US 3679280 A
A collapsible closet comprises a bottom element and a top element, both rigid and similar in shape and size and joined together by a central post and by a flexible peripheral wall stretched over a major portion of the periphery of the closet between grip devices on the top and bottom elements. The peripheral wall has a flexible unconnected free end able to close a front opening of the closet or be fastened to the top and bottom elements at the edge of the opening so as to preserve the same.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Friederich et al.
CLOSET FOR STORAGE OF CLOTHING AND THE LIKE Inventors: Claude F riederich; Etienne Cramazou,
both of Mulhouse, France Assignee: Societe anonyme Dite: Plastra, Strasbourg- Neudorf, France Filed: June 26, I970 Appl. No.: 50,033
Foreign Application Priority Data June 26, 1969 France... ..692l571 Feb. 26, 1970 France ..7007004 US. Cl. ..3l2/6, 312/3 Field of Search ..3l2/3l6; 21 1/180; l60/DlG. 16, 160/327, 369, 394, 395; 108/108, 110
[ 1 July 25,1972
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,188,213 1/1940 Wilson ..312/3 UX 2,212,326 8/1940 Piken.... ..160/DIG. 16 2,728,390 12/1955 Turner... ..160/327 3,205,628 9/1965 Frisk ..l60/354X Primary Examiner-James C. Mitchell A!torneyWaters, Roditi, Schwartz & Nissen  ABSTRACT A collapsible closet comprises a bottom element and a top element, both rigid and similar in shape and size and joined together by a central post and by a flexible peripheral wall stretched over a major portion of the periphery of the closet between grip devices on the top and bottom elements. The peripheral wall has a flexible unconnected free end able to close a front opening of the closet or be fastened to the top and bottom elements at the edge of the opening so as to preserve the same.
24 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures PATENTEflJuLzs m2 snm u UF 5 FIG. 8
PATENTEbJuLzs I972 SHEET 5 BF 5 FIG/1'1 CLOSET FORSTORAGE OF CLOTHING AND THE LIKE BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to closets for the storage of clothing or the like, and particularly to such closets which are constituted by a plastic envelope.
Plastic closets for storage of clothing are known, such closets comprising flexible walls held taut by a particular construction of internal metallic frames usually consisting of rods preferably disposed along the edges of a parallelipiped to maintain the shape of said closets.
Such closets, quite apart from their usually unattractive functional shape, exhibit various drawbacks, in particular the difficulty of disassembling the frames for packing the closets into a small space, and also the manner of fastening their shelving by suspension on cross rods usually made in one piece with the framework.
The present invention overcomes these drawbacks and its object is to provide a storage closet for clothing comprising top and bottom elements of rigid molded plastic cast preferably at high temperature. These elements, one of which may be supplied with detachable or integrally cast feet, are joined together by a central post serving for the fastening of suspension rods which can also act as brackets for supporting a shelf and preferably furnished with means tending to increase the distance between the two rigid elements.
The closet according to the invention is also characterized in that the rigid 'elements are furnished externally with grip devices such as a stretcher key for stretching a flexible vertical wall connected between the top and bottom elements by raising the top element on the post.
To avoid possible distortion of the closet by twisting of the top element with respect to the bottom element, the post can advantageously be keyed with the rigid elements.
The closet is opened preferably by combining the use of detachable fasteners with magnetic members on three detachable sides of a folding panel, whose outline determines an opening at the front face of the closet. Such magnetic fastenings may comprise, for example, the use of magnets fastened to the top and bottom elements and rubber strips containing soft iron filings attached to the folding panel.
Furthermore, the brackets are of rigid plastic or metal and capable of supporting a shelf, and the brackets are mounted in slots or openings in the central post by sliding or rocking. The shelves each have at least one socket for securing these shelves on the brackets on either side of the central post.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a closet for the storage of clothing according to the invention, shown in open condition;
FIG. 2 is a view looking upward at a bottom rigid element of the base of the closet;
FIG. 3 is a diametric section through a portion of the framework assembly;
FIG. 4 is a vertical section of the rigid top element of the closet taken along line [VIV in FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a section of the same rigid top element taken along line VV in FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic perspective view showing the erection of shelf brackets;
FIG. 7 is a view from below of a shelf;
FIG. 8 is a vertical section of a portion of another embodiment of the closet, along a median plane parallel to its two frontal faces and passing through the center line of a central post thereof;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a tightening key of the flexible peripheral wall of the closet of FIG. 8;
FIGS. 10 and 11 are diagrammatic sectional views showing the combination of the tightener key of FIG. 9 with the central post;
FIG. 12 is a perspective view showing the lower ribbed portion of one of the symmetrical locker shelves of FIG. 8 and the location of its bracket in respect to the central post; and
FIG. 13 is a perspective view showing the shelf support in FIG. 12 and its simultaneous utilization as a hanger carrier.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to FIG. 1, therein is shown a closet for the storage of clothing comprising a rigid bottom element 3 forming a base and a rigid top element 2, preferably cast from the same mold as element 3.
As seen in FIG. 2, element 3 is supplied with feet 4 cast in one piece therewith, the feet being housed in a flat middle portion 3a of element 3. The feet 4 can be cut from portion 3a and the resulting surface smoothed by sandpapering or the like to obtain the central portion of element 2. The mold can also be provided with interchangeable elements so as to produce top or bottom elements 2 or 3, as desired.
The feet can also be detachable by means of suitable inside ratchet recesses to enable conversion from element 3 to top element 2 and vice versa. These recesses can be closed by shallow plugs projecting only to a negligible height above the top level of that element in the case of top element 2.
The two elements 2 and 3 are joined together by a central post 5 which, as seen in FIG. 3, comprises a keying arrangement that guarantees the parallel alignment of the two elements.
Post 5 is also provided with axial grooves 6 of a short length and axial grooves 6a of greater length, allowing the fastening of brackets 7 which can serve as hanger holders or shelf brackets. Details of the assembly between brackets 7 and post 5 will be given subsequently with reference to FIG. 6.
Shelves 8 rest on brackets 7 as can be seen in FIG. I, and it is also seen in this Figure that in addition to the middle part 9/1 joining the bottom of post 5, the elements 2 and 3 have a large number of recesses to lighten their weight and serve as cleaning spaces underneath footwear placed on the edges of the partitions 10 (FIG. 1) separating such recesses.
Quite apart from the connection between elements 2 and 3 formed by the central post 5, the closet comprises a flexible, plastic wall 11 constituting the upright walls of the closet.
The means for fastening wall 11 to the sides of elements 2 and 3 will be explained later with reference to FIG. 4.
The free end of wall 11 is constituted by a door-like portion 12 which can be folded back and secured in adjusted position to allow entry to the inside of the closet, as shown in FIG. I.
The horizontal edges of portion 12 can be supplied with attachment fasteners 13a, 14a, which cooperate with fixed elements l3 and 14 on the top and bottom elements 2 and 3. The attachment fasteners may be woven pieces, such as VELCRO or TEXTICROCHE, or magnetic elements. In the case of magnetic elements, the elements 13 and 14 are preferably permanent magnets and the elements 13a and 14a are flexible rubber strips containing iron filings. Of course, the rubber strip can likewise contain magnetized particles, crosswise for instance, the fixed elements then being of soft iron. In both cases, the securing of the attachment elements can be by adhesives or welding, or even by molding the attachment elements in the fixed elements 2 and 3.
FIG. 2 shows the feet 4 fixed on a flat outside portion 3a of element 3, which comprises at its periphery a U-shaped beading 15a for tightly holding the non-opening side wall 11 of the locker in the remainder of element 14.
Post 5 is keyed to elements 2 and 3 at 16 and 16a in the middle portions 9 and 9a of those elements.
A block of resilient, cellular material 17 urges top element 2 away from bottom element 3 so as to stretch the flexible side wall 11 between the two beads 15 and 15a.
FIG. 4 shows the top part of flexible element 11 to which is secured a flexible shaped section 18 allowing tight suspension of element 11 on bead 15, and fastened by adhesives or by welding.
The lower portion of element 11 also carries a section 18a of similar type for engagement with bead 15a of element 3.
FIG. 6 shows the assembly of brackets 7 on post 5. Brackets 7 are each shaped such that on both sides of a notch 19 provided in the top part of bracket 7, elements are formed which are passed into notches 6 and 6a of post to become secured therewith so that the top edge of the bracket is level.
The free ends of the brackets 7 have notches 20 which form shoulders intended for engaging sockets 20a provided on shelves 8, as seen in FIG. 7. These shelves 8 also comprise stiffener ribs 21 and 22 which define a passageway 23 for entry of brackets 7 for the support of the shelves.
A lack of clearance between the edges provided on either side of passageway 23 and the two upright parallel faces of brackets 7 guarantees the level state of the shelves and the stability of the support thereof. The shelves are also provided with rounded portions 24 and 25 between ribs 21 and 22 for engaging the periphery of post 5 and the rounded portions are spaced at a distance from sockets 20a in perfect correspondence with the distance between the notches 19 and 20 of the brackets 7.
It should be noted that two supporting brackets 7 can be mounted on either side of post 5, so as to lie in two mutually parallel planes in symmetrical relation to a vertical plane passing through the center line of the post and parallel to the front face of the closet.
Passageway 23 and socket 20a of the various shelves are necessarily slightly offset with respect to the vertical plane of symmetry of these shelves, in order to enable mounting of the shelves on the brackets.
The same type of shelf can then be used for the right-hand shelves as for those on the left, while if the two ribs 22 of each shelf were absolutely symmetrical one with the other, the passageways 23 and the elements 200 would be offset with respect to the openings 6 and 6a which secure the positioning of brackets 7 and would no longer allow the reception and attachment of those brackets.
Referring next to the embodiment in FIG. 8, therein the rigid elements at the bottom and top portions of the closet are respectively composed of two vacuum molded parts, of which parts 2a and 3b are external and relatively flat with a dished periphery and parts 2b and 3c are internal and have the form of a rectangular base pyramid. These two internal and external parts are welded at the level of two peripheral ribs 26 and 26a and the parts 2a and 3b extend as respective rounded portions 27 comparable to those in the previously described embodiment.
In the lower portion, the flat part 3b comprises four feet 40 which can be conveniently provided in the corners of the closet. The left rear foot is shown at the back of the sectional plane of FIG. 8.
At the level of the feet 4a, the peripheral rib 26a of part 3c can pass around these feet and come to rest at the inside wall of the rounded portion 27, as seen at 26b in FIG. 8, the rib 26 of part 3b being provided only on both sides of feet 4a for welding onto the straight portions of the equivalent rib 26a of part 30.
The parts 2a and 2b of the rigid top element and 3b and 3c of the rigid lower element are also joined together in the center by hot-formed tubes 28, each having a closed end engaged in a central boss 20 or 3d of the external element 2a or 3b. The tubes 28 have an internal diameter to receive a reduced end of a respective interfitting element 5a, 5b, 50, or 5d forming the central post of the closet. The outer wall of a tube 28 is assembled at 28a to the inside of elements 2b or 3c and at their opposite end to the periphery of bosses 2c and 3d. The tubes 28 extend approximately the height of the parts 2b and 30.
FIG. 8 also shows a stretching key 29 engaged in a longitudinal slot or opening 29a provided in tube 5a. By turning key 29, the bottom of element 2b is raised on the post so as to stretch side wall 11 connected between the guides 15 and 15a of elements 2a and 3b.
The stretching key 29 is constituted as a stamped sheet with an outer surface of rounded shape with increasing radii and a pusher 29b, bent at right angles from the sheet as shown in FIG. 9, which pusher abuts against the outer wall of the tube 50, when the key is entirely inserted in tube 5a and the two rigid parts of the closet are spaced apart by a maximum.
The central post can be made up of any number of telescoping sections, the bottom one always having opposite reduced ends so as to engage in the tube 28 of the bottom part and the next upper telescoping section of the post.
FIG. 8 also shows a different type of shelf support 7a which is shown in greater detail in FIGS. 12 and 13. The support 7a is formed as a hairpin-type bracket which comprises a horizontal arm 7b adapted for lying underneath a shelf 8a whose top has a peripheral bead 8b with a semi-circular notch 30 allowing symmetrically shaped shelves 8a to be inserted symmetrically with respect to the center line of the central post.
The lower face of shelf 8a comprises a slot appreciably rectangular in section between triangular ribs 31 whose sectional area decreases toward the edges of the shelf, these ribs being arranged transversely in the direction of the depth of the closet.
Between these triangular ribs, the lower part of bracket 7a, which in FIG. 8 is inclined in relation to the horizontal arm 7b, can serve as a holder for hangers.
This lower portion, which could very well be parallel to the horizontal arm 7b, can be advantageously covered with a tube of greater diameter 7c welded to the lower bar of bracket 7a.
The end of arm 7b is bent upwardly to form lug 7d and can enter the post section 50 as shown in FIG. 8 in a horizontal position, that is, with arm 7b appreciably upright in a median plane passing through the center line of the post and parallel to the front faces of the closet.
Upon swinging arm 7b down to the horizontal, a flat end 32 of tube 70 comes to rest against the metal wall of section Sc, while the inside vertical portion of curved end 7d comes to rest against the inside wall of section 5c.
It is then sufficient to place a shelf 8a on bracket 7a with the arm 7b entering the slot between the symmetrical triangular ribs 31, whereupon the shelf will be level and stably supported.
The particular shape of bracket 70 with end 32 and bent end 7d allows the bracket to be rigidly secured in the vertical position on post section 5c and, as a consequence, the horizontality of shelf is obtained by reason of the slight clearance between bracket 7a and the triangular ribs 31 which are on either side of this bracket.
It will be noted that it is also possible to affix feet 4a by attachment to an upper peripheral gasket on the inside of ribs 26 of elements similar to element 2a, instead of providing a special stamping for shaping element 3b for the purpose of integral casting of the feet.
What is claimed is:
l. A closet for clothes, said closet comprising top and bottom rigid elements, a central post connected with the top and bottom elements to form an assembly therewith, a flexible peripheral wall having upper and lower ends connected over a major portion of the length thereof to said top and bottom elements so as to be fixed therewith and leaving unconnected minor portions to define a free end which is movable between open and closed positions, means at said upper and lower ends of the flexible peripheral wall for detachably securing the wall to said top and bottom elements in the open and closed position, bracket means, said central post having means supporting said bracket means therefrom, and shelf means supported on said bracket means and extending from said central post within the confines of said peripheral wall.
2. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 1 comprising grip means between said top and bottom elements and said major portion of the wall to hold the wall taut between said elements, said grip means comprising a U-shaped section on said top and bottom elements and an interengaging element on said upper and lower ends of the wall.
3. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 1 comprising means connecting the top and bottom elements to said central post including a resilient element between the top element and the post urging the top element away from the bottom element to stretch the peripheral wall.
4. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 1, wherein said means at the upper and lower ends of the peripheral wall for detachably securing the wall to the top and bottom elements comprises elements fixed to said wall at said ends and cooperating attachment members on said top and bottom elements.
5. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 4, wherein said elements fixed to the wall comprise resilient elements containing magnetic pieces, said attachment members being fixed magnetic elements.
6. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 1, wherein said top and bottom elements include dividing partitions with recesses therebetween.
7. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 1, wherein said means on the central post supporting the bracket means includes two pairs of axial grooves of different length in the post at diametrically opposed locations at different levels, said bracket means comprising brackets mountable in pairs in grooves of difierent size, one in each pair, in spaced parallel planes on opposite sides of said post at each level.
8. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 7, wherein each said bracket has a notch which forms spaced tongues adapted for engaging grooves of different size, one in each pair.
9. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 8, wherein each bracket has a free end with an upper edge having a notch therein to provide a shoulder at said free end, said shelf means comprising a shelf having a socket for receiving the shoulder of the bracket.
10. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 9, wherein said shelf comprises four ribs connected in pairs and defining a passageway between the rib pairs for entry of a bracket with little clearance.
11. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 10, wherein said shelf has a plane of symmetry and said passageway is offset from said plane of symmetry so as to be mountable on either of the pair of brackets at each level.
12. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 2, wherein said interengaging elements on said wall comprise channel members interengageable with said U-shaped sections of the grip means.
13. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 1, wherein said bottom element includes integral feet thereon.
14. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 1, wherein said top and bottom elements are substantially identical and have recesses for selective engagement of feet therein when serving as bottom elements.
15. A closet for clothes, said closet comprising top and bottom rigid elements, central post means connected with the top and bottom elements to form an assembly therewith, a flexible peripheral wall having upper and lower ends connected over a major portion of the length thereof to said top and bottom elements so as to be fixed therewith and leaving unconnected minor portions to define a free end which is movable between open and closed positions, and means at said upper and lower ends of the flexible peripheral wall for detachably securing the wall to said top and bottom elements in the open and closed position, said top and bottom elements respectively comprising first and second members with outer portions joined together and a central tube securing the first and second members at the centers thereof.
16. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 15, wherein said first member has a curved peripheral portion so as to be hollow and of dish shape, and said second member is accommodated in said first member, said central tube extending approximately the height of said second member.
17. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 16, wherein said central post means comprises a plurality of axially assemblable telescopic sections, said sections having reduced ends for interfitting in one another and in said tubes.
18. A clothes closet as claimed m claim 15, wherein said first member is external and said second member is internal, each internal member having a peripheral rib with a portion of generally rectangular outline to secure the first and second members together at the outer portions thereof and feet on said external member of the bottom element received within the rectangular outline of the ribs, said internal member having outer edges resting on the external member on the curved peripheral portion thereof.
19. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 15, wherein said central tube has a lengthwise slot proximate said top element and a stretching key turnably insertable in said slot to raise the top element on said post and stretch said wall. I
20. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 19, wherein said key has an outer surface of rounded shape with increasing radii resting on the post at the lower end of the slot so that as the key is inserted into the post the top element is gradually raised.
21. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 15, wherein said central tube is provided with pairs of axially spaced holes in diametric opposition, and comprising brackets with spaced ends engageable in respective pairs of holes such that pairs of brackets can be mounted on the post to extend in the same plane in opposite direction.
22. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 21, wherein each said bracket is constituted as a rod with upper and lower arms each with an inner end adapted for engaging one hole in each pair.
23. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 22, wherein the upper arm of each bracket includes a lug thereon engageable in the upper hole in a pair and the lower arm includes a flat portion extending at right angles to said lug for engaging the other hole of the pair, said flat portion having shoulders for abutment with the post at the outer periphery thereof, and further comprising shelves mountable on respective brackets, each shelf having a median groove of rectangular section for receiving the upper arm of a corresponding bracket, tapered ribs extending transversely of said groove, and a post engaging portion.
24. A clothes closet as claimed in claim 23, wherein said post engaging portion of each shelf has a notch to permit the shelf to peripherally engage the post over substantially onehalf of the peripheral extent thereof, each shelf including a peripheral stiffening rib, said notch extending into said rib, said tapered ribs being of triangular section and having a height at said median groove to receive both arms of a bracket.