US 3724078 A
A platform assembly fabricated from a pair of channel-like supporting rails and one or more channel plate platform members end connected into the opposing channel grooves of the rails through longitudinally spaced slots in the lower rail, channel groove, side faces receiving the dependent channel plate side flanges and upstanding, button punched, protuberances formed at the opposite ends of the channel plate main body to interlockingly engage with the upper rail, channel groove, side faces. A positive interlock and smooth rounded exposed flange edge construction is secured by return bending the free flange edges of both the rails and channel plate platform members upon themselves so the spaced rails slots can be formed in the return bent portions of the lower rail, channel groove, side faces and the upstanding protuberances may be cammingly engaged with the return bent portions of the upper rail, channel groove, side faces during endwise entry of the channel plate ends into the rail channel grooves to final home position with the protuberances end butted with the terminal ends of the return bent portions of the upper rail, channel groove, side faces.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [wr Carlin et al.
[ 1 Apr. 3, 1973  LOCK JOINT FOR FABRICATED PLATFORM ASSEMBLIES  Inventors: Edward T. Carlin; Bobby L. White,
both of Shreveport, La.
 US. Cl. ..52/l77, 52/626, 52/627, 108/153, 211/153  Int. Cl ..E04f 11/16, E04c 2/30  Field of Search ..52/614, 625, 626, 627, 177, 52/588, 241, 349; 108/153; 211/153  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,103,703 12/1937 Van Kooten ..l08/153 3,234,697 2/1966 Toti et al. 3,571,998 3/1971 lacona 452/478 Primary Examiner-Alfred C. Perham Attorney-Strauch, Nolan, Neale, Nies & Kurz  ABSTRACT A platform assembly fabricated from a pair of channel-like supporting rails and one or more channel plate platform members end connected into the opposing channel grooves of the rails through longitudinally spaced slots in the lower rail, channel groove, side faces receiving the dependent channel plate side flanges and upstanding, button punched, protuberances formed at the opposite ends of the channel plate main body to interlockingly engage with the upper rail, channel groove, side faces. A positive interlock and smooth rounded exposed flange edge construction is secured by return bending the free flange edges of both the rails and channel plate platform members upon themselves so the spaced rails slots can be formed in the return bent portions of the lower rail, channel groove, side faces and the upstanding protuberances may be cammingly engaged with the return bent portions of the upper rail, channel groove, side faces during endwise entry of the channel plate ends into the rail channel grooves to final home position with the protuberances end butted with the terminal ends of the return bent portions of the upper rail, channel groove, side faces.
6 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures PATENTEDAPR 3 I973 Ill mm- PATENIEU APR 3 SHEET 2 OF 2 LOCK JOINT FOR FABRICATED PLATFORM ASSEIVIBLIES BACKGROUND OF INVENTION This is a division of copending application Ser. No. 863,603 filed Oct. 3, 1969, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,601,397, entitled PLAY CENTER HAVING TA- BLE, SWING, SLIDE AND GYMNASTIC BARS.
The present lock jointed platform assembly was developed to provide a platform construction that would be tamper-free, cut free and snag free, particularly when employed in devices such as table and seat structures, slide platforms, and like structures exemplified in the childrens play center of the aforesaid parent application. In the past, fabricated platform structures of this general type have usually employed separable fasteners to secure the platform members to the supporting rails and the exposed plate and rail edges as well as the separable fasteners have for the most part been subject to loosening in use and SUMMARY OF INVENTION Accordingly, a primary object of this invention resides in providing a fabricated platform assembly composed of a pair of channel-like support rails the side faces of which are disposed in spaced opposed relation with the lower side faces cross slotted to receive in end butted relation the opposite ends of the dependent side faces of channel-plate platform members provided inwardly. from their respective ends with upstanding, button punched, protuberances disposed to interlockingly cooperate with the upper side faces of the opposed support rails.
Still another object of the present invention resides in providing a novel platform assembly composed of a pair of opposed channel-like support rails and one or more channel-like platform members fixedly end fitted into the opposed channels of the support rails without the need of separable fasteners of any kind.
A still further object of the present invention resides in mounting a vertically spaced pair of platform assemblies formed according to the previous object in vertically spaced relation to the lower runs of one end frame assembly and the adjacently related end runs of said side frame assemblies, the upper of said platform assemblies comprising a pair of platform members adjacently centered with respect to an opposed pair of support rails to form a table and the lower of said platform assemblies comprising a pair of platform members respectively connected to the adjacent opposed ends of a longer pair of support rails to form respective bench type seats extending in longitudinal parallelism to said table platform members.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS Additional objects will appear from the foregoing description and appended claims when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:
fIG. 1 is a perspective view of a play center provided with platform assemblies constructed in accord with the present invention showing several children playing;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the platform construction of the present invention arranged with adjacently centered platform members to form the table or slide approach platform of the present invention; and
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken on line 33 of FIG. 2 and looking in the direction of the arrows to illustrate the axial locking association of the button punch interlock formations of the platform members with the inturned lip of the support rails and the lateral locking association of the inturned lips of the platform members with the opposing wall of the notches formed in the rolled edge of the lower support rail flanges.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With continued reference to the drawings wherein the same reference numerals are used throughout the several views to indicate the same parts, the play center of the present invention comprises a skeletal main frame 20 made up of a pair of identical side frame assemblies 21 (FIG. 1), a single cross frame assembly 22, a pair of identical end frame assemblies 23 having ground engaging outboard cross runs stabilizing main frame 20 against endwise tilting, and a reinforcing truss assembly 24 forming with the end portions of cross frame assembly 22 in the final assembly of main frame 20 respective oppositely laterally extending, outrigger frame sections stabilizing main frame 20 against sidewise tilting. Assembled main frame 20 is arranged to suspend a swing assembly 30 from the upper cross run of a first end frame assembly 23; to support between the side runs of the second end frame assembly 23 and the adjacently related end runs of the two side frame assemblies 21 a multi-use platform assemblage 27, 28, serving alternately as a picnic tablebench unit, a crawl through play tunnel, a walk across stile, and a two sided step ladder to gain access to the upper cross run of the other end frame assembly 23 and the adjacently right angularly related upper side frame runs designed for use as a chinning and swing bar and parallel bars for performing gymnastic exercises; to support between the outrigger frame section at one side and the adjacently related runs of a first side frame assembly 21 and the vertical side run of the first end section frame assembly 23 a sliding board approach ladder, approach platform 26, and sliding board 29 assembly; and to support between the vertical runs of the outrigger frame section at the other side staggered wide tread ladder steps 25 alternately used as a ladder to gain access to the upper runs of main frame 20 used as a play lookout tower, tree house or the like with the wide tread steps being also used as seats when playing imaginative games of war, cowboys and indians, forest rangers, and the like. Each of the frame assemblies 21, 22, 23 and 24 are formed of angularly related runs of .tubular pipe stock the ends of which are adapted to be telescopically connected and fixedly bolted together by the purchaser so the parts may be boxed and shipped in knocked down form to conserve shipping space and minimize shipping and handling costs. These various units may be selectively dimensioned to serve the needs of children of preschool age or older. In either case the construction of the overall structure as well as the respective frame assemblies will be identical except for pipe stock sizes and dimensions, larger and heavier pipe stock being used in the larger size units to assure adequate strength and safety.
While the slide board approach platform 26 and table and bench seat platforms 27 and 28, may be variously constructed, the present invention contemplates a novel construction which may be preassembled without the need of separable fastener elements for unitary installation. While this novel platform structure is here shown for use in providing slide approach platform 26, table platform 27 and bench seat platform 28, it is to be understood that the construction is of general utility and may be employed to form platforms adapted for any desired use. For example, the platform construction may be employed to form seats and foot platforms for home yard and porch gliders, for bench seats designed for general use, and for picnic and table structures of general utility.
As will appear from a consideration of FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawings detailing the table platform 27, each platform comprises a pair of identical platform support channels 131 and a pair of platform channels 132, which, in the case larger surface'areas or abutting surface areas are desired, can be multiplied as desired.
Referring for the moment to support channels 131, each support channel comprises a channel member of a preselected length comprising a pair of spaced flanges 133 and 134 interconnected along adjacently related sides by an integrally formed web 135 through drilled at 136 adjacent the opposite ends adapting support channel 131 for bolted connection at 38 (FIG. 1) to frame runs 36, 79 in the case of platforms 27 and 28 and to runs 53, 62 and the slide board hand and support rails 137 in the case of platform 26. Through drilled openings 136 will be omitted, of course, in cases where such a bolted connection is not required or will be relocated in other selected locations along web 135 where a different bolted connection is required.
As best seen in FIG. 2, the free ends of flanges 133 and 134 terminate in vertically spaced aligned relation and are respectively provided with an intumed, slightly spaced, return bent lip 138 and an intumed rolled lip 139. Rolled lip 139 is suitably notched at longitudinally spaced intervals as indicated at 141 or a double width notch as indicated at 142 in place of the two inner notches 141 for a purpose to be presently pointed out.
Still referring to FIG. 1 1, platform channels 132 each comprise a channel member of a preselected length comprising a pair of spaced flanges 143 and' 144 interconnected by a wide web 145 the center areas of which may, if desired, be embossed as indicated at 146. The free ends of flanges 143 and 144 are provided with an intumed, slightly spaced, return bent lip 147 the thickness and spacing of which is designed together with the thickness of the respective flanges to freely fit within the notches 141 of support channels 131. as shown in FIG. 3 with the outer flange faces lightly abutting the opposing notch edges thereby fixing the platform channels against lateral shifting movement relative to support channels 131. In event a solid platform surface area rather than a divided platform surface area is desired then a pair of platform channels 132 having respectively wider webs 145 would be selected so the adjacently related faces of flanges 143 and 144 could be face butted in notch 142 as shown in dot-dash lines in FIG. 3. Webs 145 at laterally spaced points inwardly from their opposite ends are likewise button punched as indicated at 148 to form upstanding interlock formations providing an upwardly semispherical wall facing toward the respective opposite ends of web 145 and a diametrically laterally disposed abutment edge 149 facing toward the center of webs 145. The inward spacing of these button punched interlock formations 148 is preselected so that the axial distance of abutment edges 149 inwardly from the adjacently related ends of webs 143 will approximate but not exceed the distance between the inner face of webs and the intumed free edge of lips 138 of support channels 131. This is done so that axial insertion of the respective ends of webs 145 into notches or 141 and 142 of the respective support channels 131 will result in a momentary camming engagement between the semispherical wall of the interlock formations and the op posing surfaces of lips 138 raising lip 138 toward its support flange 133 followed by a snapping back of lip 138 to its normal spaced position as abutment edges 149 pass inwardly of the free edge of lip 138. Once this insertion is made, axial retracting movement of the platform channels 132 from support channels 131 can be accomplished only by destructive deformation of the portions of hp 138 in the area of the interlock formations. It follows, therefore, that a permanent interlocked assembly of the support channels 131 and platform channels 132 is assured by this novel platform construction without the aid of separable fasteners.
Once the preassembly of platforms 26, 27 and 28 is effected, these respective platforms are assembled as a unit onto skeletal frame 20 by through bolting their respective support channel ends as shown at 38 in FIG. 1 to frame runs 53 and 62 in the case of platform 26 with the upper end of frame run 63, which is flattened out at its upper end adapting it to be abuttingly clamped behind the adjacently related dependent flange 143 of the end mounted platform channel as shown in FIG. 1 and to frame runs 36 and 79 as shown at 38 in the case of platforms 27 and 28 as also shown in FIG. 1. The opposite end of slide approach platform 26 together with the upper end of slide board 29 are then through bolted to the straight runs 151 of hand rails 137 as shown at 38 in FIG. 1. The upper ends of the return bent runs 152 of hand rails 137 arethen through bolted as shown at 38 in FIG. 1 to frame runs 53 and 62 in vertically spaced crossing relation above platform 26 while the lower ends of straight runs 153 of hand rails 137 are through bolted to frame runs 53 and 62 in cross relation at 38 using the same bolt and nut assemblies used to secure the telescoped ends of runs 53 and 62 to the upstanding legs of the adjacent frame corner members 54 and adjacent U-shaped member 61. The lower end of slide board 29 is supported in spaced relation to the ground or other support surface by a U-shaped support member 154 the upper leg ends of which are bent over and telescoped into the rolled slide board side rails.
The exposed ends of support channels 131 are preferably fitted with triangularly shaped, plastic, p'rotective cups 159 the walls 161 of which are through drilled at 162 to align with passages 136 of support channels 131 adapting the caps to be fixed in place with walls 161 clamped between the channel webs and the opposing frame runs to which they are bolted. Similar protection is provided for the free ends of crossing tubular runs by cylindrical plastic cup members 163 (FIG. 1).
The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiment is therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the .claims are therefore intended to be embraced therein.
What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. A platform assembly for use in forming table tops, bench seats, stand plafi'orms and the like without the need of separable fasteners comprising a pair of support channels the respective side flanges of which along their free longitudinal edges are provided with integral, inwardly disposed, return bent flange-like lips, one of which is spaced from its supporting flange and the other of which is provided at preselected longitudinally spaced intervals with through notches; and at least one platform channel having:
a. dependent side flanges spaced and dimensioned to permit forced entry of the opposite ends of said platform channel between said one flange-like lip of the opposing side flange of said pair of support channels when said dependent side flanges are aligned with the through notches of said other flangelike lip of said support channels; and a flange connecting web provided adjacent its opposite ends with upstanding button punch protuberances arranged with their curved walls disposed toward said respective web ends and their abutment faces spaced inwardly from the respective web ends a distance equal to the spacing of the free edge of said one flange-like lip from the web of said respective support channels, whereby upon forceful insertion of said platform channel ends into said support channels said button punch protuberances will deflect said one flange-like lip toward its associated supporting flange during insertion and release said one flange-like lip, upon full insertion to dispose said button punch abutment faces beyond the free lip edge, to return toward its initial non-deflected position into opposing relation to said button punch abutment faces thereby interlocking the respective ends of said platform channel ends against axial and lateral relative movement with respect to its associated support channel.
2. The platform assembly of claim 1 wherein said support channels are of equal preselected lengths, said other flange-like lip of each support channel is provided adjacent opposite ends with spaced pairs of preselected longitudinally spaced notches adapted to be oppositely aligned, and respective platform channels are assembled in the respective opposed pairs of spaced notches thereby providing a bench seat platform adapted to be associated with a table structure to provide bench seats. a l
3. The platform assembly of claim 1 wherein said support channels are of equal preselected lengths, said other flange-like lip of each support channel is provided in close equi-spaced distances from its longitudinal midpoint with spaced pairs of preselected longitudinally spaced notches adapted to be oppositely aligned, and respective platform channels have their web surfaces inwardly of said button punch protuberances longitudinally embossed are assembled in the respective opposed pairs of spaced notches thereby providing a platform for use as tread surface.
4. The platform assembly of claim 1 wherein said support channels are of equal preselected lengths, said other flange-like lipof each support channel is provided in close equispaced distances from its longitudinal midpoint with spaced pairs of preselected longitudinally spaced notches adapted to be oppositely aligned, and respective platform channels having planar web surfaces inwardly of said button punch protuberances are assembled in the respective opposed pairs of spaced notches thereby providing a platform for use as a table top.
5. The platform assembly of claim 1 wherein said support channels are of equal preselected lengths, said other flange-like lip of each support channel is provided at spaced intervals equal to twice the width of said platform channels with respective through notches dimensioned to receive a single platform channel dependent flange and midway between said respective through notches with a double sized through notch,
- web surfaces of said platform channels inwardly of said button punch protuberances are longitudinally embossed to provide a continuous tread surfaced platform.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CETIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,724,07 Dated April 3, 197 3 Inv nt r( Edwin 'r Carlin @1- a] i It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 4, lin 16, change "140" to -l4l--,
Signed and sealed this 20th day of November 1973.
EDW 5| M,FLETHER,JR. RENE D. TEGTMEYER Attesting Officer Acting Commissioner of Patents FORM PO-1 50 (10-69) USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 UiS. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: I969 0-366-334