US 3727903 A
A truck for supporting furniture frames or the like comprising a wheeled base structure and a pair of laterally movable supporting elements each of which is mounted on the base structure by two support arms fixed separately to sleeve elements carried exteriorly on longitudinally extending base elements, each support arm extending beyond one end of the sleeve element to which it is fixed and each sleeve element being carried on its base element by longitudinally spaced rollers disposed respectively to ride the upper and lower surfaces of the base element with the roller disposed for riding the upper base element surface being located substantially nearer the end of the sleeve element from which the support arm extends. Additionally, the supporting elements may be mounted on the base element for selective vertical movement with respect thereto and a plurality of jacking legs may be mounted on the base structure with an operating arrangement for simultaneously and selectively lowering these legs to extend beneath the truck wheels whereby the truck is supported solely by these legs.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
r  Filed:
United States Patent m1 Brown  Inventor:
 Assignee: Brown Truck and Trailer Manufacturing Company, Charlotte, NC.
Jan. 18, 1971 2,1 Appl.No.: 107,276
52 Us. Cl ....,;.-.269/'17, 280/4214  Int. Cl. ..B23q 37/00, B23q 3/18, B25h 5/00  Field of Search ..214/1 D; 269/17; 29/91. 7, 91.8; 280/4318, 43.24, 34, 35, 47.35
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,481,503 1/1924 Carswell ..269/17 X 3,067,884 12/1962 Williamsm. ..214/1 D 2,182,743 12/1939 Clergy ..269/17 X 2,741,830 4/1956 Lewis ..269/17 673,718 5/1901 Marquardt ..29/9l.7 7 911,376 2/1909 Buser ..29/9l.7 2,610,436 v 9/1952 Honeycutt. ,...29/91.7 2,637,449 5/1953 Hamer ..269/17 X 3,524,556 8/1970 Miller ..214/1 D 1 Apr. 17, 1973 Primary Examiner-Othell M. Simpson Att0rney-Channing L. Richards, Dalbert U. Shefte, Francis M. Pickney and Richards & Sheft ABSTRACT A truck for supporting furniture frames or the like comprising a wheeled base structure and a pair of laterally movable supporting elements each of which is mounted on the base structure by two support arms fixed separately to sleeve elements carried exteriorly on longitudinally extending base elements, each support arm extending beyond one end of the sleeve element to which it is fixed and each sleeve element being carried on its base element by longitudinally spaced rollers disposed respectively to ride the upper and lower surfaces of the base element with the roller disposed for riding the upper base element surface being located substantially nearer the end of the sleeve element from which the support arm extends. Additionally, the supporting elements may be mounted on the base element for selective vertical movement with respect thereto and a plurality of jacking legs may be mounted on the base structure with an operating arrangement for simultaneously and selectively lowering these legs to extend beneath the truck wheels whereby the truck is supported solely by these legs.
5 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures N W mR TB m. H P E m J m 1 \H MNUIFIIL SHEET 1 BF 5 a SW ATTORNEYS PATENTEU m 1 71975 SHEET 2 [IF 5 FTP 1 INVENTOR SEPH lugnowu ATTORNEYS PATENTEDAPR 1 7191s v 3 7 903 SHEET 3 [IF 5 zaz 104 N Q N INVENTOR JOSEPH L. BROWN Y I fiwbs ATTORNEY PATENTED APR] H975 SHEET 5 BF 5 L315 III-:1 #11 III a I I $0 I I l v INVENTOR JOSEPH L- BROWN W G-Sk t ATTORN YS FURNITURE TRUCK FRAME BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In the furniture manufacturing industry, upholstered furniture pieces such as love seats, divans, chairs and the like are generally built up from a wooden frame through as many as different operationssuch as springing, webbing, upholstering and finishing. Each separate operation is performed at an operating station manned 1 by personnel particularly trained for that operation, and the frame is moved from station to station in sequence until the construction is completed.
,l-lerefore, it has been common practice to move the frame from station to station by sliding it across a floor surface which is purposely maintained in a highly polished condition to facilitate this sliding. In addition to the obvious safety hazard which such a condition presents to personnel walking across this floor, sliding of the frame also results in a considerable amount of costly breakage, particularly to thelegs of heavy, ex-
pensive pieces of furniture.
Moreover, since the nature of the work done on the frame'varies from station to station, the attitude and elevation at which the frame is supported to facilitate this work also varies, and it is now common practice to furnish each operating station with sawbucks, or short bucks, specially selected to accommodate the operation as well as the individual operator at each station.
several-operating stations, because the wheeled cart could not becompletely immobilized to stabilize the furniture frame during the time it was being worked upon, and because the fixed supports on the cart did not have universal application in properly supporting the wide range of. furniture frame sizes and shapes which must be dealt. with in a typical furniture manufacturing operation.
SUMMARYYOF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to a unique fumiture. truck which eliminates the drawbacks associated with the above-described prior art methods of supporting and transporting furniture frames during furniture manufacturing operations.
ln,the two described embodiments of the present in vention, the truck includes a wheeled base structure and a pair of spaced furniture frame supporting elements whichare mounted for selective lateral movement with respect to one another to support properly furniture frames of varying sizes and shapes, and the base structure is provided with a plurality of jacking legs arranged forvertical movement and being selectively operable to move simultaneously'between an inoperative raised position and an operative lowered position at which the legs depend beneath the base structure wheels to provide astable and stationary sup- I port for the truck and the supported furniture frame. In
one of the described embodiments of the present invention, the supporting elements are additionally mounted for selective vertical movement with respect to the base structure so as to permit raising or lowering of the supported furniture frame as needed to provide easy access to the frame by the operator at the various operating stations.
In accordance with one of the features of the present invention each of the furniture frame supporting elements is mounted on the base structure for lateral movement by an arrangement which includes at least one sleeve element carried exteriorly on a laterally extending base element for movement-therealong, and which also includes a support arm fixed to this sleeve element and extending longitudinally beyond one end thereof to a connection with one of the supporting elements. The sleeve elementis carried on the base element in a unique manner consisting of a pair of longitudinally spaced rollers mounted in the sleeve element to ride the upper and lower surfaces of the base element with the roller disposed for riding the upper base element surface being located substantially nearer the end of the sleeve element from which the support arm extends. Thus, as will be explained in greater detail presently, the sleeve element is easily mounted on the base element without any significant problem of mounting tolerance, and the weight of the furniture frame and the furniture frame supporting elements, concentrated at the extending ends of the support arms, create a force couple acting on the base member at the sleeve element rollers whereby this weight is readily supported by the sleeve element.
In one of the disclosed embodiments of the present invention, the supporting elements are connected to their respective support arms through pantographic linkages arranged to permit the supporting elements to be raised or lowered selectively with respect to their respective support arms as the pantographic linkages are caused to be expanded or contracted by an operating mechanism including a hand wheel, or by a pneumatic, hydraulic or electrically actuated mechanism. Moreover, in this embodiment the lower portion of the respective pantographic linkages are carried by separate bracket members slidably mounted on the extending end portion of the support arms for movement between a first position overlapping this extending end portion and a second position projecting beyond such extending end portion, whereby the lateral spacing between the supporting elements can be additionally increased by moving the bracket members to their second positions.
Preferably, there are four of the aforementioned vertically movable jacking legs spaced around the periphery of the base structure, and these legs are operated selectively and simultaneously by an operating mechanism which includes an eccentric element rotatably mounted adjacent the top of each leg in contact therewith with two shaft members connecting these eccentric elements in pairs, and includes an operating lever acting to turn one eccentric element in each pair to lower thereby the four leg members simultaneously to a position at which the furniture truck is supported solely by the four legs resting on the floor surface.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of one embodiment of a furniture truck constructed in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 1a is a fragmentary view illustrating one of the supporting elements at its expanded position;
FIG. 2 is a front view of the furniture truck illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the furniture truck illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of another embodiment of a furniture truck constructed in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 4a is a fragmentary view illustrating one of the supporting elements at its fully expanded position;
FIG. 5 is a front view of the furniture truck illustrated in FIG. 4 with the pantographic linkage at an expanded DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Looking now in greater detail at the accompanying drawings, FIGS. 1-3 illustrate a furniture truck including a base structure preferably formed of four 2-inch steel tubing beams 12 joined at the ends thereof in a rectangular shape and having four caster assemblies 14 welded to the beams 12 at the midpoints thereof, the caster assemblies 14 including wheels 16 and pivot plates 18 which permit free pivotal movement of the wheels 16 with respect to the base structure 10.
The base structure 10 includes four base elements 20, preferably made of lA-inch square tubing, extending longitudinally in parallel relation with their respective ends joined to opposite beams 12 as best seen in FIG. 3, and each base element 20 has a sleeve element 22 carried exteriorly thereon for movement therealong in a manner to be described in greater detail hereinafter below. Connected to each sleeve element 22 is a generally S-shaped support arm 24 having a straight center portion 26 and opposite end portions 28,28 extending generally perpendicularly from the center portion 26 in opposite directions, the end portion 28 of each support arm being welded or otherwise fixed to one of the sleeve elements 22 and the other end portion 28' being likewise fixed to a supporting ele ment 30. A brace 34 (FIG. 1) may be added between each sleeve element 22 and supporting element 30 to provide additional strength. There are two supporting elements 30, each of which is mounted on two of the support arms 24 so that they extend in spaced parallel relation above the base structure 10 as best seen in FIG. 3, and these supporting elements 30 are in the form of inverted channel members which present a relatively large, flat surface at the upper side thereof on which a furniture frame can be supported. The supporting elements are formed with apertures 32 which permit protective padding (not shown) to be secured at the top surface of the supporting elements 30 to prevent marring of a supported furniture frame as it is being worked upon.
Lateral movement of the supporting elements 30 with respect to one another is permitted by virtue of the sleeve elements 20 as previously mentioned. In accordance with the present invention, each sleeve ele ment 22 has a pair of longitudinally spaced rollers 36,
36' journaled therein with one of the rollers 36 being located adjacent one end of the sleeve element 22 at the upper interior surface thereof and with the other roller 36' being located adjacent the other end of the sleeve element 22 atthe lower interior surface thereof, and each sleeve element 22 is mounted at a tilted dispostion on its respective base element 20 as best seen in FIG. 1 with the roller 36 disposed to ride the upper exterior surface of the base element 20 and with the roller 36' disposed to ride the lower exterior surface of the base element 20.
It will be noted that since each support arm 24 is arranged to extend substantially beyond the end of its associated sleeve element 22 at which the upwardly disposed roller 36 is located (see FIG. 1), the combined weight of the support arm 24, the attached supporting element 30, and the furniture frame load carried by the supporting element 30 act to create a force couple by which upward and downward forces are supported, respectively, at the roller 36' and the roller 36 to maintain these rollers in riding contact with base element 20, the extent of support arm 24 beyond the end of sleeve element 22 at which roller 36 is located being sufficient to impose a biasing weight therefrom by which such riding contact is maintained as shown.
Thus, the supporting element 30 shown at the right side of FIG. 3 is carried by the two sleeve elements 22 at left side of FIG. 3, and it is movable in a lateral direction toward and away from the other supporting element 30 (see FIG. 1a) which is likewise laterally movable on the two sleeve elements 22 shown at the right side of FIG. 3. This selective lateral movement of the supporting elements 30 permits the spacing therebetween to be varied substantially whereby many different furniture frames can be properly supported by the supporting elements 30. It has been found that a spacing range varying between a minimum of 20 inches and a maximum of 50 inches provides excellent results for the furniture truck shown in FIGS. 1-3.
It will be noted also that the mounting arrangement of the sleeve elements 30 on the base elements 20 eliminates the need of providing the close tolerances normally required between relatively movable parts. The rollers 36 and 36 are journaled at the end portions of the sleeve elements 30, and the sleeve element 30 is then tilted and passed onto the base element 20 whereupon the aforementioned load characteristics on the sleeve element 30 will cause it to assume a supported position on the base element 20 with the rollers 36, 36' in contact therewith.
As previously discussed, it is desirable at times to have the furniture truck of the present invention supported in a completely immobilized fashion, as, for example, when a supported furniture frame is being worked upon at an operating station. Accordingly, the rectangular base structure 10 of the furniture truck of the present invention is provided at the corners thereof with a stationary length of square tubing 38 in which a smaller jacking leg 40 is telescopically carried and biased upwardly therein by an entrapped compression spring (not shown) so that these legs 40 are normally carried in an inoperative raised position as shown in FIG. 1. An operating arrangement is provided for simultaneously lowering all four of the legs 40, and this operating arrangement comprises an eccentric element 42 mounted adjacent the top of each leg member 40 in contact therewith. Two of the eccentrics 42 are fixed in off-center relation to the opposite ends of an operating shaft '44, and the other two eccentrics are similarly mounted at the ends .of an operating shaft 46. Each of the operating shafts 44, 46 is rotatably carried in fixed bearings mounted on the base structure so that the two eccentrics 42 carried by each of the shafts 44, 46 will rotate together. One eccentric 42 of each connected pair has aprojecting ear 48 welded thereto, and each projecting ear 48 is connected through an associated link 50 to an operating lever 52. The operating lever 52 is pivotally mounted on a pivot shaft 54 carried in an upstanding bracket 56, and the two links 50 are connectedto the operating lever 52 at spaced points 58, 60 respectively, lying on opposite sides of the pivot shaft 54.
To lower the legs 40, the operating lever 52 is pivoted in a clockwise direction from its FIG. 1 position thereby causing one link 50 to rotate the right eccentric 42 in a counterclockwise direction and causing the other link 50 to rotate the left eccentric 42 in a clockwise direction. As previously described, the rotauntil they extend beyond the lowest extremity of the wheels 16 as may be seen in FIGS. 4 and 5 where the legs 40 of a corresponding jacking arrangement are shown in connection with another embodiment of the present invention at their lowered position. At this lowered or operative position of the legs 40, the wheels 16 are of course disposed'at an elevated position above the floor surface S, and the furniture truck is supported in a fixed position solely by the four legs 40. To raise the legs 40, the operating lever 52 is pivoted in a counterclockwise direction and returned to its FIG. 1 position whereupon the eccentrics 42 will be returned to their FIG. 1 positions and the aforementioned compression springs will return the legs 40 to their raised position.
The alternate embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIGS. 4-6 has a number of components which correspond to similar components in the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, and these corresponding components in the alternate embodiment have corresponding reference numerals. For example,
the jacking leg arrangement in both embodiments is substantially identical and operates in substantially the same manner, and the movable sleeve elements 22 are similarly carried on base elements in both embodiments.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 4-6, however, the spaced supporting elements 30 are arranged somewhat differently to provide for even an greater range of movement thereof with respect to each other and also with respect to the base structure 10. Thus, looking at FIGS.4 and 5, the four sleeve elements 22 each have mounted thereon an L-shaped support arm 62 have a short vertical section 64 and a long horizontal section 66 extending beyond one end of the sleeve element 22 on which each respective support arm 62 is mounted. A slide bearing 68 is fixed to the extending end of each horizontal support arm section 66, and a slide rod 70 is carried in each slide bearing 68 for horizontal sliding movement therein. A bracket member 72 is arranged to extend perpendicularly across the extending end portions of the two horizontal sections 66 which are located at each side of the base structure 10, and the bracket member 72 includes bifurcated depending flanges 74 which receive the ends of slide rods 70. Thus, each of the bracket members 72 is slidable from a position overlapping the extending ends of two horizontal sections 66 as seen in FIG. 4 to a second position projecting beyond such ends as seen in FIG. 4a.
Each of the bracket members 72 includes centrally located upstanding flanges 76, and two end flanges 78 in which two stationary rods 80 are mounted to extend in parallel relation therebetween. A pair of pantographic linkages, each including four links 82, 84, 86 and 88 are attached to each bracket 72 by pivotally connecting the lower ends of links 82 and 84 to the fixed upstanding flanges 76, and by pivotally connecting the lower ends of links 86 and 88 to slide pieces 90 which are slidably carried on the rods 80. The upper ends of links 82 and 84 are pivotally secured respectively to slide pieces 92, 94 slidably carried on rods 96 mounted endwise in each supporting element 30 by depending flanges 98, and the upper ends of links 86 and 88 are pivotally connected to fixed flanges 100 depending from each supporting element 30 at the center thereof. The slide pieces 94 for each supporting element 30 are threaded to receive a screw rod 102 having a hand wheel 104 fixed at one end thereof and being rotatably mounted in the bracket member 72.
With the above-described construction, the supporting elements 30 are selectively movable in a lateral direction with respect to one another, and they are selectively movable in a vertical direction with respect to the base structure 10. This selective lateral movement of the supporting elements 30 is made possible primarily by the sleeve elements 22 being movable along base elements 20 in the same manner as that described in connection with the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. I3, and FIG. 4a illustrates the righthand supporting element 30in FIG. 4 at a laterally expanded position. In addition to the laterally movement permitted by the movable sleeve elements 30, it will be noted in comparing FIGS. 4 and 4a that additional lateral movement of the supporting elements 30 is made possible by the bracket members 72 being slidable in slide bearings 68 to a position projecting beyond the extending end of horizontal sections 66 as previously described. It has been found in this embodiment of the present invention that excellent results are obtained in supporting a variety of furniture frames by providing for a minimum center spacing between the supporting elements 30 of about 28 inches and a maximum spacing therebetween of about 88 inches when the bracket members 72 are overlapping the ends of horizontal sections 66, as seen in FIG. 4, and about I00 inches when the bracket members 72 are extended as seen in FIG. 4a.
Selective vertical movement of the supporting elements 30 with respect to the base structure 10 is carried out by turning the respective hand wheels 104 to raise or lower one or both of the supporting elements 30. When a hand wheel 104 is turned, the screw rod 102 attached thereto causes its associated slide piece 94 to move along the rod 96 and thereby cause gradational expansion or contraction of the pantographic linkages for respectively raising or lowering of the supporting element 30. Again, nice results are obtained by providing the supporting elements 30 with a vertical adjustment ranging from a minimum height of l7 inches above the floor to a maximum height of 29 inches above the floor.
The present invention has been described in detail above for purposes of illustration only and is not intended to be limited by this description or otherwise to exclude any variation or equivalent arrangement that would be apparent from, or reasonably suggested by the foregoing disclosure to the skill of the art.
1. A device for supporting furniture frames or the like during upholstering thereof, said device including a base structure and a pair of spaced supporting elements mounted thereon by means permitting selective lateral movement of at least one of said supporting elements with respect to the other, said mounting means including a sleeve element carried exteriorly on a laterally extending base element for movement therealong and including a support arm fixed to said sleeve element and extending longitudinally beyond one end thereof to a connection with said one of said supporting elements, said sleeve element being carried on said base element by a pair of longitudinally spaced rollers journalled therein and disposed, respectively, to ride the upper and lower surfaces of said base element with the roller disposed for riding said upper base element surface being located substantially nearer said one end of said sleeve element, and the extent of said support arm beyond said one end being sufficient to impose a biasing weight therefrom on said sleeve element by which said spaced rollers are maintained in riding contact with said base element.
2. A device for supporting furniture frames or the like as defined in claim 1 and further characterized in that the other of said spaced supporting elements is also mounted on said base structure for selective lateral movement by mounting means corresponding to said mounting means for said one of said supporting elements.
3. A device for supporting furniture frames or the like as defined in claim 1 and further characterized in that said support arm is formed with a straight center portion and opposite end portions extending generally perpendicularly from said center portion in opposite directions, one of said end portions being connected to said sleeve element at a point thereon located between said spaced rollers, and the other of said end portions being connected to said one of said supporting elements.
4. A device for supporting furniture frames or the like as defined in claim 1 and further characterized in that said one supporting element is connected to its support arm through a pantographic linkage arranged to permit said one supporting element to be moved vertically with respect to said support arm, and in that selec ively operable means are associated with sald pantographic linkage to cause gradational expansion or contraction of the same for respectively raising or lowering said one supporting element with respect to said support arm.
5. A device for supporting furniture frames or the like as defined in claim 4 and further characterized in the lower portion of said pantographic linkage is carried by a bracket member slidably mounted on the extending end portion of said support arm for movement between a first position overlapping said extending end portion and a second portion projecting beyond said extending end portion.