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Publication numberUS3630309 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 28, 1971
Filing dateJun 10, 1969
Priority dateJun 10, 1969
Publication numberUS 3630309 A, US 3630309A, US-A-3630309, US3630309 A, US3630309A
InventorsDouglas Daryl D, Harfmann Erich, Wenger Jerry A
Original AssigneeWenger Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Portable shell
US 3630309 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 3,232,370 2/1966 Jaffe 181/30 3,316,999 5/1967 Jaffe et al. 181/30 3,435,909 4/1969 Wenger et al 181/30 FOREXGN PATENTS 346,792 4/1931 Great Britain 181/33 (.12)

Primary Examiner-Robert S. Ward, Jr. Attorney-Hofgren, Wegner, Stellman & McCord ABSTRACT: A portable acoustical shell structure arranged for reflecting sound. The-shell structure arranged for reflecting sound. The shell structure is freestanding and is portably carried on a base which may be provided with suitable casters. The shell structure comprises a plurality of panels which are selectively disposed in an extended sound-reflecting arrangement or in different storage arrangements as desired. The panels are movably connected to the frame of the structure for facilitated rearrangement. The uppermost panel is adjustably mounted for controlling height of the shell structures and direction of projection of the sound. A plurality of the shell structures may be used in side-by-side arrangement to define sound-reflecting walls, or shells, such as choral and symphonic shells.

[72] inventors Jerry A. Wenger;

Daryl D. Douglas; Erich Harimann, all of Owatonna, Minn. [21] Appl. No. 831,917 [22] Filed June 10, 1969 Patented Dec. 28, 1971 [73] Assignee Wenger Corporation [54] PORTABLE SHELL 27 Claims, 8 Drawing Figs.

[52] US. Cl 181/30, 181/33 GB, 160/135, 160/351 [51] Int. Cl E041: 1/99 Field of Search 181/30, 33, 33.12; /135, 231, 231 R, 351

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 847,287 3/1907 King 181/30 UX 2,143,235 1/1939 Bassett 181/30 UX 2,204,880 6/1940 Bell 181/30 UX 3,180,446 4/1965 Wenger 181/33 (.12)

PATENTEnnmsm $630,309

SHEET 2 or a wow 9 PORTABLESHELL BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to acoustical reflectors and in particular to reflectors for use as shells, such as choral or symphonic shells.

2. Description of the Prior Art In the conventional music shell, bandstand, or stage provided for performances of orchestras, smaller musical ensembles, choruses, choirs, dramatic groups, etc., wall structures have been built in to provide reflection of the sound from rearwardly and from the sides of the performers. Such built-in reflecting means have had the serious disadvantage of limitation or adaptability of different size groups. Further, it is desirable at times to conduct such performances in rooms and spaces which are not normally used for such performances.

Further, it is conventional for many performers to travel from place to place. Often the facilities for the performances do not include satisfactory sound-reflecting means. Thus, there has developed a need for a low-cost portable acoustical shell structure which may be arranged when desired to provide the desirable reflection of the sound produced by the performers.

An improved portable sound shell providing a highly desirable portable sound-reflecting means has been recently developed as disclosed and claimed in H. J. Wengers US. Pat. No. 3,180,446 issued Apr. 27, 1965 for a Portable Sound Shell." In said patent, a portable sound-projecting shell structure is disclosed which is adapted to provide desirable sound reflection functioning as discussed above. Sound reflector shell units made in conformity with said patent are manufacturcd and sold by the assignee hereof. Such units have found wide acceptance in the performing arts field.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention comprehends an improved portable acoustical shell structure providing additional highly desirable features over and above those found in the portable sound shell disclosed in said Wenger letters patent.

Thus, the present invention comprehends an improved portable acoustical shell structure having an improved base structure extending substantially only rearwardly of the upright panel portion for improved convenience in providing a portable sound-reflecting means closely adjacent the rear of a performance area. The base may be provided with suitable counterweights to stabilize the shell structure and facilitate handling thereof.

The invention further comprehends an improved acoustical shell structure having a kicker panel movably associated with the upright panel means for selectively extending downwardly completely to the floor to provide a complete sound-reflecting surface from the floor to the top of the shell structure.

The invention still further comprehends the provision of a new' and improved acoustical shell structure having new and improved means for adjustably positioning the canopy panel at the upper portion of the sound-reflecting surface. The positioning means includes adjustable arm means connected between the canopy panel and the frame support means of the shell structure thereby providing improved positive retention of the canopy panel in the adjusted position.

Yet further the invention comprehends the provision of such a portable acoustical shell structure having new and improved panel mounting means wherein a first panel is fixedly secured to the framework support means and a second panel is movably mounted on the support means for selective disposition in a storage position rearwardly of the first panel and a sound-reflecting position in edgewise alignment with the first panel.

The acoustical shell structure is arranged to fold into a compact storage arrangement having relatively small width and height so as to permit the shell structure to be easily moved through standard doorways such as to other performing or storage areas. The base comprises an integral portion of the shell structure and may be provided with suitable casters so that the shell structure may define a self-contained trucking arrangement for facilitated movement both in positioning the shell structure in erection and in moving the shell structure to the other performing or storage areas.

Still further, the portable acoustical shell structure of the present invention is arranged to have facilitated nesting with similar acoustical shell structures so that minimum storage space is required for maintaining. substantial numbers of the shell structures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front elevation of a shell formed of a plurality of portable acoustical shell structures embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of a shell structure embodying the invention in a storage arrangement;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary side elevation thereof with the panel means in a partially erected arrangement shown in dotted lines;

FIG. 4 is a rear elevation thereof;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary side elevation with the panels arranged in the sound-reflecting erected arrangement;

FIG. 6 is a rear perspective view thereof;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary enlarged perspective view showing details of the panel mounting means; and

FIG. 8 is a schematic side elevation showing a plurality of the shell structures in nested association.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the exemplary embodiment of the invention as disclosed in the drawing, a portable acoustical shell structure generally designated 10 is shown to comprise a sound-reflecting reflecting panel structure which may be used in suitable multiples to define a shell generally designated 11 such as for use in reflecting sound in connection with the performing arts. lllustratively, the shell may be used as a choral shell, a symphonic shell, a shell suitable for reflecting sound with smaller groups such as dramatic groups, ensembles, etc. As shown in FIG. 1 in the shell arrangement, the plurality of shell structures 10 are disposed in side-by-side arrangement to form effectively a portable wall. In the illustrated embodiment, each shell structure 10 includes a first fixed panel 12, a second movable panel 13, an upper canopy panel 14, and a kicker panel 15. In the sound-reflecting arrangement, the panels are arranged in a vertical series in edgewise adjacency with panels 15, 12 and 13 extending substantially vertically upright and canopy panel 14 adjustably positioned to extend at an angle forwardly from the top of panel 13. Thus, shell 11 effectively defines an acoustical freestanding floor unit shell with the arrangement being adjustable to accommodate different areas and types of performing arts.

More specifically, as shown in FIG. 2, the shell structure 10 includes an upright frame 16 and a base 17. The base 17 is provided with suitable wheel means, such as casters 18 for facilitated movement of the shell structure as desired. The rearmost casters may be provided with suitable locking brakes 19 to hold the shell structure in position when desired.

The frame includes a left upright 20 and a right upright 21 secured as by bolts 22 to suitable gussets 23 on the base 17. The fixed panel 12 is secured to the uprights 20 and 21 by a pair of fixed lower panel brackets 24 and a pair of upper lockable panel brackets 25 cooperating with clips 26 and 27 respectively on the uprights as best seen in FIG. 4. The kicker panel 15 may be retained in an upper storage position forwardly facially juxtaposed to the fixed lower panel 12 as by means of suitable clips 28.

Base 17 is provided with a suitable counterweight 29 which may be bolted to a rear crosspiece comprising a second counterweight 30 thereof as by suitable bolts 31. As shown in FIG. 2, the length of crosspiece 30 is substantially less than the spacing between uprights 20 and 21 whereby the sidcpieces 32 of the base are angled inwardly toward the rear thereof. Thus, the base narrows rearwardly for improved facilitated nesting as will be brought out more fully hereinafter.

Canopy panel 14 is hingedly secured to second panel 13 by a suitable hinge 33. The panels may be held together as during storage by suitable clip 34 at the top thereof, as shown in FIG. 2. Panel 13 is provided with a pair of hinge connectors 35 which are secured to the upper ends of the uprights 2t) and 21, which as shown in FIG. 3 permit the assembled canopy panel 14 and panel 13 to be swung as a unit from a storage position as shown in FIG. 2 to an upright position as shown in FIG. 6. In the storage position, the panel 13 is rearwardly facially juxtaposed to panel 12 and canopy panel 14 is rearwardly facially juxtaposed to panel 13. The total thickness of the three panels in the storage position shown in FIG. 2 is preferably small, and in the illustrated embodiment, is less than one-third the foreand-aft dimensions of base 17. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 6, panel 14 may be provided with stiffeners 36, panel 13 may be provided with a stiffener 37, panel 12 may be provided with a stiffener 38, and kicker panel 15 may be provided with a stiffener 39. As shown in FIG. 6, clips 28 may be retained on stiffener 38 when not in use and clip 34 may be stored on one of stiffeners 36 when not in use.

Panel 13 is provided with a pair of upright extensions 40 which are secured thereto by suitable brackets 41. As shown in FIG. 7, each of the hinge connectors 35 includes a bracket 42 which is fixedly secured to the upright extension 40 and a pivot 43 which is secured to the uprights 20 and 21. The panel 13 is retained in the upright position, when the bracket 42 is swung from the upside down position of FIG. 2 to the upright position of FIG. 6, by a locking pin 44 received in a pair of aligned holes 45 in the bracket 42 and removably retained therein by suitable spring 46 connected to the pin. In the upright positions as shown in FIGS. 4 and 6, the lower edge 47 of panel 13 abuts the upper edge 48 of lower panel 12 with the panels in edgewise juxtaposed alignment. As shown in FIG. 5, when panel 13 is swung to the upright position of FIG. 4, the canopy panel 14 is carried therewith to lie forwardly of panel 13. Canopy panel 14 is hingedly secured to the upper edge of panel 13 by the hinge 33 permitting the canopy panel to be swung upwardly from the dotted position of FIG. to the full line position thereof. To effect the swinging movement and positioning of panel 14, a pair of articulated lifting arms 49 are provided. Each lifting arm 49 includes a first rod 50 secured to a side stiffener 51 on the back of the canopy panel 14 and a second rod 52 pivotally connected to rod 50 by a suitable pivot means 53 and provided at its lower end with a suitable turnbuckle 54. The turnbuckle is arranged to engage a pin 55 on the frame uprights 20 and 21 respectively. As best seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, suitable adjustment of the turnbuckles 54 will adjust the angular position of the canopy panel 14 about the axis of hinge 33.

The kicker panel is hingedly connected to the lower end of panel 12 by a suitable hinge 56 permitting the kicker panel to be swung downwardly from the dotted position of FIG. 3 to the full line position thereof by removal of the retaining clips 28. As indicated above, when the clips are so removed, they may be stored on the stiffener 38 as shown in FIG. 6. The weight of composite counterweight 29 and 30 is preselected to balance shell structure 10 at all times including when the canopy panel 14 is angularly forwardly disposed as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. Thus, while the base 17 extends substantially only rearwardly of the frame uprights and 21 and the panels carried thereby, the shell structure comprises a stable unit. Further, all of the mechanism for mounting and positioning the panels in relation to the frame is mounted rearwardly of the panels so that the panels present forwardly, as shown in FIG. I, a continuous sound-reflecting surface structure. Further as shown in FIG. 1, canopy panel 14 is trapezoidal, narrowing upwardly whereby the shell structures may be arranged in a turned series with the canopy panels in abutment with each other to form a closed upper panel portion of the complete shell. The canopy panels may be readily adjusted by means of the turnbuckles 54 and the shell structure may be readily movably positioned on casters 18 to provide an accurate fit thereof providing the continuous series across the top of the shell as shown in FIG. 1.

As best seen in FIG. 6, when viewing the shell structure from forwardly thereof, kicker panel 15 effectively hides the base 17. However, when the kicker panel 15 is swung upwardly on hinge 56, the base 17 is exposed below the bottom edge 57 of panel 12. Thus, as shown in FIG. 8, a plurality of shell structures 10 may be nested with each other in close juxtaposition by movement of the respective bases below the panel edge 57. The narrowing arrangement of the sidcpieces 32 of the base 17 permits the unimpeded movement of the next base thereinto. The arrangement of the shell structures in the storage position of FIG. 2 is preferably such that the total thickness of the panels and stiffeners is relatively small compared to the depth of the base 17 so that the shell structures may be nested in effectively minimum space. Illustratively, with the shell structures disposed in the storage arrangement of FIG. 2, six such shell structures 10 may be nested in a space of approximately 72% inches wide by 64 inches deep by M2 inches high. In the partially folded position of FIG. 4, six of the shell structures 10 may be nested in a space of approximately 72% inches wide by 84 inches deep by 74% inches high. In the storage arrangement of FIG. 2, the shell structures may be individually moved through conventional door openings and the like as the depth of the base 17 is smaller than the width and the length of the unit is less than the height of the conventional door opening. In the illustrated embodiment, the base has a depth of approximately 34% inches. Thus, while the shell structures have a width of approximately 6 inches in use, by folding them to the storage arrangement of FIG. 2, and moving the shell structures in a direction parallel to the flat plane of the panels, the shell structures may be readily moved on the casters 18 to and from performing and storage areas.

In erecting the shell structures to the sound-reflecting arrangement of FIG. 6 from the storage arrangement of FIG. 2, the user merely positions the shell structures on the casters in the desired location and then swings the assembly of the upper panel 13 and canopy panel 14 on the pivots 43 in a counterclockwise direction as seen in FIG. 3 to bring the canopy panel 14 forwardmost in the arrangement shown in dotted lines in FIG. 5. The clip 34 is removed to permit swinging of the canopy panel 14 about the hinge 33. At this time, the lifting arms 49 are connected only to the canopy panel 14 and, thus, swing upwardly therewith to the dotted position of FIG. 5. The turnbuckles 54 are then brought downwardly from the dotted position of FIG. 5 to the full line position thereof and engaged with the pins 55. Suitable adjustment of the turnbuckles may then be effected to dispose the canopy panel 14 at the desired angle. The kicker panel 15 may be swung downwardly upon removal of the clips 28 to complete the erection. The entire shell structure may be locked in position on the floor by suitable operation of the brakes 19 on the rearward casters 18.

As indicated briefly above, in forming the completed shell wall 11, the plurality of shell structures 10 are disposed in side-by-side relationship with the canopy panel 14 inclined forwardly suitably to align with the adjacent canopy panels to form a continuous inclined upper wall portion. The tumbuckles 54 may be adjusted to assure that each of the canopy panels extends to the same uppermost position. The shell structures 10 may be moved on the casters 18 to bring the individual structures to proper relationship with the adjacent structures to close any gaps between the canopy panels.

Where sufficient height is available, the shell structures may be stored in the partial storage arrangement of FIG. 4. Alternatively, they may be stored in the full storage arrangement of FIG. 2. Further, the desired arrangement of the shell structures in the storage disposition may be affected by the dimensions of doorways, etc., through which the shell structures are moved as between the performing and storage areas. In either of the partial or full storage arrangements, the shell structures are fully counterbalanced so as to provide facilitated move ment thereof on the casters 18.

In rearranging the shell structures from the sound-reflecting extended position of FIG. 6, the user need merely firstly raise the kicker panel and secure it in the raised position by the clips 28. The tumbuckles 54 are then removed from the pins 55 permitting the canopy panel 14 to gently drop into face-toface juxtaposition with the upper panel 13. The panels may then be allowed to remain in the partial storage position of FIG. 4, or swung about pivots 43 to the full storage position of FIG. 2 as desired.

The base and frame uprights may be formed of heavy tubular steel for improved rigidity. The wall panels may be formed of conventional high density acoustical material which may be provided with a suitable finish such as semigloss enamel. The shell structures are thusly of simple and economical construction while yet providing the highly desirable features discussed above.

The foregoing disclosure of specific embodiments is illustrative of the broad inventive concepts comprehended by the invention.

We claim:

1. A portable acoustical shell structure comprising: panel means having a planar upright lowermost portion and a planar forwardly inclined uppermost portion; a framework carrying said panel means to define an upright sound-reflecting surface; and base structure extending substantially only rearwardly of said surface and provided with wheel means for movably carrying said framework, said wheel means including front wheels disposed subjacent said lowermost panel means portion.

2. The portable acoustical shell structure of claim 1 wherein said base structure includes a rear crosspiece comprising counterweight means and means removably securing said counterweight means in said base structure for stabilizing the rear of the base structure and concurrently counterbalancing the shell structure.

3. The portable acoustical shell structure of claim 1 wherein said base structure is forwardly open and narrows rearwardly.

4. The portable acoustical shell structure of claim 1 wherein said panel means includes a forwardly inclined bottom section extending to forwardly of said base structure whereby said base structure is effectively hidden from view from forwardly of said surface by said bottom section.

5. The portable acoustical shell structure of claim 1 wherein said base structure defines a forwardly opening trapezoidal configuration adapted to nest with the base structure of a second of said shell structures.

6. In an acoustical shell structure: support means having a forwardly open, rearwardly closed bottom portion, panel means carried by said support means including means defining an upright sound-reflecting front surface spaced above the bottom of said support means, and a kicker panel hingedly connected to said panel means for selectively extending downwardly of said panel means to the level of and forwardly of the bottom of said forwardly open support means selectively positionable to close the opening thereof during use and expose the opening thereof for nested storage of a second such shell structure therewith.

7. The acoustical shell structure of claim 6 including means hingedly connecting said kicker panel to the lowermost portion of said panel means and means carried on said base for causing the kicker panel to be forwardly tilted in the downwardly extending arrangement.

8. The acoustical shell structure of claim 6 further including retaining means for releasably securing said kicker panel in an upper storage position spaced above the bottom of said support means.

9. The acoustical shell structure of claim 6 wherein said kicker panel is opaque and effectively hides the lower portion of said support means below said panel means from view from forwardly of said surface.

10. In an acoustical shell structure: support means provided with front and rear wheels for movably carrying the shell structure, panel means carried by said support means including means defining an upright sound-reflecting front surface, a canopy panel, and means for adjustably positioning said canopy panel upwardly of said panel means including adjustable articulated arm means connected between said canopy panel and a portion of said support means rearwardly of a vertical plane defined by said front wheels.

11. The acoustical shell structure of claim 10 wherein said arm means includes threaded means for threadedly adjusting the arrangement of the arm, said threaded means being disposed fully rearwardly of said vertical plane.

12. The acoustical shell structure of claim 11 wherein said threaded means comprises turnbuckle means for providing the adjustability thereof.

13. The acoustical shell structure of claim 10 wherein said support means and arm means are provided with cooperating detachable pin and connector means for connecting the arm means to the support means.

14. In an acoustical shell structure having support means, panel means carried by said support means including a first panel fixedly secured to the support means and defining an upright sound-reflecting front surface, second and third panels, and means movably mounting said second and third panels to said support means for selective disposition in a storage position rearwardly of said first panel and a soundreflecting position of said second panel in coplanar edgewise alignment with said first panel and said third panel in angular relationship to said second panel in edgewise alignment therewith, said second and third panels cooperatively defining a sound-reflecting front surface in said sound-reflecting position effectively comprising a turned continuation of the sound-reflecting surface of said first panel.

15. The acoustical shell structure of claim 14 wherein said mounting means comprises hinge means swingably mounting said second panel on said support means and said third panel on said second panel.

16. The acoustical shell structure of claim 14 further including a fourth panel, said mounting means being arranged to dispose said third and fourth panels at an angle to said first panel in said sound-reflecting position.

17. A portable acoustical shell structure comprising:

an upright frame;

a first sound-reflecting panel fixed to said frame;

a second sound-reflecting panel;

means movably mounting said second panel in said shell structure for selective disposition in a storage position facially adjacent said first panel and a sound-reflecting position in edgewise adjacency to said first panel;

a canopy panel;

means movably mounting said canopy panel in said shell structure for selective disposition in a storage position facially adjacent said second panel and a sound-reflecting position in edgewise adjacency to said second panel; and

a base extending substantially only rearwardly of said first panel, said base narrowing rearwardly to nest with a similar base of a second similar acoustical shell structure.

18. The portable acoustical shell structure of claim 17 wherein said first panel is spaced above the base to permit facilitated longitudinal relative movement of said base into the nested relationship.

19. The portable acoustical shell structure of claim 17 wherein said second panel is disposed rearwardly of said first panel and said canopy panel is disposed rearwardly of said second panel, said panels being in facial juxtaposition in the storage position, the first panel of said second shell structure being rearwardly facially juxtaposed to the canopy panel of the first shell structure in the nested storage arrangement.

20. The portable acoustical shell structure of claim 17 wherein said second panel is hingedly mounted on said frame.

21. The portable acoustical shell structure of claim 17 wherein said canopy panel is hingedly mounted on said second panel.

22. The portable acousticalshell structure of claim 17 wherein said second panel is disposed rearwardly of said first panel and said canopy panel is disposed rearwardly of said second panel, said panels being in facial juxtaposition in the storage position, the thickness of said juxtaposed first, second, and canopy panels in the storage position being less than onethird the fore-and-aft dimension of said base.

23. The portable acoustical shell structure of claim 17 wherein the shell structure has a length less than 6 feet 6 inches and a fore-and-aft dimension of less than 3 feet when the panels are in said storage position whereby said shell structure may be moved freely through a conventional doorway.

24. The portable acoustical shell structure of claim 17 wherein said shell structure may be arranged with said first and second panels in edgewise adjacency and said canopy panel facially adjacent said second panel in a partial storage arrangement of the shell structure.

25. The portable acoustical shell structure of claim 17 wherein a counterweight is provided on the base having a weight and spacing rearwardly of the frame preselected to counterbalance the panel arrangement with the canopy panel extending angularly upwardly from an upper portion of said first sound-reflecting panel.

26. The portable acoustical shell structure of claim 17 wherein said first panel is spaced above the base and said shell structure further includes a counterweight in the base and a kicker panel selectively movable to extend downwardly from said first panel to the level of the bottom of said base in a sound-reflecting position, and upwardly from the bottom of said first panel in a retracted position permitting nesting of said bases.

27. A portable acoustical shell structure comprising: an upright frame; a first sound-reflecting panel fixed to said frame; a second sound-reflecting panel; means movably mounting said second panel in said shell structure for selective disposition in a storage position facially adjacent said first panel and a sound-reflecting position in edgewise adjacency to the upper edge of said first panel; a canopy panel; a kicker panel; and means movably mounting said canopy panel in said shell structure for selective disposition in a storage position facially adjacent said second panel and a sound-reflecting position in edgewise adjacency to the upper edge of said second panel, and movably mounting said kicker panel in said shell structure for selected disposition in a storage position facially adjacent said first panel and a sound-reflecting position in edgewise adjacency to the lower edge of said first panel.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification181/30, 160/351, 160/135
International ClassificationE04B1/82
Cooperative ClassificationE04B1/8236
European ClassificationE04B1/82E1