US 3645051 A
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United States Patent Kolesar 1 Feb. 29, 1972  CEILING STRUCTURE 3,409,766 11/1968 Meckler ..52/28 X  Inventor: Frank S Kolesar 18 Preston Drive, st. 3,437,362 4/1969 Offenbroich ..52/726 X Canada FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS [221 Filed 1969 297,195 5/1965 Netherlands ..52/432 2 AppL 3 9,0 2 427,188 6/1967 Switzerland ..52/28 I" E -F kL.Abb tt s21 U.S.C1. ..s2/2s,s2/4s4, 52/726 t Burk:  Int. Cl ..E04b 5/52 Anome Christel and Bear;  Field of Search ..52/28, 484, 726; 240/9 y  References Cited [5 7] ABSTRACT A ceiling structure comprising a plurality of laterally spaced,
UNlTED STATES PATENTS elongated panel members of generally channel-shaped cross- 3,508,368 4/1970 Tischuk et a1 ..52/726 X sectional configuration having inturned flanges that are snap 3,541,746 11/1970 Scott ...52/726 X fitted into interlocking engagement behind tabs struck out 3,544,1 10 12/ 1970 Dickinson. 52/726 X from the flanges of laterally spaced support carriers extending 1,364,130 6/1932 Gibian 52/464 generally at right angles to the panel members. Certain of the 2,303,858 8/1957 R 6 panel members between the spaced support carriers may be 3,054,482 1962 Lassen 52/726 X deleted to provide one or more openings to receive lighting, 3,277,622 10/1966 52/484 X heating, ventilating fixtures and the like to form a generally 3,295,284 l/1967 Tschiesche... 52/484 X continuous and integrated ceiling system. 3,352,071 11/1967 Sutter ..52/28 3,377,754 4/ 1968 Russell ..52/28 X 16 Claims, 15 Drawing Figures Patented Feb. 29, 1972 5 Sheets-Sheet l Patent-ed Feb. 29, 119?2 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 s V. W MW 2 R wz r m m w A w m M Patented Feb. 29, 1972 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR. flan 5: 665950? BY @M M v ATTORNEY-5.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to the construction art and, more particularly, to certain new and useful ceiling and wall constructions.
It is known to employ various prefabricated ceiling panels in suspended ceiling systems which can be readily installed and which can be easily dismantled. Generally, these panel membets are attached to carrier members by means of an intermediate component such as a clip or fastening element. In those instances where the panel members are attached directly to the carrier members, such carrier members are separately designed and formed specifically for use with the panel members which are to be joined therewith. Thus, both the carrier member and panel member are necessarily employed together and generally are not compatible with conventional type support carriers. Moreover, the installation of lighting, heat and ventilating fixtures in such ceiling systems is expensive, complex and time consuming thereby adding significantly to the installation costs.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved arrangement for detachably mounting ceiling panel members on ceiling support members or carriers.
Another object of this invention is to secure the panel members in place directly on the main support members in a symmetrical modular arrangement whereby the crosssupport members serve to frame and support associate fixtures.
The ceiling structure of the present invention is characterized by elongated panel members of generally channelshaped cross-sectional configuration having intumed lips or flanges that are snap fitted behind tabs struck out from the flanges of a carrier member for interlocking engagement therewith. The tabs are specifically oriented so that the panel members attached thereto provide a modular arrangement having visual security and which are compatible with lighting, heating, and ventilating fixtures to form a totally integrated ceiling system.
The foregoing and other objects, advantages and characterizing features of the present invention will become clearly apparent from the ensuing detailed description of an illustrative embodiment thereof, taken together with the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numerals denote like parts throughout the various views.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective bottom view of a ceiling structure constructed in accordance with this invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary bottom plan view of the ceiling structure of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective bottom view of another form of ceiling structure of this invention;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary bottom plan view of the ceiling structure of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view, on an enlarged scale, of the ceiling structure of FIG. 1; h
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary horizontal sectional viewtaken about on line 6-6 of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary bottom plan view of a splicer assembly including a splicer element shown connecting the adjacent ends of two panel members;
FIG. 8 is a vertical sectional view taken'about on line 8-8 of FIG. 7:
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary bottom plan view of one end of a panel member having an end cap element shownfastened onto the open'end of the panel member;
FIG. l0is a side elevational view of the end cap element looking in the direction of arrows 10-10 of FIG. 9;
FIG. 11 is a perspective top view of a ceiling structure having an opening therein for accommodating a lighting fixture housing;
diverging relation FIG. 12 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view, on an enlarged scale, illustrating a conduit member inserted in place in the ceiling structure of this invention;
FIG. 13 is a vertical sectional view, on an enlarged scale, taken about on line 13-13 of FIG. 11;
FIG. 14 is a vertical sectional view taken about on line 14- 14 of FIG. 12; and
FIG. 15 is an end elevational view of another form of panel member of this invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT Referring now in detail to the illustrative embodiment shown in the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a ceiling construction comprising a series of elongated ceiling panel members, generally designated 10, defining a ceiling surface. Panel members 10 are mounted and supported in properly spaced relation by means including a main T support member or carrier, generally designated 12, suspended from a permanent ceiling structure by means of a plurality of hangar wires 14 as is well known in the art. While not limited thereto, the present invention is particularly adapted for use in ceiling supporting systems of the type comprising a plurality of laterally spaced main T-grid members or carriers. The invention has utility in ceiling supporting grid systems incorporating cross T-grid members extending transversely between the main T carriers and having end portions insertable through slots in the main T carrier and interlocking therewith as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. It is a feature of this invention that the main grid members can be of a conventional construction, except for the incorporation of panel member receiving tongues in the main T members, as described below.
Web portion 16 is provided at spaced intervals with rectangular, normally vertical slots 22 for reception of the end portions of cross T-members 21 (FIGS. 3 and 4) adapted to be interlocked with main T-support carrier 12 and extending transversely thereof to serve as stabilizers or lighting fixture framing members and supports, as desired. The end portions of cross T-members 21 are provided with extensions in the form of tongues (not shown) insertable through slots 22 and snapfitted into interlocking engagement behind web portion 16 of carrier 12. Such interlocking tongues can be of the type described and shown in US Pat. No. 3,3l2,488. Slots 22 are generally I-I-shaped, being formed with downwardly and upwardly projecting tabs at the top and bottom of the slot, respectively, which serve as partitions or separators between the two cross T members in the assembled joint. Of course, slots 22 can take any shape, as desired.
In accordance with this invention, flanges 18 of main T carrier 12 are provided with tabs 24 struck out from flanges 18 on opposite sides of web portions 16 and bent downwardly away from saidweb portion 16 at an angle relative to the plane of said flanges 18. In the illustrated arrangement a pair of downwardly converging tabs 24 are provided in each flange 18 on opposite sides of eachslot 22, in relatively closely spaced, symmetrical relationthereto. As shown in FIG. 5 this provides, between adjacent slots 22, a pair of relatively widely spaced, oppositely directed tabs 24 extending downwardly in andvspaced apart a distance approximating the width of a ceiling panel 10, hereinafter --more fully described. Each pairv of adjacent tabs, 24 extend downwardly in converging relation and are equally spaced from slot 22 of web portion 16. This orientation and spacing of tabs24 relative to slot 22 becomes significant when cross T-members 21 are employed and inserted through slots v22, because the laterally projecting flanges of the cross -T-member extend lengthwise of the ceiling panelsand serve to bridge the spacing between adjacent ceiling panels 10. Although FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate cross T-members 21 laterally spaced at a distance approximating the width of a single-panel member 10, for stabilization purposes such cross T-members 21 would normally be spaced at centers approximating the width of four or eight laterally spaced, side-by-side related panel members 10.
Each ceiling panel member 10 (FIG. consists of a sheet metal fabrication of a unitary, one-piece construction formed to provide a generally elongated channel-shaped body portion having front face portions 26 and 28 converging toward each other in a V-shaped configuration. The juncture of sloping front face portions 26 and 28 forms a longitudinal rib 29 which rigidifies panel member and serves to prevent buckling or oil canning which is known to occur on the wide flat surfaces of other conventional metal fabricated panel components. Also, if desired, more than one rib 29 can be provided on the front face portion of panel member 10 as shown in FIG. 15, which illustrates another form of panel member 10 of this invention having a pair of sloping portions 31 terminating in a reversely curved, arcuate medial portion 33. It should be understood that the configuration of the front face of panel member 10 may vary widely in accordance with the ceiling surface appearance desired by various architectural designs. A pair of normally generally parallel opposite side faces 30 extend rearwardly from front face portions 26 and 28 and terminate in intumed flanges or skirts 32 extending at an obtuse angle from side faces 30 in a converging relation. Skirts 32 are adapted to engage behind each pair of diverging tabs 24 with a snap-fit as shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings Panel member 10 is preferably formed of corrosion resistant, electrogalvinized steel sheet which is finished with either a baked-on enamel in plain or wood grain finish or laminated with a vinyl or fabric material on the outer exposed surfaces. The inner or concealed surfaces are coated with a primer. It should be understood that other suitable material such as aluminum, plastics, etc., can be used instead of galvinized steel, if desired, and can be painted or decorated to provide any desired effect.
Installation of panel members 10 onto main T-carriers 12 is easily accomplished without the use of any tools by merely spreading side faces 30 apart sufficiently to enable skirts 32 to clear tabs 24 of main T-carrier l2 and the inherent resiliency of side faces 30 will cause skirts 32 to snap into assembled relation behind tabs 24 and be securely locked therewith. Panel members 10 are installed in a continuous sequence at right angles to the laterally spaced main T-carriers 12 along the length of the ceiling. If desired, cross T-members 21 having laterally extending support flanges 23 may beemployed as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 to serve as stabilizers and reinforcing members. Such cross T-members 21 also serve to frame and support associated fixtures, as hereinafter described. Panel members 10 of the present invention also can be used in remodeling operations to cover old suspended grid systems incorporating ceiling tiles. To this end, clips having tabs 24 thereon can be slipped onto the tile supporting flanges of existing main T-carriers.
A panel member assembly, comprising a plurality of end-toend assembled panel members 10 held together by splicer elements can be used instead of one, elongated panel member. FIGS. 7 and 8 show a splicer element, generally designated 40, comprising a sheet metal fabrication of unitary, one-piece construction formed to provide front face portions 42 and 44 inclined outwardly and toward each other in a converging relation, opposite side faces 46, extending rearwardly from front face portions 42 and 44 in generally parallel relation, and intumed tabs 48 extending inwardly from side faces 46, thereby providing a cross-sectional configuration like that of panel members 10, but on a slightly smaller scale. Splicer element 40 is adapted to be inserted in the adjacent ends of separate panel members 10 and extend therebetween to connect the same together. Of course, splicer element 40 is finished to match the color and pattern of panel members 10.
For the purpose of closing the open end of a panel member 10, an end plug or cap generally designated 50 (FIGS. 9 and 10) is provided. End cap 50 comprises a substantially flat wall 52 having a V-shaped bottom edge 54 conforming to the channel shape of panel member 10 and opposite side faces 56 slightly lesser in height than side faces 30 of panel member 10, and intumed tabs 58 extending inwardly from side faces 56. Side faces 56 and tabs 58 of cap 50 are adapted to be inserted into the open end of a panel member 10 with wall 52 being positioned flush with the end of panel member 10 for closing the same. Cap 50 is finished to match the finish of panel member 10.
In those constructions in which cross T-members 21 are not inserted in each consecutive slot 22 to thereby span the spacing between adjacent panel members 10, a filler element, generally designated 60, can be used to preserve the visual security of the ceiling construction. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 5 such filler element 60 is in the form of an elongated strip and comprises a sheet metal fabrication of a unitary, one-piece construction formed to provide a base 62 of arcuate, semicircular shape in cross section and a pair of parallel, opposite sidewalls 64 having out-turned flanges 66 extending outwardly at an angle from sidewalls 64 in diverging relation. Filler element 60 is snapped into place between adjacent panel members 10 with flanges 66 in engagement behind intumed skirts 32 of panel members 10 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 5.
The foregoing modular ceiling arrangement is adapted to accommodate lighting, heating and ventilating fixtures to form a totally integrated ceiling system. With reference to FIG. 11, there is shown a ceiling structure incorporating a main T-carrier 12 having a series of elongated panel members 10 attached thereto by means of the struckout tabs 24 which have been omitted for ease in illustration. An opening 68 is provided between a pair of laterally spaced panel members 10 for accommodating a lighting fixture or any other suitable fixture. It should be understood that a plurality of such openings 68 may be provided throughout the ceiling structure for accommodating various ceiling fixtures. These openings 68 are generally fixed in length by the spacing between carrier members 12 and can vary in width, the width ranging from the modular width of one panel member 10 to any multiple thereof. In the example illustrated in FIG. 11, opening 68 approximates the width of four side-by-side related panel members 10.
An elongated lighting fixture, generally designated 70, is schematically illustrated spaced above opening 68 in FIG. 11. For the purpose of supporting lighting fixture 70, a series of cross T-members 21 are placed in opening 68 and interlocked between main T-carriers l2. Fixture 70 is adapted to be lowered onto cross T-members 21 and interposed between two laterally spaced panel members 10. Fixture 70 comprises a metal housing 72 recessed at opposite ends as at 73 to accommodate cross T-members 21 and is provided with suitable fluorescent tubes (not shown) or other types of light sources suitably connected to a source of electricity (not shown). Housing 72 is provided with a plurality of extruded, transparent acrylic lens 74 (FIG. 13) suitably mounted along the bottom thereof and shaped to match the shape of panel members 10. L-shaped mounting brackets 76 are attached to the opposite ends of housing 72 (FIG. 11) for engagement about the upper ends of web portions 16 of spaced main T-carriers 12 for supporting the same in place. Also, side mounting brackets 78 are provided on the sidewalls 86 of housing 72 for engagement about the upper ends of the web portions of cross T-members 21 when such members are provided exteriorly of fixture 70.
Each lens 74 comprises a unitary, one-piece extrusion having a V-shaped front face 80 and opposite sidewalls 82 conforming generally to the channel shape of panel members 10. Sidewalls 82 terminate in intumed flanges which are reversely bent to form hook portions 84 adapted to be secured to the lateral flanges of cross T-members 21 as shown in FIG. 13. Outer hook portions 84 of the endmost lens 74 are adapted to engage intumed flanges 88 provided on the lower ends of sidewalls 86 of housing 72. Thus, lens 74 can be individually snapped in place and generally form a continuation of panel members 10 to provide a ceiling surface which is substantially continuous.
FIGS. 12 and 14 illustrate a boxlike conduit 90 employed for heating, air conditioning, and ventilating systems. Conduits 90 are provided with extensions 92 at opposite ends thereof having depending portions 94 forming hooks adapted to be inserted over web portions 16 of main Tcarriers 12 (FIG. 14). A duct 96, suitably connected at one end to a central heating, air conditioning, or ventilating piping system (not shown), is tapped at its other end into conduit 90. Each conduit 90 is provided with a dependent channel 98 having an opening 100 at its lower end, said channel 98 being of reduced thickness and capable of projecting downwardly between adjacent panel members as shown in FlG. l2. Heated or cooled air may be discharged through opening 100 as indicated by the arrow A in FIG. 12, with the return thereof through the spaces between adjacent panel members 10 as indicated by arrows B. Of course, the reverse ventilating action may take place with a suction force drawing air inwardly through opening 100 of conduit 90. Also, any desired or required number of conduits 90 may be employed in the integrated ceiling structure of this invention.
From the foregoing, it is apparent that the objects of the present invention have been fully accomplished. As a result of this invention, an improved ceiling construction is provided which is simple, durable in use, relatively inexpensive, rugged in construction and which can be easily installed and dismantled. Also, because of employing T-shaped main carriers 12, a ceiling structure can be designed in which associated fixtures, such as lighting components, heat, air conditioning and ventilating fixtures and conduits, can be easily accommodated between or in place of the ceiling panel members to provide a totally integrated system capable of a wide range of architectural designs to present an attractive, decorative appearance.
1. A ceiling structure comprising a support member of generally T-shaped cross-sectional configuration having an upstanding web with a crossmember receiving slot therein, support flanges extending laterally in opposite direction from the lower end of said web, at least two side-by-side related panel members extending generally at right angles to said support flanges, each of said panel members comprising a body member of generally channel-shaped cross-sectional configuration having opposite side faces and a front face, means integral with said support flanges detachably securing said panel members to said support flanges in a laterally spaced relation, said panel members being equally spaced from said slot in said web and symmetrical therewith, and crossmembers extending transversely of said support member and having end portions insertable in said slot of said support member, said crossmembers having laterally projected flanges bridging the space between said laterally spaced panel members, said crossmember flanges and said support flanges lying in a common plane above said panel member faces.
2. A ceiling structure according to claim 1 wherein said front face comprises a pair of sloping portions extending from said side faces downwardly at an angle in a converging relation and meeting in a common juncture to form a said longitudinal rib.
3. A ceiling structure according to claim 1 wherein said panel member comprises a one-piece unitary construction of sheet material.
4. A ceiling structure according to claim 1 wherein said front face comprises a plurality of sloping portions terminating at longitudinal ribs.
5. A ceiling structure according to claim 1 wherein said panel member has an exterior exposed surface provided with a wood grain finish.
6. A ceiling structure according to claim 1 wherein said securing means comprises tabs struck out from said support flanges, respectively.
7. A ceiling structure according to claim 6 wherein said panel member opposite sides terminate in intumed flanges adapted to interlock behind said tabs.
8. A ceiling structure according to claim 1 including a pair of axially aligned panel members having adjacent end portions in close proximity to each other, and splice means for connectirA g sai d end ortions.
9. ceiling s ructure according to claim 8 wherein said splice means comprises an element having a cross-sectional configuration slightly smaller than and confonning to the cross-sectional configuration of said panel members, said element being at least partially inserted into adjacent ends of said panel members.
10. A ceiling structure according to claim 1 wherein each of said panel member front faces is provided with a pair of sloping portions converging together to form a V-shaped configuration, and an end plug provided with a flat end wall having a peripheral configuration conforming to but slightly smaller than the cross-sectional configuration of said panel member, said plug having tabs projecting from the periphery of said end wall for insertion into an open end of said panel member.
11. A ceiling structure including a pluralityof spaced support members and laterally spaced panel members extending normal to said support members as set forth in claim 1 wherein certain of said panel members between spaced support members are removed to provide an opening in said ceiling structure, and a ceiling fixture means insertable into and adapted to cover said opening.
12. A ceiling structure as defined in claim 11 wherein said fixture means is a lighting fixture having a housing provided with means for engagement with and supported by said spaced support members, said housing having means adjacent the lower end thereof for carrying at least one lens having an exposed configuration conforming generally to the shape of said panel members.
13. A ceiling structure as defined in claim 11 wherein said fixture means is a conduit fixture having means for engagement with and supported by said spaced support members, said conduit fixture having a portion projecting downwardly between adjacent, laterally spaced panel members.
14. A ceiling structure according to claim 1 wherein each of said panel members includes a pair of flanges spaced from said front face and extending from said side faces upwardly at an angle in a converging relation.
15. A ceiling structure according to claim 1 together with a strip of material extending between said laterally spaced panel members and having means on opposite sides thereof for engagement with said laterally spaced panel members.
16. A ceiling structure comprising a support member of generally T-shaped cross-sectional configuration having an upstanding web and support flanges extending laterally in opposite directions from the lower end of said web, at least two side-by-side related panel members extending generally at right angles to said support flanges, each of said panel members comprising an elongated body member of generally channel-shaped cross-sectional configuration providing a front face, straight and parallel opposite side faces and a pair of flanges spaced from said front face and extending from said side faces upwardly at an angle in a converging relation, said front face having sloping portions extending from said side faces downwardly at an angle in a converging relation and meeting at a common juncture to form a longitudinal rib, means integral with said support flanges detachably securing said panel members to said support flanges in a lateral spaced relation, a strip of material bridging the space between said laterally spaced panel members to provide visual security, said strip comprising parallel, straight and opposite sidewalls engageable substantially along their entirety with adjacent side faces of said panel members and terminating in laterally outwardly extending flanges for engagement with said flanges of said panel members in overlying relation therewith.