US 3609211 A
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United States Patent Adrian P. Van Herk [5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS  Inventor Thornhill, Ontario, Canada Appl. No. 67,924
3,082,290 3/1963 Primary Examiner-Lewis H. Myers Assistant Examiner-D. A, Tone AttorneyRogers, Bereskin & Parr ABSTRACT: A service column for attachment to a suspended ceiling having inverted T-section girders to provide services at a work area. The column includes an upright main member attached by its upper end to a clamping bracket assembly which is adapted to be attached to the girders for longitudinal sliding movement on the girders. The clamping bracket assembly includes a fastener for locking the assembly to the girder in any  Filed Aug. 28, 1970  Patented Sept. 28, 1971  Assignee Medland Enterprises Toronto, Ontario, Canada  DUCT WITH POWER AND COMMUNICATIONS OUTLET 10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.
52/221 noz 3/04 501 FieldofSearch............................................
predetermined position. Covers on the main member house 174/48,49; service outlets, and the column has an adjustable foot for 52/220, 221, 300 locating the column on a floor.
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' sum 1 or 3 I NVENTOR. ADRIAN P. ,VAN HERK ii i i) PATENTED-ISEP2B ran SHEET 2 0F 3 INVENTOR.
ADRIAN P. VAN HERK FIG. 2
DUCT WITH POWER AND COMMUNICATIONS OUTLET This invention relates to a column for distributing services, and in particular electrical and communication services to a work area or other discrete position in an office.
A relatively large number of office buildings have been constructed having suspended ceilings above which the services for the building are located. The services are lead down from the ceiling through dividing walls and ducts to floor level and distributed to work areas where office machines such as typewriters and telephones are to be operated. However there is now a trend toward open-planoffices in which there are no walls between work areas. Instead, the work areas are separated only by relatively low partitions, screens, potted plants and the like so that by moving the partitions, the relative positions on the work areas can be changed. While open plans have the advantage of great flexibility, there is nevertheless the problem of providing electrical and communication services of the work areas.
According to a particular preferred embodiment of the present invention, a service column is provided which houses telephone outlets, power outlets and the like at a work area. The column is readily attached to a suspended ceiling and coupled to service connections above the ceiling. Also the column is adapted to be engaged frictionally on a floor to support the column in a vertical position between the ceiling and the floor. Upon rearranging work areas in an open-plan office, the column is readily disconnected from the ceiling and moved to a new location where it is again coupled to the suspended ceiling and to the necessary service connections above the ceiling. I
In a particular preferred embodiment, the column comprises an upright main member which is attached at its upper end to a clamping bracket assembly for attachment to a girder in a suspended ceiling. The main member has a generally I-I- section defining two longitudinal channels each of which can be enclosed by a snap-on cover. Service leads such as electrical conductors for power and telephone are housed in the channels to service outlets which are conveniently set in the covers.
The invention will be better understood with reference to the drawings wherein:
FIG. I is a sectional sectional side view of a service column according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is an exploded'perspective view of a clamping bracket assembly which forms a part of the service column;
FIG. 3 is a sectional plan view on lines 3-3 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing an alternative embodiment of the clamping bracket assembly.
Reference is first made to FIG. 1 which illustrates a service column coupled to an inverted T-section ceiling girder 12 and resting on a floor 14. The service column comprises a clamping bracket assembly 16 by which the column 10 is attached to the girder l2, and an upright main member 18 which is attached to the clamping bracket assembly 16 by screws 20, preferably of the self-tapping type. The member 18 is preferably an aluminum extrusion having a generally H- shaped cross section defining two longitudinal channels 20, 22 of which channel 22 is the deeper. The channels are adapted to receive longitudinal covers 24, 26 and lower covers 28, 30 which enclose the channels 20, 22. Cover 28 is adapted to receive a connector 32 for a telephone outlet, and a communication outlet 34, and cover 30 is adapted to receive an electrical power receptacle 36. The lower covers 28, 30 are respectively locked in place by locks 38, 40 to member 18 as will be explained.
The lower end of the main member 18 is attached to a support plate 42 which journals an adjustable foot 43. The foot has a vertical tubular upright 44 slidably engaged in the support plate 42 and a baseplate 46 attached to its lower end. Plate 46 has a friction pad 48 attached to its underside to preventsliding on the floor l4, and a locking screw 50 in the support plate 42 is engaged against the upright 44 to lock the adjustable foot 43 in place once the column has been positioned as will he described.
Reference is next made to FIGS. 1 and 2 with particular reference to FIG. 2 to describe the clamping bracket 16 which is adapted for attachment to the girder 12. The girder 12 includes an upright web 52 and horizontal flanges 54, 55 on which ceiling panels 56, 57 rest, and the bracket assembly 16 has upper, intermediate, and lower elements 58, 59 and 60 respectively. The upper element 58 includes a generally rectangular vertical portion 62 which supports a conventional conduit clamp having bolts 66 for holding two conduits such as 68. The portion 62 is integrally attached at its lower side to two spaced-apart inclined or leg portions 70, 72 which are in turn respectively integrally connected to feet 74, 76. A pair of clamping screws 78, are respectively threaded through the leg portions 70, 72 for locking the clamping bracket assembly in place on the girder 12 as will be described. The lower element 60 of the assembly 16 consists of a generally horizontal rectangular upper portion 82 which is attached to the feet 74, 76 with its upper surface spot welded to the feet. Upper portion 82 has a central opening 83 providing access for services into the channel 22 and is attached by one of its sides to an upper side of an upright portion 84 which is in turn attached at its lower side to a horizontal flange 86 extending away from the portion 82. Spaced-apart recesses 88, 90 are formed in the flange 86 and extend inwardly from its outer side 92 to give clearance for screws 20 as will be described. The intermediate element 59 is generally rectangular in shape and has a curved portion 93 cut out of an inner side to provide clearance for services passing through opening 83 in the lower element 60. Element 59 is attached, preferably by spot welding, to the upper face of the horizontal upper portion 82 and extends over the horizontal flange 86. The outer side 94 of the intermediate element 59 is integrally connected to a pair of spacedapart upwardly extending hook portions 96, 98 which are adapted to engage about the flange 54 of the girder 12. A pair of apertures 100, 102 in the intermediate element 59 are in vertical alignment with the recesses 88, 90 in the horizontal flange 86 for inserting the screws 20 into the main member 18 of column 10 as will be described.
Because the lower element 60 extends downwardly below the girder 12, a jacket 104 is provided to present a more pleasing appearance. The jacket 104 is generally square in plan view and includes four upright panels 106, 108, and 112. Each of the walls 106, 110 is notched at its upper face to form respective recesses 114, 116 for receiving the girder 12 so that upon assembly of the column the remaining upper faces of the sides are in contact with the ceiling panels 56,57. The ceiling panels must be cut away to accommodate portions of the bracket assembly 16 but the amount of cutaway is such that the panels continue to be supported by upper faces of the jacket 104. The floor 117 of the jacket 104 has keyholeshaped openings 118, 120 spaced apart for receiving the screws 20 such that the screw heads can pass through an enlarged portion of the openings 118, 120 but by sliding the jacket sideways, smaller parts of the openings are engaged with the screws and then the jacket can not be pulled vertically off the screws. The jacket 104 also has a relatively large circular opening 122 intermediate openings 118, 120 for passing service connections from the opening 83 in the bracket assembly 16 into the channel 20, and a rectangular opening 124 for passing service connections from conduit 68 into the longitudinal channel 22.
To assemble the column, the screws 20 are first passed partially into rounded slots 126, 128 which extend longitudinally of the main member 18. Next the heads of the screws 20 are passed through the keyhole-shaped openings I18, 120 in the jacket 104 (as previously described) and the jacket is then slid sideways to engage the screws in the smaller parts of the openings 8, 120. The screws are then positioned next to recesses 88, 90 on the lower element 60 of the bracket assembly l6 and by moving the column towards the lower element 60, the screws are engaged in the recesses 88, 90 with the heads of the screws above the flange 86. A screwdriver is then passed down through the opening 100, 102 in the intermediate element 59 to tighten the screws in the slots I22, I24
and thereby hold the main member 18 in registration with the jacket 104 which is in turn registered against the lower element 60.
Next a loosely fitting sleeve 130 is slipped over the lower end of the main member 18 and the column is positioned against the girder 12 with the hook portions 96, 98 engaged loosely on the flange 54 of the girder 12, and the underside of the flanges 54, 55 in contact with the upper surfaces of the intermediate element 59. The screws 78, 80 are then moved into sliding engagement with the girder to allow sliding movement of the clamping bracket assembly, while also preventing removal of the bracket assembly off the girder. The column is then further adjusted by sliding the bracket assembly along the girder until it occupies a desired position. Clamping screws 78, 80 are then tightened into engagement with the girder 12 at the intersection of the web 52 and the flange 55 to connect the column to the girder 12. Next the sleeve 130 is moved up the column and a latch 131 which is attached to the main member 18 is turned and the sleeve is then allowed to rest on the latch. The foot 43 (FIG. 1) is then brought into contact with the floor by loosening the screw 50. In order to ensure that there is sufficient reaction between the floor 14 and the pad 48 to prevent slipping, the column is first lifted slightly by using a crowbar or the like under the main member 18, and then the adjustable foot 43 is positioned on the floor before tightening screw 50 and removing the crowbar. The latch 131 is then turned to permit the sleeve 130 to fall onto the floor. This procedure for positioning the column ensures that it will not slip on the floor 14 unless excessive forces are applied to the column.
With the column in place, the electrical connections can be made. The lower covers 28, 30 are made with a variety of conventional knockouts to facilitate attaching telephone connectors, electrical receptacles, and the like to the covers 28, 30. However, if preferred the service column can be factory assembled with the connectors for telephone and power etc. in place in the lower covers 28, 30. In any event, once the electrical connections in the column have been made, the covers 28, 30 and 24, 26 can be attached as will be described.
As seen in FIG. 3, each of the covers 24, 26 has a generally U-shaped cross section to interlock with the main member 18. (The covers 28, 30 have the same cross section as the covers 24, 26). The cross section of cover 24 will be described as typical of the covers 24, 26 and 28, 30.
Cover 24 comprises a substantially flat outer portion 132 and a pair of longitudinally extending locking flanges 134, 136 which extend from the portion 132 to complete the U-shaped cross section of the cover. The locking flanges 134, 136 are curved slightly to diverge at their longitudinally extending free ends for lockingly engaging with respective inwardly extending longitudinal projections 138, 140 in the channel 22. When the cover 24 is pushed into place over the channel 22, the flanges 134, 136 deflect inwardly and then outwardly as their respective ends pass over projections 138, 140 to snap the cover in place over the channel 20. The cover 24 and main member 18 are designed so that when they are assembled there are longitudinally extending recesses 143, 144 between them to provide access for a screwdriver which can be placed in one of the recesses and upon twisting the screwdriver the cover is forced off the member 18 to expose the service connections for telephone, power, etc.
Reference is now made to FIGS. 1 and 3 to describe locks 38, 40 for locking the covers 28, 30 to the member 18. The locks respectively include locking plates 145, 146 which are generally L-shaped and have horizontal flanges 147, 148 adapted to lock the covers to the member 18 by engaging the inner surfaces of respective flanges I34, 136 so that the flanges I34, 136 can not ride over the projections 138, 140.
The plates 145, 146 are respectively attached to web 150 of H-shaped main member 18 by bolts 153, 154 which pass through slots 156, 158 (FIG. 1) in respective vertical portions 160, 162 of the plates 145, 146. The plates are shown in FIG. 1 in a closed position and to move them into an open position the bolts 152, 154 are first loosened and the plates 145, 146 are moved vertically upwards out of engagement with the covers 28, 30. The bolts can then be retightened to hold the plates 145, 146 in this position.
To assemble the covers, the locks 38, 40 are moved upwardly into their open positions and the lower covers 28, 30 are pushed onto the member by first entering their lower ends into the sleeve 130 and sliding the lower ends into their final longitudinal positions with the upper ends of the covers ad- 10 jacent member 18. Next the covers 28, 30 are snapped into place on the member 18 and the bolts 152, 154 are loosened to allow respective locking plates 145, 146 to be moved down into their closed positions as shown in FIG. 1. Bolts I52, 154 are then tightened and the covers 24, 26 are snapped into place to complete the assembly. The covers 28, 30 are held in place near their top ends by respective locks 38, 40 and at their bottom ends by sleeve so that should the telephone cable or another of the service connectors be pulled outwardly the corresponding cover will not come off the member 18.
The girder 12 may be formed by folding sheet metal or by any other methods. However, it is to be understood that the term inverted T-section is used to describe any girderlike member having an upright portion and two opposed horizontal portions to give the overall appearance of an inverted T.
Reference is next made to FIG. 4 which shows a clamping bracket assembly for use with a ceiling structure having spaced-apart parallel girders. The assembly 170 includes a support bracket 172 having an inverted U-shaped cross sec tion, and on which is mounted a conduit clamp 176. The bracket 172 is adapted to be clamped to respective parallel girders 178, by bolts 182, two of which are shown, and an angle bracket 184 is adapted to connect the bracket 172 to a main member 185 which is similar to member 18 (FIG. I) and has two holes 186 (one of which is shown) for connecting the bracket 184 to the member 185. To this end holes 187 are provided in bracket 184 corresponding in position to holes 186 for receiving connecting bolts. (not shown) The bracket 172, is of a generally inverted U-shape having a horizontal upper portion 188 and upright outer portions 192, 194. The upper portion 188 is cut away to form a recess 190 which terminates in slot 100 into which screw 202 can be inserted to connect the bracket 172 to a horizontal portion 204 of the angle bracket 184 through a threaded hole 206. A vertical portion 208 of the bracket 184 is attached to a square-sectioned tubular member 212 having a cap 214 for locating a service connector.
On assembly, the bracket 172 is placed on the girders I78. 180 and the bracket 184 is attached to the main member 185 by passing bolts through the holes 186, 187. A screw 202 is then threaded loosely into the hole 206, and the upper surface of portion 204 of bracket 184 is engaged with the underside of the bracket 172 and the screw 202 is placed in the slot 100 so that upon tightening the screw 202 the angle bracket 184 is attached to the support bracket 172. The column is then moved into its final position relative to the girders 178, 180 and the screws 182 are tightened to lock it in place. In this embodiment, the clamp 170 is hidden from view when assembled so that there is no need for a jacket 104 (FIG. 3).
What I claim as my invention:
1. A service column for connection to services above a suspended ceiling to provide said services at a work area, said service column being adapted to be releasably connected to the suspended ceiling, and said ceiling being of a type having inverted T-section girders, said column comprising:
a. an elongated upright main member;
b. a clamping bracket assembly adapted to be mounted on one of said girders for sliding movement longitudinally of said one girder, and including means for releasably locking said clamping bracket assembly to said girder in a position generally above said work area;
c. means for fastening said clamping bracket assembly to the upper end of one main member;
d. service outlets for providing said services at said work area;
e. means removably attaching said service outlets to said main member; and
f. conductor means coupled to said service outlets for providing said services at said work area.
2. A service column as claimed in claim 1 wherein said inverted T-section girder comprises a longitudinally extending upright web and first and second horizontal flanges extending horizontally from the bottom of said web to complete said inverted T-section, and wherein said clamping bracket assembly comprises: at least one hook portion for engaging about an outer edge of said first flange; a vertical portion for engaging an upper vertical side portion of said web on the same side of said web as said second flange; an inclined portion rigidly coupled to said hook portion and to said vertical portion and adapted to threadably receive at least one screw for locking said clamping bracket assembly to said girder, said screw being adapted to engage said girder generally at the junction of said web and said second flange whereby said hook portion and said upright portion are forced into engagement with said girder to lock said clamping bracket assembly in place on said girder.
3. A service column as claimed in claim 2 wherein said main member is substantially H-shaped in cross section and defines first and second back-to-back channels, and wherein said attaching means comprises: first and second lower covers adapted for snap-fit engagement with respective first and second channels to enclose said channels, said lower covers being adapted to house said service outlets; and lock means adapted to prevent accidental removal of said lower covers from said main member.
4. A service column as claimed in claim 3 wherein said covers are generally U-shaped in cross section and have spaced-apart longitudinally extending flanges, and wherein said channel includes inwardly extending longitudinal projections cooperating with said flanges and snap fitting said cover over said channel by deflecting said flanges inwardly as outer ends of said flanges are pushed past said projections, and wherein said lock means comprises: a sleeve adapted to slide loosely over the lower end of said main member for enclosing lower ends of said lower covers; a locking plate; means mounting said locking plate on said main member for movement between an upper position out of contact with said lower covers, and a lower position wherein said locking plate engages said lower cover between said flanges to prevent deflection of said flanges thereby preventing removal of said cover from said main member.
5. A service column as claimed in claim 4 and further comprising: a foot attached to the bottom end of said main member; and means reciprocally mounting said foot on said main member for vertical adjustment to rest said foot on the floor when said clamping bracket assembly is attached to said girder, said sleeve being adapted to rest on said floor to hide said foot from view.
6. A service column as claimed in claim 1 wherein said ceiling includes two spaced-apart parallel girders and wherein said clamping bracket assembly comprises: an inverted generally U-shaped bracket adapted to rest on said girders and having outer downwardly extending portions for sliding engagement with outwardly facing sides of said girders; and wherein said locking means comprises screws threadably engaged in said downwardly extending portions for engagement with said faces of said girders to lock said U-shaped bracket on said girders.
7. A service column as claimed in claim 6 wherein said fastening means comprises an angle bracket having an upper horizontal portion for attachment to said U-shaped bracket and a vertical portion for attachment to said main member.
8. A service column as claimed in claim 7 wherein said main member is substantially H-shaped in cross section and defines first and second back-to-back channels, and wherein said attaching means comprises: first and second upper covers; and first and second lower covers, said first and second lower covers being adapted for snap-fit engagement with respective first and second channels to enclose said channels. said lower covers being adapted to receive service outlets; and lock means adapted to prevent accidental removal of said lower covers from said main member.
9. A service column as claimed in claim 8 wherein said covers are generally U-shapcd in cross section and have spaced-apart longitudinally extending flanges, and wherein said channel includes inwardly extending longitudinal projec tions to cooperate with said flanges for snap fitting said cover over said channel by deflecting said flanges inwardly as outer ends of said flanges are pushed past said projections, and wherein said lock means comprises: a sleeve adapted to slide loosely over the lower end of said main member for enclosing lower ends of said lower covers; a locking plate; means mounting said locking plate on said main member for movement between an upper position out of contact with said lower covers, and a lower position wherein said locking plate engages said lower cover between said flanges to prevent deflection of said flanges thereby preventing removal of said cover from said main member.
10. A service column as claimed in claim 9 and further comprising: a foot for attachment to the bottom end of said main member; and means reciprocally mounting said foot on said main member for vertical adjustment to reset said foot on the floor when said clamping bracket assembly is attached to said girder, said sleeve being adapted to rest on said floor to hide said foot from view.