US 3647075 A
A refrigerator door shelf is formed from a single piece of metallic sheet metal bent into an L-shape along its width to form the front wall and bottom of the shelf and bent into a general U-shape along the front wall to form the end walls of the shelf. A bent over tab is provided at the bottom termination of each of the end walls or legs forming the U-shape so that the bottom and end walls of the shelf may be riveted together to form a substantially rigid structure. The shelf is secured to a pair of stringer members extending in a vertical direction on and attached to the refrigerator door. The stringers include a series of vertically aligned rectangular apertures so that the shelf may be placed at varying heights on the refrigerator door. The shelf includes a pair of hooked portions at the inward termination of each of the end walls, with each of these hooked portions including upper and lower projections so that the shelf may be engaged in pairs of the vertical aligned apertures so as to not be easily accidentally knocked from its connection with the stringer members.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Aue [ 1 Mar. 7, 1972  SHELF CONSTRUCTION FOR A REFRIGERATOR DOOR  inventor: John R. Aue, Columbus, Ohio  Filed: Apr. 30, 19 70  Appl.No.: 33,433
2,891,678 6/1959 Levy ..21 1/126 Primary Examiner-Nile C. Byers, Jr. Attorney-F. H. Henson, E. C. Arenz and Richardson B. Farley  ABSTRACT A refrigerator door shelf is formed from a single piece of metallic sheet metal bent into an L-shape along its width to form the front wall and bottom of the shelf and bent into a general U-shape along the front wall to form the end walls of the shelf. A bent over tab is provided at the bottom termination of each of the end walls or legs forming the U-shape so that the bottom and end walls of the shelf may be riveted together to form a substantially rigid structure. The shelf is secured to a pair of stringer members extending in a vertical direction on and attached to the refrigerator door. The stringers include a series of vertically aligned rectangular apertures so that the shelf may be placed at varying heights on the refrigerator door. The shelf includes a pair of hooked portions at the inward termination of each of the end walls, with each of these hooked portions including upper and lower projections so that the shelf may be engaged in pairs of the vertical aligned apertures so as to not be easily accidentally knocked from its connection with the stringer members.
7 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PATENTED MR 7 I972 SHEET 1 [1F .2
INVENTOR John R. Aue
WITNESSES ATTORNEY l SHELF CONSTRUCTION FOR A REFRIGERATOR DOOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention pertains to the refrigeration art and, more particularly, pertains to a refrigerator shelf which may be adjustably mounted on a refrigerator door at one of a variety of desired heights.
2. Description of the Prior Art In order to have a satisfactory adjustable shelf of pleasing appearance that may be readily attached and dismounted from a refrigerator door, such a shelf should have a fairly secure adjustable attachment to the refrigerator door and should also present a streamlined appearance. Such a shelf should also be inexpensively manufactured and easily fabricated to limit its cost to a substantial degree and thereby keep the cost of the refrigerator of which it is a part within an acceptable range to the consumer.
Heretofore, efforts have been made to provide such a shelf, but these efforts have utilized a fairly deluxe-type shelf which, although functional, is somewhat costly to manufacture or less expensive shelves have been utilized which are not as securely attached to the door of the refrigerator as is desired. This type of shelf, although less expensive than the first-mentioned type still constituted a fairly high cost for the functional utility offered by this shelf to the user.
An example of the first type of shelf may be found in U.S. Pat. No. 3,375,936, issued Aug. 2, I968. In this patent, a shelf is disclosed which requires the use of five individual parts for its manufacture so that its cost is very high. This shelf offers relatively good securement so that it finds utility in the'more deluxe refrigerator models but its use in lower priced refrigerators is very limited due to its cost.
A shelf of the second type is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,469,7l l, issued Sept. 30, 1969. The refrigerator door shelf illustrated in this patent provides a much lower cost shelf than the deluxe shelf above described but it still requires the use of two pieces in its construction which increases the cost of its manufacturer to a degree. Further, the hooking engagement means for this shelf that secures it to the refrigerator door does not provide a substantially failsafe arrangement. If this shelf is accidentally bumped so that it is both pushed upwardly and tipped, it may be subject to dislodgement from the refrigerator door so that it will spill all those food items stacked upon it.
Accordingly, it would be advantageous to provide an improved refrigerator door shelf which could be easily manufactured from a single piece of sheet material and which would be provided with a securing arrangement that prevented its dislodgement from the door without the direct intention of an individual attempting to remove it. A mere bump, then, would not accidentally disengage the shelf from the door and create the possibility of a spillage of the contents supported on it.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A shelf, according to the present invention, is essentially comprised of a single piece of sheet metal punched and bent to form the entire outline of the shelf and the fastening means which connects the shelf to the refrigerator door. The front walls and end walls of the shelf fonn a substantial U-shape with a uniform cross section and with the ends of the end walls of the shelf terminating proximately intermediate the depth of the shelf. In cross section, intermediate the ends, the shelf is generally L-shaped with the front wall of the shelf forming the upstanding leg of the L and the bottom of the shelf forming the other leg by being bent substantially at a right angle to the front wall. The end walls, in turn, in cross section, are also substantially L-shaped with right angle bent tabs integrally attached to them and bent so as to engage beneath the bottom of the shelf. A rivet or the like is utilized at each tab to connect these tabs to the bottom of the shelf and thereby provide a durable and rigid shelf which may be conveniently utilized for the stacking of food items within the refrigerator. The most inward portion of the bottom of the shelf includes a flange which is turned downwardly at right angles to the bottom so as to provide a substantial area of abutment for abutting engagement between the shelf and the refrigerator door.
Each of the end walls of the shelf include a pair of hook means which are the engaging mechanism that attach the shelf, adjustably, to stringer members running upwardly and downwardly relative to the refrigerator door. Each of the hook means is provided with both an upward and a downward hook projection shaped so as to permit an easy insertion of these hook projections into the stringer members on the refrigerator door and yet also shaped for preventing accidental removal of the refrigerator shelf from the door. Thus, a shelf of inexpensive construction that cannot be accidentally dislodged from the refrigerator door by an unintentional bumping on its bottom surface is provided by the instant invention.
DRAWING DESCRIPTION For a better understanding of the invention, reference may be had to the preferred embodiment, exemplary of the invention, shown in the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the shelf and a portion of a refrigerator door including the stringer members and with the refrigerator door shelf shown in removed relationship relative to the refrigerator door;
FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the refrigerator shelf illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side view of the refrigerator shelf illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 4 is a view taken on line IV-IV of FIG. 2 illustrating the interfitting relationship between the integral tab of the end wall and the bottom pan member of the shelf;
FIG. 5 is a view .of the interengaging relationship of the hook means and stringers when the refrigerator door shelf has been bumped in a manner which would provide a clockwise motion to it around its refrigerator door abutting flange; and
FIG. 6 is a similar view to FIG. 5 but showing the relationshipof the hook means and stringer members in the event the shelf is bumped in a manner to provide a counterclockwise motion to it.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In accordance with the principles of this invention, a
1 refrigerator 10 is shown partially in FIG. I and is seen as ineluding a-pair of vertically extending ridges 12 along and adjacent to the opposite sides of a refrigeratordoor 11. These stringers extend a sufficient distance vertically to provide a variety of height adjustments for a refrigerator shelf 14 that is attached to the refrigerator door 10 by means of a pair of stringers l6. Stringers 16 are of a general channel shape in cross section with the channel closed at a forward face 18 thereof and with this particular face of each of the stringers I6 including a series of vertically elongated apertures 20. These apertures are generally rectangular in shape and aligned vertically so as to provide a series of substantially equally spaced apertures for receiving and supporting the shelf 14. A recessed space 22 disposed between the ridges 12 provides for reception of the projecting portion of the refrigerator shelf 14 when the shelf is mounted on the refrigerator door 11.
The shelf construction, according to the principles of this invention, is formed from a single piece of sheet metal material, preferably aluminum, for both its appearance and for its resistance to corrosion. It includes a bottom pan 24 that fonns the supporting surface for the shelf 14, with this bottom pan integrally attached to a front wall 26 of .the shelf, extending at right angles to it so that the front wall and bottom pan in cross section are L-shaped. Although the bottom pan 24 is, for its major extent, substantially a planar surface, it is provided with a forward portion 28 and an inner or rearward portion 30 displaced vertically slightly upwardly relative to the forward portion 28 but parallel thereto. The rearward portion '30 is terminated along its entire rearward or inward extent by a downwardly turned flange 32 which provides a sufficient bearing surface to permit the shelf to securely abut against the wall 34 that provides the inward termination of recessed space 22. Flange 32 also provides considerable strength to prevent shelf bottom 24 from bending when the shelf is loaded. The bottom pan 24 also includes oppositely disposed inwardly angularly directed walls 36, 36 which provide the bottom pan with a rearwardly tapered effect and, therefore, a close adherence to a pair of angularly directed walls 38, 38 formed on the ridges I2, 12.
The front wall 26 of refrigerator shelf 14 has attached integrally to its ends a pair of end walls 40, 40 which extend at substantially right angles to the front wall 26 to provide the front wall and end walls with substantially a U shape in plan view. The front wall 26, the end walls 40, 40 and the wall 34 of the refrigerator door 11 thereby offer an open topped enclosure for the reception and support of smaller items such as bottles and jars or the like that require refrigeration and that need to be conveniently located for easy access to the housewife. At the bottom of each of the end walls 40, 40, a right angled bent tab 42 is provided, with this tab also extending inwardly relative to the major extent of the depth of the shelf 14 so that it lies beneath and in adjacency with the bottom pan 24. Tabs 42, 42 have their opposite faces in substantially the same plane as the opposite faces of forward portion 28 of bottom pan 24, but are located so as to lie beneath rearward portion 30 of bottom pan 24 to support it relative to the end walls 40, 40. Because of the offset between the forward portion 28 and rearward portion 30 the tabs 42, 42 are disposed in direct abutting relationship with the rear portion 30 when the upper and lower faces of each of the tabs 42 is disposed in the same plane as the upper and lower faces of forward portion 28. This provides a fairly streamlined effect to the bottom side of the refrigerator shelf 14, and, in conjunction with the U shape of the front and end walls, lends an overall streamlined appearance to the shelf 14. A rivet 44 or the like may be utilized to attach each of the tabs 42 to the rearward portion 30 of the refrigerator shelf 14 by being passed through these elements in a connecting relationship. Because of the aforementioned relative offset between the forward portion 28 and the rearward portion 30 and the attachment of the tabs 42 to the forward portion 28, as described, the refrigerator shelf in this area is provided with a great deal more strength and rigidity than such a shelf would possess in the event that the forward and rearward portions 28 and 30 were disposed in the same plane and then rivet connected to the tabs 42, 42.
An inturned flange or strengthening bead 46 is included in the refrigerator shelf 14 and extends entirely around the upper periphery of the front wall 26 and end walls 40, 40. Thus, the refrigerator shelf l4 gains strength, not only from its thickness, but also from the strengthening bead 46, the offset forward and rearward portions 28 and 30 and their disposition relative to the tabs 42 and the downturned flange 32 which borders the inward most extension of rearward portions 30.
The structure of the refrigerator shelf 14 is completed by the inclusion ofa pair of hook means 48 and 50 on each of the inward terminations of the end walls 40. These hook means are disposed in a general vertical alignment on their respective end walls 40, with the hook means 48 being the more upwardly disposed and the hook means 50 being the hook means disposed directly therebelow. Hook means 48 include an upper upwardly oriented projection 52 (FIG. 3) and a lower downwardly oriented projection 54, with the space bounded by the interior peripheries of these projections and the end wall 40 providing an upwardly opening notch 56 and a downwardly opening'notch 58. Hook means 50 also includes a pair of upper and lower projections 60 and 62 which form between their inner peripheries and the end wall 40, a pair of notches 64 and 66, with the notch 64 opening upwardly and the notch 66 opening downwardly.
The notches 58 and 66 extend slightly into the end wall 40 at a slight angle upwardly inclined towards front wall 26 to provide an angularly disposed pair of notches that tend to locate the refrigerator shelf 14, in its rest position, so that its bottom pan 24 is very slightly inclined relative to the horizontal inwardly toward the door 11. These two notches serve, of course, as the engaging means which attach the refrigerator shelf to the spacer portions 68 of the stringers 16 by being inserted within vertically spaced apertures 20. The refrigerator shelf 14 is then positively mounted relative to the refrigerator door 11.
Upper notches 56 and 64 as bounded by the periphery of the upper projections 52 and 60 serve as the arresting means that prevent the refrigerator shelf 14 from being dislodged from its mount with the stringer 16 by inadvertence or accident. In the event that the refrigerator shelf 14 is bumped accidentally from below so as to provide it with a clockwise motion around the flange 32 the lower hook means 50 (FIG. 5) by means of its upper projection 60 securely holds the refrigerator shelf 14 in a mounted position by a surface 70 thereon abutting against the rearward side of the spacer means 68. As can be seen in the aforementioned Figure, the surface 70 is disposed substantially parallel to the tennination of the end wall 40 and thereby substantially parallel to the spacer portion 68 in the normal shelf position so that no curved edge is presented to the spacer means 68 which would tend to permit camming of the shelf 14 to an unengaged position from the position of it assumed under clockwise rotation as shown in FIG. 5.
In the event that an unintentional bump tends to turn the refrigerator shelf 14 counterclockwise (FIG. 6) the upper hook members 48, by means of a surface 72 on the upper projection 52 prevents dislodgement of the refrigerator shelf from its mounting. The surface 72 is not parallel to the spacer portion 68 but angled slightly from the vertical and thereby angled slightly relative to the disposition of the surface 70 to form an acute angle with its respective end wall 40. The angular placement of surface 72 aids in mounting the shelf 14 on the stringers 16 since the upper hook means 48 may be engaged first and then the entire shelf rotated until the surface 72 abuts against the front side of the spacer element 68. The shelf is then lowered slightly to thereby provide a sufiicient clearance for the lower hook means 50 to pass through its respective aperture 20. Although the surface 72 is placed at an angle, it and the surface 70 can be considered as extending substantially perpendicularly relative to the bottom pan 24 of the refrigerator shelf so as to provide almost their full lengths for possible abutment with the spacer members 68 to prevent dislodgement of the shelf 14. By this arrangement, the refrigerator shelf, it can be easily seen, is not subject to being dislodged so that its use is facilitated and made safer by the foregoing described hook means arrangement.
In order to mount the refrigerator shelf 14 on the refrigerator door 11 it is only necessary to turn the refrigerator shelf clockwise (FIG. 1) to a position just outwardly of that shown in FIG. 5 so that the upper hook means 48 may be inserted within one of the rectangular apertures 20. A leading edge 74 on the hook means 50 then provides for easy insertion of the second hook means within a lower one of the rectangular apertures 20 since this edge rides the second hook means 50 into its respective aperture. This edge forms a sharp angular relationship with the remainder of the hook means and is disposed at approximately 45 to the perpendicular when the shelf is in its rest position.
Once the hook means 48 and 50 have passed completely through the apertures 20 so as to be disposed therebehind, the shelf may be permitted to settle downwardly so that the lower notches 58 and 66 engage with spacer members 68, 68.
It should be clear from the foregoing description that the instant invention provides all the advantages ascribed thereto and it also should be clear that modifications could be made therein which would fall within the spirit of the invention.
I claim as my invention:
l. A shelf adapted to be adjustably positioned on a stringer means including;
a. a one piece sheet member bent in an L-shape to form an integral bottom pan and front wall,
b. end walls extending at least partially along ends of said bottom pan and formed integrally from said one piece sheet member by bending end portions of said front wall to form an L-shape at each end of said front wall,
c. said end walls including integral hook means formed from said one piece sheet member for engagement with complementary means on said stringer means, and
(1. tab means integral with said end walls and formed from said one piece sheet member by bending bottom portions of said end walls at substantially right angles to said end walls for supporting at least a portion of said bottom pan from said end walls.
2. The shelf set out in claim 1 wherein;
a. fastening means maintain said tab means and bottom pan in rigid assembled relation.
3. The shelf set out in claim 1 wherein;
a. said integral bottom pan includes forward and rearward portions,
b. said forward portion is offset vertically higher than said rearward portion,
c. said forward and rearward portions extend substantiall horizontal, and
(1. said tab means abuts the bottom of said forward portion and has its bottom in the same horizontal plane as the bottom of said rearward portion so that said forward and rearward portions are offset substantially the thickness of said tab means.
4. The shelf set out in claim 1 wherein;
a. said bottom pan has formed at its rearward extent a downtumed flange formed by bending the rear portion of tions for maintaining said shelf on said stringer means by resisting turning movements imparted thereto.
6. The shelf set out in claim 5 wherein;
a. said integral upper and lower projections cooperate with said end walls of said shelf for forming said hook means, and
b. at least one of said upper projections includes an angularly disposed edge, said angularly disposed edge being situated between the rearward termination of one of said end walls and the rearward termination of said one of said upper projections for facilitating engagement of said shelf with said stringer means.
7. A shelf for a refrigerator door including an end wall adapted to be adjustably positioned on'a stringer member including;
a. vertically aligned apertures in said stringer member,
b. spacer members on said stringer member between said apertures,
c. vertically aligned and vertically displaced hook means on said shelf,
d. each of said hook means including upper and lower projections,
e. notch means formed between each of said lower projections and said end wall, 7
f. said shelf being normally supported by engagement of said notch means and said spacer members,
g. said shelf being prevented from tipping dislodgement by said upper projections,
h. one of said upper projections including an edge angulated relative to said end wall, and
i. said angulated edge extending from adjacent said end wall to form an acute angle therebetween for ease in assembly of said shelf and said stringer member.