carriage. Additionally, it should be understood that as soon as door panel 41 has been retracted irito its stored position movement of door panel 39 to the right as viewed iii FIGS. 1 and 5 causes automatic retraction of the extensible threshold guide track, thus permitting unimpeded retraction of the succeeding door panels. Retraction of the threshold guide track is effected by a counterweight 171, connected to cable 172 working around pulleys 173 and 174 and connected to the associatedend of the threshold guide track in any suitable manner. Thus, as door panel 39 is retracted, the counter weight pulls the threshold guide track ahead of the door panel 39.

From the foregoing it will be apparent that the door closure means of the invention may be applied both to old construction and to new construction to provide completely automatic opening and closi'rig of a wide opening, or to provide ready placement of a partition to divide a large room into two smaller rooms. it should also be understood that the invention iscapable of being manufactured in modular units which may be purchased in prepacked condition and assembled by a relatively inexperienced home owner without undue ditl'lculty.

Having thus described the invention, what is claimed to be novel and sought to be protected by letters patent is as follows:

1 claim:

1. A multiple automatically retractable and extensible door structure adapted to support doors in planar alignment in an opening arranged to be closedby extension of the doors and door panel carriage support portion and adapted to extend across a room opening;

b. a door panel carriage movably associated with said support frame for movement in a direction transverse to said room track portion of the of the main support frame;

c. a plurality of separate door panels movably suspended from said door panel carriage and adapted to be moved successively into planar alignment with said room track portion of said main support frame;

d. door panel carriage drive means associated with said main support frame operable to effect transverse movement of said door panel carriage to effect planar alignment of each said door panel with said r'oom track portion of said main support frame;

e. door panel drive means associated with said main support frame operable to selectively propel each door panel from said door panel carriage and along said room track portion of the main frame; and

f. control means associated with said main support frame and operable to automatically control movement of said separate door panels from a retracted position in which said door panels are all suspended in said door panel carriage to an extended position in which all said doors are suspended from said room track portion of the main frame in planar alignment or returned from said extended position of said doors to their retracted juxtaposed position suspended on said door panel carriage.

2. The combination according to claim 1, in which said room track portion includes a plurality of track sections corresponding to the number of door panels.

3. The combination according toclaim 1, in which said room track portion includes a plurality of track sections, at least one of which is rigidly fixed and the remainder of which are movably mounted for up and down movement to lower a door panel onto the floor when it has reached its ultimate position and raise a door panel from the floor prior to retraction thereof.

4. The combination according to claim 1, in which said main support frame includes a room track support portion su perimposed over said room track portion coextensive therewith and constituting an extension of the door panel carriage support portion.

5. The combination according to claim 1, in which said main support frame is rigidly secured to the enclosing structure defining the opening which the door panels are adapted to close.

6. The combination according to claim 1 in which said door panel carriage includes a plurality of juxtaposed storage track members each adapted to support a sliding door panel in retracted position. c

7. The combination according to claim' 1, in which said door panel carriageis movable intermittently in predetermined increments in a direction transverse to the direction of movement of sliding doors to close or open said opening.

8. The combination according to claim 1, in which said door panel carriage includes a plurality of juxtaposed storage track members each adapted to support a sliding door panel in retracted position, and detent means on said carriage operative to successively align each storage track member with said room track portion so that sliding door panels may move from said room track portions to said storage track members.

9. The combination according to claim 1, in which each said door panel is individually suspended from said door panel carria e.

1 0. The combination according toclaim 1, in which each said door panel is individually suspended from a storage track member and is rollably supported thereon to facilitate displacement of said door panel longitudinally of said storage track member.

'11. The combination according to claim I, in which said carriage drive means includes at least one drive spindle rotatably joumaled on said main support frame and extending transversely thereacross, means interconnecting said drive spindle and said door panel carriage to effect translation of said door panel carriage laterally with respect to the main frame and longitudinally of said drive spindle upon rotation thereof, and reversible drive means for effecting rotation of said spindle 12. The combination according to claim 1, in which said carriage drive means includes reversible electric motor means operably connected to said door panel carriage to effect transverse movement thereof to bring each said door panel into planar alignment with said room track portion, means operative upon attainment of such planar alignment to interrupt said reversible drive means, and means for interrupting said reversible drive means when all door panels have been retracted.

13. The combination according to claim 1, in which said door panel drive means includes a first drive wheel operable to move each door panel from its storage track member onto said room track portion, and a plurality of drive wheels spaced along said room track portion and engaging said door panels to propel said door panels along said room track portion.

14. The combination according to claim I, which said door panel drive means includes a plurality of door panel drive wheels rotatably disposed along said room track portion for selective rotation in a direction to effect either extension or retraction of said door panels, and drive means interconnecting said door panel drive wheels and selectively operable to effect rotation thereof.

15. The combination according to claim 1, in which said door panel drive means includes a first drive wheel operable to move each door panel from its storage track member onto said room track portion when brought into driving engagement with each said door panel, means mounted on said support frame and operable to effect engagement of said first drive wheel successively with each door panelas it is aligned with said room track portion to move the door panel onto the room track portion, and drive means associated with said room track potion including a selectively reversible motor and a plurality of door panel drive wheels for selective rotation in a direction to effect extension or retraction of said door panels along said ro'om track portion.

16. The combination accordingto claim 1, in which said control means for effecting extension and retraction of said multiple door panels includes a cam assembly operatively interposed between said main support frame and said door panel carriage to effect lowering of each door panel onto the floor when said door panel has reached its proper position along said room track portion.

17. The combination according to claim 1, in which said control means for effecting extension and retraction of said multiple door panels includes a plurality of limit and microswitches operable to monitor the position of said door panels when in retracted position and suspended from said door panel carriage so as to align each said door panel successively with said room track portion when said doors are being extended, and effect movement of said door panel carriage intermittently as each door panel is retracted and suspended from said door panel carriage during retraction of said door panels.

18. The combination according to claim 1, in which said control means operable to effect extension and retraction of said multiple door panels includes circuit means to control said door panel drive means in proper sequence to impose a driving force on each separate door panel as it moves from said storage track member along said room track portion.

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Referenced by
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US4642947 *Aug 21, 1985Feb 17, 1987Advanced Equipment CorporationOperable wall
US4998577 *Oct 31, 1989Mar 12, 1991Toyo Exterior Kabushiki KaishaDevice for stabilized opening and closing of a sliding panel
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US8087444Dec 6, 2007Jan 3, 2012Won-Door CorporationMovable partitions with lateral restraint devices and related methods
US8235085Apr 13, 2011Aug 7, 2012Won-Door CorporationMethods of displacing movable partitions including a lateral restraint
US8365796Apr 12, 2010Feb 5, 2013Won-Door CorporationMethods, apparatuses, and systems for movable partitions
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US8757238May 20, 2013Jun 24, 2014Won-Door CorporationMethod, apparatus and system for controlling a movable partition
US8763672Jun 27, 2011Jul 1, 2014Won-Door CorporationMethods, apparatuses, and systems for driving a movable partition with a lead drive box
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US8899299Sep 16, 2011Dec 2, 2014Won-Door CorporationLeading end assemblies for movable partitions including diagonal members, movable partitions including leading end assemblies and related methods
US8944136Jan 28, 2013Feb 3, 2015Won-Door CorporationFolding partitions having adjoining panels and related methods
Classifications
U.S. Classification49/127
International ClassificationE05F15/14, E05D15/06
Cooperative ClassificationE05Y2201/674, E05Y2900/142, E05Y2201/406, E05F15/143, E05D15/0608
European ClassificationE05F15/14D2, E05D15/06B1