US 3597889 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent |72] Inventor Antonio Lo Nigro 192 Brooks St., East Boston, Mass. 02128 [2 ll Appl. No. 864,794  Filed Oct. 8, I969  Patented Aug. 10, I971  JUNCTION BOX SUSPENSION UNIT FOR SUSPENDED CEILINGS 1 Claim, 3 Drawing Figs.
52 u.s.c1 52/28, 248/57, 248/3 43, 52/495  lnt.Cl [104g 17/18  Field of Search 52/28,' 495; I i 248/343,'57,2l4
[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,622,087 3/1927 Calderwood 248/343 |,709,6l4 4/1929 Fadell 248/343 2,487,645 248/214 X l 1/1949 Gershon 2,670,919 3/1954 Esoldi 52/28X 2,878,028 3/1959 Long.... 248/346X 3,2l4,l26 l0/l965 Roosw. 248/57X 3,309,053 3/l967 Baker...... 248/214X 3,343,310 9/l967 Netzetal 52/28 Primary Examiner-Frank L Abbott Assistan1ExaminerSam D. Burke Anorneys-Clarence A. OBrien and Harvey B. Jacobson ABSTRACT; A suspension unit for installation in an openwork or grid-type suspension ceiling and which can be relied upon to support a fixture-hanging junction box. It comprises a one-piece strap-iron supporting bar which is adapted to bridge the space between a pair of the usual inverted T-irons. The respective outer end portions feature right angularly positioned downwardly opening hooks which are hooked over the respectively cooperable T-irons and are held in place by accessible setserews. The straight flat't'aced median portion of the bar serves to adjustably mount a hanger clip which is carried'by the junction box.
Patented Aug. 10, 1971 3,597,889
v suspended ceilings such as are currently in widespread use in modern building structures, for example, large public buildings such as shopping centers, theaters, garages and the like and has to do, more specifically stated, with means which will facilitate installation of junction boxes of a type which are capable of reliably hanging lighting fixtures and appliances which are of considerable weight.
One of the disadvantages attending suspended ceilings has to do with the fact that the insertable and removable ceiling panels (blocks or tiles) are structurally such that they cannot be depended upon to support heavy fixtures. The most commonly used fixture is a lightweight flush mounted or recessed type which is placed in the position ofa selected ceiling panel. Under prevailing circumstances the choice and type of availablyusable lighting fixtures and appliances is such that the results desired cannot be achieved. It follows that it is the general object of the instant invention to pave the way for the adoption and use of an unlimited choice of lighting fixtures and appliances of any desirable shape, size or design ranging from simple low-price type to expensiveornamental chandeliers capable of harmonizing with any prevailing decor and at the same time to unhesitatingly cope with weight problems.
The broad ideas of providing special facilities in a suspended ceiling framework with a view toward affording balanced support means for electric lighting fixtures is not new in the field of endeavor under consideration. For state of the art purposes the reader can, if so desired, check the W. H. Fuss, US. Pat. No. 2,963,25 l. The Fuss patent has to do with suspension means supported on a ceiling framework for suspending electric outlet boxes, lighting fixtures and the like.
For further background purposes and because it may be helpful in evaluating the scope of the herein disclosed invention attention is invited to a U8. Pat. to J. Budnick et al. No. 3,104,087 which pertains to means for supporting electrical fixtures. It will be noted that the Budnick et al. patent involves a structural adaptation which cannot be successfully used for and in conjunction with suspension ceilings. In fact it is designed to be attached to wooden joists by way of flanges which are nailed or otherwise properly secured to the joists. Then, too, it will be noted that although the junction box is shown clipped to the bar hanger, the latter is of undesirable extensible and retractable construction not needed or necessary in openwork or grid-type suspension ceiling frames.
An object of the present invention is to structurally, functionally and in other practical ways improve upon prior art lighting fixture support means and, in so doing, to advance the art and to provide a junction box suspension unit which well serves the purposes for which it'has been perfected and successfully used.
Briefly the herein disclosed concept relates to a prefabricated adapter unit which, specifically construed, comprises a length of flat-faced strap iron which is of one-piece construction and provides a substantially rigid supporting bar. This bar is of predetermined accurate length proportional to the space which is to be bridged thereby, said strap providing a bar of requisite rigidity to accommodate a slotted hanger clip, that is, a clip which is fastened to or otherwise carried by a slotted top wall of a conventional-type junction box. The respective end portions of the strap iron or bar are provided with downwardly offset bent portions. Each bent portion is L.- shaped and has a horizontal part united with a right angularly disposed downwardly opening U-shaped terminal end portion which defines a bar mounting and attaching hook. The respective hooks are fitted over the vertical flanges of customary T- irons which are employed in the ceiling frame. 'lheouter leg or bill portion of the hook is equipped with a setscrew which permits the hook to be securely anchored.
Stated more explicitly, the body portion of the strap iron or bar is of requisite length and straight from end to end and become subsequently apparent reside in the details of con struction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a view in perspective showing several inverted T- irons in phantom lines such as are embodied in an openwork or grid-type suspension ceiling frame and showing the im' proved attachable and detachable prefabricated adapter unit and how it is constructed and preferably used.
FIG. 2 is a view with parts in section and elevation on an enlarged scale showing two T-irons in section and showing the unit partly in section and elevation partly in and how it is mounted to support the clip-retained junction box.
And FIG. 3 is a section taken on the vertical section line 3-3 of FIG. 2.
With reference first to FIGS. 1 and 2 the aforementioned suspension ceiling frame or frame structure is a conventional type. In the arrangement illustrated the frame members are denoted at A, B and C. The paired spaced parallel coplanar members B and C are of customary inverted T-shaped construction and are referred to as T -irons, the horizontal flanges being denoted at 6 and the vertical or upstanding flanges at 8. It is to these flanges that the end portions of the adapter unit 10 are detachably and adjustably secured. The adapter unit comprises a single length of flat-faced strap metal the main or body portion of which is denoted at 12. The respective end portions are the same in construction and each end portion is provided with a substantially L-shaped bend or bent portion I4 which comprises a depending component 16 and a horizontal component 18 which in practice resides atop or adjacent to the upper surface of the ceiling panel or block 20 as shown in FIG. 2. The terminal of the bent portion 18 is joined with the inverted U-shaped fastening means which is here referred to specifically as an inverted or downwardly opening book 22, more particularly a book which fits removably over the flange 8. The outer leg of the hook, also referred to as the bill portion, is denoted at 24 and is provided with a setscrew 26 which serves to secure the hook conveniently and accessibly in place.
The body portion of the bar 10 serves to accommodatingly and adjustably support a conventional junction box 28. This junction box has a top wall provided with slot means 3] to accommodate the upstanding spaced parallel legs of a U-shaped attaching clip 30. The legs extend up through the slot and are, in turn, provided with slots, said legs being denoted at 32 and the slotted portions 33 being adjustable along the bar in the manner clearly evident in Figs. I and 2. If desired an assem bling screw 34 may be used to hold the usual threaded nipple 35 of the clip means 30 in place for use.
The fixture hanging junction box is attached to the support bar in such a way that it can be slid freely along the entire length and can be secured by tightening its setscrew at any selected position. (This feature provides adjustability in placing and centering of the fixture box.) A hole is then made on the ceiling panel directly below where the box is secured and the fixture (not shown) is then hung.
The hanging fixture cannot be pushed upwards or out of place because its box 28 is secured on the bar 12 which in turn is secured at both ends to the 'l-irons B. Thus, the fixture is virtually immovable despite the fact that the ceiling panels can be pushed out of place in the usual manner by a touch of the finger.
The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described. and accordingly all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.
I. In combination. an openwork grid-type suspended ceiling frame structure embodying a pair of spaced interconnected parallel coplanar inverted T-irons, an adapter unit designed and adapted to bridge the space between coacting portions of the respective T-irons, said adapter unit comprising a single length of strap iron embodying an elongated fiat-faced body portion and correspondingly constructed integral end portions, each end portion having a terminal downwardly opening strap-iron attaching hook removably hooked over a vertical flange portion of the respectively cooperable T-iron, each holddown bend, said bend having a horizontal part which is disposed at right angles to the adjacent inner leg of the cooperatively adjacent hook and is thus adapted to rest firmly and retentively atop a coacting surface of a ceiling panel, a junction box for electric lighting fixtures and appliances, and clip means for slidably and adjustably mounting said junction box, on said strap iron.